Comparing Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses

For more on Mormons, click here.

For more on Jehovah’s Witnesses, click here.

Similarities between the teachings of the LDS Church and the Watchtower  

Both were birthed in the 19th century and became leading cults of Christianity:

  • “Church of Christ” established in 1830 (first vision of Joseph Smith in 1820)
  • Charles Taze Russell established first Bible study in 1870

Both were founded by individuals who had access to orthodox Christianity but rejected it:

  • Joseph Smith was raised in the midst of Protestant revivalism in the Northeast
  • Charles Taze Russell was raised in the Congregational Church

Both teach that Jesus’ death dealt with Adam’s sin but was not sufficient to provide full salvation for us apart from human effort.

Both claim that all of Christendom had fallen into apostasy and that their organizations alone constitute the one true Church.

Both reject the clear teachings of Scripture and add to them through new revelations and / or “new” insights.

Both continue to lead many astray from belief in the Jesus of Scripture and the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith.

Differences between the teachings of the LDS Church and the Watchtower

One relies largely on experiences (Smith / Mormonism) and the other on “reason” (Russell / Jehovah’s Witnesses).

One claims we are all gods in embryo (Mormonism); the other denies (correctly) the potential deity of man while denying (incorrectly) the deity of Jesus and the Spirit (Jehovah’s Witnesses).

One teaches that Jesus began as we all did (eternally existing intelligences / Mormonism) and therefore is not particularly unique; the other, that he was created (Jehovah’s Witnesses).

One teaches the Holy Spirit is a spirit creature awaiting a mortal body (Mormonism); the other denies the personhood of the Spirit, claiming instead “it” is an impersonal force (Jehovah’s Witnesses).

One teaches that the Trinity is three gods (Smith / Mormonism); the other claims that the very idea of the Trinity is satanically inspired (Russell / Jehovah’s Witnesses).

One teaches universal salvation (Mormonism); the other, annihilation (Jehovah’s Witnesses).

One teaches that Jesus atoned for sin primarily in Gethsemane (Mormonism); the other, that Jesus died, not on a cross, but a torture stake (Jehovah’s Witnesses). Both minimize or avoid the cross.

One teaches that Jesus’ resurrection made “general salvation” (resurrection) possible (Mormonism); the other teaches that Jesus the man ceased to exist at death and was recreated (not resurrected) as an exalted Michael the Archangel (Jehovah’s Witnesses).

One teaches the possibility of godhood and our own planet to rule (Mormonism); the other restricts heaven to 144,000, and limits the rest of believers to life on earth (Jehovah’s Witnesses).

Copyright 2009 by Rob Phillips


  1. reslight

    The true founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses was Joseph Rutherford. After Russell died, Rutherford, in effect, destroyed the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society as Russell had intended for it to be, and proceeded to claim the kind of authority that Russell preached against.

  2. Nicholas Voss

    If Mr. Russell did not found the Jehovah’s Witness organization who did? Where have the Jehovah’s Witnesses been for nearly nineteen hundred years? Name a few spokesmen of the JW faith who existed before 1870?

    And where in the chronicles of Christian history have any Watchtower-type writings existed which agree with JWitnesses? The teachings are unique and were invented starting in about the late 1900s in America.

    Has God been without a Witness for nineteen hundred years?

  3. ResLight

    Charles Taze Russell was not the founder of the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” organization. He was a non-sectarian who did not believe in such an organization.

    Charles Taze Russell taught and believed in the one true Church as founded by Jesus, and that the one true Church consisted of people in an out of probably all of the Christian denominations. He taught nothing about an organization (such the “Jehovah’s Winesses”) as being the one true church.

    Charles Taze Russell believed and taught the one sacrifice of Jesus fully, completely and totally paid the price for Adam’s sin, and nothing at all is needed to be added to that salvation.

    Charles Taze Russell did not deny the scriptural deity of Jesus; he did deny that Jesus has deity as interpreted by trinitarians.

    Russell taught that every man, woman, child, embryo, infant, and insane person who is now dying in Adam is also saved by the blood of Jesus. The JWs deny this.

    Charles Taze Russell relied on the Word of God — not reason itself — as the foundation upon which all faith should be built. Of course, reason is included in understanding the scriptures, but it is not the basis of reliance.

    The scriptures reveal that Jesus was begotten (brought forth into existence) as the firstborn living creature. Being a creature, he was indeed created. Russell did indeed teach the Bible truth on that topic.

    II do not know of any place that Russell taught that God’s holy spirit is impersonal; he did teach that God’s holy spirit is personal to God to whom the holy spirit belongs, as personal as we would consider as our mouth or finger, since the Bible likens God’s holy spirit to God’s finger and mouth.

    Since the trinity is no where to be found in any of the Bible, and since the trinity dogma ends up denying the basis for which Jesus came in the flesh, Russell was correct in denying what is not only not found in the scripture, but which by its teaching effectually denies the ransom sacrifice of Jesus!

    Russell believe that Jesus died on the cross and thereby provided a ransom for all who are dying in Adam.

    I know that Russell did not teach that Jesus was not resurrected from death, he did teach that death is death — the cessation of living — as is described in the Bible. One has to be be dead — ceased to have been living/sentient — in order to be resurrected from death. If Jesus did not cease to be living, then he was not actually dead, and his resurrection was a farce, and no price was paid as the wages of sin. Nor did Jesus die a “spiritual death” — the acclaimed eternal separation from God — our sins. Jesus is not now paying a price of being eternally separated from his God for our sins., he died physically at Calvary for our sins. After ascending he offered up his human flesh, his human body, once for all time, for sin, to his God in heaven. Having thus offered up his humanity, he will never be a human being again.