(I’m going to exceed the character limit, so my response will occupy 2 posts.)
Are Mormons Christian?
No, Mormons are not Christians for several reasons. To be in God’s grace:
*]One should have an accurate understanding of who God is.
*]One should have an accurate understanding of the problem that sin has created for mankind in general and individuals in particular.
*]One should have an accurate understanding of God’s remedy for the problem of sin, and
*]One must willingly and cooperatively appropriate God’s remedy.
Mormon doctrine stands in stark disagreement in each of these four areas.
Christianity teaches that God is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly righteous, perfectly just, and perfectly loving. He is the first cause of everything. He has no first cause. While God is comprised of 3 persons, there are not 3 Gods. This subject has been covered more fully in another discussion thread, so I won’t repeat that content here. One of the most significant truths about the Trinity is it allows selfless love to be demonstrated among the persons of the Trinity. God also demonstrates this kind of love toward us, but it cannot be said the He “needs” us. God is completely self-sufficient. He created us, not because He needs us (e.g. in order to fulfill a self-actualized need to demonstrate love and be loved), but rather simply because He chose to create us.
The Mormon Heavenly Father, in contrast, was once a mortal. He attained Celestial godhood, just as good Mormons may someday attain. He and his “sealed” wife from their mortal existence create spirit babies which are then born mortally into this world. Jesus was the first born of those spirit babies and Lucifer was second.
When Mormons say Jesus was divine, it has a much different meaning than the Christian use of the term. The Mormon use of the term simply refers to Jesus’ special role as being the chosen Savior. Lucifer apparently wanted this privilege and rebelled when it was not granted to him. The Mormon Jesus is not God. He is merely our brother with a special ministry and calling.
The Mormon understanding of sin is different as well. They see the fall of Adam and Eve as necessary evil (if necessary, then perhaps not that evil at all). The logic is that if they did not sin, they couldn’t have procreated. The freeing of spirit babies into mortal life is a central doctrine to the Mormon faith. They, rightly, place a high importance upon family, but they see it as an end in itself, rather than a means of God instructing us in spiritual truths. Besides, if Adam and Eve never sinned, who’s to say they couldn’t have children?
Even though Mormons see the fall of man as a necessity, they still recognize the need for some sort of remedy. As previously mentioned, Mormon doctrine indicates that Jesus was ultimately born into this world to pay for our sins. The Mormon Jesus isn’t capable of the job, though. Consider that even one of our sins, however small, is enough to separate us from God eternally. An eternity of suffering would not be sufficient for us to pay for that sin. Now think of all the sins we may commit in a lifetime. Now think of all the people that ever lived on this earth. A finite being, even if sinless himself, could not atone for the sins of the world. He could not be a Savior. Only God eternal, infinite and without first cause, could have possibly accomplished this.
I once spent an evening in the living room of a Mormon family, the husband of which was the supervisor of all the young missionaries in town. After a couple of hours of conversation, he had an epiphany. (You could see it on his face, too) He said, “You know, your Jesus and my Jesus are not the same person!” I said, “Exactly!!!” He wasn’t persuaded that his Jesus was false, but he realized, truly, that they were only common in name. Faith in the Mormon Jesus is not faith in the Christian Jesus. It is exceedingly important to determine which is the true Jesus.
Another aspect of the Mormon Jesus’ atonement is that he automatically saved everyone from hell. People are saved to one of 3 levels of glory, Terrestrial, Telestial, and Celestial. There are, additionally, 3 levels of glory in the Celestial Kingdom. The highest of these allows Mormon couples to attain godhood, continue the family unit by procreating spirit babies and being Heavenly Father and Mother of another world. There is no hell, as we know it, in Mormon theology. Even people like Hilter will make it to the Terrestrial Kingdom, which isn’t supposed to be so bad.