“Why do you call me a Christian when you believe in a Restoration?”


Tim, an evangelical Christian, recently asked this question in one of the comments of his blog, and it really struck me as pertinent.

So, I ask any and all latter-day saints to offer your answer to this question:

Why do we call them Christians when we believe in a restoration?

While you mull over your answer, consider that Mormons are now calling themselves, and are trying to get others to call them, Christians, while Christians have been for years saying that Mormons are not, and therefore, cannot be called, Christians.

Also consider what Mormon wrote about the Christ-professing churches that existed among the people 200+ years after the coming of Christ:

and now
in this two hundred and first year
there began to be among them those
who were lifted up in pride
such as the wearing of costly apparel
and all manner of fine pearls
and of the fine things of the world
and from that time forth
they did have their goods and their substance
no more common among them
and they began to be divided into classes
and they began to build up churches unto themselves to get gain
and began to deny the true church of christ
and it came to pass
that when two hundred and ten years had passed away
there were many churches in the land
yea
there were many churches
which professed to know the christ
and yet
they did deny the more parts of his gospel
insomuch that they did receive all manner of wickedness
and did administer that
which was sacred
unto him to whom it had been forbidden
because of unworthiness
and this church did multiply exceedingly
because of iniquity
and because of the power of satan
who did get hold upon their hearts

And here is what Mormon, writing about Captian Moroni, said about the term Christian:

and he prayed mightily unto his god
for the blessings of liberty
to rest upon his brethren
so long as there should a band of christians remain
to possess the land
for thus were all the true believers of christ
who belonged to the church of god
called
by those
who did not belong to the church
and those
who did belong to the church
were faithful
yea
all those
who were true believers in christ
took upon them gladly the name of christ
or christians
as they were called
because of their belief in christ
who should come
and therefore
at this time moroni prayed
that the cause of the christians
and the freedom of the land
might be favored

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

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16 Comments

  1. I’ve grown to care less-and-less for the names people call themselves:

    Christian
    Evangelical Christian
    Fundamentalist Christian
    Real Christian
    LDS
    Mormon
    Fundamentalist Mormon
    Cafeteria Mormon
    True-blue Mormon
    Bloggernacle Mormon
    Disaffected Mormon
    Uncorrelated Mormon

    It’s all just a name and a label used for appearance’s sake — it tells people what perception of me I want them to have — but it doesn’t really say anything about me.

    This is what a false religion does. It gives codified stories and approved key-phrases that all lend to the appearance of a community having real experiences — but it’s all just the re-telling of other people’s story — just the putting on of a good show on a stage every week.

    None of these labels gives me any indication about whether a person has experienced Jesus or not. And therefore matters not one iota to me.

    I call them “Christian” even though I believe in a restoration — because they want the name so badly. I don’t want the name, I want the miraculous works — the experience.

    You can call yourself [or be called by others] whatever you want — I’m interested in what’s going on in your life — is there Joy, is there Love, are there miraculous works of the Father, is the Spirit of Christ there, etc.

  2. The words “Christian” and “saint” are found in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, so it is understandable that a group of people who believe that they are “the true believers of Christ” would want to take one or both of those terms as their label. Obviously, we have taken “saint” and the Bible-only believers have taken “Christian.” But both terms are, essentially, synonymous, for one who is a “true believer in Christ” is also a saint, meaning a sanctified person, and a saint, or a sanctified person, is almost always a “true believer of Christ.” (Obviously, little children are all saints regardless whether they have or have not been taught to believe in Christ.)

    But, what I wonder is this: if we allow the professed Christian to own the term, and we even call them Christians, which scripturally is identical to a saint, what reason have they for having anything to do with the restoration?

    If I, being a Christian, meaning a follower of Christ, even part of the Lord’s fold, being already saved, or so I believe, and you, a Mormon, come to me and address me as a Christian and tell me I need to accept these other books of scripture and these other ordinances and these other doctrines in order for me to be saved, wouldn’t that sound preposterous to me?

    I wonder, could it be that by continuing to call them Christians, we are actually setting them up for rejecting the restored gospel? It’s akin to saying, “Hello, saved brother! How are you? I have something you need to see, for it will save you!” Doesn’t that sound like a crazy thing to say? When a professed Christian says, “I am a Christian,” are they not really saying, “I am saved?” And when we call them a Christian, I wonder if they are hearing, “You are saved.”

    Now, I am not a church history buff, so those who know their church history can correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to me that when this church first started, we didn’t call them Christians. We called them sectarians and Methodists and Baptists, etc., everything but Christians. I recall reading somewhere that the early saints proclaimed that Mormonism was the true Christianity and that the other professed Christians were practicing a false Christianity.

