Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Are Mormons Christian?

Judging by this "Wordle", which was created by analyzing the text of the most recent Semi-annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I'd say it's a big, beautiful "Yes". Frequency of use determines word size.

12 comments:

  1. Is it just a coincidence that the cloud is shaped like a fish?

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  2. Ha! You know, that completely slipped by me! Thanks for pointing that out. :)

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  3. This is excellent. I was recently told by an anti-mormon that we talk more about Joseph Smith than we do about Jesus Christ in our meetings. I suppose this is proof enough that they were totally, completely, and irresponsibly wrong.

    James (Lehi's Library)

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  4. Yeah, H/T to ldsmediatalk.com, BTW, which I didn't mention in the post.

    I'd love to share your optimism about this being proof enough, but I have to say that they won't let go that easily. There's always a counterpoint they'll find to explain it away...like how Wordle has a Mormon working there who tweaked the code to make it come out a certain way...

    or something...

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  5. Great insight. I'd like to see the statistical numbers laid out in Excel format.

    On a similar note, I have made it a point lately in any teaching setting, whether it be Elder's Q, a talk, or even FHE, to always involve Christ and the Atonement. It was a challenge given to me through my last Stake President. It is amazing how I can always find some way to incorporate Christ's Atonement into any lesson. What is more amazing, however, is that my thought process has now changed to automatically think of ways the Atonement affects any given Gospel topic.

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  6. I am afraid that the word jumble only shows that Mormons talk about Christ a lot-or, rather, a Christ. Atheists and Satanists talk about a Christ a lot too but that does not mean that they follow the biblical Jesus. Any of us are Christians if and only if we follow the Jesus of the Bible. Mormons do not follow the Jesus of the Bible. For example, the Jesus of the Bible is eternally God. In contrast, the Jesus which Mormons believe in was once a man. By the way, to be very clear, I am anti-MormonISM, not anti-Mormon. There is, I think, a world of difference between the two.

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  7. @evangelical

    I disagree with your assessment of what I or any other LDS person believes concerning Christ, or that the Christ we follow is not the same Christ who was born of a virgin in Bethlehem, taught in all of Judea, Galilee, and Nazareth, was smitten, was crucified and resurrected, and returned to His Father in Heaven. What we believe about Christ is available for the whole world to see.

    Read the Book of Mormon first, and then come back and tell me what is allegedly wrong about our belief in Christ based on what you read in the scriptures as compared to God's Holy Bible and not based on what you read in your Handbook of Christian Apologetics. Treat it like a comparative religion book report you would do in college.

    If you won't do that, at least read the March 2008 Ensign, which is a special edition dedicated just to the topic of the Savior. You'll find that our speaking of Him is not the idle talk of non-believers or the blasphemy you associate with that of the minions of Satan.

    Because your comment is the same old stuff that is copied and pasted thought from anti-Mormon(ism) web sites and other literature, I am not inclined to respond further until you become more informed by walking a bit more in our theological shoes and are willing to approach this topic with real points about what we actually say that we believe, as opposed to what others perceive us to believe. I've been doing the apologist thing for long enough now to know that people who come at us with the tone you've presented in your comment and who don't take the time to do real scholarship on us are just looking to waste our time arguing about semantics and books they've never actually read from beginning to end.

    (And yes, I am aware of your other post about the introduction page to the BoM...I'll be getting to that later. But keep reading. You've got it all wrong to begin with and you need to be brave and read further to find out why.)

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  8. Dear Rob Watson,

    I said before that I am not an anti-Mormon. I cannot stress this fact enough. I am coming to you, and Matthew, and others, as a friend. I sincerely hope you shall view my comments in that light. If I gave a different impression before, then I am sorry.

    I have read most of the standard works and shall continue to study them. I think that it is important to know what it is I am critiquing before I give a critique of it. So I agree with you on that point. And I’ve recently started reading Ensign but have not yet gotten to the March 2008 issue as of yet.

    I think that the point I had to make about two Christs is a valid one. The Bible tells us that Jesus is God. It also tells us that God is eternal. To say that God is eternal, includes the idea that He has always been, and always shall be, God. The Bible also tells us that there is only one God. But Jesus is certainly not God the Father. From these and other considerations, we arrive inescapably at the strictly biblical doctrine of monotheistic trinitarianism. Mormon doctrine denies the doctrine of the Trinity and affirms there is more than one God. In addition, I believe that Mormons claim Jesus became a God only at a certain point in time. So those are several differences between the biblical view and the Mormon view. I believe it was Paul who said there are many (false) Christs in the world. Or maybe it was John. In any case, it is possible for different people to follow different Christs while there is really only one true Christ.

