"For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light..."

Are Mormons Christians?

Are Mormons Christians? Yes, Latter-day Saints are indeed Christians. In fact the official name of the Mormon church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that Jesus Christ is the central figure in the doctrine of the Mormon Church:

"The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it" (TPJS, p. 121).

Latter-day Saints believe that complete salvation is possible only through the life, death, resurrection, doctrines, and ordinances of Jesus Christ and in no other way.

For more informatino about "Are Mormons Christian?" click the links below:

Are Mormons Christian? - Boyd K. Packer
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
Robert L. Millet
Joseph Fielding McConkie
Bishop Richard C. Edgley
Stephen E. Robinson


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always accepted Jesus of Nazareth as testified of in the Bible: the divine Redeemer and Son of God who atoned for the sins of all mankind and ensured our universal resurrection. The church has never ceased to affirm that there is no other name given whereby man can be saved (see Acts 4:12). Another book that the church reveres as scripture, the Book of Mormon, declares on its title page that it was written "to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations."

In LDS belief, Joseph Smith is the prophet through whom God restored the Church of Christ and named it the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (See Restoration of the Gospel home page). He stated that "the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it."1 Members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ gratefully rejoice in Christ's atonement, confidently anticipate his glorious return, expect to be brought before him when he judges the entire human race, and hope to dwell with him for all eternity. Surely all who profess such beliefs can lay claim to being called Christians.

Obviously there are doctrinal differences between Mormons and people of a variety of other Christian denominations. But Latter-day Saints believe that it must be possible for people to have different points of view and still be Christians. Given the large number of Christian denominations, all of whom disagree on points large and small, this conclusion is inescapable. Latter-day Saints embrace as fellow Christians those who profess faith in Jesus Christ. In the same vein, they believe that no doctrinal difference or variation in practice can loom so large as to cancel out their own sincere belief in and commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Redeemer.


Latter-day Saint beliefs are in harmony with what the Bible calls Christian. The terms Christian or Christians occur only three times in the New Testament (at Acts 11:26; 26:28; and 1 Peter 4:16). In each case these terms simply refer to those who follow Christ, which applies fully to Latter-day Saints.

Members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fail to find other definitions of Christianity persuasive-definitions based on interpretations of the Bible by particular denominations or on the interpretations of the classical creeds from the early Christian centuries. Latter-day Saints doubt that anyone has the authority to exclude others from Christianity based on these definitions. As C. S. Lewis observed:

    It is not for us to say who, in the deepest sense, is or is not close to the spirit of Christ. We do not see into men's hearts. We cannot judge, and are indeed forbidden to judge. It would be wicked arrogance for us to say that any man is, or is not, a Christian in this refined sense . . . When a man who accepts the Christian doctrine lives unworthily of it, it is much clearer to say he is a bad Christian than to say he is not a Christian.2

Furthermore, any such definitions that would exclude Mormons would expel other groups too-groups that most people would find it very odd to classify as non-Christians. For example, demanding that believers in Christ accept the trinitarian teaching of the Nicene Creed in order to be considered Christians implies that the bishops who voted against that creed at the Council of Nicea were not really Christians. It also questions the Christianity of the many followers of Christ who lived before Nicea, and thus before the full development of classical trinitarian doctrine.

Likewise, Latter-day Saints are puzzled by the declaration that only those people who base their faith and practice exclusively on the sixty-six books of the traditional Protestant biblical canon are Christian-that canonical list was clearly not settled, according to the records of Christian history, until several centuries after the death of Christ, and still is not universally accepted. This definition would banish not only the Latter-day Saints, but also many of the followers of Jesus from the first centuries, about two hundred million Eastern Orthodox Christians, as well as the Roman Catholics who anchor their belief in the authority of apostolic tradition.

Consider further the claim that, because Mormons believe salvation to be connected with the authority of a church, they cannot be considered Christians. This claim also defines out of Christendom many of the greatest of the early Christian fathers, to say nothing of the Church of Rome and virtually all of Eastern Christianity.

In other words, definitions of Christianity based on the specific beliefs of one denomination or group of denominations are not very helpful. They often don't take into full account Christian history, and they don't help determine who is or isn't Christian.

Historical Usage

The historical fact is that the word Christian has been used over the centuries to describe a wide range of practices and theological positions, including some that Latter-day Saints find just as seriously mistaken as do their Protestant critics. For instance, the Marcionites rejected the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John. The Docetists denied that Christ possessed a real physical body. Yet these groups and many others are routinely referred to as Christians by the scholars who have studied them most.

Christian teachings and practices can be more or less inadequate, even seriously mistaken, while remaining Christian, just as competing theories of the solar system can vary and still lay claim to being scientific theories. The only definition of the word Christian that accounts for its use through the centuries and that includes all the individuals and groups who are universally regarded as falling under its description seems to be roughly this: A Christian is a person who accepts Jesus Christ as, uniquely, his or her Lord and Redeemer. By this definition, faithful Latter-day Saints, along with hundreds of millions of other believers in Jesus of Nazareth distributed across many denominations over thousands of years and on every continent, abundantly qualify as Christians.


1. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976), 121.
2. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, 1952), 11.

Copyright by FARMS 

by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

Some people erroneously believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members are not Christian. We have difficulty understanding why anyone could accept and promote an idea that is so far from the truth. President Gordon B. Hinckley has described Church members as a people "bound (together) by a common love for our Master, who is the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world. We are a covenant people who have taken upon ourselves His holy name."

Our beliefs and actions may differ from those of others, but we, as good Christians, do not criticize other religions or their adherents. "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."

A dictionary defines a Christian as "one who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus," and "one who lives according to the teachings of Jesus." Thus two characteristics identify Christians: First, they profess belief in the Savior, and second, they act in harmony with the Savior's teachings. Faithful members of the Church called Saints or Latter-day Saints, qualify clearly in both characteristics. In our belief and our action, we demonstrate that "Jesus Christ Himself (is) the chief corner stone" of our faith.

For Elder Wirthlin's full comments on this issue, see Christians in Belief and Action.

by Robert L. Millet

In recent years the criticism of Latter-day Saints and a movement to exclude them from the category of Christian have intensified. There are those who feel uncomfortable with them because of their belief in modern prophets and additional scripture. Others reject the LDS claim to Christianity because the Church does not subscribe to the creeds of Christendom or is not in the historical Christian tradition. On what basis, then, do the Latter-day Saints themselves claim to be Christian? They believe in Jesus Christ; that he is the Son of the Eternal Father, the Only Begotten in the flesh; that Christ is God, that he is Lord and Savior, the Redeemer of the world; that we are saved by obedience to his commandments and by virtue of his atoning blood; that only through reliance upon his merits, mercy, and grace can people find happiness here and eternal reward hereafter; and that his was the only perfect and sinless life, a life to be emulated and followed. Jesus Christ is the central figure in the doctrine and practice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That so many misunderstand, prejudge, and exclude is sad and strangely ironic.

The Mormon Faith: A New Look at Christianity
Copyright by Deseret Book

We believe in Jesus of Nazareth, in the One sent of the Father to bind up the broken hearted and proclaim liberty to the captives (Isaiah 61:1; D&C 138:11-18). For us, the Jesus of history is indeed the Christ of faith. He was and is the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh (John 3:16; 2 Nephi 25:12; D&C 20:21). While some may exclude us from the category of Christian for this or that doctrinal matter, our behavior must be consistent with our profession; those who claim new life in the Spirit are expected to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).

"Are we Christians?" President Gordon B. Hinckley asked. "Of course we are! No one can honestly deny that. We may be somewhat different from the traditional pattern of Christianity. But no one believes more literally in the redemption wrought by the Lord Jesus Christ. No one believes more fundamentally that He was the Son of God, that He died for the sins of mankind, that He rose from the grave, and that He is the living resurrected Son of the living Father.

"All of our doctrine, all of our religious practice stems from that one basic doctrinal position: 'We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.' This is the first article of our faith, and all else flows therefrom."

In the long run, all we can do is live what we preach and bear testimony of what we feel in our hearts and know in our minds. While we do not want to be misunderstood and we certainly would like for others to recognize the centrality of Christ in our lives, we do not require the imprimatur of the religious world to substantiate our claim. We are who we are and we know who we are, and if all the world should think otherwise, so be it. Our primary thrust in the religious world is not to court favor. Our desire to build bridges of understanding does not excuse us from the obligation to maintain our distinctive position in the religious world.

