Are Mormons Christians?

Before discussing whether or not Mormons are Christians, it is important to know what a Mormon is.  The name itself is probably confusing to people.  When my mother, a catholic at the time, was engaged to my father, her parents wrote to her relatives in New Hampshire and told them that she was marrying a Mormon.  Her relatives wrote back asking, “What kind of  Moron is she marrying?”  I think this shows that there are many who have never heard of the religion and still others who do not know who, what, or where a Mormon is.  With that in mind let me explain.

The official name of the Mormon Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (heretofore ‘the Church’).  The term Mormon was actually a nickname spoken of in a derogatory manner by enemies of the Church .  Early opponents of the Church took the term from the Book of Mormon and disparagingly used it to refer to anyone who had accepted Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon.  Mormon was the ancient prophet who compiled the record which makes up what is now known as The Book of Mormon.  Because he is a person of honor to members of the Church, it was a name that they graciously accepted.  However, it is important to recognize the Church’s true and correct name, for it contains where the devotion of its members is truly directed.

Mormons accept Jesus Christ as the literal Son of God and as their personal Savior and Redeemer.  They believe that it is only in and through Him that they can be forgiven of their sins and thereby be worthy to live in the presence of God.  He is the one and only way to gain eternal life and without Him there would be no hope of ever receiving such.  They also believe that because of Jesus Christ’s willingness to lay down His life and then to take it up again, He has broken the bands of death and has thus provided a way for all mankind to be reunited with their bodies at the time of resurrection.  This is a gift offered freely to all, rich and poor, black and white, good and evil.  In addition, because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind is offered the opportunity to be forgiven of their sins and thus be worthy of eternal life.  This gift is contingent upon one’s desire to accept it as witnessed by his willingness to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Redeemer and thus be willing to follow Him and to keep all of His commandments.

Although there are many who claim that Mormons are not Christian, I know that these beliefs, which are the most important doctrine within the Church,  clearly show that Mormons are indeed Christian.  We do not claim superiority over any other group or people.  We are very imperfect human beings who strive to follow Jesus Christ but who consistently fall miserably short.  We, nevertheless, press forward with a steadfastness and a hope in Christ believing that He can and will make up for all we cannot do for ourselves.

Please look for a future post on “What is The Book of Mormon?”  In the meantime, Remember that 2 Plus 2 Doesn’t Always Equal 4  [And please take time to read my original post to understand Why the Title of this Blog? (Feb. 17, 2011)]

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To the Class of 2011

I have done this before.  I have sent each of my children away to college.  Each time it has been bitter-sweet; sweet to see my child accomplishing his dreams and bitter knowing that my time of raising him has come to an end.  This, however, is my last time of watching a child leave the nest.  Right now it seems a little more bitter than sweet.  I know there will be times when I am grateful for the peace and quiet I will now be able to enjoy, but I know there will be times when I yearn for not only my son, Dallin, but also for his group of friends to walk through the front door.  You see, I have found that it is not only hard saying goodbye to my own son, but it is also hard saying goodbye to all of those young men and women who have associated with him throughout the years.

This particular group of friends have known each other for many years.  They have been together since being toddlers.  I will never forget the carpools to and from preschool.  Each time there was always something to brighten up my day.  There was the time that Trevor had to know in which order I was taking everybody home.  Finally, when Dallin was the only one left he asked, “And then are you taking Dallin home?”

“No,” I answered, “He has to go to work at Burger King.  He works the milkshake machine.”

Well then, of course, they all wanted to work at Burger King, so we decided that I would drop them all off.  Not knowing I was just teasing, when I pulled into the parking lot Trevor attempted to jump out of the car to begin his daily labor.  I had to reach over and grab him by the shirt to keep him from escaping.  The only one who was not impressed with the prospect of employment was Nicole.  Her response, “I hope you know we are all going to tell our mothers about this!”  For a moment, now mind you, just one moment, I was terrified.

I am not so certain that as eighth graders they enjoyed our group algebra tutoring sessions we shared, but I am sure they enjoyed it more than they would have doing the “Word” assignment each week on their own.  We gathered around the kitchen table with a white board and marker each Thursday afternoon.  I tried to make it fun as well as educational.  I hope that at least some of them remember the first step of a difficult word problem.  No!  It is not defining  the variables.  I tried to get that idea out of their heads.  The first step is always to SCREAM that way one gets it out of his system and is ready to proceed rationally.

Well, they all graduated from high school a month ago.  We all knew that it was only a matter of time before they each would go their separate ways.  I thought I was all right, but then the inevitable happened yesterday.  That is when the first of the group left for college.  Last night he posted on Facebook that he was now in Hawaii.  That is when I realized that everything really has changed.  No matter how good of friends they all have been, those relationships will never be the same.  They will have some contact over the next few years, but experience has shown that slowly that contact will become less and less.  Someday they will realize that these years were a very small part of their lives, at least in the number of years that were occupied, but, the impact of these relationships and years will be immeasurable.  They are years that will shape the rest of their lives.

This year marks thirty years since I graduated from high school.  I look back on my youth and especially those relationships with fondness.  How grateful I am for those friends who made that journey with me.  Although I have lost contact with most, I will always cherish them; I will always love them.  I still carry them with me everyday, for they are a very real part of who I am today.  Although it is difficult to say goodbye, I am sure that the class of 2011 will find the same thing.  They will look back with fondness at their youth.  They will carry in their heart the friendship that they shared during this time.  Their gratitude for those relationships will increase.  They will cherish new relationships even more because they will better understand the blessing of having true friends.

I will miss you Alec, Austin, Byrin, Caitlyn, Callie, Dallin, Emily, Kalob, Krista, Lindsey, Nicole, and Trevor.  I wish you the best as you go forward to accomplish your dreams.  I wish you joy, happiness, and prosperity, but most of all, I wish you sweet friendships.  I wish you to know that it is a far better feeling to love than to be loved.  I wish for you to come to know that the most important things in life cannot be seen nor touched, but are felt in the fleshy tables of the heart. I will miss each of you but expect to hear of your great accomplishments.  Work hard and luck will follow.

Remember that 2 Plus 2 Doesn’t Always Equal 4                                                                     [And please take time to read my original post to understand Why the Title of this Blog? (Feb. 17, 2011)]