Over on another blog I replied to a post and asked why Christians think Mormons are going to hell and received the stock answer that it is because Mormons aren't Christian.
I attended an evangelical Christian private school from 1st grade through 6th grade. I had daily Bible study, daily scripture memorization, and was by all accounts a good Christian. These fine Christians taught me that to be saved you needed to believe that Jesus Christ is your personal savior and accept him into your heart. That's it. I'm pretty sure that they were talking about the Jesus that is described in the New Testament. You know, the one that was born in Bethlehem, was baptized by John the Baptist, chose disciples in Galilee, taught the Gospel of love, was betrayed by a disciple with a kiss, and was executed in Jerusalem by the Romans at the instigation of the Jews. I'm pretty sure that that was the one they were talking about. I had no problem meeting their requirements. I confessed Jesus as my savior, tried to understand his life and his example, and tried to pattern my life after that example. I considered myself a Christian through and through.
The only problem I had with their teachings was the un-Biblical teaching that salvation was by grace only and that works don't matter. I also had a problem that they didn't require baptism when even Jesus, who was perfect, required baptism. This didn't bother me because I knew that other Christian sects did place an emphasis on works and baptism by immersion. In other words, I considered that they had a portion of the truth, but not the whole truth. But I still considered them Christian and never would have considered questioning their faith in Christ or their dedication to his teachings. I understood that there were hundreds of different Christian sects that all accepted the Bible, all worshipped the same Jesus, but interpreted the Bible in different ways. I considered Mormonism another one of those sects, and I accepted their interpretation as most correct.
So, I must confess I don't get it. Several years after attending that school my parents tried to enroll my brother. Unfortunately, they wouldn't allow him in because their policy required that at least one parent be Christian and their ministers didn't consider Mormons to be Christian. It seems that their theologians had studied Mormonism and decided that Mormons aren't Christian. My mother was in tears. She was deeply, deeply offended that someone would call her lifelong belief in Christ and her discipleship a fraud. It was such a patently absurd and offensive thing to say that she just couldn't comprehend how one Christian could insult another Christian's faith in such a way. It seemed and seems, well, un-Christian.
The rather trite explanation I've heard since then is that Mormons don't believe in the same Jesus Christ. I've never heard anyone explain to my satisfaction exactly what that is supposed to mean because they'll admit that both believe in the same Jesus Christ of the New Testament. Both agree on all of the Bibilical facts surrounding Jesus. The points of disagreement seem to be completely non-Biblical and revolve around different interpretations of the Bible. They believe in a Trinity whose attributes aren't defined in the Bible in the way that they describe. Mormons believe in a Trinity whose attributes are different than theirs, but is as compatible with the Bible as theirs is. Maybe there is more to it but it doesn't really matter. Rather than be inclusive they have decided to create an arbitrary definition of Christianity that excludes Mormons and perhaps other Christians. In the end, I think it is because Mormons believe in false prophets and in false doctrines. I'll concede those points. but I don't see how that makes them not Christian. If they want to be that way, they could claim that Catholics, Eastern Othodox, Coptics, and everyone else who doesn't accept their radical gracer version of Christianity is not really Christian. Who knows. Maybe they do.
Anyway, good luck to them trying to convince Mormons of the errors of their ways by trying to insult the one point of commonality that they share with them.