The argument of whether Mormons are Christians is an old one that will probably continue until Jesus returns. My thoughts on it are nothing new nor offer any resolution to the debate. However, it was one of the issues I needed to resolve for myself. And that is what my blog is about…the struggles I had with Mormon doctrine and the things I learned as I began to question them.
As a Mormon, I resented people telling me that I was not a Christian, and I too was critical of those (mostly Protestant) who made the claim that we were not. Who did they think they are? Of course we believe in Jesus…His name is in the name of our church for heaven sake! I made the same assumption that so many Mormon’s make, and that is the definition of a “Christian” is one who believes Jesus Christ.
Is it true that everyone who believes in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon are Mormons? The answer is NO. There are several break-off groups, the most well known is the FLDS (Fundamentalist…Warren Jeffs). Mormons are very quick to tell people that they are NOT the same church as the LDS (even tho they are more aligned with Joseph Smith’s teaching than mainstream LDS). It is a good example that you can have similar beliefs, same scripture and shared origins and not be the same religion.
I don’t know of any credible arguments that Jesus did not exist. All have some belief in Him. Muslims, Jews, even atheist believe that he existed and most credit Him with being a great man and teacher. Some say he was a prophet. But that certainly does not make them Christians. You can’t believe different things, especially something as fundamental as the nature of God and claim you are of the same religion.
Christians believe that Jesus is God. That he is part of a triune God. He is equal with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is not a created being, He is the Alpha & Omega, the beginning and the end. He has always existed and will always exist. He is also the creator of all things. He came to earth by divine means for one purpose and that was to provide salvation for mankind by taking on the sins of all and paying the penalty of death. Christians believe that our hope and salvation is in Him and what He did on our behalf. That is the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ!
The LDS doctrine is much more complex. They too will say he is the Son Of God. Both spiritually and literallly. They belief in ‘Eternal Progression’ which can be difficult to explain in a simple blog entry, but basically it is the progression of man from sinful mortal to Godhood. It also includes the belief of a premortal life, in which all mankind lived as spiritual beings with God the Father, who had ‘fathered’ our spirits along with one of his wives, becoming our ‘heavenly parents’. Jesus was the firstborn of the spiritual children of God the Father, making him our ‘elder brother’. They believe he came to earth by literal conception between God the Father and Mary, that his purpose was to establish the True Church, and to atone for the sins of man, making repentance and forgiveness possible, however man will be punished for his own sins as stated in the 2nd Article of Faith.
LDS people and Christians share many similarities. LDS people are easy to admire with their high standards and devotion to family, church & country. In some ways, they have higher standards than most evangelical Christians do. I know many Mormons who truly love God and strive daily to live their lives in a desire to please Him. However…
“…they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Romans 10:2-4
This verse describes how I see the LDS religion, and is the verse I used to name this blog. Much of what I have learned in my last 12 years of studying the Bible has made it clear to me that what I had been taught in my many years in Mormonism, is not the same as what the Bible teaches and what true Christianity is all about.