Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Still Not Christian . . .

Once again, I've had someone kindly explain to me why my faith in Christ doesn't make me a Christian. Here is an email I received this week:
My name is ****, and I just recently came across your website, www.jefflindsay.com , and I must say I took issue with a lot of the things you had to say.

But most prominently, your claim that Mormons are Christians.

This is an untrue claim because the LDS church rejects some of the most fundamental Christian doctrines. Being a Christian is not simply whether you claim Christ as your Lord and Savior, because Jesus said "Not everyone who says Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of God" (Matthew 7:21). He says only those who do the will of His Father. Christianity is not about what you say, but what you do. That's why James says "faith without works is dead" (James 2:20; 2:26).

We are saved not by works, but only by faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8, 9). If your denomination rejects this principle, it is not legitimately Christian. If we interpret Scripture by Scripture, we will realize that works cannot save us. When James says "faith without works is dead," he was saying that works are the evidence of our faith. We are saved *unto* good works, not *by* good works.

Also, the LDS church rejects the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity is a key doctrine for any legitimate Christian denomination. The Trinity, though not explicitly taught in Scripture, is implicitly taught. For instance, we get our first clear indication of the Trinity in Matthew 3:16-17. Jesus said, "Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father," (John 14:9). This statement would not make sense if Jesus and God were merely one in mind and intention. He says "If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father." They are one and the same. Jesus also said, "I and the Father are one," (John 10:30). He doesn't say "I and the Father are one in mind and intention," but He said "I and the Father are one." Period. Additionally, all the Jewish leaders knew that Jesus was claiming to be God. That's why they wanted Him put to death. There was no doubt in their minds that this Jesus was "blaspheming" by claiming to be God.

I understand that you don't know me, and I'm pretty much coming from out of left field here, but I really felt compelled to e-mail you about this website I came across. There are definitely more essential doctrines rejected by the LDS church, but I didn't want to bombard you right now. I would love for you to reply back to me and tell me what you think, and perhaps open a dialogue where we could discuss these matters.
I am increasingly tempted to just delete these, but shot off a quick reply anyway:
I absolutely believe that it is only through the grace of Christ that we are saved, and that we cannot possibly earn our way to heaven. But to accept the grace He offers, we seek to follow Him. Why did He say that we must "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments" when asked what one does to have eternal life in Matthew 19?

But how is it that a disagreement over how one interprets scripture can be used to deny someone's status as Christians? What is your definition of Christian? Someone who believes only exactly the way you do? What does the Bible give as the definition of "Christian"?

We fully agree with the Christ's statement that to see Him is to see the Father. But there are several ways it can be interpreted. What is your basis for requiring that the only way one can be Christian is to accept a formal creed crafter 400 years after Christ by bickering philosophers, when that creed is not found in the Bible but is based on human interpretations of scripture combined with Greek philosophy? What of Christians who accept what Christ said when He said he was going to ascend to His father in John 20:17, or accept what Stephen saw when in Acts 7 he saw Christ at the right hand of the Father? Is it not possible that two Beings are one in some way other than the metaphysical union of the creeds? Is accepting those verses literally cause for exclusion from your particular definition of Christian? And what about Christ explaining that Christians should be one in the same way He and His Father are one (John 17)? Doesn't that suggest a oneness other than metaphysical oneness of substance devoid of a tangible body? Why should accepting a reasonable interpretation of the oneness God other than the metaphysical postulates of 5th-century creeds result in condemnation as a non-Christian? Is there a Biblical basis for any of this?

So what is the true definition of Christian - one that would not exclude the earliest Christians of all who don't seem to have hear of modern Protestant views?

FYI, I have a page dealing in more detail on the oneness and unity of God.

31 comments:

AlexG said...

A great argument is done in the July Ensign by Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley. The First Presidency message deals with the Godhead topics in a very powerful way.

Why do we have to accept the 'Nicean' Jesus to be considered Christians? It seems that most of the Early apostles would not be considered 'Christians' by this person's standards.

Proud Daughter of Eve said...

That's why James says "faith without works is dead" (James 2:20; 2:26).

