Glenn Beck's recent speech to Liberty University has the evangelical world up in arms over Mormonism once again. There are all sorts of discussions around the Internet about it, debating whether Mormons are Christians or not. It seems so pointless and senseless. Why do others feel they must define our faith instead of letting us do so? Mormons consider themselves Christians and it would be wise for other Christian denominations to just accept that as a fact. It means we're not their enemy. It means we seek the same things. Don't be offended when we claim to be the true Church of Jesus Christ. Catholics claim this. Baptists, Methodists, Episcopals, and Orthodox all claim this in their own way. Each thinks their fellow Christians are in error over some point of doctrine, yet they tolerate each other as Christian. We think they ought to consider themselves the true Church and leave it up to individual believers to trust in God to lead them to a fullness of truth.
Mormons are Christians. When a Mormon reads the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible, we see our Church. We see an organization that was led by apostles. It had prophets, angelic ministrations, and gifts of the Holy Ghost.
We see individuals like Saul of Tarsus, Cornelius, or the eunuch who, when given visions or visitations about the veracity of the Gospel, were dispatched to men who held divine authority like Peter, Ananias, or Philip. You won't find anyone in that book who had a vision or angelic visitation, came to faith in Christ, who wasn't led to connect with a person with priesthood authority to baptize him. The vision didn't save him. The angel didn't save him. Even a vision of Jesus to Saul didn't save him. In each case, the Lord sent his mortal servants to perform necessary priesthood ordinances.
When we read Acts, We see a group of believers that was vilified and persecuted by an established orthodoxy that rejected true prophets in their midst (like John the Baptist) and relied solely on their interpretation of scripture. We see converts who come to Christ because the Holy Ghost fell upon them and they knew for themselves that Jesus is Lord by a personal spiritual manifestation. We see unpaid missionaries and ministers who don't labor for "filthy" lucre. Our elders, bishops, and other priesthood officers follow this Biblical example and are not “hirelings.”
If you could transport an ancient Christian through time to our day, he would be confused at the divergent denominations of Christendom. He would, however, feel right at home in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and most especially, in one of our temples. The authority, the ordinances, and the teachings are the same as the 1st century Church of Jesus Christ.
Mormons read the Bible and we believe what it says. We don't reject any part of it. You won't find any Christian who believes more of the Bible than does any Mormon. When the Bible says the "testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy," we believe it (Revelation 19:10). When it says that we have to be "born again of the water and of the spirit," we believe it (John 3:5). When it says that a man must be "called of God as was Aaron," to preach the gospel, we believe it (Hebrews 5:4). When it says that we will be judged according to our works, we believe it (Revelation 20:12-13). When it tells us that Jesus went to preach the gospel to the "spirits in prison" between the time of his death and resurrection, we believe it (John 5:25, 28-29, 1 Peter 3:19, 4:6). When it speaks of "baptism for the dead," we practice it (1 Corinthians 15:29). When it says that Jesus had “other sheep” who would hear his voice, we believe it (John 10:16). When it says that the same gospel was preached unto Abraham, we believe it (Galatians 3:8). When it says that truth would “spring from the earth” in the form of a “sealed book” containing the record of Joseph and Ephraim to join the Bible in God's hand, we believe it (Psalms 85:11, Isaiah 29:11, Ezekiel 37:15-20). When it says the everlasting gospel would be restored to the earth in the last days by an angel, we believe it (Revelation 14:6). And when it says there was a "council" in heaven from which Lucifer was cast down and the children of God shouted for joy, we believe it. (Job 38:4-7, Jeremiah 1:4-5, Revelation 12:7-9, Proverbs 8:22-31).
I could go on and on. The most important point I can make, however, is that the Lord Jesus accepts us as Christians. He bestows blessings upon us. He gives us spiritual gifts. He answers our prayers and guides us in a path of sanctification. We feel close to him. His Holy Spirit guides us and its fruits are evident in our lives.
In a time where the religious liberty of all believers is threatened, how does it make any sense to exclude 15 million believers who claim with a full heart that Jesus is Lord? It's time for anti-Mormon critics to repent because their own self-interests dictate the wisdom of standing together for the gospel's sake.