Jesus Christ/Accusations that Mormons aren't Christians
|FAIR Wiki Topical Guide|
|FAIR web site|
Critics claim that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not "Christian."
A related claim is that the Church has only recently begun to portray itself as "Christian" in order to gain adherents.
Critics often use unnecessarily narrow and self-referential definitions of "Christian" to exclude the LDS. They ignore the fact that many other Christians over the millennia would have disagreed with them on the same points, yet this does not disqualify these other believers from the family of "Christians."
Claims that the Church has only recently been asserting its Christian status are false, as attested by LDS scripture, practice, doctrine, and public statements of its leadership and its early critics.
While Mormons realize that there can be honest disagreement regarding definitions, the church encourages its members, as followers of Christ, to exhibit civil dialogue:
- There has been no end to opposition. There are misinterpretations and misrepresentations of us and of our history, some of it mean-spirited and certainly contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ and His gospel. Sometimes clergy, even ministerial organizations, oppose us. They do what we would never do. We do not attack or criticize or oppose others as they do us...Strangest of all, otherwise intelligent people claim we are not Christian. This shows that they know little or nothing about us. It is a true principle that you cannot lift yourself by putting others down.
- Does the Church use the sign or symbol of the cross?—
Critics claim that Latter-day Saints are not Christians, and point to the fact that the Church does not usually use the symbol or sign of the cross in decoration, personal jewelry, or architecture. (Link)
It is evident from what has been said, that the Mormons, as such, can have no part or lot in the religion of Jesus Christ—and we do not see how any one can be their friend, (as Mormons,) without being an enemy to God.
—James M’Chesney, An Antidote To Mormonism, revised by G. J. Bennet (New York, NY: Burnett & Pollard, 1838), 49. off-site Full title
Some claim we are not Christians. They either do not know us at all or they misunderstand. In the Church every ordinance is done by the authority of and in the name of Jesus Christ.
—President Boyd K. Packer, "Guided by the Holy Spirit," general conference, April 2011.
From Mormonism 101: FAQ, Newsroom, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
Are Mormons Christian? Yes. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a Christian church but is neither Catholic nor Protestant. Rather, it is a restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ as originally established by the Savior in the New Testament of the Bible. The Church does not embrace the creeds that developed in the third and fourth centuries that are now central to many other Christian churches. Latter-day Saints believe God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save all mankind from death and their individual sins. Jesus Christ is central to the lives of Church members. They seek to follow His example by being baptized (see Matthew 3:13-17), praying in His holy name (see Matthew 6:9-13), partaking of the sacrament (see Luke 22:19-20), doing good to others (see Acts 10:38) and bearing witness of Him through both word and deed (see James 2:26). The only way to salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ.
Book of Mormon is Christ-centered
Wrote one author:
- Years ago, Susan Easton Black tabulated all of the occurrences of the names and titles of Jesus in the Book of Mormon....According to Black, 101 names or titles of Christ are presented in the Book of Mormon. These include the names/titles Lord God Omnipotent, Redeemer of Israel, Shepherd, and Son of the Living God, each of which is found once in the work. The names/titles Stone, True Messiah, Mighty One of Jacob, and Great Creator are each found twice; the names/titles Holy One of Israel, Lamb of God, Lord Jesus Christ, Redeemer, and Messiah each appear 10 or more times; and the names/titles Christ, God, Jesus, Lord, and Lord God are each found at least 100 times in the book. In all, the 101 names/titles of Christ are collectively presented 3,925 times in 6,607 Book of Mormon verses. Black’s tabulation of the names and titles shows that on average, one name or title of Christ appears once every 1.7 verses.
With the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon is the foundational scripture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Christ is found on virtually every page.
LDS Not Excluded by Belief or Practice
When critics make the claim that LDS are not Christian, they typically will present a laundry list of doctrines and practices that they believe put LDS outside the category of "Christian." At its base, this claim is an excellent example of the No true Scotsman fallacy.
There are two problems with such lists. The first, and most important, is that the original and enduring meaning of "Christian" has been a person or group whose beliefs or practices are founded on the life and/or teachings of Christ. That is, all groups whose religion is founded on Jesus of Nazareth have been classified as Christian since the term was first coined in the first century, regardless of specific beliefs and practices. "Christian" has always included such wildly diverse groups as the Ebionites, the Marcionites, and the Christian Gnostics of ancient times, along with Unitarians and Coptic Christians in modern times. Critics may believe that LDS are "false Christians" or "heretical Christians" or "hell-bound Christians," seeing that such terms are subjective and without standard definitions, but neither belief nor practice can exclude any group from the family of Christian religions and denominations if that group claims to be founded on the life or teachings of the first-century Jesus of Nazareth.