We are saved not by works, but only by faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8, 9).


Anyone else see a logical inconsistency here?

Good point about the Nicean Creed, alexg. It's a sure bet that Peter, so-called founder of Christianity (I have huge issues with him that I'm trying to work out...) had never heard of it.

I really wonder... why do so many Christians think Jesus was praying to Himself? And all that stuff about "No man cometh unto my father except by me." If Jesus and God were the same person, why all the stuff about the Father and the Son? Why wouldn't God simply have said "No man commeth to Me except by My Path?" *scratches head*

Helaman said...

So wait, I can't be a born again mormon (not according to shawn)?

I get so tired of the arguements why we aren't christians, and all that who-ha. How about we call ourselves whatever the believers were called before Christ was born...

CJ said...

Jeff,

I couldn't agree more with your reply.

I've never understood why many Protestants and Evangelicals think it obvious that John 14:9 ("Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father") is an implied affirmation of the Trinity. Sure it could be taken that way, but it could just as legitimately (and moreso, in my view) be seen as an affirmation of the Father and Son's unity of purpose and righteousness. That, combined with the many instances we have of the Son praying to the Father (among others you cite), makdes the argument for separate Beings as compelling as any other.

wanderingrose said...

The last time I was involved in one of these, the question was asked, by one of the *Christians* "Why are Mormons looking for validation of there christianity from a bunch of protestants anyway."

And I finally get it, it does not matter what anyone else says, only what I know in my own heart.

I am a christian, that is all that matters.

Palabra said...

This is just an issue of name-calling.

My seminary teacher once asked: "Are we polytheists because we believe the Trinity are 3 seperate beings?"

I replied, "I don't care if I'm polytheist or not. I just care if if I'm RIGHT."

That's the issue. It shouldn't matter how we're labeled - it should only matter whether or not we're following the Truth.

This guy forms his own definition of Chrisitianity and since we don't fit his definition, we're not Christians. Whoop-dee-do!

Who was it that said something to the effect of:

"If Christ were on the earth today and saw what people did in His name, he would say 'If that is Christianity, then I am not a Christian.'"

(I think it was C.S. Lewis. Anyone help me out?)

Stacey Pokorney, the "Party Crasher" said...

Hello, all,
I have written on many other issues posted on this website, and it may interest your readers that I am seeking a bridge between our two faiths. As a Protestant Christian, I am not looking to name-call. I do find it interesting that you have all lost patience with the question posed by the original poster.

Please consider, there are many beliefs that LDS hold that Protestant Christians simply do not understand. As I read the original post, I saw challenges posed, but not necessarily nasty confrontation. The writer, like me, has many questions. While that person (whom I do not know) and I may never choose to become Mormons, we do wish do understand the different stance the Mormon Church takes on many important issues.

One question I could ask - again, in peace, seeking links between us - is, if Mormons are Christians, as I believe they can be if their heart is in the right place, then why have so many Mormon leaders condemned Christianity in their writings?

I do not mean simple disagreement with minor issues, or small players in the LDS faith. Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and many, many other LDS Church leaders have written such things as all Christians are going to hell, Christian teachings are the work of Satan, etc. Yes, I am paraphrasing, but that truly is the gist of what was said.

That being the case, an objective mind has to ask...if Christian teachings are "evil," then why claim to be Christian?

I love Jesus as my Savior, and I happen to believe that many Mormons do as well. I do not think any of us are well served by becoming upset that non-LDS have what appear to be confrontative questions, as we do not understand your faith. Surely Mormon missionaries encounter many such inquiries on a regular basis, and are instructed not to lose patience.

Please do not assume that all non-LDS Christians mean to be ugly when we ask scriptural questions. The Trinity issue alone, when I read BOTH sides of the issue, is enough to give me a mental migraine for hours. It takes time and sometimes years of study to understand issues of faith.

Even so, in the end, we may all agree to disagree - but can't we do it in peace without hating each other? We probably have much more in common than we have differences.

Stacey Pokorney, the "Party Crasher" said...