Our strength lies in our distinctiveness, for we have something to offer the world, something of great worth. No one wants to be spurned, misunderstood, or misrepresented. But sometimes such is the cost of discipleship (Matthew 5:10-12).

As to whether we worship a different Jesus, we say again: We accept and endorse the testimony of the New Testament writers: Jesus is the Promised Messiah, the resurrection and the life (John 11:25), literally the Light of the world (John 8:12). Everything that testifies of his divine birth, his goodness, his transforming power, and his Godhood, we embrace enthusiastically. He has broken the bands of death and lives today.

All this we know. But we know much more about the Christ because of what has been made known through latter-day prophets. President Brigham Young thus declared that "We, the Latter-day Saints, take the liberty of believing more than our Christian brethren: we not only believe . . . the Bible, but . . . the whole of the plan of salvation that Jesus has given to us. Do we differ from others who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? No, only in believing more." Our conduct and our way of life cannot be separated from our doctrine, for what we believe empowers and directs what we do. A number of years ago an article appeared in Christianity Today entitled "Why Your Neighbor Joined the Mormon Church." Five reasons were given:

1.The Latter-day Saints show genuine love and concern by taking care of their people.

2.They strive to build the family unit.

3.They provide for their young people.

4.Theirs is a layman's church.

5.They believe that divine revelation is the basis for their practices.

After a brief discussion of each of the above, the author of the article concluded: "In a day when many are hesitant to claim that God has said anything definitive, the Mormons stand out in contrast, and many people are ready to listen to what the Mormons think the voice of God says. It is tragic that their message is false, but it is nonetheless a lesson to us that people are many times ready to hear a voice of authority.

"The Savior taught of the importance of judging things-prophets, for example-by their fruits, by the product of their ministry and teachings (Matthew 7:15-20). He also explained that "Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up" (Matthew 15:13). Evil trees cannot bring forth good fruit. Works of men eventually come to naught, but that which is of God cannot be overthrown (Acts 5:38-39). (1 John 3:7).

In short, we proclaim that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. We have taken his name upon us, eagerly acknowledge the redeeming power of his blood, and seek to emulate his perfect life.

Delivered at the weekly BYU Devotional in the Marriott Center February 3, 1998

Copyright 1998 Robert L. Millet

by Joseph Fielding McConkie

Often those saying that Mormons are not Christians do so with the knowledge that the proper name of the Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are equally aware that our faith centers in Christ, as do our doctrines. Most will concede that in practice we are a very Christlike people. Why, then, do they persist in labeling us as a non-Christian cult? The answer is in their history, not in our faith.

The historical Christian world has declared the Bible to be complete and the heavens to be sealed to revelation. They have also declared the biblical descriptions of God to be simply metaphorical and accepted in their place a faith in the incorporeal and incomprehensible God of the early ecumenical councils. Because we do not accept as inspired the conclusions of those councils or embrace the notion that the heavens are sealed to modern revelation and that there are thus no apostles or prophets in our day, we are declared to be both unorthodox and unchristian. The irony is that it is our loyalty to Christian doctrines that gets us the label of non-Christian.

The Catholic and Protestant world declare themselves Christian on the basis of their loyalty to what are known as the Apostolic and Nicene Creeds. Thus the creeds become the issue. To fail to pay allegiance to the creeds is to be branded as non-Christian by those who do pay allegiance to them. These creeds, which represent a departure from biblical Christianity to what even their apologists call "philosophical speculation," define the nature of the Father and the Son in such a way that they are not literally father and son. Indeed, they are no longer viewed as separate and distinct personages, nor are they believed to be corporeal beings. The God of the creeds is "without body, parts, or passions," and the Son is merely the mind or reflection of the Father. Thus for the Latter-day Saints to be accepted as Christian by such a standard, we must deny our faith that Christ is actually and literally the Son of God.

Although we are willing to accord to all people the right to believe "how, where, or what they may" (Article of Faith 11), we are not willing to concede the right to determine whether we are Christian or not. Significantly, the Bible gives no definition of a Christian; rather, those loyal to Christ are called "saints" (Acts 9:13; 26:10). The word Christian is found only three times in the biblical text; each time it appears to be an epithet given the Saints by those opposing them (see Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). A dictionary definition of Christian is simply one who professes a belief in or follows the teachings of Christ. Because Latter-day Saints both believe in and follow Christ, we declare ourselves to be Christians.

