Mormonism and culture/Attitude toward non-members/Statements

Statements from Church leaders regarding how we should treat "non-members"

Collected quotes

This section contains a wide selection of quotes dealing with the LDS attitude toward those who are not of their faith.

Official First Presidency Statements

1978

"Based upon ancient and modern revelation, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gladly teaches and declares the Christian doctrine that all men and women are brothers and sisters, not only by blood relationship from mortal progenitors, but also as literal spirit children of an Eternal Father.

"The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed, Confucius, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers including Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of God's light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals.

"The Hebrew prophets prepared the way for the coming of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, who should provide salvation for all mankind who believe in the gospel.

"Consistent with these truths, we believe that God has given and will give to all people sufficient knowledge to help them on their way to eternal salvation, either in this life or in the life to come.

"We also declare that the gospel of Jesus Christ, restored to his Church in our day, provides the only way to a mortal life of happiness and a fullness of joy forever. For those who have not received this gospel, the opportunity will come to them in the life hereafter if not in this life.

"Our message therefore is one of special love and concern for the eternal welfare of all men and women, regardless of religious belief, race, or nationality, knowing that we are truly brothers and sisters because we are the sons and daughters of the same Eternal Father."

Spencer W. Kimball
N. Eldon Tanner
Marion G. Romney[1]

Presidents of the Church

Heber J. Grant

President Heber J. Grant (at the end of the conference in which a statement by Elder Whitney was made)

  • "I commend to all Latter-day Saints when the conference pamphlet is published, to read what Elder Orson F. Whitney said about the inspiration of God being given to men in all parts of the world. We endorse his remarks."[2]

Other LDS leaders

Brigham (B.H.) Roberts

  • "Instead of holding that a few prophets among the Hebrews had been visited of God and received divine inspiration [Joseph Smith] represented God as saying 'thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews? Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?...For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written. For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it.' [II Nephi 29.6,7,11,12]. 'For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true.' [Alma 29.8]. The doctrine unites in one splendid brotherhood all the Seekers after God, all those who received inspiration from the Most High and were sent forth from the Divine Presence to instruct their fellow men. Joseph Smith, I say, unites their hands in a splendid brotherhood of the God-inspired men of this world....How noble is this view of God's hand dealings with the children of men in respect of revelation, as compared with that narrow, bigoted view prevailing at the beginning of the 19th century, which held that the Hebrew Scrip-tures contained all the word of God delivered to the inhabitants of the earth."[3]

Orson F. Whitney

  • "[After quoting several verses from Alma 29.1-9 continues: These verses] tell one that Providence is over all, and that he holds the nations in the hollow of his hand; that he is using not only his covenant people, but other peoples as well, to consummate a work....[God] is using men as his instruments. Nor is he limited in the choice of instruments to his own people....Outside the pale of their [prophetic, priesthood] activities other good and great men, not bearing the Priesthood but possessing profundity of thought, great wisdom, and a desire to uplift their fellows, have been sent by the Almighty into many nations, to give them, not the fulness of the gospel, but that portion of truth that they were able to receive and wisely use. Such men as Confucius, Zoroaster, Buddha, Socrates and Plato. ...They were servants of the Lord in a lesser sense, and were sent to those pagan or heathen nations to give them the measure of truth that a wise Providence had allotted to them." [4]

This was followed by President Heber J. Grant (at the end of the conference in which the above statement by Elder Whitney was made)

  • "I commend to all Latter-day Saints when the conference pamphlet is published, to read what Elder Orson F. Whitney said about the inspiration of God being given to men in all parts of the world. We endorse his remarks."[5]

Notes

  1. Frequently: Spencer J. Palmer, The Expanding Church (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1978): v; Carlos Asay, “God's Love for Mankind”, in Spencer J. Palmer, ed., Mormons and Muslims: Spiritual Foundations and Modern Manifestations [Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1983], 205 ff., at page 208; also James B. Mayfield, "Ishmael, Our Brother," Ensign (June 1979), ?. off-site; also in James E. Faust, "Communion with the Holy Spirit," Ensign (May 1980), ?. off-site also in R. Lanier Britsch, "I Have a Question: What is the relationship of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the non-Christian religions of the world?," Ensign (January 1988), 48. off-site
  2. Heber J. Grant, Conference Report (April 1921), 203.; also quoted in Messages of the First Presidency, edited by James R. Clark, Vol. 5, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1971), 197. GL direct link
  3. B. H. Roberts, Joseph Smith-Prophet Teacher (Princeton, New Jersey: 1971; first printed ca 1912), 20-22.
  4. Orson F. Whitney, Conference Report (April 1921), 32–33..
  5. Heber J. Grant, Conference Report (April 1921), 203.; also quoted in Messages of the First Presidency, edited by James R. Clark, Vol. 5, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1971), 197. GL direct link