Are Mormons Christian?

Many people have asked if have questioned if Mormons are Christian. Most of the criticism comes from traditional Trinitarians that say Mormons believe in a “different Jesus”. They claim that Jesus is the second person in hypostatic union between man and a homoousios, triune God.

If you didn’t understand that, it’s okay. Most of them don’t either since none of those terms are found in the Bible. But, that is the definition of Jesus that they believe Him to be as found in the Trinity (which we discuss here).

No, Mormons do not believe in that unbiblical definition of Jesus, but does that make them not Christian?

What is a “Christian”?

Just as these Trinitarians have redefined who Jesus is, Christians have also redefined the term “Christian”. Historical records show what the original definition of “Christian” meant.

The chrism is superior to baptism, for it is from the word “Chrism” that we have been called “Christians,” certainly not because of the word “baptism”. And it is because of the chrism that “the Christ” has his name. For the Father anointed the Son, and the Son anointed the apostles, and the apostles anointed us.(Gospel of Philip, Nag Hammadi Library)

The Greek word “chrism” means “to anoint”. It was an “unction” (a physical ordinance) that made them “Christians”. This is further evidenced by Cyril of Jerusalem (350 AD) who wrote:

Having been counted worthy of this Holy Chrism, ye are called Christians, verifying the name also by your new birth. For before you were deemed worthy of this grace, ye had properly no right to this title, but were advancing on your way towards being Christians. (On the Mysteries 3.5)

Cyril calls being “Christian” a title, one that they advanced toward, one that they had to be “counted worthy” for. It was not a title that they just automatically received by having some “born again” experience and claiming to “follow Jesus”.

Both “Christ” in Greek, as well as “Messiah” in Hebrew, mean “The Anointed One”. Jesus is “the Christ” because He was anointed as such by the Father. (see Acts 10:38) It is His title. He earned His title… with His life.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost

The chrism was also associated with receiving the Holy Ghost. The apostle John wrote both of these scriptures:

But ye have an unction (chrisma) from the Holy One, and ye know all things … But the anointing (chrisma) which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing (chrisma) teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. (1 John 2:20,27)

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26)

Since we know that it is the Holy Ghost that abides in us, and teaches us all things, John is referring that it is the unction, the physical ordinance, that gives us that gift.

To Mormons it is known as the confirmation. When Mormons are confirmed by the laying on of hands, they actually have more right to the title of “Christian” than modern-day Christians do.

Chrism is also oil

Just to avoid confusion, the word “chrism” has also been used in reference to an oil that was used in ancient times during certain ordinances. The word has become synonymous in the Orthodox religions as they are used for the same purpose.

But, Mormons have that covered, also. In God’s temples, members have to be “counted worthy”, it is something they “progress toward”, and they receive the Initiatory ordinance by washing with water, and an anointing with oil.

So, either way, they still have more right to the title of “Christian” than most modern-day Christians do. The problem is what do we call the usurpers who have stolen the title?

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Is God Evil?

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And God saw that it was good. (The Bible)

To see the nature of a creator, all we must do is look at what they created. A morally corrupt or evil being cannot, or would not, create anything good. A morally good creator would not create anything evil.

In the beginning, our earth was good. We were created in the image of our Creator on a beautiful and wondrous planet designed for us. From looking at God’s creation, we can infer that He is morally good.

An evil God would likely have created us as intelligent microbes living on the surface of Jupiter torturing us forever. Since we are not on Jupiter, we can infer that God is not morally evil.

We also have to remember that while our Earth was initially created good, it was later corrupted by evil. That is why God can be morally good and there is evil in our world today.

We are Created in his Image and Likeness

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:27)

It’s interesting to note how traditional Christians believe in this scripture, but they don’t really believe it. Even though Seth was in the likeness and image of his father Adam, and Adam was in the likeness and image of God (see Genesis 5:1-3). And if A = B, and B = C, then A = C. So God would also be in the likeness and image of Seth. Right?

Well, not in their world, the math doesn’t add up. They don’t believe the words likeness and image mean what they say since, to them, God is a spirit without “body, parts, or passions.” They have redefined the words likeness and image to mean that we have taken on the same “person” traits that God has. That means that we can love since He loves. We can feel sad similar to the way He weeps for his creation. We can feel the same sense of mercy and justice that He has… wait, wut?

Justice equals Fairness

We, as human beings, have an innate sense of good and evil, right and wrong, fair and unfair. We know innately that causing someone pain is bad and causing them pain for unjust reasons is unfair. It’s called a conscience, and while some people can block it out, we all have one.

