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Mormon identification with Christianity

by W. John Walsh

Is it true that Mormon identification with Christianity as a whole is relatively new?

One of the favorite misrepresentations used by anti-Mormons is to falsely claim that Latter-day Saints have only recently called ourselves Christians. Now let's examine the historical record:

Now let's consider statements by the first three Presidents of the Church.

In summary, the name of the Church, the Book of Mormon, and teachings of the first three Presidents of the Church make it absolutely clear that Latter-day Saints have considered ourselves Christians since the founding of our Church. Perhaps President David O. McKay said it best when he said:

"It is my sincere belief and testimony that the Latter-day Saints commonly called Mormons are Christians in the truest and fullest sense of the term, and that this Church is world-wide in its comprehensiveness, in organization, and in its blessing and salvation of the human family." (Gospel Ideals, p.112)

While some may dispute our beliefs and doctrines, the statement that Latter-day Saints have only recently considered ourselves Christians is simply not true.

It should be noted that certain competing denominations have requested Latter-day Saints to stop identifying themselves as Christians because these groups also call themselves Christians. In their minds, our usage of the term causes identity confusion between our denominations. As noted above, the Book of Mormon teaches that true believers in Christ are called Christians. Since we are true believers in Christ, Latter-day Saints cannot and will not yield the term to anyone else. While Latter-day Saints are not offended that other denominations also use the term Christian, the scriptures make it clear that Latter-day Saints are the legitimate holders of the term. We are the ones who have taken upon us the name of Christ, entered the waters of baptism, and accepted the Christian baptismal covenant. In addition, Jesus Christ, the living and resurrected God, is the Head of our Church. Therefore, if these groups are really concerned about confusion between our denominations, they should be the ones to stop using the term. (See Christians and Christianity for a more detailed discussion of this issue)

(See Are Mormons Christians?; Response to Criticism home page; Accusatory Questions home page)

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