Jesus Christ/Worship


Latter-day Saints worship Jesus Christ

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Question: Do Latter-day Saints worship a "different Jesus"?

LDS Christians and other Christians agree on the vast majority of points on Jesus' nature, mission, and indispensable role in salvation

Some Christians claim that despite the Saints' witness of Christ, they worship "a different Jesus" and so are not entitled to consider themselves "Christians." Rather than illuminating LDS Christians' or non-LDS Christians' beliefs about Jesus, this accusation is simply an attempt to spread discord and confusion.

LDS Christians and other Christians agree on the vast majority of points on Jesus' nature, mission, and indispensable role in salvation.

Latter-day Saints differ from other Christians only in that they tend to believe additional things about Jesus

Latter-day Saints differ from other Christians only in that they tend to believe additional things about Jesus, since they have other scriptures (such as the Book of Mormon) which provide them with further information. This information complements the Biblical beliefs which they share with the whole Christian world.

The most important recent document to discuss the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding our Lord and Savior is found in "The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles." [1]

Latter-day Saints believe the following:

A protester at the April 2003 LDS General Conference attempts to convince others that members of the Church do not believe in the Biblical Jesus.  Members of the Church may believe some different things about Jesus, but this does not mean they worship a different being than the protester.
  • Jesus is the Christ, the promised Messiah
  • Jesus of Nazareth is the Only Begotten Son of the Father
  • Jesus was born of a virgin birth to Mary
  • Jesus is perfect, without sin
  • Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father, but by Him
  • Jesus performed miracles. He:
    • healed the sick
    • opened eyes of the blind
    • opened ears of the deaf
    • forgave sins
    • cast out demons and evil spirits
    • changed water into wine
    • multiplied loaves and fishes
    • raised the dead
  • Jesus was foreshadowed by, and fulfilled, the law of Moses
  • Jesus suffered and died for the sins of all humanity
  • Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, died, was buried, and rose again
  • Jesus appeared in resurrected form to Mary, Thomas, the apostles, five hundred brethren at once
  • Jesus ascended to the Father to sit down on the right hand of His power
  • Jesus converted Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus
  • Jesus will come again to reign in glory with all the faithful

To be sure, there are doctrinal differences between some Christians and the Latter-day Saints. But, this is true of virtually all Christians:

Christians have argued, often passionately, over every conceivable point of Christian doctrine from the filioque to the immaculate conception. There is scarcely an issue of worship, theology, ethics, and politics over which some Christians have not disagreed among themselves. [2]

Latter-day Saints have no quarrel with the idea that some of their beliefs about Jesus may differ from those of other Christians

Latter-day Saints have no quarrel with the idea that some of their beliefs about Jesus may differ from those of other Christians. If there were no differences in belief at all, it would make little sense to have the hundreds of Christian denominations which exist.

But, it is insulting and unfair to insist that the LDS do not worship the "same" Jesus as other Christians. By analogy, a Protestant might consider Martin Luther an inspired instrument in the hands of God to reform the wayward Christian Church. A Catholic might rather consider Luther to be a wayward priest who was gravely mistaken. Clearly, the opinions about Luther may differ, but it would be absurd to insist that Catholics and Lutherans are each talking about a different Luther.

Question: Do Latter-day Saints believe in a "different" Jesus than "mainstream" Christians?

"Mormon Beliefs About Jesus" versus "Christian Beliefs About Jesus": Mormons worship the Jesus Christ of the Bible

It would be enlightening for any Latter-day Saint to read this description of the "Mormon Jesus" in the left column and see just how much of this is recognizable as church doctrine. The list is taken from page One Nation Under Gods, p. 378 (PB). This claim is repeated in the author's later work Becoming Gods—The "Mormon Jesus" versus the "Traditional Jesus".

