Skip to main content


Many scholars and historians who have studied Mormonism, including Jan Shipps, have concluded that it is an entirely new and distinct religious tradition (a conclusion I do not entirely disagree with). Yet, some of them (Shipps included) still maintain that Mormonism is a form of Christianity. This seems rather confusing – how could it be a new religious tradition all its own, and yet still be a form of Christianity? Perhaps this part of the reason why Shipps views this as a complicated question, without a straightforward answer (See Jan Shipps, “Is Mormonism Christian? Reflections on a Complicated Question,” BYU Studies 33:3 [1993], pg. 438-465).

Anyway, yesterday I was reflecting on this seeming contradiction (as I personally hold a similar view) when the thought occurred. Perhaps it analogous to how Christianity sprung up out of Judaism and became a distinctly different, new religious tradition, yet both Christianity and Judaism both are Abrahamic religious traditions. Or, in other words, while they are separate religions, they are both forms of religion rooted in the Abrahamic covenant and tradition (as is Islam, another distinctly unique religious tradition). Likewise, although Orthodox Christianity and Mormonism are two separate religions, both are forms of religion centered and focused on Jesus Christ as our Savior, therefore both represent different forms the Christian religious tradition.

Anyway, just an idea which I felt I should share. More study would need to go into it before a serious conclusion could be reached.

Any thoughts? Agree, disagree? Let me know what you think.


  1. I'm enjoying these little thought provoking posts. Agree or disagree, it's good to have these ideas discussed.

  2. Mormonism definitely, without doubt, is a Christian faith.

    But what zealous Evangelicals usually mean by the word "Christian" is something far different than what Mormons usually mean. To the Evangelical the word "Christian" is analogous with "saved." So when they claim that Mormons are not "Christian" what they are really saying is that Mormons are not "saved."

    But as far as a fundamental belief in Christ is concerned, Mormonism is as Christians as the next faith. If we apply the way the word "Christian" was first employed by the enemies of Christianity, Mormonism would certainly be considered "Christian."

    But when someone unrelentingly insists that Mormons aren't "Christian", I sometimes just sigh and tell them "Fine, you can be the Christian and I will be the Christ-believer."

  3. To me it seems a bit odd that Evangelicals treat the word Christian with such reverence and exclusivity when the term Christian did not originate as a term of self identification either with Jesus or his earliest followers. A cursory study of the New Testament will show that there were several other terms the early "Christian" Church used to self identify, and one of the more popular ones happens to have been Saint.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Nephite History in Context 1: Jerusalem Chronicle

Editor’s Note: This is the first contribution to my new series Nephite History in Context: Artifacts, Inscriptions, and Texts Relevant to the Book of Mormon. Check out the really cool (and official, citable) PDF version here. To learn more about this series, read the introduction here. To find other posts in the series, see here
Jerusalem Chronicle (ABC 5/BM 21946)
The so-called “Babylonian Chronicles” are an important collection of brief historical reports from Mesopotamia, found in Iraq in the late-19th century.1 They are written on clay tablets in Akkadian using cuneiform script, and cover much of the first millennium BC, although several tablets are missing or severely damaged, leaving gaps in the record. One tablet, colloquially known as the “Jerusalem Chronicle” (ABC 5/BM 21946),2 provides brief annal-like reports of the early reign of Nebuchadrezzar II (biblical Nebuchadnezzar), including mention of his invasion of Jerusalem.
Biblical sources report that King Jehoiac…

Nephite History in Context 2a: Apocryphon of Jeremiah

Editor’s Note: This is the first part of the second contribution to my new series Nephite History in Context: Artifacts, Inscriptions, and Texts Relevant to the Book of Mormon. Check out the really cool (and official, citable) PDF version here. To learn more about this series, read the introduction here. To find other posts in the series, see here
Apocryphon of Jeremiah (4Q385a)
Between 1947 and 1956, a few well preserved scrolls and tens of thousands of broken fragments were found scattered across eleven different caves along the northwest shores of the Dead Sea near Qumran. Now known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, they are arguably the most significant discovery ever made for the study of the Bible and the origins of Judaism and Christianity. Among the writings found are the earliest copies of nearly every Old Testament book, many of the known apocryphal and pseudepigraphic works, and several other texts discovered for the first time at Qumran. Altogether, more than 900 differe…

The 15 “Best Books” to Read BEFORE Having a Faith Crisis

Elder M. Russell Ballard recently stressed that it is important for Gospel educators to be well-informed on controversial topics, not only by studying the scriptures and Church materials, but also by reading “the best LDS scholarship available.” I personally think it is imperative in today’s world for every Latter-day Saint—not just Gospel educators—to make an effort to be informed on both controversial issues as well as knowing reliable faith-building information as well.
(Given that Elder Ballard’s CES address was published to general Church membership in the Ensign, I think it’s safe to say that Church leadership also feels this way.)
An important step in the process of getting informed is reading the 11 Gospel Topic essays and getting familiar with their contents. But what’s next? How can a person learn more about these and other topics? What are the “best books” (D&C 88:118) or “the best LDS scholarship available”?
Here are 15 suggestions.
1. Michael R. Ash, Shaken Faith S…