Are Mormons Christians?

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by dbanks82, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. dbanks82

    dbanks82 Established Member

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    Now this is something that has been a hot topic. Especially while Mitt Romney was actively campaigning for president. His religion was something that was successfully used against him. I find this a very disturbing reality about how "open minded" us Americans are. So I wish to discuss the issue of if Mormons are Christians.

    To begin with the answer every mormon would tell you is yes. We believe in Jesus Christ. We believe he is our Savior and Redeemer. So according to any dictionary definition mormons are christian.

    With this being said one may ask why do I hear that you are not Christian? The source of the criticism usually comes from Christian ministries that attempt to create their own definition of what Christianity is to exclude mormons and several other christian faiths.

    The most commonly cited reason to exclude mormons from Christianity is mormons concept of the trinity. We believe in God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost. We also believe that these three are one. Where we differ is the fact that we don't believe they are one in essence and substance. We believe that the they are perfectly united but are distinct from each other. I think it interesting to note where the "orthodox" version of the trinity came about. It came to pass during the nicene creed in 325 AD. It was basically a large group of religous leaders getting together and debating points of doctrine and voting. That is where the concept of the trinity began. Though no one knows what the voting margin was at this council we know it wasn't unanimous because certain bishops were removed from office because they refused to support this doctrine. I in no way man to demean those who believe in the Nicene Creed. All I want to do is point out that this council to mormons is a very inaccurate way of defining who fit the categories of Christian or not. Because if such a doctrine was so crucial I seem to think it would be explicitly stated in the bible.

    I would appreciate any comments on this issue and any other questions about mormons that any of you have.
     
  2. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    My grandfather was Mormon for a long, long time (until toward the end, when he became a combination of unaffiliated Christian and indigenous/Native American belief). I went to the Mormon church sometimes as a kid with him or friends. It wasn't my cup of tea, but it was interesting. I went enough to comprehend some of the significant differences between Mormonism and many other Christian denominations (i.e., Lutheran, Episcopalian, etc.) and also to see some similarities.

    I guess for me it's a bit of non-question. What I mean is that I've been frequently told I'm not a Christian, though I do follow Christ's teachings and have a personal relationship with Christ and believe Christ is my savior. However, much about the rest of my belief system is outside the norm of mainstream Christianity, so some Christians don't believe I'm similar enough to them to share the title. Conversely, other Christians have told me I'm very Christian. All in all, it's just a title. Socially, we are what we claim to be intersected with how others define us. I've found it hurtful at times, but after a while I was not so sure I cared anymore. If other people would like to say I am not Christian (generally to make themselves feel more secure and more right), well, that is their psychological need at the moment and there isn't much I can do about it. Furthermore, it's a bit of a waste of my time to try to convince them otherwise. A person open to education about my beliefs and my own sense of identity will generally not label me, and a person who labels and feels it necessary to define the world as "us vs. them" religiously is generally not ready or willing to receive any information that would challenge their views.

    So... I think my answer would be that it doesn't matter if *I* think Mormons are Christians. To make such a distinction would require my own definitions of both Mormonism and Christianity, and the false assumption that all Mormons and Christians (respectively) are equally integrated within each category and are alike. My experience of both Mormonism and Christianity has shown me that this is not the case, and so it's a bit of a non-issue for me. I have met Mormons who follow Christ's teachings. I have met Mormons who don't. I have met Christians who follow Christ's teachings and I have met Christians that don't. As I'm a person that's much more about faith as an experience and ongoing action, and not much about belief or perception, the doctrinal differences between the two aren't nearly as relevant to me as the differences in how individuals show the love and light of Christ through their behavior. In that regard, it matters little to me if a person is atheist. If their behavior is consistently growing toward being more Christ-like, then there is something at work there... and that work and flowering of the peace and love of Christ in their lives is far, far more important than their sense of identity (as we'll all lose that one day anyway) or what others think about them.

    Peace,
    Kim/Path
     
  3. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant Well-Known Member

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    I know that there are many definitions of what a Christian is depending on who you talk to.. the definition of a Christian is one who follows Jesus Christ.