The second problem with the critics' list is that their list of objectionable beliefs and practices used to exclude LDS from the Christian family are lists of beliefs and practices that are found in other groups that are clearly classified as Christian. The claimed bases for the charge that the LDS are not Christians include:
- LDS do not accept creedal Trinitarianism as set out by the Nicene creed. This means that they conceive of Jesus and Satan as being spiritual ' siblings' in terms of their ultimate origin, if not their nature or religious status.
- Because of different understandings about God, some Christian critics accuse the LDS of worshipping a different Jesus
- LDS have doctrines which differ from many forms of "traditional" Christianity:
- LDS use additional scripture with the Bible
- LDS do not accept creatio ex nihilo
- LDS do not accept the traditional view of original sin
- LDS heed the teachings of Joseph Smith and other modern prophets
- LDS reject such doctrines as predestination to salvation or damnation
However, all of these doctrinal differences have been held not just by the LDS, but by other Christians as well, including the early Christians of the first and second centuries. These Christians:
- were not Trinitarians, since the creeds were not yet formulated
- did not teach creatio ex nihilo
- did not consider "the Bible" to be the sole authoritative scripture, since it was not compiled until centuries later
- considered some writings to be authoritative which many modern Christians now reject
- taught theosis, or human deification through Christ
- followed living prophets (the apostles)
One might debate whether these Christians were correct or complete in their beliefs, but can the critics seriously exclude them from the family of Christians?
The critics essentially create a definition of "Christian" that includes their brand of Christianity, and excludes others with whom they disagree. The merriam-webster dictionary defines the word Christian to mean "one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ" . The Oxford Dictionaries Online defines the word Christian as "a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings". Critics have the right to disagree, but their claim that Mormons are not Christian is just their opinion or their religious belief.
LDS Classified as Christian
The assertion that Latter-day Saints are not Christian has at its base the idea that the Latter-day Saints don't meet the definition of the word "Christian." But the meanings of words are determined by usage and acceptance. If a definition is widespread (used by many people), persistent (used over a long period of time), and established (accepted by individuals and organizations that are respected and assumed to be knowledgeable) then we can confidently state that the definition is correct and accurate.
The attempt to define "Christian" in such a way as to exclude Latter-day Saints (and many other groups that are generally considered to be some kind of Christian denomination or religion) is really the recent work of a minority group within Protestantism. The nearly-universal and nearly-2000-year-old usage of the word "Christian" has clearly included unorthodox groups that disagree, sometimes sharply, with the teachings and practices of those who claim to be able to define Latter-day Saints out of the Christian fold.
The following are some organizations and resources that classify The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as Christian. The range of sources from encyclopedias to media outlets to government organizations supports the fact that the definition of "Christian" includes Latter-day Saints.
- Yahoo Directory: "Christian Denominations and Sects" off-site
- adherents.com: "Largest Branches of Christianity in the U.S." off-site
- beliefnet: "Faiths and Practices" index off-site
- MSN Encarta encyclopedia: "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" off-site
- RSN (Religion New Service): Religion Backgrounders off-site
- PBS (Public Broadcasting Service): "The Church: A Brief History" off-site
- LaborLawTalk dictionary off-site
- Encyclopedia Britannia Online off-site
- BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) off-site
- World Council of Churches (WCC): Churches off-site
- National Council of Churches (NCC): National Council of Churches’ 2005 "Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches." off-site
- United States Department of State: International Religious Freedom Report 2004 (Tonga) off-site
Did Mormons claim to be Christian only recently?
This claim is absurd. The critics depend on their audience not knowing much about LDS history for this claim. Enemies and members of the Church have long known that Church members consider themselves "Christian" (italics added in all cases):
- “They call themselves the church of Christ, and the only church of Christ. All professing Christians who do not adhere to their system, they consider as formalists; ‘having the form of Godliness, but denying the power’”.
- “Old Joe . . . and several others . . . admitted [that the new faith] was an improvement in Christianity”.
