August 22, 2012

A New Direction: Introduction

If you recall, a while back I mentioned that I was going to be taking a new direction on the blog. Not changing the title or url or anything like that. That won’t happen for a few years, at least. So I don’t mean a completely new blog or anything like that.

No, I’m going to start a more serious feature series. I don’t expect it to be a weekly thing, probably bi-weekly at best. Because this one is going to take a little lot more prep-work than my typical features, which will stay. I’m still going to do the Movie Monday posts and the Furry Friday posts. So the fun stuff will be here, too, as well as the regular ol’ every day kind of posts.

When it became clear Romney was going to be the Republican candidate, there was a lot of back-and-forth on the internet about whether or not Romney was a Christian and whether Mormonism is a Christian belief system. I didn’t engage in much of it, for one thing because I don’t necessarily feel that’s a relevant factor when choosing a President during a time of global recession, crippling national debt and the highest unemployment rate in a decade. But also because it was obvious that there was such a serious deficit of knowledge about either Mormon or Christian theology, that it would have been like trying to explain quantum mechanics to someone who has never heard of addition. You have to start at Square 1.

Which is what I’m going to do.

Let me lay the groundwork for this by saying, my only objective here is to take the fundamentals of the Mormon religion and hold it up against the Bible. In doing so, I will be following the instruction of their own prophet, Brigham Young, who said, “Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter Day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test." (May 18, 1873, Journal of Discourses, vol. 16, p. 46.) I’ll do my best to stick to the basics, as difficult as that will be. Mormonism is a fascinating and complicated belief system and there’s an awful lot we could cover. I’ll do my best to be streamlined.

This series may get me labeled as being “anti” or “against” Mormons. Even people who aren’t Mormon seem to consider examining Mormonism to be motivated solely from bigotry. Nothing could be further from the truth. While there are people who are hatefully anti-Mormon, I am not one of them. I have Mormon friends that I admire and love like family. When we joined the Army, the first people to take us into their homes and make us feel like we “belonged” were Mormons. I have nothing but unreserved warm feelings towards Mormons.

And let’s be honest, if we’re just talking about your standard, run-of-the-ward Mormons (Latter-Day Saints, technically, but since it’s the more widely-recognized term, I’ll use “Mormons”) there’s not a whole lot to criticize in general. They have large, warm, tight-knit families. They are actively engaged in improving their local communities and third-world countries. They tend to be very wholesome, clean-cut individuals who are contributing members of society. I have a Mormon friend who, I swear, really does live in a world of unicorns and rainbows. And even if you don’t like Mitt Romney, you have to admit he makes some good-lookin’ kids. I know I’m stereotyping, but really, I’m not wrong.

The point is, I’m not wanting to talk about individual Mormons. Or even Mormons as a group. People keep tossing around the question: “Is Mitt Romney a Christian?” And the response is often, “Of course he is, Mormons are Christians.” Bad question, bad answer. I can’t see into anyone else’s heart. I can’t look at someone I don’t even know and pretend to know the ins and outs of their relationship with God. I can, however, examine a set of beliefs and evaluate whether or not they line up with what the Bible teaches without it coming from a place of hate.

And for those who are wondering, no, I am not and have never been a member of the Mormon church. I have, however, been studying LDS history and theology seriously for several years now. I don’t pretend to know it all, but I know more than the average non-member. I’m not above error, and I will accept factually-based correction.

The last thing I’ll say is, I am looking forward with great anticipation to discussions prompted by this series. Please be sure your reply-to email is set so that I am able to reply to all of your comments. I don’t have to ask everyone to keep it civil, because I have the best readers in the world. I’ve posted about controversial topics on here before and y’all have never been anything but thoughtful and mature. I look forward to carrying that spirit on as we go on this new discovery journey together.

young

Posts:
The Book of Mormon and other writings
Can Mormons Trust the Bible?
What Does Mormonism Teach About Jesus, Pt. 1

17 comments:

  1. I look forward to these posts and the civil discussion that follows. I am not very "educated" regarding the church of LDS and I am intrigued to see what you find. I think what you are doing is important and I hope to encourage you along the way!

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  2. This could be very interesting, I grew up in Mormon-ville... literally my high school was 80% LDS. My dad is actually really close friends with a former Mormon so we know a lot of "insider" things. I pray you don't get any hateful responses!

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  3. I am looking forward to this series!

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  4. I'm making sure to comment before distraction of any kind sets in. :)
    JG, I am seriously so looking forward to this series. We have discovered many sweet LDS friends in our years in the Army and I am so thankful that you're willing to share your research with us - research that I would have loved to do, but simply haven't had the time. Right after Lucas was born, we tried to have a conversation with two LDS friends about Christianity and Mormonism being different and it didn't go over very well. We're still friends, by the grace of God, but I don't ever want to stick my foot in my mouth again. But I DO want to speak up for the truth. So, if you can help shed some light on what that is, I'll gobble it up. Okay. I'm done. :)

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  5. Looking forward to it for sure!!

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  6. I'm looking forward to this series as well! I was actually interested in this topic and began doing a little bit of research myself.

    Bailey

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  7. I'm very interested to see what you have to say. Mormonism is close to my heart - my little sister is one and passionate about it.

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  8. I am so glad that you are covering this topic and I look forward to reading!

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  9. Thanks for taking the time to do this. I look forward to reading it.

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  10. Looking forward to your new series and whatever discussion follows.

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  11. Very excited! Can't wait to see what you've learned and what others have to add. I know I'll learn a lot from this!

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  12. What an awesome series this will be! I am looking forward to your posts and the civil discussion that will follow! I haven't always commented, but I have been a long time reader, and have always loved your posts. You aren't afraid to talks facts and get info out there, and I appreciate that about you. And as a Religion Major getting ready to go into Ministry I know a little about the differences between Mormonism and Christianity and I look forward to learning more!

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  13. Interested to see what you have to say! :)

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  14. I can't wait to see what you've learned about Mormonism! I would love to do the research myself, but I have a feeling that I just don't have the time (or brain power =P) to dedicate to it.

    And here's hoping the nasty, mean people stay away from your posts. =)

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  15. I am looking forward to your series as well, as i have done a lot of research on the LDS faith.

    One caution though; do not be drawn into feeling guilting for being "anti" mormon if you become critical of a doctrine or practice. Our culture has become so thinned skinned that reasonable and polite disagreement is labelled hate. Do not fall into that trap. Follow the truth wherever it leads.

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  16. A little late to the discussion. Just noticed your 'part 2', and thought I would start here. I am VERY interested in discussions such as this. I do not have my email set to reply for privacy reasons, but if you post a follow-up comment, it will go to my email.
    Thank you for sharing!

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I was nice and didn't turn on word verifications. Please reciprocate by having your reply-to email set and not posting anonymously.