I’ve been mulling over the question of whether Mormons are Christians lately. Nothing really sparked it, just all part of my random access memory. I’ve read and been present for plenty of arguments about it. Some of these were between scholars, church officials, laypeople and even full on trolls. They all tend to end in a sort of, “We’ll see.” The mistake many of these arguments fall into is zooming in on details if the proverb is to be believed then that’s where the devil is. When two people are looking at each other to prove whether they are the same or not the closer they get the more they find different. I wonder if all the Christians in the twenty centuries, and beyond as far back in time as it goes, lined up and compared beliefs how much similarity there would be?
I don’t intend to change that with this argument, but here is where my understanding is right now:
Is there an unforgivable sin? Many preachers of Christ will say no, you can’t sin beyond Christ’s forgiveness. I agree, all of my study and personal revelation tells me this. Christ forgives sin categorically and personally. But then how are people damned? It is because they don’t accept that forgiveness. They refuse the gift. Christ will not force it on them because Heaven cannot be a prison. So the sin isn’t unforgiven but it is unforgivable because the person will not take the forgiveness and set it in the place the sin used to be.
Given that definition, I ask how do Mormons not accept the forgiveness of Christ? I know there are answers to that.
There are some who say that we act like we can earn it ourselves as if it is our effort alone that will save us. All I can answer to that is that we believe faith is a verb not an emotion. Picture two players on a basketball team. They both say they have faith in their coach. The first one at a pivotal moment when the coach tells them to pass shoots. The second, when the coach yells pass they pass. Which of these have faith? No, I don’t believe discipleship is a rejection of forgiveness or an attempt to supplant the grace of Christ. Anyone who thinks they can achieve exaltation by their own effort is building a tower of Babel and have greatly underestimated the distance to Heaven. The only difference between the worker who started earlier in the day than later is they had a better day.
There are those who object to our view of God which admittedly is different than other branches of Christianity. Would the god who forgave those who tortured and executed him, who innocently suffered for the world’s sins and still forgave, damn people for having an imperfect understanding of him? Even if we are totally wrong about that is that enough to disqualify us from the eternal grace of God? Is there a threshold of understanding of Christ that one must reach before their prayers are heard? Picture yourself standing before Christ, nevermind how you got there, and he isn’t exactly how you thought he’d be, does that make you an unbeliever? Does that make you reject him? And what if someone you were sure wasn’t going to be there was standing right next to you?
I care less where we get sorted in the catalogues and censuses of the world than where we get sorted at the judgment bar of God. I can’t say for certain how it will work out for everyone. I do believe it will have more to do with each person’s personal relationship to God than what box they checked on the survey. I do believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints is the true church. I believe that God still talks to the world through his prophets and that He still talks to his children through the Holy Spirit. I believe that God has laid down a plan of happiness and happiness can be found by following it. I believe that there is no name or path to salvation that isn’t Jesus Christ.