- The Mormonites “say the Millennium is soon to commence and that Christ is to come personally and take up His residence with them. . . . In its general principles this sect entirely coincide with others which have from time to time sprung up in Christendom”. 
- There is “a civil war between the Mormonites and their brother Christians”. 
- "Brother Joseph . . . went on to show the brethren how wicked and unchristianlike such conduct [among them] appeared before the eyes of truth and justice”.
- April 1834
- The only name given under heaven, whereby man can be saved, is Jesus Christ. Men in days of old heard the glad tidings, that the Son of Man would come in the fulness of his own time, to make intercession for the children of men, and suffer, the just, for the unjust, and rise from the dead, that the bands of the temporal death might be broken, that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that they might stand in the presence of God to be judged according to their works.—These glad tidings were communicated from heaven to earth, by the ministering of holy angels and by the voice of the living God. Thousands have looked forward with an eye of faith, and a confidence unshaken in the promises of God, to the time when the great and last sacrifice should be made for fallen man. Many have rejoiced to see the day of the Son of Man, have seen it, and were glad; and have fallen asleep after obtaining the promise, that they should see God in the flesh and should reign with him on the earth a thousand years....The news that the gospel brought in days of old, was, that Jesus Christ would come into the world; that he would suffer according to the flesh; that he would rise from the dead, and thereby redeem his people from the power of the grave.
- “the doctrine promulgated by the ‘latter day Christians’ in the newly discovered Bible”.
- “This morning a minister from Conne[c]ticut by the name of John W. Olived called at my house . . . . [He] asked me wherein we differ from other Christian denomination[s]”.
- “they have the appearance of being devout Christians. . . . They call themselves ‘Latter-day Saints,’ and profess to be the only true church, to have the only gospel order, consisting of apostles, elders, bishops, etc., etc., which several orders of the Christian hierarchy have been distinctly brought to light in the Book of Mormon”.
- “a large society of Christians who style themselves ‘Latter-day Saints’ or Mormons.” (Painesville Republican, vol. 1, no. 31, 15 June 1837).
- "The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it".
- "This sect took its rise, A. D. 1830, in the county of Ontario, and State of New York. In April of that year, the society was organized as a Christian Church".
- The Mormons “were singing a hymn as other good Christians are wont to do . . . . [One of them offered] a very good Christian prayer . . . . [which petitioned that the Mormons might have] Christian fortitude.” (Peoria Register and North-Western Gazetteer, vol. 3, no. 17, 27 July 1839)
- 1839: Benjamin Dobson to the editor, June 16, 1839, “The Mormons,” Peoria Register and North-Western Gazetteer (Peoria, Illinois) 3, no. 13 (27 July 1839). off-site
- “We want no religion but pure Christianity”.
- The heaven-born doctrines of christianity are so opposite to the vain, grovelling, and selfish sentiments of corrupt human nature, and the self-denying practices of genuine believers are so repugnant to the feelings of those whose nature is “earthly, sensual, and devilish,” that it is utterly unreasonable to suppose that anything like amity, concord or peace, can possibly exist between the church and the world. [John Taylor, Calumny Refuted and the Truth Defended (Liverpool: J. Tompkins, 1840), 1–12 off-site Full title]
- The citizens of Nauvoo are “a people, professing to be Christians.” (Quincy Whig, vol. 3, no. 13, 25 July 1840).
- The Mormons retain “many truths which are held in common by different denominations of Christians.” (The Alton Telegraph, vol. 5, no. 46, 14 November 1840).
- "We want no religion but pure Christianity." [Parley P. Pratt, Plain Facts (Manchester: W. R. Thomas, 1840), 5. off-site Full title]
- "If every friend to the cause of apostolic christianity, would subscribe and pay in advance for the above mentioned books [Book of Mormon, hymn books]...." [Anon., "Books!!!," Times and Seasons 1 no. 9 (July 1840), 139–40. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.) off-site
- “I understood from [the Mormons] as follows, . . . that they did not discard the Bible as used by other Christian sects”.]
- "why it is, that so many professing Christianity, and so many professing to reverence the sacred principles of our Constitution (which gives free religious toleration to all), have slandered, and persecuted this sect of Christians."
