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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What is Salvation to a Mormon?

“Have you been saved?” You’ve probably heard that by more than one preacher on the street, on TV, or some other advertisement.

The problem is Mormon’s and Mainstream Christians have different definitions for salvation. While they agree on the need for salvation and how it brings us back into the presence of God, they differ on the substance of what salvation is.

There is nothing we can do ourselves to cross this chasm of sin and death. No amount of righteous works will get us to the other side, these Christians claim, because “our works were made as filthy rags” (see Isaiah 64:6).

Salvation was only made possible by Jesus Christ through the Atonement. He created a “bridge” to God and made it possible to return to Him through grace.

So, to most Christians, salvation is a destination. It is very black and white for them; you are either saved, or you are not. If you are saved you are going to Heaven. If you are not, you are punished in the fiery, burning pits of Hell for eternity. With no reprieve. Ever. That doesn’t sound like a very good God.

But, all we have to do to avoid that is to accept Jesus Christ into our hearts. Right? That claim only creates more problems than it avoids. What about a Muslim baby who dies and goes to Hell because of original sin? What about an Atheist child who dies young and goes to Hell because of her own sins, never having the chance to hear the name of Jesus.

Is God so evil that he would condemn someone just for the crime of being born to the wrong parents?

 

Mormon Salvation

There is a third option. Jesus describes Himself as the way, a path to follow.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

That sounds like a journey, which is exactly the way Mormons view salvation. It is not a destination, but a bridge to travel across.

Mormons ARE saved. They are with Jesus, following his example across His Bridge, doing the works that He asked them to do. They will stay saved as long as they don’t go back, or jump off the bridge (also known as enduring to the end).

  • Protestant Christians will say we are saved by grace without works.
  • Mormons say we are saved by grace and REWARDED for our works.

The Gate

So, how do we get on this Bridge of Salvation? We must enter at the gate.

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

The Book of Mormon tells us what this gate is, it is a cleansing of our spirits, a remission of our sins, and it can only be done through Baptism.

For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost. (2 Nephi 31:17)

This is a true remission of our sins, not just a justification of our sins through faith, like other Christians have redefined to fit their theology. The justification that Protestants teach is an avoidance of the punishment for our sins. If that is true, then Orenthal James Simpson was justified in killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown. Simpson avoided his punishment, that is the justification these “Christians” preach.

So, the difference in what Salvation does for us is relevant. When Paul saw Jesus on the road to Damascus, he believed! He had more than just faith, he had knowledge. He also still had sins. After Ananias healed Paul’s blindness he told Paul, “arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (see Act 22:16)

When we are baptised, we become clean. Our sins are forgiven.

Baptism not a Requirement

Even then, baptism is not always a requirement. The Book of Mormon says little children have no sin.

the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them (Moroni 8:8)

So, babies and little children of other faiths are NOT going to Hell. The ancient prophet, Mormon, tells us that original sin and infant baptism is wrong. It is only the “sick” that need a “physician”, only once we sin that need to become clean again. That cleansing is done through baptism, immersed in water, performed by someone with the authority to do so.

It is also why Mormons perform baptism by proxy for those who have died. Those who did not have the chance in this life to hear of Jesus’ plan will have that “first chance” to accept it on the other side of the veil.

This amazing doctrine, taught only by Joseph Smith during his day, is more evidence WHY he was a prophet. It’s the only way that makes God good and just

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Click Here to find out why Mormons are Christian.

Why Polygamy?

I lived in Southern Utah for a while and saw first hand the concerns that polygamy causes; including child abuse, male domination and sexism, jealousy, secrecy and avoidance of others, etc. Most people are aware of the Fundamentalist LDS Church that practices polygamy as their leader, Warren Jeffs, has been in the news and is currently serving in prison for child abuse. THOSE are the very reasons why polygamy was taken away from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over 100 years ago. God knows the consequences when polygamy is lived unrighteously. He knows that when man is given a good thing it has the potential of being abused. The FLDS Church is the perfect example to show us that.

So, why did He command polygamy in the first place? There’s an exception in the Book of Mormon that allows for polygamy when it is needed.

Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord… For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;…

For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things. (Jacob 2:24,27,30)

God basically says many wives are bad, BUT, to “raise up seed unto me” sometimes it is necessary. And back in the mid 1800’s in the wild west, it was necessary.

Raising up a “Seed”

Growing up in the desolate and arid deserts of Utah and Arizona gives one a different perspective than those who live in more moderate climates. It’s HOT. It’s desolate. It’s rough terrain. It’s a harsh environment. Did I mention it’s HOT?

Back when the Mormons moved out West there was no air conditioning, no cars, no supermarkets, no dishwashers, refrigerators, phones, or any other modern convenience. There wasn’t even a railroad.

The men were out all day working farms and businesses, and the women had to prepare the food, cook the food, clean the house, take care of and watch children, wash clothes, and the many chores of running a household and family. And it took ALL DAY. Then they had to start all over again the next day.

If I were a woman back during those days, I’d be praying to God for help. But, He had already sent help… another woman. By allowing polygamy, “sister wives” freed up women to do more. One wife could teach and watch the children, while another cooked, while another cleaned, while another could even get a job in town. They could help each other, cry on each other’s shoulders, and they could relax once in a while. And, they could have more children and “raise up a seed” unto God.

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: (Psalm 127:3-5)

The only drawback, they had to share a husband.

WE might think it’s strange now, but for them, out in the wilderness, it was a way of life. It was a blessing.

They weren’t as sexed a society as we are today; even though, yes, the sexual aspect was abused. There were problems and there was sin, but that’s the only thing critics focus on. What we don’t hear from them are the success stories, and there were many.

Life Got Easier

Back East they heard the problems polygamy caused. They they didn’t understand what it was like out in the deserts, and the blessing it was to colonize the West. Political advocates sought laws to ban the practice.

But by then, the steam train had come to Salt Lake. They included refrigerator cars that could carry ice and perishable foods. Goods such as heavy stoves, iron tools, plows, and other necessities were flowing and being traded much easier. They built factories and stores.

Life was getting easier on the Pioneers. Because of that, “sister wives” were no longer necessary. It was time for God to take it away.

Sometimes God, in his sovereignty, uses governments and laws as incentive. The government passed laws that Church property would be lost, men would be imprisoned, and families torn apart. President Wilford Woodruff received “modern revelation”  that it was time for polygamy to go (actually he had a vision of what would happen if they continued polygamy) . And so it was discontinued.

Critics today only look at the external pressures “forcing” the Church hand, when it’s the opposite. God had to use those forces to make sure His Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, didn’t end up like the Fundamentalist LDS Church and abusing it for man’s pleasure. Polygamy was never meant for man’s pleasure. That was the great sin with King David and Solomon and why they were condemned.

While polygamy has its roots in raising up a righteous generation to God, He also has kept the woman in mind. By having the comfort, blessing, and help of another female “sister wife” during times of difficulty it let her know that He was there for her.

Blacks and the Priesthood

Racism.

Such a nasty word now-days. WE find it appalling. Our ancestors in much of Europe, Asia Minor, and the Southern States of America found it lucrative, productive, and profitable.

It’s interesting how people in our day judge history by today’s standards. WE, who are more “enlightened”, believe all men must inevitably be brought to justice by our own arrogant criteria, not history’s. Critics of the LDS Church use that arrogant criteria to condemn Joseph Smith and the early leaders the church, but fail miserably when looking at the big picture.

Noahide Laws and Racial History

When the floods receded and Noah came forth from the Ark, God covenanted with him that He would never flood the earth again. He gave Noah seven commands, and a sign with seven colors (the rainbow) to seal His covenant.

One of the seven Noachide Laws was to not engage in incestuous, adulterous or homosexual relationships (also known as gilui arayot).

However, today, the LGBT community has hijacked the symbol of God’s covenant with Noah, taking the rainbow for their own flag in the ultimate act of defiance against God and His commandments.

