Christians make a distinction
In response to the Oct. 12 letter “Mormons are indeed Christian,” I would like to provide some clarity for the position of the majority of evangelical Christians toward The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and explain why the LDS should be distinguished from historical Protestant Evangelical Christianity.
The first of the many reasons for the distinction between the two theologies has to do with the truth of the definitions of the person of Jesus Christ. The LDS religion teaches that Jesus Christ is a “spirit child” of Elohim (God the Father) and not the eternal, omnipotent creator God of the world as is the assertion of the Bible (John 1:1-4, 14 and 1st John 1:1-4) and that he (Jesus) ascended to the status of actual deity by his obedience in the flesh on Earth. Additionally, the LDS asserts that Jesus was begotten in the flesh by God the Father with Mary in the same manner that all other human men are begotten by their earthly fathers. This manner of incarnation enabled Jesus to have earthly existence and was the instrument that he used to attain his status as deity.
The second reason is the LDS doctrine of God the Father (Elohim). This doctrine is in stark opposition to historical Protestant theology. The divinely inspired prophets Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and others asserted that God the Father is indeed our first earthly Father Adam and that he also attained or ascended to the status of deity through a series of obedience to some moral code in existence apparently outside of himself since he had not yet attained the position of moral lawgiver or God (Brigham Young, in the Journal of Discourses, 1:50, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345, Apostle Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, 1:123).
These quotes and teachings of the doctrines of the LDS religion beg some basic questions, such as: Who was God and upheld the universe before he became God?
Protestant Christianity has always asserted that there is one God who exists in three (Triune) personages: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (The Trinity). This God has always existed as God and all being derives its existence from him. Also, that Jesus Christ is the second personage of the one Triune God and has always existed in that state. In humility, he emptied himself of splendor of his glory and honor displayed in heaven and descended to Earth — taking upon himself a mortal body in order to live a perfect life in the place or stead of us who have not fulfilled our obligation to do so before a holy and righteous God, thereby offering an acceptably pure substitutionary sacrifice for the justice required by all humans for sins committed against each other and their creator God.
In logic and communication, the definition of terms is the foundation for arriving at truth or an understanding of reality. Therefore, the doctrines of the LDS religion may indeed refer to a person called Jesus; however, the Jesus and God they refer to is so far removed from the one that Protestant Christianity refers to that the Jesus or Christ are in no way the same. Therefore when we say Mormons aren’t Christians, we mean their Jesus is completely different from ours and in no way aligns with 2,000 years of Christian history.
Master Sgt. Matt B. Castillo
Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq