What do you think about Mormons? Are the Christian? This is a question I often get asked in interfaith conversations. Sometimes it is asked by Christians who are unfamiliar with Mormonism, but more often it is asked by non-Christians. Sometimes it is asked out of genuine curiousity, but more often it is asked in order to “expose” divisiveness within Christian ranks. So that it can be said, “Why should we believe any of you when you each say each other is wrong!”
This, however, is disingeneous, because the differences between Protestants and Mormons are of a far different order to the differences between Protestants and Catholics. Christians may disagree over peripheral issues, but the three largest branches of Christianity – Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox – all agree over the essentials, all agree that God is Trinity. There is no divisiveness here between Protestants and Catholics here, only unity.
This, however, is precisely where Mormons differ. In the essentials. So much so that I am inclined to say: Mormanism is to Christianity, what Christianity is to Judaism. A new religion, even if it shares ancestry to the old.
From discussions with Mormons themselves, however, I have found a different approach may be preferred. You see, we have found ourselves mutually agreeing that an acceptable label for Mormonism is non-Trinitarian Christianity. This puts Mormans in the same boat as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians and Unitarian Universalist Christians. Even though I consider Mormons to be even more unorthodox than any of them, I find it acceptable as it acknowledges their Christian ancestry without brushing aside the very deep differences in their understanding of God and Jesus. And it seems they, at least the ones I have conversed with, find it acceptable too. So in the answer to the question: are Mormons Christian? I would now answer, yes, but not Trinitarian, so it is a very different kind of Christianity. A kind of Christianity where Christ is not one with the Creator, as he is for Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants.