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Mormon Twentysomething: Debunking a Mormon/Romney conspiracy theory
The Mormon Times ^ | August 13, 2010 | McKay Coppins

Posted on 08/14/2010 1:24:41 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

It is a truism of modern media that few subjects draw more attention than politics. If you're a savvy journalist or blogger looking to attract page views in today's 24-hour news cycle, the shortcut to success requires slapping some political "analysis" on to whatever story you're covering, like so:

"University releases groundbreaking cancer study: What does it mean for Obama?"

Of course, I've been guilty of this to some extent in my (young) journalism career. And having spent the past few months interning at a national news outlet with a website that has scores of competitors, I understand all too well the occasional need to quickly pick a unique angle and go with it. Which is why I was not all that surprised when the press began buzzing with an interesting conspiracy theory connected with a new LDS ad campaign.

The campaign in question consists of commercials airing in nine middle-America markets. Each ad zeroes in on the life of an interesting Latter-day Saint. Seems pretty benign, right? Not if you ask page view-hungry journalists.

On liberal website Salon.com, Alex Pareene writes, "But … are Mormons just trying to convince Americans that Mormons are 'normal,' so that in 2012 they'll consider voting for Mormon King Mitt Romney? (These ads are running in four or five potential swing states, after all.)" He goes on to quote a church spokesman who insists "this has nothing to do with Mitt at all," but of course, by raising the question, Pareene is clearly hinting that it's a legitimate concern.

And he's not the only one. The idea has been floated in several news outlets. I haven't been able to track this theory back to its root, but I suppose it was bound to come up.

The problem, of course, is that it's ludicrous. Even if you believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is sinister enough to claim political neutrality and then secretly coordinate PR efforts with a potential presidential candidate, how would such actions benefit Mormonism? As I've written before, a Romney presidency would open the church up to unrelenting attacks from the left and most likely alienate potential converts who happen to be Democrats. If Romney governed like a true social conservative, the church might gain favor among the Republican base, but it's doubtful that we'd see swarms of evangelicals suddenly endorsing LDS doctrine.

In reality, this ad campaign is about what PR ad campaigns are always about: improving public image. The church's central message to the public has become distorted in recent years, especially in the wake of Proposition 8, and these commercials are intended to remind people that Mormons aren't all crazy, self-righteous cultists.

So, what is the central message the church is trying to communicate? Our full-time proselyting missionaries might answer that question with an Article of Faith or a line from Preach My Gospel, but the people in these commercials are not missionaries, and I think one of them explains it very well:

"This is the bottom line to me. The Mormon church teaches good principles. … I think it makes people better. It'll take a bad person and make 'em good, and a good person and make 'em better."

That may not make for a sexy political story, but it has the advantage of being true.

*******

McKay Coppins is a journalism major at BYU. His weekly blog chronicles the Mormon twenty-something experience. McKay's column, "Mormon Twentysomething," appears Fridays on MormonTimes.com.

E-mail: mcoppins@desnews.com


TOPICS: Evangelical Christian; Ministry/Outreach; Other Christian; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: 2012; backstabberromney; canttrustromney; gopdestroyerromney; lds; mormon; mormons; operationleper; romney; romney4aig; romney4dnc; romney4mitt; romney4mosque; romney4obama; romney4obamacare; romney4romneycare; romney4sharia; romney4tarp; romneyantipalin; romneybigdig; romneycare; romneydirtytricks; romneyfakepoll; romneymarriage; spoilerromney
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1 posted on 08/14/2010 1:24:45 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

It amazes me that some posters on FreeRepublic seem to fear or detest Mormons more than they do Muslims.


2 posted on 08/14/2010 1:44:53 AM PDT by Eva
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To: Eva
I hope you're not pointing that finger at me. I merely posted a thread, by a Mormon on the politics of the recent LDS PR campaign.
3 posted on 08/14/2010 1:46:22 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I don't need a newspaper to know the world's been shaved by a drunken barber.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

No, not at all. It’s just that the subject has been on my mind because many of the posters from WA state are backing a newbie for the Senate, who has aligned himself with Ron Paul and I’ve been thinking that they are willing to accept someone who aligns himself with Ron Paul, whose foreign policy is exactly the same as Cindy Sheehan’s, but tore into Mitt Romney for being a Mormon.