    If one believes Elvis Presly was born in 1985 and raised by wolves, never learning to talk much less sing, then one believes in an Elvis Presly other than the actual Elvis Presly who really existed. It therefore makes sense for others to say that such a one does not really believe in Elvis. This analogy is not intended to say that the Mormon Jesus is ridiculous or hard to believe in. Rather, it is merely to illustrate the idea that merely referring to someone with the name of a real person, does not mean that the said someone is that real person. This was more or less what my original point was. So the real Jesus, I would say, is found in the Bible. While Mormons do certainly read the Bible and talk about Jesus, it cannot be the biblical Jesus they believe in, for the biblical Jesus is radically different from the Mormon Jesus in spite of some surface similarities.

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  9. Evangelical:

    In response to your comments on Mormons not being Christian, not believing in the "biblical Jesus", etc. I would encourage that you read the book Offenders for a Word by Daniel C. Peterson and Stephen D. Ricks. It is, in my opinion, an excellent book on this subject.

    Another book I would recommend would be Biblical Mormonism by Richard R. Hopkins, which presents a case for a biblical foundation for Mormonism.

    I would encourage that you read those two texts.

    Best wishes,

    Steve Smoot

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  10. Very interesting! Thanks for posting!

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  11. FWIW, this late comment is a response to evangelical.
    .
    I agree generally with his summary of the two positions: his and LDS. I also agree with his statement that one of the groups of beliefs is biblical and the other strays from the Bible. As you would suppose, I do *not* agree which of the two groups is biblical and which is not.
    .
    My searching, pondering, praying, and spiritual answers and experiences have woven into my heart a Spirit-borne testimony that the restored gospel is Christ's true gospel. My efforts similarly have resulted in a Spirit-borne witness that the typical Evangelical position fundamentally is not aligned with the Bible's.
    .
    evangelical cites the Bible in his effort to illuminate a difference between it and the restored gospel. Here's an example in response: (KJV) Hebrews 1:1-13:
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    vv. 1-3 "God [Father}, [...] hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he [Father] hath appointed heir of all things, by whom [Son] also he [Father] made the worlds; Who [Son} being the brightness of his [Father's] glory, and the express image of his [Father's] person, and upholding [Son] all things by the word of his [Father's] power, when he [Son] had by himself [Son] purged our sins, sat [Son] down on the right hand of the Majesty [Father] on high;"
    .
    vv. 5-6 "For unto which of the angels said he [Father] at any time, Thou [Son] art my Son, this day have I [Father] begotten thee? And again, I [Father] will be to him a Father, and he [Son] shall be to me a Son? And again, when he [Father] bringeth in the firstbegotten [Son] into the world, he [Father] saith, And let all the angels of God worship him [Son]. "
    .
    vv. 8-13
    8 "But unto the Son he [Father] saith, Thy [Son's] throne, O God [Father recognizes deity of His Son], is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy [Son's] kingdom [showing Son inherits Father's kingdom -- as will his followers. cf Rom 8:16-17: 'The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together '].
    9 Thou [Son] hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God [Father], even thy God [Father], hath anointed thee [Son] [...]
    10 And, Thou [Son], Lord [Father continues to recognize Son's deity], in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands [as stated in v. 2 above, Father made the world's by the Son: the Son created them under the Father's oversight]
    11 They shall perish; but thou [Son] remainest; [...]
    12 And as a vesture shalt thou [Son] fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou [Son] art the same, and thy [Son's] years shall not fail.
    13 But to which of the angels said he [Father] at any time, Sit [Son] on my [Father's] right hand, until I [Father] make thine [Son's] enemies thy [Son's] footstool?
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    To me, this passage clearly shows the distinctness of the Father and the Son. The Father did not tell Himself to sit at His own right hand, nor that He had begotten Himself, nor that He would be to Himself a Father and that He would be to Himself a Son, nor that He anointed Himself, nor that He had spoken to us by Himself, nor did Paul mean that He is in His own express image.

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We are happy to discuss any and every topic and question. We will give wide berth to a variety of opinions and ideas. The only thing we ask is that you return the favor by respecting our right to believe as we do and by not issuing lengthy, inflammatory diatribes meant to shock and confuse anyone not familiar with LDS teachings. They can certainly get that elsewhere. :)