On Mitt’s Mormonism, Are Evangelicals Witnessing Christ?

Many socially conservative evangelicals in Iowa, concerned about the prospect of a Romney presidency, and encouraged by organizations like The Family Leader and the Iowa Family Policy Center, coalesced at the last possible moment behind Rick Santorum.  Even if it was not the “landslide” for Santorum that the Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats had predicted, it was a clear indication of the discomfort many social conservatives feel when it comes to Mitt Romney.  Santorum had, for months, drawn support beneath 5% in Iowa.  After these endorsements, and as social conservatives deserted Gingrich (having crossed Bachmann, Perry, Cain and Gingrich off the list already), Santorum’s support edged sharply upward in late December and he reached roughly 25% of the caucus vote.  Roughly half of caucus-goers decided for whom to vote in the final few days; of that number, 23% chose Mitt and fully 34% chose Santorum.  32 percent of evangelicals, and 48 percent of those who ranked abortion as the most important issue shaping their vote, chose Santorum.

So, I promise that my next post will not be about politics.  But we need to consider: What are our obligations here as believers?  And what kind of witness are we giving the world to the grace and truth of Christ?

To be clear, I do not believe that evangelical distrust of Romney is entirely due to his faith. That’s a caricature.  There are other, understandable reasons why evangelicals question Romney’s social conservatism.  (I’ve addressed the abortion issue here.)  But we need to consider whether we’re responding to his Mormonism in a godly way, because Mitt’s Mormonism is a part of the evangelical response to his candidacy.

Being involved both with Patheos and with Evangelicals For Mitt, I’m in a good position to witness this.  When I published (as a part of a multi-perspective conversation on the issue) Warren Cole Smith’s “A Vote for Romney is a Vote for the LDS Church,” it evoked outrage from Mormons but also support (some of it beneath the table) from some conservative evangelicals.  When Robert Jeffress called Mormonism a “cult” and warned that evangelicals should prefer someone of their own faith, there was a fair amount of support (again, some in the open and some beneath the surface) in conservative evangelical circles.  And over the weekend I received a submission from a respected professor at a respected Christian university arguing that Evangelicals should not support a candidate whose religion is “openly hostile” to theirs, and that electing a Mormon would legitimate Mormonism in the public eye and put the salvation of many souls at stake.  I also, as a member of Evangelicals for Mitt, receive love letters like this one (edited for length), entitled “You’re NOT Evangelical!”:

I certainly don’t want someone who sees himself as “a god” who will one day rule his own universe, ruling this nation.
It’s ABOUT BETRAYING the One who DIED to save us, AND ROSE FROM THE DEAD.
It’s about having AN INSTRUMENT OF SATAN in the White House.
Evangelical, my foot…
I wonder how much Mitt is paying you to be his shill.
You, like Judas, have betrayed your alleged Master FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY.

Letters like this are, at most, mildly disturbing (if EFM received money from Mitt Romney, I wouldn’t be driving a beat-up car from 1996!), but the founders of EFM (David and Nancy French) have also received anonymous phone calls in the middle of the night threatening violence upon their family.  Letters and phone calls like these, of course, do not represent evangelicalism as a whole.  But there is an ugly side to this, and it presents a horrible witness to the world.

Put yourself in Mormon shoes for a moment.  Imagine that you have been raised to see Mormonism as thoroughly Christian, indeed a uniquely faithful recovery of original Christianity.  You’ve fought alongside evangelicals and Catholics against abortion and same-sex marriage.  And now you find evangelicals arguing that Mormonism is a cult and no Mormon can be considered for the presidency, and going to extraordinary lengths to organize against a candidate of your religion partly because of his religion.

I’ve done my best to address the arguments.  In “Is it bigotry to oppose a candidate on religious grounds?“, I actually come down in defense of the view that it’s not necessarily bigotry.  I would not be willing to vote for a Satanist, and I would have an awful hard time voting for a New Atheist.  I don’t think it’s necessarily bigoted to consider a candidate’s religious beliefs, because those religious beliefs tell us something about a person and about his values and thought processes.  There are some bigots who oppose Romney simply because they intensely dislike Mormons.  There are others who are honestly misled by the likes of Walter Martin’s The Kingdom of the Cults and various anti-cult websites that provide ridiculously caricatured pictures of Mormon beliefs and practices.  And there are others who oppose Romney because they fear that his election would fuel the growth of the LDS Church, or because they fear his Mormon beliefs would make him unsuitable or unreliable in the White House.  So the question is: Are those persuasive concerns?

So I asked, “Would a Romney Presidency fuel the growth of Mormonism?”  Some evangelicals are genuinely convinced of this; I don’t question their sincerity.  They say: electing a Mormon would legitimate what has been, until now, a marginal religious group in American life.  People who never took Mormonism seriously will investigate it.  Some will be deceived — and this places their eternal souls in jeopardy.  My view is: there’s no evidence that the election of any President has swayed the American people in favor of his religious affiliation; there’s hard evidence that Romney’s first candidacy did nothing to change public opinion about Mormonism; theologically, I believe the Election of God is infinitely more powerful than the public relations efforts of men; I believe that Mormons as such can be saved, even though I feel that official Mormon theology is deeply mistaken on some deeply important matters; and I think evangelicals should not fear people learning more about other religions.  In the current world, it’s inevitable.  And how people respond to other religions is between them and God.

Finally, I asked, “Would Romney’s Mormon beliefs make him a bad President?”  Some have argued that Romney’s commitment to Mormonism (1) shows that he is something less than fully rational, especially when it comes to matters of history, and (2) would make him subject to the authority (and the “continuing revelation”) of LDS leadership.  I don’t really know Romney’s views on the historical claims of the Mormon religion.  I find some of those historical claims incredible.  But even if he believes them wholeheartedly, it’s not hard for me to understand how an entirely rational person can be raised within a particular belief system, and even investigate its beliefs and read its apologists, and find that belief system coherent and convincing.  And Mitt has been clear that he will act in the interests of the nation and according to his political philosophy, not at the beck and call of the Mormon leadership — and his record supports him on this point.

It should also be stated that many evangelical leaders — from Chuck Colson of BreakPoint to Jim Daly of Focus on the Family to Franklin Graham — have opposed the idea that evangelicals should disqualify Romney on the basis of his Mormonism.  And I believe evangelicals will ultimately support Mitt Romney against Barack Obama.  But there remains a portion of evangelicalism that disagrees with Colson, Daly and Graham, and that is deeply uncomfortable with candidate Romney — at least in part — because of his Mormonism.

So let me issue a plea.  I am an evangelical.  I believe in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ; I believe that the grace of God in Christ is the only basis for the salvation of the world; I believe that each of us should cultivate a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, who is God made manifest in the flesh and the redeemer of those who take refuge in him; I am committed to the authority of scripture.  But I am deeply concerned that evangelical opposition to Romney, on the basis of his faith, has presented a poor witness to the world.

I don’t mind it when the world criticizes evangelicals for believing what they ought to believe and doing what they ought to do.  But I do grow concerned when my fellow evangelicals present a caricatured view of Mormonism, when they nastily criticize evangelicals who support a Mormon for the presidency, and when they show something less than the extraordinary charity and grace that Jesus showed to those whose beliefs differed from his own.  Right now, many Mormons are showing in their actions that they are moral, loving, hard-working, patriotic people.  And right now, unfortunately, some evangelicals are showing in their actions that they are uninformed, ungracious, and more “us against them” than “let us reason together.”  Again, some of my friends raised legitimate concerns, and legitimately are concerned about them.  For others, I fear the arguments are cover for their personal dislike of Mormonism and Mormons.

So please, if you must oppose a Mormon because he is a Mormon, do better.  Do it with a massive, meticulous commitment to the truth.  Do it with an equally extravagant grace, love and humility.  And don’t simply assume that because you believe Mormonism is wrong or weird, that you must oppose a Mormon candidate for the presidency.

Show that you’ve done your homework — not proof-texting Mormon beliefs on the basis of obscure nineteenth century Mormon figures, or even pulling together non-canonical comments from the likes of Brigham Young and Joseph Smith, but really looking at the current, modern, official teachings of the Mormon church.  Moreover, show that you understand how those comments — and how the Mormon scriptures — are interpreted by the present-day LDS church.  And show in your words and deeds that you’re speaking out of concern for the truth and concern for souls, not out of prejudice and suspicion of those who are different.

The world is watching — and rightly or not, it will judge the evangelical proclamation on the basis of the actions of public evangelicals.  Again, consider these questions: What are my actions witnessing to the world?  And what are they witnessing to Mormons?  If you don’t like the answers to those questions, then perhaps you should reconsider what you’re saying and doing.

About Timothy Dalrymple

Timothy Dalrymple was raised in non-denominational evangelical congregations in California. The son and grandson of ministers, as a young boy he spent far too many hours each night staring at the ceiling and pondering the afterlife.
 
In all his work he seeks a better understanding of why people do, and do not, come to faith, and researches and teaches in religion and science, faith and reason, theology and philosophy, the origins of atheism, Christology, and the religious transformations of suffering

  • Bill Huber

    I think your argument held more weight in 2008 when the choices were McCain (the “Maverick” and a man of utterly unreliable political principles) and Huckabee (perhaps more consistent from a moral values perspective, but certainly not an economic conservative.) This year, there were two reliable deeply principled conservatives (Santorum and Bachmann), one potentially reliable deeply principled conservative (Perry – but it’s still hard to get past his early history as an Al Gore supporter), a conservative who defies easy categorization and has expressed remorse for past moral inconsistencies (Newt) and a moderate who is a talented and pleasant man, but who is the East Coast GOP establishment candidate (and we know how those politics work) and who happens to be Mormon. There are just so many better choices that we don’t have to settle for Mitt.

    • Shane

      I am LDS. Since Mitt Romney entered the race for president, I have been sickened by the lies, distortions, insinuations and outright hatred that seems to have infected many of the Evangelicals that I see on the internet. Prior to Mitt entering the fray, the ratio of anti-Mormon to LDS sites has bloomed to approximately 30-to-1. Reading this website restores my faith in humanity. How refreshing to see someone make a point without name calling and mockery of things that I consider sacred. We fear what we do not understand. Mr. Darymple has studied the church from many different perspectives, and, while he does not believe that Mormon doctrine is correct, he takes the time to avail himself of knowledge regarding the church and its members, and he very fairly comes to the conclusion that being a “me too” Christian because of Calvinist dogma does not make one a follower of Christ. Our choices, our actions as individuals are what makes one a true follower of Christ. And no, Mormons DO NOT believe that we can work our way back to God. Instead, we believe that it is Christ who will judge us according to our use of free agency in the lifelong pursuit of obedience. Instead, our belief, found in the Book of Mormon in 2nd Nephi 25:23 – “We labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” I realize that Calvin’s teachings indicate that man is infinitely depraved; incapable of ANY good act because only God is capable of good. Instead, God chooses those who ultimately pass on to Heaven as well as those who have qualified for Hell. For the devoted member of the LDS church, this doctrine is puzzling. If we have free will, but have no capability of using that free will for anything good, that only God MAKES us good, and He chooses who is destined for Heaven or Hell, then why are we here? Why do we have a mortal body? How can a God who is good, arbitrarily choose who makes it and who doesn’t? How is it possible to have free will, but be predestined so far as our reward in Heaven? If we cannot choose good, and our eternal reward is set, then what is the purpose of the atonement of Jesus Christ? Why is it hubris to constantly strive for perfection? Wasn’t this the admonition given by Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:48? This is what I believe. We strive, we repent, we return to the bar to cleanse our sins in the atonement of Jesus Christ. Only He is capable of judging us. That judgement is not akin to man’s legal system. In our country, the eyes of Justice (the woman who holds a scale, standing with her eyes blindfolded)are shaded. It is in this imperfection that the difference between God’s judgement and the judgement of man is manifest. We cannot know the heart of the sinner. We cannot know the influences(biological, genetic, social or circumstance) that formed the heart of the sinner and led to the commission of sin. Christ will be our judge, saving those who battle throughout life to do all that they can to return to Him, forever seeking the majesty of the grace of the infinite atonement to cleanse them of that which keeps them from Heaven by the taint of mortality. No matter our abilities, no matter our weaknesses, we, of our own volition could never possibly overcome sin without the grace of Christ.

  • Laura

    I’m a cradle Catholic who spent 30 years as an Evangelical. Frankly, after on-going study of the theology in Evangelicalism, I’ve recovered a bit and found myself in Orthodoxy. Something about the view of sin and the history of atonement theory in the West. But I digress… (Although, I wonder, at times, how can reasonable scholarly types believe this stuff??? ;D )

    As a reasonably educated Christian, I find it striking that Romney and Santorum are both, in their theological philosophies, two sides of the same coin: they are both gnostics. For Romney, his gnosticism is embodied in his adherence to LDS Temple rites and rituals (in the transition from Catholic to Evangelical, my new Husband and I were Mormons for about three years…long enough to know whereof I speak). For Santorum, his gnosticism is, perhaps, less obvious (Knight of Malta, regularly attends the Latin/Tridentine form of the Catholic Mass, and has been in Rome to offer prayers for the late founder of Opus Dei). Isn’t it the hubris of expecting “something more”, an “inside track” to salvation that should be of concern to Evangelicals? And this idea is behind so many subtle teachings within the Church; its not just in the obvious false teachings of Mormonism or JWs or, dare I say, PreMillenialism/Chiliasm (a heresy decried in the 4th C…what was that about knowing one’s history?).

    Of course, in our American past, as exploited by Hollywood, we’ve had Freemasons as President(s) and we had Freemasons as Founding Fathers. One can visit the old Masonic Temple in Colonial Williamsburg. But did electing George Washington make Masonic Brotherhood grow? Did the Catholic Church have a sudden upswing in membership during the Presidency of JFK? Then there are the Greek Societies: do Fraternities grow with each Presidential election (assuming each President has pledged a frat house in college)???

    So. How does one approach this in Christian love and forbearance? Give to Caesar what is due him; give to God what is due Him. Who best points to Christ? Who best embodies the Gospel? Who actually lives the Gospel of Christ as opposed to giving lip-service to it? And look beyond the religious trappings into the business dealings, financial accountability, home life, et alia of those concerned. And remember: love bears all things. Are we bearing all things in love? or are we simply judging (See 1Corinthians 5:12…) and judging wrongly? Did Jesus advocate for a Christian Emperor? Should we even be entertaining the idea of a Christian President? But, again…I digress…

    • Joe

      I enjoyed your comment and enjoyed the article. This might be a digression, but I don’t know why people feel that Mormons are closer to Gnosticism than others. I’m a simple factory worker, and perhaps not as educated as you are, but Mormons do tend to be more educated than many other Christians, and also most Americans. Many Mormons hold Chairs at prestigious universities.
      In my studies I’ve found that ancient Christian Temple rites were mainstream, and are still practiced by LDS, the Armenian Apostolic Church (oldest surviving Christian Church) and others. In fact, The Church of the Holy Sepulcher (the holiest spot on earth for most Christians) was originally a Christian Temple, and the rites practiced there were closely related to LDS Temples.
      Gnostics, as I understand them, varied widely in their beliefs. Muslims and many Christians of today are much closer to some of Gnosticism than LDS. Some Gnostics, were trained in neo-platonic philosophy (mingling Plato with scripture) and held to the idea that God was one of Plato’s Forms (the One One, the god without a companion, without body, passions, parts, etc was developed by Philosophers, some predating Christ). I recently read a book that supplied evidence that Mohammed studied among these Gnostic philosophers, and some Gnostics and Muslims held so firmly to their idea of the Companionless God, who could never live on an earth, have a body, be born of Mary, die etc, that they fabricated stories either claiming that Jesus wasn’t God the Son, or claiming that, if He was God the Son, He wasn’t really born of a lowly physical woman. For them, He certainly didn’t die (some claimed Jesus watched from the side etc) LDS on the other hand, assert that God did become man, born of a Virgin, and He did die, and God the Son sits on the right hand of God The Father (as Stephen testified, although the philosophers: Alexandrians etc, stopped their ears at his testimony….)

      • http://NewTestamentTempleRitual.blogspot.com Mormons Are Christian

        Joe,
        I have also studied the striking similarities between the temple ordinances given by Jesus Christ to the Apostles and the Seventy during his 40 days between his Resurrection and Ascension. Don´t theologians wonder why there is next to nothing said about these 40 days? Find the details here:

        http://NewTestamentTempleRitual.blogspot.com

        It is clear to me why Fourth Century councils wanted to expunge the Canon of its esoteric elements. Fortunately, the Nag Hamadi discoveries shed light on Early Christian Temple practices.

        • StrokerMcgurk

          Mormons are Christians, I agree. Catholics are not, they are idol worshippers. They worship humans. The “Holy Father”? Who? The pope? There’s only been one Holy Person on this earth and that has been Jesus Christ. Certainly not some fat, pedophile hoarding guy in a clown’s outfit hiding in the Vatican.

      • http://www.Mormon.org Jed

        Well said Joe! :)

        ALL Mormons are Christians. We take upon us the name of Christ at baptism and renew that relationship weekly as we take the sacrament.

        Christ and family are the focus of our temple worship.

        We not only believe in Christ, but try to teach and do his sayings. To me, that qualifies one as a follower of Christ, if not someone’s narrow definition of what is “Christian.” Certainly it should be Christ, not fourth century creeds or 21st century Bible-centric faiths that lack Apostles, Prophets or Christ in their midst that define what it means to follow Christ and be called in his name.

        I think it should matter more to people whether Christ thinks they are a Christian than whether they think Mormons are Christians. :)

    • Lance Miller

      Gnostics had a tendency to elevate God to such a high position that they believed he couldn’t have been capable of creating imperfect humans, and along with that, they completely destroyed Man’s relationship to God. More than any other Christian denomination that I’m aware of, Mormons believe in a very personal God, and a very personal Atonement. So many Christians say, “Jesus is my personal Savior” or “Jesus died for me.” Mormons don’t use the Cross as a symbol because we believe that the important part is that Jesus lived, and lives for each of us. His actual death on the cross was probably the least important event that’s took place that week. More important was what He did in Gethsemane the night before, and the fact that His tomb was empty the next morning. His death was important because it was necessary for His resurrection.

      But, as so many Evangelicals keep saying, Mormons’s aren’t Christian because we believe that Jesus is the literal Son of God, and not God the Father made flesh. (Which is still partially true in that Jesus is Jehovah of the Old Testament). It really all comes down to the Trinity, which also happens to be a 4th century invention from the Council of Nicaea… Any doctrine denounced as a heresy after about 300 AD is probably true. Not everything, but there’s a pretty good chance… after the Apostles were killed, there was no leadership in God’s Church. Constantine created modern “Christianity” and he was partially responsible for the mainstream adoption of the Trinity, and the Bible definitely doesn’t support such a notion, so why should our faith and salvation be put into question because we don’t believe the doctrines that a pagan 4th Century Roman Emperor decided he liked?

      And if you want tot try and switch it over from our actual belief in Christ to our belief in scripture outside of the Bible, then go read the Book of Mormon for yourself. In it’s 531 pages, you won’t find more than a handful of pages that don’t teach about Jesus Christ. Mosiah 3:17 says, “And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” That sounds pretty Christian to me…

      • Joe

        Once again, I hope not to bury the many wonderful comments below, those makink only one comment are often the best….I know I’m wordy….sorry, but just want to say:
        Thanks for the link “Mormons are Christian,” and thanks Lance.
        I’d like to add that Patrapassionism was condemned as a heresy. This idea that Jesus was God the Father (Patra), and suffered on the cross (Passion) is still officially condemned by most Christian leaders (who agree more with the LDS view than they know I think this link discusses:

        http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_nature_of_God/Trinity/Nicene_creed

        but many Christians still believe that Jesus is identical with His Father.

        The Bible leads me to believe false Christs entered in very early and included the god of the philosophers (for more see FAIR lds etc or for non-lds sources search for info on the neo-platonic God, the god of Xenophanes etc, see the book “ The God of the Philosophers,” etc).

        This false Christ was taught by the philosophers who had not “BOTH Father and Son,” 2John1:9 .

        Here is a link to the book “Restoring the Ancient Church” which discusses how so many Christians were led away by the philosophies of men that most “Christians” rejected the apostles while some of them were still alive!
        http://www.fairlds.org/Restoring_the_Ancient_Church/chap02.html
        The book outlines how philosophers and others could not accept the doctrines taught by Jesus and His apostles, and that most of them were eventually censored away.
        Here are two quotes of the beginning:
        “In the last few years before John, the last Apostle, was taken from the Church, he recorded more indications of the rebellion that was about to find its fulfillment. John complained that a certain local leader in the Church, Diotrephes, would not receive John’s letters and turned out “the brethren” from the Church as well as those who would receive them:…(3 John 9-10)”
        “…(2 Timothy 4:3-5) Notice how Paul entreated Timothy to do his duty as an evangelist, but indicated that the Church in general would forsake the faith. In the same letter Paul intimated that “all they which are in Asia be turned away from me” (2 Timothy 1:15)…” He explains that many if not most Christians lived in Asia Minor at that time. (That from John G. Davies, The Early Christian Church (New York: Anchor Books…).

      • utahdane

        Actually Mormons do not wear crosses because in the nineteenth century Catholics wore crosses and Brigham Young did not want Mormons to be confused with Catholics so he encouraged Mormons not to wear crosses so people would not thing that they were Catholic.

        • debbie

          Actually it was discouraged for members of the LDS Church to wear crosses, unless this has changed in the last ten years, it is the same.

          Brigham Young had a cross torn down off the graves of the mass murdered southerns in Utah by Mormons, . See Frank Kirkmans’ Mountains Meadows Massacre September 11, 1857 website.

    • James Lange

      Please, too all who have described visions and advice from corporeal figures, described as “Holy Ghost”, you are suffering from a positive symptom of either schizophrenia or a schizo-affective disorder, you must recieve treatment. Please tell your family member or physician if you experience these hallucinations in the future- there are some very safe and effective atypical antipsychotic medication available today.

  • Kent

    I think it is time that you start visiting with Bill McKeever of Mormonism Research Ministry to get the current drift of Mormonism and their current “cultic” teachings. McKeever’s staff does more than “proof-texting Mormon beliefs on the basis of obscure nineteenth century Mormon figures, or even pulling together non-canonical comments from the likes of Brigham Young and Joseph Smith”, they look at the current trends within the LDS community.

    Learn more at http://www.mrm.org.

    • Joe

      I think, if we are to truly understand Mormons, we should probably go to http://mormon.org/ In all of my research I have never found an anti-Mormon source that was not dishonest, misleading, or mocking of things sacred to others. Most of them stand to benefit from maligning and bearing false witness against their neighbors. And, let’s face it, if they were really telling you what Mormons believe they would tell you to go to Mormon org and Mormons would be thankful that someone was getting out the word for them… For questions about issues raised by anti-Mormons there are also several LDS websites FAIR lds, Maxwell, FARMS etc. Try all for a balanced view.

      • http://mittromney2012potus.blogspot.com/ Debbie

        FAIR and FARMS is run by the Mormon Church and Royal Skousen works for them. Royal needs to tell his Skousen family to straighten up and to stop being abusive.

        • DougH

          While FARMS is affiliated with BYU, FAIR is not affiliated with the Church other than being run by Mormons.

        • wendi chamberlain

          Thou shalt not lie
          Though shalt not bear false witness

          • debbie

            I don’t how about you.

      • Michael

        Wow Joe, I completely agree about “In all of my research I have never found an anti-Mormon source that was not dishonest, misleading, or mocking of things sacred to others.” Intellectually dishonest as pretty much all the anti-mormon garbage I’ve heard. Funny how in a world of (how many billions now?) incredibly rich religious heritage and diversity, some feel it incumbent to smear others. And to think people buy into it. Christ-like much?

      • http://www.EvidenceMinistries.org Keith Walker

        The term “Anti-Mormon” is a bigoted, thought stopping term used for the purpose of silencing critics of the Mormon Church. If you don’t like the word “cult” being applied to you, then please do not use the term “anti-Mormon” in your description of ministries like Mormonism Research Ministry.

        http://www.EvidenceMinistries.org

        • nvlawyer

          The term Anti-Mormon attaches to anyone who lies to achieve an advantage over the LDS Church. We can argue differences in doctrine all day long, but when you lie about beliefs, or spin an obscure LDS doctrine in such a way as to make it look stupid out of context — you are an Anti-Mormon.

          Let us disagree on doctrine and discuss the merits of such doctrine in a non-offensive, non-accusatory manner and the truth will prevail in the end. If we don’t care for the truth of the matter, then we are simply bigots.

    • utahdane

      Oh yea wow Bill Mckeever is such as wise intellectual. Tanners came the closest to be smart Anti Mormons, but they only had a college degree. The rest of the Anti Mormons have been pathetic idiots.

      • utahdane

        Correction Tanners only had a high school education.

  • mcurt2s

    Eric Metaxas laments the Biblical illiteracy of the media. How about the Biblical illiteracy of many Evangelicals, who should know better? Some have told me that they don’t read the Old Testament, because it’s “irrelevant.” In it, we read that God sends His people to Egypt to save them from famine. There the children of Israel grow into a great nation until a pharaoh arises who did not remember Joseph. The prophet Jeremiah encourages God’s people to submit to the conquering Babylonians. God uses Cyrus, a Persian pagan, to bless His people and return them to Jerusalem.

    Jesus does nothing to encourage rebellion against Rome, and the influence of Greek paradigms and logic are plain to see in the NT. God can use anything or anyone He chooses, and I think He could bless our nation through a president of a different faith.

    • http://mittromney2012potus.blogspot.com/ Debbie

      maybe, but that person is NOT Mitt Romney. I have posted below on this thread a few reasons why and many more are found on the blog below.

      Read more on Romney corruption at:
      http://mittromney2012potus.blogspot.com/

      • Joe

        I don’t want to bury the wonderful comments below, but want to say that Debbie seems to be very actively selling the anti-Mormon book and blog that she runs. I don’t know about Debbie, but I have found, in every case, that people who stand to gain from attacking Mormons do not hesitate to fabricate stories and even alter documents. It is a billion dollar business, and with FAIR lds and so on anti-Mormons are left to be increasingly outrageous to make that sale.
        I also want to counter the claims, below, that Mormons are prejudiced. This is another anti-Mormon myth. My family is racially mixed (African American/Irish American etc) and many LDS, if not most, are women of color.
        Please see on FAIR lds Are Mormons prejudiced? (there are actually about thirty articles), and the link on FAIR lds to Black lds.
        Anti-Mormons in the 19th Century attacked Mormons for our pro-Black stances. The very first LDS paper called for an end to slavery. And one of the fist anti-Mormon publications said:
        The believers in this miserable production, are known by the name of “Mormonites,” and their book is commonly called “The book of Mormon.”…”Among them is a man of color, a chief man…”
        Joseph Smith had given priesthood to Blacks and taught they were equal to whites.
        These attacks eventually turned to rape, massacre, tar and feathers etc.

        I really enjoyed an article on Black lds by Juliann Reynolds
        Here is a quote:
        “In response to their shockingly polemical treatment of a serious and critical issue facing all religions, I will display to the reader what…(anti-Mormons) cherry-picked in their opening salvo. Next, we will discuss the double standard that anti-Mormons apply to the LDS Church while nervously whistling past the graveyard of their own troubled religious history. Last, it is time to ask a question of those who continue to pit racial groups against one another in the name of Christ. Are they guilty of engaging in a subtle but virulent racism by reducing the black race to nothing more than a convenient brickbat in their polemical assaults on other Christians?” ( Juliann discusses some of the racism in others Churches, America, and so on and contrasts that to what Mormons REALLY believe, and taught previously and now, he quotes conferences and so on. Did Tanya check it out?? She seems to have read all the Journal’s of discourses when she was “investigating” the Church, but she must have missed a whole bunch of stuff there : ) )

        Also check these:
        http://bookofmormonresearch.org/black_mormons
        http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/response/qa/blacks_prejudice.htm

        My favorite Christmas special this year was Alex Boye, “The song that changed my life.” Watch it, he is a truly amazing Black LDS. The story of how he rose from homelessness to renowned musician changed my life.

      • Michael

        “Romney corruption”? Quite an oxy-moron, he’s as straight as they get. Those views of your definitely are not mainstream and documented/confirmed by a consensus of journalists that tend to sniff out and pounce on such things. But I guess it’s a conspiracy… Sanctorum and Romney both have my confidence on “corruption” issues.

        • http://deborahaskousen.blogspot.com/ Debbie

          then it is a very scary thing if Mitt is as straight as they get, because Romney is as straight as the Snake River.

  • DougH

    As a Mormon, during the 2008 Republican primaries I found Huckabee’s appeals to anti-Mormon bigotry, both in bringing up points of Mormon doctrine that are irrelevant to a candidate’s political positions as well as encouraging people to vote for him because he’s a Christian (and Romney supposedly isn’t), so insulting that to this day I cannot bear to watch him – I have never seen his show, and any time he is brought on other shows as a commentator the mute button gets pushed. That bigot has nothing to say that I have any interest in listening to. For me, anyone that Huckabee endorses has a strike against him.

    In this current election cycle, I became a Republican the day after ObamaCare passed Congress – before that, I had been an Independent all my life, though with a strong tendency to vote Republican in general elections. Since I joined, while I haven’t donated my time, thanks to health issues and the needs of earning a living, I have donated my money and my time at work it represents and will donate more in the new year. But if Romney loses either the nomination or the election and it comes out that our shared faith is a primary reason for his rejection by fellow Republicans, I will be out of the Republican Party as abruptly as I joined. I will not be a member of an organization that is happy to have my people’s support as foot soldiers and funding sources but believes that our faith disqualifies us for a place in the leadership.

    • NPSMITH

      After reading hundreds of posts in the comments sections of daily online newspapers, it’s obvious to me that the only people mocking Romney for his faith are Democrats. Absurd and cruel comments in support of Obama. I don’t expect the Democrat leadership to openly attack Mormonism, but their base is already hard at work.

      • Jody

        And yet, they have no problem with Harry Reid being a Mormon……

      • DougH

        It’s true that so far, the Republican candidates have avoided it, certainly better than Huckabee did. Not all of their supporters have been as discreet, but to date it’s been on the fringe and in columnists’ comments sections. We’ll see if things stay this civil as the campaign continues – If Romney quickly moves into the lead I expect there won’t be much, but if the race stays close things could get ugly.

        The point of my little rant is that there is more than one way of Witnessing for Christ, and Dalrymple is right. I have been studying my faith – its history, official doctrine and unofficial theology, how it fits into the Middle East and Mesoamerica – all my adult life. The odds that I will ever leave the Church is pretty much nil, but those odds are not enhanced by pouring the kind of hate and scorn I saw in the 2008 primaries and have seen on the fringes so far this time around on one of the central pillars of my life.

    • utahdane

      I also am a Mormon and I agree. I am also a Republican. If Mitt is not elected because of his religion, I will be voting third party, but I will not vote for Donald.

  • Rod S.

    Hi Timothy, I highly respect your thinking and writing, but I do think you are wandering close to the edge of partisanship with your seeming apologies of Mitt. As you say, there are plenty of non-theological reasons for an evangelical to not be excited about Romney. It’s your blog, so do as you see best, but if you want to promote Mitt, then you will lose at least one fan… at least during the campaign season!

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Hey Rod. I understand where you’re coming from. I am an open supporter of Mitt’s, and I’d encourage other writers to be open about who — if anyone — they think can most help the country right now. I thought it important to explain why I think Mitt’s that guy, and important to address some of the more weighty religious and political issues around his campaign. But at the same time, I do not intend for this to become Mitt Romney central. I’ll be writing something entirely different tomorrow :-)

      God bless,

      Tim

    • Lee M

      It amazes me to see people cite theological reasons for bashing Mitt Romney while proclaiming themselves to be Evangelicals. Romney married his childhood sweetheart and has remained faithfully married to her for over 40 years. Many who proclaim themselves Evangelical are OK with sex outside marriage and live together without sanctifying their union. Romney is not hateful, but many Evangelicals are. Romney has not deserted his family, has cared for his wife who suffers from severe illnesses, donates generously to charities, has cared for the poor in his capacity as a lay minister for his church… while many evangelicals divorce several times, do not give to charities, desecrate the sabbath, and make fun of Mitt Romney because he uses clean language. Robotic, they say. I ask: who is really showing true Christ-like atributes? Get off your religious bias and look at a person’s values individually. I am a Christian who will vote for Romney and I’m proud of it.

  • Brian

    “I certainly don’t want someone who sees himself as “a god”

    The irony of course is that this is exactly what the Jews accused Jesus of, and he rebuked them because their own scriptures say “ye are gods”. Today’s Christians are Jesus’ Jews. They are figuratively stoning Mormons for blasphemy, and yet Mormons time and again, prove from the Bible their beliefs.

    • http://NewTestamentTempleRitual.blogspot.com Mormons Are Christian

      Divinization, narrowing the space between God and humans, was part of Early Christian belief. St. Athanasius of Alexandria (Eastern Orthodox) wrote, regarding theosis, “The Son of God became man, that we might become God.” . Irenaeus wrote in the Second Century: ” we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length god s” . . Justin Martyr, in the same century wrote: “all men ar deemed worthy of becoming ‘gods’, and of having power to become sons of the Highest . . .” Jerome wrote that God “made man for that purpose, that from men they may become gods.” Clement of Alexandria said worthy men “are called by the appellation of gods, being destined to sit on thrones with the other gods that have been first put in their places by the Savior.” Origen in reference to 1 Corinthians 8:5-6 said “Now it is possible that some may dislike what we have said representing the Father as the one true God, but admitting other beings besides the true God, who have become gods by having a share of God . . As, then there are many gods, but to us there is but one God the Father, and many Lords, but to us there is one Lord, Jesus Christ. ” . The Gospel of Thomas (which pre-dates the 4 Gospels, but was considered non-canonical by the Nicene Council) quotes the Savior: “He who will drink from my mouth will become as I am: I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him,” (Gospel of Thomas 50, 28-30, Nag Hammadi Library in English, J.M.Robinson, 1st ed 1977; 3rd ed. 1988) The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) agrees with all these Early Christian writers regarding theosis.

      Confirming the views of Origen, LDS Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie said: “There is and can only be one who is supreme, who is the head and to who all the others are subject”.

      • nvlawyer

        Very good research and a solid slam upon those who would misuse this doctrine for their own improper purposes — e.g., to slam Mormons on an obviously Biblical principle that they simply don’t understand — or willfully misrepresent for personal gain.

  • TJ R.

    I have not seen a more rational, fair, or Christ-like response than this. You treat a subject that you personally disagree with with respect, even standing up for the underdog and calling out self-proclaimed “Christians” to ACT like it, instead of acting more like the Jewish Sanhedrin… Our WORDS may make us feel safe and warm, but we will be judged on if we truly accepted our Master, and aspired to be like Him.

    If Christ’s great message was love – and if the “greatest commandment[s]” HINGE on love – we would do best to display such. I don’t even care if a person inwardly disagrees with an entire faith – like you’ve mentioned in the article, certain faiths would keep ME from

    • Michael

      Well said TJ R. I completely agree, the author should be commended. Were more Christians to demonstrate a balance and strength of such discipleship AND reason. Imagine how much better the world would be.

  • http://www.message4mormons.co.uk Andrew Price

    I am very sad to see what you have posted.Mormonism is a most grievous heresy and must be resisted.May I remind you that Romney participated in a secret ceremony which traduced the Christian minister as being “in the hire and pay of Satan”.Further they teach that black people are cursed with the mark of Cain.However most crucially is the opprobrium they heap on the Lord Jesus Christ.I doubt if many American Christians would dream of voting for a Muslim , yet Mormonism is more heretical than Islam.These things matter and they should matter to you if you are a Christian .

    • Grant Allen

      Im sorry, but you need to inform yourself before making claims like this.
      How can a religion claiming Christ to be the son of God be more Heretical than one that denies his divinity? Also the “mark of Cain” comment is taken completely out of contest. There is no more dangerous an enemy than ignorance.

      • Joe

        I agree with Grant, there is so much misinformation about members of Christ’s Church out there, that is what is truly sad. If other Christians truly understood Mormonism they would be shouting for joy.

        My above comment doesn’t seem to have made it past monitors, so I’ll try a shorter version.
        Anti-Mormons in the 19th Century attacked Mormons for our pro-Black stances. The very first LDS paper called for an end to slavery. And one of the fist anti-Mormon publications said:
        The believers in this miserable production, are known by the name of “Mormonites,” and their book is commonly called “The book of Mormon.”…”Among them is a man of color, a chief man…”
        Joseph Smith had given priesthood to Blacks and taught they were equal to whites.
        These attacks eventually turned to rape, massacre, tar and feathers etc.

        I really enjoyed an article on Black lds by Juliann Reynolds
        Here is a quote:
        “In response to their shockingly polemical treatment of a serious and critical issue facing all religions, I will display to the reader what…(anti-Mormons) cherry-picked in their opening salvo. Next, we will discuss the double standard that anti-Mormons apply to the LDS Church while nervously whistling past the graveyard of their own troubled religious history. Last, it is time to ask a question of those who continue to pit racial groups against one another in the name of Christ. Are they guilty of engaging in a subtle but virulent racism by reducing the black race to nothing more than a convenient brickbat in their polemical assaults on other Christians?” ( Black lds member, Juliann, discusses some of the racism in others Churches, America, and so on and contrasts that to what Mormons REALLY believe, and taught previously and now, he quotes MLK, official LDS statements, conferences and so on.)

        Also check these:
        http://bookofmormonresearch.org/black_mormons
        http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/response/qa/blacks_prejudice.htm

        My favorite Christmas special this year was Alex Boye, the song that changed my life, watch it, he is a truly amazing Black lds. The story of how he rose from homelessness to renowned musician changed my life.

        • Joe

          Oops, one part I cut out was the fact that my family is racially mixed (African American) and I haven’t looked up stats on this, but I think if we counted all the LDS most would not be white.

        • cedar212

          I joined the Mormon Church when I was 19 and felt very blessed, but at 57, I am sure it is a sham. It has reeks of “cultism”. I’ve been to the temple. How can a Mormon overlook that in the ceremonies there is no mention of Jesus Christ, that Lucifer bestows the priesthood on Adam and Eve, and that the accepted sacrifice is from Cain, not Abel? How can you overlook that. To be advised to never read anything outside the Church about the Church? Are you kidding me. Three visits to the temple and I was done. Period. I think the whole Satan stuff is totally bullshit. God loves me, but if I fail to receive the message of Christ, I am eternally doomed. Is that how you love your children? Do what I say, or else? I found all my answers thru prayer and the Urantia Book.

          • nvlawyer

            Given your comments, I can only believe you are misrepresenting your activity in the church and most certainly the Temple ordinances. To say they don’t represent Christ? Are you kidding me. Unbelievable what some people will say to be noticed on comments. You can comment all you want on Mormon temple rites, but at least tell the truth — or go back to school to learn how to listen and observe at least 10% of what you see and hear.

    • Brian

      Andrew, when your name links to a bigoted anti-mormon website that lies about what Mormons believe and teach, why should I trust you to be telling the truth?

    • Scott

      Wow, nothing you said is correct. Educate yourself from better sources.

    • Michael

      Ignorance at its best.

    • Lance Miller

      The mark is from Ham, not Cain. Cain was cursed to be a vagabond, and his skin was marked so that people wouldn’t kill him. Blacks aren’t cursed because of Cain. It is true that blacks couldn’t hold the Priesthood up until the ’60s, but that has nothing to do with Cain, and everything to do with Ham, the son of Noah. Ham tried to steal the Priesthood from Noah, and was therefore cursed. The curse was that his posterity would not be allowed to hold the Priesthood until the Last Days. The dark skin was to designate who his posterity was.

      Like Grant said, be informed before you make stupid comments.

      Islam teaches that Jesus was a failed prophet, and that he was not divine. How is that acceptable, but the belief (taught in the Bible) that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is a heresy?

      • Richard

        Wait, that’s the defense? That the guy posting the comment got the reference wrong? Its still an absurd doctrine and offensive to the Christian gospel of all men being made in the image of God and reconciled in Christ.

  • jb

    I enjoyed the essence on this article – excelent thinking. I’m a Mormon, and while we disagree on some points of docterine, I think we are both honestly trying to do what we think is right and what God wants us to do. I loved your paragraph that starts “I don’t mind it when the world criticizes evangelicals for believing what they ought to believe and doing what they ought to do.” That’s exactly how I feel about the critisim of my faith.

    People often quote Mathew 7:20 to me, and my response is always read the next verse – by their fruits ye shall know them.

    I appreciate you recognizing that if Evangelicals feel they are right, then their works and witness should show their faith. Again, well thought out point. I agree with that 100%!

    • http://NewTestamentTempleRitual.blogspot.com Mormons Are Christian

      By their fruits “ye shall know them”: The 2005 National Study of Youth and Religion published by UNC-Chapel Hill found that Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) youth (ages 13 to 17) were more likely to exhibit these Christian characteristics than Evangelicals (the next most observant group):

      http://mormonteenagersreligiousity.blogspot.com/

      1. Attend Religious Services weekly
      2. Importance of Religious Faith in shaping daily life – extremely important
      3. Believes in life after death
      4. Does NOT believe in psychics or fortune-tellers
      5. Has taught religious education classes
      6. Has fasted or denied something as spiritual discipline
      7. Sabbath Observance
      8. Shared religious faith with someone not of their faith
      9. Family talks about God, scriptures, prayer daily
      10. Supportiveness of church for parent in trying to raise teen (very supportive)
      11. Church congregation has done an excellent job in helping teens better understand their own sexuality and sexual morality

      LDS Evangelical
      1. 71% 55%
      2. 52 . . 28
      3. 76 . .62
      4. 100 . 95
      5. 42 . . 28
      6. 68 . . 22
      7. 67 . . 40
      8. 72 . . 56
      9. 50 . . 19
      10 65 . . 26
      11 84 . . 35

      So what do you think the motivation is for the Evangelical preachers to denigrate the Mormon Church? You would think Evangelical preachers would be emulating Mormon practices (a creed to believe, a place to belong, a calling to live out, and a hope to hold onto) which were noted by Methodist Rev. Kenda Creasy Dean of the Princeton Theological Seminary, as causing Mormon teenagers to “top the charts” in Christian characteristics. It seems obvious pastors shouldn’t be denigrating a church based on First Century Christianity, with high efficacy. The only plausible reason to denigrate Mormons is for Evangelical pastors to protect their flock (and their livelihood).

  • TJ R.

    (cont’d) voting for a candidate, simply because I don’t think that candidate would uphold MY ideals or MY values. I honestly believe we’re entitled to not vote for Mitt Romney because he’s LDS, to not vote for John F. Kennedy because he’s Catholic, or to not vote for Rick Perry because he’s Evangelical – as free Americans, we’re all entitled to that, although I wish we’d open our eyes to see a little more.

    But I would never betray my Master – nor His teachings – and treat another person, regardless of their beliefs, in such an UNChrist-like way. The threats to your family, and heavy-handed tactics are blatant grievances for anyone who proclaims to follow the Savior. I’m sorry for you and your experiences, and with sorrow I acknowledge that as all men will one day account to their Maker for their time here on earth, those individuals will account for their actions and thoughts in this instance also. I personally believe that the Savior would be akin to ashamed to see anyone profess His name, and yet act so vehemently and belligerenly.

    Thank you for such an unbiased view, and for your Christ-like concessions to all men. I hope many people are blessed to find this article, and regardless of their individual beliefs, recognize the truth you’ve brought up about acting like Christ no matter the situation. And as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (“mormon”), I’m simply grateful for your respect and charitable treatment of a faith that you ultimately COMPLETELY disagree with in multiple ways – THAT shows more commitment to follow Jesus Christ than anything else in this arena.

    With respect and appreciation,

    Another Follower of Christ

  • mcurt2s

    An “angel” appeared to Mohammed and gave him a different gospel, and an “angel” appeared to Joseph Smith and did the same. You’re right that Mormonism is not Christianity. But it’s been around long enough that I think it’s best to think of it as a different religion rather than as a heresy or cult.

    My earlier post was saying that there’s Biblical precedent for the idea that God can use people of other faiths.

    • JaOlson

      The angel that appeared to Joseph Smith preached the gospel of repentance and of salvation through the blood of Christ Jesus the Son of God.

    • Scott

      Mormonism isn’t a Protestant religion, but it certainly is Christian. It’s a restorationist church that rejects the Nicene Creed of the 4th century.

    • John

      Before an angel appeared to Joseph in 1823, and subsequently thereafter in multiple visions, in 1820, after reading James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men librally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” Joseph put this scripture to the test and was visited by God the Father and the Son. They revealed and restored truths that were lost; opening communications with the heavens to man on earth. The claim of the LDS faith is that God (who can reveal himself to whom He will) opened this dispensation. Angels to whom God sends (as described in the Book of Revelation and other places) could and have visited and will continue to visit mankind. Mormonism is restored Christianity, with Jesus Christ at its head. To imply that the scriptures state that no angels could visit Joseph Smith or anyone else and that the LDS Church therefore is not Christian is incorrect.

    • Jeremy W.

      I’m am sorry that evangelicals and the world in general have so poor an opinion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but we are in fact Christian. The Book of Mormon, the keystone of our religion has written under the main title “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” I am only a teenager, and a young one at that, but I have been inside of our temples and nothing there is hidden or secret. Nothing we do is hidden or concealed, in fact, if you really wanted to know what sacred ordinances and covenants we do and make in the temple then ask one of the youth of the church, they can tell you everything we do, or check the Library of Congress. We have told the world repeatedly that we are Christian, and to those who claim to have studied and researched my church and say that it is not true, I ask… have you read The Book of Mormon and pondered it in relation to the bible? Have you done what James said in James 1:5-7? Have you asked of God when you lacked wisdom or wanted to test if something was true or false? God will answer you if you ask in faith, with a sincere heart and a contrite spirit, kneeling humbly before him. I have tested James’s word and I have recieved an answer. Every time I doubt I do not turn to the world for answers as you have done, I turn to the Lord and I recieve a confirming feeling and knowledge every time I pray and study the scriptures, both the Bible’s Old and New Testaments, for they both have relevance, as well as The Book of Mormon. I have singularly found, through 16 years of learning, that these scriptures compliment and enhance each other, explaining more plainly the ordinances and laws of the Lord. I have a testimony of a sure knowledge of the truth. Truth does not ever change, only we change, and time will prove my testimony. I have said what my sense of right and wrong has required.
      You might say that I am young or have been brainwashed, some of you might even say that the devil has power over me. I have heard it all before. I have had books thrown in my face, and I have been insulted all throughout high school by those who did not know me or know what my church really is and what it stands for. Those who actually know me, however, have less ignorance and do not believe the lies that are told. I will not let men despise my youth nor the wisdom I have gained early in life, and I will give information to those who have been misinformed or lied to. Those who intentionally spread these falsehoods I can do nothing about, nor would I want to. I recieve more questions about my religion that way then if those people had told the truth. Hopefully I have cleared up the fact that we are Christian and that the Atonement of the Savior has deep meaning to us. As for those with darker skin color being cursed, that was Cain and his descendant Lamech (Genesis 4:11-24). We do not know if that is why some peoples skin is dark and neither do you. It has not been revealed. We do not teach that they are cursed, or I would have learned that as I grew up. Again I ask that you ask the Lord and not the world and it’s decaying morals and the doctrine that has been changed by some to fit the time we are living in and to give false comfort to those who have done wrong.

    • Michael

      You’re quite an authority to tell people they are not what they passionately believe they are. That’s fascinating. I guess angels appearing does indeed dis-qualify people, that makes a lot of sense too and a fabulous comparison with those pesky muslims. Gotta love all these clear litmus tests!

    • LindaSDF

      Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

      WE, meaning the apostles of Jesus Christ.
      Or an angel from heaven; angels are messengers, an angel from heaven is a messenger from God. It’s hyperbole or exaggeration or whatever, like someone saying “I don’t care if God Himself comes down and tells me…” whatever. I guess I should thank you for at least admitting that Moroni WAS a true messenger from God.

      As for the “other gospel”, that’s explained in chapter two of Galatians.
      Gal. 2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

      Paul goes on to say that Peter and some of the other apostles were wrong to insist that the gentile converts to Christ must follow the Law of Moses, especially when Peter was eating with them (and they were not eating kosher).

      Anyway, what it all means is that this verse cannot be used to damn the Mormons, since our Book of Mormon preaches the same Gospel of Jesus Christ that the Bible does. Maybe we aren’t Christian exactly like you are, but we ARE Christian.

    • nvlawyer

      A house divided against itself cannot stand. So your reasoning is that an angel of Satan appeared to Joseph Smith to teach him to preach the salvation of Christ because that would help Satan’s cause? Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

  • Dana Ames

    I’m old enough to remember when Kennedy was running for president, and some of the verbiage that flew around regarding his Catholic faith – that the Pope would be controlling the White House if Kennedy one, etc. etc. This was especially of interest to my father as a devout Catholic. From the commentary that was being bandied about then, in the age before the Internet, he was thoroughly convinced that if Kennedy were nominated and won, there would be backlash persecution of Catholics. He was right in much of his political prognostication, but thankfully he was wrong on that one. And the Pope certainly did not control this country while Kennedy was president.

    I’ve been trying to set faith commitments of all the Republicans aside; on terms of policy alone there’s not a one for whom I’m interested in voting. In addition to that, Romney really turned me off with his “I’ll bet you ten thousand dollars” challenge to Perry. That’s playground politics – so immature.

    Dana

    • Patricia James

      Dana, I, too, am old enough to remember the firestorm of controversy that surrounded JFK’s presidential bid and many posts on this board remind me of that era. Is it not curiously (and pitifully) ironic that the grandchildren and greatgrandchildren (per se) of that block of ‘concerned’ voters in 1960 are now doing the same thing in objecting to a Mormon while at the same time endorsing a Catholic? You can almost smell the fear in their responses on this board! My goodness, my good Christian friends, should we not be using and uniting our energies to pray for God’s will to be done, praying to know what that will is, and accepting it whatever it is?

  • Dana Ames

    That is, if Kennedy *won*.

    D.

  • Willard Smith

    All the “Mormons are not Christians” arguments has been very interesting to me. The next time an Evangelical “witnesses” to me, I will realize that he is not witnessing about Christ crucified or about Christ’s atonement. I now realize that he is witnessing about 4th Century Creeds, the rejection of Modern Revelation From God, about viewing the Bible through a specific pair of eyeglasses. It is all very clear to me now!

    • Alejandro

      “4th Century Creeds” beat 19th Century innovations any day.

      • Common Sense

        Really? Why? Because more time had passed? Why did you use the word “creed” for your beliefs and then switch to “innovation” for mine? You have provided no logical basis for believing a 4th century “innovation” over a 19th century “innovation”. Neither is featured in the Bible, which Evangelical Christianity holds to be the sole source of truth related to Christ’s gospel.

        The first council at Nicaea also prohibited kneeling on Sundays and during the Pentecost:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea#Promulgation_of_canon_law
        Did you kneel this past Sunday?

        In any case, the belief that Christ and the Father were distinct beings one in purpose was a belief that predated the Nicene Creed, and settling the question over this doctrine was one of the chief reasons that Consantine called for the Council at Nicaea. So you see, the issue at question here is not a 19th century innovation or even a 4th century innovation, but a fundamental question of doctrine that had been there as far back as we have records and which was eventually settled with a sword, not a vote. Tell me, are you as comfortable with how the Creed was enforced as you are with the Creed itself?

        I apologize if this response seems a bit overheated and indignant, but it gets me a little hot under tha collar when someone waxes flippant regarding an issue for which thousands were willing to lay down their lives. Please reflect next time before tossing quippy rejoinders into a discussion of deeply held beliefs. You do yourself and your beliefs no credit, and I’m sure that both deserve more than a little.

  • Ethan

    As a Mormon I really appreciate your line of reasoning on this. We have sat back and watched in a bit of horror as the Romney/Evangelical narrative has unfolded over the past 4 years. It has been eye-opening for Mormons. I wish more people shared your views. You don’t have to embrace Mormonism to be able to vote for a solid candidate like Romney. There is ample common ground on the basis of his outstanding family, his (surprisingly conservative) career, his commitment to traditional marriage, his record of coming down on the side of pro-life 100% as governor, etc.

    I liked what the Mormon Glenn Beck said at a Christian commencement speech last year: “My being asked to speak here by the administration is not an endorsement of my faith. But know that my accepting the invite to speak is certainly and endorsement of yours.”

  • http://mittromney2012potus.blogspot.com/ Debbie

    As a former Mormon and having had contact with Romney family, I would never vote for Mitt Romney. Evangelical for Mitt is an extension of Romney’s campaign and not an independent group. Evangelicals for Mitt lead by David French is a Mitt Romney man from the starts, as is French’s wife.

    I have a blog up about Romney. Some is my personal experience with the Romney family. I left the Mormon Church after a child of mine was sexually assaulted in the Michigan Mormon Church, brutal cover up on other sexual assaults of children, threats to Mother’s that if they were NOT silence they would have everything taken from them.

    Romney’s are brutal. There are other issues on the blog as to why Romney should not be in the White House.

    Read more on Romney corruption at:
    The Real Mitt Romney the Weather-vane Candidate

    • Lance Miller

      I find it fascinating that people in your situation would view the actions and poor choices of individuals as a reflection of the integrity of the Church as a whole, or leave the Church because of it.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/RichardTheEdwin Debbie

        your post Lance is similar to the arguments used within church authority when attempting to deflect from wrong doing. It is reflective of the Mormon Church, so don’t try to do a spin.

    • nvlawyer

      So you equate the actions of an individual committing a sexual assault on your child (an obvious felon and anti-Chris) the same as the actions of a man defending his faith from your attacks upon it?

      Sure, the Mormons could have done more to stop the assault. Sure, the policies in the Church aren’t perfect. Sure perhaps someone else knew that this perp had tendencies or kept secrets about his past.

      Your arguments are filled with hate and misrepresentations. God does not justify lying in any Christian religion. So why are you lying? For revenge? I think so.