The "mainstream Christian" author's misrepresentation of "Mormon Beliefs About Jesus" Jesus Christ, as He is actually viewed by Latter-day Saints For more information...
A literal son (spirit-child) of a god (Elohim) and his wife.
  • Latter-day Saints believe that everyone is a spirit child of Heavenly Father, including Jesus. What is a spirit child? We don't have the details.
  • Our eternal nature was organized into a spirit person, whatever that is. We don't know the details. We don't know the process by which we became a spirit person.
  • The difference between us is that Jesus is divine, while the rest of us are not.
  • Why the emphasis on the word "literal"? Apparently, to once again call attention to the subject of "Celestial Sex."
The elder brother of all spirits born in the pre-existence to Heavenly Father.
  • Latter-day Saints do not claim to know by what method a spirit is "born."
  • Christ is the "eldest," but what this means is also not clear. Is it a question of temporality? (i.e., He came first in time) Is it a rank? Does it describe His relationship to us? We simply don't claim to know, since time is only measured unto man.
  • Latter-day Saints do believe that Christ was not created ex nihilo at some moment; He is eternally self-existent.
A polygamous Jewish male.
  • This is not a belief among Latter-day Saints, and is based entirely upon non-doctrinal statements made by Orson Hyde and Orson Pratt.
  • It is surprising that this claim is still in the paperback edition of One Nation Under Gods. It was, however, removed from Becoming Gods.
One of three gods overseeing this planet.
  • There is only one God. Christ is one of three divine beings in the Godhead. They are one in purpose, not one in person. John 17:3, John 17:20-22
  • Regardless of this, a creedal Christian ought not to have a problem with one God consisting of more than one Person.
Atoned only for Adam's transgression by sweating blood in Gethsemane.
  • This statement is completely false.
  • The Book of Mormon teaches that Christ's sacrifice was "infinite and eternal." (2 Nephi) It could not be exceeded in any sense. Christ suffered for the sins, griefs, and pains of all humanity (Alma 7), whether or not they repent.
  • The benefits of that atonement are restricted if we refuse to do that which He asks of us to accept it (i.e. have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end.)
  • Note that this statement was changed in Becoming Gods—The "Mormon Jesus" versus the "Traditional Jesus" to "Atoned only for Adam's transgression, thereby providing the opportunity for us to obtain "eternal life" by our own efforts. The change, however, didn't really do anything to correct this falsehood.
The literal spirit brother of Lucifer.
  • Again, note the emphasis on the word "literal." Latter-day Saints do not consider Jesus in any way to be Satan's "peer."
Jesus' sacrificial death is not able to cleanse some people of all their sins.
  • Latter-day Saints believe that only those who reject the atonement cannot be cleansed from all their sins. If one doesn't accept the atonement, then the atonement can't save him or her. But, that is a reflection on the sinner, and does not imply that Christ's atonement was "not able" to cleanse our sins.
  • This is probably alluding to blood atonement.
  • Jesus Christ Himself taught that blasphemy against the Holy Ghost was an "unforgivable sin." Matthew 12:31-32
There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God.
  • Latter-day Saints believe that there is no salvation without accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. Salvation is obtained by receiving Jesus and his atoning sacrifice. The statement presented in the book is nonsense. All save the sons of perdition are saved. All will be resurrected.
  • A fullness of salvation requires accepting the words of ALL the prophets--including those who wrote the Bible, and including Joseph Smith.
  • If one believes that you have to accept the Bible witness to be saved, then how can one fault Latter-day Saints for believing that another prophet's witness must also be accepted? LDS doctrine saves infidels and non-Christians in a resurrection of glory, and provides for their evangelization after death.

Question: Did Latter-day Saints only recently claim to be Christian?

Claims that the Church has only recently been asserting its Christian status are easily proven to be false

Latter-day Saints have claimed to be Christians from the very beginning of the restoration. Some observers claim, however, that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not "Christian," and that they have only recently claimed to be so. A related claim is that the Church has only recently begun to portray itself as "Christian" in order to gain adherents.

This claim is absurd. Claims that the Church has only recently been asserting its Christian status are false, as attested by LDS scripture, practice, doctrine, and public statements of its leadership and its early critics.

