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Are Mormons Christians?


Daniel Peterson

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Great article and interesting site- thanks!

I think the key perhaps to both coming closer to some elements of progressive creedal Christianity is as I seem to recall you have mentioned before, the idea of the "Social Trinity", with our own view of the Godhead as one in purpose, unified by love, and the purpose of "bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man".

It seems that those who believe in the social trinity affirm nearly a "family" relationship between the members of the Godhead- and imo that sounds awfully close to something we might agree with. Add to that a human participation in their perechoresis in love, with the possibility of exaltation in the spirit of John 17, and I think we might be very close in these areas indeed.

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There happens, ahem, to be a stunningly brilliant article on this very topic in Element 3/1-2 (Spring/Fall 2007), the journal of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology:

http://www.smpt.org/element.html

Unfortunately, despite the loud demands of desperate mobs of screaming fans, it isn't yet available on line.

Dang. I have to buy that. I keep forgetting.

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The control of definitions seems to be very important - to those who want to control all things.

Challenging definitions is a Good Thing.

The control of language is only important if you are someone who uses it.

Challenging definitions is the Only Thing.

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From what I can gather, the article seems to address the notion that Mormons aren't Christian because they are not Trinitarians.

I think the view is a bit nearsighted to exclude someone on those grounds, but I suppose in a broader sense at least LDS aren't the only ones that get left out in the cold by this rather obtuse case of myopia that seems to be a bit contagious amongst non-LDS Christians.

Such narrow views on "who is/who isn't Christian" don't leave just LDS out in the cold. Any of those who adhere or adhered to Adoptionism, Albigenses , Apollinarianism, Arianism, Docetism, Donatism, Gnosticism, Kenosis, Modalism, Monarchianism, Monophysitism, Nestorianism, Patripassionism, Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism, Socinianism, Subordinationism or Tritheism would be just as insufficiently Christian by the same standards.

The fact that such positions exist, is proof IMO, that there are and have been a number of folks who considered themselves Christians that weren't Trinitarians.

Though I certainly do believe that the concept of the Trinity is the clearest understanding of Scripture... BUT the thing that I don't see emerging from Scripture is a mandate that one must believe the Trinity to be a Christian.

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Though I certainly do believe that the concept of the Trinity is the clearest understanding of Scripture... BUT the thing that I don't see emerging from Scripture is a mandate that one must believe the Trinity to be a Christian.

I knew there was a reason why I like you.

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Of course we're Christian. It's pretty obvious. But we have so many theological differences from the rest Christianity that they don't like to call us Christian. Its not just the Trinity thing, but there's Kolob, heavenly mother, pre-earth life, eternal marriage, God once being a man, plurality of Gods, three degrees of glory, the fall of Adam being a good thing, polygamy, etc. Lets face it. We're different. We're too different to be in the same category as everybody else. Historian Richard L. Bushman said that our wierdness is something we have to admit. We are a peculiar people.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Though I certainly do believe that the concept of the Trinity is the clearest understanding of Scripture... BUT the thing that I don't see emerging from Scripture is a mandate that one must believe the Trinity to be a Christian.

It's not a big deal. What it boils down to is if a Mormon converts to Catholicism, he or she must be baptized again in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If a Catholic converts to the CoJCoLDS, he or she gets baptized again too, in "Jesus name" if I'm not mistaken, much like Oneness Pentecostals. The rest of it is a power trip by self-appointed gatekeepers who alone reserve the right to assign the name "Christian" to people.

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It's not a big deal. What it boils down to is if a Mormon converts to Catholicism, he or she must be baptized again in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If a Catholic converts to the CoJCoLDS, he or she gets baptized again too, in "Jesus name" if I'm not mistaken, much like Oneness Pentecostals. The rest of it is a power trip by self-appointed gatekeepers who alone reserve the right to assign the name "Christian" to people.

Actually, no. Mormons are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

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"Obtuse case of myopia"....well said Mudcat...well said.

By the way, baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints is in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost.

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It's not a big deal. What it boils down to is if a Mormon converts to Catholicism, he or she must be baptized again in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If a Catholic converts to the CoJCoLDS, he or she gets baptized again too, in "Jesus name" if I'm not mistaken, much like Oneness Pentecostals. The rest of it is a power trip by self-appointed gatekeepers who alone reserve the right to assign the name "Christian" to people.

I thought you said in your introduction forum that you read the BoM?

D&C 20: 72, 73

72 aBaptism is to be administered in the following manner unto all those who repent

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I thought you said in your introduction forum that you read the BoM?

I did indeed, and I am currently blogging every single chapter of it. Not having a Temple Recommend myself, I made a guess that you did like it says in Mormon 7:8 (and also 4 Nephi 1) "Therefore repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus. " Then again, other people in 3 Nephi 11:25 said, "Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. "

D&C 20: 72, 73

72 aBaptism is to be administered in the following manner unto all those who repent

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I did indeed, and I am currently blogging every single chapter of it. Not having a Temple Recommend myself, I made a guess that you did like it says in Mormon 7:8

Converts don't get baptized in teh temple, they get baptized in a church usually, in a baptismal font, or if for some reason that's not available, in some other larger body of water like a lake or something.

You can attend an LDS baptismal service anytime, whether you are a member or not.

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It DOESN'T have to be in the exact words "Father Son and Holy Ghost" because, obviously, people who are baptized in languages other than English don't use the English words. Heck, Moroni didn't use the English words.

We are required to use a particular phrase today, to ensure completion and correctness of the ordinance, but if Joseph Smith had translated the Nephite phrase as "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit", which would have had precisely the same meaning, we would have been baptizing in those words.

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