QUAERITUR: Are Mormons Christians?

From a reader:

I have a friend who is Mormon and she claims that they are indeed
Christian but something in me says they are not. She claims that Jesus
Christ is the Son of God and her Lord and Savior. Is that all that’s
needed to make her Christian? Sorry for my ignorance and thank you in
advance for your time and consideration of my question.

I refer you first, foremost and immediately to the document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the “RESPONSE TO A ‘DUBIUM’ on the validity of baptism conferred by «The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints», called «Mormons».

Bottom line: Mormons are not Christians. Mormon baptism is not valid, Christian baptism.

In what follows, I am restricting myself to doctrine, and not the ethical and moral content of their faith, which in many ways is admirable and exemplary.

Mormons do not have a Christian, Trinitarian religion. For Mormons, Christ is not the God/man in the sense that Christians believe. They are not just in error about the Christ’s Divine Person, as Arians were. They have an entirely different understand of some person they call Christ, more or less related to the historical Jesus and to the Christ of orthodox Christian doctrine. This is a fundamental point you must understand about Mormon beliefs and language: they use the same terms or words that Christians do, but they use them with a different meaning. If they use something that sounds like the Christian Trinitarian formula, they use all the terms in the formula with a different sense. They do not have the same concept of “God” and “divine” that Christians do, though they use the same words as Christians.

for Mormons, being “divine” or “god” is a function rather than an ontological state. For Mormons, the one they call “God the Father” is really an elevate man from another planet who became “divine” but not in the ancient Christian sense of “divinization” (as in the preaching of some of the Fathers, the Son became man so that the we might become the sons of God, divine “filiation”).

Gods, for Mormons, were mortals who became gods. Mormons hold that “God the Father” actually has a wife, a “Heavenly Mother”, with whom he procreated “Jesus Christ” who also acquired “divinity”. For Mormons, the “Holy Spirit” is also the offspring of parents. For Mormons, four gods guide the universe, three of whom form a sort of “trinity”.

Mormons are not Christians. They use the same words Christians use, but they are not Christians.

For more, read then-Fr. Luis Ladaria’s explanation of the whole question HERE. Archbp. Ladaria is now Secretary of the CDF.

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47 Responses to QUAERITUR: Are Mormons Christians?

  1. acardnal says:

    Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) are not Christian.

    An excellent resource, if you don’t have time to read but have an hour to listen, is a lecture given by former Mormon, Thomas Smith, available on audio CD from Lighthouse Catholic Media:
    http://www.lighthousecatholicmedia.org/store/title/from-mormon-missionary-to-the-catholic-faith

    Here are two good books explaining Mormonism: HERE.

    And HERE.

  2. anilwang says:

    Another way to look at it is, if Mormons a Christians then no-one else is. Mormons believe that all Catholics and Protestants have apostatized immediately after the last apostle died, so nothing in Christianity outside of what Joseph Smith revealed is valid.

  3. Ezra says:

    I guess I use “Christian” as a sociological label. If Lutherans, Calvinists, Arians, Jansenists, Monophysites, etc. are all to be considered “Christian” despite denying defined dogmas of the Church Christ founded, I don’t see why Mormons shouldn’t, if that’s how they self-identify. [And you would be wrong. Review the top entry. (UPDATE: Okay… that was a bit abrupt. I dealt with that point when I mentioned Arians, or I thought I did. Bad day yesterday.]

  4. anilwang says:

    Sorry, my last post got scrambled just as I hit submit. Correcting the above, Mormons don’t believe Catholics and Protestants are Christians since they believe that the Church apostatized immediately after the last apostle died. Interestingly enough they have ties to both Islam and Calvin. The Quran states that Catholics believe that Mary is part of the Trinity and that both the old and new testaments were corrupted so Muhammad’s interpretation is the only valid one. Mormons seemed to have taken Muhammad at his word on both accounts and assumed the Great Apostasy and the “Heavenly Mother” is part of the heavenly council. He also borrowed Calvin’s idea that we know that the canon of scripture is true because we have “a burning of the bosom” that confirms the truth of scripture and the falsehood of the deuterocanonicals. Mormons use this idea to get people to believe the Book of Mormon. He borrowed from several other early Christian heresies.

