I'm going to say this carefully, with full understanding of the implications:
we take out the theological assumptions inherent in the typical
acceptance of Jesus, of Nazareth, being "The Savior and Redeemer of the
World", I would say he was a faithful, heterodox Jew. He was a radical, revolutionary itinerant preacher
who was "extra-establishment" (meaning outside the establishment) at the
core and anti-establishment when dealing with what he saw as abuses of
power. I also believe there is a strong possibility that he
intentionally played a role in facilitating his death - or, at least,
the trial that ultimately led to his death.
theological assumptions I mentioned above, I see Jesus of Nazareth as
very similar to Moses - and Mohammed - and Martin Luther - and Joseph
Smith - and Gandhi - and any other revolutionary prophet. I think he
would be rejected by the vast majority of Christians now, including
Mormons (and, probably, me) as the "Savior and Redeemer of the World",
if we was re-born tomorrow and lived the same life he did then.
have no problem defining "sinless" in such a way that I can believe he
was sinless; I define "perfect" in such a way ("complete, whole, fully developed") that I believe he was
perfect only at the moment he died.
I have no problem accepting
him as "The Savior and Redeemer of the World" - but that is because I
can interpret those titles in ways that make sense to me.
However, in the end, we really have no objective idea. The faith that animates our belief provides our understanding, since even the Biblical claims cannot be proven objectively. We just don't have anything that we
can accept as objective fact upon which to base our beliefs. Every bit of
it is a matter of faith - one way or the other.
Having said all that about what I believe, I have a HUGE
problem with the image of him portrayed in quotes like, "Little Lord
Jesus, no crying he makes," and, "He never got vexed when the game went
wrong, and he always told the truth." I've written about that in other posts, so I won't explain further in this one.
Even without you here: A letter to the first love of my life
14 minutes ago