How can Mormons be Christians?


#1

As a Catholic Christian I understand that anyone who is baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are members of the Church whether they claim to be or not because as a Christian and this foundation we call baptism we can agree in the simple truths of Christianity like there is a God.

But how can Mormons call themselves Christian if they are not baptized the way all other Christians are? And if they are indeed Christian then why take out in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Or why was there a need for a change or correction in this format that goes all the way back to Jesus Christ himself?

Joseph Smith claims to have seen a vision of God and Jesus, two distinctavily different bodies, now as a Christian I understand that Jesus was given a human body through the birth of his mother Mary. And I also know as a Christian that when Jesus rose from the dead, He had a body but it was different, it took awhile for all the disciples to recognize Him and I know that it was a real body because Thomas was allowed to touch Him and His wounds. The Jews would not even dare to say the word God, and that is another reason why God had to send his begotten Son to this world as one of us, God became one of us through his Son Jesus Christ.

But can anyone please explain to me how Joseph Smith was truly able to see two very distinctive bodies of God and Jesus?

As Christians we all believe in the Trinity, one God in three natures. And understanding meta physicis I understand how God can be everywhere all the time.

If I took a reasonable approach, this was Joseph Smith’s imagination or simple way of teaching fictional theology of his beliefs or “vision” of the way things ought to be from his perspective.


#2

[quote=Reid]As a Catholic Christian I understand that anyone who is baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are members of the Church whether they claim to be or not because as a Christian and this foundation we call baptism we can agree in the simple truths of Christianity like there is a God.
[/quote]

But how can Mormons call themselves Christian if they are not baptized the way all other Christians are? And if they are indeed Christian then why take out in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Or why was there a need for a change or correction in this format that goes all the way back to Jesus Christ himself?

LDS are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The reason the Catholic Church does not accept LDS baptism does not have to do with the matter or the words, but rather the Catholic Churches perception of the intent.

[quote=Reid]Joseph Smith claims to have seen a vision of God and Jesus, two distinctavily different bodies, now as a Christian I understand that Jesus was given a human body through the birth of his mother Mary. And I also know as a Christian that when Jesus rose from the dead, He had a body but it was different, it took awhile for all the disciples to recognize Him and I know that it was a real body because Thomas was allowed to touch Him and His wounds. The Jews would not even dare to say the word God, and that is another reason why God had to send his begotten Son to this world as one of us, God became one of us through his Son Jesus Christ.
[/quote]

But can anyone please explain to me how Joseph Smith was truly able to see two very distinctive bodies of God and Jesus?

As Christians we all believe in the Trinity, one God in three natures. And understanding meta physicis I understand how God can be everywhere all the time.

If I took a reasonable approach, this was Joseph Smith’s imagination or simple way of teaching fictional theology of his beliefs or “vision” of the way things ought to be from his perspective.

There is a Catholic saint who I believe claimed to (and in reality did) see both the Father and the Son. I really do not think you should suggest that this is some type of impossibility.

Charity, TOm


#3

This would be incorrect. Catholicism is very clear in it’s constant reiteration that God the Father has no material presence, no corporal body. This is why we believe in the incarnation of the Son. If someone has told you that some saint say God the Father as a person, they were sadly mistaken. God is Spirit. God the Father has never, never, never, been composed of physical matter. To say something else as a Catholic is heretical. By the way, this is one thing that is a real sticking point between Catholics and Mormons and why we disagree that Mormons baptize in the name of the Trinity. Your God was originally made up of finite physical matter. Therefore it is a diametrically opposed God to the Catholic God.


#4

Although the verbal formula used in baptism is the same, Catholic doctrine states A [size=2]triune God. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three aspects of one God. Mormon theology says, in essence, three Gods. Although the words are the same, the meaning is different. [/size]
[size=2][/size]
[size=2]Now, if Mormonism does not accept Catholic baptism, do you think Catholics should be denied the right to not accept Mormon baptism? [/size]
In addition, most protestant denominations do not accept LDS baptism.