- "The object of our visit to your city is not to subvert any moral or truly Christian principle, or to promulgate any doctrine other than that which was advocated by Patriarchs, Prophets, Christ and the Apostles; which doctrine or gospel, we believe is the same invariable plan of salvation that it ever was, and that it ought to be taught, administered and obeyed in the present age, precisely as it was in the primitive or golden period of Christianity." [E. Snow and Benjamin Winchester, "An Address to the Citizens of Salem (Mass.) And Vicinity," Times and Seasons 2 no. 24 (1 October 1841), 574-76. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.) off-site]
- "Many of them have given up home and friends in obedience to what they consider the call of Christ, their Master.... The Mormons not only claim to be Christians, but the only Christians." [“The Mormons,” Auburn Journal and Advertiser (22 December 1841). off-site]
- “the great Christian city of Nauvoo”.
- [Mormons teach that] "no man can be a Christian, or be admitted into the kingdom of God, unless he is baptized by immersion by an authorized person." [R.T.M., “The Mormons,” Religious Monitor and Evangelical Repository (18 January 1842): 345–46. off-site]
- Hyrum Smith is "one of the most pious and devout christians in the world." (New York Herald (19 February 1842); cited in Veritas, "The Mormon Prophets," Millennial Star 3 (May 1842): 8.)
- Mormons “are Christians in the fullest sense of the term, believing in the Old and New Testaments.” (The New York Herald, vol. 7, no. 419, 16 May 1842).
- Mormons are described as – “A Christian sect in Illinois.” (Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review, vol. 7, no. 25, 18 June 1842; emphasis in original).
- "All these letters and documents [about the Mormons] disclose a most extraordinary movement in human affairs. What they mean we can hardly tell, but is it not time for some great religious revolution, as radical as Luther's, to take place in the Christian world?...Unlike all other Christian sects, they adopt at once all the modern improvements of society, in art and literature; and from their singular religious faith give the highest enthusiasm to the movement at large. There is nothing odd, or singular, or absurd about them.” ("Wonderful Progress of Joe Smith, the Modern Mahomet.—Spread of the Mormon Faith, and a New Religious Revolution at Hand," N.Y. Herald (17 June 1842); emphasis added).
- "Mr. Whitney then asked if we acknowledged any to be Christians except those who embraced our doctrines and joined our church." (Orson Hyde letter, Times and Seasons, vol. 3, no. 18, 15 July 1842, 849).
- A Baptist complained that a Church preacher "declined making an honest confession of those peculiarities which separate them as widely from the Baptists, as from every other denomination of the christian church." 
- Wrote the Daily Sun of Cincinnati:
- Whatever this new doctrine may be, it is extremely pleasing to the world, and death to the constituted church creeds of every name but that of Mormon. It is destined to spread, for every man that takes it upon him to speak in its favor, is fully competent to make out his case. One is very much surprised to see with what facility they prove their doctrine from the holy scriptures. Mr. Adams remarked, that he did not care whether a man believed the Book of Mormon or not, so that he came forward with a broken heart, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and in baptism for the remission of sins—let him come forth, and if God did not reveal to him the truths of the Book of Mormon, he need not believe it. [Anon., "Mormonism [Reprinted from the Daily Sun, Cincinnati]," Times and Seasons 4 no. 2 (1 December 1842), 28–29. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.) off-site
- "The Mormons were Christians in belief, and looked for the second Advent of Christ—when he shall come, surrounded by the angels of Heaven to dwell in person upon the earth....We confess that Mr. Winchester has changed our opinion of the sect; for we held them in contempt if not in abhorrence, from the representations we had read of them, whereas, if what Mr. Winchester states be true (and we have no reason to doubt him,) we can recognize them as professing Christians, tinged with peculiarities on particular points." [Anon., "Mormons, or Latter Day Saints," Times and Seasons 4 no. 2 (1 December 1842), 27–28. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.) Reprinted from the Baltimore Clipper. off-site]
- "So far we are agreed with other Christian denominations. They all preach faith and repentance. The gospel requires baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, which is the meaning of the word in the original language—namely, to bury or immerse".
- Joseph Smith, in a public discourse, compared the Mormons to other denominations of Christians. (New York Spectator, vol. 46, no. 46, 23 August 1843).
- The Mormons are “calling themselves Christians . . . . Christians, as they claim to be.” (The Warsaw Signal, NS no. 4, no. 121, 6 March 1844).
