As much as many Christians would like the world to believe that Mormonism is not a legitimate sect of Christianity – reality argues otherwise. And right off the bat I want to use proper nomenclature. The legitimate name of their faith is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They are most often referred to as “Mormons” because they follow not only the Christian Bible, but the Book of Mormon as well. So I will be using the proper name abbreviated as LDS. One of the reasons this is so important to them is that they intentionally stress the “Church of Jesus Christ” portion of their faith.
I routinely attempt to use the K.I.S.S. method when beginning these discussions because they can quickly get entirely out of control. So here goes…we are talking about what are considered the Abrahamic Faiths. Traditionally, there are only three categories – Jewish, Islamic and Christian. The reason they are referred to in this way is that they all claim to be descendants of Abraham and they all recognize the same God. Their religious views and traditions vary from slight to significant. Religion Facts.com has several charts that illustrate the origins and comparisons of these three major faith categories. This one shows the origins:
All these major religions have their own subcategories and sects. Christianity, it can be argued, is home to the most diverse sects dangling beneath its umbrella, covering a vast territory. Think Protestant, Pentecostalism, Charismatic Evangelicalism, Catholic, Latter Day Saints, and a bunch more. For me to openly tie LDS to Christianity will surprise a lot of people because the understanding of the LDS faith by the general populace is limited almost entirely to polygamy and funny underpants.
But, hey…what religion doesn’t have its standout traditions? Ash smudge on the forehead; kissing the ring of the Pope; speaking in tongues; fasting for Jesus; grasping a live chicken by the shoulder blades and moving around one’s head three times, symbolically transferring one’s sins to the chicken; or drinking shot glasses of grape juice or wine and eating wafers or crackers and pretending that is the blood and body of Christ; that Mary was a virgin; or believing that hell is a real place full of actual fire and brimstone…
Instead of me going on, please add to what I have put here in the comments section if you would about any and all rituals that come to your mind as you think about this.
They all seem a bit eccentric to those who are outside the faiths.
The rise of Mitt Romney as the Republican Presidential nominee for 2012 has now required that we all become aquainted with the mysteries of a faith commonly referred to as Mormonism. What are the common depitctions that cross our minds when are asked what we think of when we hear the term Mormon? For some of us it is limited to…
- they have multiple wives
- they have their own bible
For others, a few more thoughts come to mind…
- they have to wear odd undergarments
- they think black people are here so that Satan has representation on earth
And those of us who have been brought up in what are thought of as the mainstream Christian faiths were taught that “Mormons” are not real Christians, and that is the pervasive view of most Americans whether they adhere to religious beliefs or not. Here is a list from a site called What Mormons Believe:
- Mormon is a nickname for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church was restored in 1830 in upstate New York with Joseph Smith as its first prophet and president. Today the headquarters is in Salt Lake City, Utah, with Gordon B. Hinckley as the present prophet.
- Mormons number over 13 million members in 176 countries. About 6 million members are in the USA making the Mormon Church the 4th largest Christian denomination in America and one of the fastest growing Christian faiths in the world.
- The Church completes a new chapel every working day. Members pay a 10% tithing of their income to make such building projects and other extensive welfare programs possible.
- Local congregations are led by volunteer, unpaid members.Both men and women serve in assigned leadership positions. Leaders are called to serve and do not seek out leadership roles.
- Brigham Young University and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir are two very popular institutions associated with the Mormon Church.
- Mormons are well represented in high and trusted positions in politics, government, business, medicine, law, education, media, sports and entertainment.
- We believe in the eternity of the soul, that God is the Father of our spirits, and that we can return to Him after death.
- We believe that Jesus Christ is our personal Savior and Redeemer. We try to model our lives after Him and His teachings. We accept as fellow Christians all who believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of all mankind. We have much in common with other Christian faiths. There is no other way for salvation except through faith in Jesus Christ.
- We believe the original church Jesus Christ established was lost and has been restored in our day.
- Priesthood authority has been restored again in our day. Priesthood is defined as the authority given to man to act in the name of God. We believe God has called apostles and a prophet to lead us.
- We believe in the Holy Bible as the Word of God. We also believe in the Book of Mormon and other books of scripture that support the Bible and testify of the divinity of Jesus Christ.
Interesting…now back to the position of born again Christians on Mormons. This assertion was articulated on the GOP 2012 Presidential campaign trail this past year by a preacher named Robert Jeffress who, while endorsing then candidate Governor Rick Perry of Texas, a Dominionist Christian – had this to say (listen from beginning to 1:20 second mark for the main message)…
That was way, way, way back in October of 2011! And here we are today, April 18, 2012, with this breaking endorsement of Mitt Romney for President by none other than Born Again preacher Jeffrus himself as reported in USA Today by Catalina Camia::
Rev. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, told the Associated Press that he still believes Mormons are not Christians. But he is backing Romney, the likely GOP nominee, because President Obama does not believe in “biblical principles.”
Jeffress sparked an outcry last October when he called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a “cult” and said “Mormonism is not Christianity.” At the time, Jeffress was backing Texas Gov. Rick Perry for president.
“I never said Christians should not vote for Mitt Romney,” Jeffress said Sunday in a Fox News interview, which is just now gaining wide attention from various news outlets.
“When I talked about his theology, I was answering a question about theology,” Jeffress said. “And I still maintain there are vast differences in theology between Mormons and Christians, but we do share many of the same values, like the sanctity of life and religious freedom.”
With time I will go deeper into this rabbit-hole as we discover the similarities which are numerous – rather than focus on the differences between LDS and the bible-based cult Dominionist sects – because it is the ideologies that their theologies have in common that constitute a threat to our democracy when they set their sights on saving America from the evils of secular humanism.
Theologians argue constantly about who is a “real” Christian. Whether faith is enough or you have to be “born again”. Is baptism at birth recognized? And is it true that the richer you are the more God shines on you? Or that the poorer you are the more evidence there is that you have turned your back on Jesus. These questions represent a fraction of the debates and the truth is? There is not a blessed soul on this earth who can answer these.
So, I am not interested in getting into a debate about who the “real Christians are. My concern, as I stated above, is that what ever any of these sects claim or call themselves…if they are seeking to insert their religious beliefs into our laws with the intent to govern Americans under their theology – I do not want to have anything to do with what they are peddling. But, given that political Christiannity has permeated conservative politics in America – I have a lot of questions…
- Are they implementing social legislation regarding women’s rights from health care to equal pay?
- Are they using their religious views to define marriage and justify discrimination of minorities?
- Is their intention to cut programs for the poor, indigent and downtrodden based on their scripture-twisted versions of Christianity?
- Does their belief in a version of Prosperity Gospel make them slaves to enriching the rich?
- Do they deny global warming because of their biblical world view and a belief that we are in the End of Days?
- Is their Israeli policy based on their religious views? And Iran?
These are just a few of the very serious questions that I am just getting warmed up with. I will be discussing this and more on the Forward Blitz Radio Show tonight. You can tune in by clicking here. I am certain that it will be a lively discussion that we will all learn from.