#5

I’m having a hard time believing that there was a Catholic saint who claimed that. If you could give a reference I would be most appreciative.

When I went to my step-daughter’s baptism at age 8, I know that the form (immersion) and the words (quoted Mathew) were all correct. So I investigated further on why their baptism wasn’t recognized by the Catholic Church (or by most any Protestant ones). Of course the answer was the Catholic understanding of the Trinity vs the LDS understanding of the Godhead. The only picture in the LDS church that bothered me was Joseph Smith’s 1st vision. Obviously anyone getting to heaven will immediately know which philosophy is correct, my wife’s or my own.:smiley:


#6

Actually, it is two different ways of viewing the same God.

God the Father, and Jesus his son are the same ones that the Catholics believe in, only, like Tom say’s, there is a difference in perception.

God Bless.


#7

I have no idea how Mormons describe themselves, but our diocesan guidelines on RCIA specify which denominational baptisms are valid, and Mormon baptism is definitely not valid.


#8

My point is not that Catholics believe that God the Father is inherently embodied, but rather that Catholics should not be scandalized by the concept of God the Father embodied.

For LDS unlike all other Christians, God possesses a body that is part of who He is. This does not mean that God is burdened or restricted by His body, because LDS have never suggested that God’s omnipotence was confined in anyway by His embodiment.

I would likewise suggest that Catholics who point to an omnipotent God could also not disallow God’s ability to appear to folks in a physical way.

My claim was intentionally vague, but I expected that someone would know exactly what I was speaking about. I was commenting on St. Stephen and his pre-martyrdom vision.

Charity, TOm


#9

Thank you for the reference Tom of St. Stephen. It gives me some insight to when I see a depiction of Joseph Smith’s First Vision. I believe the meaning Luke attaches to this this is that Stephen affirms to the Sanhedrin that the prophesy Jesus made before them has been fulfilled (Mk 14:62). I can appreciate the LDS version of the Godhead a bit more though.


#10

newadvent.org/cathen/14286b.htm

:confused:


#11

[quote=puzzleannie]I have no idea how Mormons describe themselves, but our diocesan guidelines on RCIA specify which denominational baptisms are valid, and Mormon baptism is definitely not valid.
[/quote]

How can Mormons be Christians:
Well is suppose it all depends on what the definition is based. Does it depend on a person professing a believe and faith in Jesus Christ as the saviour, or does it depend on someone’s finger sliding down a list to see if they make the grade. To me the only list that is important is the one being kept in Heaven. I will defer to that one.

Thanks…Paul


#12

Reid,
This topic comes up over and over again and I always wonder what the point is. Do Mormons believe in and worship Christ? Yes, and I submit that makes us Christian. But if you want to define it in such a way as to exclude us that won’t bother me too much either. Since Catholics believe their church is the one Christ established during his mortal ministry and it has retained the priesthood authority I would expect that they would believe all of us (Mormons, Protestants, etc.) are in the wrong church and I can respect that position. But what is the point of telling someone they’re not Christian? It’s unlikely to help the relationship and if the goal is their conversion it isn’t likely to accomplish that either. So what good thing is accomplished?

If someone tells me they’re Christian I take them at their word, regardless of what church they attend, even if I think their church is seriously flawed and has no authority.


#13

I don’t believe in tossing the “non-Christian” label around as some kind of grand smear. because I know that there are good people on this Aerth who are not Christian.

if I think their church is seriously flawed and has no authority.

So therefore LDS tries to exert authority over the Catholic Church by:

  1. Trying to offend Catholics into taking legal action against baptism of the dead? Sorry, no dice. Legal action would mean it was something more than a mindless ritual. If it make LDS feel good, then go ahead.

  2. Denying the validity of Catholic baptism in your church, and then complaining because we don’t acknowlege yours? Sorry, no dice. Tit for tat.

:rolleyes:


#14

I’m just verifying that the LDS church recognizes no other church’s baptism, right? I know that the Catholic church does recognize a few Protestant baptisms but not a LDS baptism.