We also know that it is wrong and unjust to imprison and torture anyone for their entire lives, no matter what their crime. We also know it wrong to imprison someone for a crime their father committed. We just don’t do it.

However, if we know it’s wrong, why doesn’t God know it? In other words, how does a morally good God justify creating an intelligent species that is destined to be tortured and burned in the agonizing suffering of a fiery Hell for eternity? That’s forever and ever. With no reprieve. Ever.

Well, first they try to blame Adam and the Fall in order to dehumanize mankind, punishing us for the crime of our ancestors by claiming we have “original sin” and are unworthy to enter God’s presence. Yet, does that make us “worthy” to be tortured for eternity?

How many babies have been born and died who have never heard the name of Jesus, only to tortured, forever, all because of “original sin”? How many young children are going to burn forever for their own sins, even if it’s only one sin, simply because their parents were Atheist and they died of cancer, never having the chance of hearing of Jesus.

If even one baby or child is imprisoned and tortured in Hell simply for the crime of being born to the wrong parents, we innately know that is NOT fair. That is not a Fair God. If God is not Fair, He is not Just. If He is not Just, He is not morally Good. If He is not a morally Good… He is Evil.

To deny that is to believe that God gave us a different and separate sense of Justice that the one He has. Therefore, we cannot have been created in the image of God.

No amount of rationalizing or interpretations from the Bible can overcome this contradiction.

Christians aren’t the only ones

The problem is, Mainstream Christians aren’t the only one to believe in this unfair, evil God.  Islam’s version of Jahannam is similar to the blazing fire of Hell unless you follow Allah and his prophet Muhammad. All “enemies” of Islam (especially Jews and Christians) are immediately judged and sent there, including their children. Again, not very fair.

In fact, ANY religion that requires exclusive access to their own worldview makes it unfair to those who don’t have the same access. Especially for little ones who die before ever learning that worldview.

And if a worldview or religion is not Fair, it is not Just. If it is not Just, it is not Good. And if it’s not Good, well… That’s the definition of Evil.

Trying to Overcome these Objections

There are many that do find the Christian concept of Hell abhorrent and have changed their belief system about it. Some believe that this life is the end, that there is nothing beyond. But, even this belief has problems that make God evil.

It isn’t fair that people like Adolph Hitler of Germany, Joseph Stalin of Russia, Mao Tze-tung of China, and other evil dictators who caused millions of deaths and an untold amount of suffering, would avoid a punishment for crimes. There must be a judgement for God to be fair.

Another belief is Universalism, that all men will eventually find their way to Heaven and be reconciled to God. They believe that wicked men will be punished by taking longer to get there than say someone like Mother Teresa. But is it ultimately fair that they receive the same reward as someone like Mother Theresa or the Apostles and other martyrs who died for Jesus? Most people would say no. However, it does get us a little closer to the truth.

Ultimately, it still has problems of its own. What about people that just don’t want to go to heaven? Is it fair to force them to go there? It does raise a debate on whether or not we should force people to do what’s good for them, but a morally good God would never use force to unjustifiably send someone where they don’t want to go.

Mormonism has the only solution

The only way to make God truly good and fair is by taking it out of His hands and putting the choice into ours. When it’s our choice, there is no one else to blame but ourselves.

The only real solution is to have a universal salvation with a works based reward system. This is what Mormonism teaches. Mormons believe that everyone will stand before the Judgement Bar of Christ. For it is written, “every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:11-12) Those that will not bow to Him reject His salvation and will end up with Satan and his followers. That way nobody can blame God for going to Hell, they can only blame themselves.

Those that bow to Him still must give an accounting of themselves and be judged. So, it’s still not fair if Hitler accepts Jesus and receives the same reward as Mother Teresa. Why try to live a good life here if we can all receive the same reward? Well, it is true that living a good life here does have some benefits and living a bad one has consequences. But, it can also lead to unfair jealousy that “bad” people get the same reward as “good” ones.

The Bible has an answer for this. Paul taught resurrection of the dead to life comes in different degrees of glory.

There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:41-42)

In 1832, Joseph Smith, along with one of his counselors, Sidney Rigdon, saw The Father and His Son, Jesus. They received revelation concerning these and other Bible verses. That revelation is contained in the Doctrine & Covenants section 76.

It’s brilliant how this revelation describes the rewards awaiting those who do good and follow the Gospel, and the punishment of those who cause misery. Each person receives salvation based on their faith in Jesus Christ, AND a reward based on their works they perform in this life. Our treasure in heaven is a resurrected body that will be more glorious the more good works we accomplish.

This is the only way that makes God just, fair, merciful, and keeps Him morally good.

Joseph Smith is the only one that fully understood this. He really was a prophet.

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