Mormon FAIR-Cast 89: Are Mormons Christians?

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Martin Tanner discuss the reasons why some say that Mormons are not Christian and provides a response to these contentions in this episode of Religion Today that originally aired on February 12, 2012.

This recording was used by permission of KSL Radio and does not necessarily represent the views of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of FAIR.

7 thoughts on “Mormon FAIR-Cast 89: Are Mormons Christians?

  1. Pingback: 24 May 2012 | MormonVoices

  2. jmdeshazer

    I agree entirely with the message of this broadcast, being a fully active member of the church and a huge supporter of FAIR and other like-minded communities.

    However, I felt this broadcast was lacking in many ways. First of all, a Mormon’s definition of ‘Christian’ is different than that of an Evangelical. Imagine Warren Jeffs publicly declaring he’s a Mormon and identifies himself as such to ‘normalize’ his lifestyle. We as Mormon’s would hate it because we are different from him, even though we both profess to believe in the same scriptures and both profess similar theological origins. To an Evangelical, identifying yourself as a Christian has the same message. A Mormon’s definition of ‘Christian’ means someone who professes a faith and belief in Christ. To an Evangelical, it also means an association with them in the same “church” or body of Christ. As Mormons, we never try to be lumped with mainstream Christianity, doing so would not properly differentiate us as the Lord’s Restored Church, but we certainly can glean from each other our similarities.

    The next issue I have with Martin Tanner’s broadcast is the lack of sources for his statements. I don’t live in Utah and have exclusively heard his broadcasts on this Podcast. If you are going to say “this is was Mormon’s believe” and then say why, please cite the specific scripture or scholarly source for this statement, or else you perpetuate the hearsay and folk stories that get perpetuated through the church. Martin does a radio broadcast, please come prepared, even if 95% of your listening audience may agree with your theological views.

    I think he has a great opportunity to clarify things to the greater population and to defend Mormonism, but Tanner needs to show better preparation before going on the air.

    Hopefully my candor can be a benefit rather than someone who’s attempting to troll these message boards. Like I said, I love the podcast, but I felt the need to say something after listening to this one last week.

  3. Mike Parker

    jmdeshazer: FWIW, I happen to believe that Warren Jeffs should have the right to self-define as a Mormon. He believes in the Book of Mormon and follows the teachings of Joseph Smith, which is the essence of what a Mormon is. It shouldn’t make any difference that I believe his interpretation of Mormon teachings is distorted and wrong.

    Personally I see it as a double-standard for a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to, on the one hand, claim exclusive right to the term “Mormon,” and, other the hand, be offended when others claim exclusive right to the term “Christian.”

    Church Public Relations doesn’t see it this way, but that’s more of a P.R. issue than anything else: We don’t want to be confused for the FLDS and other polygamous groups that also use the term “Mormon.” While I appreciate the concern, I think there are better ways to go about it than to try to trademark the word “Mormon”.

  4. jmdeshazer

    Glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. I find myself holding defenders of our faith to a higher standard than most because of the scrutiny they come under by critics of the church. In a small way, they are representing something that is a part of me and who I am.

  5. SteveDensleyJr Post author

    Jmdeshazer: Words are important because of the meaning that they communicate. If Warren Jeffs holds himself out to the world to be a “Mormon,” most people would take that to mean that he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If I say that I am a Christian, most people would understand that to mean that I believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ and that Christ is the savior of the world. So I take offense when people say that Mormons are not Christians and I am concerned about the misunderstanding that can be created if someone says that Warren Jeffs is a Mormon.

    Evangelical Christians have been trying lately to change the commonly understood definition of the term “Christian” so that it more narrowly refers to those who are “born again,” in some charismatic sense, (which would exclude the overwhelming majority of those who are now considered to be Christians) or more broadly, those who believe in the Nicene Creed. I wouldn’t mind at all, and I think I might actually like it, if evangelicals said that Mormons are not creedal Christians. Or that we are pre-Nicene Christians. But to simply say we are not Christians is highly misleading and outright offensive because of the meaning that it conveys to most people.

    In a similar vein, it is harmful to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when people refer to Warren Jeffs and other polygamists as “Mormons,” because the meaning that is communicated is that such polygamists are members of the LDS Church, as opposed to the FLDS Church. If there came a time that people commonly understood the term “Mormon” to refer to anyone who believed in the Book of Mormon, or who thought that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and further understood that it did not necessarily refer to The LDS Church, I would be fine with people saying that Jeffs is a Mormon.

    With respect to your comments related specifically to Martin Tanner, I’ll pass them along to Martin. Thanks!

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