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.