    Now, (and again, correct me if I am wrong), but it seems to me that many of the early converts came from the Protestant ranks. Our preaching to them was bold, but we got converts. I don’t know the number of converts we get from active, Protestant ranks today, but I suspect they have dwindled significantly. And I wonder if our current methods of playing nice and not offending our neighbors (by calling them “professed Christians that deny the more parts of Christ’s gospel” or “non-Christians” or “sectarians,” etc., anything but Christians) may be the reason why those numbers have declined? (Assuming they have declined. Someone with access to statistics can set the record straight.)

  3. I think the current LDS church is so far astray that I will not bother to justify any of its actions nor even bother to point out whether they are wrong anymore than I would point out problems with the Baptists of Catholics. I do believe that the gospel was given to Joseph Smith, but look how much trouble he had even just passing on the information he was given. trouble in terms of resistance from even the members of the 12. And I will take it one further, he had trouble accepting the truth even for himself.
    Case in point. Joseph needed surgery to save his leg from amputation. It was a miracle Kind of. Well at least it seems divine help was given to supply a surgeon who had a technique to remove the diseased parts without amputation in that place and in that time. But it is worth noting that Joseph did not have enough faith to be healed by the power of God. And which by the way I don’t know if God gives that to all even if they exercised all the faith they could. But I digress.
    I want to point out that Joseph refused alcohol as an anesthetic when he was not a member of a religion which called for such. Why? Well surely there were then and have been certain people who get it in their head that tee totaling (total abstinence from alcohol) is the only way to obey God. And Joseph was obviously taught that concept. Otherwise you would have to have your head examined to pass on a pain killer for that type of surgery. And Joseph did not live an alcohol free life after that time. Mt point is later when Joseph received a revelation called the Word of Wisdom he and his followers still had trouble believing what it really said. It does not out law wine nor beer. But it is also obvious that later church leaders also believed they knew better than God and made tee totaling a Mormon commandment.
    Gee I wonder how much trouble they had with multi-husband marriage?
    My greater point is the apostasy started before the revelations were even printed. There never were a group which lived the full gospel.
    So who is a Christian? AS you say the term mean a true follower of Christ. I refuse to judge who is or is not. I try to be. I think I am. I hope the people who I am talking to in any given time or place are, but I don’t know. I sure as heck know that their membership in an organization or some claimed beliefs won’t tell me. They might as easily be a person on the roles of the Catholic church who even calls himself a Catholic. I say this because all the Catholics I know don’t believe the doctrine preached by the Catholic church.
    My wife would say she is Catholic. But she does not for one second doubt the complete innocence of her new born son. She just views infant baptism as a blessing just like they do in the LDS church. It is not essential for salvation in her heart. It is a tradition. When people ask me what religion I am they some times say the understand I am Mormon. Since I know many flaws in the LDS church’s current teachings and administration I correct them and say no I am not LDS. I don’t want them to have the wrong idea about what I believe. So then when they look perplexed searching for what label they can put in their mind to define me I say, “I am a follower of Christ and I try to do what he wants me to do.” And if they ask which church I say, “Jesus said where two or more are gathered in my name there I am also. That is the church I am trying to be a member of. The one where Jesus comes and joins us.”
    So I won’t say someone else is not a member of the only true church of Christ, a church without any set organization, no archy, not even any ordinances, the church as defined in D&C 10:67.

    PS I really need to write a post on the dichotomy (as in this definition 2. division into two mutually exclusive, opposed, or contradictory groups) between the large body of first hand accounts of what God believes and what many of the passages of scritptures have come to mean to us or what those men who wrote them thought they were being told when they received them. There are a few scriptures which stae the case exactly as is reported by those who have died, seen and talked directly with Jesus Christ. But all those scriptures are either ignored or “corrrected” intheir meaning by almost all the so called churches or religions of our day.
    Here is a teaser example. A scripture says,” For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Rom 10:13 But if we believe that why do we spend so much time and effort saying all the other stuff?

  4. and it came to pass
    in the eighth year
    of the reign of the judges
    that the people of the church began to wax proud
    because of their exceeding riches

    which they had obtained by their industry
    and in all these things were they lifted up
    in the pride of their eyes

    Alma (the high priest) and the teachers and priests and elders of the church were grieved by what they saw, seeing

    that the people of the church began to be lifted up
    in the pride of their eyes
    and to set their hearts upon riches
    and upon the vain things of the world
    that they began to be scornful
    one towards another
    and they began to persecute those
    that did not believe
    according to their own will and pleasure

    yea
    there were envyings
    and strife
    and malice
    and persecutions
    and pride
    even to exceed the pride of those
    who did not belong to the church of god
    and thus ended the eighth year
    of the reign of the judges
    and the wickedness of the church
    was a great stumbling-block
    to those who did not belong to the church
    and thus the church began to fail in its progress

    From my vantage point, I do not see the LDS church as more or less wicked than any other church that professes Christ. Everyone appears to be doing the works of men. I do not see the Mormons persecuting their neighbors or scorning them, etc. In fact, most people are wary of Mormonism only until they actually meet a Mormon, then they think of Mormons are good, harmless people.

    Again, from my vantage point and in my experience, the pride of the LDS church does not exceed the pride of the Gentile churches that profess Christ. On the contrary, the pride of those that profess Christ is exceedingly high. This is why people who know those who say, for example, that they are evangelical Christians, find them obnoxious, over-bearing, prideful and boring.

    Obviously, this situation will change, with the latter-day saints far surpassing the wickedness of all those around them, becoming the most prideful and wicked group of people on the planet, but as of right now, in terms of pride, we are not the most prideful people. At least, from what I can see.

    My concern is that by not challenging the professed Christians on their Christianity, we are just leaving them in their delusion of salvation. Obviously, taking an unrepentant, but professed Christian, and converting them into an unrepentant, but professed Mormon, does not do much good, either. But unless they are brought to believe the latter-day scriptures, how in the world can they come to Christ and be saved? The Book of Mormon was given so that

    they shall come to the knowledge of their redeemer
    and the very points of his doctrine
    that they may know how to come unto him
    and be saved

    Surely a professed Christian will never accept the Book of Mormon if we confirm to them their belief that they are already, indeed, Christians, meaning they are already followers of Christ and saved.

  5. So — I agree with your point that:

    I wonder, could it be that by continuing to call them Christians, we are actually setting them up for rejecting the restored gospel? It’s akin to saying, “Hello, saved brother! How are you? I have something you need to see, for it will save you!

    Doesn’t that sound like a crazy thing to say? When a professed Christian says, “I am a Christian,” are they not really saying, “I am saved?” And when we call them a Christian, I wonder if they are hearing, “You are saved.”

    I think it fits in nicely with this other point you made:

    From my vantage point, I do not see the LDS church as [substantially different] than any other church that professes Christ. Everyone appears to be doing the works of men.

    Neither group has the work of the Spirit informing their Life — so I guess that’s why I don’t much care what any of them want to call themselves.

    I think I’m looking at this question from an “Etymology is not Definition“-POV.

    Does Christian [etymologically-speking] mean “one who has received Christ” thereby becoming justified, purified, and sanctified [a “saint”]? Sure.

    But I don’t think that’s what the word means when anyone uses it today — or when the LDS insist that it be used for them too.

    Christian [by the predominate, common-meaning use of the word today] means — “one who adheres to a set of orthodox religious beliefs that survived through the Middle Ages until today”, e.g. Triune Godhead, Jesus Christ as 100% Eternally-existing God and 100% incarnate human, universe created on a Monday 6,000 years ago, Virgin Birth, physically real Second Advent of Christ, etc.

    With “Christian” largely meaning “adherent to the traditional religious orthodoxy” — maybe the question ought to be, “Why do LDS want to be called a Christian when we believe in a Restoration?”

    In any event, I do like this point too:

    My concern is that by not challenging the professed Christians on their Christianity, we are just leaving them in their delusion of salvation. Obviously, taking an unrepentant, but professed Christian, and converting them into an unrepentant, but professed Mormon, does not do much good, either. But unless they are brought to believe the latter-day scriptures, how in the world can they come to Christ and be saved?

    I don’t care much for “You’re not Christian, we are b/c of the Restoration” — “We’re Christians too” — “You’re Christians, but we’re Saints” — etc.

    I care that we shatter the delusion that people drudgingly working their way through life — doing things like everybody else, just with a bit of Mormon [or Christian] flare to it — etc. — is what the gospel is describing — that we settle for the works of men, and just call them the spiritual “tender mercies”, etc. I care more about that than I do about who’s got what name.

  6. I tend to think along the lines of what Justin has said. I understand what people mean when they use these terms and I don’t always make a big deal out of it. But a part of me does like to clarify things or at least flex and bend language so that it can serve the righteous purposes, (eg. Liberating minds and freely expressing hearts) instead of acting as a restrictive maze of boundaries which mentally limits us and emotionally abuses us.