4 posted on 08/14/2010 1:51:13 AM PDT by Eva
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To: Eva

As an atheist on the sidelines, I have to agree with you. Personal prejudice is one thing, but no one’s been able to explain to me what “threat” there is in Mormons believing what they wish.

Some folks are getting into a weird place where their legitimate opposition to Multiculturalism (as opposed to the genuine mix of cultures that has always been part of this nation) and ILLEGAL immigration has led them to be against anyone who doesn’t believe in precisely what they believe in. That’s not what being an American or a conservative means to me.


5 posted on 08/14/2010 2:04:43 AM PDT by Darkwolf377 ("Fanaticism is described as redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim."-G. Santayana)
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To: Darkwolf377

ping


6 posted on 08/14/2010 2:39:56 AM PDT by BlueMoose
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To: Eva

I would vote for a conservative LDS. I would not vote for a follower of the moon god, no matter if he appeared to be another Reagan. That said, I would not vote for Mitt Romney. He has proven himself far from conservative and far from trustworthy.


7 posted on 08/14/2010 3:01:58 AM PDT by Ingtar (If he could have taxed it, Obama's hole would have been plugged by now.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Reid and Romney are not conservative.

Shame on anyone claiming they are.


8 posted on 08/14/2010 3:19:35 AM PDT by Diogenesis ('Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God' - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

So the LDS takes a beating in California, a wealthy populous state, due to Section 8, and they run a campaign in culturally different from California, Mid West states. That just happen to be ones Mitt needs.

Yeah.
Right.
Noting to see here.
Why Mitt Romney/Pratt is just an obscure guy from Massachusetts, er, Michigan, er Utah...that happens to ...um be ...oh yeah....attend, every now and then a Mormon Temple.

It’s not like he comes from and is hooked up to, and his family is and always has been Mormon royalty.

Nah.

It just that some at higher headquarters, S. Lake, messed up and put the California damage control money into those Mid West states. ( You know those wacky Mormons! Haha! )


9 posted on 08/14/2010 3:36:19 AM PDT by Leisler ("Over time they create a legal system that plunders and a moral code that glorifies it." F. Bastiat)
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To: Ingtar

10 posted on 08/14/2010 3:38:10 AM PDT by Leisler ("Over time they create a legal system that plunders and a moral code that glorifies it." F. Bastiat)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

How can the author not see a Romney presidencey as good for Mormonism? Increased membership is not just the only thing to be looked at. What about just general acceptance of Mormonism? /rhetorical


11 posted on 08/14/2010 3:55:48 AM PDT by PghBaldy (Like the Ft Hood Killer, James Earl Ray was just stressed when he killed MLK Jr.)
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To: Eva

I don’t like Mitt Romney but have no issues with Mormons until they start sawing the heads off infidels.


12 posted on 08/14/2010 4:00:23 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: Eva

+1


13 posted on 08/14/2010 6:32:51 AM PDT by mnehring
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To: cripplecreek

have no issues with Mormons until they start sawing the heads off infidels.
_____________________________________________

Circleville Massacre


14 posted on 08/14/2010 8:53:36 AM PDT by Tennessee Nana
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

McKay Coppins...

isnt he that liberal who used to work for Newsweek ???

Hardly a conservative writer...


15 posted on 08/14/2010 8:57:24 AM PDT by Tennessee Nana
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Mitt Romney is no different than Harry Reid

Mitt Romney is a flip-flopping socialist bum!

Some people just don't get the TEA Parties. RINO Romney is just more of the same. Dump him!

16 posted on 08/14/2010 9:01:43 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

McKay Coppins from the artice...

“The problem, of course, is that it’s ludicrous. Even if you believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is sinister enough to claim political neutrality and then secretly coordinate PR efforts with a potential presidential candidate, how would such actions benefit Mormonism?”
________________________________________

Oh Coppins is hoping many people dont know about the mormon White Horse prophecy...

