Are Mormons Christians? And, Should a Christian Vote for a Mormon?

There has been a great deal of attention given recently to the relationship of evangelical Christianity to Mormonism.  Obviously, this stems from a number of controversial statements that have been made in regard to Mitt Romney being a Mormon.  There is much I would like to say here, but I want to limit this post to answering two questions: One, are Mormons Christians?  And two, should a Christian vote for a Mormon?

In today’s Washington Times, Joel Osteen is quoted as saying that he believes Mormons are Christians.  “I believe that [Mormons] are Christians. I don’t know if it’s the purest form of Christianity, like I grew up with. But you know what, I know Mormons. I hear Mitt Romney- and I’ve never met him- but I hear him say ‘I believe Jesus is the son of God,’ ‘I believe he’s my savior,’ and that’s one of the core issues.  I’m sure there are other issues that we don’t agree on.  But you know, I can say that the Baptists and the Methodists and Catholics don’t all agree on everything. So that would be my take on it.”

So, are Mormons Christians?  The problem with Osteen’s understanding of Romney is that Mormons do not believe in the same God and Jesus of the Bible.  I mean absolutely no disrespect to Mormons, but it is clear that Mormonism is not Christianity.  To demonstrate this, I have listed below a sampling of a number of key doctrines providing citations from authoritative Mormon literature that comment on the doctrine.  I then show what the Bible says in opposition to Mormon belief. I think you will see the point clearly.

Mormons believe there are many gods

“Three separate personages- Father, Son, and Holy Ghost- comprise the Godhead.  As each of these persons is a God it is evident, from this standpoint alone that a plurality of Gods exists.  To us, speaking in a finite sense these three are the only Gods we worship” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine).

Deut. 6:4- “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!

Mormons believe God is not eternal

“We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity.  I will refute that idea, and take away the veil so that you may see” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith).

Psalm 90:2- “Before the mountains were born or you gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”

Mormons believe God created the universe from preexisting materials

“And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth” (Abraham 4:1; Doctrine and Covenants).

John 1:3- “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”

Mormons believe God was once a man who progressed to deity

“As man is now God once was; as God now is man may become” (Lorenzo Snow, 5th President of the LDS Church, The Gospel Through the Ages).

“God Himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!  This is the great secret” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith).

Col. 1:17-18- “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.”

Mormons believe God has a physical body

“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son has also; but the Holy Ghost is a personage of Spirit” (Doctrine and Covenants, 130:22).

John 4:24- “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Mormons believe Jesus was not born of a virgin

“Now remember from this time forth, and forever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost.  If the Son was begotten by the Holy Ghost, it would be very dangerous to baptize and confirm females, and give the Holy Ghost to them, lest he should beget children to be palmed upon the Elders by the people bringing the Elders into great difficulties” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 1).
Matt. 1:25- “[Joseph] kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.”

Mormons believe salvation is a result of grace coupled with works

“Salvation in the Celestial Kingdom of God, however, is not salvation by grace alone. Rather, it is salvation by grace coupled with obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine).

Gal. 2:16- “Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.”

Mormons believe salvation is made possible by the works of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith

“No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith. …every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 7:289, 1869).

Eph. 2:13-16- “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”

These, and a host of other beliefs that stand in opposition to Christianity, are clearly documented in Mormon scripture.  Mormons believe that the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants, the KJV Bible (as far as it is translated “correctly”), and continuing revelation from Mormon leaders are authoritative Scripture.

To summarize: Mormonism teaches that God was once a man just like us who lived on a distant planet named Koleb. Because he was a faithful Mormon, he progressed from being a man and became the god of his own planet (a Mormon doctrine known as eternal progression).  That planet happens to be earth.  Jesus is the literal flesh and blood son of God and his wife (not virgin born) who appeared to tribes in North America following His resurrection, organized a church, and appointed apostles.  We can be just like God if we are faithful Mormons and become the god of our own planets one day.  This is clearly a much different portrayal of God, man, salvation, history, and eternity than is communicated in the Bible.

It is obvious Mormons are not Christians.  Having said that, Christians need to avoid inflammatory statements and attitudes directed at Mormons.  Such behavior does nothing to reach Mormons with the truth of Scripture. Sadly, a number of Christian leaders have publicly failed in this endeavor.