  5. smmclaug says:

    Because, Ezra, there is a difference between being a Christian heretic, and simply being non-Christian. The difference amounts to what are essentials of the Christian faith–belief in the Trinity, the Atonement, and so forth–and what are non-essential. It is simply not correct, nor does the Church terach, that disbelieving in the authority of the Magisterium and disbelieving in the divinity of Christ are remotely similar.

    If a Muslim comes to you and “self-identifies” as a Christian because, after all, he believes that Jesus was a prophet–is he a Christian in your book? Is Richard Dawkins a Christian in your book if he decides to start calling himself culturally Christian by virtue of his celebrating Christmas?

    No matter how you decide to use the word, Christian has a very distinct meaning, and it is not a sociological one. It is one who believes the essential truths of the Christian religion. Your suggestion that there is no relevant difference between Mormons and Lutherns, and that anyone who self-identifies as “christian” must therefore be a Christian, is not merely wrong, but contrary to the repeated insistence of the Church herself.

  6. pxs155 says:

    “(as in the preaching of some of the Fathers, the Son became man so that the we might become the sons of God)”

    Theosis/divinization gingerly described. Would it be too deep for this instance to exclude “sons of” from that definition?

  7. anilwang says:

    Ezra, but that’s not the definition according to Tradition. If you look at the Second Ecumenical Council (A.D. 381) in its 7th Canon (see below), you’ll notice that Baptism is the dividing line between Christians and non-Christian as well as a “good enough understanding of the Trinity”. To be Catholic, Christians need to renounce their heresy and be Chrismated, must the same things Christians need to do be Catholic today. It’s interesting that Arians had a “good enough understanding of the Trinity” but ancient Arians are not like modern Arians since early Arians understood Christ be be still divine, but just created in time.

    —-
    “Canon 7. Those who embrace orthodoxy and join the number of those who are being saved from the heretics, we receive in the following regular and customary manner : Arians, Macedonians, Sabbatians, Novatians, those who call themselves Cathars and Aristae, Quartodeciman or Tetradites, Apollinarians-these we receive when they hand in statements and anathematize every heresy which is not of the same mind as the holy, catholic and apostolic church of God. They are first sealed or anointed with holy chrism on the forehead, eyes, nostrils, mouth and ears. As we seal them we say : “Seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.” But Eunomians, who are baptized in a single immersion, Montanists (called Phrygians here), Sabellians, who teach the identity of Father and Son and make certain other difficulties, and all other sects — since there are many here, not least those who originate in the country of the Galatians — we receive all who wish to leave them and embrace orthodoxy as we do Greeks. On the first day we make Christians of them, on the second catechumens, on the third we exorcise them by breathing three times into their faces and their ears, and thus we catechize them and make them spend time in the church and listen to the scriptures; and then we baptize them.”

  8. Lurker 59 says:

    When dealing with the status of Mormons, there really are two questions being dealt with:

    1.) Are Mormons Christian?

    2.) Is Mormon theology Christian?

    The first question is dependent upon the validity of baptism of the sect. It is important to remember that BEING a Christian is not dependent upon one’s own theological position, but rather what God has done to that individual. The Church is not an association of like minded individuals that choose to gather together but rather the Church is that which God Himself has called, gathered, and drawn together out of the water. Given that Mormon baptism is not the act by which God, through the Church, brings forth new members of the Body of Christ, Mormons are not Christian.

    The second question recognizes that it is possible for a sect to not have a valid baptism but have a general Christian theology — for example Pentecostals. When we look at Mormon cosmology, it is decidedly not Christian. Their conceptualization of who God is, is decidedly not related to how God is depicted in the scriptures or in tradition. As Fr. Z pointed out, Mormon theology borrows a lot of concepts and terminology from various Christian sects and other sources so it sounds Christian at first glance, but if one pays attention not to the terms used but to what is being said, Mormon theology is neither schematic nor heretical (both positions which can be understood to be Christian as they are derivatives / aberrations from the Christian theological standard) but rather a different theological system.

  9. Padraig Smythe says:

    I’m glad this post was tagged as Battlestar Galactica.