    I see where LDSA is coming from. But like DyC I am not at all interested in converting anyone or in even being instrumental in their self conversion to any institution. I have started using the term Christ-Shun to describe the whole group in general or individuals who claim Jesus but then clearly reject his way of life. I do not use this term in contrast with the term Christian but only to clarify or illustrate, to teach, since to me, shunning Christ is exactly what I or anyone else is doing when we use the word to deny the Christ in others and declare our own “saintliness” with a mere title. I do not think of only Jesus when I hear the word Christ. I do cherish clear communication of ideas so I do not use the word Christ as if it were Jesus’ last name. And I do most definitely see Christ in many people whether they refer to themselves or affiliate with Christian groups or not. I kind of like the idea or sound of Reverting as opposed to CONverting. Muslims have started to use this term in recent years to express an idea similar to the Mormons, namely that their religion is the faith originally held by all humanity. But Islam means submission to God and rely-gion means reliance on man. So I would not say that I am Muslim but I could say to a Muslim Brother that I am a believer since I-Slam all idols into pieces as did Father Abraham. There is such a thing as Faith….but there are not faiths. Pluralizing the word faith changes its meaning from Power to a dogmatic, dead, set, way which does not lead to God. Jesus said “I am the way” and you should be able to say the same. Some would say faith is a SET belief or set of beliefs….but Belief is ONE, not many. To BE-Leave is to Leave-BE. To be requires flexibility.

    I can see that we all agree with the fact that words without action are only half the story and will more often than not be misleading. Mantra and mudra should always go together. But it goes deeper than all outward signs, words on the wind or even the sign language of dead works. It has to do with what Justin is referring to, personal experience with the Christ withIN. When God told MOses to lead the MASses, Moses, knowing how the Mass-US work, asked “Who shall I say has sent me?” Man is always requiring some external proof or at least a claim of authority. Most often our physical selves are satisfied with a title or mere name. But ALL-AH-Us told Moses to tell them, “I-AM [that] I-AM.” What do you think Mo said when the Pharaoh and children of Israel alike asked him who “HE-thought [that] HE-was”? Like a favorite line from Ghostbusters says, “When someone asks you if you’re a god you say YES!” Or as the Bible says “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.

    So let people call themselves what they will. There are signs that follow them that believe but even those signs will be dismissed by those who do not believe. We recognize each other’s presence through an internal spiritual sensation which can also ripple into physical level manifestations as well. We can not recognize anything we are not a part of. Thus knowledge of Self is the only true knowledge. The Living God is known by those living God.

  7. “Why do LDS want to be called a Christian when we believe in a Restoration?”

    An especially pertinent question in light of this scripture:

    and now it came to pass
    that the king
    and those who were converted
    were desirous
    that they might have a name
    that thereby
    they might be distinguished from their brethren
    therefore
    the king consulted with aaron
    and many of their priests
    concerning the name
    that they should take upon them
    that they might be distinguished
    and it came to pass
    that they called their names
    anti-nephi-lehies
    and they were called by this name
    and were no more called lamanites

    So, they took upon them a new name (a label) to be distinguished from the rest of the population (the Lamanites) who had not converted to Christ. Also, after taking on the new name of Anti-Nephi-Lehies, they dropped the name of Lamanites, altogether.

    Notice, though, that the LDS, in trying to take upon them the name of Christians, are doing so so that they are not distinguished from the rest of the Christian population, presumably so that we will have yet more common ground upon which to build bridges of understanding and conversion. Additionally, the LDS are not dropping the LDS or Mormon names we already have, just choosing to incorporate them into the new term, making LDS Christian and Mormon Christian. So, the modern church is not following this particular pattern set forth in the scriptures, choosing instead to follow (more or less) the pattern of the people of Zarahemla, who took upon them the name of Nephi, becoming numbered with the people of Nephi, as Nephites, so that they would no longer be distinguished from the people of Nephi.

    Anyway, returning to the Lamanites: these same Lamanites, who now called themselves Anti-Nephi-Lehies, were further distinguished by the Nephites, who added another name to them:

    and it came to pass
    that it did cause great joy among them
    and they went down into the land of jershon
    and took possession of the land of jershon
    and they were called by the nephites
    the people of ammon
    therefore
    they were distinguished by that name ever after

    Now, the Nephite converts also did the same thing, namely, they took upon them a new name (a label) to be distinguished from the rest of the population (the Nephite unbelievers.) That name, of course, was Christ, and so they were known as the church of Christ (or the church of God.) However, when wickedness was introduced into the church, we read:

    and in the fifty and first year
    of the reign of the judges
    there was peace also
    save it were the pride
    which began to enter into the church
    not into the church of god
    but into the hearts of the people
    who professed to belong to the church of god
    and they were lifted up in pride
    even to the persecution of many of their brethren

    Mormon here distinguishes between “the church of God” and those “who professed to belong to the church of God.” But to those on the outside of the church, looking at the membership, everyone, both the wicked and righteous members, were still calling themselves “the church of God.”