After all, if you consider the issue of what happens to a person after they die, that one issue alone is very divisive between our two faiths.

Christians believe that a person who believes in Christ as their Lord and Savior goes to heaven after he or she dies.

As best as I can understand it, LDS believe that a righteous Mormon attains Godhood and becomes a God over their own planet. After years of studying the LDS faith, that is my understanding.

Now, as far as I am able to grasp it, those two beliefs are mutually exclusive. In other words, they can not both be true if we worship the same God. However, I would truly welcome any explanations you could provide as to how these two beliefs could work together for the same God.

I am trying to find a copmmon ground here - I mean no disrespect. I appreciate any light you folks can shed on this matter. Thanks!

Doug Forbes said...

Defining Christianity by doctrines Christ never taught is a very weak argument. One way to answer these assertion is to ask, "When did Jesus say that?"

Stacey Pokorney, the "Party Crasher" said...

Can you be more clear, Doug? Which doctrines did Christ not teach that are being used to define Christianity? Or am I misunderstanding your message?

Walker said...

I don't think ugliness drives the issues either, Stacey. However, when men misunderstand while refusing to be corrected (something I encountered quite a bit on my mission), that has an incredible ability to annoy. People tend to get a touch ticked when they're stubbornly told what they do and don't believe.

As far as these teachings that Christian teachings are from hell, what have you, I would need specific quotations. That said, if you were to ask any Mormon I know the FUNDAMENTAL questions of Christianity: "Do you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and the source of all salvation, light, truth, etc.?" they would give an un abashed YES! However, in the past and its coming back more now, we have sought to distinguish our teachings from non-denominational Christianity. Some folks have accused us having a "Jesus plus (blank) gospel." Hardly. We only believe these things BECAUSE we believe that Jesus is at the helm.

All that being said, I have little doubt, mind you, that you can find a few random quotes in JOurnal of Discourses substantiating these beliefs. However, I can find precisely opposite quotes in other respectable (some would say, more respectable) sources. In any case, MY scriptures (Doctrine and Covenants section 76) teach me that all those individuals who were honest in heart, were the good men of the earth blinded by the craftiness of men, etc will receive the presence of Jesus Christ (Mormons refer to this as the terrestial kingdom).

Does that help?

Stacey Pokorney, the "Party Crasher" said...

Hi, Walker. Glad to provide a few quotes from my research, as follows:

Brigham Young said that the "Christian God is the Mormon's Devil..." (Journal of Discourses, Volume 5, page 331).
John Taylor said that Christianity was "hatched in hell" (Journal of Discourses, Volume 6, page 176) and "a perfect pack of nonsense...the Devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work..." (Journal of Discourses, Volume 6, page 167).
Bruce R. McConkie said, "What is the church of the devil in our day, and where is the seat of her power?.... It is all of the systems, both Christian and non-Christian, that perverted the pure and perfect gospel.... It is communism; it is Islam; it is Buddhism; it is modern Christianity in all its parts. It is Germany under Hitler, Russia under Stalin, and Italy under Mussolini." (The Millennial Messiah, pp. 54-55.)

I agree that many Mormons accept Jesus as their Savior. I think what most non-LDS Christians object to is being told on one hand that our faith is all wrong, yet LDS wish to be called Christian also, as they are the only "true" Christians.

Many of the postings I have read today on this topic have ranged from indignant to outright hostile at the notion that Mormons are not also Christians. Can you see that perhaps non-LDS Christians might take offense at those calling us "wrong" wanting to be called by the same label?

Walker, and all others here, I am only presenting my side of my faith, and showing what I have found in my religious research. I do not mean to upset anyone. Consider that there are many religions that claim to know Jesus, yet do not call themselves Christian.

Muslims, for example, believe Jesus was a divine prophet. They call him Yeshua. They do not, however, call themselves Christian, nor do they seek the title. I have many Muslim friends and I would submit to you that they are no less devout in their beliefs, kind and good hearted, and honor Allah (they claim this is the same God that Christians and Mormons worship) in all that they do.

