Mormonism: “Baloney.”

Errol LouisErrol Louis, columnist for the New York Daily News, wrote an opinion piece about Mormonism for the online publication last Sunday (25 November 2007). More specifically, the article was about Mitt Romney’s Mormonism; but in the course of Mr. Louis’ remarks, he provided some basic information about the LDS belief system.

Though not LDS himself, Mr. Louis did a fair job representing the various aspects of Mormonism which he chose to discuss. Nevertheless, his column brought criticism and accusations from some members and friends of the LDS community. One reader noted:

“This is just Mormon bashing (and very uninformed bashing at that) disguised as an opinion piece of thoughtful commentary. 90% of the statements regarding Mormonism are either totally incorrect or given a spin to make the beliefs of these wonderful people sound ridiculous.” (tpdrjkt Nov 26, 2007)

What? Ninety percent of Mr. Louis’ statements regarding Mormonism are “totally incorrect” or spun to make Mormons look silly? This didn’t seem right to me, so I pulled out the fact-based statements about Mormonism (as opposed to Mr. Louis’ statements of opinion) to get a better look. Here they are:

• “…the [specifically] Mormon holy books [include] the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price…”

• “Mormons, it turns out, believe human souls have existed for all eternity, temporarily inhabit physical bodies and can eventually evolve into gods. They also believe the Garden of Eden was in Missouri and that tribes from Israel traveled to what is now America, built ancient cities and fought epic battles…”

• “Needless to say, there’s no physical evidence of the cities or the thousands killed in the ancient wars of the Mormon holy books, and DNA evidence rules out American Indians as descendants of ancient Israel…”

• “I want to know more about Bishop Romney’s beliefs and actions related to the Mormon religion’s odious and longstanding practices of racial segregation…”

• “Brigham Young, an early father of the Mormon Church, preached, ‘If the White man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain [those with dark skin], the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.'”

• “Mormons barred blacks from becoming priests or taking part in the religion’s holiest rituals. This went on until 1978.”

I’m having trouble understanding “tpdrjkt’s” complaint. None of the above statements are “totally incorrect” and there doesn’t seem to be any added spin. Yet “tpdrjkt” is not alone with his concerns over Mr. Louis’ remarks. Consider this:Bologna Sandwich

“Br. Louis, Italians have a name for what you’ve been told about the LDS Church: Baloney. For reasons of their own, certain vocal people love to spread the twisted stories you re-told. There are too many in your column to correct without a column of equal size. ..we mourn especially the twisted version of LDS racial beliefs you’ve been fed.” (Carelli Nov 26, 2007)

Another reader questioned Mr. Louis’ education. Wondering if such a man could possibly have any friends, “Leinads” complained that the article is filled with errors. Really, the accuracy of only one fact-based statement made by Mr. Louis can be reasonably disputed; that is, that Mormons believe human souls “temporarily inhabit physical bodies.” Mormonism teaches that the bodies inhabited by human souls after resurrection are different from earthly bodies, but they are, nevertheless, “physical.” Mr. Louis’ use of the word “temporarily” was imprecise; all other points he made are correct, amply supported by the teachings of LDS leaders.

So what’s all the commotion over Mr. Louis’ statements regarding Mormonism? Why are these pretty standard LDS doctrines labeled “baloney” by Mormons who should know these things are part of their church’s teachings? Is it possible they really don’t know?

Another New York Daily News reader took issue with Mr. Louis’ quote of Brigham Young. I wonder if it was the inclusion of the Mormon Prophet’s harsh words that generated the disclaimers from Mormons and their friends. The reader wrote,

I doubt if Brigham Young said any such thing. That is an outrageous quote attributed to Brigham Young – what is the source of that quote? I have an extensive database of thousands of Mormon references and find no match for a [s]ource for that quote. An[t]i-Mormon attacks, which I have studied for many years, have a long history of misquotations or outright false alleged quotations – so what is the source for this quote, because I do not find it in any Mormon sources? Even if he said such a thing, that is only his opinion, and personal opinions of Mormon leaders are not sources of Mormon doctrine or official Mormon beliefs.” (chuckb20DN Nov 26, 2007)

If “chuck20DN” had trouble finding the Brigham Young quote, he should have Googled it. When I searched for “seed of cain” the first hit was a link to an article on MRM’s web site which provides the Mormon source for the quote (Journal of Discourses 10:110) as well as additional related teachings by LDS leaders.

This reaction to Mr. Louis’ article strikes me as smoke and mirrors. Why is it Mormons seem to have such a hard time owning up to what Mormonism really is (or has been)? I ask (tongue-in-cheek), why are “ninety percent” of the criticisms brought against accurate remarks about Mormonism “totally incorrect” or spun to make the journalists look bad?

Agreeing with a popular misquoting of the Bard, “Methinks the [Mormon community] doth protest too much.”

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.

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56 Responses to Mormonism: “Baloney.”

  1. Megan says:

    Amanda, that was a really lovely comment. In my comments about the missionaries’ (real or perceived) dishonesty I wasn’t referring to you at all. What I was trying to say is that I wish the LDS church was more up front with seekers instead of having the “milk before meat” mindset. I know you will probably not see this issue as I do, but that’s okay.
    Sometimes I don’t like the person I become when I’m on here. I am trying to figure out how to defend and explain what I believe to be right without having the attitude of having to score debate points. Still working on that one.
    I wish our differing views of God didn’t matter, but I think according to the Bible they do. I wish we were on the same page regarding what salvation means and even more importantly, who God really is. However, we’ll just have to agree to disagree for now.

