Or maybe we were the only REAL Christians, since everyone else had fallen away, but we wouldn't use the word "Christian," since the phony Christians were using that name, and we needed a name to make it crystal clear that WE were the real deal.
The Christians did not have the truth. We did. We were the ONLY true church.
It was such a comfort to me to know that the only true church was within walking distance of my house.
How does a TBM over 50-60 years rationalize all the conflicts put out by SLC over the years?
We are the fastest growing. We are not Christian, we are Mormons. Mormon is offensive to the Lord... it was good for 180 years. More than one pair of earrings. White shirts We are all about families. Caffeine... coffee and tea out, hot chocolate and Pepsi okay.
We Mormons were the ONLY TRUE CHRISTIANS. The other brands thought they were true Christians, but they were sadly mistaken. Sure, they had parts of the truth. Had basically the same Old Testament and New Testament to work with. But we had the restored church, with polygamy, priesthood and prophecy for all. Real truth, justice and the Joseph Smith way.
We were the real beer. The others were just pale imitators.
Of course we believed in Jesus and were Christians. But with all the fakes and phonies out there calling themselves "Christians" we had to call ourselves Mormons. And being a Mormon was, by definition, synonymous with being a member of the only real, true and complete church established and endorsed by Jesus himself (acting through his horny, greedy, lying prophet, Joseph Smith).
Bruce R. McConkie, "Mormon Doctrine," CHRISTIANITY, p. 132:
"Christianity is the religion of the Christians. Hence, true and acceptable Christianity is found among the saints who have the fulness of the gospel, and a perverted Christianity holds sway among the so-called Christians of apostate Christendom. In these circles it is believed and taught that Christianity had its beginning with the mortal ministry of our Lord. Actually, of course, Adam was the first Christian, for both he and the saints of all ages have rejoiced in the very doctrines of salvation restored to earth by our Lord in his ministry."
"Oh, Bruce, Bruce, Bruce! Seriously? MORMON doctrine? MORMON? Did you actually write a book purporting to expound upon and explain the core beliefs of our religion and faith...and give it the title 'MORMON Doctrine'? Did you therefore cause the members of Jesus's church to seek understanding of His gospel in a book called 'MORMON Doctrine'? Bruce, Bruce...you caused so much pain to Jesus."
If Russell is correct about the whole "Mormon" nickname thing, I guess Bruce wasn't very inspired at all. Russell be pee'n' on the legacy of all the past apostles and prophets who at one time were legends in their own time, revered and worshiped by the Mormon munchkins (now known as the "Members of the Church of Jesus Christ formerly mistakenly referred to as Mormons").
My dad grew up in the 50's in Utah. He says he was always taught that Mormons were Christians. My guess is that everyone had his or her own take on it and felt free to teach whatever it was he or she knew when they were in charge of a class or group.
I don't think the church or any significant leader has ever stated that Mormons are not followers of Christ or believers in Christ. The Book of Mormon itself has Jesus Christ as a central theme.
What has happened from time to time is that some leaders have made a point of distinguishing Mormons from "those Christians"...meaning those Christians who don't have the "fullness of the gospel" and this has led to various incidents where they have debated the semantics of the "Christian" label. The Church has always rejected the more elaborate and detailed definitions of "Christian" that other "apostate" sects and theologians have developed. But only because the Mormon church leaders believe that they know more about Jesus and his mission than anyone else. For example, only TRUE Christians know that Jesus visited Zarahemla, just as only TRUE fans of popstar Teena Mabeena know about the tattoo on her inner thigh. You can't call yourself a true fan of Jesus, if you know nothing about his famous "Tour of the Americas" concert tour, where he literally destroyed and killed at every venue. Brought down the house...and more.
I remember being taught in adult SS class about percentages and your chances of where you were born in the world. There was a smidgen of a chance of being born mormon and how extra speshul we are for that to happen. Later, in Fast and Testimony meeting, I said that since the percentage was very small of your chances of being born in the church or coming across it somehow in this life, then we must be the ones who need the help the most. It's us, not them. That went over like a fully leaded balloon. I was taught that mormons were the cream of the crop of Christians and we are the only ones who have all of the truth.
I don't recall Mormons having a problem with being considered Christian. They had a problem with being considered Protestant. And of course they couldn't be considered Catholic since that was the Great and Abominable. They smugly considered themselves the only true Christians.
Now that they can't call themselves "Mormons", they have to use the term Christian more, because they don't have any other good choices.
We had our own Jesus when I was a Mormon kid. He never drank wine, but he did enjoy grape juice. His brother was Satan, the black sheep. Jesus was a goody two-shoes. Dad always preferred the ass-kisser, so Satan was reduced to a heavy metal icon, while Jesus got to ruin American politics.