Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Is Mormonism Christian?

Letter to the Editor of the Coeur d'Alene Press
Submitted February 12, 2012

I get the unsettling suspicion when I read letters about the
Mormon question that the entire point is being missed. Many
Mormons respond to the charge that Mormonism is not Christian
by replying, “But we believe in Jesus Christ; therefore we are

The assertion of Christianity, however, has never been that
Mormons don’t believe in a person named Jesus. Quite
obviously they do. But then again so do Muslims, Unitarians, and

The critical issue is not whether one believes in a person named
Jesus but what one believes about him. Who is Jesus? Historic
Christianity has always insisted that Jesus is God Himself in
human flesh, the Second Person of the Trinity. He is “God of
God; Light of Light; very God of very God…being of one
substance with the Father.” (Nicene Creed)

This teaching Mormons repudiate. Indeed, Joseph Smith went so
far as to ridicule the Trinity as “a strange god indeed.” He had
no desire to be associated with historic Christianity – according
to him all Christian churches are “wrong” and all their teachings

So let us be clear. Muslims are not Christians because they
teach Jesus was simply a great prophet. Unitarians are not
because they teach he was simply a great man. And Mormons
are not because they teach that he is a separate being from the
Father who earned his divinity by virtue of his hard work. If
Mormons want to believe that, that is their prerogative; but
don’t confuse others by calling it Christian.