Answers: Straightforward Answers To Tough Gospel Questions
Copyright by Deseret Books

by Bishop Richard C. Edgley

After being introduced to a few basic doctrines of the Church, the Reverend Charles Taylor, a minister friend of mine, called to tell me of his enlightened understanding of the gospel. With some excitement he stated: "When you take the time to study the teachings and the doctrines of the Mormon Church, it becomes clear that Mormons are truly Christians. In fact, I have never met more Christlike people than the Mormons I have recently become acquainted with."

I responded that I would be interested in hearing his further feelings and understanding after he had had a chance to read the Book of Mormon and could witness its testimony and teachings of the Savior. His response: "I am already reading the Book of Mormon, and it is wonderful to read. It has expanded my understanding of Christ and His mission. I feel a wonderful spirit as I read it."

My friend took the time to learn for himself before forming a judgment. He did not try to influence others based on lack of understanding or misconception. This seemed responsible to me--seeking understanding before judging, and certainly before trying to persuade another to one's own misconceptions.

For Bishop Edgley's full comments on this issue, see his talk A Disciple, a Friend given at April 1998 General Conference.


by Dr. Stephen E. Robinson

In this series of articles, Dr. Stephen E. Robinson addresses the fallacies used to exclude Latter-day Saints from the Christian community.

Are Mormons Christian: Preface
It is hoped that this book will be of service on two fronts--that it will make the accusation that Latter-day Saints aren't Christians comprehensible to the Latter-day Saints, and that it will also help them in forming an intelligent and informed response to that accusation. This book is not meant, however, to provide ammunition for those contentious souls who simply want to carry on a war of words with the anti-Mormons, for the spirit of contention is always un-Christian (see D&C 10:63).
The Exclusion by Definition
In summary, most of the time the charge that Latter-day Saints are not Christians has absolutely nothing to do with LDS belief or nonbelief in Jesus Christ, or with LDS acceptance or rejection of the New Testament as the word of God. (See LDS Belief in the Bible) If the term Christian is used, as it is in standard English, to mean someone who accepts Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of the world, then the charge that Mormons aren't Christians is false. However, if the word Christian is used in a sectarian sense to mean belief in Christ or in the New Testament according to a particular denominational view, then the charge is trivial and uninformative; it is merely another way of saying Latter-day Saints don't agree with the denomination making the charge. Typically those who define Christian in this latter sense exclude not only Mormons but also any individual who may disagree with them, whether that individual puts his faith in Jesus Christ or not. All but the narrowest ideologues ought to be able to detect the logical fallacies involved in the exclusion by definition.
The Exclusion by Misrepresentation
In summary, the Latter-day Saints cannot be judged to be non-Christian for things they do not believe, whether these things are fabrications, distortions, or anomalies. The doctrine of the Latter-day Saints is clearly defined and readily accessible to all. Doctrines are official if they are found in the standard works of the Church (the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price) or if they are sustained by the Church in general conference. Policies and procedures are official when those who hold the keys of that ministry and who have been sustained by the Church declare them to be the official policies and procedures of the Church. Other denominations claim the right to define and interpret their own doctrines and policies. Surely the Latter-day Saints must be accorded the same privilege.
The Exclusion by Name-calling
To summarize, cult is a subjective word meaning, to the particular person using it, "a religion I don't like." When someone refers to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a "cult," that simply tells us that the speaker doesn't like the Church. Christianity itself was once a new religion with dynamic leadership, strong in-group bonding, high moral expectations, and additional scriptures, all of which greatly offended the mainline religions of its day. Its leaders were not professionally trained clergy, but they did attempt to convert the world to a truth no one else had. By most of the objective definitions that have been proposed for the term cult, early Christianity was one. And so far any general definition of a cult that would fit the Latter-day Saints will also fit New Testament Christianity. But that's not bad company to be in.
The Historical or Traditional Exclusion
In summary, the historical exclusion is invalid because it proposes a nonstandard definition for Christian, a definition that is based not on one's belief in Christ, but on one's cultural and theological pedigree. Also, it is invalid because it is used selectively against the Latter-day Saints, but not against others who have also rejected the traditional church. Many denominations have rejected all or part of an earlier orthodoxy but are still considered to be Christian. Furthermore, the historical exclusion is invalid because it makes the New Testament inadequate for communicating Christian faith unless it is supplemented by later nonbiblical traditions. But most of all, the historical exclusion is invalid because it proposes a test for being Christian (namely, acceptance of the later historical church with its councils, creeds, and customs) that the New Testament Saints themselves could not have passed, having lived centuries before these things came to be.
The Canonical or Biblical Exclusion
It is true that the Latter-day Saints have an expanded canon of scripture. But the Christian canon of scripture was not closed either by biblical or apostolic declaration, nor were its contents fixed or agreed upon in the apostolic period. The perception that the canon was closed grew up in later periods, though no single canon of scripture, or even of the New Testament books, has ever been agreed to by all Christian denominations. When revelation ceased after the death of the Apostles, the church was forced to draw one of two conclusions: Either revelation had ceased because God had said everything he wanted to say, and the church didn't need any more revelation; or revelation had ceased because there were no more Apostles and prophets to receive it, and the church was lacking one of its necessary components. Traditional Christians accept the former explanation; Latter-day Saints accept the latter.

