Every now and then I hear a frustrated Mormon express something like this:
“Why are other churches so threatened by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Other churches even have classes against us! My Church would never do that. My Church never says anything negative about other churches.”
Apart from the fact that the LDS Church has and continues to say negative things about non-Mormon churches and beliefs, I’d like to attempt to explain, via a sort of parable, the Christian churches’ manifest evaluation of Mormonism (and other faith systems).
The Parable of the Mushroom Societies
A certain group of people loved mushrooms. They gathered together and formed a Mushroom Society. They frequently went into the woods, two by two, to hunt and gather mushrooms, later preparing meals and enjoying them together. Because some mushrooms were edible and some toxic, the Mushroom Society took great care to study mushroom characteristics, to learn to identify different species, and to understand how to prepare mushrooms for safe consumption. The society grew and flourished.
Across the county another mushroom enthusiast decided to form a similar mushroom society of his own. He talked to many people and invited them to join him in the new society he had founded: The One True Mushroom Society. While this society enjoyed mushrooms, there was only one variety they found acceptable – the cultivated white button mushroom. All other mushroom varieties were labeled bad. The One True Mushroom Society believed and taught that all other mushroom varieties were, in fact, toxic. Therefore, the only mushrooms the members of the society needed to know about were the white button mushrooms. So they grew their own mushrooms and took turns harvesting and eating them. They enjoyed their mushrooms, but they never learned anything about the hundreds of other edible mushrooms that were available – and delicious.
This simple parable should not be taken too far. I’m trying to demonstrate one basic fact: According to the LDS Church, all other churches are wrong, their creeds are an abomination, and their professors are corrupt. If this is the message (and it is), why should any time be spent educating Mormons about other faiths? Since Mormon leaders insist that the LDS Church is the “One True Church,” Mormons are expected to just believe it; what other churches teach for truth doesn’t really matter; it is enough for Latter-day Saints to be taught to group all outsiders into one big classification labeled “false.”
In contrast to the LDS Church’s position that all other churches are wrong, most non-Mormon churches recognize and acknowledge that God is present and active in multiple denominations and churches. Yet some organizations, like Mormonism, deviate so far from the fundamental essentials of the historic Christian faith that they lead people away from Christ rather than toward Him. Therefore, one reason it is important for Christians to learn about different denominations, different doctrinal systems, and different faiths is so that they are better equipped to discern the true from the false, and the (theologically) good from the bad.
Thank you for tolerating my parable. I hope it has shed some light on a subject that generally thrives in the dark.