      • debbie

        Not perfect is right. Parents were told NOT to report they Romney lead church leaders — in fact it has been the same through-out the church. Families turned on victims. Stop trying to use emotional blackmail when trying to discredit by using the words ‘hate’, ‘revenge’,and ‘misrepresentations’ these words are typical within the Mormon elite when attempting to silence. If there has been hate, misrepresentations, and revenge it has been with members of the Mormon community.

  • http://byteline.blogspot.com Alma

    Excellent article Timothy, with one (of many) excellent point. People who oppose Mormonism need to do so honestly. I have grown very weary of people telling me what I believe–when they have no idea what I believe (heaping opprobrium on the Lord Jesus?). Stephen Robinson noted the strange irony that Evangelicals were unwilling to allow Mormons to help them picket against pornography. He realized that these Evangelicals hated Mormons more than they hated pornography. Will Evangelicals decide that they cannot support a man who believes in Christian virtues because he also disagrees with the filioque? What short sightedness.

    • http://mittromney2012potus.blogspot.com/ Debbie

      maybe because they are so involved in the porn industry.
      Mitt family has several links to the porn industry.

      • Scott

        Really? Proof?
        And it should be more than an investment in a mutual fund.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/RichardTheEdwin Debbie

          Oh, there is more to it than that. Scott.

      • Paul

        References please to document your outrageous claims.

        • debbie

          You will read about them in the next six months or so

      • Michael

        This is getting sad Debbie. Clearly you’re poisoned by the (very, very tragic) personal things that have happened to you. Such things don’t know boundaries of any faith do they, since they are imperfect (and sick) human beings perpetuating them. Projecting into Romney won’t change the past. Saying they’re proponents of porn is wandering a bit far afield. Remember: Christ heals EVERYTHING. You’re on such a vendetta I think you’ve forgotten that. Time to fix some things. Don’t be pissed I said it, just think about it.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/RichardTheEdwin Debbie

          There is no projecting on to Romney. Links are going back to tight Romney insiders in the Detroit corruption. The only people on an Vendetta have been the Romney/Skousen family. Truth heels, and Christ believed in truth.

      • Timothy Dalrymple

        Debbie, I really do need to ask you to substantiate these claims, if you’re going to continue to post comments here. I’ve seen some of your claims elsewhere on the web, but “Mitt family has several links to the porn industry” just seems like the worst kind of smear job. What do you mean by “Mitt’s family”? His immediate family, or his extended family? And why should we judge Mitt on the basis of the actions of family members? Moreover, what do you mean by “links”? How close exactly are these links? Do you have independent sources you can cite? If not, these kinds of comments are going to be declared out of bounds.

        I understand you suffered abuse, and that is more horrible than I can possibly say. I really pray God’s healing for you. I’m not in a position to judge what’s best for you, but I wonder if the incessant online case-making is really helpful or healing. It doesn’t seem to me as though it is, since you’ve been making the same arguments online for quite some time now.

        Also, knowing David French quite well personally, and being a member of Evangelicals for Mitt, I can tell you with complete, complete confidence that your claims with reference to David and EFM are false. I’m afraid you’ve fallen into a way of looking at the world that is making you leap to conclusions — and many of those conclusions, at least, are false.

        • debbie

          They have several links to the porn community. If you cannot do your own research on the subject, then I am sad for you. Because I was able to research out several ties.

  • pimento

    Mr. Price- likewise I am very sad to see your post. If you could feel the peace and love I feel when praying to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ, studying the holy scriptures, and striving to emulate my Savior, I don’t think you would lash out so vehemently against my faith. I know many evangelicals who disagree with me from a doctrinal standpoint, but we respect each other and our respective faiths too much to fall victim to the thinking your post represents.

  • http://mittromney2012potus.blogspot.com/ Debbie

    Here are a few other reasons, but there are many more.

    Romney has refused to release his tax records, refused to give names of his bundlers. Many Americans do not know of Romney’s links to an ongoing corruption probe in Michigan, the state Romney grew up in and many of his family members remain living in.

    The Romney’s family personal investment firm of Solamere needs to be transparent. The Romney family formed Solamere investment firm for their family and close friends use.

    Solamere is tied to the Romney campaign. The Romany’s formed two different but linked companies out of Solamere, Solamere Advisers, its secondary group, has people from Stanford which are under criminal charges and investigations for scamming investors as part of a Ponzi scheme.

    John Rakolta Jr. CEO of Walbridge along with Scott Romney are National financial co-chairs for Romney’s campaign.
    Rakolta is linked to the pay and play under investigation in a Detroit Corruption probe. Wayne county executive Fanico, has refused to hand over the bid and contracts of Rakolta’s in a corruption probe on a jail slated to be built. Terry Mullins, was working with Rakolta on the building of the jail, and Mullins is rumored to have been having an affair with Rakolta. Mullins was working for Wayne County when the bid to build the jail went to Rakolta.

    Mullins has donated money for Rommey’s campaign switching from the Democratic Party, to Republican Party. Scott Romney is also a director for Solamere.

    Please take the time to read my blog and consider supporting other candidates than Mitt Romney. My blog includes details on Romney links to Detroit corruption which is surfacing in Michigan. My experience with Romney family members has been horrific, and it sadness me several of my family members have participated in my families abuse for financial gain, as we suffered as the Romney’s have been involved in a cover up.

    Debbie McCord Skousen

    Read more on Romney corruption at:
    http://mittromney2012potus.blogspot.com/

    • Paul

      Please go back to the DNC. This article is about religious issues.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/RichardTheEdwin Debbie

        Paul, Paul is your name still Saul? Me thinks so.

    • Anew Perspective

      So, if I get this right, you are on a blog, soliciting viewers/commenters to convert over to your blog?

      While using the promise of “people and mormon bashing” as a confirmed reward for switching over and converting to your blog?

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/RichardTheEdwin Debbie

        That is a distorted view Anew, the use of distorted motives is similar to the teaching of Millit does in training missionaries.

  • blark

    Timothy, Very well put and well written. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I appreciate your integrity and your christian way towards me and my faith. I would like to think that I would treat you and your faith similarly. We do not have to agree to be civil and treat each other as Christ taught (as we would like to be treated). And, as I read your thoughtful blog, I am reminded about how many things we agree upon (in terms of our faith in Jesus Christ and His role as our Savior), which outnumber those areas of difference. Ultimately, spiritual matters of faith are established in the heart through sincere seeking, acting in faith, and the confirmation of the Spirit, not through debate and human contention. As children of one God, our’s is the obligation to respect everyone’s beliefs (and even a lack thereof), overcome bigotry (feeling for another and treating another poorly because their faith, or lack of faith, differs from ours), and remain individually true to the further light and knowlege we have received by the grace of God.

    • http://mittromney2012potus.blogspot.com/ Debbie

      please read the “Sins of Brother Curtis” by Davis. It may do the Mormon Community well to become ‘humble’, and not boast about attributes they do not have.

      • Joe

        Someone, perhaps Debbie, has been putting in plugs for this anti-Mormon book all over the internet, I can’t help but think they are attacking Mormons for gain….

        • http://mittromney2012potus.blogspot.com/ Debbie

          An Anti-Mormon book? It is not anti, it tells the truth and yes, I have been suggesting people to read the book. The Sins of Brother Curtis is an accurate account of how Mormon lay Bishops, Stake Presidents, have responded in covering up child sexual abuse. They have been most abusive.

          It is typical of FAIR and FARMS,no doubt David French and other Romney supports to state a book telling the truth is anti. Truth is never anti, it is the truth.

          • Anew Perspective

            Debbie,

            Is it possible for you to provide a link to your divorce decree etc, with the skousen family?

            It would be (at least) interesting to see some of your own past history, that led you to the skousens and mormonism, before your engagement, understand some of the fall-out of your marriage, and maybe a little about your own vested animosity toward the mormons as a whole?

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/RichardTheEdwin Debbie

            The Skousen family history is far more interesting, than mine. I know a lot about the Skousen’s history. Shall we mention the Skousen girls who [EDITOR: this part is cut out since it's just childish slandering of young girls...] Shall we talk about her Bishop Skousen father who threatened every boy who had contact with her, telling them to marry her — it would have been polygamy in reverse. My history was I was a really good kid and young adult.

        • debbie

          Actually it was not childish slander of a college age Skousen. It is a story which will be told in the future anyhow, because it is part of a large abuse story.

  • DBH

    Tim,

    Perhaps the most well-reasoned thoughts on Romney’s Mormon faith yet. Thank you for a thoughtful approach and may we all treat each other as we would want to be treated.

  • blark

    Timothy, One additional thought. To assume that that those born into and raised in a faith, like Mitt was in the Mormon faith, blindly follow in that faith as a matter of cultural comfort, routine, or even tradition, is to miss a very powerful point (particularly as it relates to the LDS faith). The strenght of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not in its leaders, organization, nor in its size or influence, but in the individual and personal conviction of its individual members. Take some time to talk with those who have converted to the faith, and ask them how and why they converted, and you will begin to get a feel for how it is that the strength of the Church is in the individual and personal faith of its members. No active participating member of the LDS Church, whether born or raised in that tradition or not, could or would continue active and participating without some personal conviction, born of some personal confirmation of the Spirit, of that faith. In that regard, it is anything but a ‘casual faith tradition’. The things that we believe and the commitments that we make in the LDS faith are anything but ‘casual’. How did the early christians come to know that Christ was who he said he was –the Son of the Living God? It was not through logical reason and debate, or the convincing of parents or other leaders (as important and influential as that can be). Ultimately each individual needed to make that a matter of personal seeking and prayer. Likewise today, the answers that come personally to individuals through that kind of seeking come through the quiet witness of the Spirit. A collection of such individuals then represents great power and strength.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      I assumed no such thing. I said that it’s completely understandable to me how a person could grow up in that faith, *or investigate that faith and read its apologists* and continue to believe in it…

    • Common Sense

      Thank you for your testimony, but I have to agree with Timothy. I think you misread. I have grown to really appreciate his articles and his honest approach to the differences between us. I found this article respectful and accurate.

      Don’t get me wrong, I still disagree with him on a number of points, like the definition of Christian and the best candidate for president (We’ll miss you, Michele… Go Santorum!), but he’s made it abundantly clear that he understands the perspective of a Mormon and can represent it fairly, even if he does occasionally throw in a reference to “incredible historical claims” (Read the Bible much? It makes some pretty incredible claims, which I happen to believe as well…).

  • TomBenz

    I was born a Methodist in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I did my undergraduate work at the University of Missouri, and my post graduate work at the University of Utah. Let’s just say that I have lived in the midst of both evangelicals and Mormons. I have close friendships in both circles. It is laughable that evangelicals claim Mitt Romney is in the hire of Satan. My experience is that the Mormons I have encountered are much more Christ like in spirit and action than the evangelicals I’ve encountered. While I lived in Utah, our home and yard received extensive damage from a mud slide. The Mormons (Cultists as some of you claim) were there the next day helping me and my family clean up, make repairs, and making sure we had everything we needed (food, clothing, etc.). I have never forgotten this experience. We were really poor financially at the time and in need of help and they were there for us. I have not made up my mind who I will vote for but I will judge a man by his actions and not by the bigoted statements of a hand full of extremist Southern Baptists.

    • http://mittromney2012potus.blogspot.com/ Debbie

      I was married to an active Skousen family member in the Mormon Church, they have cover up child sexual abuse, financially battered, stole assets, refused to pay court order payments, damaged children’s education, and they attend church every Sunday and also Temple Services.

      I cannot see you claim holding true for Mormon families.

      • Paul

        That is not the norm that you have brought up.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/RichardTheEdwin Debbie

          It is more of a norm than the Mormon community wants to admit.

      • Kelly

        Debbie needs to stop posting here as she is obviously a disturbed person who needs professional help. Please get the help you need and put your energy where it will help you most. Your mean anger will only do you more damage as you spread these stories and sad experiences, however true they are.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/RichardTheEdwin Debbie

          That will not work. And shame on you Kelly in you attempt of emotional and verbal battering to discredit.

      • Michael

        Your views are extreme and driven by a personal vendetta. Imagine if you applied all this passion in serving others and making the world better instead of a cyber-campaign of vengeance? Time to dump bitterness. It’ll just continue eating you up inside until you’re just a hollow husk, about as far removed from the Savior as you can get.

        And this can’t pass: “I cannot see you claim holding true for Mormon families.” How dare you? Seriously, deal with your issues. You’re a bitter, bitter person.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/RichardTheEdwin Debbie

          I am not bitter. Note when giving evidence that there are serious problems in the Mormon Community the LDS apologist resort to name calling, and attempts to discredit. One does not have to be ‘bitter’ to tell the truth, and I am telling the truth.

      • TomBenz

        I’m not making a claim–only sharing one of many uplifting experiences I had while living among the Mormons. I’m sorry you had a bad experience. I have no idea who the Skousen family is that you speak of.

        • debbie

          You may never have gone beyond seeing a shallow surface of Mormonism, a pristine face put on that hides the truth.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    Mr. Price, there is no such “Christian minister” character appearing at your local Mormon temple. Mormons put a great deal of resources into converting black people in the US, Brazil, and in Africa, where about 400,000 people are Mormons. There are also millions of Mormons throughout Latin America, Polynesia, Asia, and Europe. Over half of Mormons live outside the US and speak languages other than English. If you visit the campus of Brigham Young University Hawaii, you will find it is one of the most diverse in the US. And thousands of Mormons from the US annually go out to serve among all “nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples” to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I have no idea what you are referring to as “opprobrium they heap on the Lord Jesus Christ”. I was baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Every Sabbath, I and other Mormons take the emblems of the body and blood of Christ, who suffered and died for my sins, and I rededicate myself to “always remember him”. The Book of Mormon declares on its title page that “Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations,” and it stands alongside the New Testament in teaching the absolute necessity of looking to Christ for our salvation and eternal happiness. As I read the New Testament alongside the Book of Mormon, I find my Savior in both books, one who is a true God, not confined by time or geography.