Williard Mitt Romney sees himself as a fulfillment of that Joey Smith “prophecy...”

That the mormons would save America some time...

“You will see the constitution of the United States almost destroyed. It will hang like a thread.... A terrible revolution will take place in the land of America.... [T]he land will be left without a Supreme Government,... [Mormonism] will have gathered strength, sending out Elders to gather the honest in heart... to stand by the Constitution of the United States.... In these days... God will set up a Kingdom, never to be thrown down.... [T]he whole of America will be made the Zion of God.”
- Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., May 6, 1843, in Roberts, John, Journal of John J. Roberts

“[W]hen the Constitution of the United States hangs, as it were, upon a single thread, they will have to call for the ‘Mormon’ Elders to save it from utter destruction.”
- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 2, p. 182, February 18, 1855

- George Romney, interview in “A Man’s Religion and American Politics: An Interview with Governor Romney,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn 1967, v. 2, p. 25
“[T]here will be a complete change of government. Washington, D.C. will cease to be capital. The present national bureaucracy will have its end. The internal conflict will sweep away the current system of governments and will pave the way for the political kingdom of God and the millennial kingdom through which Jesus Christ will rule and reign.... A new government will be established among the saints and that political Kingdom of God will espouse and uphold the principles of Constitutional government.”


17 posted on 08/14/2010 9:08:03 AM PDT by Tennessee Nana
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Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

To: Eva
It amazes me that some posters on FreeRepublic seem to fear or detest Mormons more than they do Muslims.

That is a nasty thought for you to carry no matter which direction that one looks at it from.

19 posted on 08/14/2010 9:44:44 AM PDT by ansel12
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To: Darkwolf377
Personal prejudice is one thing, but no one’s been able to explain to me what “threat” there is in Mormons believing what they wish.

Mormonism is a non-Christian religion that has always directed it's efforts, wealth, advertising, trained door to door salesmen, at getting Christians to leave Christ, that is about as serious as anything can get, in fact it is the most serious threat in the existence of all that exists, naturally people will respond to a campaign to destroy souls.

20 posted on 08/14/2010 9:54:16 AM PDT by ansel12
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To: Ingtar

If you could show me a conservative lds running for office, I might agree with you.


21 posted on 08/14/2010 4:14:58 PM PDT by svcw (It's not the situation that matters, it's the attitude toward the situation that matters.)
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To: Eva
If you could show me one post just one where a poster implies or states they detest mormons as a apposed to mormonISM I could agree with you.
22 posted on 08/14/2010 4:17:21 PM PDT by svcw (It's not the situation that matters, it's the attitude toward the situation that matters.)
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To: Tennessee Nana

I think he still works there. He is not a conservative.


23 posted on 08/14/2010 4:18:14 PM PDT by svcw (It's not the situation that matters, it's the attitude toward the situation that matters.)
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To: ansel12

I should have said that they hate the Mormon religion more than Islam.


24 posted on 08/14/2010 4:50:53 PM PDT by Eva
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To: Eva

Post 20 gives an idea of why Christians would think that they are called to resist Mormon recruitment efforts here at FR, or anywhere else.


25 posted on 08/14/2010 5:07:40 PM PDT by ansel12
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To: ansel12
getting Christians to leave Christ, that is about as serious as anything can get, in fact it is the most serious threat in the existence of all that exists

Maybe to you.

26 posted on 08/14/2010 8:52:27 PM PDT by Darkwolf377 ("Fanaticism is described as redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim."-G. Santayana)
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To: ansel12

Their version of Christ may be the correct one and yours might be totally wrong...magritte


27 posted on 08/14/2010 8:56:01 PM PDT by magritte ("There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself "Do trousers matter?")
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To: Darkwolf377

Yes to Christians only of course, God Bless the USA.


28 posted on 08/14/2010 8:56:26 PM PDT by ansel12
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To: ansel12

Against such blindness, you cannot expect to have a rational discussion. Leave ‘it’ be ...


29 posted on 08/14/2010 8:58:42 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Dem voters, believing they cannot be deceived, it is impossible to convince them when deceived.)
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To: magritte

Something that all the Christian churches seem to agree on, is that Mormonism is a different religion, that it isn’t a Christian denomination.


