Mormons follow Christ, worship Christ and at Sunday worship services take the sacrament — "where we eat and drink the symbolic representation of Christ's body and blood" — the head of public affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Church said in a blog entry posted Wednesday by the Washington Post.
Michael Otterson was responding to the Baptist pastor, Robert Jeffress, who has said Mitt Romney is "not a Christian" because he is a Mormon. Jeffress introduced and endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday at a Washington, D.C. event.
Otterson wrote that the "real rub" for some orthodox Christians who question whether Mormons are Christians is that LDS Church members believe in additional revelation.
Otterson's comments appeared on the Post's blog "On Faith," where he is a regular contributor.
"Mormons do not pretend that their understanding of Christ is identical to that of Christian orthodoxy," he wrote. "We embrace the New Testament and much of what the modern Christian world teaches about the Savior of the world, but we do not stop there. We have a lot more to add about the Son of God, and it is that additional revelation that causes the real rub with some orthodox Christians. To us, however, refusing to accept further enlightenment on the mission of Jesus Christ is like a math teacher telling his or her students they must stop at multiplication tables. No algebra or calculus allowed."
In his blog item, titled ""How do Mormons answer 'not Christian' claims?" Otterson said the church wouldn't directly comment on Jeffress because the pastor spoke at a political event and the church is staying out of the presidential race, but he encouraged those with additional questions about Mormons and Christianity to visit mormon.org and mormon.org/jesus-christ/. He also provided a link to a specific article on the church's official website titled "Real Differences, Real Similarities and Biblical Christianity."
That commentary states that "...Latter-day Saints accept as fellow Christians all who believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Savior of all mankind...."
It also quotes talks by church leaders who emphatically state that Christ is the center of the church. One, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve, said that any criticism that the church "does not hold the contemporary Christian view of God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost is not a comment about our commitment to Christ but rather a recognition (accurate, I might add) that our view of the Godhead breaks with post–New Testament Christian history and returns to the doctrine taught by Jesus Himself."
Otterson blogged that "anyone wanting to understand the Christ-centered nature of our faith" could visit those websites or attend Mormon worship services.79 comments on this story
"We don't ask the coach of the New York Yankees to explain English cricket," he wrote. "There are some things he just won't get, or won't want to. And if you ask people with a vested interest to define someone else's faith, you're in danger of getting a lot of words but zero enlightenment."
At an LDS service, he suggested, "Just observe the families, listen to the prayers, leaf through the hymn book to see if any of the hymns seem familiar, and make up your own mind as to how Christian our people are. Jesus taught us: 'By their fruits, ye shall know them.'"