In other words, no one here would claim that I, due to my faith in Jesus, am a Mormon. Mormons and Christians have MANY differences in faith, some very, very distinct to the point of being what I would call religious "deal breakers." That does not mean I respect Mormons any less, nor am I saying you have no right to believe as you do, that I am right and you are wrong, etc.

Consider how many centuries Christians and Jews hated each other, how many centuries Catholics and Protestants hated each other, etc. As long as both sides of these arguments sigh, grow impatient and shake their heads at each others' ridiculousness, we will get nowhere in understanding each other.

Walker said...

Frankly, I'm not even a fan of the premise of this discussion. Semantics mean little to nothing for me. For many (not all, of course), the title "Christian" has become a political buzzword meant to throw meat for a theological constituency.


Call us whatever you like. Differ with us where you want. Just don't turn to red-meat rhetoric to oversimplify an issue in order to engage real theological discourse. I need not point to the VOLUMES that indicate our belief Jesus Christ as
1) Savior of the World
2) Son of God
3) Heir to Father
4) Creator of Heaven and Earth

It is wrong theologically to place us in the same category as Islam.

On the quotes, just so we get some context:

"Christian God is the Mormon's Devil..."

This is a paraphrase, not a direct quote. It reads: "the god they worshipped was the "Mormons'" devil—a being without a body, whereas our God has a body, parts, and passions. The Devil was cursed and sent down from heaven. He has no body of his own."

Brigham is commenting here on the difference between the anthropomorphic view of God (Exodus chapter 33) and the creeds' version of God. He was NOT making a blanket statement on our view of Christ or even Christianity. I need not point to other statements by Joseph extolling other Christian religions for the principles they embody

"Hatched in hell"--you need to read further in the sermon. Brigham was quoting Taylor to indicate that it is a hellish doctrine to entrust salvation TO ONE'S PRIEST. See below:
"Go to their meetings in the Christian world, and you will hear them remark, "Our ministers dictate our souls' salvation;" and they are perfectly composed and resigned to trust their whole future destiny to their priests, though they durst not trust them with one single dollar beyond their salaries and a few presents."

"a perfect pack of nonsense..."
Taylor offers a VERY important caveat: "the Christianity of the nineteenth century."

The question on McConkie is one of premise, not of McCOnkie's view of Christianity. If one believes there is one true church, then Bruce R. McConkie's statement is more reasonable. If there is ONE true church, that means that everyone else has some degree of falsehood. Where does falsehood come from other than the devil? He speaks of Christianity as an institution, not as a theological belief. This does not reflect on the man who said:

"I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.

But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God's Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way."

John said...

I think what may be coming across as hostility is really just misunderstood tedium. Please understand, this comes up ALL the time and, as I will discuss a little further down, is fairly offensive to many Mormons.

First, in no way do I nor any Mormon I know want to be confused with Protestantism. We are not a breakoff of the Catholic church, we do not come from the same roots as mainstream Christianity, and we have many vastly differing doctrinal views. So if you call that group "Christians," then we are not them. I am proud of my heritage as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are unique in so many ways and I have no desire to confuse the differences between us and any other group. For this reason, I have no problem being separated from "Christians," that is, Catholicism/Protestantism.

The flip side is that the name "Christian" infers discipleship of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is exactly what Mormons are all about. Christ is the center of our faith. We worship Him as the Son of God and Savior of the world. Mormons study scripture with a sincere desire to live the teachings of Christ. Imagine yourself in such a circumstance. You worship Christ as your Savior and strive to follow His teachings, yet people insist on calling you non-Christian, which has historically been equivalent to heathenism. That notion is personally offensive to me. Further, it is a dishonest and inaccurate representation of who we are and what we believe.

My personal conviction is that no group owns the right to define Christianity in terms of "us" and "them." Christian, to me, means a follower of Jesus Christ. People have the right to define their own Protestant, Mormon, Catholic, or what-have-you boundaries all they want, but it seems wrong to me for a single group of people to be deciding who is or who is not a follower of Christ.

Anonymous said...

Now, as far as I am able to grasp it, those two beliefs are mutually exclusive. In other words, they can not both be true if we worship the same God. However, I would truly welcome any explanations you could provide as to how these two beliefs could work together for the same God.


