Denomination Differences

Mormon vs. Amish Beliefs

The Amish and Mormons are two of the most socially conservative denominations and both are primarily found in the United States of America. Both traditionally have large families. Neither drinks alcohol or condones sex besides between husband and wife. Mormons even forbid drinking "hot drinks", meaning coffee or tea, believing it violates the Mormon health code. Both dress modestly, although Amish take it far further, believing in "plain dress" for all. Both have extensive church rules and a focus on church discipline, including confession to the bishop for violating the rules. For Amish this Ordnung means the almost complete eschewing of modern technology, jewelry, mirrors, and insurance and the shunning of those who violate the Ordnung. Mormons must pay a 10% tithe, must go on a mission for roughly two years, and cannot talk about certain temple rituals. Both denominations also exclusively read traditional Bible translations. This means the King James Version in English, although the Amish typically read the German Martin Luther Bible, even in America.

However, despite these outward similarities, they are extremely different in their theology. Aside from their cultural practices, the Amish are fairly normal Christians doctrinally. Mormons on the other hand deny the Trinity and aren't even monotheist. Instead, Mormons believe in at least three gods and believe that every good Mormon will someday become a god himself, which to most Christians is so heretical as to make them not even Christians. Mormons proselytize extensively, famously by going door-to-door, while Amish do not evangelize at all.

Mormons also have a very different view of the Bible. Even though both denominations read the King James Bible, Mormons have three other relatively modern books—the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price—which they believe have equal authority as the Bible. They also do not believe that Bible itself is even free from error.

These extra texts lead to very different ideas about the Gospel itself as well. Where Amish believe like most Protestants that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone, Mormons believe they must agree to and keep a list of covenants for all their lives to earn exaltation, with lower degrees of glory for those who fail to do such.

The Book of Mormon was written by Joseph Smith via scribes in the 1820s. Smith claimed this dictation was really a translation of a golden book written in "reformed Egyptian" which he found buried in New York but returned to an angel before the public could view it. He claimed to have done this translation of the unknown language miraculously by looking at two stones in a hat and dictating what he read without allowing the scribe to view the "golden plates". The text itself describes a group of ancient Hebrews in the Americas and an extended theophany of Jesus to the American Indians. It repeats some themes from the Bible and uses Early Modern English, but also states that many core Christian beliefs, such as the Trinity and the plan of salvation are actually wrong and been unrevealed for thousands of years. This alleged new revelation by Joseph Smith is the core of Mormonism, with many other new canonical scriptures following after.

The Amish by contrast believe that the Bible is God's only inspired word. They originated from the Swiss Brethren, which was an Anabaptist group in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Amish, primarily German-speaking Swiss people at that time, then largely migrated to the United States in the 18th century to escape economic depression and religious persecution in the Electoral Palatinate. They initially settled in Pennsylvania but later groups spread throughout the Midwest as well.

Despite being almost entirely located in the United States at this point, the Amish have no America-centric theology like the Mormons do. Amish are actually pacifists and thus generally are hesitant to endorse the United States given its history of war. They have also come into conflict over education, law enforcement, and Social Security. These legal fights still do not compare to the numerous military conflicts the Mormons have fought in the United States. Yet Mormons tend to be a very patriotic cohort nowadays. Unlike Amish, they also tend to be very politically active, with many Mormons holding high political office in the United States, especially in Utah, where they are concentrated and a majority.

While the Amish and Mormons tend to live a bit outside of society's norms, they do so very differently. Amish reject society's clothing, insurance, and technology while following orthodox Christianity. Mormons accept most of the changes of modern life while filtering them through their own unique religion.

Belief Table

MormonAmish
a.k.a.Latter-Day Saint
Number of Members16,800,000[1]374,000[2]
How does one get saved?There is no singular salvation for Mormons: Exaltation, or going to the highest of the three degrees of glory and becoming a god, is achieved by getting baptized, confirmed, ordained in the Melchizedek priesthood (if a man), endowed, and married and then by keeping the covenants for the rest of one's life.Sola fide: Repent of your sins and believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection alone to save you.
Who gets saved?Anyone who chooses by his own free will to believe and accept God's gift of grace will be saved.Anyone who chooses by his own free will to believe and accept God's gift of grace will be saved.
Can one lose his salvation?Yes, the promise of exaltation can be lost by breaking one's covenants, except for a select few couples who are chosen for a second anointing which guarantees exaltation unless one sins against the Holy Ghost or commits murder.Yes, a Christian can lose his salvation by apostasy.
Who gets baptized and why?Understanding persons get baptized as the first ordinance, cleansing them of all sins.Saved people get baptized as a public demonstration of their new lives.
How should baptism be done?Baptism should be by immersion.Baptism should be by sprinkling water on the head.
When does one receive the Holy Spirit?The gift of the Holy Ghost is received at confirmation.The Holy Spirit is received at the moment of salvation.
What is the trinity?The Godhead comprises three separate gods—God the Father, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.The Trinity is God existing as one god in three equal, eternal, cosubstantial persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit.
What is the human nature?Humans are neither inherently good nor inherently evil.Total depravity: Human nature is corrupt, naturally inclined to evil, and incapable of choosing God on his own.
Are we guilty of Adam's original sin?No, "men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression."No, we are not guilty of Adam's sin, but we did inherit the consequences and a corrupt human nature from him, causing us all to sin.
Are Christians required to keep the Old Testament ceremonial laws?No, the ceremonial laws of Judaism were fulfilled and done away with by Jesus.No, the ceremonial laws of Judaism were fulfilled and done away with by Jesus.
Can Christians become sinless in this earthly life?No, although Christians can and should sin less, they can never become sinless in this life.Yes, Christian perfection is possible.
Do the elements of communion become the body and blood of Christ?No, the elements merely symbolically represent the body and blood of Christ.No, the elements merely symbolically represent the body and blood of Christ.
Can one be baptized of behalf of someone who has died?Yes, a living person can be a proxy for the dead to be baptized, who then can accept or reject it in the afterlife.No, the dead cannot be baptized.
What happens if a saved person dies without being perfect?Once Christians leave their sinful bodies, nothing else is needed to receive glorified, sinless bodies.Once Christians leave their sinful bodies, nothing else is needed to receive glorified, sinless bodies.
Did Mary ever sin?Yes, Mary sinned like all other humans except Jesus.Yes, Mary sinned like all other humans except Jesus.
What spiritual gifts are available today?Continuationism: All spiritual gifts are still available to believers.[3]
What framework has God used in dealing with man?God has different periods of history where he has at least one authorized servant on earth.[4][5]
What is the gift of tongues?Speaking in tongues is sometimes unintelligible and sometimes foreign human languages.[6]
How many church ordinances/​sacraments are there?The Church has five saving ordinances: Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood (for men), the Temple Endowment, and the Marriage Sealing. There are roughly a dozen other ordinances important for comfort.[7]The church has three ordinances: Baptism, Holy Communion, and Footwashing.[8][9]
To whom do Christians need to confess their sins?Confession should be made directly to God unless the church might discipline for such sin, in which case it must be confessed to the bishop.[10][11]Confession should be made directly to God unless the church might discipline for such sin, in which case it must be confessed to the bishop.[12][13]
How should a church be structured?Wards should be governed by the president in that stake, who in turn is governed by the seventies, who are governed by the Twelve, who are governed by the President of the Church.[14][15]Congregationalist: Every church congregation should be independent and governed by its members.[16]
What day of the week should Christians worship?Christians worship on Sunday.Christians worship on Sunday.
How does God's revelation come to us today?There are many sources of God's revelation.
How many books are in the Bible?There are 66 canonical books of the Bible—39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books—and three other canonical books: the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.There are 66 canonical books of the Bible: 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.
Is the Bible inerrant?No, the Bible is not inerrant in any respect.[17][18]
Who can speak with God's authority today?The President of the Church and the Twelve Apostles are prophets, seers, and revelators who speak for God and whose prophecies shall all be fulfilled.[19][20]Nobody today can speak for God.
How was the earth created?The earth was created by God organizing matter which has existed eternally.[21]
What is marriage?Marriage is a covenant before God between one man and one woman.[22]Marriage is a covenant before God between one man and one woman.
Is sex permissible outside marriage?No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.[22]No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.
When is divorce permissible?Divorce is permissible for any reason allowed by law.[23]Divorce is never permissible.
May a Christian remarry while his former spouse is still alive?Yes, a Christian may freely remarry after divorce.[24]Divorce is never permissible.
When does a fetus become human?No established doctrine, but the church opposes elective abortions.[25][26]Humanity begins at conception.
Is contraception permissible?Yes, contraceptives are permissible.[27]No, contraceptives are not permissible.
Are blood transfusions permissible?Yes, blood transfusions are permissible.Yes, blood transfusions are permissible.[28]
Should women cover their heads?No, head coverings are no longer required due to cultural changes.[29]Yes, women should cover their heads to symbolize submission whenever in public.
Should Christians drink alcohol?No, alcohol should be totally avoided.Most believe no, alcohol should be totally avoided.
Should Christians fight in wars?Yes, Christians should fight in just wars.[30][31]No, Christians should never fight.[32]
Whom does the Holy Spirit come from?The Holy Spirit is a separate god.
Do icons glorify God?No, icons and images of people violate the Second Commandment against graven images.[33][34]
Where does a Christian's soul go after death?The righteous await the resurrection in Paradise, part of the spirit world.[35][36]Christians immediately go to heaven when they die.