Are Mormons Christians? What does it mean to be Christian?
Yesterday and today I have been attending our Stake Conference, Geneva Heights Stake in Orem, Utah. It has been a very inspiring Conference and I could mention many interesting topics.
For example, our stake president, President Thomas, talked about the positive influence of a friend of his who is blogging about his life and faith and that is touching the life of others by doing it, in spite of, or perhaps especially because of his difficult health condition.
The stake president also talked about missionary work and finding people for the missionaries to teach. There was no direct mention to online missionary work in that talk, but I believe that it will become always more evident to all that one of the best way to find people over time will be the Internet. Even shy people will not have excuses for not doing it!
However, there is another topic that I would like to comment about. In the Conference a story was told about a young woman who was inviting a friend to mutual (young women activities in the Mormon Church) and this friend was loving it. This friend’s mother, member of another faith, became concerned of this situation and scheduled a biblical study for her daughter in the same night. There is no problem about a mother of another faith being concerned and enrolling her daughter in a biblical study. What made me sad, but not surprised unfortunately, was the last part of the story. Some time later these two girls met again and the young woman from another faith told the young Mormon girl something like, “you Mormons are not even Christians”…
The young Mormon girl realized soon that the reason because her friend was saying that was because we believe in a different concept of Trinity. To all who accept and understand the Bible it should be clear that the concept of the Trinity as taught by many Christian denomination is not biblical and at best is confusing. (for a great explanation of Mormon beliefs about Trinity see The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent) But this is not the point here. Let everybody believe what they want and respect it.
My question is: “What do they mean and imply when they say that we are not even Christian?” or ” Are these statement something that help create friendship and foster mutual understanding or is a way to propagate confusion, division, and bias?”.
This is a time of equal rights and all around in our society people talk about avoiding discrimination and so on. However, when some good religious people teach their kids that Mormon are not even Christians, what do they exactly mean?
In fact, what does define a Christian? Is the specific belief in a certain “Trinity” or the principle of loving our neighbors, for example? I am afraid that when some people stress the fact that Mormons are not Christians, they are in fact conveying – willingly or unwillingly – the message that Mormons do not love their neighbors, and that they are bad people, that they are pagans, or any other disparaging thing people can think of. In our culture, unfortunately, to say that someone is not “even Christian” is a way to dismiss a person or a beliefs and not to engage in a serious discussion.
I obviously do not know who does it for ignorance and who does it on purpose, to create division and foster misunderstanding and confusion, but in a time in which we, as a society, try to focus on what we have in common, even with other religions, that clearly define themselves as not Christian, to insist and stress that Mormon are not Christians is clearly a sign of bigotry or ignorance that should have been left in the 19th century. We, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – the Mormons – should peacefully, but firmly, work to eliminate these vestiges of previous eras.