There’s a reason this post comes second, only after “a look at the question itself“, because all of the other supporting posts, answering the questions of critics, stem from one common theme… we’re different.
I’m a Product Manager in practice, so I’m well acquainted with the idea that our differences define us. In business, the whole idea is to “differentiate”, and indeed, there are many differences between Mormonism and orthodox Christianity. This series is NOT about trying to prove that Mormons are the same as orthodox Christians, for we’re not. This is a series of posts about Mormons being Christian, for we are.
The dictionary describes a Christian as one who believes in Jesus Christ and follows His teachings – which we do.
Why does it matter what a dictionary says? Because as humans we rely on words to communicate. To share complex ideas. But our ability to communicate is only as good as another’s ability to understand us. And that relies upon having socially accepted definitions of terms. A dictionary.
If individuals or organizations chose to simply abandon what are otherwise socially acceptable definitions, and create their own, then as a whole, our ability to effectively communicate is diminished, and confusion ensues.
For instance, if someone asks, “are Mormons Christian?”, and what they really mean is “Do Mormons believe in Jesus Christ”, then to reply “no” would be an outright lie, even if you disagree with our faith. And to knowingly lie is a sin, and has consequences.
It is this that matters to me. The honesty of what you (as a non-Mormon) convey about Mormonism. If your answer to that question was something akin to “technically yes, although there are several substantial differences between what they believe about Jesus Christ, and what orthodox Christianity believes…”, then you’re being honest, and that would be totally acceptable.
But the problem is, conspiring men don’t do this. They perpetuate falsity by simply stating “no”, and as such, are caught (at least by our Father) in a lie.
Another example… If someone came to me and asked “Are Hawaiians American? I could answer “no”. For in truth we have many critical differences. I mean, they have their own language. They often don’t even look like us. I mean let’s be real, in a number of crucial ways, they’re very, very different… I mean they don’t even live on the same continent for goodness sake.
So, clearly, I could choose to create a definition contrary to society, and that would emphasize my individual belief, and could stubbornly convey that at every opportunity. But would it be helpful? Honest?
In short, while it’s true that our differences define us, we have more in common than not. And of those things that we hold in common, is the belief in the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, that he is our Redeemer, and that only through Him can we be saved. We believe in Jesus Christ, and work to follow his teachings, which just happens to be the definition of “Christian”. Hence, in answer to the question “Are Mormons Christian”. Yes.
Any answer otherwise is dishonest.