    Joseph Smith was a Mason…

  10. Eriugena says:

    Quicumque vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est, ut teneat catholicam fidem: Quam nisi quisque integram inviolatamque servaverit, absque dubio in aeternum peribit. Fides autem catholica haec est…

    etc. etc. etc.

  11. mamajen says:

    Ironically I just read about Mormon “baptism” being invalid in my little Lenten reflection booklet last night. I didn’t have a correct understanding of the term “Christian” and probably would have assumed they were Christian if asked. Thank you for the enlightenment!

    I have educated myself a bit about Mormonism because I have LDS relatives and there are of course lots of Mormons in the media (they are very savvy in that regard). On the surface a lot of their practices seem great, but digging deeper I find their belief system to be worrying. I especially dislike their veiled attempts at recruitment. A good example would be the so-called “Mormon housewife blogs” which have become an internet sensation and are heavily encouraged by their church. I am cautious.

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  13. PA mom says:

    The discussion of this topic bring to mind the recent debate regarding Obama’s Christianity. [I don’t want a political discussion here. And this isn’t about Pres. Obama. That said, I refer you to my post on Black Liberation Theology.] everyone keeps saying, well he says he is, so he is. But the fact is that he would have been baptized somewhere by a Christian for that to be a fact. it is not a matter of just saying so. Was this ever confirmed?

  14. @psx155

    Gingerly described, but the point remains the same. Christian teaching has always been that theosis, while a mystery, does not mean that Christians become equal to the One God. It’s important to remember that when God became man, He did not become a human person, but remained an absolutely Divine Person to which is predicated two natures, His absolute and equal Divinity with the Father, and His absolute and equal humanity with us. He became man, but not a human person; likewise, through Him, we definitely share in His Divine Nature, but do not thereby become Divine Persons, as if the Holy Trinity were suddenly going to balloon into four, then ten, now a billion Persons.

  15. digdigby says:

    The Catholic church can and has survived scathing humor. The Mormons cannot. The most delicious (albeit agnostic) skewering of the Mormons was by Mark Twain from ‘Roughing It’. I cannot fathom a Mormon president. It is like electing a president who believes in Enkidu, the Babylonian God of Fish.
    http://truthandgrace.com/twainbom.htm

  16. pxs155 says:

    @Jonathan

    Yes, don’t think I don’t realize this. =P

    To put it casually, type “God became man” into Google and note that the suggestions don’t include the words “sons of”…

    That’s all I’m trying to say. =)

  17. RichardC says:

    Sometimes, I fear Mormonism morphing into a dangerous political movement.

  18. Mary Jane says:

    A funny story about Mormons and my family…

    When one of my younger sisters was about 5 years old, she enjoyed playing with the kids who lived in the house across the street. She had probably heard my mom and dad talking about how “Mr. and Mrs. S are Mormons” and what Mormons believed and such. Well one day she came inside from playing, walked up to mom and seriously asked, “Mom, is Johnny a moron?” ;-)

    Mom quickly corrected her…”No…*Mormon*…Mor-mon.” :)

    But Fr Z is right – they are not Christian.

  19. Augustin57 says:

    When my wife was a very young teen, she had a crush on Donny Osmond (a Mormon). So much so that she wore purple whenever she could. She lived out west and began taking classes in the Mormon church (their version of catechism, I guess), in hopes that she would somehow run into Donny Osmond (she did get to go to one of his concerts, get to sit in front, and was kissed on the cheek by Donny, and didn’t wash her cheek for a long time. LOL) But, anyway, they taught, at one point, that Noah built the ark, then drilled holes in the bottom to prove he trusted God or some such thing, and she thought it was a joke and started laughing, uncontrollably. They ended up kicking her out, and that was the end of her Mormon days. I’ve never heard that story of the ark before or since.

