Do Mormons Worship Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, Or Both?

1348
A man bows to Christ

This seems like one of those Mormonism 101 questions we all should know the answer to well before baptism, but it turns out it’s a much more complicated question than it may seem. Of course, we Mormons worship God the Father, but do Mormons actually worship God the Son as well? I’ve been doing some research on it, and it seems that even some senior leaders in the Church haven’t always agreed on an answer. Here’s what I’ve found:

According to Bruce R. McConkie

View this post on Instagram

“To be sure, there may be times when you feel as though the heavens are closed. But I promise that as you continue to be obedient, expressing gratitude for every blessing the Lord gives you, and as you patiently honor the Lord’s timetable, you will be given the knowledge and understanding you seek. Every blessing the Lord has for you–even miracles–will follow. That is what personal revelation will do for you.” – Russell M. Nelson __________________ Everyday we need to wake up and think about the things we are grateful for. No matter what we are going through no matter the tough road ahead or how heavy your burden is, there is always something to be grateful for. We can not feel the love and blessings our Father in Heaven has to offer unless we show our deepest gratitude for what we have in our lives. Wake up, drop to your knees, and give thanks. You will find true hope during the darkest of trials. Nothing is impossible with the help of our savior. There is always hope.

A post shared by LDS Daily Trials (@lds_dailytrials) on

In a 1982 BYU devotional called Our Relationship with the Lord, Elder McConkie states very bluntly that “We do not worship the Son, and we do not worship the Holy Ghost. I know perfectly well what the scriptures say about worshipping Christ and Jehovah, but they are speaking in an entirely different sense—the sense of standing in awe and being reverentially grateful to him who has redeemed us. Worship in the true and saving sense is reserved for God the first, the Creator.”

Elder McConkie uses Doctrine and Covenants 20:17-19 to back up his statement (with emphasis on the last verse):

By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them;

And that he created man, male and female, after his own image and in his own likeness, created he them;

And gave unto them commandments that they should love and serve him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom they should worship.

Well, that answers that, right? Well … keep reading.

Also according to Bruce R. McConkie

Ironically, Elder McConkie wrote the text for Hymn 134, I Believe in Christ. The first half of verse three reads as follows (and shout-out to Flunking Sainthood for making this connection):

I believe in Christ—my Lord, my God!
My feet he plants on gospel sod.
I’ll worship him with all my might;
He is the source of truth and light.
OK, now I’m just confused. You’re not doing us any favors here, Elder McConkie. Do we worship Christ or not?

According to LDS Topics

View this post on Instagram

All, from all nations, are Children of God. Romans 8: 16 – The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God Among the greatest treasures of knowledge that we have been given is this: we are all the children of God. This truth carries with it great blessings. It should guide us in how we treat those around us and in how we view ourselves. Each of God’s children are of great worth with immeasurable potential. In this painting we see children from many different cultures and backgrounds. They stand with Christ, bearing witness with him that they are children of God. All of the kids look directly at the viewer confident in the joy they feel in the presence of their Savior. When we strive to see others as God would see us, our hearts are softened, our minds are opened and the Spirit comes to dwell with us, bringing peace and joy. -Howard Lyon #lds #mormon #childrens #iamachildofgod #love #joy #art #nations #photo #paint

A post shared by Latter Day Saints In The World (@ldsintheworld) on

The topic “Worship” on LDS.org makes it very clear that we are to worship God the Father. It does not explicitly state whether or not to worship Jesus Christ. One excerpt reads:

“As we reverently partake of the sacrament and attend the temple, we remember and worship our Heavenly Father and express our gratitude for His Son, Jesus Christ.”

One might extrapolate from this reference that we should worship God the Father and only express gratitude for Christ. BUT, Mormon Newsroom has more to add …

According to Mormon Newsroom

A Mormon Newsroom article titled What Mormons Believe About Jesus Christ makes it very clear that we do indeed worship Jesus Christ (emphasis added):

“We acknowledge Jesus Christ as the source of truth and redemption, as the light and life of the world, as the way to the Father (John 14:6; 2 Nephi 25:29; 3 Nephi 11:11). We worship Him in that we look to Him for deliverance and redemption and seek to emulate His matchless life” (D&C 93:12–20).

