Some Christians are so eager to elect Mitt Romney that they’d like to adopt him as well. That is, some godly Americans believe they can only elect Christians to political office, so they’re wondering, “Mormons are actually Christians, aren’t they?” Of course, the answer is “No.” The Church of the Latter Day Saints is not a Christian denomination.
In terms of theology, Latter Day Saints utterly reject the biblical ideal of One True God. To the contrary, they believe that there are many gods and that devout Mormons who marry well will eventually become gods, procreate and revel in their own divine glory throughout eternity. (This core idea is explicit in their Doctrines & Covenants 132: 18 – 21.) In addition, they teach that faith is insufficient for salvation. Good deeds and religious acts are essential in earning a foothold in eternity. (Doctrines & Covenants 20:14)
In terms of authority, Mormons clearly teach that the Holy Bible is insufficient. While orthodox Christianity is rooted entirely in the life and teachings of Christ in the New Testament, Latter Day Saints also rely on other recent books which they regard as sacred scriptures. Those other texts would include the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrines and Covenants. Anyone wondering how Mormonism fits into orthodox Christianity should simply read the Book of Mormon. The fact that the LDS are not in sync with the teachings of Christ will become apparent.
Historically, the Mormons insist that Joseph Smith restored the True Church when he launched his movement. In other words, between the Age of the Apostles and 1829, there was no True Church on the Planet Earth. Until the 1970’s, Mormon missionaries did not even present themselves as Christians. Rather, their goal was to convert Christians to Mormonism. It was not until a new and enlarged public relations movement launched an expensive television advertising campaign in the 1970’s that Latter Day Saints began to emphasize the King James Bible and identify themselves as Christians.
So there’s no serious question about whether or not Latter Day Saints are a Christian sect or denomination. They are not. But this raises two other important questions.
1. How should we feel about Latter Day Saints? The simple answer is, we should love them. The commandment of Christ is that his followers must be agents of love. We even love our enemies, in hopes that we can reach them with the Gospel. Just because Mormons are a non-Christian religion doesn’t mean we should love them less. It means we should pray for them more.
2. Can a Christian vote for an electoral candidate who is a Mormon? Only you can make that decision for yourself. But there’s nothing in the US Constitution or the Bible that stipulates believers can only vote for other Christians. Even a superficial reading of history suggests there have been other occupants of the White House over the years who were not really Christians. The odds are that most of us have already voted for a ringer or two. Hence, should a Latter Day Saint be elected President of the USA in November, he would not be the first non-Christian ever sworn into office.
Lift up the Cross!