I do not see them as exclusive -

According to LDS thought, those that are good Chirstians will be judged and rewarded with placement in the Terrestial Kingdom (Christian Heaven)- ruled over by Jesus and will be in a place of peace and joy. Many Mormons will be there as well. For those that have accepted the additional covenants required for progression (as done in the temple) they will be able to progress and become a co-creator with God.

Randall said...

Anonymous said:

"For those that have accepted the additional covenants required for progression (as done in the temple) they will be able to progress and become a co-creator with God."

read: for 10% of your income you get the gold circle award (celestial kingdom) for most righteousness on earth. Those not willing to pay a full 10% get the cheaper seats in the Telestial kingdom. Kind of like a rock concert or Mary Kay event.

Anonymous said...

Stacey said: "In other words, no one here would claim that I, due to my faith in Jesus, am a Mormon. Mormons and Christians have MANY differences in faith, some very, very distinct to the point of being what I would call religious 'deal breakers.'"


My LDS husband is attending a theological seminary. I find the range of beliefs among the Christians who attend school there most interesting.

There are some students who believe in a corporeal God, while most others believe otherwise.

There are some students who believe that God is male, but when giving prayers publicly, you have to refer to God in gender-neutral terms so as not to offend the rest.

There are some students who believe that homosexuality is wrong, and there are many homosexual students attending there, and some faculty.

There are some students who believe that only men should have the priesthood, while others believe that "you have to BE like Jesus, no pee like Jesus" to hold the priesthood.

There are some students who believe that there is no devil/hell/sin.

There are some students who believe that everyone will be saved, in spite of whether or not they believe in Christ. There are students who believe otherwise.

There are some students who believe in the infallibility of the Bible, but the bookstore sells books like "Misquoting Jesus" which explain how and why the Bible was changed. Interestingly enough, it was written by a Protestant author.

There are some students that believe that Jesus didn't really die on the cross, that he just went into a trance, and didn't really resurrect, but that he was a really great teacher. These students are going for their Masters in Divinity, same as those who believe completely opposite.

There are some students who believe that baptism is necessary for salvation, and others who don't.

So, I guess in light of these things, my question is "What are the unifying beliefs that make Christians Christian?" What makes a "deal breaker?"

Thanks, Stacey, for all of your thoughtful posts, btw.

cayblood said...

Stacey, I think others have already responded well to some of the quotes you present. I just wanted to point out another important aspect to consider as you investigate the teachings of early Mormon leaders. Many of these men were harassed, abused and driven from their lands by professed Christians. Read Jeff's earlier post (http://mormanity.blogspot.com/2006/07/my-parents-were-not-people-of-blood.html) for a harrowing tale of some of the diabolical cruelties inflicted upon the early Latter-day saints by so-called "Christians." Granted, anyone who would do such things is not a real Christian, but the point is that many of these villains attended local Christian congregations and belonged to many of the more "mainstream" Christian denominations of their time. In light of this context, it is a little easier to see why these early Mormons might have been more vocal in their expressions of contempt for what they perceived as a largely hypocritical and ineffective version of Christianity.

Bishop Rick said...

Well, I hate to disagree with those who profess that Mormons are not Protestants. Protestants are Christians that protested the established Christian religion (Catholicism).

Now isn't that exactly what Joseph Smith did? That would make Mormons Protestants (and Christians) as well.

None of the Protestant religions believe the same way or why else would there be so many denominations? So why single out the Mormons for believing differently?

It sounds to me that this person (not Stacy) is really just searching for a platform for discussion of religious differences and merely used the term Christian as the initiator.

Certainly nothing to get hostile over though.

Mormanity said...

Stacey, again I thank you for your comments and, if you are willing, would welcome a guest post or two so that your perspectives might be understood and commented on more broadly.

There are some snide remarks from early Church members and leaders about "Christians" that, when taken out of textual and historical context, appear to distance us from Christianity. And they do - but from the nineteenth "Christianity" of dangerous religious bigots (many of the mobs that drove the saints across the country were inspired by so-called Christian ministers), as Walker points out, and from what was seen as apostate doctrines not found in the Bible.
Some info is at http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_Christian.shtml.

