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Q. 1. Does the Catholic Church recognize the baptism of the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) as a valid baptism?Return to Table of Contents
A. 1. The Catholic Church does not recognize the baptism of the Mormons as a Christian baptism.
Q. 2. Why not?Return to Table of Contents
A. 2. The baptism of the Mormons is not recognized as a valid baptism for a number of reasons. One of those reasons concerns the Mormon definition of the Trinity.
In the administration of the Sacrament of Baptism, a specific formula must be used as commanded by the Fourth Lateran Council. Those words are. "Being commissioned by Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
The formula applied by the Mormons might appear to be a Trinitarian formula. But in reality, while the formula of the Mormons is similar to the formula of the Catholic faith, there is no fundamental doctrinal agreement in its application. The Mormon invocation of the Trinity is not a true invocation of the Trinity because the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, according to them, are not three persons in which subsists the one Godhead, but three gods who form one divinity.
The Mormons believe that the divinity originated when three gods decided to unite and form the divinity in order to bring about human salvation. Furthermore, the Mormons believe that God the Father is an exalted man, a native from another planet, who has acquired his divine status through a death similar to that of human beings, this being a necessary way of becoming divine. God the Father has relatives and this is explained by the doctrine of infinite regression of the gods who initially were mortal. God the Father has a wife, the Heavenly Mother, with whom he shared the responsibility of creation. They procreated sons in the spiritual world. Their firstborn was Jesus Christ, equal to all men, who acquired his divinity in a pre-mortal existence. Even the Holy Spirit was the son of heavenly parents. The Son and the Holy Spirit were procreated after the beginning of the creation of the world known to mankind. Four gods were directly responsible for the universe, three of whom established a covenant and therefore formed the divinity.
As can be appreciated, the Mormon baptism does not in any way contain the doctrinal belief that is associated with the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. The words, "Father, Son and Holy Spirit," have for the Mormons, a totally different meaning than that of the Christian faiths.
While this is only one reason, that being sufficient to affirm that the Mormon baptism is not valid, there are other reasons. Over and above the Mormon belief that there is no real Trinity, the Mormons do not believe in original sin, nor that Christ instituted baptism. Based on this, those who believe that they were baptized in the Mormon religion, must be baptized in the Catholic faith upon their conversion because they were never validly baptized as commanded by Jesus and taught by the Catholic faith.
This conclusion was handed down to the Catholic Church by The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in July, 2001.