A number of people have made interesting comments. I’ll make a general response here.
By trying to set a minimal definition of what it means to be Mormon, I’m not talking about trying to create social boundaries and drive away people. I welcome all. All suffer periods of doubts. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Lord knows I have.
I’m talking about trying to create an intellectually coherent meaning for the term Mormon. The alternative is to say that Mormon can mean anything anyone wants it to mean, with the result that any discussion of what Mormonism means becomes a morass of incoherent assertions. To refuse to create a meaningful definition of Mormon is to intellectually abdicate, and by default make the term Mormon meaningless, and therefore discussion pointless. If an atheist can say “I’m a Mormon” then anyone can say he’s a Mormon.
So, a refusal to clarify the issue must necessarily result in confusion. So I came up with my four minimum beliefs. I didn’t make these four points up arbitrarily. I chose them because I think they create clarity. And intellectually open and forthright debate requires clarity, not obscurity.