Pops said...

Both grace and works are components of salvation/exaltation. Our minds can separate them as concepts, but in external reality you can't separate grace and works any more than you can separate wet from water.

Modern-day revelation gives valuable insight into the relationship between grace and works. Think of it as Christ carrying each of us, one by one, across a bottomless chasm which we could not otherwise cross. He then sets us on the ground and points to a trail, admonishing us to travel it if we wish to return to him. He then disappears up the trail.

Some refuse and remain where they are, not believing. Others begin the walk. The trail begins to gradually slope upward. As it becomes steeper, more and more drop out and return, not thinking it worth the effort.

There is a large clearing, perhaps halfway up, where many congregate, thinking they have done well enough. It is a pleasant and wonderful meadow, with inviting cool streams and beautiful flowers.

A few persist on. The trail becomes steeper, rocky, and shrouded in fog and mist. But there is a handrail to hang onto for guidance. It becomes so steep and treacherous that it is impossible to continue without abandoning all our baggage, our precious possessions. We must be absolutely focused on the trail and continue pushing forward with every ounce of effort. Sweat, tears, and blood are shed. A few reach the top, and there are welcomed by Christ into a splendid shining city.

So, do those who arrive at the city "earn" their reward? Did they build the city? Did they build the trail? Did they install the handrail on the trail? Did they discover the trail on their own? Did they carry themselves across the bottomless chasm? Clearly not.

They could not receive their reward had not Christ prepared it and given it to them. He does not ask them to pay admission, but it is granted freely to all who arrive at the gates. But it can only be entered by those who make the effort to arrive at the gates of the city.

Copedi said...

Stacey said: As best as I can understand it, LDS believe that a righteous Mormon attains Godhood and becomes a God over their own planet. After years of studying the LDS faith, that is my understanding.

I'm Mormon, and that's not my understanding. We do believe that we will become like God, yes, but as far as I know there is no official belief that we'll rule over our own planets. It certainly doesn't say that in the scriptures. The scriptures don't say otherwise either, so maybe it's true and maybe it isn't.

In any case, we do believe that we will be like God. And we believe that on good authority: "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:3, NIV)

So, since other Christians also believe the Bible, the idea that we'll be godlike isn't specifically an LDS belief.

Doug Forbes said...

Hi Party Crasher,

Doctrines Jesus did NOT say a word about.

The Trinity - Although Jesus talked about the Holy Ghost, and God the Father, He never espoused the doctrine of the Trinity as laid out in the Council of Nicea. Much less did he state that belief in it was a requirement for salvation.

As it happens, Mormons do believe most of what the majority decided at Nicea. However, the line of authority was broken before Nicea.

Doug Forbes said...

Hi Party Crasher,

I'm not trying to avoid other doctrines, Jesus never espoused but are still regarded as doctrine by "traditional" Christianity, but I want to be clear. Take the following quote from the Christian Apologetic & Research Ministry (CARM).

"God is a trinity of persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the same person as the Son; the Son is not the same person as the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit is not the same person as Father. They are not three gods and not three beings. They are three distinct persons; yet, they are all the one God. Each has a will, can speak, can love, etc., and these are demonstrations of personhood. They are in absolute perfect harmony consisting of one substance. They are coeternal, coequal, and copowerful. If any one of the three were removed, there would be no God. … The chart below should help you to see how the doctrine of the Trinity is systematically derived from Scripture."

I don't necessarily feel there is anything wrong with this kind of intellectual Christianity, but right or wrong, agreement with the reasoning of Christian intellectuals is not a requirement for salvation according to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Stacey Pokorney, the "Party Crasher" said...

Hello, everyone,
I appreciate everyone's thoughts and insights into why Mormons believe what they do.
I think there is still the misperception out there that I am trying to be mean or confrontative, so I have to say, no, that's not my style. I have always been curious about the LDS faith ever since I dated a Mormon in college. So although it has been many years later (okay, 19 years later) and I have studied various aspects of the Mormon faith since then, I personally do not believe in many of the teachings of the LDS church. However, I still think it is important to study and learn from the LDS faith, and I believe it is important for those who claim fellowship with Jesus to try and understand one another.

