Are Mormons Christians or Not?

Are Mormons considered Christians, or are they actually a cult? At the risk of being accused of Mormon-bashing, I believe it’s high time for both Christians and Mormons to get educated on the heresy that is the Mormon faith. 

Mormon Temple1There’s a common, though somewhat low-key, debate among many Christians as to whether or not Mormons are “Christians.” The discussion, if not argument, will proceed along the lines that Mormons believe that Jesus was the spirit brother of Lucifer, or something to that effect.

Or that Mormons believe in baptisms for the dead, or they used to believe in polygamy, or wear secret undergarments. Or that Mormon families are really nice and their kids go on 2-year missionary trips and wear white shirts and ties. And Mormons believe in good works, get married young and have lots of kids.

Most Christians don’t think much of all of this apart from perhaps that it seems a bit weird. They might then say “but I understand that Mormons believe in Jesus” and let it go at that.

At the risk of being accused of Mormon-bashing, I’m suggesting that it’s high time that Christians and Mormons get educated on the heresy that is the Mormon faith.

Mormon Fascination
I’ve always had a fascination with Mormonism ever since high school. At that time I heard a series of sermons at our church by Walter Martin, a visiting evangelical minister and founder of the Christian Research Institute. Martin was a recognized scholar on Christian apologetics and countercult apologetics. He wrote the highly influential textbook for the anti-cult movement, The Kingdom of the Cults, in 1965. His focus then and over the next 20 years was on exposing the doctrinal issues and belief systems surrounding the person, nature and work of Christ according to Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists, Christian Scientists, Mormons, and other groups like the Bahai Faith, the Hare Krishnas, the Unification Church and Herbert Armstrong’s World Wide Church of God.

His works taught me to apply critical standards in the study or review of any faith system. It always comes down to their position on the deity of Jesus Christ. Any variations of essential Christian doctrine on the deity of Christ should raise a red flag. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:1, 1:14)

Digging only inches deep into any of these religions will expose them for the frauds that they are. Harsh but true. But don’t blame their members. These groups indoctrinate their members and shield them from their own dubious history and track records. If you talk to them, most of them do not know the facts of their faith’s origins and can only weakly support the underpinnings of their doctrinal faith.

And Mormons are one of the worst. Best to understand the facts and engage them in love and sensitive wisdom.

Mormon Heresy – Believe It or Not
My fascination with Mormonism led me to extensive research on Joseph Smith and origins of this faith. Smith’s mother was involved in occult practices and his father was a traveling “money/treasure digger” charlatan. Joseph followed in his father’s footsteps and by his own account said that the angel Moroni visited him in 1823 and told him about a book of golden plates which contained the “fullness of the everlasting Gospel.” Smith supposedly dug up the plates near Palmyra, New York, along with a gigantic pair of spectacles which were for translating the “reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics” on the plates. Smith published the Book of Mormon in 1830. That same year he established the Church of Jesus Christ, which is today known as the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.”

Here are some facts about Mormonism:

  • The Book of Mormon contains 25,000 words of flagrant plagiarisms of the King James Bible, which was published in 1611. The golden plates were supposed to have been in the New York ground Smith dug up for centuries before the King James Bible was originally translated.
  • Smith had 40 wives, some married already and one only 14 years old.
  • Smith and his co-founder were killed by an angry mob in Nauvoo, Illinois in 1844 while he was in jail after being run out of New York, Ohio, and Missouri (by the Missouri governor himself).
  • A ruthless character, Brigham Young (17 wives and 56 children), was then chosen leader and led the group to Salt Lake City. In 1857 he commanded the murder of a wagon train of 120 non-Mormon men, women and children (see Mountain Meadows Massacre, or read Under the Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer).
  • Mormons teach that man can become God, and that God was once a man. This is anti-Biblical.
  • Jesus Christ is not acknowledged as the eternal Son of God in the Mormon church; rather he was a preexisting spirit who was exalted.
  • Joseph Smith taught his followers to doubt the Bible. He called the Book of Mormon “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion.” This despite the fact that it has now been altered 4,000 times to compensate for poor grammar, spelling, and factual errors. (Christian Research Journal, v. 38, no. 5, page 60)
  • As recent as 1985, the Mormon Forgery Murders is a scathing indictment of the modern Mormon Church’s hierarchy and their cover-up of early Mormon history (read Salamander: the Story of the Mormon Forgery Murders, by Linda Sillitoe).

This is only just a brief summary of the problems with the Mormon faith. Their beliefs documented and retracted over time from their own holy books, Doctrines and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, show a faith foundation dubious at best. Additionally, their ever-changing positions on church texts and new revelations by Mormon presidents, as well as their moving stance on polygamous marriage, African-Americans and the priesthood, eschatology (Mormons will reign with Jesus for 1,000 years based in Jackson County, Missouri), and the surprising blind eye that Mormons turn when faced with the truth of their scandalous past and current ways, are all reasons to question Mormonism as a cult group that deviates from orthodox Christian doctrine.

Go in Peace 
In closing, yes, there is absolute truth. Jesus Christ and the Bible will always hold up under scrutiny. That’s the plumb line. Stating truth or calling out false teaching is not bashing. It’s truth-telling. Use your study of Mormonism with caution. Approach Mormons in love and peace, as you would and should any non-Christian:

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)

Do you know heresy when you see it?
“Even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached  to you, let him be accursed.” – Galatians 1:8

Categories: Faith, Jesus, The Church, Theology

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