Critics of the Church depend upon their audience not knowing much about Latter-day Saint history. Enemies and members of the Church have long known that Church members consider themselves "Christian" (italics added in all cases):

Statements that Mormons are Christians that were made in the 1830s

“They call themselves the church of Christ, and the only church of Christ. All professing Christians who do not adhere to their system, they consider as formalists; ‘having the form of Godliness, but denying the power’”. [3]
“Old Joe . . . and several others . . . admitted [that the new faith] was an improvement in Christianity”. [4]
The Mormonites “say the Millennium is soon to commence and that Christ is to come personally and take up His residence with them. . . . In its general principles this sect entirely coincide with others which have from time to time sprung up in Christendom”. [5]
There is “a civil war between the Mormonites and their brother Christians”. [6]
"Brother Joseph . . . went on to show the brethren how wicked and unchristianlike such conduct [among them] appeared before the eyes of truth and justice”. [7]
April 1834
The only name given under heaven, whereby man can be saved, is Jesus Christ. Men in days of old heard the glad tidings, that the Son of Man would come in the fulness of his own time, to make intercession for the children of men, and suffer, the just, for the unjust, and rise from the dead, that the bands of the temporal death might be broken, that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that they might stand in the presence of God to be judged according to their works.—These glad tidings were communicated from heaven to earth, by the ministering of holy angels and by the voice of the living God. Thousands have looked forward with an eye of faith, and a confidence unshaken in the promises of God, to the time when the great and last sacrifice should be made for fallen man. Many have rejoiced to see the day of the Son of Man, have seen it, and were glad; and have fallen asleep after obtaining the promise, that they should see God in the flesh and should reign with him on the earth a thousand years....The news that the gospel brought in days of old, was, that Jesus Christ would come into the world; that he would suffer according to the flesh; that he would rise from the dead, and thereby redeem his people from the power of the grave. [8]
“the doctrine promulgated by the ‘latter day Christians’ in the newly discovered Bible”. [9]
“This morning a minister from Conne[c]ticut by the name of John W. Olived called at my house . . . . [He] asked me wherein we differ from other Christian denomination[s]”. [10]
“they have the appearance of being devout Christians. . . . They call themselves ‘Latter-day Saints,’ and profess to be the only true church, to have the only gospel order, consisting of apostles, elders, bishops, etc., etc., which several orders of the Christian hierarchy have been distinctly brought to light in the Book of Mormon”. [11]
“a large society of Christians who style themselves ‘Latter-day Saints’ or Mormons.” (Painesville Republican, vol. 1, no. 31, 15 June 1837).
"The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it". [12]
"This sect took its rise, A. D. 1830, in the county of Ontario, and State of New York. In April of that year, the society was organized as a Christian Church". [13]
The Mormons “were singing a hymn as other good Christians are wont to do . . . . [One of them offered] a very good Christian prayer . . . . [which petitioned that the Mormons might have] Christian fortitude.” (Peoria Register and North-Western Gazetteer, vol. 3, no. 17, 27 July 1839)
1839: Benjamin Dobson to the editor, June 16, 1839, “The Mormons,” Peoria Register and North-Western Gazetteer (Peoria, Illinois) 3, no. 13 (27 July 1839). off-site

