FAQ: Are Mormons Christians?
Q: Are Mormons Christians?
The question of whether or not Mormonism is "Christian" turns on our
definition of that term. Most broadly, we may use the term Christian
in a generic sense, according to which any group is "Christian" if it is
properly classified within the category of world religions known as
Christianity. In this generic sense, the LDS Church may be described as
"Christian." But this means simply that Mormonism should be classified as part
of the world religion of Christianity rather than being classified as a branch
of, say, Judaism or Hinduism. Likewise, we rightly classify a wide variety of
religious bodies, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist
Convention, the Assemblies of God, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Branch
Davidians, and the Unification Church, as part of Christianity in this generic
sense. No approval (or disapproval) of the religion's teachings or practices is
implied in such a generic, world-religions description of a religion as
Obviously, the question "Are Mormons Christians?" is not controversial because
of a mere disagreement over classification. The real issue is whether the LDS
Church is a valid, authentic, faithful expression of the Christian faith. On
this question, we must simply accept the fact that evangelicals and LDS will
From an evangelical perspective, Mormonism is not faithfully or soundly
Christian because it deviates from historic, biblical standards of orthodox
Christianity. For example, Mormonism teaches that God the Father is an exalted
Man, that Jesus, angels, and human beings were all the literal spirit offspring
of our "heavenly Father and Mother," and that the ultimate goal of the
Christian life is to become exalted to Godhood ourselves. The LDS Church
derives these doctrines from its expanded canon of "scripture" that includes
alleged modern revelations given to Joseph Smith, who claimed to be the Prophet
through whom God restored true Christianity to the earth. The Bible, on the
other hand, teaches that God is not a man (Num. 23:19) but is transcendent,
omnipresent Spirit (1 Kings 8:27; Is. 31:3; John 4:24), that there are no other
Gods alongside him, and that there will be no Gods formed in the future (Is.
43:10; 44:6-8). Human beings did not preexist as spirits in heaven before their
earthly lives; the only human being who preexisted in heaven (as spirit) before
becoming a man was Jesus Christ (John 3:31; 16:28). The New Testament instructs
us as believers in Christ to dissociate ourselves religiously from groups that
teach such false doctrines that deviate in crucial ways from the apostolic
message (Rom. 16:17-18; 2 Cor. 11:3-4, 13-15; Gal. 1:6-9; 1 Tim. 4:1-2; 2 Tim.
4:3-4; Titus 1:10-16; 2 Pet. 2:1; 3:16-17; 1 John 4:1-6; 2 John 7-11).
Our conclusion that Mormonism is not "Christian" in this narrower,
theological sense does not imply any animosity or hostility toward Latter-day
Saints. Devout Mormons tend to be good citizens, to espouse high, conservative
moral values, and to make common cause with conservative Christians on such
important social issues as abortion. Nor do evangelicals single out Mormonism
on this issue, since we reach similar conclusions about a variety of
"Christian" religious groups whose teachings differ radically from biblical,
historic Christian orthodoxy (e.g., Jehovah's Witnesses and the Unification
Church, mentioned earlier). Our intent is to draw attention to the serious
differences between Mormonism and biblical Christianity in order that believers
may be prepared to share the truth with their LDS friends and loved ones.