    You have demonstrated how much people are dedicated to embracing and spreading gossip that pleases their prejudices, while refusing to expend the small amount of time it would take to actually learn what Mormons believe about Christ, by visiting mormon.org or lds.org. You can also be disabused of various repeated misrepresentations about Mormon beliefs if you visit the independent web page fairlds.org.

    In the meantime, doesn’t it bother you that you are passing along gossip? How does that honor Christ?

    • http://sotonohitoblogs.blogspot.com sotonohito

      Speaking as an atheist, and therefore a person who has no doctrinal reason to be anti-Mormon, I must point that you’re being rather disingenuous.

      Yes, the LDS has sought out black members for much of it’s history. But until 1978 it was official policy of the LDS that black members were prohibited from being priests. Most people, myself included, would take that as a pretty flat out statement of belief that black people are inferior.

      Further, Brigham Young himself is on record as stating that black people are cursed by your god to forever be slaves and inferior. Which is why I found the later blatant lies by LDS elders that the LDS never, ever, had a policy that blacks were the victims of a divine curse to be pretty pathetic.

      It is certainly true that the LDS has many black members, but that doesn’t mean the LDS has never held racist positions, or that people who aren’t wholey ignorant of recent history might not remember those positions and not be too thrilled with the LDS on that basis.

      As for religious questions, ya’ll look like Christians to me.

      I do hold a grudge against both the LDS and the Roman Catholic Church for your vile actions against Prop 8 in California, and I recently chased a pair of your missionaries off my doorstep, rather than following my pre-Prop 8 policy of at least offering a glass of water for that thirsty work, for that reason.

      But in that I don’t see any difference between you and most other Christians. A deep and unreasoning hatred of homosexuals seems to be an essential part of modern Christianity. Your church and the RCC just happen to be more organized in your efforts to harm my homosexual fellow citizens.

      However, I am delighted to see that the Mormon/Protestant split is alive and well. I fear nothing more than ecumenicism, if the wannabe theocrats of America ever stopped bickering among themselves they could harm me much more easily. Better you fight among yourselves and leave me alone.

      • Raymond Takashi Swenson

        The denial of priesthood ordination to people of African descent was a difficulty for Mormons, but it was even more so because it was an anomaly.

        One of the first things Mormons did when their church was formed was to send missionaries to American Indians. That effort to convert Native Americans has continued to the present.

        Missionary work among Polynesians started in 1844, in Tahiti. One of the early centers of Mormon strength was among native Hawaiians, which is why the temple was built in Laie in 1915 and BYU Hawaii is there today, with students from all over the Pacific Rim. A third of the people of Tonga are Mormons.

        About 1876 the Japanese ambassador and his party were stuck in Salt Lake City for a month due to snow closing the rail lines to Washington, DC. He invited the Mormons to send their missionaries to Japan, which they did in 1901. There are about 100,000 Mormons in Japan, which is where I served as a missionary.

        So part of the difficulty for Mormons to live with the denial of priesthood ordination to blacks was the fact that there was no racial restriction on any other race, and we were devoting years of our lives to baptizing and ordaining people in many other nations. There have always been black Mormons, such as those in my congregation when I was growing up in Salt Lake City in the 1950s. At the same time, there was no racial segregation in our congregations. There was no racial segregation in schools in Utah or other public accommodations. The founders of Mormonism were from New England and other free states, and the great influx of converts were from Britain and Scandinavia. They were not plantation owners.

        In 1974, four years before the end of the priesthood ordination restriction, I was living in Colorado Springs and helped to bring to baptism a US Army sergeant who was black. He had experienced a spiritual crisis that had to do with surviving his parachute not opening, and he had visited many churches in the city looking for one to join. He told us that the Mormons were the only church where he was made to feel at home.

        I was in law school in Salt Lake, and doing research in the LDS Church archives for an article on early Utah legal history, on the day in June when the announcement that the ordination ban had been lifted was annmounced. There was universal joy and relief among all Mormons that we could be consistent in our message and ordain the many faithful black men in the Church throughout the world.

        One of the first men ordained was Helvecio Martins, in Brazil. He was soon called to be a member of the central leadership of the Church. His son was the first black LDS missionary, and is a professor at BYU.

        In Ghana and Nigeria, there were thousands of people who had been meeting together because they had read the Book of Mormon and were convinced of its truth. Within a few weeks they were baptized and organized with local men as their leaders. One of my neighbors here in Washington State served as a missionary there with his wife, and attests to their faithfulness as Mormons, in the midst of a society that has all sorts of pathologies of wealth and poverty.

        The Church does something interesting: It sends missionaries from countries like Kenya and Mongolia to teach people in the United States, in addition to sending Americans to those countries. It also provides microloans to help members in developing countries to get further education. Mormons from all over the world also attend the three BYU campuses in Utah, Idaho and Hawaii. One of the daughters of one of my Japanese missionarie companions met her husband at BYU Idaho, and we had a reunion when her parents came over for the wedding. One of her sisters served as a missionary in Florida, and another sister is working in Chicago.

        So if you are harassing the Mormon missionaries who come by your doorstep, you might be chasing off someone from Ulaan Baatar (where the Mormon membership is approaching 10% of the populace), or Mali (where a Mormon graduate of BYU is running for president of the country), or Nagoya (where I was born).

        The next Mormon you meet might be your doctor, a fireman, a letter carrier, or the guy repairing your plumbing. He or she could be of any race or national origin.

        • http://mittromney2012potus.blogspot.com/ Debbie

          “Mormon you meet might be your doctor, a fireman, a letter carrier, or the guy repairing your plumbing.” And pray one is not a victim of these people. There is a dark side to Mormonism that needs light shown on it. Shall we talk about what some of the Mormon doctors do, or letter carriers, shall we tell how these people will sabotage, and cover up? Do you really want to go there.

          • Jody

            Debbie, while I do not question whether people who claim to be good Mormons may have harmed you or loved ones, please try to separate them from their religion. There are people of all religions who do not live what their church teaches. And just because a person may even hold a high ranking office in that church, it does not mean that the church as a whole supports them. Yes, someone who does heinous acts ought not to be kept in their office in the Mormon Church, but the Church is made up up frail, weak human beings, as are all the other churches. There are bigots and adulterers and pedophiles everywhere. In the Mormon church and outside of it.

          • Scott

            There are good and bad in any group, Mormons, Evangelicals, you name it. By focusing only on the negative you say more about yourself than you do about the Mormons.

          • Michael

            You’re simply awful Debbie. ugh.

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/RichardTheEdwin Debbie

            That is quite a bit to give in a few paragraphs.

            As far as the divorce papers, they were awful and Mr.Skousen has not honored the last judges orders.

            I do have a You tube channel up. I didn’t intend to go into my divorce issues when the first you tube was doen. The first was put up for the grandparents of a four year old that was a torture-murder victim. The grandparents had tried to obtain custody of the child, and the judge in the case was the same that was handling mine. The judges husband, a Detroit Newscaster for channel four was given an exclusive interview by Mitt Romney while the judge was handling my case. After the you tubes when up a new judge was brought in from out of county.
            http://www.youtube.com/user/RichardTheEdwin

            above is my channel page, i think if you click on my name it will come up.

          • http://deborahaskousen.blogspot.com/ Debbie

            I am not awful Mike, I have a deep understanding of the inner workings of the Mormon faith.

            Here is another blog:
            http://deborahaskousen.blogspot.com/

            I am far from being an awful person. I am sad for you that truth hurts you, and you cannot face truth yet.

        • Debbie

          Do not sugar coat Mormon views on blacks.
          Mormons were quite harsh on American Indians also – see Utah’s Black Hawk Wars. (different war than Black Hawk war during colonial times, do not confuse the two different wars)

          “Not only were blacks being legally bought and sold in the territory, Indians could also be slaves, though on different terms. The restriction on sex was not mentioned and Indians in bondage had the right to three months of education per year.”

          “The sale of slaves, while rare given how few blacks were in the territory (the 1860 Census lists 59 in Utah, 29 of them slaves) is well-documented. The founder of Brigham Young Academy, Abraham O. Smoot, took a slave whom he’d purchased from the Bankhead brothers with him to Provo. Marina Redd was sold by John Hardison Redd, of American Fork, to a Dr. Pinney of Salem.”

          “Then there is the account of Green Flake’s owner dying in an accident in Utah in 1850 and his widow giving Green to the church as a tithing payment. “
          Below is a link to Mormon teaching on black, the views are quite harsh.
          http://www.rickross.com/reference/mormon/mormon679.html

          Another good site on abusive views of the Mormon Church on blacks.

          http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/sermons_talks_interviews/brigham1852feb5_priesthoodandblacks.htm

          • Joe

            Debbie, I think most people see the feelings you may harbor, and I understand that hatred loves company. I won’ t waste time responding to all of your comments, but will simply ask intelligent readers to be sure to check both sides of these issues, and try the Spirits, go to LDS org and see if you feel the Spirit of Christ and truth more there, or at the anti-pages and Debbie. Check FAIR lds for any anti-Mormon accusations or questions. HAting Mormons is a full-time occupation for many. (You can look up Black Hawk war, the fact that Mormons believe Native Americans are God’s chosen people for America and that we white ‘Gentiles” must be adopted into their family etc, that Mormons were generally well liked by Native Americans who distinguished between Mormons and anti-Mormons like you, the fact that Utah wanted to be slave free (the LDS Doctrine and Covenants opposes it) but the Federal Government required that Utah enter the Union as a neutral State (and Utah was first to let Blacks and women vote, but the Feds took that right from both) etc etc FAIR lds also reviews any acclaimed anti-Mormon book, I couldn’t find yours listed there, so you will have to keep promoting . No offense, but if FAIR doesn’t review, it can’t be all that…. ; )

          • debbie

            Joe correcting misrepresentations is not hate. Gee…..

        • http://sotonohitoblogs.blogspot.com sotonohito

          By “chased off” I meant I told them to go away and never come back because I found the harmful actions of their church on Prop 8 to be unacceptable. That’s hardly harassment.

          Also, they were both quite white and pretty obviously from the USA.

          “and we were devoting years of our lives to baptizing and ordaining people in many other nations. “

          And telling them that while you wanted 10% of their income but that they were still sub-human vermin cursed by God and forbidden from being priests because of that divine curse and their own evil blackness. But other than that trifling little detail it was all love and kindness!

          “The founders of Mormonism were from New England and other free states, and the great influx of converts were from Britain and Scandinavia.”

          Utah was a slave state, and in 1860 29 of the 59 blacks living in Utah were slaves.

          It’s kind of futile to try and distort and lie about the history of the LDS when the records are out on the internet and can be found very quickly. Maybe back in the 1980′s ya’ll could get away with outright lies and distortions about your history, but not today.

          And yes, I’m not saying the LDS is especially unique in it’s racism. Most white churches were racist for most of their history.

          Bob Jones University, to pick a Baptist example, was viciously racist and didn’t enroll black students until 1971, just a little earlier than the LDS permitted black priests, and forbade interracial dating until 2000. And more recently

          So I’m not claiming that the LDS is unique, or even particularly worse than, any other Christian sect. But I do find the constant lies and denials from Mormons about the racist history of their church to be tiresome.

          I note, for example, that the current policy of the LDS is that interracial marriage is “discouraged”. Not forbidden, but still the LDS has a policy that’s pretty retrograde there.

          Not entirely out of sync with Americn conservatism, just a few months ago a poll found that 40% of Mississippi Republicans were still in favor of criminalizing interracial marriage. So from a Mississippi standpoint I suppose the LDS is progressive in that it merely “discourages” interracial marriage.

          Still, as a white guy married to a black woman I’m not what you’d call thrilled with the LDS stance.

          • DougH

            Yes, Utah was officially a slave state, but a rather unusual one. If you check out the statute governing slavery: anyone bringing slaves into the Territory needed unambiguous proof of ownership, any slave that was abused or not adequately housed and fed or had sex with the owner was to be freed, no slave could be sold against his will, and slave owners were required to educate their slaves. Quite a difference from the Southern states.

          • http://deborahaskousen.blogspot.com/ Debbie

            Any white man in Utah, or under Brigham Young’s authority, who had sex with a slave in Utah was to have his head cut off, and any bi-racial child killed. Quite a difference from Southern States

            http://www.realmormonhistory.com/

          • DougH

            Wrong. The slave would be freed, and the White man would be fined from $500 to $1000 and could be sentenced to prison for up to three years. The Utah slave code can be found at http://www.blackpast.org/?q=primarywest/utah-slave-code-1852.

          • debbie

            and Brigham Young said….

            There enough documentation out there with Brigham Young in his talks and writings to show he supported slavery, felt there would be slaves in heaven

    • https://profiles.google.com/DuwayneAnderson/about Duwayne Anderson

      The temple ceremony used to have a Christian minister during the endowment ceremony. He was there the first time I went through the temple (in 1974) and the last time I went through (in the late 80′s). This minister was portrayed as an agent of the Devil. It was in the endowment ceremony for decades, and not removed until about 1990.

      The Mormon Church did not announce the change for its members — and so many younger Mormons are unaware that it was ever there at all.

      Duwayne Anderson
      Author of “Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and science”

      • Raymond Takashi Swenson

        The old depiction was of a paid chaplain who was unaware of the identity of his employer, and quit as soon as he was told it. He was ignorant but not evil. It was clearly judged to not be an essential feature of the narrative.

      • http://www.message4mormons.co.uk Andrew Price

        Many thanks for your objective posting.Mitt Romney participated in the pre 1990 endowment ceremony under pain of symbolic disembowelment if he should divulge its secrets.Over the last 5 years or so Romney has been seeking endorsements from leading evangelicals – we can be sure that he was not candid with them.He was seeking their support knowing that he had secretly traduced them.What does this say about Romney’s integrity ?