  2. dj1989 says:

    Props to both Amanda & Megan. Your words definitely bring a less contentious spirit, which is really the way we should talk, if only to show respect for what we all believe is sacred.

    Megan- I can’t blame you for not agreeing with the “milk before meat” mindset. When I was younger, it was a little frustrating to me. I wanted everything to just be all laid out for me. So, I believe I know how you feel.

    However, time has passed, and I have learned to appreciate that the Lord teaches us “line upon line, and precept upon precept”. It is a process that develops faith, patience, temperance, knowledge, humility, & diligence.

    Now, I would have it no other way.

  3. Jeff B says:

    Megan, you are a fantastically honest person about how you feel. I don’t know if your married, but that type of honesty is what keeps a marriage strong. It’s when people don’t open up their hearts to their spouse and suppress feelings is when things get very hairy. I’m lucky to have the lady I do because she doesn’t hesitate to let me know when theres a problem. hehe.

    On another note. It’s not so much that an investigator is taught EVERYTHING in that first sitting, but what they are taught is a short history of Joseph Smith, the restoration, the Book of Mormon, and Jesus Christ. However, they aren’t taught the deep doctrine about who Mormons think Jesus/God is, influences of Masonry in the temple rituals, etc.. Sometimes you will get an honest answer from a MM, but mostly they shy away from that stuff in fear of making them second guess, or they do it because they honestly don’t know about it.

    Psychologically they share a little information and promises with you to get you interested. Then, you use that interest and hope for the wonderful promises to pray about it. Of course you would want that to be true so you receive some great feeling and the MM’s say that is the holy spirit witnessing truth to you. (the feelings thing is my opinion, so you can give your opinion and say you received something more than that, but of course, its only our opinions). Then you get baptized and your mind is constantly being molded into accepting this religion so when Freemasonry in temple rituals come up or when your told about Joseph Smiths many wives, its acceptable.

    The Christian message is simple. “This is who Christ is, He died for your sins because He is the only way to the Father and you would never be able to merit or deserve that grace ever. Understand it, accept it, and have faith in your Savior, and you will be saved.”

  4. amanda says:

    Jeff,

    Yes, that seems simple…but what about those who don’t have the opportunity to hear His words and accept Him in this lifetime and receive His grace? For them to be condemned to hell hardly seems merciful or loving to me, two very important qualities the Lord exhibited in His life and through his atoning sacrifice on the cross. The restored gospel is the ONLY religion that answers this very important question. Members are truly called to serve by acting as proxy in these temple ordinances in order for the dead to have the opportunity you just described above.

    I love serving in the temple. I cherish my time in the temple. The temple has made me a more loving person, and has brought me closer to Christ. I LOVE THIS GOSPEL!! The temples are for families, past, present and future. What could be more important than our families. The temple is the only place where we can be sealed to our loved ones for time and all eternity. These relationships extend beyond this lifetime. This knowledge has given me more love and devotion to the Savior and what He did on the cross. There are answers found in the temple. There is peace found in the temple. The temple blessings are what brought my husband to the gospel. Nothing resonated more with him than his desire to be with family forever. He was raised baptist–by his loving father who knew the scriptures and taught him to love the Lord. I am forever grateful for his example…and look forward to the day when he finds peace in the temple, and rejoices in the gospel.

  5. Vicki says:

    “but what about those who don’t have the opportunity to hear His words and accept Him in this lifetime and receive His grace?”

    Amanda, God is merciful and just. He is in control; those who have not hear, are in His care.
    Would God not know the heart of that person who died without hearing the gospel? Would He not know how that person would have responded to the gospel of His Son, Jesus??
    Do you really think that God has to depend on us?
    Salvation is His work THROUGH us. Not our work…not our responsibility. To rely on sinners such as you and me??? The Lord says, that ‘our RIGHTEOUS works are like filthy rags’ What does that tell you?
    God calls us to ‘go out into all the world and preach the gospel’, yes…but He knows our limitations…our failures…
    We do what we are told to do, and God does the work. Trust in Him. His promise is that ‘not one will be left behind that is His’
    Who are we to question God’s sovereignty? Who are we to hold ourselves responsible for anything? How arrogant to think in those terms, when we have a God who is the Author and Sustainer of ALL things in heaven and earth!

  6. amanda says:

    So now you are telling me that people don’t have to accept Christ to be saved?

    Now I’m really confused, Vikki.

    Who are we to hold ourselves responsible after all that God has done for us? Well, I think we would be faithful to hold ourselves accountable to Him and what He has asked us to do…are you familiar with the sermon on the mount? I’m pretty sure there was a mandate in all of that.

    I know it is a lot easier though, to believe that all we have to do is recognize Him with our words, but certainly not DARE recognize Him with our actions…NO! To whom much is given, much is required…Luke 12:48. It’s about stewardship- and stewardship is about action and responsibility. Just look stewardship up in your bible dictionary, and you’ll see all kinds of references in the bible about our responsibility 😉

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