  20. Clinton R. says:

    Another example of the terrible results of those who choose to follow their own path and develop their own religion instead of believing in the Faith founded by Our Lord and preached by the Apostles and the Church. “As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema.” Galatians 1:9

    “Inquire not simply where the Lord’s house is, for the sects of the profane also make an attempt to call their own dens the houses of the Lord; nor inquire merely where the ‘church’ is, but where the Catholic Church is. For this is the peculiar name of this Holy Body, the mother of all, which is the Spouse of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church)

  21. Centristian says:

    Mormons clearly are not Christians, strictly speaking, however they do have the aura of American low church Protestant-style Christianity about them, culturally speaking, and so it’s understandable as to why they are thought of as Christians. The organization they belong to, after all, is called “The Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter Day Saints)”, their meeting houses look like Protestant churches, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is acclaimed and renowned for its recordings of beloved Protestant hymns. Add to that the fact that in the USA, Mormons are typically white Anglo-Saxons…WASPS, that is…minus the “P”. So they do seem more like Protestant Christians than they do non-Christians, because we usually ascribe some sort of ethnicity to non-Christians (Jews, Muslims, Hindus, &c).

    I live in New York State not far from Palmyra, where it all began for the Latter Day Saints. I have been to the Joseph Smith historical sites in town, to the temple, to the meetinghouse, and I have attended their annual pageant. With all due respect to Mormons, I find their beliefs bizarre in the extreme and cannot understand how any thinking man could accept the Book of Mormon as authentic. That is what I think of their “faith”.

    What I think of Mormons, however, is another story. My experience of them is that they tend to be highly moral, very law-abiding, extremely pleasant and polite, and deeply patriotic. In fact, if I could design my own neighborhood, all my neighbors would be Mormons. I would never have to lock my doors at night and every property in that crime-free neighborhood would be immaculately well-maintained. I further expect that an American flag would wave from every porch.

    Far from having any sort of a problem with a Mormon president, then, I positively welcome the idea . And something tells me that if a Mormon does, indeed, become our next president, he’ll seem more “Christian” than any of his last three Christian predecessors.

  22. Laura98 says:

    Are Mormons Christian? No. But it is hard to convince many “catholics” and other Christians of that, when so many Mormons live good, moral lives, in spite of the current culture out there.

    I have a good “catholic” friend that is continually drawn to Mormonism (we live in Arizona – with a huge Mormon population) because she sees the good side of it – the focus on family and good moral values. When I’ve pointed out to her that Catholics have this too, when they return to their roots, and follow and really practice their religion, she claims she doesn’t have time for that. *sigh*

  23. Brad says:

    My mom is a lifelong Mormon. Like many, she has no idea what Arianism is and that her view of the Second Person is that ancient heresy. Actually, though, like many rank and file Mormons, she does in fact believe He is divine and does not even know that the powers that be in SLC disagree with her on that lil point.

    But that’s just the Second Person. The First Person…I do not try to plumb what kind of dissonance must be going on in her head. Poor thing. She is comfortable with the concept of us all becoming Creator Father Gods. So, forget the Trinity, because we have just chucked monotheism out the window!

    I recently learned that their concept of souls preexisting our physical conception is I guess what derailed Origen from sainthood.

    My Mom goes to Mass with me and no red flags are raised in her head, or none she cares to raise with me at this point in our lives. She’s very amenable. Had she been born Catholic, she would be today. Just one of those people.

    May God bless all Mormons.

  24. Tim Ferguson says:

    Just to be precise, I would make mention of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which has, since 2001, been referring to itself as the Community of Christ. Though often categorized as “Mormons” and rooted, partly, in the teachings of Joseph Smith, their understanding of the Trinity is orthodox and they have not adopted many of the wild theological concepts and polygamous practices that sprung up among the Mormons after the death of Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1844. While certainly not orthodox, the RLDS or Community of Christ would be classified as Christian. The CDF note by which Mormon baptisms were declared invalid was confined only to baptisms conferred by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, not the RLDS, which therefore still gives presumptively valid baptism.

  25. ContraMundum says:

    Are Mormons Christian? No. But it is hard to convince many “catholics” and other Christians of that, when so many Mormons live good, moral lives, in spite of the current culture out there.

    I often wonder whether what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman might not apply in such cases: “You adore that which you know not.” He did not say that they did not worship the one true God; He said that they did not know Him.

  26. Captain Peabody says:

    Mormons are polytheists. They believe in an almost infinite number of gods, of which our universe happens to have only a few. Hence, they are outside the bounds not only of Christianity, but even of Judeo-Christian tradition and Abrahamic religion itself, including Islam.

