My good friend Art recently talked about Mitt Romney and his religion. To be honest, I had no idea that Mitt was a Mormon, and truly it makes little difference to me, as I’ll never be in a position to influence the man’s religious beliefs. Apparently, though, in the circles Art runs in, everyone is ‘in a tizzy’ about it. Art doesn’t understand, as he states in his post, why people have a problem with the Mormons and the LDS belief structure, and why the rest of Christianity doesn’t consider Mormons as Christians.
To prove his point, Art listed a set of superficial criteria comparison of Mainstream Christianity to Mormonism. The list made it appear as if Mormonism is really just another flavor of Christianity, but I’m here to tell you, it isn’t.
Mormonism, much like Scientology and Jehovah’s Witnesses, is a belief structure full of weird and often alien (in the literal and figurative sense) beliefs. Whether or not you can get along with a Mormon and be led politically by one is one thing. Whether a Mormon is a Christian is quite another.
If your judge of a ‘good person’ is whether or not they respect and aim to help their fellow man, most Mormons fall into that category (except, of course, if you’re black). Black skin is a curse from God, they teach (1 Nephi 12:23, 2 Nephi 5:21, Alma 3:6, Jacob 3:8, 3 Nephi 2:15, Morm 5:15).
If your judge of a ‘good person’ is whether or not they are cleansed by the blood of Christ as is taught in mainstream Christian doctrine and the New Testament, then Mormons are in fact not ‘good people.’ That is directly to say that they are not Christians in the literal sense. Their doctrine mandates that they do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, that they should be seeking the Holy Spirit and God the Father.
Additionally, all of their doctrines I’ve ever read are very careful to inform their congregations that while Jesus was instrumental in witnessing to the humans of earth, Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross was not what saved us of our sins’ penalties. On the other hand, mainstream Christian doctrine states that “All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that they who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
In short mainstream Christianity believes that Christ was God’s only son. He died having committed no sin so as to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. We Christians who believe this and accept the gift of sacrifice may spend eternity with God, the Holy Spirit, the angels and Jesus Christ.
In short mainstream Mormonism believes that God the Father was a man who lived on a planet near the star Koleb (Book of Abraham 3:3-16). God had physical sex with Mary and conceived Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ lived a good life and taught all of us about God, but left a lot out. Joseph Smith came along and taught us all that in addition to eternal life, if we pray to God and behave extra good, when we die, we might get our own planets to rule as well as multiple wives instead of just living in eternal bliss and worship in Heaven (D&C 132:63, see also…).
I’m not here to tell you Mormons are evil or in any way insidious people. I do see their belief structure as quite insidious from a Christian perspective – enticing in folks with attractive rewards, but leaving out the very bits of Christianity that make it worthwhile and Holy. It almost deliberately leaves out the parts that mainstream doctrine require to gain admittance to heaven. I don’t know exactly how judgement day is going to work, and if deceived Mormons are going to be punished for eternity for missing the point on Christ’s sacrifice. I have a feeling that the creators of Mormonism will ultimately have to answer for their distortion of the Gospel, however.