Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) believe that the term Christians refers to individuals who base their beliefs on the teachings of Jesus and who profess a personal relationship with Him. Within that broad definition there is room for a wide divergence of opinion on exactly what those teachings mean and how they should be applied within the life of a professing Christian. Mormons recognize (among others) Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, and LDS Christians, with the explicit understanding that LDS Christianity is the restored fulness of Christ's gospel. The lives of believing, practicing Mormons represent their affirmation of their Christian faith.
Some traditional Christian sects associate the term Christian with the acceptance of certain beliefs, creeds, or dogmas. Because Mormons do not accept certain non-biblical beliefs--especially those originating in post-New Testament philosophical teachings--some in other churches feel that Mormons cannot be Christian. In this regard, they feel that Mormons are not "orthodox." For Mormons, however, orthodoxy (correct beliefs) and orthopraxy (correct behaviors) are always consistent with the revealed mind and will of the Lord. Mormons believe in the concept of continuing revelation, which means that the heavens are not closed and God can still speak to mankind.
A good definition of what Mormons believe relative to Christianity is found in the Book of Mormon:
- And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. (2 Nephi 25:26)
Christ and his atoning sacrifice have been the central message of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from its beginning. Christ has been the central message of all the latter-day prophets and apostles. Indeed, Mormons believe that the central message of prophets throughout history has been to lead people to Christ. Jesus Christ is the living Lord of the Church; apart from Him there is no salvation.
While there are many who are recognized as Christians by Mormons, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not see itself as one Christian denomination among many, but rather as God's latter-day restoration of the fulness of Christian faith and practice. Thus, from its earliest days LDS Christians sought to distinguish themselves from Christians of other traditions. Other forms of Christianity, while bearing much truth and doing much good under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are viewed as incomplete, lacking the authority of the priesthood of God, the temple ordinances, the comprehensive understanding of the Plan of Salvation, and a true understanding of the Godhead.