    This need, and scriptural pattern, of being distinguished from the population at large, both in name and in deed, may be the reason why some future population of saints will take upon themselves the name of “the church of the Lamb of God,” dropping all other names.

  8. I agree with Elder Chantdown about wielding the (s)words to clarify things or at least flex and bend language — this makes me think of the general assumption that “polygamy” means plural wives, especially if someone is Mormon and polygamist. So I do think, like the converts of Ammon, that a more specific name is helpful — to make the distinction.

    Also, I think that using a new term wakes people out of the mental auto-pilot they are usually on. To say, “I’m a Christian” or “I’m a Mormon” — people just go “Oh, I know what that means” in their head — and there’s never any chance to clarify and flex the language to preach a message.

    However, to say, “I’m an Anti-Nephi-Lehite” would have served the purpose of getting others to say, “Oh, OK, what’s that?” — and now this exposition on Christian as a sanctified believer in Christ, or saint can be heard — because you’d have their attention by use of the distinguished name you’ve taken.

    So the OP’s question: “Why do [I] call [Evangelicals] a Christian when [I] believe in a Restoration?” — because that’s what they want to be called. I thought about this from D&C:

    and now
    a commandment I give unto you
    concerning Zion
    that you shall no longer be bound as a united order to your brethren of Zion
    only on this wise — […]
    they shall be organized in their own names
    and they shall do their business in their own name
    and you shall do your business in your own name

    and this I have commanded to be done for your salvation
    and also for their salvation
    in consequence of that which is to come

    I’d rather let them do their business in their own name — I guess.

  9. That’s a good scripture to keep in mind when it comes time to form and name tribes.

    Btw, my “obnoxious, over-bearing, prideful and boring” comment above was a paraphrase of data taken from this page.

  10. Not sure where to post this question, but I was trying to look into “the times of the Gentiles” being fulfilled.

    “And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel;

    “But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.

    “And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”
    Also, does that have to happen before the times of Israel begins? Such as from the BofM, “to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers.” So does that happen when the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled and the spiritual torch is passed back to Israel?

    Cause I’m thinking, this whole City Creek Center is kinda the big signature of the Gentiles that they have chosen Babylon. It hasn’t come out of nowhere. But I think it is very symbolic. Also, just talking to Mormons, they defend babylon, pretty much reject what the BofM warns about.

    I also bring it up, because does that mean that things are about to switch up now?

  11. I also bring it up, because does that mean that things are about to switch up now?

    I think City Creek, et al. certainly point to the direction things are going — but I’ll pass my judgment on “switching” come the October Gen. Conf.

  12. Just trying to understand your though process, so I can understand you and some of the things you talk of more. I am also just wondering what if anything you would be expecting, before, on, or around Oct.’s General Conference? I had to chuckle when my beloved leans over and whispers (although she needn’t have whispered, we were the only ones in the entire stake center, that dug a pit in my heart) “Wouldn’t it shake things up if there was an earthquake under that big and spacious building? Think we would finally repent?” Please also don’t mix those two separate comments, I just love my wife’s direct humor, and how often she comes so close to the heart of matters,

  13. Is there anyway to edit these afterwards? The autocorrect and my terrible spelling skills have conspired to make me seem a fool sometimes.

  14. Your wife is spot-on — because an earthquake during general conference that collapses the conference center on all attending is exactly what I was talking about forgetting.son.

    You can read the alternate view of the keys post, at the point starting here, and also the comments.

    And no — unfortunately, there is no edit feature.

  15. Well, no edit. I will be extra careful. I had read the post earlier, that is why I found her comment extra amusing. I was more curious if there were other and additional factors. I will however re-read the post. Thank you for the response.

  16. Well the big to-do over the winter solstice of 2012, the potential election of a Mormon president, the chance of an Iran/Israel conflict are all interesting factors that make this year an interesting one to watch — and then there’s LDSA’s observation in the comments of the alternate view of the keys post:

    Anyway, this Katy Perry video and its curious wristwatch scene may be saying that “something big is going down” on October 11th, something that has to do with stones and bombs…

    [Edited to correct the wristwatch time from 10:06 to 10:11. Also, blowing up the video reveals that the wristwatch shows a calendar date of 10, as in the 10th day of the month.]


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