Jesus Christ

What do Mormons believe about Jesus Christ? (And are Mormons Christian?)

Jesus Christ is central to Mormonism. He holds both the central position theologically and practically. Often Mormons are accused of not being “Christian,” which implies that they do not believe in Jesus Christ. If the term Christian means “one that believes in Jesus Christ as the savior of all creation” then Mormons are most emphatically Christian. This is evidenced very directly in the Book of Mormon: “And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” [1] This Book of Mormon passage clearly states that not only is Christ an important figure, but that he is the central figure. On the other hand, if you define Christianity by a few specific doctrines generally associated with Protestantism, then Mormons claim a unique position which is very different from many of the common Protestant conceptions of Christianity.

Who is Jesus Christ according to Mormons?

According to Mormonism, Jesus Christ is the redeemer of mankind. Jesus Christ was born in a small town called Bethlehem to the Virgin Mary. [2] There is very little recorded of his life until he began what Mormons call his “earthly ministry.” [3] Christ’s earthly ministry is marked by teaching, healing, and other miracles. The Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes (Jewish sects are scholars) were deeply opposed to Christ’s teachings. [4] Christ condemned these groups for their hypocrisy saying: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” [5] They condemned him to death for blasphemy [6] (claiming he was the son of God) and took him to the Roman ruler Pilate. [7] Eventually he was sentenced to die on a cross. According to Mormonism, Jesus Christ was nailed (through his hands, wrists, and feet) to a cross where he died after suffering for the sins of the world. [8] “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [9] Thus through his death he broke the bands of sin. After his death he was buried in a tomb. Mormons believe that three days later he was resurrected (his body was made perfect and alive). [10] Thus through his resurrection he broke the bands of death. By breaking the bands both of sin and death Christ fulfilled his mission as Savior of the universe. Mormons believe that He was indeed the Messiah promised in the Old Testament, [11] and he will return to earth again in a Second Coming. [12]

In emphasis, according to Mormonism Jesus Christ:
1)      Suffered and died for the sins of the world
2)      Broke the bands of death through his resurrection
3)      Will return again to the Earth

Jesus Christ, according to Mormonism, is literally God’s only begotten son. He was perfect. Meaning he never sinned or did anything that was wrong. [13] Because he was God’s only begotten son, and because he lived a perfectly sinless life, he was able to atone for the sins of the entire world. [14] This means that he vicariously suffered the pains of every individual’s sins that would ever live. [15] The Book of Mormon gives this injunction: “And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ….” [16] It is only through Jesus Christ that man can be saved from their fallen state—the state of separation from God—and also be resurrected. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” [17] Mormons believe that all men must be saved through Christ. This is why Mormons emphasize sharing the message of Christ through missionary work and evangelism.

Footnotes:
[1] Mosiah 3:17.
[2] Luke 1:27-32; 1 Nephi 11:18. (Note that Mormons use the King James Version of the Bible)
[3] Luke 2:52.
[4] Matt. 23; Mark 7; Luke 11:37–54.
[5] Matthew 23:27.
[6]Luke 22:66-71; John 18.
[7] Luke 23.
[8] Mormons also believe that Jesus Christ suffered for the sins of the world in the Garden of Gethsemane when he sweat great drops of blood. “ Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:18-19).
[9] John 3:16.
[10] Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-14; Luke 24:1-48; John 20:1-29; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8; 2 Peter 1:16-17.
[11] Isaiah 53.
[12] D&C 49:7; Acts 1:11; John 14:2-3.
[13] Matthew 5:48; 3 Nephi 12:48.
[14] Alma 34:10, 14.
[15] Alma 7:12.
[16] Mosiah 5:8.
[17] 1 Corinthians 15:22.

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