    That being said, the similarities between Islam and Mormonism, especially in their origins, are striking. Both arose from fairly desolate, less-settled backwaters which contained a dizzying number of different religious traditions and sects. In this setting, both “Prophets,” having supposedly received divine visitations and written a sacred text under direct divine dictation, began to preach a new religion and a new revelation from God. Both drew heavily from the pre-existing religious traditions of their times, maintaining large parts of both their outward and the inward practice and doctrines (Muhammed maintained the pagan Kabala, stole heavily from Christian and Jewish sources and doctrines; Smith used the practice, cadence, and language of American Protestantism). However, they both declared that all of these traditions, although finding their origin in legitimate divine revelation, were in fact mistaken and apostate, and had “corrupted” the original revelation from God. Thus, they declared, God had chosen them to restore the pure truth of divine revelation to the world. Both of their systems are in many ways dramatic simplifications of Christian theology and the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation–Muhammed collapsed the Trinity into a simple, transcendent monotheism with no figure higher than a prophet, while Smith collapsed the Trinity into out-and-out polytheism with immanent deities as no more than exalted human beings and people turning into gods all over the place. Both had long, ongoing revelations throughout their lives, many of which seemed to contradicted their earlier revelations and were often very adapted to their current needs and circumstances. Both became direct, theocratic leaders of their followers, and sought, through an exodus, to create a new society under their control. Both had ambitions to political and military power, and intended to create a worldwide kingdom with themselves at its head. Both also preached polygamy, and were known to use that polygmous doctrine to allow themselves to take some dramatic liberties with other people’s wives and daughters. Predictably, of course, Muhammed was a good deal more successful at most of these things than Smith, succeeding in open conquest and political domination in a way that Smith never could within the strictures of American society. Still, the similarities are striking.

    I’m not quite sure what that says about human psychology or society, but it is too much to be a complete coincidence. Heresies, I suppose, always bear the mark of human sinfulness. It is hard, though, not to see the hand of Satan in this as well.

  27. James Joseph says:

    Where I live it is about 95% and 2% Catholic. (from the last data available)

    Because I am a man who suffers from the sin of pride, I think more severely than most, and also from despair more severely than most, in my estimation, I am perhaps more leninent.

    There are LDS folks who know their pseudo-Theology. And, there are way more that do not. The level of gratitude for Christ Jesus is amazing, but you’ll never find them praying to him; that is strictly forbidden. I took a bit of poll yesterday, and nary a Mormon has heard any discussion at their wards or meet-houses/sub-burban barns concerning the battle over the First Amendment. It’s just not being discussed. Neither do any Mormons (except a small handful) know that the Salt Lake City pseudo-hierarchy has made the organisation officially pro-abortion and pro-contraception. All in all there is a great misinformation even among themselves what they believe. The blessing from God is evangelicals. They are making noticeable inroads and there is quite a stir of re-acting against them.

    Here, I am going to analyse one bit of their system for the sake of discussion. And, I do believe it is pertinent. And, that is the issue of redemption. I don’t know the exact belief or how it works. But, the focus has been in my experience almost exclusively on the what we call the First Sorrowful Mystery (The Passion in Garden). Many heresies are heretical because of extreme focus on one-item, one-aspect of religion. In the case of the LDS-folks this is it. Where we Catholics believe that every act of Christ Jesus from His Incarnation all the way through His Resurrection redeemed Creation (And, I cite the prayer of the Church, the Litany that says so) the Mormons are utterly-confounded by everything that happened before He Shed Tears of Blood and after He Shed Tears of Blood. In a way, Mormons are like a guy who was sitting on the wall in the garden watching Christ in His Passion deaf to His Lamentations hearing only the snake slithering and hissing, “Eat this and be like gods”.

  28. heway says:

    I agree with Centristian and Brad. Living near Palmyra, I knew nothing about Mormons, moving to California, I met many and many are my friends. They are wonderful neighbors – clean, quiet, respectful. Our Nigerian priest immediately noticed the Mormon Church in his town – how well the congregation took care of everything. Sorry, but the Catholics flunked that test!
    A best friend has been married for 40 years to her Mormon husband , but not without difficulty.
    Pray for them, but love them without question.