        • Scott

          The temple ceremony is beautiful and sacred, but when taken out of context can seem otherwise.

          • http://deborahaskousen.blogspot.com/ Debbie

            It is a scary ceremony and taken within context.

      • Joe

        I will just say that Duwayne may be unaware of Brigham Young’s upbringing and other information, showing that he, or his sources, have assumed something that is not entirely true. Seems we have more than one person trying to sell an anti-Mormon book today. NO offense…. : ) I have nothing to gain from this, but there is an awesome book (search for it on FAIR) called, “Science and the Book of Mormon” check it out, horses and all.

    • http://mittromney2012potus.blogspot.com/ Debbie

      Yes there is and he was said to be the Devil, it was in the Temple Services.

      • Joe

        Once again, one thing we can know about people discussing things on the Temple is that they are dishonest.

        On this topic specifically, you have inserted things that were not there.

        • debbie

          Not so, I am not being dishonest about the temple ceremony.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    To mcurt2s: An “angel” appeared to Peter, Zacharias the father of John the Baptist, and to Joseph and Mary. Do you believe God does send messengers to men on earth, or do you reject such miracles as fiction?

    If you do believe in angels, do you think they have died off? Or do you believe they are still before the throne of God, able to be sent out by the Eternal God to take his message to anyone God wants to hear it?

    Nowadays the entire corpus of Joseph Smith’s original journals and correspondence are available to be viewed by scholars visiting the LDS Church History Library. They are being published to the world as part of the Joseph Smith Papers Project, and visual images are gradually being posted online as well. The private communications of Smith show he was utterly sincere in his beliefs, and willingly gave his life as a martyr to demonstrate his sincerity.

    What is more, the majority of Smith’s experiences with angels were shared with other men, who recorded their own testimonies of those encounters. One of them is in the Foreword of the Book of Mormon, above the signature of the three men who experienced it. Both Smith and Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer continued to affirm the reality of that experience throughout their lives, and Harris and Whitmer lived into their 80s. None of them became rich because of it; indeed, Harris sold his farm to finance publication of the Book of Mormon. All made personal sacrifices because of their testimony. But they insisted it was a real experience, in the middle of the day, in the woods near Whitmer’s home in Fayette, New York. You can go there and see a reconstruction of the house, which is where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized on April 6, 1830, by people who had direct experience of divine messengers “in an age of railroads” as Charles Dickens put it.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    Reviewing my prior comment, I realize that some people would be taken aback by the plain assertion of the reality of angels in modern times. Surely the contemporaries of Peter, Paul and John were taken aback when those men boldly asserted that, not only had a man been resurrected from the dead, but that he was also the God of Heaven, and was willing to share that miracle of resurrection with mankind.

    If you have faith in the miracle of Christ, perhaps you can cut us Mormons some slack when we simply state we believe the miracles performed by Christ are continuing. We don’t demand that you agree with us. Many of us were skeptical of this before we became Mormons. But surely it is not the job of a political process to sort out the truth or falsity of religious claims like this, any more than it is the job of the government to suppress or disadvantage any one religion or group of religions.

  • Joe

    I didn’t get to read the entire article yet, but will make a few comments and try tomake more as I continue (if time).
    I think it is clear that much of the antagonism toward Mitt is due to his religion. I don’t know if I will vote for him, but hope that people won’t let petty bigotry decide the fate of our Nation.

    I also want to add that the Christian doctrine of deification is Biblical and LDS Christianity is closer to original Biblical Christianity than any I know. “The Christian Doctrine of Deification”
    Edward T. Jones
    Some excerpts from early Biblical Christians Irenaeus: “We are not made gods from the first, but first men, then gods’ Polycarp, himself a disciple of the apostle St. John… “this (deification) they (all early Church Fathers) regard as a point beyond dispute, as one of those fundamentals which no one who calls himself a Christian dreams of denying.”

    LDS also practice the ancient Christian Temple rites. See FAIR lds, also, many Christians still participate in these passion plays, the longest surviving Christian Church, the Armenian Apostolic are included, and are thought of as Christian, the some reportedly still practice baptism for deceased persons etc.

    • grindael

      Joe,

      You’re taking Ireaneus and applying it to Mormon “deification” is not historically accurate, nor what Ireaneus really taught. The Christian teaching of “divinazation” or “deification” is NOTHING like what Mormonism teaches. Irenaeus taught there would ALWAYS be ONLY ONE GOD. Here he makes the case of if there were more than one God, how absurd it would be, countering the heresy of Marcion:

      5. These things, then, being so, each deity will be contented with his own possessions, and will not be moved with any curiosity respecting the affairs of others; otherwise he would be unjust, and rapacious, and would cease to be what God is. Each creation, too, will glorify its own maker, and will be contented with him, not knowing any other; otherwise it would most justly be deemed an apostate by all the others, and would receive a RICHLY-DESERVED PUNISHMENT. For it must be either that there is ONE BEING who contains all things, and formed in His own territory all those things which have been created, according to His own will; or, again, that there are numerous unlimited creators and gods, who begin from each other, and end in each other on every side; and it will then be necessary to allow that all the rest are contained from without by some one who is greater, and that they are each of them shut up within their own territory, and remain in it. NO ONE OF THEM ALL, THEREFORE, IS GOD. For there will be [much] wanting to every one of them, possessing [as he will do] only a very small part when compared with all the rest. THE NAME OF THE OMNIPOTENT WILL THUS BE BROUGHT TO AN END, and such an opinion will of necessity FALL TO IMPIETY. Against Heresies, II:1-5

      • Joe

        Hi, I just noticed these replies, and haven’t looked over the others for lack of time. You should try reading the articles I quoted. They quote non-LDS scholars showing that the idea that men can be called “gods,” the “Doctrine of Deification” or Theosis etc were central to “all” early Christian Fathers. This was taught by Jesus, believed by His apostless and those coming after, starting with Polycarp, and it is said to have been universally taught by Monks, Catholics, etc.
        Of course Joseph Smith could never have known all he did about so many things in History and Christianity without being a prophet.
        Deification is one of many mainstream Christian doctrines that was deleted by philosophers trying to make the Bible fit with their education.
        I can’t post all the links, but if you search FAIR lds, and type “Deification” in you will get a big list.

        Here are a few:

        http://www.fairlds.org/Misc/Edward-Jones.pdf

        http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_nature_of_God/Deification_of_man

  • grindael

    It is disingenuous to try and distance current Mormon doctrine and beliefs from their historical “prophets”. For example polygamy. Mormons don’t practice it, but they still BELIEVE in it. They still have it incorporated in their scriptures.

    Mormons may not now believe that Adam is God, but one of their prophets taught it as a REVELATION, and all of the leadership of the Church (excepting one or two) affirmed Young in this doctrine.

    To limit Mormonism, to what it teaches today, is saying it is ok for men calling themselves real prophets, to teach heresy, and then defend them still, as true prophets, when they could not be.

    Mitt Romney as President would be a huge victory for the cult of Mormonism. As Paul stated, “false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.” (Galatians 2)

    Mormonism is a false gospel that teaches there are many gods, that God is nothing more than an “organizer”, limited in power and understanding, and teaches that REAL Christians have no authority, that we cannot be accepted of Christ because we are not Mormons, and that it is “their way” or nothing. The problem with this, is that their doctrines are far from what Christ and His Apostles taught, they are “another” gospel, claimed to have been given to Smith by an “angel”, that Paul warned us about.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      It is one thing to be critical of what Mormonism used to teach, or some Mormons used to teach, and identify it as such. But it should be made clear that Mormonism, officially, no longer teaches those things, and so this does not constitute (in this kind of case) a criticism of present-day Mormonism.

      Mormonism has evolved — it seems to me that it’s evolved quite a bit. It’s view on divinization has softened and drawn closer to the Eastern Orthodox concept of “theosis”. I still think there are significant differences, and the difference between the early LDS teachings and the early Greek Fathers is huge. But I do think that evangelicals often treat Mormonism as though it is, simply, whatever some 19th century “prophet” says it is. But it’s not. Due to their doctrine of continuing revelation, and due (in my view) to continued interaction with orthodox Christianity, Mormonism has moved more in the direction of Orthodox Christianity in particular over the last 50 years. Those are my views, at least.

      • Common Sense

        I will further state that not only are these things not official doctrine now, they never were. The related quotes are from unofficial sources, never vetted, and certainly never approved or ratified by the Church as doctrine. Just like any other church, we have always had a process for approving certain things as doctrine. Those things can be found in the regular publications of the Church, going back to the beginning. Any statement outside of those pulications, no matter who it is attributed to, can be considered doctrine, past or present.

        If you were to subject any other faith to this kind of scrutiny, it would appear in as bad a light (or worse). If I were to assert some outlandish belief to, say, Methodism because of something John Wesley is reported to have said in a random sermon but which was never vetted or approved by his any Methodist organization, I would be laughed off this forum, and rightly so.

    • DougH

      I won’t comment on all the problems with your post, but there is one I think needs clarification.

      Yes, Brigham Young believed that Adam was the Father. No, that theological position was never made official Church doctrine. No, it was not accepted by the entire Church leadership, and just who opposed Young is significant: Orson Pratt especially, his brother Parley, and John Taylor. All three were apostles, all three influential. Orson Pratt was one of the first Mormon apologists and theologians, and John Taylor was present at Carthage Jail when Joseph Smith and his brother Hyram were martyred (Taylor was the only one of the four there not killed or wounded) and eventually became the third president of the Church. In the end Brigham Young lost the debate, despite being the president of the Church, and Orson Pratt won. I suppose the closest comparison would be the Pope getting into an extended, ongoing theological debate with one of his most prominent archbishops and cardinals and eventually losing.

    • Joe

      The Book of Mormon has always condemned polygamy, except under certain circumstances.
      And I’m not sure where you are getting your information on Adam, most LDS know what Brigham Young said about it and we understand it differently than how anti-Mormons would interpret it for us(check FAIR lds Adam God) but it is certainly dishonest to claim that “all of the leadership of the Church (excepting one of two) affirmed Young in this doctrine.”

      The official Church Doctrine is that the opinions or statements of one or a few leaders do not make Doctrine. Peter was our firstt Church President, after Jesus. He beieved things that were not true, and even disagreed with Jesus mroe than once (“not so”) Paul was another Church prophet, he taught things about women not speaking, hair, etc that we do not believe today, but may have applied in his day. You seem to imply that LDS must always practice or believe anything ever practiced or believed by any leader (if this were the case we would only share the gospel with Jews and not the rest of us (whites, Blacks, etc) that Peter calls “unclean” and we would still be practicing circumcision, since it was an “eternal covenant” and many early Churh leaders argued for it. Others disagreed). To claim that anything practiced or beleived at any time must always be practiced is an inteeresting idea, but I’m thankful that you don’t define Doctrine for Christs’s Church.

  • http://www.calvinisme.org Riley

    Since you think that some Mormons as such can be saved, when they do not believe in the Triune God revealed in Scripture, I have to question your self-identification as an evangelical.

    • Common Sense

      “…when they do not believe in the Triune God **established in Nicaea and enforced by the sword**, I have to question…”

      Fixed that for ya. You can thank me later.

      Sorry, it’s not spelled out that way in the Bible so clearly, which is why they had to have the Council at Nicaea to begin with.

  • larry b

    I could be wrong here, it’s happened in the past.If I remember the scriptures, clearly state God appoints the leaders of natinos. So with that said we all need to be praying that God in his wisdom will act according to his will. Some time we need to disagree agreably. It’s my prayer the all of us who love the greatness of our country will continue to be faithful in prayer and let God the Father God the Son and God the Holly Sprite do what they do better then we can. So let us give thanks for this time of fellowship.

  • Peter

    I myself am a Mormon convert from strong protestant heritage (there are ministers in my family). As a deep thinker, I have come to realize how minor paradigm shifts can change everything. For example, Mormons believe that God is a real person and we are his spirit children. This way of viewing reality changes everything. I think that the reason the majority of anti Mormon statements seem so incredibly off to me is that non Mormons are trying to squeeze Mormon theological concepts into a mainstream Christian paradigm.

    I, and I think most Mormons, do not blame people for not understanding Mormonism. You would have to live it to understand it. Stuff like temple rites seem foolish to outsiders but insiders find them to be powerful life changing experiences. Mormon principles and practices are indeed strange but Mormonism is the greatest of all personal improvement programs.

    I am personally glad that both Romney and Santorum are front runners. I do not see Catholics or Mormons as being particularly intolerant (By the way, one of the Mormon 13 articles of faith states tolerance for all religions). However I sense an extreme inolerance and tunnel vision among many evangelicals and born again Christians. Michele Bachman, though an honest and decent person, scares me. There may be no room in her heart for someone like me.

    Awhile back, I was leaning toward Newt until I realized the extent of his baggage. None of the candidates is perfect, but having been through many elections, I feel to say that I have never seen such a great selection of people running for president. Romney is not perfect but I have decided to support him because of his incredible ability and accomplishments. I think he is a powerful leader. Rick Santorum seems to have wonderful values but pales in experience and ability. I even like Ron Paul accept that his radical form of freedom also allows for gay marriage and possibly a weak military.

  • Rick in IL

    “I believe that Mormons as such can be saved, even though I feel that official Mormon theology is deeply mistaken on some deeply important matters…” Tim, that was well-said. My disagreement is with the official doctrines of the church and not with individual Mormons, who may or may not in fact posess saving faith in Jesus – same as Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, Catholics or name-your-other-church-body. Doctrinal alignment doesn’t save you; the name over the door of your house of worship doesn’t save you. Simple trusting faith in Jesus saves you, period. Mitt’s faith is of little concern to me. I am a Republican and as yet undecided.

