After reading some of the Google news alerts that came across my desk in the past couple of weeks I was left pondering several questions. For instance…
On August 27th this headline appeared: “Huckabee Denies Mormon Slur.” The story was actually a transcript from a Rush Limbaugh radio interview with former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. At issue was the comment Mr. Huckabee made during his campaign when, responding to a reporter’s question, he asked, “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?” Mr. Huckabee explained to Mr. Limbaugh,
“It was a question that I actually asked of the New York Times Magazine writer, because he knew a lot more about Mormonism than I did. It appeared as 11 words in about a 10,000-word story, and that got all the play.”
The question I ponder from this story is this: Since Mormonism teaches (and hence Mormons believe) that Jesus and the devil (Lucifer) are brothers, why was Mr. Huckabee’s comment labeled a “slur”? Would it have been a slur if Mr. Huckabee had said, “Mormons believe in baptism for the dead, don’t they?” Or, “Mormons believe God appeared to a farm boy in upstate New York, don’t they?” Or, “Mormons believe in Jesus Christ, don’t they?”
On September 3rd the Salt Lake Tribune ran a story titled, “Utah Democrats back off religion-based attack on Palin.” The article reported,
“The Utah Democratic Party charged this week that Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is a ‘devout member of an anti-Mormon denomination’ and questioned whether LDS faithful should vote for her.”
As it turned out, the charge against Mrs. Palin by the Utah Democratic Party had no basis in fact:
“Palin is not a member of the church the Democrats are referencing, that church denies it is anti-Mormon and there’s no evidence of any anti-Mormon rhetoric from its pulpit.”
The Democratic Party has backed off and now says they have no plans to make Mrs. Palin’s religion an issue in the election. But one question I have been asking myself since reading this article is this: If it is bigotry to not vote for a Mormon because of his religion, isn’t it also bigotry to not vote for a non-Mormon because of her religion?
Someone who appears to be LDS (identified as ne1410s) left a comment about the Salt Lake Tribune story that included this:
The Utah Democrats have nothing to be ashamed of. Stan Lockhart’s phony righteous indignation doesn’t change the fact that the Assemblies of God [the denomination in question] are indeed anti-mormon. This is from their official web site:
The link provided by ne1410s does indeed go to the Assemblies of God web site, to an article which appeared in its denominational magazine Pentecostal Evangel in 2002. Written by former Mormon Jim Spencer, the article, titled “Is Mormonism Christian?” begins,
“Notice that the title of this article is not ‘Are Mormons Christians?’ That is a somewhat different question. No one can see into the human heart but God. No one but God is qualified to judge hearts. But, does Mormonism teach a consistent biblical doctrine — a Christian doctrine? That is an important question because we can judge the teachings of an organization. And we must do so if we are to faithfully discharge our responsibilities as Christ’s disciples.”
What follows in Mr. Spencer’s article is a look at several key doctrines (i.e., the nature of God, priesthood, grace, scripture, etc.) and how the LDS understanding of these doctrines differs from that of historic (biblical) Christianity.
My question: If it is “anti-Mormon” for a non-LDS organization to delineate some major differences between Mormonism and historic Christianity, is it also anti-Mormon when the LDS Church does the same? Or, if it has to do with the perspective of the author, should the LDS explanation of how Mormonism differs from other religions be deemed anti-evangelical? Or anti-non-Mormon? Based on the distinctions listed and explained on the LDS web site, is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints an anti-[fill-in-the-blank] denomination?
On September 4th the East Valley Tribune (Arizona) ran “Group uses billboards to reach out to ex-Mormons,” a story about PostMormon.org. The article described a recent billboard ad sponsored by the group:
“It features a generic smiling family of eight, a Post-It note that reads ‘You are not alone!’ and the Web site address: www.PostMormon.org.
The article went on to interview and record the stories of former Mormons and the feelings of loneliness they experienced after leaving the LDS Church. The article quoted an LDS spokesman in Arizona:
“I think it is another instance of people who have decided to leave the church. Generally, what we find is that oftentimes people who leave the church don’t leave quietly. [They sometimes] leave bitterly and want to make some sort of a statement.”
One Mormon (lmoll4) commented:
“Whether or not you believe what the church represents you should out of respect for other people who do believe, just leave it alone. Because you have left the church I am not going to attack you so I would hope that you would do the same. In this country we have freedo[m] of religion. Please be respectful of that.
This story raises yet more questions in my mind. If it is true that those who leave Mormonism and talk about it, that those who make statements about it are bitter and disrespectful, is it true that people who talk about having left another religion for Mormonism are also bitter and disrespectful? Are people who talk about their spiritual journeys into Mormonism attacking those who have not made the same journey? Are they infringing on the Constitutional rights of others to freely practice their own religions?
Friends, as you engage in discussion please be aware of the Mormon Coffee profanity filter that removes the Mormon N-word from comments.