A few weeks ago Larry Richman at LDS Media Talk (“not an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”) brought up the persistent question, “Are Mormons Christian?” After having affirmed that Mormons say they are Christians, and having provided some reasons to support that position, Mr. Richman wrote,
“In recent decades, however, some have claimed that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a Christian church.”
I don’t know if Mr. Richman meant his statement to convey the idea that Mormonism’s designation as a non-Christian religion is something relatively new — only asserted in recent decades — or not, but that’s how his claim sounded to me. If that’s what he meant, Mr. Richman was wrong.
While not specifically stating that Mormonism was not Christian, in the late 1800s Baptists missionaries to Mormons described the Mormon religion with statements like these:
“But why does Utah, why does this Eden of Salt Lake City, so especially need the gospel? Because, as in that Eden of old, the trail and the slime of the serpent are there, and no one but the ‘man child,’ ‘the seed of the woman who should bruise the serpent’s head’ by the power of the gospel, can destroy this work of Satan.” (Rev. S. Graves, The Baptist Home Mission Monthly, quoted here.)
“Mormonism is a strange compound of Christianity, Judaism, and Mohammedanism; of saintliness, sensuality, and superstition; of the devout and the diabolical. It is not all evil. A system all evil couldn’t have the power and hold this has. There is enough of good with the evil to make it a masterpiece of the deceiver.” (ibid.)
“ . . . much has been said and written of late concerning the religious condition of Utah, but only by personal contact and observation can we truly appreciate the appalling evils of Mormonism. Only as we try to win its adherents to the truth can we measure the intensity of the fanaticism. Their system combines in one strong bond almost every evil that can control a soul. The basest passions, the strongest prejudices, the densest ignorance, all oppose the entrance of truth. “ (Rev. Richard Hartley, The Home Mission Monthly, quoted here.)
“Salt Lake City has a population of 25,000, and of this number, from 18,000 to 20,000 are Mormons. Of course so great a preponderance in point of numbers gives to the Mormon Church a growing influence. Everything large and grand is Mormon. The large banks, stores, school and Sunday congregations are Mormon. Mormons make the laws, collect the taxes, try the criminals, and manage the schools. And what is this Mormon power? Are its heart-beats in sympathy with our institutions? Are its teachings and practices in keeping with American ideas? No, it is a despotism in the heart of a republic, a hierarchy in the midst of a free church, and a form of Oriental barbarism in the lap of Christian civilization. Organized upon falsehood, its columns filled from the ranks of ignorance and superstition, and led on by artful and cunning priests, and tolerates practices worthy of Tartars and Turks.” (Rev. D. Spencer, The Home Mission Monthly, quoted here.)
Baptists didn’t think too highly of Mormonism 120 years ago. But they weren’t the only ones. Also in the late 1800s Rev. R.G. McNiece, who had pastored the First Presbyterian Church in Salt Lake City for twenty years, wrote,
“The Mormon System is thoroughly anti-Christian…Mormonism is a deliberate counterfeit of the Christian religion, intended to deceive the ignorant…Mormonism tries to palm off on the world a counterfeit Bible…Mormonism imposes upon the people a counterfeit priesthood…Mormonism imposes upon the people a counterfeit group of apostles” (Mormonism: Its Origin, Characteristics, and Doctrines, quoted here.)
And at a General Conference in 1898 Mormon Apostle Abraham O. Woodruff noted:
“I have in my pocket a slip of paper clipped from the Portland Oregonian of March 28th, giving the opinion of one Mr. Stone, the secretary of the Young Men’s Christian association. His comments are very much of the character I have mentioned. He says that the Mormons who have been members of his association have not been permitted to vote or hold office because they are not considered as Christians.” (Conference Report, April 1898)
Twenty years earlier, in 1877, Brigham Young acknowledged that non-Mormons in America did not view Mormons as redeemed Christians but rather as a people needing to hear God’s truth:
“You will probably have what is called a Christian Church here; they will not admit that we are Christians, but they cannot think us further from the plan of salvation as revealed from heaven than we know them to be, so we are even on that ground, as far as it goes.” (Journal of Discourses 14:196)
From Brigham Young’s remark it is evident that “some have claimed that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a Christian church” for at least thirteen of the past “recent decades.” But if we look across the pond to England where Mormons were proselytizing in 1838, we find this from “An Impartial Observer”:
“I cannot, without deep regret, witness the counteracting influence of certain heresies and dogmas which are now so industriously propagated, chiefly among the more illiterate portion of the inhabitants… the Mormonites introduce themselves under the specious pretence of superior sanctity and religious knowledge, and by this means artfully contrive to pass off a base counterfeit for genuine Christianity.” (Preston Chronicle, 18 August 1838, quoted in The Guardian, 24 July 2012.)
