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 Christians.” 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 Jews. 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 “corrupt.” 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.