  29. Theodore says:

    As a former Mormon I agree with what has been written above. They are a generous, industrious people and those are traits which we can all emulate. Someone asked after I had gone to my first Confession if it was hard to do. I told them that it was easier than my interview for a temple recommend since I had to bring in my tax return with the latter.

  30. AnAmericanMother says:

    I went to a Mormon funeral once.
    When you’re burying somebody and giving consolation to the family, you can’t really disguise whatever it is that you do believe. We got both barrels – the gods, the heavenly mother, all the rest of it.
    I am not particularly spiritually sensitive, nor am I a tender plant, but the ‘vibes’ I got from that service were screaming, “GET YOURSELF OUT OF HERE! NOW!” I hung in there out of respect for the deceased, but a couple of my friends commented afterwards that I looked very distressed (which is not normal for me).
    In the foyer after the service, I was collared by an elder who tried his best to convert me, I don’t know why I looked like a “mark” but I must have. He offered me a Book of Mormon and told me he was sure the deceased wanted me to have it — but I was ahead of him there because I have my grandfather-in-law’s copy. He forged ahead, but I told him I was a “rock-ribbed Catholic”, which made him laugh as that’s usually applied to Presbyterians. So that defused the situation.
    You wouldn’t catch me in there again for anything. I can take a warning.

  31. AnAmericanMother says:

    With that said, the general run of Mormons are extremely nice, law-abiding, hard-working people. One of my husband’s best friends growing up was LDS. My grandfather-in-law (the circuit-riding Methodist minister) always said they were “good people, but misguided.” Seems a reasonable verdict to me.
    Still not darkening the door again.

  32. jesusthroughmary says:

    Of course they’re not Christians. The first four words of the Nicene Creed are “Credo in unum Deum”, and Mormons are polytheists. Therefore, the person they call “Jesus Christ” is not Jesus Christ, and therefore they are not Christians.

  33. CharleyCOllins says:

    Geez, Fr. Z, you were a little hard on Ezra.

    There were two articles on this decision in the L’Osservatore Romano about the response to the dubium – the one by Ladaria, but also the one by the then Fr but future Cardinal Urbano Navarrete (who sadly died in 2010).

    Within his discussion of the canonical effects of the nullity of mormon baptism, he writes “However, it is well to remember that, although the Mormons can perhaps be considered Christians socially, in the ecclesiastical forum they are to be considered non baptized.”

    I know he says “perhaps”, but it does give Ezra wiggle room on his “sociological label”. [I think, out of fairness to Christian sects, we should avoid that fudge when it comes to Mormons.]

  34. bookworm says:

    “I would make mention of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which has, since 2001, been referring to itself as the Community of Christ.”

    My best friend from college belonged to this church, and I went with her to their Sunday service once. It was pretty much indistinguishable from the typical Protestant service. On another occasion we drove to Nauvoo, Ill. to check out the Mormon historic sites (this was in the early ’90s before the full restoration of the Nauvoo Temple). Her church had a separate visitor center from the sites that the LDS Church maintained, and a slightly different take on the events of early Mormon history.

    The RLDS and the LDS ultimately split over the question of who should be the head of the church — the RLDS believed it had to be a lineal descendant of Joseph Smith, so they did not follow Brigham Young west to Utah.

  35. Mdepie says:

    The question of “is a Mormon Christian?” is really an issue of semantics. It depends on how you define “being a Christian”, if that definition is a Christian has a valid baptism according to the Catholic Church, than the answer is no. IF being a Christian means holding to the basic understandings of who Christ “is” as understood by almost all Christians at all times, the Answer is “no”, but if the question is following the basic moral teachings of Christ as outlined in the Bible at least to the extent Protestants do well then the answer is “yes”. [But you have shifted the conversation away from what it is to be Christian.] At the end of the day does it really matter? This whole way of discussion religion is not consistent with what Catholics have traditionally done. All religions other than Catholicism are “false” They do incorrect in some fashion, they may have elements of truth, but they are in error, some more than others, so we have minimal differences with Eastern Orthodox Christians, and broader differences with others. We have almost nothing in common with Mormons in terms of our Theology, we have more in common with Orthodox Jews as our basic beliefs about God the father, his relationship with the Jewish people etc. …. would be the same, in spite of Orthodox Jews not being Christians.