Statements that Mormons are Christians that were made in the 1840s

“We want no religion but pure Christianity”. [14]
The heaven-born doctrines of christianity are so opposite to the vain, grovelling, and selfish sentiments of corrupt human nature, and the self-denying practices of genuine believers are so repugnant to the feelings of those whose nature is “earthly, sensual, and devilish,” that it is utterly unreasonable to suppose that anything like amity, concord or peace, can possibly exist between the church and the world. [John Taylor, Calumny Refuted and the Truth Defended (Liverpool: J. Tompkins, 1840), 1–12. Full title]
The citizens of Nauvoo are “a people, professing to be Christians.” (Quincy Whig, vol. 3, no. 13, 25 July 1840).
The Mormons retain “many truths which are held in common by different denominations of Christians.” (The Alton Telegraph, vol. 5, no. 46, 14 November 1840).
"We want no religion but pure Christianity." [Parley P. Pratt, Plain Facts (Manchester: W. R. Thomas, 1840), 5. off-site Full title]
"If every friend to the cause of apostolic christianity, would subscribe and pay in advance for the above mentioned books [Book of Mormon, hymn books]...." [Anon., "Books!!!," Times and Seasons 1 no. 9 (July 1840), 139–40. off-site GospeLink off-site
“I understood from [the Mormons] as follows, . . . that they did not discard the Bible as used by other Christian sects”. [15]
"why it is, that so many professing Christianity, and so many professing to reverence the sacred principles of our Constitution (which gives free religious toleration to all), have slandered, and persecuted this sect of Christians." [16]
"The object of our visit to your city is not to subvert any moral or truly Christian principle, or to promulgate any doctrine other than that which was advocated by Patriarchs, Prophets, Christ and the Apostles; which doctrine or gospel, we believe is the same invariable plan of salvation that it ever was, and that it ought to be taught, administered and obeyed in the present age, precisely as it was in the primitive or golden period of Christianity." [E. Snow and Benjamin Winchester, "An Address to the Citizens of Salem (Mass.) And Vicinity," Times and Seasons 2 no. 24 (1 October 1841), 574-76. off-site GospeLink off-site]
"Many of them have given up home and friends in obedience to what they consider the call of Christ, their Master.... The Mormons not only claim to be Christians, but the only Christians." [“The Mormons,” Auburn Journal and Advertiser (22 December 1841). off-site]
“the great Christian city of Nauvoo”. [17]
[Mormons teach that] "no man can be a Christian, or be admitted into the kingdom of God, unless he is baptized by immersion by an authorized person." [R.T.M., “The Mormons,” Religious Monitor and Evangelical Repository (18 January 1842): 345–46. off-site]
Hyrum Smith is "one of the most pious and devout christians in the world." (New York Herald (19 February 1842); cited in Veritas, "The Mormon Prophets," Millennial Star 3 (May 1842): 8.)
Mormons “are Christians in the fullest sense of the term, believing in the Old and New Testaments.” (The New York Herald, vol. 7, no. 419, 16 May 1842).
Mormons are described as – “A Christian sect in Illinois.” (Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review, vol. 7, no. 25, 18 June 1842; emphasis in original).
"All these letters and documents [about the Mormons] disclose a most extraordinary movement in human affairs. What they mean we can hardly tell, but is it not time for some great religious revolution, as radical as Luther's, to take place in the Christian world?...Unlike all other Christian sects, they adopt at once all the modern improvements of society, in art and literature; and from their singular religious faith give the highest enthusiasm to the movement at large. There is nothing odd, or singular, or absurd about them.” ("Wonderful Progress of Joe Smith, the Modern Mahomet.—Spread of the Mormon Faith, and a New Religious Revolution at Hand," N.Y. Herald (17 June 1842); emphasis added). [18]
"Mr. Whitney then asked if we acknowledged any to be Christians except those who embraced our doctrines and joined our church." (Orson Hyde letter, Times and Seasons, vol. 3, no. 18, 15 July 1842, 849).
A Baptist complained that a Church preacher "declined making an honest confession of those peculiarities which separate them as widely from the Baptists, as from every other denomination of the christian church." [19]
Wrote the Daily Sun of Cincinnati:
Whatever this new doctrine may be, it is extremely pleasing to the world, and death to the constituted church creeds of every name but that of Mormon. It is destined to spread, for every man that takes it upon him to speak in its favor, is fully competent to make out his case. One is very much surprised to see with what facility they prove their doctrine from the holy scriptures. Mr. Adams remarked, that he did not care whether a man believed the Book of Mormon or not, so that he came forward with a broken heart, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and in baptism for the remission of sins—let him come forth, and if God did not reveal to him the truths of the Book of Mormon, he need not believe it. [Anon., "Mormonism [Reprinted from the Daily Sun, Cincinnati]," Times and Seasons 4 no. 2 (1 December 1842), 28–29. off-site GospeLink off-site
"The Mormons were Christians in belief, and looked for the second Advent of Christ—when he shall come, surrounded by the angels of Heaven to dwell in person upon the earth....We confess that Mr. Winchester has changed our opinion of the sect; for we held them in contempt if not in abhorrence, from the representations we had read of them, whereas, if what Mr. Winchester states be true (and we have no reason to doubt him,) we can recognize them as professing Christians, tinged with peculiarities on particular points." [Anon., "Mormons, or Latter Day Saints," Times and Seasons 4 no. 2 (1 December 1842), 27–28. off-site GospeLink Reprinted from the Baltimore Clipper. off-site]
"So far we are agreed with other Christian denominations. They all preach faith and repentance. The gospel requires baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, which is the meaning of the word in the original language—namely, to bury or immerse". [20]
Joseph Smith, in a public discourse, compared the Mormons to other denominations of Christians. (New York Spectator, vol. 46, no. 46, 23 August 1843).
The Mormons are “calling themselves Christians . . . . Christians, as they claim to be.” (The Warsaw Signal, NS no. 4, no. 121, 6 March 1844).
“The [Saturday] Courier should for the sake of truth and consistency, strike its flag of neutrality in RELIGION, while it wages a war of extermination against the Mormons; the only sect in Christendom, who in this nineteenth century can exhibit the irresistible evidence of martyrdom, in support of its cause”. [21]
"On Sunday I was invited to give, in a public discourse, the points of difference between faith of the Latter-day Saints and other professors of [p.417] the Christian religion." [22]