    Personally I consider myself a biblical Christian meaning I following who Jesus Christ is in the bible with no outside interpretation or influence..

    For me that is
    • Jesus has been from the beginning the Word who spoke creation into existance.....
    • He is the only begotten Son of God...
    • He is 1/3 of the trinity..
    • He was born into this world of a virgin, lived as a man yet He was also fully God
    • He was the lamb of God a living sacrifice who died on the cross for the sins of the world ...
    • He died and rose from the dead and will return to rule His kingdom in righteousness.
    That to me is what a Christian is. The Mormon doctrine does not follow these so I would conclude that they are not Christian. From my understanding they believe that Jesus and satan are brothers this is not biblical. Mormons also teach that the highest achievement would be to be gods of their own worlds which is also not biblical.

    From my experience many claim to follow Jesus and claim Christianity yet the bible tells me that many would do so and to be wary of such as these that do not follow biblical teachings.

    That does not mean that I cannot love them and I have mormon friends that I work with. They are wonderful people and we share the same moral values which is a good basis to build a friendship on. I have found personally that they are very works oriented and do not hold to the concept that we are saved by grace and not our works. So my prayers are with them.

    Anyways.. you asked and I answered.
    I know that you dbanks would have some fine contributions to this forum so I hope you stick around.
     
  4. dbanks82

    dbanks82 Established Member

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    I appreciate your posting. I really appreciate your postive non contenious attitude. I would point out however that some of those things on your list mormons also believe. So there are some similarities, but yes there are differences. We believe in the bible. We believe it to be the word of god. What we don't agree with is your interpretation of the bible. So I feel it is a false statement for you to claim mormons don't follow the bible. What we don't follow is your interpretation of the bible. And I know many people get caught up in very heated discussions trying to convince one of how one should interpret the bible. I have found it best to avoid these type of situations. Just as a side not our beliefs on Satan being the brother of Jesus, Becoming Gods, and our belief of the relationship between grace and works are very commonly misunderstood. If you are relying on your pastor or some anti-mormon book you have read it is safe to say you don't have an accurate understanding. If you would like me to explain these to you so you could gain a proper understanding just write me on my profile and let me know. I probably will start a thread here in the next few days contrasting the mormon view with orthodox view on grace and works. I am just really busy this week with finals. Anyway I look forward to more correspondence with you.
     
  5. Dream

    Dream Well-Known Member

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    Holy Crockers Dbanks, I thought you were 82. Good luck on your finals.
     
  6. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    There are so many that are in decidely Christian churches that don't act Christian, and then denominations filled with Christ's followers that have been decided to be not Christian.

    It is hard for anyone to relinquish their boxes that they've put themselves and others in. The boxes define and differentiate and have various pedestals based on perspective. If we can all choose to lower the walls and look each other in the eyes rather than down our collective noses the world could change.

    Of course that goes beyond the sects of Christianity as well...

    Looking forward to more after the finals...
     
  7. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Is Jesus the Son of God?

    Is Jesus God?

    Did he come to save us?

    Most important, do you accept Jesus' gift of salvation?

    If so, you are Christian.

    Now, what do you do with it? :eek:
     
  8. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Yep, I kind of thought that would have covered the LDS, too. :)
     
  9. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    my point...:D
     
  10. Dor

    Dor Bible Thumper

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    I am not sure you would appreciate many comments from me about Mormans but we can start with a few questions for you.


    1. Do you believe the 3 books Book of Morman, D&C, PGP?
    2. Who is God and where is he from?
    3. Who is Jesus and where did he come from?
    4. What is celestial heaven and what happens there?
    5. How many God's are there?
    Ok I will await your reply.:)
     
  11. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Namaste Dor,

    It would be interesting to see your replies to your questions as well.
     
  12. Dor

    Dor Bible Thumper

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    OK nothing to hide from me.