- “The [Saturday] Courier should for the sake of truth and consistency, strike its flag of neutrality in RELIGION, while it wages a war of extermination against the Mormons; the only sect in Christendom, who in this nineteenth century can exhibit the irresistible evidence of martyrdom, in support of its cause”.
- "On Sunday I was invited to give, in a public discourse, the points of difference between faith of the Latter-day Saints and other professors of [p.417] the Christian religion."
- Now, we ARE believers in the Bible, and in consequence of our unshaken faith in its precepts, doctrine, and prophecy, may be, attributed "the strangeness of our course," and the unwarrantable conduct of many towards this people. Come, my brother Presbyterian; come, my brother professors of every persuasion of long standing and popular distinction in the world, who are dubbed with the word "ORTHODOX;" come, we are all good Christians; I find no fault with you—why should you find fault with me?
- “Mormonites . . . . call themselves Christians, it is true” (The Daily Globe, vol. 6, no. 261, 5 October 1854).
- "Their religious teachers of Mormonism, preach to them, as they call it, "Christianity in its purity." (S[olomon] N. Carvalho, Incidents of Travel and Adventure in the Far West; with Col. Fremont's Last Expedition, chapter 22. off-site
- We, as Christians, are divided and subdivided into many systems varying in doctrinal points. This one says, "I am right;" and that one says, "I am right;" another rises up and varies, more or less, from the doctrines of the Church he has left, and says he is right.
- "…who is there that was not startled when he heard that a sect, affecting to be Christian beyond all other sects, which had sprung up in broad day from amidst the civilization of the United States…"
- Should you ask why we differ from other Christians...Are all this people, in the Scriptural sense, Christians? They should be. Do they all serve God with an undivided heart? They should. Many of them do, seeking daily to do his will.
- The Latter-day Saints differ from their Christian brethren.
- Now, we as Christians desire to be saved in the kingdom of God.
- President B. Young preached a very interesting and instructive discourse, in which he showed that professing Christians believe all that the Jews believe, which appertains to life and salvation, and have accepted principles in advance of the Jews, including faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; and that the Latter-day Saints receive all believed in by other professing Christians, appertaining to life and salvation, accepting, as a part of their religious faith, principles in advance of them which are taught in the Scriptures. He touched upon the history of the Jewish people, showing the penalties which they had incurred by disobedience to the commandments of God, and pointing to the promises made to the patriarchal fathers concerning them. And deduced that if the condition of professing Christians is to-day better than that of the Jews, for believing more of the revelations of God, so the condition of the Saints is preferable to that of the other inhabitants of Christendom, in accepting all the revelations which the Lord has been pleased to give. 
- "On one occasion one of the native brethren who had been persecuted, claimed his rights as a Swiss citizen, and the question was brought up in the Swiss Congress, Are the 'Mormons' Christians? After some discussion, the conclusion was arrived at that they were, and must accordingly be protected."
- Have you embraced truth, Latter-day Saints? Have you anything different from other Christians?
- If you should have visits here from those professing to be Christians, and they intimate a desire to preach to you, by all means invite them to do so. Accord to every reputable person who may visit you, and who may wish to occupy the stands of your meeting houses to preach to you, the privilege of doing so, no matter whether he be a Catholic, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Baptist, Free-will Baptist, Methodist, or whatever he may be; and if he wishes to speak to your children let him do so. Of course you have the power to correct whatever false teachings or impressions, if any, your children may hear or receive. I say to parents, place your children, as far as you [p.196] have an opportunity to do so, in a position or situation to learn everything in the world that is worth learning. You will probably have what is called a Christian Church here; they will not admit that we are Christians, but they cannot think us further from the plan of salvation as revealed from heaven than we know them to be, so we are even on that ground, as far as it goes.
- We are preaching to the people far and near; our Elders are traveling through the earth; strangers are coming here, and we are declaring to them that the Gospel of the Son of God is true. Whether they believe or not, it is no matter. That book (the Bible)contains the words of the Almighty…. I know of the bright promises which he gave to his disciples anciently. I live in the possession of them, and glory in them and in the cross of Christ, and in the beauty and holiness that he has revealed for the salvation and exaltation of the children of men. I do wish we would live to them, and may the Lord help us. 
- We, as Christians, believe in God, in Christ and in his atonement, in repentance and obedience, and in receiving the Spirit.
- "we take the liberty to believe the Bible, which our fellow Christians, generally throughout the world, profess to believe in…”
- “We are looking for him [i.e. Second coming of Christ]. The Christians of all denominations expect that he will appear in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. The Latter-day Saints expect this in common with all other Christians.”
- These are only a few reflections, when we take into consideration our Christian religion.
- Brother Cannon speaks of Christians. We are Christians professedly, according to our religion.
- “How shall we, as Christians, reconcile these words of our Savior with the reception everywhere given by the world to Messrs. Moody and Sankey? They are, professedly, Christian ministers, yet they are largely entertained by the world, extolled by the world, and apparently loved by the world….”
- “But Joseph Smith reiterates the Savior’s promises. He has no fear of being proved a false teacher. He professes to be a Christian minister called and sent of God….”
- “Immediate revelation was the life of primitive Christianity, and when that ceased to be given to men, Christianity waxed feeble, waned and died. With the restored Gospel came immediate revelation, and Christianity was born again upon the earth.”
- We are a Christian community; we believe in God and in Jesus Christ...
- "What a singular sort of ‘Christian community’ that must be that will not tolerate an unorthodox Christian society in its midst!”
- “The insinuation in this [written attack on the LDS by a Protestant minister in SLC] is to the effect that a ‘Mormon’ is not a Christian, and the ‘Mormon’ religion is not a Christian religion, and further that the Supreme Court of the United States has virtually so decided…. But if a ‘Mormon’ is not a Christian then there are no Christians in America…. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is at least as fairly entitled to the appellation of a Christian as a member of the Presbyterian Church”
- “[with reverence to Revelation 1. 12] We accept—as all Christians do—that God inspired the words ‘to see the voice.’”
- If it be true Christianity to accept Jesus Christ in person and his mission as divine; to revere him as the Son of God, the crucified and risen Lord, through whom alone mankind can attain salvation; to accept his teachings as a guide, to adopt as a standard and observe as a law the ethical code he promulgated; to comply with the requirements prescribed by him as essential to membership in his Church, namely, faith, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost,—if this be Christianity, then are we Christians, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a Christian church.
- [W]e are a Christian people, we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we feel that it is our duty to acknowledge him as our Savior and Redeemer.
- We are not Catholic, Protestant, nor Jewish, and yet this disclaimer should not be taken to mean we are not Christian. You who heard the powerful address of President Clark this morning will know that we are Christians, for central to everything we believe and teach is our faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. We are grateful for our Judeo-Christian heritage, for the Holy Bible which we accept without reservation as the word of God, except as to some errors that have crept in through translations.
- Jacob Neusner, one of the great Judaism scholars of the twentieth century: "Christianity encompasses a remarkably diverse set of religious systems that have some qualities in common—belief in Jesus Christ—but also differ deeply, especially about matters on which they seem at first glance to concur. For example, who, exactly was, and is, Jesus Christ? No one imagines that by describing a single common denominator Christianity tells us about one unitary religion. Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox, Methodist, Mormon, and Lutheran—each is comprised by clearly delineated groups of Christians, all of them with their respective systems of belief and behaviour...as the world knows Christianities, but no single Christianity, so the world has known, and today recognizes, diverse Judaisms, no single Judaism."
- Bart Ehrman, a leading expert on the text of the New Testament: "...just as Christianity today is incredibly diverse (compare the Roman Catholics with the Mormons with the Pentecostals with the Seventh Day Adventists with the Eastern Orthodox… and so on!), it was even more diverse in the early centuries..." ("A Few Questions for Bart Ehrman," Oxford University Press Blog (OUPblog) (9 October 2006). off-site
Clearly, the Church has "claimed" to be Christian for a long time, and even hostile critics realized it. To insist that this is a new, public relations move is false. Neutral observers have also seen the Church as Christian. Only a recent, intolerant fringe of fundamentalist Christianity has tried to exclude the Church from Christianity by self-serving definitions.
- [note] Susan Easton Black, Finding Christ through the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1987). Susan Ward Easton [Black], “Names of Christ in the Book of Mormon,” Ensign (July 1978): 60-61.
- [note] Black, Finding Christ, 5. Chapter 22
- [note] Donald W. Parry, "The Book of Mormon," in Susan Easton Black, Expressions of Faith: Testimonies of Latter-day Saint Scholars (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1996), 216–217.