The Bible as we know it in the modern period is a product of the Christian church, rather than the other way around. Since it is clear that there were Christians before the New Testament was written, it cannot be maintained that the Bible is what makes one a Christian. Latter-day Saints reject this and all other enthusiastic claims about the Bible that cannot be found in the Bible.

To this day Christians disagree on which books are the word of God--that is, which books belong in a "Christian" Bible. During the Christian era there has been a variety of disagreements over which books should be part of the New Testament canon. Moreover, Catholics have added (or have Protestants deleted?) a large collection of books found in the ancient Greek manuscripts of the early Christian church and used by some Christians for centuries. The truth is that traditional Christendom has never been unanimous on the issues of canon and the Bible. If the modern churches can strongly disagree among themselves as to what the canon of Christian scripture is, and yet continue to accept each other as Christians, then it is logically inconsistent and manifestly unfair to deny the Latter-day Saints the same privilege.

The Doctrinal Exclusion
The doctrinal exclusion is invalid often on general principles because it demands doctrinal conformity to a standard that does not really exist, to a "pure" Christianity which cannot be agreed upon by all Christians. Therefore it is a moving target which changes from denomination to denomination; all parties demand that Latter-day Saints be more "orthodox," but each defines "orthodoxy" differently. The doctrinal exclusion assumes that Christianity is one monolithic point of view when in fact the multiplicity of Christian denominations witnesses that it is not. Those who employ the doctrinal exclusion often recognize only two categories: those whose doctrine agrees with their own and those who are "not Christians." But without a third category--that is, Christians whose doctrine is different than one's own but who are still Christians --the very idea of a family of independent Christian denominations is impossible.

Still, the claim is made that certain LDS doctrines are so bizarre, so totally foreign to biblical or historical Christianity, that they simply cannot be tolerated. In terms of the LDS doctrines most often criticized on these grounds, however --the doctrine of deification and its corollary, the plurality of gods--this claim does not hold up to historical scrutiny. Early Christian saints and theologians, later Greek Orthodoxy, modern Protestant evangelists, and even C. S. Lewis have all professed their belief in a doctrine of deification. The scriptures themselves talk of many "gods" and use the term god in a limited sense for beings other than the Father, the Son, or the Holy Ghost. If this language is to be tolerated in scripture and in ancient and modern orthodox Christians without cries of "polytheism!" then it must be similarly tolerated in the Latter-day Saints. If scripture can use the term gods for nonultimate beings, if the early Church could, if Christ himself could, then Latter-day Saints cannot conceivably be accused of being outside the Christian tradition for using the same term in the same way.

Again, I am not arguing that the doctrine is true, although I certainly believe it is. I am only arguing that other Christians of unimpeachable orthodoxy have believed in deification long before the Latter-day Saints came along, and that it has been accepted and tolerated in them as part of their genuine Christianity. Fair play demands the same treatment for the Latter-day Saints.

