One LORD.

My companion and I had a confrontation not too long ago with a man on his doorstep. This gentleman, if I can even refer to him as such, basically told me and my companion that we are going to Hell unless we change our ways and come unto what he termed as the “real” Jesus Christ. I asked him if faith in the Savior constitutes salvation. He responded in the affirmative, to which I told him, “Then byyourstandards, I am saved.” He shook his head and told me that I believe in a “different” Jesus than him.

Last time I checked, there’s only one Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Latter-day Saints may believe in added detail about His life and who He is, but we certainly don’t believe in a different being. This is one of the many things that irks me: people telling me I’m not a Christian, or that I believe in some other kind of Jesus. Well, here’s what Latter-day Saints believe about Jesus Christ.

He is the Son of God. He was born in Bethlehem to the virgin Mary. He began his earthly ministry about the age of thirty. He was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. The Holy Spirit, in the sign of the dove, appeared during that amazing event, and the voice of the Father bore record of Christ’s divinity.

Does this sound Christian yet?

His first recorded miracle was changing water to wine at a wedding feast. He performed many miracles in fact. He gave sight to the blind. He made the lame walk and the dumb speak. He healed lepers. He multiplied fish and bread to feed thousands. He raised the dead. He walked on water.

Does this sound like a different Jesus?

He prayed to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane to begin His atonement. In the Garden he took upon Himself our pains and afflictions. The suffering was so great that He bled from every pore, as Luke records. His atonement continued as he was falsely accused and was put through an illegal trial. He was scourged and crucified, allowing Himself to succomb to physical death. Three days later He was resurrected and appeared first to Mary Magdalene and then to his disciples. He ministered for forty days and then ascended to the Father.

Any of this sound Christian? All of these are beliefs of the Latter-day Saints. If you don’t think we’re Christian, just visit our websites: lds.org and mormon.org. Or, perhaps, read the Book of Mormon and see if it brings you closer to Christ.

 And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent. (Mosiah 3:17)

The Cross and the Open Tomb

So, maybe you’ve wondered why there are no crosses on or inside LDS church buildings, or why Mormons typically don’t wear crosses. In fact, as most have noticed, we tend to have nothing to do with the cross in terms of using it as a symbol. Well, that’s for a couple of reasons. I’d like to try and explain why this is. It’s really quite simple, so pay attention.

Mormons don’t despise the cross in any way. We don’t believe it is a bad thing or something of evil that we must stay away from. It’s simply not something that we do. We recognize and teach the importance of Christ’s crucifixion. In no way do we lessen the significance of that event. It is, after all, a part of Christ’s Atonement.

With that in mind, why don’t we use the cross as an outward symbol? For one thing, we don’t believe that we need a symbol like that to let others see that we are Christians. Honestly, I think my behavior should reflect my belief in Christ, not a pendant on a necklace or even a fish on my car. If a cross is what you rely on to let people know you believe in Jesus Christ, then you… have some things to change about yourself. Just saying.

We also prefer not to place a symbol of death at the center of our worship. In fact, neither did the original Twelve Apostles. Nowhere in the Bible is the cross mentioned as an outward symbol. Of course, the expression to take upon a cross is used, signifying a desire to endure and sacrifice for the cause of Christ. And yes, Christ died for us, but more importantly, he rose from the dead. Christ lives. The primary reason The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not use the cross is because we focus more on Jesus’ resurrection than His death. If Christ had not risen, His death would have meant nothing.

Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:34)

For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. (2 Corinthians 13:4)

Paul certainly feels that the resurrection is important. In fact, he takes all of chapter 15 in 1 Corinthians to explain it. Here are some of his words.

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.

For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)

As I said before, Latter-day Saints don’t use the cross because we prefer to reflect upon the fact that Jesus Christ is alive, and not just that He died. So no, Mormons don’t “worship” the cross. In fact, we don’t worship any object. We worship our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives, and we don’t need to put giant crosses on our church buildings to let others know that we believe in and worship Him.

 

Who We Are

A lot of people have recently heard about a certain Texas Evangelical pastor and his comments regarding “Mormonism” and Mitt Romney. Apparently, in the eyes of this particular individual, Latter-day Saints do not qualify as Christians.