    I am not sure what the practical significance of any of this is, since in reality I would argue everyone should be Roman Catholic, because that is the religion established by God, the rest are in some way man made, the exception being Judaism which is now fufilled.

    Someone did say.. “Far from having any sort of a problem with a Mormon president, then, I positively welcome the idea . And something tells me that if a Mormon does, indeed, become our next president, he’ll seem more “Christian” than any of his last three Christian predecessors.
    I doubt Romney [I don’t want a political discussion here.] will seem more Christian than Bush, they will be very similar, I expect Romney would be slightly less pro-life, as Romney has been openly pro-choice in much of his career, even attending a Planned Parenthood fund raising event. See this article regarding how sincere his “pro-life his pro life rhetoric is http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_conversion/2012/02/mitt_romney_s_abortion_record_flip_flop_or_conversion_.html

    I grant you that he would be a tremendous improvement over the current tyrant who occupies the White House, as I think Obama is bent on destroying the United States as we know it

    Its unfortunate that as Catholics we dismissed the opportunity to have an actual Catholic with a capitol C as the nominee ( Santorum) Even Gingrich has been pretty vigorous in defending the Catholic Church post his conversion.

    [I don’t want a political discussion here.]

  36. Brad says:

    “The level of gratitude for Christ Jesus is amazing, but you’ll never find them praying to him; that is strictly forbidden.”

    I have always observed Mormons praying to Him, individually and within their Sunday services.

  37. catholicmidwest says:

    The only reason this keeps coming up is Romney. Look, Obama demonstrably isn’t a Christian either. Not only that, but Obama has shown that he’s willing to attack us directly.

    Romney’s father was the governor of Michigan for years, his Mormon religion notwithstanding. He was one of the best governors Michigan ever had and he did NOT push his religion on anyone. Michigan was a paradise in those days and his administration was one of the reasons why it was so. Give Romney a chance. Why?
    a) There are a lot of good people who don’t happen to share your views. I know that strikes you as peculiar but it’s true.
    b) Romney’s running for President, not religious ruler. He knows the difference. I don’t think Obama does.

    [My finger is hovering over the “delete” button for this comment because it will open up a political rabbit hole which is beyond the purpose of the entry. I suggest that all readers shy from making this political lest you invoke “the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing.”]

  38. catholicmidwest says:

    And no, Mormons aren’t Christian, although they try to convince people they are. Their “theology” is rather unique, in fact, and there isn’t much that we share religiously. However, morally and politically, we share a lot and can make strategic and effective common cause against the culture of death with Mormons. Mormons are likely to want to restrict the reach of government, are generally opposed to abortion and euthanasia and tend to be “squeaky-clean.”

  39. catholicmidwest says:

    Anilwang,
    I don’t know where you get your information, but Muslims don’t believe in the Trinity, so I don’t know how Mary could be part of it in their view. Perhaps you are speaking of some local variant or something? That’s not the view of classical Islam.

    In classical Islam, Mary is revered, but as the mother of a prophet, which they believe Jesus was. For Muslims neither Jesus nor Mary are divine. Think about it. Why would they claim a woman was divine anyway? They wouldn’t, trust me.

  40. Imrahil says:

    The question is, at any rate, interesting.

    It’s always easy to make out whether anything is heretical or not. But where’s the point that mere heresy becomes apostasy? It cannot be belief in the Trinity (not so strictly, at any rate) because an Arian is a misinformed Christian. There is much to say that a Muslim, from the content of his heresy, could be called a Christian, though ultimately he is not. (My proof for that is that Mohamed, in his Qoran, officially rejects to debate his faith with Jews and Christians because they will not stop discussing until he becomes a Jew or Christian respectively. Thus, he makes it a positive policy of his to be non-Christian.) And so on.

    I doubt that the line can be drawn, but it is a modern misunderstanding that there are no differences where no line can be drawn. And, especially in the light of the quite informative text of @Fr Z, a Mormon is indeed beyond the line. But not only “because they confer Holy Baptism invalidly”. This, as a matter of fact, is true of the Jehova’s Witnesses as well, and the Salvation Army does not confer any Baptism at all. Both, however, are (admittedly arguably, but yes, they are) on this side of the line.