Statements that Mormons are Christians that were made in the 1850s

Now, we ARE believers in the Bible, and in consequence of our unshaken faith in its precepts, doctrine, and prophecy, may be, attributed "the strangeness of our course," and the unwarrantable conduct of many towards this people. Come, my brother Presbyterian; come, my brother professors of every persuasion of long standing and popular distinction in the world, who are dubbed with the word "ORTHODOX;" come, we are all good Christians; I find no fault with you—why should you find fault with me? [23]
“Mormonites . . . . call themselves Christians, it is true” (The Daily Globe, vol. 6, no. 261, 5 October 1854).
"Their religious teachers of Mormonism, preach to them, as they call it, "Christianity in its purity." (S[olomon] N. Carvalho, Incidents of Travel and Adventure in the Far West; with Col. Fremont's Last Expedition, chapter 22. off-site
We, as Christians, are divided and subdivided into many systems varying in doctrinal points. This one says, "I am right;" and that one says, "I am right;" another rises up and varies, more or less, from the doctrines of the Church he has left, and says he is right. [24]

Statements that Mormons are Christians that were made in the 1860s

"…who is there that was not startled when he heard that a sect, affecting to be Christian beyond all other sects, which had sprung up in broad day from amidst the civilization of the United States…" [25]
Should you ask why we differ from other Christians...Are all this people, in the Scriptural sense, Christians? They should be. Do they all serve God with an undivided heart? They should. Many of them do, seeking daily to do his will. [26]
The Latter-day Saints differ from their Christian brethren. [27]
Now, we as Christians desire to be saved in the kingdom of God. [28]
President B. Young preached a very interesting and instructive discourse, in which he showed that professing Christians believe all that the Jews believe, which appertains to life and salvation, and have accepted principles in advance of the Jews, including faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; and that the Latter-day Saints receive all believed in by other professing Christians, appertaining to life and salvation, accepting, as a part of their religious faith, principles in advance of them which are taught in the Scriptures. He touched upon the history of the Jewish people, showing the penalties which they had incurred by disobedience to the commandments of God, and pointing to the promises made to the patriarchal fathers concerning them. And deduced that if the condition of professing Christians is to-day better than that of the Jews, for believing more of the revelations of God, so the condition of the Saints is preferable to that of the other inhabitants of Christendom, in accepting all the revelations which the Lord has been pleased to give. [29]
"On one occasion one of the native brethren who had been persecuted, claimed his rights as a Swiss citizen, and the question was brought up in the Swiss Congress, Are the 'Mormons' Christians? After some discussion, the conclusion was arrived at that they were, and must accordingly be protected." [30]
Thomas J. Turner (a critic):"...Mormonism is a form of religion 'grant it, a false religion' nevertheless, it claims to be the true Christian religion...."[31]

