Is mormonism Christian?

I have to admit, I don’t care too much about this debate about the name. Mormons want to call themselves Christian, and I don’t really care. There is no doubt that Jesus Christ plays a central role in their religion, so it makes sense for them to self-identify as “Christian”.

That said, I have very little doubt (and most of the LDS folk I know agree) that Mormonism is very different – essentially and fundamentally different – than every other brand of Christianity we usually think of. My only complaint is when some Mormons diminish those differences, acting as if Mormonism was just ‘another denomination’ (as if the differences between a Mormon and a Lutheran are not any more extreme than the differences between a Lutheran and a Methodist).

Anyway, First Things has an article on the matter here. Bruce Porter (a member of the Quorum of the Seventy) writes on one side, Gerald McDermott on the other. I think it is pretty fair on both sides (though I am sure my Mormon friends will disagree with some of McDermott’s arguments). You can also listen to interviews with the two authors here.

By the way, I posted this on usuphilosophy.com, and I expect most of the discussion to be over there.

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About Kleiner

Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Utah State University. I teach across the curriculum, but am most interested in continental philosophy, ancient and medieval philosophy as well as Catholic thought, all of which might be summed up as an interest in the ressourcement tradition (returning in order to make progress). I also enjoy spending time thinking about liberal education and its ends.
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