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Jimmy Carter

Says Baptists are wrong to characterize the Mormons as non-Christians

IN NOVEMBER 1997, FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER, IN A TELECONFERENCE INTERVIEW WITH SEVERAL RELIGION WRITERS FROM ACROSS THE NATION, SAID THAT MORMONS ARE CHRISTIANS AND THEY SHOULD NOT BE THE TARGETS OF "PROSELYTIZING" (Carrie Moore, "Are Mormons Christians," Deseret News, Nov. 15, 1997). During the interview, Carter, a Southern Baptist Sunday School teacher, said that SBC leaders are wrong in characterizing Mormons as non-Christians. "Too many leaders now, I think, in the Southern Baptist Convention and in other conventions, are trying to act as the Pharisees did, who were condemned by Christ, in trying to define who can and who cannot be considered an acceptable person in the eyes of God. In other words, they’re making judgments on behalf of God. I think that’s wrong." Carter testified that "the people in my own local church have no interest in trying to condemn Mormons or trying to convert Mormons to be good old Baptists like me." Carter criticized SBC leaders for becoming "narrow in their definition of what is a proper Christian" and for believing "that every verse in the Bible has to be interpreted literally."