Monday, 28 January 2013

What is a Christian Mormon?

These days Mormons will frequently be heard referring to themselves as Mormon/Christian. In a world in which it seems alright for people to self-identify as Jedi Knight against the “religion” question on census returns Mormon/Christian doesn’t seem such a stretch.

Making a lot of Joseph

You will note that I have changed the order of these words in my title. It is deliberate and a kind of word play. You might read it, “What is a Christian/Mormon?” or you might read it, “What is a Christian, Mormon?” Lame perhaps but I hope it makes you think because the claim to be a Mormon/Christian is a much greater stretch than it might at first appear.

In a nice little piece for the Briefing magazine Marty Sweeney wrote about spending the day with Mormons and coming away with some clear thoughts on whether Mormons are Christians. I strongly recommend you read the article. He highlights six reasons why he thinks Mormonism isn’t Christian and picks up on key issues every time. Two in particular caught my attention because they are true, because he expresses them very well and because Mormons adamantly deny them. He writes,

“Their devotion to Joseph Smith—the Prophet—is parallel, if not greater, to that of Christ.”

“They have a sense of the sacred (places and times) that originate from their view of Joseph Smith. Any significant place Smith dwelt is somewhat of a mecca for them.  I am curious if they view historic sites in Jerusalem and Israel in the same way?”

Making a lot of Jesus

I remember a Christian friend offered to send a CD of Christian choruses to a Mormon on a discussion forum I once frequented. The Mormon accepted the offer, details were exchanged privately, and the disc was sent. A couple of weeks later the Christian, on the forum, asked the Mormon what he thought of the songs. The Mormon was delighted with the disc, saying that his children loved to dance to it and it was a success with the whole family.

"One thing that did strike me about those songs though", the Mormon remarked. "You do seem to make a lot of Jesus."

Now every true Christian here is sighing as they recognise how telling that innocent remark is.

Yes, we are utterly sold out to, totally in love with, 100%, died in the wool, can't get enough of him, tell me the old-old-story mad about Jesus. And the confession that Mormons are not, the surprise expressed by this Mormon that we do seem to make a lot of him in comparison to his own Mormon experience speaks volumes and gives the lie to the claim that Mormons are Christians.

What is a Christian, Mormon?

What on earth did he think a Christian was? The clue is in the name - CHRISTian. Of course, if you think being so sold out to Jesus is freaky it can only mean you have no idea what Jesus has done for sinners. Mormonism teaches that Jesus is part of God's great plan of happiness, of which old Joseph Smith is another part.

For me, as a Christian, Jesus is the very ground of my being, the light of my life, my North star, the very plan itself, set in motion from before the foundations of the earth. The one who has lifted me from the miry clay and set my feet on a rock, the rock on which my house of faith is founded, the reason for my being, the object of my worship, my comfort in times of sorrow, my strength in times of trial, my peace in the turmoil of life, and my sure hope for eternity.

He has taken from me a heart of stone and placed in me a heart of flesh, he has opened my eyes to truth, renewed my mind, brought me to my spiritual senses and made me see that I am deeply stained to the very marrow with sin and that sin was paid for IN FULL on a cross outside Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.

He has kept me up to this moment, given me today as a gift and eternity as a sure hope. He has conquered death so that I have no need to fear that enemy, he has washed away my sins so that I need not fear condemnation and he has clothed me in his righteousness so that I need not fear being seen in my filthy sin-soaked rags.

He is my exemplar, the one who commands, "live this way", and my constant strength, the one who supplies my every need that I may indeed live this way for him.

He is with me in trials, laughs when I laugh, rejoices when I rejoice and weeps when I weep. He is closer than a brother, dearer than the dearest friend. He always hears me, always answers, bids me come closer and tell him everything. He is always glad to see me, and grieved when I neglect him, yet forgiving when I repent of my shoddy neglect.

There is none like him, he is God the Son, the one who was there in the beginning, laid the foundations of and has kept this creation by his power to this day, and the one whose coming I await eagerly. His service is my pleasure, his glory is my joy, his reputation is my constant concern, his name is my treasure.

Yes, I suppose you could say I am a Jesus freak, but if you call me by his glorious name, Christian, that will serve quite well enough. I guess only those who have been to the foot of the Cross and laid their burden there could say such things. Otherwise, I suppose they simply don’t know the Jesus of the Bible, his saving grace and keeping love and so wonder what all the fuss is about.

Read more about Joseph and Jesus

What has been your experience of Mormonism? Why not share your thoughts in the comment box below?

2 comments:

  1. Hi Mike,
    I had 5 Mormons over last night and we had a discussion IF we can pray to Jesus. Very puzzling because I shared this point:
    1. In 1 Cor 1,2 Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.... The Church in Corinth calles upon the Name of the Lord, which is praying to Jesus!!
    2. Act 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Again everyone who called on to the Names of the Lord shall be saved !
    3. Act 1:24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
    here again the prayed to the LORD ! They called Jesus Lord before in vers 5
    4. In Mormonism Jesus is the Jehovah of the OT and I dont need to give ALLLLLL the aucounts where the Tribe of Israel worship Jehovah and prayed to him !!!
    5. 3Nephi 11, 15 And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and adid feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.

    16 And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:

    17 Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.
    They worshiped Jesus even when he was not glorified , worship is even a higher art of prayer than giving thanks or making petions !! It is giving only God the glory for WHO he is !!! Jesus didnt rebuke them even when he was not transcendent already to be with god father !

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  2. You raise some good points. The problem is Mormons do not have a high regard for Scripture, even their own, and get their thinking from the latest thing their leaders tell them rather than "reasoning from the Scriptures."

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