Now why am I talking about this with you? Well, for two reasons: number one, because these ideas – this is what starts to become abominable to God. Because we’ve changed the nature of God, and we changed the nature of His Son, into something that they are not.
And then the second reason is, have you ever heard people say “Oh, you are a Mormon or, you’re a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you’re not a Christian.”
And we come back, and we need to do this as best as we possibly can. “No this is called the Church of Jesus Christ. I have taken the name of Christ upon me. I believe in Jesus, Jesus is my Savior. This is The Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ.” We need to say all of those things.
And yet some people hear us say that, and yet will still say, “Well you’re not a Christian.” And that might confuse us. Well in essence, what some of them seem to be saying are, “You don’t believe in the God of the Creeds. You’re not a creedal Christian.” Is really what it’s getting at.
One commentator, speaking of this when they hear some people call Latter-day Saints Christian said, “Until Mormons reject their foundational doctrines about God and Christ,” and I love this, “and a lot more,” and then notice this litmus test, “and accept the classic, creedal definitions of the faith, they have no business calling themselves Christians.”
That starts to put into focus a little bit about why we are sometimes viewed as non-Christian.
But notice here what President Hinckley said, “We do not accept the Athanasian creed. We do not accept the Nicene Creed or any other creed based on the tradition and the conclusions of men.” “We do accept” and then notice where he turns, “as the basis of our doctrine the statement of the prophet Joseph Smith that when he prayed for wisdom in the woods, ‘the light rested upon me and I saw two personages…’ two beings of substance were before him, he saw them, they were in form like men only much more glorious.” And he goes on to say, “that nature was reaffirmed a prophet in later revelations.”
To clarify, if somebody asks if you’re a Christian based off this, without hammering on the creeds too bad. And I apologize if I’ve come across that way, I do not intend to because I do think there are a lot of beauty in some of those creeds.
If anybody asks you if you’re a Christian as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, give him an “Amen,” give him a “Hallelujah,” give him a “Praise the Lord.” We believe in all of that. He’s so grateful when people ask about whether we believe in Jesus. What an opportunity to testify that we love His beloved son, God’s beloved Son. And believe in him very deeply.
If you ever hear that we believe in a different Jesus, what I might clarify or suggest a simple phrase is, “I am a biblical Christian. I believe in Jesus of the New Testament. Jesus of Nazareth is my Savior.” And then you can clarify however, I am not a Creedal Christian, and that might help, by the way, just see people where the differences are that we’re coming from in believing in Christ as a whole.
By Dr. Anthony Sweat, Source Expert
Dr. Anthony Sweat is a prominent expert in the field of “What Do Mormons Believe.” He earned a BFA in painting and drawing from the University of Utah and completed his MEd and PhD in curriculum and instruction at Utah State University. Before taking on his position in the religion faculty at BYU, he garnered thirteen years of experience working with Seminaries and Institutes of Religion. Dr. Sweat is a highly productive author, having written extensively on the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His research primarily delves into the factors that influence effective religious education. Anthony and his spouse, Cindy, are delighted parents to seven children and call Springville, Utah, their home.
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