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Mormonism vs. Christianity

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Christ in Book of Mormon
Mormonism has been and continues to be criticized by some Christian fundamentalists because of its peculiar beliefs and doctrines. Although many of the doctrines do strongly distinguish Mormonism from any other Christian faith, the belief that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Lord and Savior of all mankind, includes Mormonism in Christianity.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been nicknamed the “Mormon” Church because of its inclusion of the Book of Mormon in its canonical scriptures beside the Bible. The circumstances under which The Book of Mormon came to be are essential to understanding the divide that sometimes exists between Mormons and the rest of Christendom. The criticisms began when Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, claimed visitations from angels in the early 1800s, due to the popular belief among Christianity that miracles and revelation had ceased when the Lord ascended into heaven. The sentiment increased when Smith began translating The Book of Mormon from ancient documents shown to him by an angel. Those who consider the Bible to be the whole of all God’s word see The Book of Mormon as a violation of Christianity.

Another key tenet of the Mormon faith that challenges the rest of Christianity is priesthood authority. In Hebrews 5:4 it is written, “And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” Mormonism believes that the authority to officiate in the name of God, the priesthood, must be bestowed by the Lord Himself, Jesus Christ, to His servants, and then they may give it to others, in a top-down, hierarchical manner. Mormons believe this authority was lost after Jesus ascended and His apostles were martyred. By implication this means that the rest of Christianity is practicing without the authority of God. One of the angelic visitations that Joseph Smith received was Peter, James, and John of the original Twelve Apostles. They gave him the authority of the priesthood that Jesus had given them. This further distinguishes Mormonism from Protestantism, because the Mormon Church is not participating in the reformation, but is a church restored under the authority of Jesus Christ by His apostles. The Mormon Church claims continuing revelation under this authority. The president of the Church is the Lord’s prophet on earth, and has been from Joseph Smith to the current president, Thomas S. Monson. As the only church claiming modern revelation and a living prophet, Mormonism stands apart from the rest of Christianity.

Through modern revelation from Joseph Smith to the current president of the church, many doctrines have been clarified that Christianity has misunderstood or altered since the death of the apostles. This has been pointed out by critics as a departure from Christianity, but Mormonism sees it as a restoration of the Lord’s gospel. Such doctrines as the nature of the Godhead or Trinity, the eternal nature of the soul, the afterlife, and the purpose of this mortal life are distinctly different from every other Christian sect. (See Mormon Doctrine - An Introduction.

Mormonism’s central belief is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; he died for the sins of the world and rose the third day so that all might be saved through faith on Him.

Steve Young and Sharlene Hawkes talk about misconceptions regarding the Church

Mormons are Christians: