Let me first say, I am a Mormon, and quite honestly, I’m a little tired of this question.
I know I shouldn’t be. It is a privilege to proclaim my belief in Jesus Christ over and over again. Plus I have the feeling this question isn’t going away anytime soon. But in my experience, many people who ask this question think they already know the answer.
To me, it is ignorant to say Mormons aren’t Christian. The official Church title is:
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
Easy enough, right?
It seems like the LDS Church is tiring of this question as well because as things heated up in the political scene, and the Church was questioned on this topic — again — they simply referred people to mormon.org and told them to do their own research. (http://newsroom.lds.org/article/church-response-to-not-christian)
On a personal level, I’m the Gospel Doctrine teacher in my congregation (the Sunday School teacher for adults). Recently, we studied the New Testament and the Pauline epistles. It’s fascinating to me because I have been closely following politics at the same time.
In case you didn’t know, Mitt Romney is a Mormon. Because of his religion, there are some Americans who are questioning whether he would be a good President. I take offense to that. If you want to reject a candidate based on their social issues, foreign policy, or their economic plan, fine. But religion? The Constitution seems to reject this as well.
In Article VI, Clause 3 it states that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
Yet people still balk at the notion of a Mormon President, saying it will be the first time we don’t have a Christian President.
As I teach Sunday School each week, and as I study the Book of Acts and the Pauline Epistles, I see huge parallels between what happened to the early Christian Church — specifically with Gentile converts — and what is happening to Mormons today.
The Jews who converted to Christianity were some of the early leaders after Christ’s death. Incidentally, they were also the missionaries sent out to spread the gospel. But as the gospel spread, and as more and more people outside the Jewish beliefs joined Christianity, some of those same leaders suddenly cried, “Outrage! They believe differently than us, therefore they are not Christian!”
For example in Acts 15, the people from Judaea were saying that “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses; ye cannot be saved.” (Sounds kind of like, “Except Mormons (or Mitt Romney) believe in our interpretation of the New Testament, they cannot be saved.) Chapter fifteen goes on to say that they had “no small dissension and disputation with them.”
In consequence, all the apostles and elders met in Jerusalem to settle this matter. Once the decision was reached, Peter then says to the Jews, “God, which knoweth the hearts (of the Gentiles), bear them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us.”
In other words, God is the judge, and he judges them to be Christian. Yet the contention continued. Many Jewish Christians couldn’t stand it and Christianity began to spread more quickly among the Gentiles than with the Jews.
The Epistle to the Hebrews seems to be Paul’s firm warning to the Jewish Christians: You better be careful Hebrews, lest in your zealousness for Christianity, you completely miss the mark. You think you know what salvation is, but I’m telling you, you only know the half of it.
Now…there are obvious differences between Gentiles and Mormons, and Jews and mainstream Christians today. However, the story has many similarities. And rhetoric.
“Hey! They don’t believe exactly like I do. They must not be Christian!”
I guess we never learn, do we?
As a member of the LDS/Mormon Church, how do I define the word Christian?
- A Christian is someone who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Savior of the world
- A Christian is someone who believes He is our Redeemer and the only way by which we can return to our Father
Since I believe all these things strongly — as do my fellow Mormons — I state that we are resoundingly Christian.
(I have to add an amendment in here. For those not of our faith who are defending our Christian beliefs either privately or publicly, thank you!)
To end, I quote my favorite scripture from The Book of Mormon which, by the way, is subtitled “Another Testament of Christ.”
“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophesies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:26)
If that isn’t Christian I don’t know what is.
To borrow from the Mormon media campaign: “My name is Rebecca. I’m an author, a composer, a mother, a Mormon, and I’m a Christian.”
FYI: List of famous Mormons you may have heard of:
- Mitt Romney, GOP front-runner for the 2012 Presidential election
- Jon Huntsman, former GOP candidate for the 2012 Presidential election
- Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader: Democrat
- Glenn Beck, Political Commentator, Radio Broadcaster, and NY Times Bestseller
- Orrin Hatch, Bob Bennett, and a whole slew of Senators, Representatives, and Governors across America (16 total)
- Jimmer Fredette, NCAA 2011 Basketball National Player of the year and current guard for the Sacramento Kings
- Steve Young, former NFL quarterback
- Jabari Parker, high school basketball player said to be the next LeBron James
- Others listed here.
- Gladys Knight, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer
- Donny and Marie Osmond, singers, actors
- Neon Trees, rock band
- Stephen R. Covey, motivational speaker and author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective…
- Richard and Linda Eyre, motivational speakers and NY Times Bestselling authors
- Mormon Tabernacle Choir
- Jon Heder, otherwise known as Napoleon Dynamite
- Rick Schroeder, actor
- David Archuleta, American Idol Runner-up
- Six contestants on last year’s “Biggest Loser” TV show
- The 5 Browns, famous classical piano siblings
NY Times Best-selling Authors:
- Stephenie Meyer, author of the “Twilight” series
- Ally Condie, author of the “Matched” series
- Richard Paul Evans, author of “The Christmas Box” and many others
- Orson Scott Card, Shannon Hale, James Dashner, Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson, Jason F. Wright, etc.
- David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue airlines
- Bill Marriott, CEO of Marriott hotels
- CEO of Black and Decker
- Former CEO of Dell
Chances are, at least a few of those Mormons have influenced you in a positive way.