- [note] For a discussion by a non-LDS, conservative evangelical on points of doctrine upon which modern evangelical Christianity differs with the doctrines taught by the early Christian Fathers, see: David W. Bercot, Will The Real Heretics Please Stand Up: A New Look at Today's Evangelical Church in the Light of Early Christianity, 3rd edition, (Tyler, Texas: Scroll Publishing Company, 1999), 1. ISBN 0924722002 off-site
- [note] For a discussion of these issues, see Daniel C. Peterson and Stephen D. Ricks, "Comparing LDS Beliefs with First-Century Christianity, (Provo, Utah: FARMS, no date). off-site
- [note] Christian. 2012. In Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved November 24, 2012, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Christian
- [note] "Christian". Oxford Dictionaries. April 2010. Oxford Dictionaries. April 2010. Oxford University Press. 24 November 2012 <http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/american_english/Christian>.
- [note] Rev. John Sherer to Absalom Peters, 18 November 1830, published in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 4:93.
- [note] “Mormon Religion—Clerical Ambition—Western New York—The Mormonites Gone to Ohio,” Morning Courier and New-York Enquirer (New York City, New York) 7, no. 1331 (1 September 1831). off-site
- [note] The Farmer’s Herald, vol. 4, no. 49, 6 June 1832 [Johnsbury, Vermont]
- [note] Liberal Advocate, vol. 3, no. 6, 30 December 1833 [Rochester, New York]
- [note] Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 2:83. BYU Studies link
- [note] "The Gospel," The Evening and The Morning Star 1:81-83 (April 1833) .
- [note] Painesville Telegraph, vol. 1, no. 35, 4 September 1835 [Painesville, Ohio]
- [note] Dean C. Jessee, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, revised edition, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 2002), 144. ISBN 1573457876. off-site
- [note] James H. Eells to Joshua Leavitt, 1 April 1836, New York Evangelist (New York) 7, no. 15 (9 April 1836): 59. off-site (letter written on 1 April 1836 by James H. Eells who lived in Elyra, Ohio)
- [note] Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), 121. ISBN 087579243X. off-site
- [note] Francis G. Bishop, Brief History of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints (Blum and Son, Salem, Massachusetts 1839), 2.
- [note] Parley P. Pratt, Plain Facts (Manchester: W. R. Thomas, 1840), 6. off-site Full title
- [note] Upper Mississippian, "Nauvoo Mormon Religion," (15 February 1841) Times and Seasons 2:324.; reprint of an article from the Upper Mississippian
- [note] Extract from a Letter in the Juliet Courier, dated from Monmouth, Illinois (June 1841); cited in Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 4:381. BYU Studies link
- [note] Chicago Democrat, May 1842; editorial by John Wentworth
- [note] Cited by Helen Mar Whitney, Woman's Exponent 10 no. 13 (1 December 1881), 97–99. Available in Jeni Broberg Holzapfel and Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, eds., A Woman's View: Helen Mar Whitney's Reminiscences of Early Church History (Provo: Religious Studies Center, BYU, 1997), 149. ISBN 1570083576. ISBN 978-1570083570. GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
- [note] "A Baptist," letter to the editor published in the North Staffordshire Mercury, "Difference Between the Baptists & Latter-day Saints," (1 October 1843) Times and Seasons 3:931-932. (italics added)
- [note] Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), 314. ISBN 087579243X. off-site
- [note] Philadelphia Sun reprint, "Magna est veritas, et praevalebit’ (Not sure of translationvol=5," Times and Seasons no. 15 (15 August 1844), 621. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
- [note] D.S. Hollister to Joseph Smith, 9 May 1844; cited in Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 6:416–417. BYU Studies link
- [note] Brigham Young, "Effects and Privileges of the Gospel," (24 July 1853) Journal of Discourses 1:237-237.
- [note] Brigham Young, "Government of God," (22 May 1859) Journal of Discourses 7:148.; Brigham Young, "Government of God," Deseret News 9 no. 13 (1 June 1859), 104.
- [note] Juley Remy, Journey to Great Salt Lake City (1861), 2:82–83; cited by B. Carmon Hardy (editor), Doing the Works of Abraham: Mormon Polygamy, Its origin, practice and demise, Vol. 9 of Kingdom in the West Series: The Mormons and the American Frontier (series editor Will Bagley), (Norman, Oklahoma: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 2007), 195. ISBN 0870623443. ISBN 978-0870623448..