Statements that Mormons are Christians that were made in the 1870s

Have you embraced truth, Latter-day Saints? Have you anything different from other Christians? [32]
If you should have visits here from those professing to be Christians, and they intimate a desire to preach to you, by all means invite them to do so. Accord to every reputable person who may visit you, and who may wish to occupy the stands of your meeting houses to preach to you, the privilege of doing so, no matter whether he be a Catholic, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Baptist, Free-will Baptist, Methodist, or whatever he may be; and if he wishes to speak to your children let him do so. Of course you have the power to correct whatever false teachings or impressions, if any, your children may hear or receive. I say to parents, place your children, as far as you [p.196] have an opportunity to do so, in a position or situation to learn everything in the world that is worth learning. You will probably have what is called a Christian Church here; they will not admit that we are Christians, but they cannot think us further from the plan of salvation as revealed from heaven than we know them to be, so we are even on that ground, as far as it goes. [33]
We are preaching to the people far and near; our Elders are traveling through the earth; strangers are coming here, and we are declaring to them that the Gospel of the Son of God is true. Whether they believe or not, it is no matter. That book (the Bible)contains the words of the Almighty…. I know of the bright promises which he gave to his disciples anciently. I live in the possession of them, and glory in them and in the cross of Christ, and in the beauty and holiness that he has revealed for the salvation and exaltation of the children of men. I do wish we would live to them, and may the Lord help us. [34]
We, as Christians, believe in God, in Christ and in his atonement, in repentance and obedience, and in receiving the Spirit. [35]
"we take the liberty to believe the Bible, which our fellow Christians, generally throughout the world, profess to believe in…” [36]
“We are looking for him [i.e. Second coming of Christ]. The Christians of all denominations expect that he will appear in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. The Latter-day Saints expect this in common with all other Christians.” [37]
These are only a few reflections, when we take into consideration our Christian religion. [38]
Brother Cannon speaks of Christians. We are Christians professedly, according to our religion. [39]
“How shall we, as Christians, reconcile these words of our Savior with the reception everywhere given by the world to Messrs. Moody and Sankey? They are, professedly, Christian ministers, yet they are largely entertained by the world, extolled by the world, and apparently loved by the world….” [40]
“But Joseph Smith reiterates the Savior’s promises. He has no fear of being proved a false teacher. He professes to be a Christian minister called and sent of God….” [41]
“Immediate revelation was the life of primitive Christianity, and when that ceased to be given to men, Christianity waxed feeble, waned and died. With the restored Gospel came immediate revelation, and Christianity was born again upon the earth.” [42]

Statements that Mormons are Christians that were made in the 1880s

We are a Christian community; we believe in God and in Jesus Christ... [43]

Statements that Mormons are Christians that were made in the 1890s

"What a singular sort of ‘Christian community’ that must be that will not tolerate an unorthodox Christian society in its midst!” [44]
“The insinuation in this [written attack on the LDS by a Protestant minister in SLC] is to the effect that a ‘Mormon’ is not a Christian, and the ‘Mormon’ religion is not a Christian religion, and further that the Supreme Court of the United States has virtually so decided…. But if a ‘Mormon’ is not a Christian then there are no Christians in America…. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is at least as fairly entitled to the appellation of a Christian as a member of the Presbyterian Church” [45]
“[with reverence to Revelation 1. 12] We accept—as all Christians do—that God inspired the words ‘to see the voice.’” [46]

Statements that Mormons are Christians that were made in 1900-1950

If it be true Christianity to accept Jesus Christ in person and his mission as divine; to revere him as the Son of God, the crucified and risen Lord, through whom alone mankind can attain salvation; to accept his teachings as a guide, to adopt as a standard and observe as a law the ethical code he promulgated; to comply with the requirements prescribed by him as essential to membership in his Church, namely, faith, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost,—if this be Christianity, then are we Christians, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a Christian church. [47]
[W]e are a Christian people, we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we feel that it is our duty to acknowledge him as our Savior and Redeemer. [48]

Statements that Mormons are Christians that were made after 1950

We are not Catholic, Protestant, nor Jewish, and yet this disclaimer should not be taken to mean we are not Christian. You who heard the powerful address of President Clark this morning will know that we are Christians, for central to everything we believe and teach is our faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. We are grateful for our Judeo-Christian heritage, for the Holy Bible which we accept without reservation as the word of God, except as to some errors that have crept in through translations. [49]
Jacob Neusner, one of the great Judaism scholars of the twentieth century: "Christianity encompasses a remarkably diverse set of religious systems that have some qualities in common—belief in Jesus Christ—but also differ deeply, especially about matters on which they seem at first glance to concur. For example, who, exactly was, and is, Jesus Christ? No one imagines that by describing a single common denominator Christianity tells us about one unitary religion. Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox, Methodist, Mormon, and Lutheran—each is comprised by clearly delineated groups of Christians, all of them with their respective systems of belief and the world knows Christianities, but no single Christianity, so the world has known, and today recognizes, diverse Judaisms, no single Judaism." [50]
Bart Ehrman, a leading expert on the text of the New Testament: "...just as Christianity today is incredibly diverse (compare the Roman Catholics with the Mormons with the Pentecostals with the Seventh Day Adventists with the Eastern Orthodox… and so on!), it was even more diverse in the early centuries..." ("A Few Questions for Bart Ehrman," Oxford University Press Blog (OUPblog) (9 October 2006). off-site

