What adjective would be suitable here to describe this particular difference between two doctrinal stances?

... Well, as the matter of fact, neither "Mormons" nor "Jehovah's witnesses" are Christians even though both of them claim that they are following Jesus Christ's footsteps. The reason is simple: both of these two groups refuse (and teach that it is wrong) to pray directly to Jesus Christ by calling on His name. They only pray to the heavenly Father and add in the end of their prayers "In the name of Your Son Jesus Christ we pray", which is a far cry from praying to Jesus Christ directly. Read the book of Acts, chapter nine - early Christians were being martyred for their practice of calling on the name "Jesus", which is praying directly to Him. Having said that, however, I still want to note that Mormons believe that many people who are not members of their group will still be saved in the eternity future, albeit in the "lower kingdom", while Jehovah's witnesses believe that only the members of their group will be saved and all others will go into eternal perdition. So, as you can see, Mormon's belief is less ______

Also, what adjective would be suitable if the last sentence in the quote went this way:

So, as you can see, Mormon's belief is more ______

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    Vote to close. Why should we contribute to doctrinal strife? The passage as quoted makes any number of statements that are in fact opinions of only one group. No one gets to decide whether any cult is "Christian"; "Christian" is not an official term outside a particular cult and its definition. Dec 20, 2011 at 2:01
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    @John Lawler - Did you read the whole quote or just the first sentence? My point in this question is not at all about who is a Christian and who is not. I am not asking to give me a definition of a Christian here at all! My question is about a write English word that would describe the difference in doctrines of two different religious groups, regardless of whether they are considered by someone as Christians or not. No one is asking you here to "contribute to doctrinal strife". Just re-read my question (or at least its title) one more time.
    – brilliant
    Dec 20, 2011 at 6:24
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    I presume from your attitute that you would call yourself a "Christian". Would everyone? Would you feel irritated if a Mormon said that the cult you belong to is "not Christian"? If one states categorically -- as the matter of fact -- that people who call themselves "Christian" are not in fact "Christian", then one is ipso facto indulging in doctrinal strife. Dec 20, 2011 at 15:40
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    @John Lawler - "I presume from your attitude that you would call yourself a Christian" - Where did you get enough basis to presume something about my religion here? Merely on the basis of the quote that I used in a question about language? Did it occur to you that the quote does not belong to me? Or you want to say that here on the site about language we should be careful not to use quotes that would offend someone's religious views? Don't you think it's already too much? No, I wouldn't feel irritated if someone used a quote stating something bad about my faith, because that's just a quote.
    – brilliant
    Dec 20, 2011 at 22:38
  • Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe they're the only ones who will be saved.
    – 4castle
    Feb 5, 2018 at 19:20

5 Answers 5


The Mormon belief that non-Mormons can be saved I would call more liberal than that of the Jehovah's Witnesses. This is because the Mormon belief gives people more freedom to choose how to be saved, in other word they have more liberty.

You could call the Mormon belief less intolerant than the JW belief, because they tolerate other forms of worship, whereas JW see theirs as the one true way, as it were.

An equally good way of describing the JW belief is more proscriptive than that of the Mormons, since the JW force you to be a certain way if you want to be saved.


You can say it is less extreme and more moderate.

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    All right, waiting.
    – brilliant
    Dec 20, 2011 at 1:53
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    I have followed on your suggestion to wait and I think I have got now a very good choice of words from Matt: "intolerant" and "liberal". Your answer is also good, except I am afraid the word "extreme" has got a lot of negative connotation recently due to physical extremism being practiced now almost globally, while my question is only about doctrines rather than about fighting for the doctrines. So I think I will choose Mitt's answer as the best one, but anyway thanks a lot for your answer, too.
    – brilliant
    Dec 20, 2011 at 10:51

The usual religious vocabulary for these concepts is


for not conforming and


for conforming.

So the sentences should be

A Mormon's belief is less heterodox.

A Mormon's belief is more orthodox.

The first sentence sounds best. The second sentence has the unrealistic connotation that Mormonism is not only closer to orthodox but also somehow close to orthodox, which is certainly not the implication of the passage. That is, 'orthodox' is an absolute, and 'heterodox' starts from barely not orthodox.

  • (1) Well, thank you very much for your answer, but I am afraid the adjectives "heterodox" and "orthodox" do not accurately describe the mentioned difference here. The difference between those two religious teachings is in how many people they consider to have a possibility to be saved. Obviously, the second teachings' circle of such candidates is smaller than the first one's. So, I don't know, perhaps, "more strict" and "less strict" or "more inclusive" and "less inclusive" would fit the bill here.
    – brilliant
    Dec 20, 2011 at 6:44
  • (2) I just checked the meanings of the words "orthodox" and "heterodox" and have learned that their main meanings are roughly speaking "correct" and "incorrect" or "conventional" and "unconventional". If so, then these adjectives are all the more not-suitable here as it is obvious from the first part of the quote that the speaker considers both teachings to be equally unorthodox.
    – brilliant
    Dec 20, 2011 at 6:50
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    I see now. I was following the direction of the paragraph up until the very last sentence "Having said that...". For most of the paragraph it is talking about how closely (or not) the two adhere to the speaker's Christian practice; in the last sentence it switches to 'how many' get saved, and it is only here that a difference in doctrinal stance is expressed.
    – Mitch
    Dec 20, 2011 at 14:20
  • Yes, I agree that from the quote it's not that clear that the comparison is made between Mormons' doctrine and JW's doctrine, rather than between either one of them and the orthodox Christian doctrine. Perhaps, it would be clearer if the quote ended with "So, as you can see, Mormon's belief is less ______ than Jehovah's witnesses' believe"
    – brilliant
    Dec 20, 2011 at 14:35

"So the Mormon belief is {less exclusionary / more {mainstream / inclusive}}".


So, as you can see, in this particular context, Mormon's belief is less exclusionary


So, as you can see, in this particular context, Mormon's belief is more inclusionary

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