Since its inception in the 19th Century, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has identified itself as a “Christian” church, borne out of the New Testament. They speak of Biblical figures such as Adam and Eve, talk about Jesus’ death for our salvation and even use traditional Christian terminology such as “the Trinity,” “Salvation,” and of course, “Jesus Christ.” Based upon these apparent similarities, many in the mainstream American public have accepted that Mormonism is a branch of Christianity and are quick to label anyone who disagrees with them as being “intolerant.” Mormons themselves will take offense at any suggestion that they are not Christian and even many Christian believers refuse to share the gospel with Mormons, believing they are just another Christian denomination.
Obviously there are many denominations within Christianity, all of which are generally accepted as falling under the Christian “umbrella” even though they disagree on some finer theological points. Switching from one denomination to another is not a departure from Christianity and does not affect one’s salvation.
But the reason these denominations consider themselves to be part of the same body of Christ despite their differences is because they all hold certain foundational beliefs in common. In order for any group label to have meaning, it must have a definition. In other words, there must be some distinctive attributes that differentiate those within that group from those who are on the outside. While Christianity certainly has a history of multiple denominations, these denominations have shared certain core beliefs such that their differences are peripheral.