Another misconception I am seeing repeated here is that non-LDS Christians, because there are differences in the way our various denominations think, that we all have a problem with each other, or that Protestant Christians do not accept Mormons as such. I think many Protestants do in fact accept that Mormons are Christians. However, those that do not accept them as such are most likely taking issue with the same things I have questioned here and elsewhere.

Protestant denominations such as the Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Episcopalians, etc., all have their own histories, and all have their reasons for being what they are. Most of the time the reasons they are different from one another is cultural, or based on location (Anglicans, for example, are almost completely located in England, and are identical to Catholics in every way except how they view divorce). Some differences are historical in nature - Baptists vs. Southern Baptists, for example, who split over the issue of slavery. On the whole, though, most non-LDS Christians do not think in the same fashion as the writer here approached Mr. Lindsay. In other words, a Methodist does not look at a Baptist and say, "Well, they're not REALLY Christians, because...." fill in the blank. So while many here would liken our various denominations' disagreements with the clash between Mormonism and Christianity, the truth is it isn't really the same level of hostility between us that LDS receive on a daily basis.

I am sure it must be ugly to be a college-age Mormon male going to a party and being asked snidely how many wives he has, or for a Mormon housewife to be teased for how many dozens of children she plans to have. This is pure bigotry and it has no place in religious discussion. I hope you folks realize that other people of other faiths are also faced with this ugliness, although probably not on the same level that you all are.

Anyway, Mormanity asked for a link so we could discuss things further, and although I do not have my own website, I welcome any e-mails or discussions (please keep them friendly, as that's how I do try to keep mine) at my personal e-mail address:
staceypokorney@yahoo.com

Also, I've been out of the loop this weekend as my husband is suffering from a very stubborn kidney stone (HOW STUBBORN? ALMOST AS STUBBORN AS HE IS!! :-)
So I would appreciate any kind thoughts or prayers as he is going in to surgery this morning.
Thanks to all, and may God richly bless all of us with better understanding of each other.
Stacey Pokorney
Dallas, TX

Pops said...

My Saturday post, done in haste, was apparently not interesting. It did, however, contain an error. I should have stated that faith and works are two sides of the same coin, not grace and works.

What I meant to say about the relationship between faith/works and grace is that exaltation requires 100% of the grace framework and 100% of the spiritual exertion of the individual, rather than 80/20 or 99/1 or whatever, as some LDS writers seem to imply.

The larger point is that no small portion of the disagreement between LDS and the "LDS aren't Christians" crowd seems to arise from a fundamental misunderstanding of what the LDS actually believe, advanced in part by the use of snippets of doctrine and commentary that make complete sense within their context, including the broader context of the LDS body of culture and beliefs, but take on a completely different meaning when considered outside that context.

As an example, when an LDS commentator states that exaltation requires that a person do everything they can and Christ does the rest, they are speaking of the personal responsibility of a disciple of Christ and how it is even thinkable that one can follow the admonition of Christ, "Be ye therefore perfect". In the crude analogy of my previous post, it speaks of how Christ will assist a person on their spriritual struggles up the trail of life. The gifts of the resurrection and salvation are understood and implied. There is no intent to diminish or ignore grace by focusing on faith/works.

Shawn said...

Hi Stacey!

Hope you husband feels better soon... :)

-Shawn

Stacey Pokorney, the "Party Crasher" said...

Thanks so much, Shawn. He's home now and he sounds like he's higher than a kite on pain meds. But at least the kidney stone has been removed. Too bad the stubbornness remains...;-)

schex said...

Oops, I didn't realize this "Christian" issue was a double header. I just posted over at Golden Marbles but I think its obvious that this attempt at excluding Mormons from the term "Christian" does cause a lot of divisiveness, and even though I shouldn't be upset about it, I am.