    • Anew Perspective

      I too, am undecided as of yet, regarding the republican candidates. However, I am decided in that our current president need be removed from his place of power.

  • Derrick

    The debate in the comments has gotten a little off track. . . Tim, good post.

    This notion that a man’s religion does not have an incredibly huge impact on his ability to lead the country is a little foreign to me because of my background I guess. Does it stem from the idea I found in my (admittedly very brief) foray into Kierkegaard that faith is ultimately irrational? That might not be the best way to explain it. But I always passively held the opinion that a truly honest, intelligent, reasonable exploration of the world could not help but lead to Christianity.

    Maybe it’s a terrible assumption (I’ve just started to examine it) maybe it’s a whole ‘nother can of worms. It’s just the reaction I had.

    • Anew Perspective

      43 unique Presidents of the United States.

      13 with acknowledged different religious affiliations; Episcopalian, Unitarian, Congregationalist, Anglican, Unitarian, Deist, Presbyterian, Dutch Reformed, Methodist, Disciples of Christ, Baptist, Quaker, Roman Catholic.

      6 non-denominational affiliations professing no belief in divinity of Jesus Christ – along with one professed Atheist.

      7 with known extra-marital affairs.

      Previous Presidential history suggests that; religious denomination or lack thereof, education or lack thereof, is in fact, not a determining factor in the election of a US President – but rather – a belief that a new President will act for the greater good than the preceding President did.

    • http://sotonohitoblogs.blogspot.com sotonohito

      “This notion that a man’s religion does not have an incredibly huge impact on his ability to lead the country is a little foreign to me because of my background I guess”

      If you’re a Christian that’s not surprising. As a member of the dominant group you’ve likely never had to really consider the merits of a non-Christian. While certain people might not be of your specific sect, odds are that every person you’ve ever even seen run for office has been a Christian of some variety or other.

      Members of the non-dominant groups, however, have lived their entire lives evaluating people on non-religious grounds.

      I’m an atheist, if I were voting based on religion I’d have been abstaining from every election happening in my lifetime. Since the time I was born there have been no atheist candidates for the Presidency. Every person I’ve ever voted for has been Christian, and I’ve got no problem with that.

      Similarly Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, etc all vote for Christians.

      This isn’t because we particularly think Christians are better at leading the nation than non-Christians, but because we have no choice but to evaluate candidates on non-religious grounds.

      Despite the fact that, to me, faith in a god is so alien it seems almost like a form of insanity, I have no difficulty believing that it’s possible for a person to be religious and despite that to still be a good person. Being good while being religious is apparently a difficult thing, but many people manage it.

      I have little choice but to ignore a person’s religion when I decide who to vote for. And so far that’s worked out pretty well. Only members of the dominant group get to be upset or worried or consider membership in the dominant group to be an important factor in voting.

      It’s part of the stuff you’ve got that can be labeled “Christian privilege” that you’ve never thought about, or even been aware of. One of the multiple aspects of Christian privilege is that with very few exceptions every single candidate in every single election will be a Christian. Perhaps not of your sect, but a Christian none the less.

      “But I always passively held the opinion that a truly honest, intelligent, reasonable exploration of the world could not help but lead to Christianity.

      Maybe it’s a terrible assumption”

      Not a terrible assumption, just dead wrong and reflecting your own upbringing. Ask a Muslim and they’ll tell you that a truly honest, intelligent, reasonable exploration of the world could not help but lead to Islam.

      Since there is no actual positive, empirical, evidence for the existence of any deities, I tend to find all religious people to be more or less equally parochial in their outlook and their utter certainty that the religion they were born into happens, what an amazing coincidence, to be the One True Religion.

      • Derrick

        Thanks, Soto. Good point about my perspective being the privilege of the dominant group in our society. I had an empathetic moment there imagining your choice when voting.

        Regarding your last 2 paragraphs: I think I misrepresented myself in my original post. I have not always held that assumption passively. It was the result of lots of reading of people like C.S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton and other apologists, but it’s been ingrained in my thinking for a good decade or so now.

        As one who strives to consistently examine my own assumptions and beliefs from both a Biblical and Reasonable standpoint, I’d hate to give the impression that I had mindlessly followed the beliefs of my parents or the religion I was born into.

        I’ve encountered your last idea before, and it just seems too reductionist to me. I’m glad you’re reading blogs like this because too many atheists are satisfied with mocking and refuting the “mob” of Christianity instead of engaging with its good thinkers.

        I still believe that an honest, intelligent, reasonable exploration of the world cannot help but lead at least in the direction of Christianity, my initial question would be better expressed, “does a failure to hold to religion on the grounds of reason indicate an inability to reason well? Or rather, is it possible that religion can be based entirely in faith alone?” I’ve always included reason in the process of Faith, but I’m starting to wonder if that’s an accurate idea of how the process works. Maybe they don’t go hand in hand, but work towards the same goal from opposite directions.

        • http://sotonohitoblogs.blogspot.com sotonohito

          While there are converts, the overwhelming majority of religious believers are members of the religion of their parents. In America religious mobility mainly exists between denominational families (ie: southern baptist to free will baptist), and even inter-denominational mobility is pretty low while actual inter-faith mobility is lower still.

          While I have no particular objection to mocking the mob, I don’t think observing the fact that mostly people stick with the religion of their parents is mockery.

          You, as a Christian see the universe as pointing inexorably to Christianity, most likely the religion you were born into. Most Muslims would argue that the universe points inexorably to Islam, most likely the religion they were born into.

          People usually see their own world views as being perfectly reasonable, rational, intelligent, and inevitable given reason and intelligence. As you said, the corollary to that position is that people holding differing worldviews must necessarily be lacking in reason, intelligence, or honesty.

          As an atheist I encounter the last most frequently in my discussions with Christians. Typically they’ll toss out Romans 1:18-22 and give me a metaphorical pat on the head along with a hope that someday I’ll stop lying to myself and rebelling against God. Which is pretty annoying as you can likely imagine.

          As for faith vs. reason, I’d argue that religion pretty much has to be based on faith alone. There really is no empirical evidence for any religious claims. Which would seem to leave faith as the solitary thing leading to religion.

          I’m also doubtful that faith and reason particularly work towards the same goal. Certainly plenty of Christian thinkers have argued that reason is dangerous and leads away from faith. Take, for example, Martin Luther: “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has”.

          Obviously I have my own bias here. I’d argue that when examined honestly, rationally, and intelligently the universe cannot help but lead to atheism.

  • Amber

    I enjoyed the article and perspective. As a Mormon from near Washington, DC, I have been disappointed in the anti-Mormon bigotry encountered in the south. Frankly, I have a live and let live approach to other philosophies and religions. The desire to delve into another religion and tear it down indicates a weakness in ones own position. And people like the poster here who has posted numerous times – each one more extreme and incoherent than the one before are a sad example. If you chose to leave the church – then leave. Don’t make being an anti-Mormon your identity. I love Tim’s point about living and showing your faith by how you treat others. We may not agree on points of doctrine, but the teachings of Christ show us that we are all brothers and sisters and will be held accountable for how we treat others.

  • Anew Perspective

    Our country is strategically under attack from the inside out. Our country and its constitution is being taken apart and trampled underfoot piece by piece.

    The great nation and its diminishing constitution cannot take another four year onslaught by Obama and regime.

    Vote obama out! Fire obama this next election.

  • http://patheos.com Eileen

    The 5th chapter of Acts recounts the story of Peter and John who were arrested and imprisoned for preaching of Christ. They were miraclulously freed by an angel and while preaching at the temple were again captured and brought before a quorum of Pharisees. Gamaliel, a doctor of the law and also a Pharisee advised the men of the court concerning Peter and John, “Refrain from these men, and let them alone; for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought; But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”

    • pimento

      Eileen- thank you for the thoughtful post. As a devout Mormon, I am always struck by the level of sheer hatred and vehemence directed at my Church and its members- from self-proclaimed followers of Christ. I know of not a single Mormon who goes around denigrating other faiths. It seems this protestation might reveal something it’s not intended to reveal about the protesters themselves.

  • Jeff Cunningham

    Timothy, Thanks for your comments! A refreshing tone, quite different from what I’ve read lately from evangelicals.

  • Cody Anderson

    Tim-

    You are awesome. Thank you for this refreshing take on all of these issues. Though you do not agree with all of the tenets of my faith, you are willing to be “persecuted” yourself in the defense of a faith other than your own. You are truly a man of God.

  • Joe

    I wanted to comment on a crucial issue for both Evangelicals and LDS. I hope someone else can pick up on this as I have very little time. First, I will say I really enjoyed this article, and we should be working together for good. There are certain groups that really hate both of us and are actively seeking to destroy our First Amendment rights. I have gay family members, and they are wonderful people, but I know that the last thing some activists want is a Mormon President. These are actively trying to divide LDS and Evangelicals. They may even be posing as Evangelicals against Mitt (this is based on evidence from communications with them). They are also seeking to take away religious persons rights to free speech, tax free charitable contributions, rights to be involved in decisions, politics etc. They have already taken many rights
    From CNA quoting activists: “…Catholic¬, Mormon, and evangelica¬l churches…”

    “Bohnett…advised an “aggressiv¬e response” to critics…and also a “pre-empti¬ve campaign” that anticipate¬s the arguments of homosexual activists’ opponents and undermines their credibilit¬y.”
    “… He called on his allies to combat “head-on” religious organizati¬ons opposed to homosexual causes and to take “active measures” against them.”

    Here are some things said to me in comments (I have a big list and have noticed the same sort of attacks on articles about Evangelicals). Keep in mind that these do not represent the gay community that I know and love, and if you Google “Crafting Gay Children” you will learn more about what is going on.

    I said: [Religious people] “cant’ express an opinion without feeling they might be fired from their job, have rocks thrown through windows, etc, etc,

    An activist said: “Amen! So if you don’t like it, then take your bigotry back into the closet, and get your collective holier-than-thou noses out of my life. Oh, the poor oppressed bigots!….”
    Girlwithlaser said: As more and more people leave behind the fallacy of religion, morality, fairness, hope, compassion, decency and dignity will prevail on earth. End the religious stranglehold on humans by 2025!”

    After prop 8 passed, a list of Mormons donating was posted on the internet. Several of those were fired from their jobs for their religious views about marriage. This first comment included a quote about that:

    “LDS here have lost…jobs [had] our businesses boycotted, received harassing calls at home and at work as a result… ”
    [Good] We are going to go after your church every day… I would delight if every [supporter of 08] ended up unemployed¬, penniless and starving on the street…Drive them into the ground and let them know what we’ll do….”

    “Good bye LD$ Inc, I look forward to the day that you become a dead religion!
    ” I know I would be happier if they were [in the Middle-East]. Then we could bomb them and the religous right would cheer…

    From my experience, when I read hateful comments in articles about evangelicals or Mormons, they are most often penned by activists trying to divide and conquer. (As you have seen here, Mormons also have their own special groups, that hate only Mormons. Some are souls who have once had the light, but turned to darkness (and how great is that darkness). These have to harden their hearts to justify their feelings.

    It is important to understand that we should be united in making America great. Mormons believe that all people should be allowed to worship how they choose (It’s an article of Faith).

    We might disagree on some details, but as I learn more about Evangelicals I realize that we agree more than we disagree.

    Most Mormons also believe that the Constitution is inspired, and in the American Founding Father’s vision:
    I’m posting a few (hoping not to tire the poor monitors)of many quotes by American Founders to show that there is a difference between true American separation and some activist’s ideas of separation of Church and State.:
    Sam Adams
    “And as it is our duty…I conceive that we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world that the rod of tyrants may be broken to pieces, and the oppressed made free again; that wars may cease in all the earth, and that the confusions that are and have been among nations may be overruled by promoting and speedily bringing on that holy and happy period when the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ may be everywhere established…who is Prince of Peace.”
    –As Governor of Massachusetts,
    “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.” Sam Adams
    James Monroe
    “When we view the blessings with which our country has been favored…drawn to the source from whence they flow. Let us then, unite in offering our most grateful acknowledgements for these blessings to the Divine Author of All Good.”
    – 2nd Annual Message to Congress
    Thomas Jefferson
    “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God?

    • Cody Anderson

      Thanks for that, PeaceDude. :)

      -Immovable11

  • http://apparentparent.blogspot.com Mark Wilcox

    “And over the weekend I received a submission from a respected professor at a respected Christian university arguing that Evangelicals should not support a candidate whose religion is “openly hostile” to theirs, and that electing a Mormon would legitimate Mormonism in the public eye and put the salvation of many souls at stake.”

    The LDS Church is not “openly hostile” to anyone. The reverse is much more true. The Church itself receives tons of hostility without doling out any. Individual members may be another matter. As a Mormon myself, I on the whole greatly respect Evangelical Christians for their active belief: faith. They believe in something and do what it takes to show that belief. What I do not condone are Evangelicals that are openly hostile toward Mormonism. I would say most Mormons that are “openly hostile” toward Evangelical Christianity are that way simply because they have come in contact with an Evangelical Christian telling them they are not Christian and are going to Hell because of their beliefs, i.e. open hostility. I myself experienced this on various occasions as a missionary for my church, where I went about 12 hours/day 7 days/week proclaiming Christ and studying his Gospel. Whether or not you believe what we teach is the truth, claiming we are “openly hostile” toward any religion is a fallacy that needs correction.
    Thank you Tim, for not agreeing with all we believe, but at least believing we can be good people and even “be saved.”

  • Joe

    I hope all will read my comment above. Lastly, I want to agree with the person above who said (about the article):

    “Well said TJ R. I completely agree, the author should be commended. Were more Christians to demonstrate a balance and strength of such discipleship AND reason. Imagine how much better the world would be.”


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