“Why I Love Mormonism”


Simon Critchley


Simon Critchley, a transplanted Brit and friend of Jim Faulconer’s who teaches philosophy at The New School for Social Research in New York City — he is the Hans Jonas Professor there, holding a chair named after the author of the classic The Gnostic Religion — offers an interesting and ultimately rather positive take on Mormonism:





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  • Dermfellow

    I felt uncomfortable reading this article. It seems he has a positive impression of faithful Saints, but the gratuitous jabs at the BoM and other aspects of the faith made it feel a little like the PBS Frontline “The Mormons” documentary. In the end, we’re fascinating, but absurd.

    • Daniel

      I felt the same way…

  • http://bethandherspinrad.blogspot.com Beth

    I wasn’t super impressed. I was actually a little offended that he characterized us as being so misogynistic as to grant divinity to males only.

  • Eric

    For me the most uncomfortable error was the errant emphasis on saving oneself rather than the beautiful harmony of faith and works, relying on Jesus as Savior.

  • Ben H

    I don’t know; it didn’t seem all that friendly in the end. I thought he managed to make Mormonism sound pretty weird and rather disturbing, based in significant part on falsehood or selective description, without giving enough context to see the positive side, unless either you’re a Mormon, or you are a professor of romanticism, or just find the whole business so bizarre that it gives you a good belly laugh . . .

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    I commented on the original article, but the larger question this raises for me is how someone who is intelligent and not particularly ill disposed toward Mormons can absorb some acvurate information but have such glaring gaps in his understanding, like the “no girls go to heaven” notion. Didn’t he ever review his picture of Mormons with an educated Latter-day Saint so he could root out these bloopers? Authors on most other topics usually have editors who can kick mistakes back, but knowing anything about Mormons is such an arcane subject that there is no editorial constraint whatsoever. I s there any way to get editors to contract out to real Mormons (like Jana Reiss) and catch the stupid stuff before it is spread on the internet in their publications? When I wrote an op ed piece for a legal magazine online, they had an actual editor who helped clarify what I was saying. They couldn’t afford a hundred bucks to fact check this? There must be Mormon grad students who work even cheaper.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    Oh, and he seemed to be perfectly ignorant of Orthodox teachings about theosis. A knowledgable theologian would usually compare and contrast the LDS view, but at least acknowledge that there is a parallel to a well established Christian doctribe, especially in the zoneof couplets connecting man and God. But Critchley acts like he never heard of theosis in the Orthodox or early Christian tradition.

  • http://nathanrichardson.com Nathan000000

    Raymond, I’ve frequently wondered the same thing. It would take so little effort for periodicals to fact check some of our most basic beliefs, and you could literally pay minimum wage and still attract thousands of qualified fact checkers on this topic. I know people are often cynical about the reliability of even major news sources, but the last few years has widened my eyes at just how baseless reporting can be.

    That said, I don’t think Critchley’s article was an egregious example of this. I agree with Dan that the article was definitely a big step in the right direction. He was genuinely trying to engage our beliefs.