Ignore the fact that the name of our church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ignore the fact that we whole-heartedly profess that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world and that only through Him can salvation come. Ignore the fact that each week we partake of bread and water that represent His body and blood. Ignore the fact that we do believe in and follow the Holy Bible.

I believe that this was one thing this man brought up. In his mind, Mormons do not adhere to the teachings of the Bible, and that because we do not conform to this standard we are therefore non-Christian and, theologically, a cult. I’ll be a bit bold and straight up say that this man is a very confused individual. Latter-day Saints do in fact follow the teachings of the Bible. In fact, we’re the closest thing to Christ’s primitive church. Where else do you find prophets and apostles? Where else do you find temples and baptisms for the dead?

This man also said that the LDS church is a cult because while a true church is founded by divinity, a cult is founded by a man. He cited Joseph Smith as his example. Once again, this pastor does not understand. Who started his church? The Protestant movement began in what is commonly called the Reformation, a time period most schoolchildren are (or should be) aware of. The men that led this movement were indeed inspired, yet they never claimed to be prophets. They never claimed to have been sent from God to reclaim Christ’s true gospel. No, they were good men trying to fix what they knew how to fix. To this pastor I would say, “Your church was founded by a man. Not mine!”

Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. In the Bible we read that surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7)

And how will the Lord reveal Himself to His servants the prophets?

And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. (Numbers 12:6)

Yes, false prophets will exist, as we read in Matthew. But we will also know them by their fruits. The Book of Mormon is the fruit of the prophet Joseph Smith. By reading it one can know of its divine nature. People say Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon, and that it’s crazy to think the Book of Mormon actually came from God. I challenge such people to read it, and they’ll know for themselves that it’s crazier to think Joseph Smith did write it. No wicked man could write the Book of Mormon, and no good man would write it unless he was commissioned of God to do so.

Cult. Crazy. Non-Christian. Call us what you want, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are Christians, that we do believe in and follow the teachings of the Bible, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ’s kingdom upon the earth today.

Articles of Faith I: The Godhead

Many today still wonder whether or not Mormons are actually Christians. It’s a sad thing, because if any person actually took the time to learn about the LDS church, he or she would know, without a doubt, that we are indeed Christians.

John Wentworth, an editor for the Chicago Democrat, once asked Joseph Smith to write something for the paper describing what members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe. He (Joseph Smith) came up with thirteen statements of belief that later became known as the articles of faith. This is the first one:

We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

This statement emphasizes our belief that the three members of the Godhead are three, separate, distinct individuals. They are one in purpose, but not one in any physical way. Some people try to use this to say we are not Christians. The trinity, however, has no support from the Bible, and in no way does it ever suggest that they are all literally one person.

From this single statement, it’s obvious to see that we believe Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God. He is our Savior and Redeemer. The Bible and Book of Mormon both testify of this. We read in the Book of Mormon,

O remember, remember, my sons, the words which king Benjamin spake unto his people; yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world. (Helaman 5:9)

To say that Mormons don’t believe in Christ as their Savior, or that we don’t think His Atonement is necessary, is simply ignorance. We firmly believe that salvation can only come through Jesus Christ. There is no other way. Jesus Christ and His Atonement is at the very center of our religion. If you don’t believe me, read the Book of Mormon.

Fellowship

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. This is true, but this fact doesn’t give anyone an excuse to avoid attending church. Just as well, and just as the phrase implies, going to church doesn’t qualify as being enough.

The prophet Moroni in the Book of Mormon wrote,

And the church did meet together oft, to fastand to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls. (Moroni 6:5)

Oh, and they also went to church…

And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus. (verse 6)

The members of the Church were together often, fasting and praying and discussing the matters of salvation. This was seperate from their actual worship services however.

Fellowshipping isn’t just about attending our meetings on Sunday and making the rounds of saying hello to everyone. It’s about being with one another, showing love and friendship, and concerning ourselves with the things that are of eternal significance.

If one is a Christian, he or she is not a Christian one hour of the week, or even one day of the week. Being a disciple of Christ is a way of life. It is just as much a part of our existence as the air we breathe.