It is in the area of the doctrine of God where the greatest and most important differences prevail between Mormonism and Evangelical Christianity.
While Christians believe that God The Father is a Spiritual Being that transcends our universe and has universal presence. Mormons teach that God the Father has a more physical presence. A ‘spiritual body’ similar to what Jesus received at the resurrection. A presence that can be seen and even touched. Bruce McConkie (1915-85) Former Mormon Apostle and General Authority states it this way:
God the Father is a glorified and perfected Man. A Personage of flesh and bones (D.& C. 130:22), in which tangible body an eternal spirit is housed. It is in this sense that God is a Spirit.” (Mormon Doctrine, pg 318-19)
Evangelical Christians believe what Jesus taught in John 4:21-24, that God the Father is a Spirit that is not limited to any particular location.
Mormons counter that the passage was not ‘translated’ correctly and changes were probably made to the text (See: **Note below). Some LDS point to Joseph Smith’s own ‘translation’ of the Bible (though not an official LDS church book) which reads substantially different (See: Inspired Version, John 4:25-26). Comparison of parallel verse:
KJV- John 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
IV- John 4:26: “For unto such hath God promised his Spirit. And they who worship him, must worship in spirit and in truth.”
However, a study of Smith’s work clearly shows that he did no real ‘translating’ but merely made changes in his copy of the King James Version, crossing out words that he disagreed with, and adding new words and passages that agree with his own teaching and understanding. To be fair, Mormons believe that he was ‘inspired’ by God to make the changes. Hence the name, ‘Inspired Version.’
**Note: Christians can be sure that their current Bibles are ‘translated’ correctly and not changed over the years when it comes to John 4:24. It was quoted numerous times by early Church Fathers: Tatian (120-180), Irenaeus (130-202), Tertullian (155-220), also in Tatian’s Diatessaron (160), and Origen (185-253).
For a good understanding of the Evangelical Christian view, see: Grudem, Systematic Theology pgs 186-190
-“Mormon Doctrine“, by Bruce R. McConkie (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co., 1979, 856 pgs) An important work, but not an official statement of LDS Church doctrine.
-(D. & C.)”Doctrine and Covenants” (Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS) One of the LDS books of scripture.
-“Book of Mormon” (Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS) One of the LDS books of Scripture.
-“Pearl of Great Price” (Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS) One of the LDS books of Scripture.
-“Inspired Version” of the Bible ( Independence, Mo.: Herald House) Printed by the Community of Christ (RLDS Church).
-“Systematic Theology“, by Wayne Grudem (Leicester, Eng.:Zondervan Pub., 1994, 1264 pgs.)