Membership, Community, Diversity

Are Mormons Christians?

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consider the Bible a critical sacred text, and, as their official name suggests, consider themselves Christians. Anyone who visited the new Mormon Temple in St. Louis prior to its dedication in 1997 would have been impressed by the prominence of a huge statue of Jesus in the entrance tent. But one of Mormonism’s central tenets presents a major problem for mainstream Christian tradition. That tenet is the belief in a prophet after Jesus, with its implication that the revelation of Jesus was not final and definitive.

Mormon tradition regards the work of founder and prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. (1805-1844) as a necessary corrective to centuries of corruption of the true Christian teaching of Jesus. Smith himself believed the scripture revealed to him, The Book of Mormon (origin of the popular name of the Church), did not replace the Bible but merely supplemented it. Today the majority of the growing global community of Mormons consider Salt Lake City, Utah, as their spiritual center, while members of a smaller branch called the Reorganized Church are headquartered in western Missouri. That some churches refuse to acknowledge Mormons as Christian is not unusual in itself; some Christians do not consider Catholics, or other groups, Christian either.


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