Thursday, October 2, 2014

Mormonism: Christians or Pagans?

In modern culture, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has sought to bring itself more into the mainstream of present Christianity. In his October 2007 address in general conference, Jeffrey R. Holland said "There is one thing we would not like anyone to wonder about—that is whether or not we are “Christians.”

It is understandable why Mormons would seek to reconcile with Christianity. No one wants to be an outsider, and modern culture wants to be more inclusive than exclusive. So, the logic goes, lets focus on what we have in common rather than on the small items that we disagree on.

And therein lies the problem. It is beyond wishful thinking to believe that Mormonism and Christianity can be reconciled, because in truth they are different religions. To reconcile Mormonism with Christianity would be like trying to reconcile Christianity with Islam. One can be true and the other false, both can be false, but both cannot be true.

"What do you mean?" the masses of Mormons and liberal Christians will cry. Both of us believe in God. Both of us believe in Christ. Both of accept the Bible as the revealed word of God. Can't we all just lump ourselves together and call ourselves the same thing?

No, my philosophical lightweight friends. You have essentially made my point with your statement. Let's analyze the three premises you have raised, namely , who and what is God, who is Christ, and what is the nature of scripture.

First, who is God? According to the Nicene Creed (generally accepted by most non-LDS Christians) "I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible." So based on this brief statement, Christianity is monotheistic, meaning they believe in one God and that no other God's exist. It is true that the doctrine trinity (accepted by most Christians) means that he manifests himself in three different ways, he is still one God.

Mormons are on the other side of this issue. The Prophet Joseph Smith said  "I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods." So, Mormons are polytheists, meaning they believe in many gods. The Prophet also said "If Abraham reasoned thus -- If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. " This proves another point that needs to be made. Christians believe God to be a non-contingent being, meaning God is uncreated, exists on his own, and is un-embodied. In Mormonism, God is a Contingent being because the God worshiped has a God who is his father as well.

Moving to the idea of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus is God in the flesh, co-equal and co-eternal with him. In Mormonism, Jesus is the divine, but he is a separate being from the Father. He is literally the Son of God, as are all of humanity. The chief difference between him and the others of God's children was his birth happened without a mortal man being the father, making him divine and human at the same time.

Finally, the idea of scripture. Christianity believes in a closed-canon, meaning that scripture is done being written and concludes with what is written in the Bible. Mormonism believes in an open canon, as it accepts books outside of the Bible to be inspired, as well as believing in modern prophets. So, there canon will always be expanding

So, I think it is clear from our brief discussion of these topics that Christianity and Mormonism are in two separate camps. The only thing they truly share in common is there vocabulary, but it means different things when it is being used. So someone (or both of us) must be wrong.

I have a proposal. Since Christianity does not include us being Christian, lets start believing our own doctrine and stating what I believe to be the obvious: We alone are Christians, and the other groups are pagans. This was the philosophy of the early church, why not the modern Church? The church already underhandedly states this in their temple drama, why not voice the idea a little louder?

We simply cannot get into bed with Christianity, which Nephi describes as "The Great whore of all the Earth." We must reject it or become infected ourselves with its ideas which Christ himself said "an abomination" in his eyes.

So I will allow the reader to decide what he or she will believe, but I hope that I have demonstrated the idea of all being Christian is not a justifiable one.

2 comments:

  1. I always thought Christians were defined as believers in Christ. However, I do agree that we should focus more on our differences than our similarities.

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  2. As for what sets Christ apart from the rest of us, don't forget the important truth that He became perfect before He came to earth. Nobody else has done that. As for being a Christian, I think it means different things for a religious organization than it does for an individual. For individuals, Christianity (to me) means having a personal commitment to Jesus Christ, His teachings, and His gospel. I met several non-Mormon Christians on my mission who were exemplary at this facet of Christianity, who lifted my faith and inspired me to be better. When you're talking about a religious organization, you're more justified in arguing doctrinal differences.

    As a final, minor suggestion, polishing your sentence structure and use of homonyms will enhance your credibility, in blog posts and in your future philosophical career.

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