Jesus Christ/Worship different Jesus
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Critics claim that despite the Saints' witness of Christ, they worship "a different Jesus" and so are not entitled to consider themselves "Christians."
Rather than illuminating LDS Christians' or non-LDS Christians' beliefs about Jesus, this accusation is simply an attempt to spread discord and confusion.
LDS Christians and other Christians agree on the vast majority of points on Jesus' nature, mission, and indispensable role in salvation.
The LDS differ from other Christians only in that they tend to believe additional things about Jesus, since they have other scriptures (such as the Book of Mormon) which provide them with further information. This information complements the Biblical beliefs which they share with the whole Christian world.
The most important recent document to discuss the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding our Lord and Savior is found in "The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles."
Latter-day Saints believe the following:
- Jesus is the Christ, the promised Messiah
- Jesus of Nazareth is the Only Begotten Son of the Father
- Jesus was born of a virgin birth to Mary
- Jesus is perfect, without sin
- Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father, but by Him
- Jesus performed miracles. He:
- healed the sick
- opened eyes of the blind
- opened ears of the deaf
- forgave sins
- cast out demons and evil spirits
- changed water into wine
- multiplied loaves and fishes
- raised the dead
- Jesus was foreshadowed by, and fulfilled, the law of Moses
- Jesus suffered and died for the sins of all humanity
- Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, died, was buried, and rose again
- Jesus appeared in resurrected form to Mary, Thomas, the apostles, five hundred brethren at once
- Jesus ascended to the Father to sit down on the right hand of His power
- Jesus converted Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus
- Jesus will come again to reign in glory with all the faithful
To be sure, there are doctrinal differences between some Christians and the Latter-day Saints. But, this is true of virtually all Christians:
- Christians have argued, often passionately, over every conceivable point of Christian doctrine from the filioque to the immaculate conception. There is scarcely an issue of worship, theology, ethics, and politics over which some Christians have not disagreed among themselves.
Latter-day Saints have no quarrel with the idea that some of their beliefs about Jesus may differ from those of other Christians. If there were no differences in belief at all, it would make little sense to have the hundreds of Christian denominations which exist.
But, it is insulting and unfair to insist that the LDS do not worship the "same" Jesus as other Christians. By analogy, a Protestant might consider Martin Luther an inspired instrument in the hands of God to reform the wayward Christian Church. A Catholic might rather consider Luther to be a wayward priest who was gravely mistaken. Clearly, the opinions about Luther may differ, but it would be absurd to insist that Catholics and Lutherans are each talking about a different Luther.
- [note] Twelve Apostles, "The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," Ensign (December 2004), 4. off-site
- [note] David Steinmetz, "Christian Unity: A Sermon by David Steinmetz," News and Notes 5/6 (April 1990); cited by Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christians? (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1993),36–37. off-site FAIR link