One more question: Given the differences in beliefs, should a Christian vote for a Mormon?  In my opinion, we need to be cautious in answering that question with a resounding “no!”  There could be an occasion where voting for a Mormon is the closest option to the Christian worldview in terms of social and economic issues.  What if a Mormon and a Wiccan were running against each other for President? (don’t scoff, we could be closer to this reality than you think!)  Who would you vote for in that election?  What about the Christian who lives in Turkey and the only option he/she has on the ballot is a moderate Muslim or radical Muslim?  For whom should they vote?  In preparing to vote, we need to carefully and prayerfully consider which candidate best resembles a biblical worldview- in a totality of beliefs, morality, ethics, etc.

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13 Responses to “Are Mormons Christians? And, Should a Christian Vote for a Mormon?”

  1. Thank you, Todd.

  2. Hello, Dr. Fisher-
    Interesting insights, but I have a point of contention with the 2nd question, “Should a Christian vote for a Mormon?”. If I may, I would like to preface my argument with this: I am a former US Army soldier and a current government contractor presently deployed to Afghanistan. I am also an atheist.

    Should a presidential candidate’s religious preference, or lack thereof, matter? I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state. After all, this dichotomy is what separates our free and democratic government from one that is derived from religion, like the government of Saudi Arabia or Iraq. Based on this tenant, is it not irresponsible to reject a candidate based on his private religious beliefs?

    • Josh, thanks for the comment. Yes, I think you can reject a candidate based on their religious belief. That’s why I wouldn’t vote for a Wiccan or if I were in Turkey, would vote for the moderate Muslim. My point here is that there may be contexts where a voter needs to look beyond just the religious beliefs of a candidate. A Mormon does not hold my worldview as a Christian, particularly from a theological standpoint. However, in a number of other areas- take for example, a pro-life stance on abortion- a Mormon may reflect my values more closely than an another candidate. Religious belief is extremely important in terms of voting for a candidate, and yes, I would rather have an evangelical Christian to choose from on the ballot. However, I simply want to caution people that deciding on which candidate to vote for is a multi-faceted decision that is not exclusive to religion.

      Therefore, if I were an atheist I would reject the idea that I would summarily dismiss any candidate just because they had religious belief. There are many candidates who are people of faith that honor the framer’s intent in the first amendment. I have friends who do not believe in God, yet vote for candidates who do believe in God because that candidate, in an overall sense, best reflects their beliefs on economic policies.

      Thanks for reading the blog Josh and please stay safe in Afghanistan!

  3. This article really helped me sort things out in my little pea-brain. Thank You Todd!

  4. Thanks for your response, Dr. Fisher. I couldn’t agree with this statement of yours more: “However, I simply want to caution people that deciding on which candidate to vote for is a multi-faceted decision that is not exclusive to religion.”

    I am always interested in religions and people’s faiths as a whole, so I will definitely continue to read your blog for a different perspective than that of my own. Thanks for your time.

  5. Todd, thank you for informing us. We are so blessed to have you as pastor.

  6. I would like to address a statement that was made earlier about the separation of church and state. Jefferson was not implying that government should not follow Judeo Christian principles, he was making a strict distinction between the oppressive government run Church of England and the newly formed republic governed by law, with a democrtatic election process aka (America). The United State’s constitution uses Judeo Christian principles and ideology through out the document. If the framers of the constitution were so anti church and God, then surely our constitution, mottos, coinage, statues would reflect that sentiment. Also regardless whether a peson believes in the one true God or not, a person has to admit that a society that follows the Ten Commandments, is a society that is civil and free unlike those countries mentioned earlier that use fundamental extreme islam.

  7. It appears as though I was misunderstood. I never said that Jefferson, or any of the Founding Fathers, were not religious. I believe it is fairly common knowledge that they were devout Christians. Also, I never stated that some Christian principles are incompatible with a free and democratic society. Certainly, tenants such as “do not murder” and “do not steal” should be incorporated into the framework of any modern government, regardless of religious pretense or context.

    My point is simply this: it is irresponsible to select a governmental representative for any office based solely on his or her private religious beliefs. This is why I drew the comparison to the fundamentalist Islamic governments of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The leaders of these 2 governments are selected using 1 measurement alone- religious preference. However, they do base their forms of government around a certain set of values. I refer to these as Human values, you refer to them as Judeo Christian values, and they refer to them as Tenents of Islam. As so often is the case, it is simply a matter of interpretation.

  8. good stuff todd i have been dealing with these issues in my own community and you have helped me God bless.

  9. I sincerely hope you are not calling President Obama a Wiccan…as was sort of implied…

  10. Thank you for having the courage to do what all Christian preachers need to do with their own flocks.

    Christianity shouldn’t have to be politically correct, or base it’s tenets upon public opinion polls.