For no fewer than seventeen and a half decades non-Mormons have expressed publicly that Mormonism is not genuine or authentic Christianity. Any suggestion that this is a recent development is mistaken.
It has been my observation that in more recent years, inclusivism, political correctness, and an extensive LDS PR campaign has resulted in many, whether by design or error, claiming Mormonism is Christian – even though Mormonism continues to embrace the same heretical doctrines that earned it the epithet “counterfeit Christianity” over one hundred seventy-five years ago.
You guys really need to make up your minds. On one hand you insist that we have too many rules and laws and regulations and that ours is an “impossible gospel.” On the other hand, you guys also claim that we are universalists as you have in your post.
Critics also like to use the argument that salvation to LDS is merely being resurrected. I admit that there are different types or degrees of salvation, but your argument is very misleading. Almost always, we speak of salvation as inheriting the Celestial Kingdom and living with God. To be exalted requires the temple ordinances, and that is the highest degree within the Celestial Kingdom.
All of that is really an aside. This topic is about who is a Christian. And I maintain that a person who believes in Jesus enough to follow His teachings is a Christian. And in fact, to add additional criteria goes against His teachings and leads one to Pharisee-like thinking, self-righteousness, and judgmental behavior.
By the way, I also have had periods in which every post of mine went into moderation for a day or so. Very frustrating. Not sure why.
MJP- the problem is that your interpretation of salvation or who is a true Christian happens to contradict the Sermon on the Mount, thereby causing a problem and putting you in a position wherein you have to ignore one of the passages. Yet there is not one passage that contradicts what I am saying. You say that a person must only believe, independent of action, to be saved. Yet, that contradicts what Christ said Himself on many, many occasions. In fact, it contradicts the vast majority of His statements. I believe that action in the form of obedience and works is inherent in belief. And that being the case, there is no contradictions anywhere in the scriptures and especially in the statements from Christ. Does that make sense?
If you read the New Testament with the perspective that obedience, repentance, and works are inherent in belief, there are no contradictions whatsoever in the topics of faith, works, grace, salvation, etc. Any other definition of belief causes contradictions and problems in understanding the text. And this is, by far, the most fundamental issue that comes between me and the critics in all of our conversations.
You may argue that such a doctrine equals our works saving us. But it doesn’t. Those works and obedience and righteousness only serve to strengthen and “perfect” our faith. And it is by our faith in Christ that we are saved.
FoF, I fundamentally disagree with your assessment of the New Testament. Several times Christ tells us to believe, and we see that in action in many places. The theme is continued by those who knew and loved Christ. I see you as ignoring these items and themes in favor of a works position, which ironically, I see as a Pharisitic position. Jesus condemned the Pharisees precisely for ignoring the loving God in favor of their pride in their works.
There is no contradiction of that within the Sermon on the Mount. None.
MJP- Christ’s criticism of the Pharisees was primarily for hypocrisy- teaching one thing and doing another. In fact, Christ actually told the people to “do as the Pharisees say, but not as they do.” He also told them that their righteousness should exceed that of the Pharisees.
The Sermon on the Mount is essentially a set of instructions intended to get people to live the gospel on the outside and on the inside. Christ tells us how to act and what motivations we should have as we act. And He clearly says that whoever does what He instructed in the Sermon on the Mount is wise and is building their houses (or lives) on the rock. And the rock is clearly Christ. The doctrine that a person is saved entirely upon mentally believing independent of action or works completely contradicts the Sermon on the Mount.
If Christ’s usage of the word “believe” is really only the mental process of believing, then He is contradicting Himself in many, many places. And I have yet to hear anybody explain how those aren’t real contradictions. Yet, if action is inherent in the word “believe,” there are no contradictions whatsoever.
How do you explain the passage that says that Abraham’s faith was made perfect by his works? That makes no sense if you separate faith and works as you guys do here. Yet it makes perfect sense with what I am saying.
There is absolutely nothing Pharisee-like in striving to live righteously and fill your life with good works. The Pharisee-like element comes in when a person does those works to lift themselves up above other people. Critics here are making a huge mistake by equating all righteous works with self-righteousness. Such thinking turns the gospel into a nonsensical mess in my opinion.
You said, “Critics also like to use the argument that salvation to LDS is merely being resurrected.”
