Imagine you are on the game show “Millionaire,” and the question is asked: “What is the fruit that grows on an apple tree?” You are presented with four possibilities: a) Mango b) Apricot c) Tangerine d) Apple
What are the chances you’d be moving to the next round? Of course, the correct answer is glaringly obvious. Jesus taught the pertinent principle: “For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes” (Luke 6: 44).
Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . . . a Christian Church?
Here are the possibilities: a) Yes b) No c) Maybe d) None of the above.
To this question, how confident would you be, that you would win a million dollars? Let’s do a little research, to make sure that your answer is right–remembering that the fruit that grows on apple trees . . . is apples!
Here is Merriam-Webster’s #1 definition for the word Christian: “one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.”
With a million dollars on the line, do you think you would apply definition #1 in giving your answer, or would you risk your million-dollar prize and use a lesser definition?
Let’s look at the LDS Hymn Book for an indication of what latter-day saints believe; the very Hymn Book that Mormons sing from every week in worship services. What can you conclude from the message of the following hymn?
Hymn #220 — Lord, I Would Follow Thee
Savior may I learn to love thee, Walk the path that thou hast shown.
Pause to help and lift another, Finding strength beyond my own.
Savior, may I learn to love thee–Lord, I would follow thee.
Who am I to judge another When I walk imperfectly?
In the quiet heart is hidden Sorrow that the eye can’t see.
Who am I to judge another? Lord, I would follow thee.
Savior, may I love my brother As I know thou lovest me,
Find in thee my strength, my beacon, For thy servant I would be.
Savior, may I love my brother–Lord, I would follow thee.
Text: Susan Evans McCloud
Just from reading the lyrics, can you tell whether Susan McCloud is a Christian? What’s your best guess, . . . remembering that apples grow on apple trees? And would Susan cease to be a Christian, if you discovered she is also a latter-day saint, a member of the “Mormon” Church?
The only way we could conclude that the fruit on this “apple tree” is not “apples,” is by denying obvious evidence before our eyes, and invoking blind prejudice. Consider the lyrics to another Mormon Hymn:
Hymn #197 — O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown
O Savior, thou who wearest A Crown of piercing thorn,
The pain thou meekly bearest, Weigh’d down by grief and scorn.
The soldiers mock and flail thee; For drink they give thee gall;
Upon the cross they nail thee To die, O King of all.
No creature is so lowly, No sinner so depraved,
But feels thy presence holy, And thru thy love is saved.
Tho craven friends betray thee, They feel thy love’s embrace;
The very foes who slay thee Have access to thy grace.
Text: Karen Lynn Davidson
Just from reading the words that she wrote, can you tell whether Karen Davidson is a Christian? And would she cease to be a Christian, if you discovered she is also a latter-day saint, a member of the “Mormon” Church?
There are many lesser definitions of the word “Christian” that are contrived and published by antagonists of the LDS Church. And with each of these lesser definitions, Mormons are either included or excluded from the “Christian” category.
But why apply inferior definitions, devised by the minds of men, when we can simply apply the highest definition of “Christian” as declared by Christ Himself, and further reinforced by His apostles and prophets.
In the New Testament we read that “the devils also believe” (James 2: 19, 20) Jesus is the Son of God; so does than mean that the devils are “Christians”? They may meet the standard of “believing” but fail on the criteria of “following.”
Thus, it is wise to augment our previous definition of being Christian with the facet of “following.” ”
Following the example of Jesus is an essential element to being Christian, for it is in “following” that “fruits” are manifest. Jesus taught that true believers are the ones that follow:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also” (John 14: 12).
The Apostle Peter echoed this truth with these words:
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not” (1 Peter 2: 21-23).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spends no time in publishing literature that degrades other denominations. In regard to the beliefs of other religions, Mormons take this stand:
“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may” (A.F. #11).
The LDS Church follows the example of Christ: when He was “reviled” the Savior “reviled not again.” Latter-day Saints are committed to a positive and productive approach to living religion, as stated in this last of thirteen Articles of Faith:
“We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things” (A.F. #13).
Following the example of the Savior, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not speak “guile” or “revile” against other denominations. Latter-day Saints follow Christian principles; hence, the LDS Church publishes and preaches “wholesome words” (1 Tim. 6: 3), speaks “no guile” and encourages “good conversations” (1 Peter 3: 10, 16).
In the final analysis, the proof is in the pudding–the fruit is on the tree. You can directly discern if Mormons are Christian by reading the words of three LDS leaders, Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ: Jeffrey R. Holland, Dallin H. Oaks, and the late Neil A. Maxwell. You can examine for yourself the fruit that reveals the tree; if these men are Christians, you will easily see . . . that apples are growing on the apple tree.