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The Exclusivism of Mormon Truth Claims

Posted by nebula0 on September 22, 2008


All this talk about whether or not Mormonism is a part of Christianity, or whether or not Mormons can be Christians got me thinking about this from another angle.  This goes back to my original question: why are Mormons so concerned about whether or not the conservative Christian community accepts them as Christians?  This question is quickly complicated when you take into account the fact that Mormons proclaim themselves to be members of the one and only true church on the face of the planet, the only church with the authority to baptize, the church to which one must belong and be a faithful member of if you want to have eternal life.  Given the exclusivism of those truth claims, is it so surprising that the conservative Christian community reacts?  -particularly given that Mormon theology is truly different.  Are Mormons really passive victims of a smear campaign, or is it time that they own up to their complicity in this problem?  I vote for the latter. 

Mormons, acknowledge that you preach exclusivist truth claims, truth claims which are truly unique as compared to normative/traditional Christianity.  By putting that forth on the table from the start, perhaps a fruitful discussion about where and how Mormonism fits into the Christian world can begin.

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7 Responses to “The Exclusivism of Mormon Truth Claims”

  1. Mike said

    As an evangelical Christian theologian, I must clarify that Mormonism is in no way consistent with orthodox Christianity. It borrows Christian themes and texts, but its most basic beliefs directly contradict the central teachings of Christianity.

    Mormonism holds that God is an exalted man, with a physical body. Christianity teaches that God is Spirit. Mormonism denies the historic Christian understandings of the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, and the doctrine of salvation. Christianity promises salvation through Christ’s atonement and the sinner’s justification by faith. Mormonism promises deification. Christianity calls for personal faith in Jesus Christ. Mormonism calls for obedience to its own teachings as the path to exaltation. Mormonism replaces belief in the sole authority of the Bible with other writings, including the Book of Mormon. This list is only a brief summary of the vast chasm that separates Christianity from Mormonism. Put simply, Mormonism is not just another form of Christianity. It is a rejection of historic Christianity.

  2. nebula0 said

    Mike,

    I don’t get how that post fits with what I said, at all. Could you re-read my original post and rephrase what you mean to say?

  3. Doniven said

    Hi i am LDS or as u say Mormon. I would like to say first off there is a very big difference between eternal life and immortality, eternal life is living in the presence of God. immortality is living as a resurrected being, which is a modern misconception every one will be resurrected but not everyone will live in God the father and Jesus Christ presence. Secondly us Mormons are Christian, we believe in God thee eternal father his son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost and or (spirit).

  4. Doniven said

    Mike i read your post and yes we do have the book of Mormon u are correct, but the Book of Mormon are the accounts in which Jesus visited thee Americas.
    What did u think he meant when Christ said ” To other sheep i have which are not of this fold.”

  5. nebula0 said

    Don,

    I know there is a difference between eternal life and immortality in Mormonism, that’s why I specifically used the term “eternal life” in my post as evidence of Mormonism’s exclusive claims to ultimate truth, and authority.

  6. Darrell said

    Nebula,

    I agree with you that the LDS Church members need to take ownership for their claims and the reaction those claims bring upon itself. It sometimes seems as if the church wants us to forget what it claims Heavenly Father and Jesus said to JS… “their creeds are an abomination in my sight… they draw near unto me with their mouths yet their hearts are far from me”. They are like the kid on the playground who thinks it is ok for him to hit everyone else but the second they strike back he is running to the teacher tattling. The LDS Church sets itself up as the “only true church” so it should expect to be criticized.

    The whole thing about being Christian is a joke. Up until about 1985 the LDS church did not even care about the label “christian”. In fact, it is fairly easy to find pre-1985 talks where the apostles talk abut how DIFFERENT they are from “christianity”. They were very open with the public criticism of christianity. Suddenly around 1985 the whole theme changed. Now, they want to be considered “Christian”. Apostles even occasionaly throw out that they are a “Christian Denomination”… which is hilarious given the very definition of denomination declares them wrong. The whole move to be called christian is nothing but a PR move on the part of the church. They want more converts so they changed the “sales tactic” of the church.

    Darrell

  7. nebula0 said

    Darrell,

    What annoys me is the tolerance card that Mormonism tries to play. It acts as if it is a poor minority being picked on by the majority and demanding special treatment in response. The reality is that it is a large, powerful, rich church and is the majority religion where its headquarters reside. LIke you say, if you send out tens of thousands of young fellows and gals telling people that only Mormonism is the true church and that their religion is insufficient, why wouldn’t they expect to ruffle feathers and get a response? I don’t have a problem with Mormons trying to convert everyone on the block– but don’t complain to me when people share their thoughts on the matter in turn!

    I think the other side to the problem is the Mormon culture of ‘nicety niceness’, that even if you are going to gossip about so and so once they leave, you’d better smile and be nice to them to their face. Now I’m not saying Mormons are worse than others in this, just that they aren’t actually any nicer than anyone else (or meaner), their nicety is simply a cultural requirement. So of cousre, if others aren’t being nicety, they assume that they are being so rude and mean :(, that is, if others are simply stating their opinions bluntly without cushioning every single thing they say with “… but that’s only my opinion” “I don’t mean to offend…” and etc. It’s so tiresome.

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