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Can Mormonism ever be considered a Christian religion?

Posted by nebula0 on October 22, 2008


The answer is yes.  In fact, if things keep going as they are in the LDS church that is bound to happen at one point or another, and by the general public be embraced as a Christian religion.  Here’s why: the Mormon leadership seems very keen on downplaying distinctive differences. 

-Hinckley publicly stated that “I don’t know that we teach that” when asked about the exaltation (being made a god) of Heavenly Father.  That’s a biggy.  If Mormons can get that out of the way, that is one of the biggest hurdles.  It is essential that Mormonism comes to a ‘traditional’ view of God to really be considered Christian without great opposition (loony counter cultists don’t count, you know, the kind who say that Catholics aren’t Christians… yeah.)

– The temple ceremony is downplayed over time.  This matters because the temple ceremony is going to have to readapt and become more explicitly Christ centered than it is.  That is, for example, Celestial marriage (sealed for time and eternity with your spouse) cannot be considered the gateway to exaltation (eternal life).  It can only be the usual known elements, faith in Christ, baptism is okay, and so forth.  Eternal marriage will have to be reinterpreted as a peculiar Mormon bonus perhaps, but not as the capstone in the plan of salvation.

– Mormon history is severely watered down over time.  An example of this is the fact that it was not mentioned in the blurb talking about Brigham Young’s life in the manual used for Relief Society and Elder’s Quorum a couple of years ago that he had more than one wife.  That’s right.  Nor is the issue of plural marriage tackled in the latest Temple Square movie showed about Joseph Smith (which in my personal opinion sucks, but others like it, so what can you say).  This is important because it will allow those unique theological elements to be watered down with impunity.

– An emphasis of Christ and grace over and above traditional Mormon topics.  We see this happening easily; just look at the latest General Conferences.

Things that won’t have to change include:

the Word of Wisdom- health code, why not?,

garments- easily interpreted in a vestment sort of way, lots of established Christian churches use special clothing

some kind of temple ceremony- reinterpreted of course, it’s one of those things that will keep Mormon Christianity, Mormon

the unique Mormon canon- think about this, the emphasis given to the Book of Mormon since Benson’s time has gone hand in hand with an increasing talk of traditional Christian themes.  Why?  Because the Book of Mormon was written (translated, whatever) before Joseph Smith developed unique Mormon theology.  So it is that emphasis on the BoM actually brings Mormonism closer to the larger Christian fold.

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13 Responses to “Can Mormonism ever be considered a Christian religion?”

  1. nebula0 said

    I should add that I think the temples will have to eventually be open to the public. Otherwise that element of creepy-strangeness- mystery cultness will not be eliminated enough to normative Mormonism into a solid Christian role. Open exposure always has the end effect of normalization.

  2. […] Can Mormonism ever be considered a Christian religion? By nebula0 In fact, if things keep going as they are in the LDS church that is bound to happen at one point or another, and by the general public be embraced as a Christian religion. Here?s why: the Mormon leadership seems very keen on downplaying … About Mormonism – https://investigatemormonism.wordpress.com/ […]

  3. Conspirama said

    Can Mormonism ever be considered a Christian religion?…

    In fact, if things keep going as they are in the LDS church that is bound to happen at one point or another, and by the general public be embraced as a Christian religion. Here’s why: the Mormon leadership seems very keen on downplaying ……

  4. murphy24p said

    Wow… how cool to be a part of something that can change it’s own foundation to meld into something else.

    They got past the whole racism thing… then the whole bigamy thing… Now if they can just get out of the creepy underwear and stop the door-to-door baptism business…?

    Mormonism has to be diluted to become more Christian? What does that say about the belief system?? How about recognizing that Jesus Christ is the Son of the ONLY living God and leaving the rest of the garbage out?

  5. nebula0 said

    I think you missed most of my post… I don’t think Mormons will have to get rid of baptism as necessary or their garments to be considered Christian by the general population.

    Anyway, every belief system evolves. I’m sure Judaism can make the exact same critique of Christianity. Think about that for a moment.

  6. Seth R. said

    murphy,

    Evangelicalism is probably one of the most evolving religious traditions on the planet. So if it happens in Mormonism, it’s hardly unique.

    Problem nebula,

    Going the route you propose risks annihilating any point for Mormonism to exist in the first place.

    And I don’t think the shift has the point you think it does.

    The “downplaying” in LDS doctrine – if there is any – can just as easily be seen as an allowance of heterodoxy within Mormonism, as a shift toward traditional Christian values.

    i.e. we will now welcome much more traditional Christian notions in our ranks, but we will continue to allow ideas that are considered outright heresy as well.

    Also remember. Gordon B. Hinckley is dead.

    Who knows where this will go under the new leadership?

  7. Seth R. said

    I think for Mormonism to really succeed and meet its full potential as a world religion, it will eventually have to get rid of the Protestant albatross hanging around its neck.

    This need to be like Protestants is mostly just holding us back. If we could get over this silly peer pressure sensitivity, we would be in a much better position to re-write world religion.

  8. Again, I agree with Seth here. I think we do to much hand wringing over what people think of us as it is.

    I think that there will always be a necessary ‘exclusiveness’ within Mormonism for Mormonism to make sense.

  9. nebula0 said

    Seth,

    I didn’t mean to recommend the course I gave, just give the conditions I think are necessary if the LDS is going to be generally considered Christian by most sane people (murphy aside).

    I agree with the identity issues you bring up. THe LDS leadership is at a real cross roads right now. It could easily go the way I put forth above with little trouble since it’s already moving that way… OR it could retrench into more unique Mormon-ness.

  10. Darrell said

    I just don’t see this happening. The things that would have to change within mormonism for it to be considered Christian would cause mormonism to cease to exist. There are so many things that they would have to give up that define them as Latter-Day Saints. In addition, the average member would be horrified at the prospect of giving up those “truths” that set them apart from us (heresies as Biblical Christians see them).

    I for one would love to see that happen… and God can do anything… but I just don’t see this happening anytime soon.

    Darrell

  11. nebula0 said

    Darrell,

    It’s not so much a question if Mormonism can fit your definition of Christianity, more a question if Mormonism, if it continues on the path it has been going, can be considered Christian by the general public who really doesn’t know much about religion. I think that is very possible.

  12. Darrell said

    Well since the general public doesn’t know that much about Christianity or think that highly of it in the first place, I really don’t think their opinion matters a whole lot. Afterall, to the general public religion is nothing but a crutch used by stupid weak people anyway… whether it be mormonism, JW’s or Christianity.

    Darrell

  13. Mike Nicol said

    The problem with Mormonism is the fact it was created by fraudulent methods by a fraudulent person and perpetuated by fraudulent means. There are well known facts about Joseph Smith that keep it from ever being taken serious by anyone except the brainwashed inner circles of the families that keep it going. He was nothing more that a con artist who invented a religion for his own selfish purposes. How any thinking, rational person can put this scam in the category of a religion is frightening. Why are people so scared to call things what they are. This is a cult by every definition of the word. Check your own history Mormons and quit relying on your leaders to spoon feed it to you. Maybe you’ll still have time to repent and be filled with the only true spirit of the living God. The Holy Spirit. The Book of Mormon is nothing but a combination of bible text and a mans(Joseph Smith) wild imagination. Every bit of it has been put through the test and it has failed every one!!! The saddest part of this so called “religion” is the fact that generation after generation is fooled into practicing it. Beware the false prophets. Joseph Smith represents all that we need to be aware of!!! Study to show thyself approved!!! Know for yourself what it is you are placing so much faith in. Good luck and God bless.

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