Should Mormons Be Considered Fellow Christians?

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Image via bookofmormondeclare.com

This article was originally written by J.B. Haws for faithstreet.com. The following is an excerpt. 

Chances are, if you’ve had any extended conversation with a Mormon, you’ve realized that he or she identifies as a Christian. But if you pay attention to recent polls or presidential politics or popular Broadway shows, you’ve also probably realized that other Christians firmly deny Mormonism’s “Christian” status.

Yes, there are some theological differences, but the problem is these denials give the mistaken impression that Mormons do not believe in a divine Jesus. In the words of Mormon historian Philip Barlow, Mormons should be seen as “Bible-believing Christians with a difference.”

At stake here is public understanding. A recent nationwide poll showed a 75 percent public “uncertainty rate” as to whether Mormons believe in both Jesus Christ and the Bible. That’s the rub. In today’s religiously pluralistic America, the importance of mutual understanding cannot be overstated.

Misunderstandings often become fodder for fear and prejudice, barriers to cooperation and empathy. Still, many conservative, evangelical Christians balk at calling Mormons “Christian” because they worry this could blur the reality — and it’s an all-important, salvation-on-the-line issue for many evangelicals — that Latter-day Saints do not subscribe to the traditional, creedal formulations behind a Trinitarian God.

Mormons do not deny this difference. In fact, they are quick to emphasize it. While still using the language of God’s “omni-“ attributes, Latter-day Saints also believe God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are beings of shape and dimension — each individual in form, but perfectly united in their full divinity.

Yet Mormons are concerned that many people outside of evangelical circles simply hear “Mormons aren’t Christian” to mean “Mormons don’t believe in Jesus,” or, more specifically, “Mormons don’t believe Jesus is Savior and Lord.”

Both groups worry, in essence, about the same thing: correct public understanding of bedrock theology. In reality, neither a “yes” nor a “no” answer to the “Are Mormons Christian?” question will satisfy all. But perhaps adding another term could. That term is “biblical.”

Read the full article at faithstreet.com.

Related: A discussion of Latter-day Saint Christianity

Kylie is a writer at LDS.net and graduate of BYU with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She grew up in a Chicago suburb where she gained a passion for the Chicago Cubs. She enjoys writing and live event video production.