“So, are you a Christian or not?” I get this question a lot. I didn’t understand the question at first. How can I not be Christian since I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? If you think about it, the question has a deeper meaning.
The very church name has Jesus Christ in the middle of it true enough but, what does it truly mean to be Christian? Is merely belonging to a church with Jesus Christ as the center be it in name or in belief the only qualification to being a Christian?
If you heard the world’s definition, just saying the Lord’s name is enough.
We know however from Matthew 7:21-23 that this is not the case:
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Our Article of Faith teaches:
3 We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
It’s not enough then to say Lord, Lord and be saved as many of the world believe or what I call “death bed confessions” where one just lives as s/he pleases and then at the last minute say sorry and all’s forgiven.
I guess it’s safe to say Latter-Day Saints are not garden variety Christians.
Take the Trinity.
The world believes Christ to be one of 3 in the Trinity in that Jesus IS Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit.
I once posted on a Christian forum as a hired poster and got involved with the studies concerning the Trinity. It was a common belief among most Christians that the Trinity or belief in it made us true Christians, anyone that did not believe in the Trinity as defined by the world were not Christians.
The Latter-Day Saints do not believe in the world’s definition of the Trinity. Our very Article of Faith says:
1 We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
If you notice, the 3 here are listed as separate beings or entities, not one person acting as 3 separate personages. The world’s definition of the Trinity makes Heavenly Father out to have a personality disorder.
This was a problem for me as a Roman Catholic and one I couldn’t resolve in my head. I believed all 3 Deities were 3 SEPARATE Deities, not 1 Deity acting as 3.
1John 5:7 has many people pointing and saying: SEE?? IT SAYS THE TRINITY RIGHT HERE. Not so fast:
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
Now, if you stopped there, you could make an argument that yeah, it certainly SOUNDS like the Trinity but, the next verse goes further to explain things:
8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
It made sense that if you have 3 people, they are not the same person, they then can agree with each other and come together in agreement all the same.
The way I explained it on the board when challenged was this:
Say you have 3 horses: A daddy horse, a momma horse and a baby horse. Yes, all 3 are horses. All 3 eat hay, oats, grow, drink water, all are same as in they are horses.
If we used the world’s definition of Trinity, all three horses are the same exact horse. The daddy horse is the mommy horse and baby horse. How does this make sense? It doesn’t because each horse is exactly it’s own horse, not all three horses as 1 horse. It’s impossible to be 1 horse or person acting as 3.
Heavenly Father expects us to obey the law of nature. Nature says we are all individuals, all with a soul, a heart and mind. We’re not our neighbors, not our friends or our pets. We are our own person.
2 We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
We do not pay for the sins of our parents or for anyone else but our own sins. That’s what sets us apart from the mainstream Christian that believes Adam and Eve were sinners and therefore we’re paying for their sins. Not so.
Think of it this way. You have 4 kids and 1 missing piece of candy. You punish the one that took it, not the other 3 innocents. Some parents punish all 4 knowing fully that yes, 1 out of the 4 committed the misdeed and yes then, the punishment is 100% success rate but really what have you also done? You punished 3 innocent children for what 1 did, is that fair?
Heavenly Father is fair and just. He punishes the wrong doer not the child of the wrong doer, how fair would He be to punish US for what our parents did? Not very fair.
This is the first in a series. Stay tuned as this is not remotely all there is to the question “Are Latter-Day Saints Christians?”