Mormons, Relationships, and Sensitivity

Bill McKeever talks about the challenge of maintaining relationships with people in a culture where people are taught to avoid information that might cause one to question their faith.

1920×1080 MP4, 640×360 MP4

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16 Responses to Mormons, Relationships, and Sensitivity

  1. Ward says:

    Thanks for this, Bill. I think, from my limited lurker and EC perspective, that your heart really comes out clearly here. This is a big deal. We are talking about core issues. Core, life-living issues. Core, base, foundational beliefs, built on study and feeling. We may disagree, but we need to disagree and contend with a soft side as well as the more “passionate” sides. In saying that, I must confess that I am not the wizened veteran like some of you folk here. And I have not been tested and hardened. And I would probably wilt and slink away.

    At times like this I come back to “A soft answer turneth away wrath.” I don’t think a “won” argument alone ever wins someone over. I think the softer answers in the process, those that acknowledge the difficult situations both sides find themselves in, has an important impact. This blog seems very different to me than others I have been looking at. There is an edginess, but there appears to be a lot of respect as well. It is why I keep coming back. And, I really really like coffee.

    The Utah lecture heading in the upper right corner of the video…are these snippets part of a larger series? How would I access them?

    Thanks for making this journey interesting, exciting, and compelling!

  2. st.crispin says:


    You say that “religious beliefs are cherished”. However, all too often on this blogsite I find that the evangelical posters openly ridicule, mock, and scorn the cherished religious beliefs of Mormons. I have no problem in discussing different theological perspectives as long as there is a degree of civility and mutual respect.

    The problem here is that evangelical posters tend to grossly mischaracterize and misrepresent LDS religious beliefs and doctrines. There is a tendency among evangelicals to denigrate and demonize the LDS Church. It is difficult to maintain a civil discussion with evangelicals when one is constantly confronted by an avalanche of false accusations, baseless innuendo, and character assassination against the LDS Church, its leaders and people.

    Given such a malevolent spirit of contention emanating from evangelicals it is no wonder that many Latter-day Saints prefer not to engage in such discussions.

  3. jackg says:

    st. crispin,

    The same can be said for Mormon posters, as well. I believe that the tactic to accuse Christians of demonizing Mormonism is aimed at trying to make us keep our mouths shut when we speak against heresies. I would have to say that your accusation about Christians misrepresenting the LDS belief system, making false accusations, and character assassinations is a bit hyperbolic. Naturally, the discussion about JS will focus on those things which clearly point to the fact that he is a false prophet. You can voice your opinions as to your perspective of the discussions here, but it seems to me that you are merely jockying for position to silence those who speak out against the false teachings that represent the faith of the Mormon people. I don’t think being civil means not preaching the truth about matters. Once again, the blameshifting occurs from the Mormon side in an attempt to deflect scrutiny by those who are trying to preach the true gospel of Jesus Christ to the Mormon people. Perhaps, you should consider that maybe you just might believe doctrines that are not true. I had to do that when I was a member, and when I was able to admit to God that I really didn’t know anything, He redeemed me from the bondage of Mormonism. It’s a false religion, st. crispin. Your attempts to control the Christian posters and the truth we preach won’t change that fact. Believe me, I am praying for you, and for all the Mormon people, that you might come to recognize the heresies of JS. All you need to do is measure his teachings against the Bible, and not the other way around. God will save you from all the lies you have come to believe.

    Peace and Grace!

    (And I believe I was civil.)

  4. st.crispin, it seems unwise to equate the rough-and-tumble nature of a controversial religious blog discussion with face-to-face relationships. If I generalized lay Mormon members with the behavior of Mormons on MADB, etc., it would not be a pretty picture.

    I also think there is a worldview issue here, where Mormonism fosters the notion that religious negativity (especially religious criticism) isn’t at all compatible with civility or respect or the feelings of the Spirit.

    I also would be careful about accusations of mocking and demonization. Your own scripture teaches that my creeds are an abomination, and before 1990, a figure in the LDS temple ceremony mocked Protestant ministers as servants of Satan doing his bidding. Still to this day, the Manti Mormon Miracle Pageant openly mocks evangelical beliefs and revivalist preachers, and I frequently experience mocking and misrepresentation of my beliefs by Mormons, often them equating the Trinity with modalism, equating the conservative evangelical view on justification by faith alone with a license to be licentious, and sneering at the fact that we pay our pastor to be a full-time ministerial worker.

    Bill’s point is to pick and choose you battles and be aware of the sensitivity issues. On a blog like this, better to just focus on the specific doctrinal, theological, and historical issues than to take the rough-and-tumble nature of public religious disputation so personally.

    Part of our duty as Christians is to learn to better love and empathize with the lost, including Mormons. We can do a better job of that. And part of Christ’s call to discipleship for everyone is to love the truth more than the temporary peace that comes with avoiding hearty religious controversy which offend American hypersensitivities.

    Grace and peace in Christ for those who trust God to justify the ungodly (Romans 4:4-8),


    PS: To Mormons, I recommend this book. One has to wonder if some here believe the prophets of the Bible were sinning when they scorned, mocked, and ridiculed the weak gods and idols that people were following over Yahweh. Of course, that’s not all they were doing; their behavior was woven with threads of love and compassion and empathy. But it was far from the simplistic picture of a effeminate hippie Jesus acting merely professorial, avoiding value judgments, and bearing a tearful testimony with a subdued General-Conference-spiritualized voice.

    To Christians, I would recommend this book as a good model of empathy toward Mormons. While not even a perfectly loving and empathetic Christian who does meaningful public engagement would escape the harsh and angry criticisms, we can always strive harder to be empathetic and accurate.

  5. Ralph says:

    There is a saying that goes something like – no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. That is the best tool for teaching, let the person know that you care for them, then regardless of what you have to say they will more likely listen, even if they disagree. I know to an extent who on this does really ‘care’ about he LDS and who wants to have a nice rave.

    But we must also keep in mind the Bible passage Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Truth can be a powerful thing which can ‘hurt’ people. That is why first its better to make sure the person you are talking to knows that you care about them and not just about ramming down their throat what you think is true. That last part is from the point of view of the person you are talking to because if they don’t believe it then that is what it seems like.

    This is what the LDS missionaries are taught in approaching people. Build a relationship of trust and friendship. It makes it easier to discuss apposing opinions.

    BTW, just a small spelling mistake in the text – the word is “DIALOGUE” not “dialog”. The language is called ‘English’ not ‘American’ 🙂

  6. Ralph said “The language is called ‘English’ not ‘American’”

    ROFL. Go Ralph! Amen, and amen! When will this blog get a decent spelling checker?…

    …but I digress…

  7. …also what’s “brass tax”. We don’t pay it here! Do you? “Brass tacks” perhaps…

    …but enough on errors of translation.

    I fully agree with Bill McKeever’s observation that it is the Mormons who pull out of the dialog when they get confronted with information they don’t like. I did all could to sustain my dialog with Mormons, I even wanted to talk about the stuff I didn’t like. I was willing for them to convert me, but they withdrew and I felt like my advances were unrequited.

    Bill’s observation tallies with my experience perfectly.

  8. jackg says:

    Actually, both spellings of dialog are acceptable. It’s just a living example of the changes in language. And, Ralph, I have to say that I agree with your comment.

    Peace and Grace!

  9. Free says:

    Martin from Brisbane wrote:

    ” …also what’s “brass tax”. We don’t pay it here! Do you? “Brass tacks” perhaps… ”

    Martin…the direction were going here in the U.S., I’m sure there WILL BE a “brass tax”, a “brass luxury tax”, a “brass bailout tax”, and whatever else congress can think of.

