The question of whether Mormons are Christian really comes down to how Christianity is defined. If you define Christianity as belief in the Bible and the writings within it about Jesus Christ in particular, then Mormons are undeniably Christians. In fact, the Mormon church is actually named the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A prophet in the Book of Mormon named Nephi wrote, “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” Mormons believe these words. We believe that Christ is our savior and redeemer. We believe that He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and died on the cross so that we may one day return to live with Him again.
The doubt that comes in the question “Are Mormons Christian?” arises from the fact that Mormons believe that God or the Godhead consists of three separate and distinct beings. If being Christian means that you believe that Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit are one being or that God is an invisible and formless expanse, then Mormons would not fit that definition. Mormons believe that Jesus was indeed a God before He came to the Earth and received a mortal body. Before coming to Earth, Jesus had the form and shape of a person. He looked much like He did when He lived on the Earth. We also believe that our Heavenly Father has a body just like Jesus does. Humans were created in God’s image so it only makes sense that God the Father and Jesus Christ have bodies like we do, only in a perfected state. The Holy Spirit, however, does not have a body. The reason for this is so that He can enter us in order to help us feel the influence of Christ.
The scriptures about Christ and the Father being one can seem confusing at times, and it can seem like a contradiction to say that God is not one but three beings. Mormons believe the scriptures about Christ and the Father being one, but understand them to mean that they are one in purpose, design, and thought. Christ and God the Father are synonymous because they share the same mission. They both are perfect beings and want us to return to live with them. The Father’s thoughts are the same as the Son’s because they are so close and on the same page that they know what the other one would say and do. They are one because in their perfect state, they work together to accomplish one mission and one purpose.
The second doubt that may arise in the question of whether Mormons are Christian stems from the understanding, or misunderstanding, of grace. Grace as understood by most Christians is that through Christ and the acceptance of His life and ministry we are saved by simply believing on His name. This is a concept misunderstood both in and out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are indeed saved solely and completely through Christ and His atonement (His suffering for our sins and dying on the cross). However, we cannot accept this saving grace without doing our part.
Mormons tend to focus too much on works and most Christians tend to focus too much on grace, but the truth is that these two concepts go hand in hand. We are saved through Christ’s atonement and by no merit of our own- meaning that no matter how good of a life we live, we can never earn our way to heaven. However, we cannot accept that grace without doing our part.
The question that needs to be asked is if you believe you will be able to accept an invitation to live with Christ knowing that you lived your life in a way that was not in line with His teachings. Would heaven be heaven if you knew that you accepted your place there while living in a way that Christ would never be part of? The question of works isn’t whether we can gain our salvation through our works, but whether we can accept Christ’s salvation because of our works. If we live in a way contrary to God’s commandments, we cannot expect to be able to accept the price that has been paid for our sins.
If you would like to know more about whether Mormons are Christian, visit http://www.lds.org/topic/mormon/