I actually made no such critique. I asked you to be specific in what salvation means to you. If it is entrance into one of the three kingdoms or just the celestial.
You said, “I admit that there are different types or degrees of salvation, but your argument is very misleading.”
how am I being misleading by asking of clarification?
You then said, “Almost always, we speak of salvation as inheriting the Celestial Kingdom and living with God. To be exalted requires the temple ordinances, and that is the highest degree within the Celestial Kingdom.”
Now who is being misleading? You do need Mormon baptism for celestial kingdom? Is that not a sacred ordinance in your Church? You are talking about endowments and marriage as required for exaltation. you forget mormon baptism.
You go on to say, “All of that is really an aside. This topic is about who is a Christian. ”
Actually I am quite on topic. If a Christian is someone who believes that salvation is only through Christ and I am arguing that your church teaches that you need more than that for salvation (or celestial kingdom entry) than I am on topic.
Then you say, “And I maintain that a person who believes in Jesus enough to follow His teachings is a Christian. And in fact, to add additional criteria goes against His teachings and leads one to Pharisee-like thinking, self-righteousness, and judgmental behavior.”
That last part is perfect because that is exactly what I would accuse your Church of doing. And would be my point. So I believe in Christ and follow his teachings, would you say I qualify for salvation? If so, and everyone here follows Christ and believe in him, then why exactly are you here? The truth is, Mormonism would say non of us qualify because we would need a Mormon baptism. For that we would have to say Monson is a prophet. The Book of Mormon is true. that we believe in joseph smith and the Book of Mormon.
basically you are saying that you believe there are Christians that believe in Him, that he is the only means of salvation, and follow his teaching, but still won’t obtain salvation. Because of what? What is getting in their way? What are they not doing? Not being mormon?
FoF, No one here from what I have seen believes you are honest or has any credabilty, as far as I’m concerned you lost any you have over this issue on the sermon on the mount and are not in any way a true Christian.
I asked you why you did not use the J.S.T of the Bible for the Sermon on the Mount since it differs so greatly, and no surprise but you ignored that question.
Despite what you think, the issue is huge since your Church claims the Bible is missing parts, and some of the parts in the Bible are not and have not been translated correctly. So everything you say about the sermon on the Mount and all the verses you mention cannot be trusted if your not using the J.S.T.
If you dont agree with me as I know you wont, then let me add that this is taken directly off of the LDS.org website about the J.S.T of the Bible.
Joseph Smith said he was commanded by God, and it was part of his calling as a prophet. So if he was a true prophet and God really did tell him to translate it, then it should be used.
If you still dont agree, as I know you wont, then here is more from your churchs website.
Your Church said, Not me, that JS through he has “restored” some of the Missing parts of the Bible. Now before you claim all of this does not apply to the Sermon on the Mount, I will add one more thing from your churchs website.
So your church claims that important parts of the sermon have been lost from the account in Matthew. So if they have been lost, and restored only in the J.S.T which you did not use, then that means nothing you said can be trusted since this comes from your church, not me just making things up.
You have continuously ignored what I have had to say, apart from responding to relatively minor quibbles, all major points have been met with silence & therefore I must assume its because you have no answers.
Your last response was mainly to accuse me of calling you a liar, an accusation that is totally without warrant. I covered this, & my reasons for saying you were engaging in deception, in my last post. There has been no reply to this at all & I stand by what I said.
I say again, your attempts to equate Mormon ‘salvation’ with Christian salvation as found in the New Testament are deceptive & designed to create a false impression of Mormonism. For the benefit of those lurkers who come here to read, know & understand the vital differences between the LDS & Christians I challenge you to
1) Tell us plainly without obfuscation, the LDS view of the Person of Christ. Not the version found on LDS.org, as that is misleading to say the least, perhaps something from Mormon Doctrine?
2) Define salvation as it has been understood in the LDS for the last 170 years.
If you are prepared to do that I’m quite sure that any Christians here will respond by giving their definitions as found in the Bible.
If/when that’s been done then the ‘lurkers’ here can decide who are the true Christians.
FoF, I already Shared with you what your Church and the church website says about the J.S.T of the Bible.
Are you aware that the Book of Genisis is the most attacked book of the Bible? Atheists, false teachers, wolves in sheeps clothing, false religions, etc go after this book.
Well I know you wont agree and I am more sharing this with the lurkers out there and Christians who might not be aware of this. But JS attacked the Book of Genesis by adding to it and changing things in it, and in case you missed it, I own a copy of the J.S.T.
