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Mormons: Christians, but not traditional Christians

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Posted: Saturday, July 21, 2012 12:00 am

This letter is in response to Pastor Nolton’s well worded reflection on the dilemma of voting for Mitt Romney for president, even if he’s a Mormon. I agree with him on most points. This election is for a political leader. My three daughters know Mitt’s family, and have spent time with them. He is a good man with conservative fiscal and moral values, and he is a Mormon.

The reason that Pastor Nolton and others don’t include Mormons in traditional Christianity is because we aren’t traditional Christians. We are quite different. To use the example given regarding deification (man becoming like God), the early Christian fathers taught this doctrine, but it fell out of favor, and isn’t taught today in traditional Christianity. It was restored through Joseph Smith. While not a central doctrine, we nevertheless believe Matthew 5:48 alludes to this principle.

There are many other differences. We believe Jesus has retained his body after the resurrection, as explained in Luke 24, and is separate from, and yet united in purpose with the Father. Joseph Smith received more revelation concerning Paul’s reference about baptism for the dead and different resurrections in I Corinthians 15 (hence our proxy baptism for the dead in our temples, and our belief in more than just a heaven and a hell). The priesthood of God has been restored, and we have prophets and apostles, as set forth in Ephesians 2 and 4.

I hope these New Testament references allow us a small step into biblical Christianity. Our belief that prophets in the Americas wrote about their dealings with God (Book of Mormon), shouldn’t take away from the many truths in the Bible. We don’t believe it does.

Our message to the world is that Jesus’ original church has been reestablished on earth today. Our official title is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and is our Savior and Redeemer. We are saved by His grace. Yes, we are Christians, albeit different than traditional Christianity.

Eric Shields

Lodi

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