Additionally, back in 2007 they made a video with Elder M. Russell Ballard that places Christ at the center of our Sunday worship:

According to Elder Ronald A. Rasband

View this post on Instagram

Yoh guys its 2018 already… I lost most of my photos for 100 Happy Days but I managed to find my diary with my notes on it… So hopefully I can find the photos saved on a cloud or somewhere and finish it lol #100HappyDays #Day87 #May26th Elder Rasband visited us and brought a message for us.What stood out for me was he said that he was born with BELIEVING BLOOD, something so spritually integrated into your personal DNA. You might not think it is, but your testimony is extremely important for you and the people around you. I might not be the perfect Mormon but I'm trying -and that's all we need to do is try to be like Jesus. #ElderRasband #ElderRasbandVisitsSA #BedfordviewStake #IAmMormon #LDS #26May #FocusFriday

A post shared by Shellayne Samuel (@shelly_rsa) on

Back during the Church’s 2013 Christmas Devotional, Elder Rasband (then a member of the Quorum of the Seventy) said,

“The shepherds reverently approached the stable to worship the King of kings. How will we worship Him this season? Endlessly shopping? Hustling about and adorning our homes? Will that be our tribute to our Savior? Or will we bring peace to troubled hearts, good will to those in need of higher purpose, glory to God in our willingness to do His bidding? Jesus put it simply: ‘Come, [and] follow me.'”

According to President Gordon B. Hinckley

This is what President Hinckley said back in 2002 at a missionary devotional (which was later published in a 2007 Ensign):

“We love Him. We honor Him. We thank Him. We worship Him. He has done for each of us and for all mankind that which none other could have done. God be thanked for the gift of His Beloved Son—our Savior, the Redeemer of the world, the Lamb without blemish who was offered as a sacrifice for all mankind.”

According to the scriptures

View this post on Instagram

Working on keeping up some daily habits: -Work out -Water my potted plants -Start a load of laundry (the folding part is still up in the air) -Read the Book of Mormon daily with my family AND on my own. 📖 “My dear brothers and sisters, I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions—every day.” -Russell M. Nelson, “The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like Without It?”, Oct 2017 📖 My 30 year old scriptures have seen some love. Keep thinking about updating to a new set, but I just can’t bring myself to do it — they don’t make the blue leather scriptures anymore! #thebookofmormon #lds #sharegoodness #sseverydaybrowns #dailyhabits #readthescriptures

A post shared by Shannon Brown (@shansummer) on

2 Nephi 25:29

And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.

3 Nephi 17:10

And they did all, both they who had been healed and they who were whole, bow down at his feet, and did worship him; and as many as could come for the multitude did kiss his feet, insomuch that they did bathe his feet with their tears.

But what about …

Luke 4:8

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

And …

Moses 4:2

But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.

Christ didn’t ask for any glory … does that mean we should only worship God the Father? Maybe “glory” is different than “worship,” though. Questions questions questions!

According to me (for what it’s worth)

Do Mormons worship Jesus Christ in addition to Heavenly Father? I guess it depends on your definition and usage of the word “worship.” The all-knowing internet defines “worship” as, “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.” If that’s the definition we’re running with, then without question the answer to our original question is a resounding “YES! We do worship Jesus Christ.”

BUT, here’s what we need to be careful with: We should not worship Jesus Christ as if He were God the Father. Maybe that was what Elder McConkie was trying to get at. Yes, they are both deity, they share the same purpose, they’re part of the same Godhead. Heck, Christ made it very clear that “he that hath seen me, hath seen the father,” and that “if ye had known me, ye should have known the father also.” In this sense, it might be impossible to worship one without worshiping the other, but still, they are two different beings. They have the same ultimate goal but fill different roles to achieve that goal.

We worship Christ for His role as our Savior and Redeemer. We do not worship Christ through prayer, but rather through an ongoing effort to embody His teachings and to follow His example. We revere, honor, and express our gratitude to Him through the Sacrament (which sounds a lot like worship to me). But above all else, we worship God the Father for His divine plan and His role as our Eternal Father. As Christ himself taught, our prayers, the epitome of worship, will always be directed to the Father.

According to YOU

Have anything to add to our analysis? Let us know in the comments!

David Snell is a proud member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He's the Founder of The Sunday Pews, and has experience writing for Mormon Newsroom Pacific, KBYU11, Classical 89 Radio, FamilyShare.com and plenty more. He tries not to take himself too seriously and just wants to brighten your day a bit.