30 posted on 08/14/2010 8:59:20 PM PDT by ansel12
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To: ansel12

I guess I never understood the intense fear many Christians have when it comes to Christianity being on the open market of ideas. Saying that Mormons prosletyzing—something Christians have done for centuries—and all sorts of other exchanges of ideas, religious and philosophical, is a threat to your religion doesn’t say much for the power of that religion.

If you have God on your side, you should be completely fearless of all comers—and invite other religions to bring it on. Yet the emotion expressed by so many Christians these days is fear that other religions are threatening it when they use the very tactics Christianity has always used.

If you know Christianity is the true religion, what are you afraid of? You have God on your side—who can be against you?


31 posted on 08/14/2010 9:13:43 PM PDT by Darkwolf377 ("Fanaticism is described as redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim."-G. Santayana)
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To: Darkwolf377

I recognize a guy that probably tells people that he is an atheist, but really he is just anti-Christian.


32 posted on 08/14/2010 9:18:38 PM PDT by ansel12
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To: ansel12
I recognize a guy that probably tells people that he is an atheist, but really he is just anti-Christian.

I can recognize someone who can't argue simple, direct points--or show a single anti-Christian thing I've ever said--so he just whines "Anti-Christian"and runs in fear while claiming he believes in an Almighty God.

Way to have the courage of your convictions.

33 posted on 08/14/2010 9:22:06 PM PDT by Darkwolf377 ("Fanaticism is described as redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim."-G. Santayana)
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To: Darkwolf377

From what I can see, your only reason on this thread has been to defend Mormonism and attack the Christian culture of America.

Let me guess, this is one of your routines?


34 posted on 08/14/2010 9:31:11 PM PDT by ansel12
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To: ansel12
From what I can see, your only reason on this thread has been to defend Mormonism and attack the Christian culture of America. Let me guess, this is one of your routines?

Please show ONE "attack" I've made on the Christian culture of America.

Oh--you mean saying Christians AND Mormons both prosletyze is an attack, don't you?

Nice way to completely avoid my very simple point, which I'll repeat--if your religion is THE religion, why do you fear other, false religions trying to gain supporters?

Your every post is making my point for me. Too bad you can't have a reasonable discussion and can only smear me. Isn't that what a certain someone did before the cock crowed?

35 posted on 08/14/2010 9:35:25 PM PDT by Darkwolf377 ("Fanaticism is described as redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim."-G. Santayana)
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To: ansel12

BTW, to answer your “from what I can see” point, all you have to do is look at my first post on this thread, and there’s your answer.

You have to pretend I’m some kind of stealth threat to you to pose as the put-upon believer, but it’s dishonest—my posts are very honest and open. Sorry you’re not up to the challenge.


36 posted on 08/14/2010 9:37:25 PM PDT by Darkwolf377 ("Fanaticism is described as redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim."-G. Santayana)
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To: Darkwolf377

Your first post was a nice defense of Mormonism and a slight at the Christian culture of America, my guess is, that is a common way that an atheist would handle himself in the religion section.

Luckily, I don’t have to waste much time on militant, anti-Christian, atheists since there is nothing to be gained.


37 posted on 08/14/2010 9:43:45 PM PDT by ansel12
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To: ansel12
Your first post was a nice defense of Mormonism and a slight at the Christian culture of America, my guess is, that is a common way that an atheist would handle himself in the religion section.

My first post never mentioned or even alluded to Christianity. It was a defense of Mormonism and religious freedom. Lying about my posts is more of a slight than anything I've said.

Luckily, I don’t have to waste much time on militant, anti-Christian, atheists since there is nothing to be gained.

That you simply pile on the lies and completely avoid my actual points is the only slight against Christianity going on here.

Run away, scared little victim.

38 posted on 08/14/2010 9:47:39 PM PDT by Darkwolf377 ("Fanaticism is described as redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim."-G. Santayana)
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To: Darkwolf377

LOL, why don’t you start a pro-Mormon thread from the atheist living in America point of view, it may relieve some of the tension.