Ironically, it was Noah’s son Ham who broke that law first. While scholars are divided on exactly what sin it was that Ham committed, there is evidence that Ham had incestual relations with his mother.

The Hebrews often used euphemisms when describing certain “offensive” topics. Moses wrote both of these verses:

And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (Leviticus 20:11)

And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. (Genesis 9:22)

It is very plausible that Moses was likening a Noah’s “nakedness” to the Noah’s “wife”, and “seeing” could refer to Ham having incestual relations with his father’s wife. It is also plausible that a son was born from that incestual act; Canaan. If true, it would explain why Noah cursed Canaan and his seed.

There is a lot of scholarly evidence to support this theory, but whatever happened, the narrative of the Curse of Ham was born as an explanation for black skin. It wasn’t actually Ham that was cursed, but his son Canaan.

This Curse of Ham is not a Mormon invention. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all over the world, and throughout history have used this narrative to persecute Canaanites and enslave blacks.

Racism and the Church

Was the LDS Church and its leaders racist during the 1800’s? The inevitable answer is, yes. But, what right have we to judge them by our standards? EVERYONE was racist back then. Mormons were more racist than some, but a lot less than others.

Remember, the Curse of Ham was taught by all religions. All religions believed it and acted to some degree on it. While those in the Northern States may not have used the Bible to justify slavery, they sure didn’t want to go the to same churches with them. Nobody in the North tolerated a black pastor over them.

Even during the height of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s, there were few, if any, “all White churches” with “Black pastors”. Black pastors and leaders led Black churches (even though a few White members may have attended).

The LDS Church was following that same lead, the difference was there were not that enough Black Mormons to form “all Black churches”.

That was the whole kit-and-caboodle reason for denying the priesthood to Blacks in the Mormon Church. They were welcome to join, they were included in worship services, they sang with them, rejoiced with them, and blessed them. But, they would have found it intolerable to have a black bishop or stake president lead them. This would have destroyed the Church, and God knew that. God knew His people and their attitudes at the time, and it was by his Sovereign and Revelatory Authority to prevent that from happening.

The REASON “Why”

The reason why God held the priesthood back in the Mormon Church for so long comes from the difference in what Salvation means to a Protestant and to a Mormon.

In Protestant Christianity, salvation comes from God through faith. When they believe, the Spirit indwells within them and they are “saved”. Salvation comes from the top down, from God to man, and is called monergism. So, in Protestant Christianity no authority is needed. A pastor goes to school, gets a degree, and receives his “authority” to preach, but that is essentially all. A Black pastor or priest has no real authority over their members.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the authority to perform ordinances on behalf of God is real. When baptised by someone holding the authority to do so, sins are literally washed away. When laying on hands, the Gift of the Holy Ghost is literally given. Bread and water is literally blessed by those holding that authority.

It’s sad by our standards, but White members at the time would not have accepted a Black member having that authority over them. While the 1900’s brought about a change of attitude, it was slow. My own grandmother, born in 1916, was self-admittedly racist. She never would have gone to a church with a black bishop officiating. Racism took a longer time for LDS Members to overcome than any charge from God.

Several of the LDS prophets during the 50’s and 60’s specifically prayed to have the ban removed, but God said it was not time yet. It wasn’t until 1978 when President Kimball finally received “modern revelation” that was confirmed unanimously by all 12 Apostles with him. They knew it was time for the ban to be lifted.

Since that time, Black churches have exploded all over the earth, especially in Africa where it is growing extremely fast. If blacks are joining the church at the rate they are, they must understand something that critics of the LDS Church do not. Blacks are the ones that should feel slighted, but it is mostly the critics that feel slighted on their behalf. What’s wrong with this picture?

Myself, I am good friends and neighbor to one of the sweetest woman I know. She’s LDS, and she’s Black (she’s a democrat, too, but I don’t hold that against her). I hold no racism. My children hold no racism. Bringing up the race card only seeks to divide while Christ seeks to unify. We should be more like him. Fortunately, today, we are.