#15

St. Stephen did not see two bodies:

The Stoning of Stephen, Acts 7:54-56
54When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56"Look," he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

Sitting at the right hand of God is an expression of Christ’s power and authority, not that He was literally sitting at next to God’s right hand. If we were to take the above passage as evidence that the Father has a body consider the following verse:
**
Isaiah 40:12
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?**

Jesus would just be a little dot next to the Giant He was sitting next to. By the way, how could JS see both Jesus and the Father is the Father’s hand alone can span the heavens?


#16

Joseph Smith was already from a protestant background prior to this idea that he became a prophet. I am sure Joseph Smith was a bright man, and how the members of his church conduct themselves and uphold Christian values, I wish all people could embrace. He must have been so confused being brought in a new nation with so many different ideas of what a Christian is. All of these protestant faiths claimed to be the true church of Jesus Christ.

So from a protestant outlook, especially a smart young man! It must have trully looked like an apostsy had taken place. That the priesthood was lost, because in a way it is true from the stand point of a man saying this protestant faith and all others have lost the real presence of Christ within their church. Joseph Smith must have prayed and convinced himself that he would become and had become a prophet. Through his dreams he must have imagined great things. And he must have trully believed that he was to restore what the protestants had lost.

So Joseph Smith simply did what the other protestant founders did, he believed that he was right and felt close enough to God that he felt he was truly a prophet.

As an outsider I cannot take away his claim of the “golden plates” nor dispute what the witness’s said. But as a Christian using reason and logic, its hard for me to understand why our teachings are so different.

As a former protestant I would say that no Mormon could possibly go to heaven. As a current converted Catholic I understand that although the Church does not see the Mormons as a fellow brother in Christ, I know that the God we all worship and love is not bound by the law which he created.


#17

Huh? What are you talking about?

Even as a practicing Mormon in good standing I would have to agree with you there.


#18

[quote=Casen]Reid,
This topic comes up over and over again and I always wonder what the point is. Do Mormons believe in and worship Christ? Yes, and I submit that makes us Christian. But if you want to define it in such a way as to exclude us that won’t bother me too much either. Since Catholics believe their church is the one Christ established during his mortal ministry and it has retained the priesthood authority I would expect that they would believe all of us (Mormons, Protestants, etc.) are in the wrong church and I can respect that position. But what is the point of telling someone they’re not Christian? It’s unlikely to help the relationship and if the goal is their conversion it isn’t likely to accomplish that either. So what good thing is accomplished?

If someone tells me they’re Christian I take them at their word, regardless of what church they attend, even if I think their church is seriously flawed and has no authority.
[/quote]

Casen,

Excellent post. I concur with everything you stated.


#19

[quote=stillsearching]This would be incorrect. Catholicism is very clear in it’s constant reiteration that God the Father has no material presence, no corporal body. This is why we believe in the incarnation of the Son. If someone has told you that some saint say God the Father as a person, they were sadly mistaken. God is Spirit. God the Father has never, never, never, been composed of physical matter. To say something else as a Catholic is heretical. By the way, this is one thing that is a real sticking point between Catholics and Mormons and why we disagree that Mormons baptize in the name of the Trinity. Your God was originally made up of finite physical matter. Therefore it is a diametrically opposed God to the Catholic God.
[/quote]

Are you saying that God cannot manifest himself as a person? Even if God is pure energy, a spirit if you will, that doesn’t mean he can’t manifest himself as whatever he wishes. If he could take the form of a burning bush he could certainly take the form of a human being as well.


#20

[quote=Tmaque]Are you saying that God cannot manifest himself as a person? Even if God is pure energy, a spirit if you will, that doesn’t mean he can’t manifest himself as whatever he wishes. If he could take the form of a burning bush he could certainly take the form of a human being as well.
[/quote]

The traditional view of the Trinity is that in the Godhead there are three Persons, not manifestations. This is a good article on the Trinity and early Church teachings: catholic.com/thisrock/2003/0307frs.asp


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