In the Bible we read
Right their it speaks volumes, God did everything, and everything was/is from God.
But the False Prophet Joe said this,
Are you aware that Moses was not around until well after the flood? No dat given from the time Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden till the Flood, but it is assumed to be roughly 2000 years, give or take a few hundred. Read the age accounts of people go get this idea, Adam lived to be almost 1000 years old.
Now if you ask, How does this fit who is a christian and who is not? Well we know if Joseph Smith attacked the Bible and starts changing it, then claiming God told him to, that alone shows he was not a christian. And if he was not a christin and attacked the Bible, then all the prophets after him that believe him and teach the same false stuff are not Christians, so that means Mormons cannot be either if they call Joseph smith a true prophet.
The Pharisees were guilty of pride. They were guilty of making themselves look good above worshipping God. Is there hypocrasy in there? Yup, indeed. But you have to look at the source.
You keep saying it is not about you, but there is one fact within your faith you cannot deny: your eternal goal is to become a god. How prima facia self centered is that very idea? The very purpose is to lift yourself up to become a god.
Now, you bring up action and belief. One of the many questions that remains unanswered is where you get the idea that Christians do not believe in action. This is a serious question that must be addressed. Don’t say it is based on our faith-alone salvation, because you know that is incomplete and ignores the question. It is proven that we believe in salvation by faith alone, what is at issue in this question is your insistence that we don’t find works important.
As to consistency of the salvation message: what say you to the numerous times Christ tells us we are saved upon belief, and to the disciples continuance of this theme? Be specific.
I really have to laugh when I read such nonsense. FOF should be a politician. His bullying tactics would fit right in with that world. Not to mention his flip-flops, denials, and outright lies (which I’ve caught him in numerous times). Oh no, FOF can call just about everyone “apostate Christians” but it doesn’t really apply to anyone here that he calls every other name in the book. How enlightening. Of course, then FOF does just what he says he doesn’t do, judge people who say they are Christians. How hypocritical of you FOF. Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger. And I absolutely love how just because FOF says that HE doesn’t believe that the passage in First Nephi doesn’t apply to those living from Jo Smith’s day right up to today, well, EVERYONE, even countless Mormon Authorities should bow down to FOF’s BELIEF. Funny, how one of Mormondom’s greatest “apostles” and “prophets”, Parley P. Pratt, says that your belief isn’t worth a hill of beans:
Laroy Sunderland had the audacity to call out Pratt. Pratt responded with the above, just like FOF responds here. Neither knows what they are talking about, because they believe the Book of Mormon which has ever been a blind guide to the blind. (Funny how Laroy Sunderland lived to be an old man, and it was Pratt who was murdered and cut down.)
Of course, Parley Pratt understood the BOM, he was, after all a MORMON PROPHET, SEER & REVELATOR (so ordained). A child could understand it, he says, and yet FOF does not, because Parley P. Pratt says that the BOM predicts the destruction of America by 1890! And he wrote it as a prophecy. And, if it did not come to pass (as Pratt prophesied) the Book of Mormon was FALSE. Oh, FOF, why don’t you believe in your “prophets and apostles”? Why do you throw them under the bus like you do? Perhaps because they write false prophecies? And of course, all of us here, are supposed to believe that YOUR BELIEF, is MUCH MORE VALID than an ORDAINED MORMON APOSTLE’s? LOL, now that is funny! All you do, FOF is continue in the tradition of those who came before you, and that is make it up as you go along.
Please stop judging people by calling them “Apostate Christians”. From what I see above, you should be trying to figure out why a Mormon “prophet, seer & revelator” wrote such a bad prophecy in 1838. More than likely, he was listening to Jo Smith. Do you offer any better? I don’t think so.
Round and round we go, and FOF won’t get off the merry-go-round. Here again, he asks the same question he did back in June of last year:
Oh no it doesn’t. It makes perfect sense if one truly READS and COMPREHENDS what the Bible says. Here is the question he asked and I answered from a post on June 16, 2013:
You said, “This topic is about who is a Christian. And I maintain that a person who believes in Jesus enough to follow His teachings is a Christian.”
Finally, we are getting to the heart of the matter. This does not define a Christian. You are saying that obedience to any carichature of Christ is what defines a Christian, rather than faith in the true Christ. Your works are our faith. You don’t care about Christ, you care about you.
Answer me this, how does your church—not you—define these Christological terms in their printed material: first born, only-begotten, and Son of God. If you don’t answer this I will.
