One of the most fundamental questions that can be asked of Mormons is whether or not we are Christians. Unfortunately, many Protestants and Catholics deny that Latter-day Saints are Christians for a number of reasons (and even then, many Protestants deny that Catholics are Christians as well). However, when we look at the plain and simple beliefs of Mormons, it is clear that we are a Christian Church.
Mormons, or Latter-day Saints, are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We do not believe that this is the Church of Joseph Smith, or the Church of Brigham Young. Our Church is not named after a mere man (no matter how prophetic he may be). Instead, we believe that the Church belongs to Jesus Christ, and that He is at the head of this Church.
And this brings us to the central Person of our faith, and why we are rightly classified as Christians. Latter-day Saints believe in Jesus Christ as our only Savior, the divine Son of God, the Only Begotten. We strive to follow the example of Jesus Christ, taking upon ourselves His sacred Name through baptism. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which began in the Garden of Gethsemane and culminated on the cross of Calvary, is central to our faith. It is only through the atonement that we can be forgiven of our sins and receive eternal life.
So why then do other Christians deny us even this basic claim? Generally, it is because we differ from “traditional Christians” (i.e. Trinitarian Protestants, Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox) on our view of the nature of God. Latter-day Saints believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate Persons, that they are considered “one” in that they are one in purpose, and that both the Father and the Son are both spirit and embodied. In contrast, Trinitarian Christians believe that only the Son has a body, and believe that while the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three distinct Persons, they are one Being/Substance/Essence. So, it is correct to state that Mormons are not “traditional/Trinitarian Christians”, in that we reject the doctrine of the Trinity (instead believing that our doctrine reflects what is found in the Bible as well as what the earliest Christians believed, pre-Council of Nicaea, 325 AD), however we are indeed Christians in that we do accept Jesus Christ as our divine Savior, the divine Son of God, through whose atoning sacrifice eternal life can be received. We do not worship Joseph Smith, nor do we pray to him. We pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, who is our divine Mediator.
To find out more about what Mormons believe about Jesus Christ, please visit these websites: