CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
RESPONSE TO A 'DUBIUM’
on the validity of baptism conferred by
«The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints»,
***Question******:*** Whether the baptism conferred by the community «*The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints*», called «*Mormons*» in the vernacular, is valid.
The Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, in the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved the present Response, decided in the * Sessione Ordinaria of this Congregation, and ordered it published.*
From the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 5 June 2001.
+ Joseph Cardinal RATZINGER
+ Tarcisio BERTONE, S.D.B. *
Archbishop emeritus of Vercelli*
And from a commentary by Fr. Luis Ladaria, SJ, secretary of the International Theological Commission:
The formula used by the Mormons might seem at first sight to be a Trinitarian formula. The text states: "Being commissioned by Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (cf. D&C 20:73). The similarities with the formula used by the Catholic Church are at first sight obvious, but in reality they are only apparent. There is not in fact a fundamental doctrinal agreement. There is not a true invocation of the Trinity because the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, according to the Church of Jesus Christ *of Latter-day Saints, *are not the three persons in which subsists the one Godhead, but three gods who form one divinity. One is different from the other, even though they exist in perfect harmony (Joseph F. Smith, ed., *Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith *[TPJSI,Salt Lake City: Desert Book, 1976, p. 372). [COLOR=DarkRed]The very word divinity has only a functional, not a substantial content
, because the divinity originates when the three gods decided to unite and form the divinity to bring about human salvation (*Encyclopaedia of Mormonism *[EM], New York: Macmillan, 1992, cf. Vol. 2, p. 552). . . .
As is easily seen, to the similarity of titles there does not correspond in any way a doctrinal content which can lead to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. The words Father, Son and Holy Spirit, have for the Mormons a meaning totally different from the Christian meaning. The differences are so great that one cannot even consider that this doctrine is a heresy which emerged out of a false understanding of the Christian doctrine. The teaching of the Mormons has a completely different matrix.