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Stepping Into the Fray

January 15, 2012

Currently, thanks to Mitt Romney, there is a lot of discussion about the Mormon faith and Christianity.  Both the New York Times and The San Jose Mercury News have published articles relating the two and how they are different. Neither one seems to grasp the full difference.

If we use the simple definition of Christianity, the belief in the death and resurrection of Christ, Mormons and Christians, at least on the surface, appear to agree.  Herein lies the first distinction. The “Christ” in that phrase is not the same to a Christian as it is to a Mormon.  Christians believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin and is One with God and the Holy Spirit.  The Christ in Mormon theology is a physical son of God and a separate being from God.

This distinction is enough to make them different.  If we call Mormons Christian, we may as well call Muslims Christian for they recognize the existence of Jesus also, as a prophet not a savior.

From here the other distinctions are not as important but simply add to the gap between what Christians believe and what Mormons believe.

For a Christian the Bible is the word of God and the last written authority, for Mormons the book of Mormon combined with other writings (The Doctrine of Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price) are their authority.

Mormons believe that if a man lives a perfect life now, he will become godlike and have his own planet to rule and populate.   While this belief has been played down it is still a difference between Christian thought and Mormonism.  They also believe that a man and woman, if married in the temple, are together for eternity, and the woman’s role is to help populate his realm, essentially being eternally pregnant.

For Christians, one is justified by faith, while Mormons belief it is by works.  Mormons believe that one’s salvation is based on such good works as baptism, good deeds, missionary work, and following Mormon teachings. In The Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, justification by faith in Jesus Christ is called a “pernicious doctrine” twice and he states that it has been “an influence for evil.” (pp. 107, 480) Bruce McConkie once stated at Brigham Young University that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is “improper and perilous” (Church News, March 20, 1982, p. 5)

While Mormons and Christians are free to believe as they wish, the two are different and to try to make them the same is a deception.  What is a little sad to me is that most of the Mormons I know are better role models than most of the Christians I know.

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