  41. ContraMundum says:

    @catholicmidwest

    No, Anilwang was correct. The Koran not only denounces the Trinity, it misunderstands what it rejects. The Koran says that Christians worship 3 gods, and that Mary is one of them. Interestingly enough, this mistaken description of a polytheistic Christianity is very similar to Mormonism.

  42. Stephen D says:

    Mormon ‘prophets’ have been historically inconsistent in their use of the word “Christian” (as well as in many other matters). Sometimes the words was used disparagingly and sometimes they claimed to be the “only Christian church”. Brigham Young seemed intent on differentiating Mormons from Christians in many of his sermons.
    Off topic but – I keep reading, whenever Romney’s religion is mentioned, that there are about “14 million Mormons worldwide”. This is untrue, the Mormons include all inactive members (the vast majority) on their rolls until their 110th birthday! A believing Mormon statistician who tried to obtain information about the number of live and active members was unable to do so from official LDS sources and so he set about estimating it by various means himself. He concluded that there are only about 5 million active adherents in the world.

  43. ContraMundum says:

    To be fair, we Catholics also keep inactive but baptized Catholics “on the roll”. If we were only to count those who attend Sunday Mass, we would not be able to claim 1 billion.

  44. Doug says:

    Contramundum writes: “The Koran says that Christians worship 3 gods, and that Mary is one of them. ”
    I read about this years ago; it came from early Muslims being given an explanation of the Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. In Hebrew and Arabic “spirit” is a feminine word; already confused by trinitarian doctrine, and knowing how Catholics exalt Jesus’ mother, they made a natural mistake. Or, not a mistake; 100 Trinitarians- scholarly or otherwise- will give 100 different “definitions” of it.
    And “three gods” because Allah is Elo’ah, in Hebrew. That, in turn is a form of El; God. So much for the Father. Jesus is called God by Trinitarians, and Mary is treated as a God[dess] by them. (Prayers and incense offered to her; statues made of her and carried in processions (Ps 114/115: 12-16, Douay) and so forth.) One plus one plus one equals three. They believe as Jesus did, that there is only one true God, the one he prayed to: John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: That they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

  45. richard.sherlock@usu.edu says:

    As a former mormon philosophy prof. who will be baptized in the Catholic church in a week and a half I can say without hesitation that Mormons are not Christian. They have an awful way of interpreting Jesus’ charge to Peter about the “gates of hell” and their theology is very plainly Manichean . This is not just heretical its not even vaguely Christian. Mormons have no sense of tradition because they believe that their prophet can change doctrine anytime. Wow. I suppose he could say it has been revealed that we should return to practicing polygamy and that would be right ?

  46. acardnal says:

    richard.sherlock@usu.edu,
    you must be very excited about receiving the Holy Eucharist in a week and a half. I will remember you in my rosary tomorrow. thanks be to God for giving you the grace to know the truth and the humility to accept it. we all need humility. Welcome home.

  47. ContraMundum says:

    @Doug

    No, Mary is *not* treated as a goddess, not by Catholics or the Orthodox. If you want a better understanding of Catholic belief, I would suggest you read Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought, by Luigi S. M. Gambero. That book shows the early development of Marian thought, and it shows how the Church Fathers were quite cautious to avoid anything that would portray Mary as a goddess.

    Yes, linguistics probably played a role in Mohammed’s misunderstanding of Christian teaching. So did the fact that the Christians prominent in Arabia at the time were heretics who had been driven beyond the boundaries of the Roman Empire precisely because they were heretics. In fact, the only case I can think of where a community began offering latria — sacrifices — to Mary, rather than the proper hyperdulia, the offending community was in Arabia. (This is a vague memory or I would provide more details. I think this happened a century or so before Mohammed.)

    As for your “math”: One Person (the Father) + One Person (the Son) + One Person (the Holy Spirit) = Three Persons. But only One God — the same one mentioned in John 17:3. This is basic stuff. You may think that you’re being very clever, but all this has been answered long, long ago.