Are Mormons Part of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Catholic Church?

The Church rejects Mormon baptisms due to their extreme difference in faith, even though it has the proper form and matter. When one is baptized, they ask to receive faith or it is asked for them. The Mystical Body of Christ includes all properly baptized people who have not detached themselves from the Vine via heresy or schism along with all others who receive baptism via desire or blood. I hear a lot about Protestants being part of the Body of Christ because of their proper baptism but if baptism was the only requirement for membership in the Body of Christ, then why would the Catholic Church reject Mormon baptisms?

My question is twofold.

Are Mormons considered to be part of the Mystical Body of Christ?

Since Mormon baptisms are rejected due to the lack of faith in Christianity, why should we be so indifferent to non-Catholic Christians who reject the Catholic faith? Baptism is a requirement for being saved but the Catholic faith is a must also. If we squander what we receive at baptism, then we will be judged accordingly, correct?


I don’t know that I have a lot of insight on this. However, I will say that what I do know is that Mormons reject the doctrine of the Trinity. In effect, they don’t worship the same God we worship. This is an enormous difference. AFAIK, they don’t acknowledge the deity of Christ.

I think it isn’t considered so, because, it is not accepted as an Apostolic Church, instituted by Christ himself.

Mormonism was instituted 1800 years after Christ’s ministry.

They don’t have a valid baptism. Just calling something baptism doesn’t make it so.

Mormons lack valid baptism. Therefore they are not Christians. Individual Mormons might be validly baptized in a Christian denomination (many who join the LDS come from Christian groups with valid baptisms). Those individuals would of course be part of the Body of Christ.

We accept them as fellow Christians because they actually are Christians. They actually are baptized.

We are not “indifferent” to them. But, factually speaking, they are Christians.

Perhaps you should read the Catechism section starting at paragraph 846.

What makes their baptism invalid?

So a baptized Christian who converts to Mormonism is still part of the Mystical Body of Christ?

The LDS is totally a different kind of religion.

During the 1990s, there had been a fair amount of dispute over the validity of Mormon baptism. It is easy to see why this was such a difficult question. The requirements for valid baptism are (1) a washing with water, (2) the use of the Trinitarian formula [that is, baptism in the name of all 3 Persons of the Holy Trinity], and (3) the intention of the minister of baptism to do what the Church does when she baptizes. Applying all of these criteria leads to the conclusion that baptism in the Eastern Orthodox Churches and most of the Protestant communities is valid. However, Mormonism presents a special case.

On the face of the matter, Mormon baptism might seem to satisfy all 3 requirements. Mormos baptize with water and in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Also, as in the Catholic Church, Mormons baptize to incorporate members into the community and to effect their salvation.

However, despite outward appearances, there is a serious problem. The problem is that the Mormon understanding of the Trinity is completely different from the Catholic understanding. As a result, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith concluded this year that the Mormon understanding of the Trinity is too different from the Catholic understanding for Mormon baptism to be valid.

There are five requirements for any Sacrament to be valid:
*]Valid subject (the person receiving the Sacrament - for Baptism, this is anyone who is not already Baptized)
*]Valid intent (on the part of the minister, to do what the Church does)
*]Valid minister (in the case of Baptism, this is anyone with proper intent)
*]Valid matter (in Baptism, this would be water)
*]Valid form (the words used - for Baptism, it must be “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”)
Mormons lack valid intent (because, by “baptism,” they do not mean what the Church means. Their intent is to do something other than what the Church does).

So a baptized Christian who converts to Mormonism is still part of the Mystical Body of Christ?

Baptism places us in a State of Grace, whereby we are members of the Mystical Body of Christ. Mortal sin removes us from that State (and that Body). The act of leaving the Church could be mortally sinful (but it’s entirely possible it’s not). As long as a Baptized person avoids mortal sin, s/he remains in a State of Grace (and a member of the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the same thing).

Sacramental Confession restores us to a State of Grace if we forfeit it through mortal sin. Mormons (and protestants) don’t have recourse to Sacramental Confession.

They deny the Trinity.

Of course. Baptism incorporates one into the Body of Christ. Nothing can change that.

Mormons do not believe in the Trinity, at least not properly, so when they say “in the name of the father, son and Holy Spirit” they do not mean the one Triune God.

So for this reason their baptisms are not valid.

Anyone not properly baptized is not part of the Body of Christ (not Christian) in the church’s view. Of course God only knows individual outcomes.

Also, this is not to say we have nothing to do with Mormons. Mormons have been involved in many ecumenical projects, most recently the marriage conference at the Vatican.

The Church teaches that heresy and schism removes one from the Body of Christ, if one willfully and knowingly accepts them. When one rejects one part of the faith, they reject the faith in whole. I don’t see how you can say differently.

[quote=“Catechism of the Catholic Church”]1121 The three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders confer, in addition to grace, a sacramental character or “seal” by which the Christian shares in Christ’s priesthood and is made a member of the Church according to different states and functions. This configuration to Christ and to the Church, brought about by the Spirit, is indelible, it remains for ever in the Christian as a positive disposition for grace, a promise and guarantee of divine protection, and as a vocation to divine worship and to the service of the Church. Therefore these sacraments can never be repeated.


When someone commits heresy or schism, he places himself outside the Church, but cannot erase the indelible mark left by his Baptism which incorporated him into the Body of Christ.