And this is because the fundamental nature of the argument is so flawed. I remember a few months ago seeing a religious show on the public access channel. The guests that day were two "missionaries" from the local mega-Church, who had been assigned to inform the populace about the danger of the "cults". But when they were put to the actual question, "What practices or beliefs make these "cults" so harmful" all they (with very stern faces) could reply was, that being involved in "cults" could be dangerous to your salvation. That was the full extent of their argument in its entirety.

But I think we all know what they were referring to. It all comes back to those darned creeds, those abominations of man, those philosophical and academic requirements of salvation. Why if we didn't have these, how would any of us (post 4th century) ever make it to heaven??

Perhaps the Christian community as a whole should adopt the use of the term "Creedists" to delineate those who believe they can determine the salvation of others by their man-made creeds, and allow the term Christian to refer back to its original (pre-Nicean) meaning, that being a person who has chosen to follow Jesus Christ and partake of his atoning sacrifice.

That would seem to make better sense of a word composed of Christ's name with a "ian" tagged on the end of it.

lintthief said...

Alright, so there the debate will continue, weather mormons are christians or non christians. I'm sure all mormons wish to be christian as they Identify themselves.

Now what i want to state is, If you follow a false prophet, i think that would clearly indicate that at least the doctrine you follow is false. First I want to ask, what by deifinition is a prophet?

Dictionary.com defines a prophet as someone who speaks on behalf of God. Someone with Devine Intervention and someone who fortells the future.

We will look at the Prophet Joseph Smith, who claimed he saw God and spoke Gods word. He also fortold the future, and much of his prophecies are in the Doctrine and Covenants. On the lds.org website.

Now if a prophecy from a prophet did not come true, would that not mean that it is a false prophecy? I am sure that everyone would agree that is common sense. But if a prophet who told about a prophecy and it did not come true, wouldnt that make him a false prophet for not telling the truth.

I know that thats what Moses told us when he spoke of it in (Deut. 18:20-22) So let me ask which of the prophecies of Joseph Smith have come true? Or let it be one that has not come true. I am certain that most members of the LDS church dont know even 5 of Smith's prophecies because they are simply not taught due to being false.

There are many prophecies that did were talked of by Smith, but did not happen,
We will look at "The building of the NEW TEMPLE in New Jeruselum:

In the Doctrine and Covenants 84 vs 2-5. If you read this from http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/84
it indicates that a temple would be built in Missouri,(most likely Independance) and that the generation would not pass away until the temple was built.

Okay well first of all how long is a generation? We will allow 100 years for a generation, which logically is not even close. More like 50 years max.

Smith spoke this in 1832 so 100years would be 1932. there was no temple, and actually it Looks like he's about 74 years late. Of course it is more.

Although There is a temple being built in independance, but it is being contructed by the RLDS; a sect which the LDS consider a cult. No chance that they have any communication together.

Here is one prophecy of many that did not come true which were told by Joseph Smith, So if a prophet tells something that is false, does it not make that prophet false as moses stated in (Deut. 18:20-22) Think about it and reflect. I rec'd some of my info from other sources, http://saintsalive.org/mormonism/falseprophetjs.htm. Have an open mind, and just read it and cross reference with the Doctrine and Covenants to find out for yourself. I know you feel you follow Christ, but please dont follow a false prophet.

Hey something could be wrong It is clear in non anti-mormon literature what joseph smith was saying. Dont be ignorant to the possibility.

Missionaries ask us to listen to them, and we do,so it's our turn, listen to what we have to say. If you can still find truth in your beliefs, then what is the harm done?

Anonymous said...

Hi lintthief,

There is already a clear response to your question at: http://en.fairmormon.org/index.php/Independence_temple_to_be_built_%22in_this_generation%22

In summary:
1) "shall build" can be a directive as well as a prediction.
2) the call to build that temple was rescinded in D&C 124:49, 51
3) "generation" can mean something other than a lifespan. Even Jesus used "generation" in Matt 24:34 to mean a time period far longer than a lifespan.

Fairmormon.org is a great place to look for answers to all such questions/challenges from anti-LDS websites, DVDs and other sources.