The Doctrinal Exclusion: Trinity and the Nature of God
The Latter-day Saints accept unequivocally all the biblical teachings on the nature of God, but they reject the extrabiblical elaborations of the councils and creeds. A doctrinal exclusion applied to the Latter-day Saints for rejecting the Nicene doctrine of the Trinity is invalid because that doctrine was not taught in the Bible or in the early Christian church. It is not found in the teachings of the Apostolic Fathers or those of the Greek Apologists. Even today Eastern and Western orthodoxies still disagree strongly over both the precise nature of God and the exact wordings of the major creed of Christianity (the filioque dispute). If in order to be a true Christian one must conceive of the Christian God in precisely the terms of Nicene orthodoxy, then all Christians who lived before the fifth century, and all those on at least one side of the filioque dispute since the eighth century, must be excluded as Christians as well as the Latter-day Saints. Moreover, it is contradictory for Protestants to insist on the doctrine of sola scriptura--that the Bible alone is sufficient for salvation --in one context, and then to turn around and add nonscriptural requirements for salvation, like acceptance of councils and creeds, in other contexts.

Latter-day Saints agree that God the Father is spirit in the highest sense of the word, but they deny that this limits him to incorporeality. God is a spirit in the person of the Holy Ghost, but in the person of the Son, God has a tangible body. On the grounds of modern revelation Latter-day Saints believe that God the Father also has a tangible body, but they grant that this cannot be proved or disproved from the Bible. Still, given their philosophical assumptions it is the orthodox who must, without biblical warrant, dismiss the biblical anthropomorphisms applied to God as merely figurative, while the Latter-day Saints accept them at face value. The anthropomorphic view of God is compatible with biblical imagery, but conflicts with the Greek philosophical definition of God. If conceiving of God in anthropomorphic terms, as the Latter-day Saints do, excludes one from being a Christian, then most Christians, both ancient and modern, must also be excluded, for most are guilty in some degree of conceiving ofGod in anthropomorphic biblical terms rather than in the abstract terms of philosophical theology. Moreover, since the Bible itself describes God in anthropomorphic language, even if such descriptions are understood merely as helpful symbolism or allegory, it cannot be seriously argued that perceiving God in anthropomorphic terms is an un-Christian practice.

The Doctrinal Exclusion: Lesser Arguments
Even though the practice of plural marriage is viewed with abhorrence in Western culture, the roots of that abhorrence are not biblical. Even so, the Latter-day Saints themselves are opposed to the practice except when God commands it. Since the Western taboo against plural marriage is not biblical, and since other non-LDS Christian leaders have allowed plural marriage in special circumstances without ceasing to be Christian in the common estimation, the practice of plural marriage by a minority of Latter-day Saints (who acted in the belief that God commanded it) cannot properly be used to exclude all Latter-day Saints from Christendom.

On the basis of modern revelation the Latter-day Saints believe that the ordinances of the LDS temple, an esoteric tradition, are part of the fulness of the Christian gospel. This offends some modern Christians who believe that all genuine Christian beliefs and practices must be found in the public message of the written scriptures. This view, however, is ecclesiastically very shortsighted, for from Paul in the first century to Clement of Alexandria in the second, to the church fathers in the third and fourth, it is undeniable that an esoteric tradition--not contained in the written documents of the church but supposedly handed down from the Apostles in secret rites and teachings--was not only tolerated but fully embraced by mainstream orthodoxy for over half a millennium. It is not possible to exclude Latter-day Saints from Christendom on the basis of an esoteric teaching without excluding at the same time the very Christian Fathers whose writings have defined the nature of Christian orthodoxy.

Because the Bible is silent on how souls are created, modern Christians have agreed to disagree among themselves on the issue, some holding one view and some holding another. The Bible is also virtually silent about when souls are created; thus, by analogy, it would seem fair to agree to disagree on this issue as well, with the Latter-day Saints holding one view (that souls were created before the physical body), and other Christians holding a different view (that souls are created with the physical body). It is not a question over which one's soul, or one's Christianity, may reasonably be said to be in jeopardy.

Finally, the charge that Latter-day Saints believe in salvation by works is simply not true. That human beings can save themselves by their own efforts is contrary to the teachings of the Book of Mormon, which eloquently states the doctrine of salvation by grace. On this issue LDS doctrines are well within the spectrum of views generally accepted as Christian.

Surely by now it will have dawned on the discerning reader that of all the various arguments against Latter-day Saints being considered Christians, not one--not a single one--claims that Latter-day Saints don't acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord. Consider the enormous implications of this fact. The only issue that really matters is the only issue that is carefully avoided!

Copyright by Bookcraft

(See Response to Chriticism home page; Accusatory Questions home page; LDS Identification with Christianity; Christians and Christianity; Interfaith Relations home page)



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