    1. NO
    2. God is God and he did not come from anywhere and has been there forever.
    3. Jesus is God and the creator/savior of the world.
    4. There is no celestial heaven.
    5. There is one God for all existence and all eternity. There are some other things people might try to call gods but they are not God.
     
  13. Dream

    Dream Well-Known Member

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    Trinity is not the main difference between Christians and Mormons. Its not really the main objection Christians have, either. The primary objection is Joseph Smith and his follower prophets. They are considered apostate among non Mormon Christians, so their teachings are dismissed on that basis. Most Christians generally don't believe in continual revelation like Mormons, and you have to leap over this objection to even begin discussing trinity.
     
  14. Dor

    Dor Bible Thumper

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    Most Christians do not believe God started out as a man on a different planet either.
     
  15. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    I wonder whom we are to be judge? Something we do have a tendancy to put trust and stock in that being our place and also being accurate and just... Are they christians? Yes... No and maybe... For a more detailed answer we have to look at 2 things: an individual not a group.... It is ALWAYS about the individual, to gain grace and favour from some almighty being... That would be no "team effort" on that one, you're on your own... Sure others can be there to offer advice guidance and so on... But it is still all down to that individual... And the 2nd... I still think that is someone's call who is just a "lil" above our station... And I'd wager he don't "do" groups, divisions... sides.... Teams..... The only way is one... - Creed.
     
  16. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant Well-Known Member

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    that is why I call myself a non-denominational Christian because I prefer to distinguish myself as not a part of a denomination but as a part of the body of Christ.
     
  17. TheKhan

    TheKhan All Natural

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    I totally agree, whats the point of believing in one God if you are part of a movement that spends a lot of time dividing and putting up walls. One is always stronger, fyi.

    I`ve spotted young Mormons in the weirdest place in remote areas. And when I was around them for work, I sensed something of the sort that they had some sort of global vision. A global goal.

    Can anyone tell me what that is, if they have such visions for the world?

    From the outside, anyone who practices religion with God, starting with a capital "G" is considered a Christian anyways.
     
  18. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Your picture looks alot like Hurricane ridge in the Olympics.

    Welcome to Interfaith.

    v/r

    Q
     
  19. dbanks82

    dbanks82 Established Member

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    Sorry everyone I have been away so long. I went home to my parents house for Christmas and New Years.

    Most mormons don't believe this either. It is obvious from your posting that you rely on anti mormon sources for your information. Just a quick thought if you wanted to learn about the United States would you speak with Osama Bin Laden or would you travel to America and talk with ordinary Americans. So it is with understanding religions. It is always best to learn from members of that religion not its critics. If I wanted to learn about conservative christianity would you like me to go to islamic or atheists that have an objective of disproving Christianity in general.

    I will give you this explanation on this specific doctrine. There was a statement made by Lorenzo Snow that read as man is god once was as god is man may become. Yes this man was the leader of the lds church. Does this mean he is not entitled to his own opinions without creating binding doctrine for the people he leads. That is what this statement is, an opinion. In my reading of anti mormon books about 95 percent of their "information on lds doctrine is gleaned from sources that aren't official doctrine. The most common things they quote from are Journal of Discourses, Mormon doctrine, and Doctrines of Salvations. We believe that the authors of these works were men of sound understanding and these works would be beneficial to read, but they are not however binding doctrine. Our official sources of doctrine are the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great price. You will notice that this statement by Lorenzo Snow was not added to the Doctrine and Covenants. I for one am a very devout mormon and I don't believe that god was once a man.

    Even if I did I don't see how a belief in such a doctrine would classify one as not Christian.
     
  20. dbanks82

    dbanks82 Established Member

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    True this is also a difference. And a big one I will agree it is right up there with the trinity. Where this thread is not aimed to discuss whether Joseph Smith was a prophet or not. Yes it is an untraditional belief but I don't see how it in anyway makes lds church members unchristian. Its ones faith in christ that makes one christian or not. And also I believe we need to leave the judging to Jesus Christ and not fall into the trap of judging or excluding others because of differences we may have.
     

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