“I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of mankind.” – Mitt Romney (Today in College Station)
While I stand politically next to Romney on pretty much every issue (as well as Glenn Beck who is also a Mormon) and would vote for him as President of the nation, more importantly than mere politics, I depart from him when it comes to Christianity. In no sense is Mormonism “Christian” really by any true, historical, theological definition, other than the fact that they borrow phrases, terminology and figures from Biblical history as mere “examples”. In addition, they totally redefined who these figures were and what they said. In the same way Unitarian/Universalists really aren’t Christians in their beliefs (denial of the Trinity and the just punishment of God against sinners in Revelation), so also Mormonism stands at odds with the historical, Biblical faith. This is where, once again, doctrine is vastly important to believers! That cannot be overstated. Look at what Romney said above. How many based on that definition would say he was a Christian who has been born of the Spirit of God? I would say the majority of modern evangelicals would probably say he’s a believer indeed. (And I can hear it now, “Who are we to judge?”) And yet, there is a lot implied in this statement of his, as well as a whole lot that is not said. And this is the case for when you have a Mormon come into your home, evangelizing you to enter their church. They are slippery and evasive. They will affirm historic Christian doctrines and then in the same breath deny them by qualifying all they say.
So how is this religion not Christian in any sense?
1) Well for starters, amongst the many absurd theological inventions introduced by Joseph Smith in the 1800’s (i.e. 1700 years after the last book was written within the Christian canon of Scripture), not only did they add a book to the canon of Scripture (the Book of Mormon), but they also re-translated the Bible itself (and interpreted into the translation-it is an “eisegetical translation”). For instance, in John 1:1 we read (in most common, accurate translations from the Greek and Hebrew that is), “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.” However, Mormonism’s Bible translation reads, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was a God.”
2) Notice that right at the end there? “A God”. Amongst how many? As many as work really hard according to Mormonism’s principles, and thus earn the right to become gods themselves and inherit their own planet of sorts. So yes, Mormons are polytheists. So Jesus was the son of God (just like we can be if we work for our salvation under the Mormonistic principles of faith, but Jesus was not the One, the Only, Son of God who made an effectual payment for sinners on the cross. He was merely an example of how we should work for our salvation, just as he did, and that according to Mormonism. He was someone like us, in the sense that we too are sons of God and should follow his example. So from the outset, Mormonism is at odds with Christianity in the monotheistic versus polytheistic sense. They believe in multiple gods, true Christians believe in one God (“The Lord our God, He is one”?). Mormonism has the rather large underlying presupposition that there are multiple gods. So you have to read Romney’s statement through that filter to get what he is saying.
3) In addition to the polytheistic nature of their religion, Jesus was not eternally begotten of the Father, but begotten of the Father in the flesh, meaning the Father, Elohim, physically had sex with Mary and thus conceived Jesus. There are many modern day LDS’ who deny this is their doctrine, but as James White clearly documents in the articles below, this is indeed the case. So their religion is in error Christologically, or in their understanding of who Jesus is from the Scriptures. They deviate, just as the Arians and Gnostics did, on the point of Christ (denying His preexistence as God, denying His being The God from all eternity (not just a god), denying His oneness with the Father), and thus are preaching an absolutely different gospel because their Jesus differs from that of the Scriptures.
4) Something else that I just learned of today, actually on CNN, is that they believe Jesus ministered in the America’s, something that in no sense can be historically shown to be accurate, both from the original text of Scripture itself as well as extra-scriptural texts.
I mean the absurdities don’t stop. I won’t go through all of them, but just wanted to give you a flavor of what they believe, because it is uniquely non-Christian, and with the exception of phrases and terminology, we as believers in Christ as the only way to God share nothing in common with Mormons. We do not worship the same God together with them. They worship a god created in their own image (or rather that of Joseph Smith).
Here are a series of theological articles on Mormonism entitled Mormonism’s Embarassing Theology by Dr. James White over at www.aomin.org if you want to go deeper:
The Only Begotten of the Father in the Flesh: Mormonism’s Embarrassing Theology #1
The Only Begotten of the Father in the Flesh: Mormonism’s Embarrassing Theology #2
The Only Begotten of the Father in the Flesh: Mormonism’s Embarrassing Theology #3
The Only Begotten of the Father in the Flesh: Mormonism’s Embarrassing Theology #4
The Only Begotten of the Father in the Flesh: Mormonism’s Embarrassing Theology #5
The Only Begotten of the Father in the Flesh: Mormonism’s Embarrassing Theology #6