May 17, 2007

Are Mormons Christian?

As promised, more on this topic. First, a word to my LDS friends. I gladly invite civil discussion on this topic. I think you see where I stand and by stating this I mean to distinguish Mormon theology from Christian theology. While we may say some things in agreement with each other there are foundational differences in our understanding of God and how we relate to Him. I welcome your comments.

The starting point in any theological discussion is "What do I believe about God?" Fisher Humphries (a Christian theologian) states, "The most important thing about a person is what they think about God." My Christian/Biblical/Protestant/Baptist theology informs me that "There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe." This tells me that there is ONE God who is eternal (always has been and always will be) and who created all things and sustains all things. Is this any different than the Mormon view of God? Yes.

Here are Joseph Smith's (founder of the Mormon religion) words about God.

"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! . . . I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute this idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see. . . It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did; and I will show it from the Bible . . . Here, then, is eternal life-to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power.1 The Father has a body of flesh and bone as tangible as man's. . . . 2"

1 Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 7 vols., introduction and notes, B.H. Roberts, 2d rev. ed. (Salt Lake City: The Deseret Book Company, 1978), 6:305-6.

2 Doctrine and Covenants, 130:22.

I do not think I am being uncharitable when I say that the Mormon understanding of God and the Christian understanding of God are not in agreement. The Christian church throughout its tainted and stormy history has unequivocally stated there is one eternal God who is the almighty maker of heaven and earth. God is not an exalted man as Mormons teach. God was not once a man like we are.

"For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels - everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment." Colossians 1:16-17 (The Message)


Panda said...

I agree with you 100%, John.

Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father. But, as somebody once said: There's only one way to God and that is Jesus. But there are more ways to come to Jesus...

I think that many honest people are misguided, but if they are sincere in their quest, God will show them the Way, the Truth and the Life!

kevin said...

Another great place for articles is the Institute for Religous Research: