As just one example of the teachings that get us Latter-day Saints condemned as non-Christians and cultists by other Christians, consider this passage from an early Church leader, which I admit is radically out of harmony with modern mainstream Christianity:
It [the knowledge of the Gospel] leads us to the endless and perfect end, teaching us beforehand the future life that we shall lead, according to God, and with gods; after we are freed from all punishment and penalty which we undergo, in consequence of our sins, for salutary discipline. After which redemption the reward and the honors are assigned to those who have become perfect; when they have got done with perfection, and ceased from all service, though it be holy service, and among saints. They become pure in heart, and near to the Lord, there awaits their restoration to everlasting contemplation; and they are called by the appellation of gods, being destined to sit on thrones with the other gods that have been first put in their places by the Savior.
This early leader taught the concepts of eternal progression, of the need for obedience on our part to access the gift of grace from Christ, and of the exaltation of the righteous to be “gods” among other “gods” who will be with God (the God of all), thanks to the gift of eternal life made available to us by Christ.
Can you guess which leader this was? Brigham Young, perhaps? No, try again. Joseph Smith? Heber G. Grant? Hyrum Smith? No, no, no. . . .
Answer: this early leader of the Church was a leader in the original Church of Jesus Christ (more precisely, its second-century descendant). The passage comes from Saint Clement of Alexandria, one of the famous early Christian Fathers who wrote in the late second century, recognized as an authentic early Christian leader and defender of the faith. The quotation is from his Stromata 7:10. You can find this passage yourself on the page of Stromata 7 of Clement at EarlyChristianWritings.com, about halfway down the page, or read it on a similar page in Vol. 2 of the Ante-Nicene Fathers collection at the incredible Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Calvin College.
I hope those who condemn us for teaching such doctrines will be a little more consistent with their condemnation, and be sure to inform their congregations that the early Christian Fathers, as well as the Apostles and even Christ Himself (see John 10:34-35, for example), just don’t qualify as Christians according to their standard of what “historic Christianity” is all about. As for us, well, it’s nice to be in the company of such fellow “non-Christians.”
Thanks to John Tvedtnes for calling attention to the interesting passage from Clement of Alexandria.