Huzzah! New question in the mailbag! I’m proud to say that this question was asked just a couple days ago (as opposed to the last questions I answered 2 months late…) This one comes from Joey at Wide White:
Do you consider yourself more Mormon or Christian? Or does the distinction even matter? Within Christianity it seems that some, such as Catholics or Baptists or others, identify more with their sect/denomination, while others, particularly “evangelical Christians,” identify themselves more broadly as Christians.
I wonder because I asked 2 Mormon missionaries who approached me once why it was so important to convert me if I was already a Christian. You don’t really see Lutherans trying to convert Methodists. I’ve seen Baptists try to convert Catholics, but that’s only if they don’t consider the Catholic (or even Catholics in general) to be Christian in the first place. I wondered why it mattered that I specifically be Mormon if we’re all Christians anyway. They said something about heaven having tiers and Mormons are the top tier and other Christians are on a lower tier. At least that’s how I remember it. I could be totally misrepresenting it.
Anyway, if this is a dumb question, feel free to make all sorts of fun of me.
Good question! The great Are Mormons Christians? debate is always a fun one, and it’s being asked a lot lately due to Romney’s likely success at securing the Republican nomination. I think the answer is simple – of course Mormons are Christian. When taking an overview of worldwide religions, it is very clear to me that Mormons fit under the Christian umbrella.
In my shallow understanding of Mormon history, I get the impression that past generations of Mormons weren’t overly concerned about whether other Christian sects accepted them into the Christian body or not. In fact, I get the impression that until the mid 20th century, Mormons considered their rejection by other Christians a badge of honor – evidence that Satan was trying to tear down God’s chosen people – evidence that the rest of Christianity had been corrupted. However, today’s Mormons are very quick to insist that they are Christian, and that the chasm between Mormonism and other Christians isn’t as wide as many think it is. Being accepted into the body of Christianity is very important to the modern church.
Still, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t significant differences between Mormonism and other Christian sects, which most Mormons also quickly acknowledge. Mormonism likes to maintain a comfortable arms length from the rest of Christianity – close enough that we share many common beliefs – far enough that we’ve got enough unique truth that you should leave your current church to join us.
As for me, I definitely identify with the Mormon label more than I identify with the Christian label. Mormonism is more than a set of beliefs – it’s a culture, a way of life, a group of people. It’s no secret to readers of this blog that I don’t always agree with the LDS church – I’m not Mormon necessarily because I agree with it – I’m a lousy Mormon as far as other Mormons are concerned. But I’m proud of the Mormon label because it represents a people and a way of life that have always been good to me. It’s not really about beliefs. It’s about people – and I LOVE Mormons.
Any more questions?
Ask Me Anything!!!