Are Mormons Christians?
In the past nineteen plus years I’ve been in ministry I couldn’t tell you the number of times I’ve been presented with this question. And now with this unique presidential election coming upon us I find it happens more often than not in the e-mails we receive here at the ministry.
During the thirty years I was LDS I truly believed I was a Christian. It wasn’t until after I received Jesus into my heart as my God and Savior that I realized how wrong I was. As a Mormon I believed I was a Christian because I was Mormon and was taught to believe we worshipped Jesus.
What I didn’t realize during that time is the Jesus of my beloved heritage didn’t even closely resemble the Jesus of the Bible. Now the reason I’ve brought this up at this time is because of an opinion piece I read in the Silicon Valley Mercury News a week or so ago.
A gentleman by the name of Robert Rees stated the following;
“In a lecture I gave at Graduate Theological Union last December titled, “Are Mormons Christian?” I stated, “No other word (“Christian”) so accurately defines Mormons.”
He then quoted a couple of Mormon scriptures from the Book of Mormon found in 2 Nephi 25:23, 26 so here it is for your perusal;
“For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. 26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”
He also said Mormons find it “ironic” they believe in “core Christian beliefs and listed a few items he obviously thought were similar in belief pattern to the body of Christ. We’re going to take a look at those items here.
Now there are two things Mormons have in common with Christians on these topics. They believe Jesus died on the cross and they believe Jesus was resurrected three days after He died.
Notice dear friends how I phrased my sentence about Jesus’ death. He died on the cross. I did not say that Mormons believe He paid for the price of our sins on the cross, but simply that He died on the cross. Keep that in mind and we’ll come back to it in a minute.
Mormons do not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus although they say they do and it’s in their vocabulary much of the time. They believe that Mary was a virgin when the angel Gabriel visited her, but that’s where the paths of Christians and Mormons go their separate ways.
Mormon Doctrine of Deity, pg. 264; “When the time came that his first-born, the Savior, should come into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father came himself and favored that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it. The Savior was begotten by the Father of his spirit, by the same Being who is the Father of our spirits, and that is all the organic difference between Jesus Christ and you and me.”
Journal of Discourses 8:115-116; “While brother Joseph was referring to the providences of God, I was led to reflect that there is no act, no principle, no power belonging to the Deity that is not purely philosophical. The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood—was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers.” – Brigham Young, Salt Lake City, July 8, 1860
So we see here that it wasn’t just their apostle Bruce McConkie or their prophet Brigham Young who taught on these things, but Joseph Smith as well. Now when you come across the phrase “after the manner of the flesh” you’ll understand they use it to mean Jesus’ conception was a very literal process. He was/is the very literal son of God just as you are the literal child of your own father here on earth.
The Bible alludes to no such theory and even if you “read between the lines” it wouldn’t.
Luke 1:37-38; “For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”
Now for the atonement. You’ll notice in Mormon writings how they use this word “atonement” almost exclusively when referring to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. However, LDS theology doesn’t necessarily always ascribe to the biblical account of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.
The LDS Church, beginning with Joseph Smith, has always taught that Jesus paid the price for most of man’s sins in the Garden of Gethsemane. They do not believe He paid for all of our sins and as I just mentioned they don’t believe He paid for sins on the cross at Calvary. Strangely enough though some of their writings do say he died for all sins on the cross. This isn’t an accident my friend. This is done on purpose to confuse the masses and keep them in a state of self-loathing thinking they’re the ones that are confused, not the Church. Here is an excerpt from an article I wrote several years ago describing these contradictions.
Christ’s crucifixion was for all of man’s sins. 3 Nephi 11:11; D&C 21:9; D&C 35:2
Mormons do not believe this. They believe you cannot be saved if you’re a murderer;
D&C42:79; “And it shall come to pass, that if any persons among you shall kill they shall be delivered up and dealt with according to the laws of the land; for remember that he hath no forgiveness; and it shall be proved according to the laws of the land.”
an apostate of the church;
D&C85:11; “And they who are of the High Priesthood, whose names are not found written in the book of the law, or that are found to have apostatized, or to have been cut off from the church, as well as the lesser priesthood, or the members, in that day shall not find an in heritance among the saints of the Most High.”
or if you’ve blasphemed the Holy Ghost;
D&C132:27; “The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall not be forgiven in the world nor out of the world, is in that ye commit murder wherein ye shed innocent blood, and assent unto my death after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant, saith the Lord God; and he that abideth not this law can in nowise enter into my glory, but shall be damned, saith the Lord.”
These “rules” they have set up are both contradictory to both their own statements and to what the Bible says about forgiveness. If a murderer is not forgiven, then what about King David, the apostle Paul or the myriads of others in the Bible that killed and found forgiveness? The only thing the Bible says about non-forgiveness is the subject of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
Mark 3:29; “But he that blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.”
Jesus was slain for our sins. 3 Nephi 11:14
In the Mormon pamphlet What the Mormons Think of Christ, pg.22 it says; “Christians speak often of the blood of Christ and its cleansing power. Much that is believed and taught on this subject, however, is such utter nonsense and so palpably false that to believe it is to lose one’s salvation. For instance, many believe or pretend to believe that if we confess Christ with our lips and avow that we accept him as our personal savior, we are thereby saved. They say that his blood without any other act than mere belief makes us clean.
What is the true doctrine of the blood of Christ? Salvation comes because of the atonement, and the atonement was wrought through the shedding of the blood of Christ. In Gethsemane Christ sweat great drops of blood from every power when he conditionally took upon himself the sins of the world, and then the shedding of his blood was complete upon the cross.”
As you can see, Mormons believe the sacrifice was made not on the cross, but in the Garden of Gethsemane. And it was conditional.
Now if those aren’t enough examples let’s go back to the two verses this gentleman used in defense of being a Christian.
2 Nephi 25:23, 26; “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. 26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”
Think about it. If Jesus’ sacrifice is only good after all we can do then why did he die? Why not just keep working until you get it right? After all, you can do more works after you’re dead can’t you? If you’re mentally aware enough to receive a gospel message then why not work?
The other “small” problem and difference between Mormonism and Christianity is the view of man’s sin nature. Mormons don’t believe men are inherently evil and Christians do. And did I mention this Nephi from the Book of Mormon supposedly lived in 545 BC? So why is he talking about Christ in 545 BC and using Greek words if Greek wasn’t a language for another couple hundred years?
After just a few examples we’ve presented here I’m certain it’s easy to see why Mormonism is not Christian. This isn’t to say that we’re out to bash the Mormon people; on the contrary our hearts go out to them! We pray for the Mormons everyday here at Life After and hope to see their acceptance of the real Jesus into their hearts and lives.
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor. 1:18