- [note] Brigham Young, "Advice To California Emigrants. — The Principles Of The Gospel, etc.," (8 July 1863) Journal of Discourses 10:230-231.
- [note] Brigham Young, "Difference Of Ideas Entertained Respecting God, etc.," (31 July 1863) Journal of Discourses 10:318-319.
- [note] Brigham Young, "Remarks by President Brigham Young," (19 August 1866) Journal of Discourses 11:268-268.
- [note] Brigham Young, Deseret News Weekly 15/109 (4 March 1866): page?.; cited in Eldon Watson (editor), Brigham Young Addresses (1982), 5:32.
- [note] William W. Riter, "Minutes of a General Council; Birmingham,England; January 5, 1866," Millennial Star 28 no. 12 (24 March 1866), 179.
- [note] Brigham Young, "The Saints Are A Strange People Because They Practise What They Profess," (20 February 1870) Journal of Discourses 13:237-238.
- [note] Brigham Young, "Discourse by President Brigham Young," (3 June 1871) Journal of Discourses 14:195-196.; Brigham Young, "Discourse by President Brigham Young," Millennial Star 33 no. 27 (4 July 1871), 418–420.; DNW 20:235.
- [note] Brigham Young, "Remarks by President Brigham Young," (27 August 1871) Journal of Discourses 14:227.; Discourse by President Brigham Young, Deseret News 20 no. 31 (6 September 1871), 357–358.
- [note] Brigham Young, "Riches — Hurry — Fashion — Helping The Poor — Mysteries," (26 May 1872) Journal of Discourses 15:42-42.
- [note] John Taylor, "Discourse by Elder John Taylor," (3 March 1872) Journal of Discourses 14:338. Discourse by Elder John Taylor, Deseret News 21 no. 36 (13 March 1872), 65, second column.
- [note] Orson Pratt, "Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt," (10 March 10 1872) Journal of Discourses 14:348.; Orson Pratt, "Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt," Deseret News 21 (20 March 1872), 77, fourth column.
- [note] Brigham Young, "Discourse By President Brigham Young," (15 August 1876) Journal of Discourses 18:217-217.
- [note] Brigham Young, "Discourse By President Brigham Young," (17 September 1876) Journal of Discourses 18:231-231.
- [note] Editorial (Elder David McKenzie), "Christianity and Revivalism," Millennial Star 38 no. 10 (6 March 1876), 152.
- [note] Editorial (Elder David McKenzie), "Gifts of the Holy Ghost," Millennial Star 38 no. 13 (27 March 1876), 200–201.
- [note] Editorial (Elder David McKenzie), "Evidences of the Truth," Millennial Star 38 no. 14 (3 April 1876), 217.
- [note] Francis M. Lyman, "General Conference (5 April 1881)," Millennial Star 43 no. 19 (9 May 1881), 292.
- [note] Editorial on citizens of Beaver Dam, Virginia removing Mormon Elders by force to another part of the state, Deseret News Weekly 45/13 (17 September 1892): 396.
- [note] "Intolerant Discrimination", Deseret News Weekly 45/14 (24 September 1892): 441.
- [note] "The Book of Mormon", Deseret News Weekly 45/25 (10 December 1892): 780.
- [note] First Presidency, "Address to the World," Improvement Era 10 (May 1907), 481–495.
- [note] Joseph F. Smith, General Conference address (April 6, 1917)
- [note] Hugh B. Brown, "Discourse," Improvement Era 10 (December 1956), 949–949.
- [note] Jacob Neusner, The Way Of Torah, 6th edition, (Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1997), 15. ISBN 0534516033.
- [note] Boyd K. Packer, "A Defense and a Refuge," Ensign (November 2006), 85–88. off-site
Copyright © 2005–2013 Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The content of this page may not be copied, published, or redistributed without the prior written consent of FAIR. The Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research (FAIR) is a non-profit organization formed in late 1997 for the purpose of defending the Church. FAIR is staffed completely by volunteers, all of whom are dedicated to defending the Church. FAIR is not owned, controlled by, or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All research and opinions provided on this site are the sole responsibility of FAIR and should not be interpreted as official statements of LDS doctrine, belief, or practice.
If you have a question or feedback on this article, please feel free to pose your question to the FAIR Apologetics list at "Ask the Apologist"
<metadesc>Are Mormons Christians? Do they worship Jesus Christ? Critics use self-serving categories to deny that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worship and revere Jesus.</metadesc>