The now-common question, “Are Mormons Christian?” (and it’s various derivations, i.e. “Is Mormonism Christian?”; “Are anti-Mormons Christian?”; etc) has generated significant discussion, thoughtful analysis, contentious argument, and unfortunately quite a bit of immaturity, pettiness, and frustration among Latter-day Saints, evangelical Christians, and interested apologists and scholars over the years.
More recently, the question has repeatedly arisen, “Are Fundamentalist Mormons ‘Mormon’?” In an ironic twist that has been noted by many others, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a move similar to the larger Christian community that has been active in denying the title “Christian” to Mormons, has attempted to legally trademark the term “Mormon” in an effort to prevent confusion with other Restorationist groups who use the name—most notably, of course, Fundamentalist Mormons.
Both of these issues have been discussed extensively throughout the bloggernacle (see here, here, here, and here, for example). I am interested in bringing the two questions together, and am curious as to how people would answer the question, “Are Fundamentalist Mormons Christian?” and its corollary, “Is Fundamentalist Mormonism Christian?” I’ve included two polls below. Please vote on each.
I am not interested in rehashing the old debates over whether the Church is right or wrong in denying other Restorationist branches the title of Mormon, or whether the larger Christian community is right or wrong in denying Mormons the title of Christian. I am, however, interested in discussing what our individual and collective answers to these questions reveal about Mormon identity. For example, if I do not believe members of the FLDS church have a right to call themselves Mormon, but have no serious problem with them referring to their community as Christian, I am curious as to what that says about my own identity as both a Mormon and a Christian. Why do I feel a need to defend my Mormonism, but not my Christianity?*
Additionally, I am interested in any discrepancy between the two polls. I know, for instance, that some Christians have no problem acknowledging many of their Mormon friends as Christians, but continue to deny that Mormonism is Christian. Is there a similar phenomenon among Mormon attitudes towards Fundamentalist Mormons and Fundamentalist Mormonism? What are the reasons for accepting/denying Fundamentalist Mormons as Christians or Fundamentalist Mormonism as Christian?**
*In full disclosure, I think Christians denying Mormons the title of Christian is just silly. I also think most of the reasons given for such a denial are, to be blunt, lame. I feel the exact same way about Latter-day Saint efforts to deny Fundamentalist Mormons (and other Restorationist churches) the freedom to call themselves Mormon.
**I can’t believe I have to put this in here, but based on past criticism of my polls, I feel it necessary. This poll is not intended to be scientific or scientifically accurate in its sample or its results. I recognize that these are difficult and complex questions that deserve more nuance that I have provided. That is what the comments are for—to discuss those nuances, complexities, etc.