Of course not. There are many women named Susan (and, if I trust my Johnny Cash songs, at least one man). Pretty obvious, eh? But that logic is ignored by Mormons claiming to be Christians and by the Christians nodding their heads at the Mormon claims. They reflexively say that they follow Christ, so they must also be Christians. And a bunch of Christians don’t think critically enough and they nod their heads with the Mormons. But if the Christ they follow isn’t the same as the one we follow, then we are not worshiping the same being.
When you dig deeper you find that our definitions of Jesus are wildly and irreconcilably different. Therefore, we aren’t the same religion and we can’t both be right.
Ironically, Mormonism was founded on a notion that the true church had left the building, so to speak, and that the Mormons were the only real church. It is only in the last few decades that they made a clever marketing move to appear as just another denomination — albeit one that you really, really need to convert to.
I shared a brief dialogue with a Mormon who commented on my Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing blog when I noted that Glenn Beck is not a Christian. I didn’t say that in a mean way, just a factual one. His reply:
Sorry, Christian means follower of Christ. Whatever you might think of the church that Glenn attends, he has gotten on bended knee, accepted Christ and reversed the damage that his sins have caused to others. Now he lives a life in Christ that he is willing to share on his radio and tv shows, evangelizing His sovereignty. I can think of nothing else that would be required to be a follower of Christ.
Back to the title and the opening sentence: Just because people claim to follow Christ doesn’t mean they are following the same Christ.
Side note: Even authentic Christians don’t “reverse the damage” our sins have caused to others. We can ask forgiveness and try to make restoration where possible, but much damage can’t be undone. We are just forgiven.
My response to the commenter:
I encourage you to read this piece where a Mormon — who admittedly doesn’t speak for the whole religion — conceded that we indeed worship different Christs and that he thinks mine is the wrong one. I submit that his views are more in line with historic Mormonism than yours.
Here is part of what that Mormon commenter conceded:
I can see that we do double speak, trying to stand on both sides of the line and often feint ignorance until called out. I found my self doing it with that last post. I almost took the polyandry references out because I wanted to protect other LDS readers who I know are following this conversation. I realize that I have this knowledge and my tendency is to hide it from less informed members of my faith. Ultimately I decided to leave it in and that is in large part due to reading your criticisms in other places and not wanting to be apart of this legitimate frustration.
I fully understand that as a Mormon, I am dishonest if I try to make our doctrines sound the same as yours so that we can get along better. They are different and I know that. When bloggers say, “Billy Mormon would never talk bad about your beliefs” it is just silly. By definition, our church proclaims that yours is wrong. We send out missionaries to say other churches are wrong, come be baptized here instead. I saw these types of comments and I recognize them for what they are.
It is ironic that the theological Liberals who obsess over Glenn Beck (such as false teachers Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis and Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie) ignore the fact that he is Mormon, or they assume that Mormons are Christians. Just one more reason to avoid wolves in sheep’s clothing like that.
Are Mormons nice neighbors and co-workers? Absolutely! They can out-nice the best Christians almost any day of the week.
But do they worship the same God as Christians? No. That is a simple fact, not an insult, but too many people are either ill-informed or too politically correct to state the obvious.
People who claim that Mormons are Christians don’t know enough about Mormonism or Christianity — or they are deliberately misleading you.
Three great posts on the Mormon religion
Are Mormons really Christians? Are Christians really Christians?
A whole bunch of articles on Mormonism