Clearly, the Church has "claimed" to be Christian for a long time, and even hostile critics realized it. To insist that this is a new, public relations move is false. Neutral observers have also seen the Church as Christian. Only a recent, intolerant fringe of fundamentalist Christianity has tried to exclude the Church from Christianity by self-serving definitions.

Source(s) of the criticism
Critical sources
  • J. Edward Decker, To Moroni With Love, 2nd edition, (Seattle: Life Messengers, n.d.), 4.
  • Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson, Mormonism 101. Examining the Religion of the Latter-day Saints (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2000), Chapter 2. ( Index of claims )


  1. Twelve Apostles, "The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," Ensign (December 2004):
  2. David Steinmetz, "Christian Unity: A Sermon by David Steinmetz," News and Notes 5/6 (April 1990); cited by Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christians? (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1993),36–37. off-site FAIR link
  3. Rev. John Sherer to Absalom Peters, 18 November 1830, reproduced in Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 4:93.
  4. “Mormon Religion—Clerical Ambition—Western New York—The Mormonites Gone to Ohio,” Morning Courier and New-York Enquirer (New York City, New York) 7, no. 1331 (1 September 1831). off-site
  5. The Farmer’s Herald, vol. 4, no. 49, 6 June 1832 [Johnsbury, Vermont]
  6. Liberal Advocate, vol. 3, no. 6, 30 December 1833 [Rochester, New York]
  7. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 2:83. Volume 2 link
  8. "The Gospel," The Evening and The Morning Star 1:81-83 (April 1833) .
  9. Painesville Telegraph, vol. 1, no. 35, 4 September 1835 [Painesville, Ohio]
  10. Dean C. Jessee, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, revised edition, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 2002), 144.
  11. James H. Eells to Joshua Leavitt, 1 April 1836, New York Evangelist (New York) 7, no. 15 (9 April 1836): 59. off-site (letter written on 1 April 1836 by James H. Eells who lived in Elyra, Ohio)
  12. Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), 121. off-site
  13. Francis G. Bishop, Brief History of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints (Blum and Son, Salem, Massachusetts 1839), 2.
  14. Parley P. Pratt, Plain Facts (Manchester: W. R. Thomas, 1840), 6. off-site Full title
  15. Upper Mississippian, "Nauvoo Mormon Religion," (15 February 1841) Times and Seasons 2:324.; reprint of an article from the Upper Mississippian
  16. Extract from a Letter in the Juliet Courier, dated from Monmouth, Illinois (June 1841); cited in Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 4:381. Volume 4 link
  17. Chicago Democrat, May 1842; editorial by John Wentworth
  18. Cited by Helen Mar Whitney, Woman's Exponent 10 no. 13 (1 December 1881), 97–99. Available in Jeni Broberg Holzapfel and Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, eds., A Woman's View: Helen Mar Whitney's Reminiscences of Early Church History (Provo: Religious Studies Center, BYU, 1997), 149.
  19. "A Baptist," letter to the editor published in the North Staffordshire Mercury, "Difference Between the Baptists & Latter-day Saints," (1 October 1843) Times and Seasons 3:931-932. (italics added)
  20. Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), 314. off-site
  21. Philadelphia Sun reprint, "Magna est veritas, et praevalebit’ (Not sure of translationvol=5," Times and Seasons no. 15 (15 August 1844), 621. off-site GospeLink
  22. D.S. Hollister to Joseph Smith, 9 May 1844; cited in Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 6:416–417. Volume 6 link
  23. Brigham Young, "Effects and Privileges of the Gospel," (24 July 1853) Journal of Discourses 1:237-237.