Are you aware that Moses was not around until well after the flood?
Are You aware that Moses was the writer of the first five books of the Bible?
The JST is only naming Moses as the writer.
Wow, clyde comes out from under the bridge.
As usual you never reply with anything serious, only doing the drive by’s.
Yes I know moses wrote the first 5 books. But still I take the bible over js.
Funny how you defened the j.s.t on the first verse of genesis, yet you add nothing about the issue of the topic, or the verses from the bible fof gave, verses the verses the j.s.t mentions that fof did not use.
No mention from you on why you quote a corrpute bible according to your prophets and church, and not use the bible your prophet gave you claiming his god told him to correct. Now unless you can reply to those issues, why not go back under the bridge you came out from, you wolf in sheeps clothing.
I just asked a simple question. What it seemed like is that you were trying to prove something about Moses. Whatever it was looked very foolish to me.
Now you have made a lot of assumption that you will live with the rest of your life but you have the right to live that way.
I did not make assumptions, I spoke the truth about you and can live with what I said. Almost everyone here has called you out more than once for speaking nonsense and avoiding questions. I notice you have been silent on the last ten or more topics, plus this one until now. You have not said anything about what I brought up. By your own words, or lack of them you prove me correct. I would. Be embarrassed if I were a mormon having you show up trying to defend Mormonism with your inane rants.
Friends, please move on from discussing the behavior of one another and get back to issues related to the topic thread. Thanks!
I’m not sure if there is any point in trying to discuss anything further with FofF. I, along with everyone else, am still waiting for an unequivocal response to all the major points that have been raised. I finally offered him (FofF) a challenge repeated below, in the hope it may illicit a response; I rephrased it slightly for further clarification:
In my last post I said this:
“Your attempts to equate Mormon ‘salvation’ with Christian salvation as found in the New Testament are, like most things Mormon, deceptive & designed to create a false impression of Mormonism. For the benefit of those lurkers who come here to read, know & understand the vital differences between the LDS & Christians I challenge you to
1) Tell us plainly without obfuscation, the LDS view of the Person of Christ. Not the ‘official’ version found on LDS.org, as that is deliberately misleading, perhaps you could include something from Mormon Doctrine, part of which you presented a few posts back? E.g., Christ is Satan’s brother.
2) Again without obfuscation, define salvation, as it has been understood in the LDS for the last 170 years.
If you are prepared to do that I’m quite sure that any Christians reading your definition will respond by giving the correct definitions found in the Bible.
If/when that has been done the ‘lurkers’ here can decide who are the true Christians.”
And I maintain that a person who believes in Jesus enough to follow His teachings is a Christian
I’m curious Do you consider the Unification Church founded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon to be a Christian Group?
Members of that organization claim to “believe in Jesus enough to follow his teachings”. Of course they believe that their churches founder is the reincarnated Jesus and he has revealed quite a few new teachings for them to follow. I’m curious where they would fit according to your definition
As you are aware, the LDS dont like it when we claim they lie or are dishonest. Sadly they do nothing to change that, we some some come here, ramble on abount nothing and leave for months at a time.
Then I pointed out that the LDS claim the Bible is missing parts and is corrput. Then showed FoF what His church according to the officail LDS website says about the J.S.T of the Bible, and showed him how the website says the sermon on the Mount is missing much stuff and the J.S.T is more accurate.
So FoF comes here and tells us we are wrong about the sermon on the Mount and we take things out of context, but how can we trust him when he’s using a corrput text. If it is corrput, then how can he use it? And How can he tell us it’s accurate when his church says otherwise?
Then he rejects the “corrected” Version according to his church, so how can he be sharing the gosepl with us if he’s not using an accrate translation. Sadly these Mormons can be more honest and give out info that we ask for, or provide more verses for context, instead of leaving out information that leads us to believe things that are not true, then complain and say, we dont understand them or blame us. So FoF, be more honest with us and we wont say what we do.
Rick, obscuring the truth is an all too common practice in the LDS it seems to go with the territory & I suppose that when something is founded on a lie it has no choice but to carry on that way.
I for sure don’t have an answer for many things & I have had to change my mind many times throughout my life but I like to think that when someone has shown me to be wrong about a particular belief (not necessarily religious) that I have had the integrity to change course.
The point you make about the JS translation is a very fair one, why, if Smith was indeed a prophet, don’t the LDS use his translation? Could it be that they know but can never admit, that Smith was way out of his depth & if they were to use it the proof that he was a fake would be there for all to see?