    Great discussion all

    Love in the name of Our Savior Jesus.

  10. jackg says:

    Do I sense the need for comic relief? Thanks, Martin and Free, I couldn’t help but chuckle. It would be great if we could all get together for pizza and root beer, sometime, get to know each other and put a face with a name, and learn about our families and backgrounds without resorting to a debate. I bet our interactions with each other would greatly improve.

    Peace and Grace!

  11. Ward says:

    Actually, the use of “American” refer to “English” is probably correct from an idiolect perspective. Most specifically correct would be to say or write “American English” so as to not offend our colonial cousins. Nor to come across as too tall of a poppy to our mates down under. Truly, it would be righteous to greet and eat with all y’all somewhere down the road a piece (he smirked, mixing his idioms..).

  12. Ralph says:

    Welliv yuga nall write yankor pom I guess igan write Strine. Wacha rall think?

  13. jackg says:

    Ralph, seriously, where are you from? 🙂

  14. Ralph says:

    OK for all those non-linguists out there, there is a book called ‘Let Stalk Strine’. Its a parody on how the Aussie language sounds when spoken. The title is actually ‘Let’s Talk Australian’.

    What I said earlier was – Well if you’re going to all write Yank (American) or Pom (English) I guess I can write Australian. What do you all think?

  15. Kevin says:

    Is there more to Bill’s speech? I would like to hear, or read, an expanded version on this topic. Aaron made the comment, “Bill’s point is to pick and choose you battles and be aware of the sensitivity issues.” I didn’t get that from the short segment that was presented. Because being “aware” does not mean exercising sensitivity.
    I would like to know why we cannot be sensitive on this blog? What precludes sensitivity on this format? I thought it was quite obvious why LDS members frequent a site like this. Either they are truly trying to defend their religion, or they are considering other ideas that are contrary to their beliefs, is this blog a resource or a witch burning?
    I can empathize with St. Crispin. I’d like to point out that no one disagreed with him, but rather attacked him for sharing his opinion. St. Crispin was called unwise and accused his opinions of merely jockeying for position to silence others; I seriously hope that was a friendly joke. I also was accused of trying to silence people, I don’t get this approach. When you tell someone that you don’t like they way they treat you or someone else, rather than reflecting and considering the others feelings, they attack and accuse that person.
    Rather I would like to say to St. Crispin, I understand your concerns, people have treated you unfairly, and people have made some wild accusations. I pray we can get past the low ball mudslinging. I would like to extent to you, a hand of friendship. Please listen to what the compassion people have to say, like Ward.

  16. Ward says:

    Kevin said: Please listen to what the compassion people have to say, like Ward.” Thanks, Kevin. I appreciate being labeled compassionate. I am only a relatively recent lurker, and have only posted less than five times. I have wondered a lot about the “passion” expressed here, as I label it. I am thinking that you and I probably lack the history of Falcon, Martin, Aaron, and SHaron. As well as our Mormon friends like Crisp, Ralph, etc. This contending does get hot, and there has been a fair bit of labeling and forecasting, mostly because each side sees the other bringing up that they consider the same old tired arguments.

    I guess I am pretty comfortable with strong emotions expressed strongly, since I have been a therapist for 30 years. There is a time for intensity, and an apologetics blog is probably a good place for it. Could things maybe be said differently, with a little more sensitivity? Sure. There is always room for improvement. However, these are core issues. Life changing issues. Each side believes they are right, and our eternity depends upon it. To just “smile and wave” like the Penguins in Madagascar, would be to devalue the legitimacy of the stakes in play. Paul contended pretty roughly in his time. So much so that he was beaten up, left for dead, and probably derided, harassed and threatened. People had strong reactions to him and his story. Thank God we can carry on these discussions here in the freedom of dialogue and contention. And, if someone gets offended, they will leave, maybe just for a while. This is a compelling place talking about compelling topics. Better then the final of American Idol! See you around.

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