  24. Brigham Young, "Government of God," (22 May 1859) Journal of Discourses 7:148.; Brigham Young, "Government of God," Deseret News 9 no. 13 (1 June 1859), 104.
  25. Juley Remy, Journey to Great Salt Lake City (1861), 2:82–83; cited by B. Carmon Hardy, Doing the Works of Abraham, 195..
  26. Brigham Young, "Advice To California Emigrants. — The Principles Of The Gospel, etc.," (8 July 1863) Journal of Discourses 10:230-231.
  27. Brigham Young, "Difference Of Ideas Entertained Respecting God, etc.," (31 July 1863) Journal of Discourses 10:318-319.
  28. Brigham Young, "Remarks by President Brigham Young," (19 August 1866) Journal of Discourses 11:268-268.
  29. Brigham Young, Deseret News Weekly 15/109 (4 March 1866): page?.; cited in Eldon Watson (editor), Brigham Young Addresses (1982), 5:32.
  30. William W. Riter, "Minutes of a General Council; Birmingham,England; January 5, 1866," Millennial Star 28 no. 12 (24 March 1866), 179.
  31. M. Scott Bradshaw, "Defining Adultery under Illinois and Nauvoo Law," in Sustaining the Law: Joseph Smith's Legal Encounters, edited by Gordon A. Madsen, Jeffrey N. Walker, and John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: BYU Studies, 2014), 401–426 (p. 416n45, citing Debates and Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of the State of Illinois, Convened at the City of Springfield, Tuesday December 3, 1869 (Springfield, April 29-30, 1870), 1561).
  32. Brigham Young, "The Saints Are A Strange People Because They Practise What They Profess," (20 February 1870) Journal of Discourses 13:237-238.
  33. Brigham Young, "Discourse by President Brigham Young," (3 June 1871) Journal of Discourses 14:195-196.; Brigham Young, "Discourse by President Brigham Young," Millennial Star 33 no. 27 (4 July 1871), 418–420.; DNW 20:235.
  34. Brigham Young, "Remarks by President Brigham Young," (27 August 1871) Journal of Discourses 14:227.; Discourse by President Brigham Young, Deseret News 20 no. 31 (6 September 1871), 357–358.
  35. Brigham Young, "Riches — Hurry — Fashion — Helping The Poor — Mysteries," (26 May 1872) Journal of Discourses 15:42-42.
  36. John Taylor, "Discourse by Elder John Taylor," (3 March 1872) Journal of Discourses 14:338. Discourse by Elder John Taylor, Deseret News 21 no. 36 (13 March 1872), 65, second column.
  37. Orson Pratt, "Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt," (10 March 10 1872) Journal of Discourses 14:348.; Orson Pratt, "Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt," Deseret News 21 (20 March 1872), 77, fourth column.
  38. Brigham Young, "Discourse By President Brigham Young," (15 August 1876) Journal of Discourses 18:217-217.
  39. Brigham Young, "Discourse By President Brigham Young," (17 September 1876) Journal of Discourses 18:231-231.
  40. Editorial (Elder David McKenzie), "Christianity and Revivalism," Millennial Star 38 no. 10 (6 March 1876), 152.
  41. Editorial (Elder David McKenzie), "Gifts of the Holy Ghost," Millennial Star 38 no. 13 (27 March 1876), 200–201.
  42. Editorial (Elder David McKenzie), "Evidences of the Truth," Millennial Star 38 no. 14 (3 April 1876), 217.
  43. Francis M. Lyman, "General Conference (5 April 1881)," Millennial Star 43 no. 19 (9 May 1881), 292.
  44. Editorial on citizens of Beaver Dam, Virginia removing Mormon Elders by force to another part of the state, Deseret News Weekly 45/13 (17 September 1892): 396.
  45. "Intolerant Discrimination", Deseret News Weekly 45/14 (24 September 1892): 441.
  46. "The Book of Mormon", Deseret News Weekly 45/25 (10 December 1892): 780.
  47. First Presidency, "Address to the World," Improvement Era 10 (May 1907), 481–495.
  48. Joseph F. Smith, General Conference address (April 6, 1917)
  49. Hugh B. Brown, "Discourse," Improvement Era 10 (December 1956), 949–949.
  50. Jacob Neusner, The Way Of Torah, 6th edition, (Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1997), 15. ISBN 0534516033.