Some of my friends say I don’t believe in the real Jesus Christ because I’m a member of the Church. Nothing I say makes a difference. What can I do?
There are lots of reasons why some people think that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints aren’t Christians. Some people say that because we have different ideas about Christ than they do, we’re not Christians, or we believe in a “different” Jesus than they do. Other people are confused and believe things about us that simply aren’t true: that we worship idols, that we worship Joseph Smith, or that we are a cult.
When your friends question you about these things, calmly explain that while some of our doctrine may differ from their beliefs, we truly do believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior and we do worship Him. Many traditional Christian churches believe in certain doctrines that developed after the time of the Savior and His Apostles. These doctrines include beliefs about the nature of the Godhead and the belief that God has no physical body. Explain that while our religion doesn’t subscribe to these beliefs, we do believe in Jesus Christ: His birth, the Atonement and the Resurrection, as well as all other biblical teachings about the Savior.
Other people don’t understand why we have the Book of Mormon. Often, people mistakenly believe that because we believe in the Book of Mormon, we don’t read the Bible. Briefly and simply explain that the Book of Mormon is a book of scripture that we use in addition to, not in place of, the Bible. Emphasize that the Book of Mormon is a second witness of Jesus Christ. It might be helpful to show your Bible to a friend and even share a few of your favorite scriptures about the Savior from it.
Another great way to help your friends see that we are Christians is in the way you act. People may be able to argue with what you say, but it’s pretty hard to dispute what you do. Do you keep your language clean? Do you find ways to be positive and uplifting in a world that can sometimes be depressing? Do you treat others with kindness and respect?
Probably the best thing to remember when you talk to friends about this topic is that no matter what anybody else thinks, we do accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and we do our best to follow His example. Some people might not ever believe that you’re a Christian no matter what you say or do, but don’t let that get you down. When your friends want to discuss this subject, avoid being argumentative. No one will believe that you’re a Christian if you’re acting in a way that would displease the Savior, and that includes contention and fighting.
* For a more complete discussion of this topic, see the article “Are Mormons Christians?” on page 40 of the May 1998 New Era.
Let your friends know that you believe in the Jesus Christ of the Bible, the Jesus Christ who atoned for the sins of the world, who provided the only way for us to reach our Father in Heaven. Perhaps they will then see that this is the same Jesus Christ they believe in.
Neoma Crapo, 17 Bothell, Washington
Some people will never accept that we are Christians. In some cases they just enjoy arguing with you. But if you live the standards of the Church and are a genuinely good person, they might change their opinion of you as they get to know you.
John Lambert, 17 Sterling Heights, Michigan
Sometimes the best thing you can do is to be a good example. Instead of telling others you believe in Christ, show them.
Rachel Morris, 14 Arimo, Idaho
You are the world’s foremost expert on what you believe in, and you know for yourself that you believe in the real Jesus Christ. Explain it simply and then change the subject.
Patrick Meadows, 15 Lansing, Kansas
Keep your faith in Jesus Christ. It is through that faith that all people will believe and eventually realize that you’re a true Christian that believes in the “real” Jesus Christ.
Greg Anderson, 16 Newport, Washington
Here is what I would say to someone who questioned my belief in Christ: “I believe in the Jesus Christ who was crucified on a cross; He was made to wear a crown of thorns and was betrayed by a friend. His mother’s name was Mary. He taught us to turn the other cheek and love our enemies. He died for our sins. Which Jesus Christ do you believe in?”
Britini Galbraith, 12 Tempe, Arizona
The mission of the Church is to invite all to come unto Christ. Don’t be discouraged! Instead, share the gospel with your friends.
Hans A. Akosah, 19 Accra, Ghana
Don’t battle with your friends about religion; it will just make things worse. You might even want to try inviting them to church when the time seems right.
Sarah Trefflich, 12 Torrance, California
You must show you’re a Christian by living a good life. Be an example; love others whether they are members of the Church or not.
Jon Miller, 14 Fox River Grove, Illinois