Why Don’t Mormons Pray Directly to Jesus?

Why Don’t Mormons Pray Directly to Jesus?

Jesus Praying Gethsemane Mormon

From time to time, I see someone posting (usually incorrect) information on Mormons and one complaint is that Mormons won’t pray to Jesus directly, which “proves” they are not Christian. Let’s take that complaint in several parts in order to answer the question.

First, it is important to know that Mormon is only a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is okay to use it as a name for the people, but not for the church itself. When Mormons

Jesus prayed to God as Mormons do.

shorten their name, they use the term LDS (Latter-day Saints.) They are sort of picky about not wanting people to call them the Mormon Church because in the Book of Mormon, which Mormons use with the Bible, Jesus says that if you call a church by the name of a person, it is that person’s church. So, a church called, “The Church of John” would be John’s church. If you want it to be Jesus’ church, it must be named after Him. This is why the Mormons call their church “The Church of Jesus Christ.” Latter-day Saints is used to differentiate the modern church with the ancient New Testament church. You’ll remember that in the Bible, Jesus’ followers did not call themselves Christian. That was a term first used by outsiders and later adopted by the followers for themselves. Instead, they called themselves Saints.

It should be clear then that Mormons consider themselves Christians—not Nicene Christians, but a restoration of the New Testament Christianity. They reject voted upon doctrines that emerged after the apostles were no longer leading the church.

Mormons pray—a lot, actually. They pray to God, not Jesus Christ, but in the name of Jesus Christ. When they start a prayer, they begin by saying, “Dear Heavenly Father” or something similar. At the end of the prayer, they say, “In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

Although some Christians are offended by this, it is actually exactly what Jesus Christ Himself taught us to do in the New Testament of the Bible. Let’s take a look at three verses in the book of John and one in James:

 “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14.

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” John 15:16.

And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:23-24.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him (James 1:5).

All these verses tell us to pray to God, not Jesus Christ. They instruct us to ask in Jesus’ name. This is how Mormons pray because it is how Jesus told us to pray. In fact, He prayed this way Himself, although of course, He didn’t pray in His name, since He was offering the prayer. At the end of this article, you can watch a video of Jesus offering the Great Intercessory Prayer, with the text taken from the King James translation of the Bible.

Often, people try to define Christianity by narrow terms that are not Biblical. The Bible does not define what constitutes a Christian, since the term really wasn’t in use at the time by Jesus’ followers. Jesus did not answer questions about how to be a Christian, but He did answer them on how to obtain eternal life. He never answered these questions with a list of doctrine—nowhere, for instance, does He say you must believe in the trinity (since the word and definition are not in the Bible)—but He does give a list of commandments to keep. We must be very careful, when trying to pass judgment on who is and is not a Christian that we make sure there is Biblical backing for our decision and that the Bible gives us the right to make that judgment. Mormons believe in allowing people to self-identify. If someone tells a Mormon he is a Christian, Mormons will accept that, because only God and Jesus Christ are entitled to determine the accuracy of that self-identification.


Article Name
Why Don't Mormons Pray Directly to Jesus?
Mormons pray to God in Jesus' name. Some people feel this is un-Christian. What does the Bible say/

About Terrie Lynn Bittner
Terrie Lynn Bittner is the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that have appeared in LDS magazines. She is married to Lincoln Bittner and is the mother of three grown children and grandmother to two girls. Terrie became a Mormon at the age of seventeen and has been sharing her faith online since 1992. She can also be found blogging about being an LDS woman at LatterdaySaintWoman.com.



  1. I am getting so tired of being told that I am not a Christian, I have gotten to the point of just ignoring the question or comment. Living here in Utah for the last year has especially opened my eyes to the hatred of the church by so called “Christian” churches. It literally makes me sick to hear other denominations belittle,dismiss, try to disprove the beliefs of not only the LDS Church but other churches as well because they do not believe what they do. It makes me want to just live my life in isolation and worship God, pray to Him thru Jesus, believe in Christ and His Atonement , believe in the love that he has for me and his desire for me to return to him; to shut the world out, if I could live in the Temple each day I would welcome it. Just tired of hatred. That is not Christian.

  2. Dale,

    Thanks for visiting the site and for your heartfelt response and surprise at other “Christians” depicting us as something ‘other than.’ It comes from insufficient understanding and sometimes intentioned distortions, but with it all, we live and witness of the Savior. We need to love back when we are unloved, so it is as much a test for us as it is for others. Living in the world and yet thinking apart from it, is not easy but through His grace, we’re enabled–to clarify and to correct perceptions of deity. Many are confused by their own leaders who are misinformed, or who believe that if we don’t ascribe to the Trinity in the very same way–that is, if we proclaim, as we do that Jesus and the Father and the Holy Ghost are separate Beings in the Godhead–that we are not Christians. Elder Holland said it well, “We are not creedal Christians.” We don’t vote on what is doctrine. Joseph saw whom he saw and testified unto death of his vision of the Lord and the Father as distinct. That was knowledge to him, too. He was raised with a different theology, but was taught experientially, the truth, and died a martyr to that knowledge. God bless you as you find strength to speak out for the truth. Remember, too, that honest seekers will see through the lies in many cases. I came into the Church after reading anti-information that I found in a Baptist Church. The negative assertions were superfluous and what they reported to be the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ, I knew to be true from my own personal study of the Bible. Thanks for your dedication. The temple can be and is a fabulous refuge from the storm, but again, we go out into the heat, and see the temperatures sometimes rising. This, too, will purify us as a people, if we respond aright. God bless you in your journey.

  3. While I don’t appreciate how hard other churches sometimes work to make it seem like members of the LDS church are not Christian, I do appreciate and can learn from those of other faiths who set a good example of being vocal in their love for and dependence on Jesus Christ. When done reverently, their declarations of Christ are a good reminder to me of how much I need His enabling grace every day.

  4. More and more I am convinced that the argument over whether or not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) are Christian or not, is primarily a question of semantics more than anything else. Let’s consider for a moment the growing popularity of non-denominational Christianity. The term “non-denominational” has a negative connotation and is rarely used anymore when members of these congregations are asked about their faith. Instead, they simply say I am Christian or I go to a Christian church. In this context, it is easy to understand why they may be confused or even offended when an LDS person states, I am Christian or I go to a Christian church, since their core beliefs can differ greatly. In this light, an LDS person might do better to say, “I worship Jesus Christ as well, but I do so with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” This way, both people retain their individual and unique identities without getting hung up over wording.
    The above explanation would resolve 90% of the confusion around this topic, but then there are also those that understand this topic well and are simply being antagonistic or wish to teach the other a lesson about Christ, meaning that the Jesus they believe in is not the same as the one represented by the other. For these people I would say, they’re absolutely right. There are many differences between the Jesus worshiped by LDS people and the one understood by the rest of Christianity. One of which was described in the article above, about how Jesus is addressed and his role identified through prayer. Another example has to do with disembodied and omnipresent role of Jesus within the Holy Trinity. This concept is very confusing to an LDS person.
    While there are some core doctrinal differences, members of the LDS faith study and worship the same Jesus spoken of in the New Testament. His importance to them cannot be overstated and they recognize him as the only way to receive salvation and eternal life. He is at the center of all of their worship, whether it be in their meeting houses or within their temples. They have a deep love for him that is deepened as they strive to live according to his word and follow his example.

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