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It ain't what you don't know that makes you a fool,
On the MSNBC show "Hardball," in reference to Mitt Romney's religion, democrat-strategist Steve McMahon made the following statement: "Mormons don't believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior." After Chris Matthews suggested that he ought to allow Mitt Romney to represent his own beliefs, McMahon qualified his statement slightly: "I'm just talking about the faith generally and not Mitt Romney specifically."
Addressing the beliefs of "the faith generally," here's a passage from The Book of Mormon:
"I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent." (Mosiah 3:17)
The complete title of The Book of Mormon is this:
"Mormon" is a nick-name that comes from The Book of Mormon — "Mormon" is the name that people commonly call members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Technically speaking, there is no religious organization called "The Mormon Church" — such is a misnomer.
On Fox & Friends, Ainsley Earhardt spoke of "Romney, obviously not being a Christian." To answer Earhardt's false assumption, here are two more passages from The Book of Mormon:
"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."
"Behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. . . . behold, this is the doctrine of Christ,"
In Mitt Romney's "Faith Speech," December 6, 2007, the former Massachusetts Governor stated his personal belief about Jesus:
“I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God
People who believe in Christ as the divine mediator of salvation, and further strive to follow His teachings and example — these people fit the broad definition of being "Christian." Therefore, it's a myth to conclude that Mitt Romney, and Mormons, are not Christian. In sorting Fact from Fiction, it's good to remember Mark Twain's sage advice:
It ain't what you don't know that makes you a fool,
Here is Merriam-Webster's #1 definition for the word, Christian: “one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.” Even so, some people have more narrow definitions of being "Christian," and on that basis they maintain that Mormons don't fit.
Ultimately, it's not up to people to define what it means to be Christian; instead, it makes supreme sense to let Christ define and judge who He counts as His followers. As recorded in the Bible, the words of Jesus provide the best definition of being "Christian." Jesus taught the pertinent principle:
“For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs,
Imagine you are on the game show “Millionaire” and the question is asked: “What is the fruit that grows on an apple tree?” You are presented with four possibilities:
a) Mango b) Apricot c) Tangerine d) Apple
What are the chances you’d be moving to the next round? Of course, the correct answer is glaringly obvious. Visualize yourself on this same game show: You’ve correctly answered a string of questions and now, you've come to the million dollar question:
Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . . . a Christian Church? On this question, how confident would you be, that you would win a million dollars? Let’s do a little research, to make sure that your answer is right — remembering that the fruit that grows on apple trees . . . is apples!
How might you discern whether “Mormons” (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ?
Let’s look at the LDS Hymn Book for an indication of what Latter-Day Saints believe, the hymn book that Mormons sing from every week in worship services. What might you conclude from the message of the following hymn?
Lord, I Would Follow Thee
Just from reading the lyrics, can you tell whether Susan McCloud is a Christian? Remembering that apples grow on apple trees, what’s your best guess? And would Susan cease to be a Christian, if you discovered she is also a Latter-Day Saint, a member of the “Mormon” Church?
The white marble Christus statue (left) stands in the LDS Visitor's Center at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is a replica of the original Christus statue by sculptor Albert Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844); the 1823 original was made of plaster and was used to create the LDS Christus statue, as well as the 1839 version that stands today in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, Denmark.
In determining whether Mormons are Christians, consider the lyrics to another Mormon Hymn:
O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown
Just from reading the words that she wrote, can you tell whether Karen Davidson is a Christian? And would she cease to be a Christian, if you discovered she is also a Latter-Day Saint, a member of the “Mormon” Church?
There are many lesser definitions for the word “Christian” that are contrived by various people. And with each of these lesser definitions, Latter-day Saints (Mormons) are either included or excluded from the “Christian” category. But why apply lesser definitions conjured-up by the minds of mere mortals, when we can simply apply the highest definition of “Christian” as declared by Christ — a definition further reinforced by His apostles and prophets.
In the New Testament we read that “the devils also believe” (James 2: 19, 20) that Jesus is the Son of God; so does than mean that the devils are “Christians”? They may meet the standard of “believing” but they don't meet the criteria of “following.”
It's supremely wise then, that the biblical definition of "Christian" include the facet of following — and not merely believing. Following the example of Jesus is an essential element to being Christian, for it is in following that “fruits” are manifest. Jesus taught that true believers follow:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me,
The Apostle Peter echoed this truth with these words:
“For even hereunto were ye called:
Who are these people who judge Mormons and claim they are not Christians? C. S. Lewis wrote:
"I think we may accept it as a rule that whenever a person's
In regard to the beliefs of other religions, Latter-day Saints take this stand:“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may”
~ Article of Faith #11
In an effort to follow, Mormons take a positive approach to living the virtues exemplified by Christ:
“We believe in being honest, true, chaste,
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not judge or criticize the beliefs of others. LDS Church publications preach “wholesome words” (1 Tim. 6: 3), that speak “no guile” (Revelation 14: 5), and encourage “good conversations” (1 Peter 3: 10, 16).
In the final analysis, the proof is in the pudding — the fruit is on the tree. Whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a "Christian" Church, or not, is easily discerned — as easy as knowing that apples grow on apple trees.
But why do some people think otherwise?
A great many people think they are thinking
Detecting potential propaganda is really quite easy. Just remember Dr Matt's First Rule of Evidence:
Saying it . . . doesn't make it so!
To simply assert a claim without any evidence to back it, is to speak "vain babblings." True believers in Jesus live by this New Testament teaching:
But shun profane and vain babblings:
The word "vain" derives from the Latin word "vanus" — meaning "empty." Empty Words are written and spoken every time we pass on ideas that have no credible evidence of being factual. True Followers of Christ will live by this Standard:
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Matt Moody, Ph.D.
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