Yes, I agree, which is why one is not re-baptized or re-confirmed when they repent of their heresy or schism. Heresy and schism most certainly removes a person from the Mystical Body of Christ. This should cause anyone properly baptized, Catholic or not, great concern for their salvation if they have reached the age of reason and accepted heresy or schism, even if they were born into.

Thank you for the links.

David, thank you for the response. I want to point out that the state of grace is not the same as being a member of the Church. Mortal sin does not remove a person from Body of Christ, only heresy or schism can do that.

You seem to be conflating the ideas of baptism and salvation.

The salvation of anyone who commits mortal sin is not just “called into concern” but straight up lost! Whether that is by schism or adultery, or missing mass, is really beside the point.

Incorrect. Nothing at all can remove a person from the Body of Christ.


  1. It remains clear, in any event, that the sacramental bond of belonging to the Body of Christ that is the Church, conferred by the baptismal character, is an ontological and permanent bond which is not lost by reason of any act or fact of defection.

I will try to dig up more teachings of the Church on this topic tomorrow.


The same holy Martyr with good reason marveled exceedingly that anyone could believe that “this unity in the Church which arises from a divine foundation, and which is knit together by heavenly sacraments, could be rent and torn asunder by the force of contrary wills.”[21] For since the mystical body of Christ, in the same manner as His physical body, is one,[22] compacted and fitly joined together,[23] it were foolish and out of place to say that the mystical body is made up of members which are disunited and scattered abroad: whosoever therefore is not united with the body is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head.[24]

  1. Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Did not the ancestors of those who are now entangled in the errors of Photius and the reformers, obey the Bishop of Rome, the chief shepherd of souls? Alas their children left the home of their fathers, but it did not fall to the ground and perish for ever, for it was supported by God. Let them therefore return to their common Father, who, forgetting the insults previously heaped on the Apostolic See, will receive them in the most loving fashion. For if, as they continually state, they long to be united with Us and ours, why do they not hasten to enter the Church, “the Mother and mistress of all Christ’s faithful”?[25] Let them hear Lactantius crying out: “The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this the house of Faith, this the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation. Let none delude himself with obstinate wrangling. For life and salvation are here concerned, which will be lost and entirely destroyed, unless their interests are carefully and assiduously kept in mind.”[26]

  2. Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See, set up in the City which Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles, consecrated by their blood; to that See, We repeat, which is “the root and womb whence the Church of God springs,”[27] not with the intention and the hope that “the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth”[28] will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government. Would that it were Our happy lot to do that which so many of Our predecessors could not, to embrace with fatherly affection those children, whose unhappy separation from Us We now bewail. Would that God our Savior, “Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,”[29] would hear us when We humbly beg that He would deign to recall all who stray to the unity of the Church! In this most important undertaking We ask and wish that others should ask the prayers of Blessed Mary the Virgin, Mother of divine grace, victorious over all heresies and Help of Christians, that She may implore for Us the speedy coming of the much hoped-for day, when all men shall hear the voice of Her divine Son, and shall be “careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”[30]

Jon, I am not conflating the two but appreciate your comment.

I apologize for not posting this sooner.

I find it hard for one to not abandon or remove himself from the Body of Christ while removing himself from unity with Christ as Pope Eugenius explains below.

*Pope Eugenius IV, Cantate Domino (1441): “The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the “eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41), unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.”

Pope Innocentius III, Profession of Faith: “With our hearts we believe and with our lips we confess but one Church, not that of the heretics, but the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside which we believe that no one is saved”

Pope Gregorius XVI, Summo Jugiter Studio, May 27, 1832: “You know how zealously Our predecessors taught that very article of faith which these dare to deny, namely the necessity of the Catholic faith and of unity for salvation. The words of that celebrated disciple of the Apostles, martyred Saint Ignatius, in his letter to the Philadelphians are relevant to this matter: ‘Be not deceived, my brother; if anyone follows a schismatic, he will not attain the inheritance of the kingdom of God.’ Moreover, Saint Augustine and the other African bishops who met in the Council of Cirta in the year 412 explained the same thing at greater length: ‘Whoever has separated himself from the Catholic Church, no matter how laudably he lives, will not have eternal life, but has earned the anger of God because of this one crime: that he abandoned his union with Christ’ (Epsitle 141). Omitting other appropriate passages which are almost numberless in the writings of the Fathers, We shall praise Saint Gregory the Great, who expressly testifies that this is indeed the teaching of the Catholic Church. He says: ‘The holy universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in her and asserts that all who are outside of her will not be saved’ (Moral. in Job, 16.5). Official acts of the Church proclaim the same dogma. Thus, in the decree on faith which Innocent III published with the synod of the Lateran IV, these things are written: ‘There is one universal Church of the faithful outside of which no one at all is saved.’ Finally, the same dogma is expressly mentioned in the profession of faith proposed by the Apostolic See, not only that which all Latin churches use (Creed of the Council of Trent), but also that which the Greek Orthodox Church uses (cf. Gregory XIII, Profession ‘Sanctissimus’) and that which other Eastern Catholics use (cf. Benedict XIV, Profession ‘Nuper ad Nos’)… We are so concerned about this serious and well known dogma, which has been attacked with such remarkable audacity, that We could not restrain Our pen from reinforcing this truth with many testimonies.”*

To the subject line of your OP: only if God accepts them as such by virtue of their implicit desire for valid baptism.

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