39 posted on 08/14/2010 9:53:10 PM PDT by ansel12
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To: ansel12

What tension? I’m laughing at the fact that I’m an atheist who tells the truth, while you’re a Christian who has to lie to avoid the simplest questions. :)


40 posted on 08/14/2010 9:59:27 PM PDT by Darkwolf377 ("Fanaticism is described as redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim."-G. Santayana)
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To: Darkwolf377
Accusing another Freeper of telling a lie attributes to him the intent to deceive. It is "making it personal."

Words like "false" "error" "wrong" "misleading" do not "make it personal."

Discuss the issues all you want, but do not make it personal.

41 posted on 08/14/2010 10:01:45 PM PDT by Religion Moderator
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To: Religion Moderator
Accusing another Freeper of telling a lie attributes to him the intent to deceive. It is "making it personal." Words like "false" "error" "wrong" "misleading" do not "make it personal." Discuss the issues all you want, but do not make it personal.

I am guessing you are sending the other poster a similar note about accusing me of being a militant anti-Christian, and of attacking the Christian culture of America--or are those things not "making it personal" because I'm an atheist, so anything goes?

42 posted on 08/14/2010 10:06:22 PM PDT by Darkwolf377 ("Fanaticism is described as redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim."-G. Santayana)
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To: Darkwolf377
By the Religion Forum guidelines (which you can read on my profile page) when one poster in a sidebar has been warned, all posters in the sidebar are to consider themselves warned.

This is based on the principle that two wrongs do not make a right.

Much like liberals can be trolls on the News/Activism Forum, atheists can be trolls on the Religion Forum.

Atheists are welcome to participate in theological debate provided their posts have a theological, historical or philosophical context. When the atheist has nothing to bring but ad hominems, I instruct him to leave.

43 posted on 08/14/2010 10:12:45 PM PDT by Religion Moderator
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To: Religion Moderator
By the Religion Forum guidelines (which you can read on my profile page) when one poster in a sidebar has been warned, all posters in the sidebar are to consider themselves warned.

OK. I think in the future it might be helpful to send such responses to both posters, not just one. The appearance of favoritism may be a matter of interpretation, but not an outrageous one.

This is based on the principle that two wrongs do not make a right.

It seems that pointing out one poster's errors in detail, and not another's at least equally extreme ones, is a wrong on top of the one being pointed out--that makes two.

Much like liberals can be trolls on the News/Activism Forum, atheists can be trolls on the Religion Forum.

Sure. I would expect to be asked to leave if I were trolling. I don't think an honest person can say my posts here were any such thing--particularly since I was the one posting to support the point of view of the initial posting, and the other poster is attacking it. Yet *I'm* the one given the warning?

Atheists are welcome to participate in theological debate provided their posts have a theological, historical or philosophical context. When the atheist has nothing to bring but ad hominems, I instruct him to leave.

I think it's clear to any honest reader who isn't looking to play the victim and thus retroactively label the "offending" poster a troll that I posted here in support of religious freedom, and subsequently asked why the religion the thread is about is considered threatening when it did the same things the dominant religion in the land does. I was then called an anti-Christian militant, and you know the rest.

I see these threads are not about folks like myself who are curious about religion even though I am not a believer. Over the years I've gotten very pleasant private FReepmails from believers who prayed for my conversion and so on. These are some of the messages that mean the most to me in my time here. Who knows where my spiritual quest will take me?

But since as an atheist I'm assumed to be bashing Christianity because I ask questions, I won't post on religion threads anymore. The responses I've gotten on this one have ranged from polite from those in support of the actual thread subject, to hostility and, sorry, dishonesty and avoidance of the most basic questions of religion...on a religious thread.

OK, I'm gone, you've got your religion thread back for those who all agree with each other--kind of a weird way to run a thread on a debate site, but it ain't my thread. Thanks for posting these for those who are interested; I've learned a lot from them in the past (and recommended them in a recent thread where I praised my favorite threads here on FR). Can't say I'm not disappointed in the attitude, but whatever.

Have a good one.

44 posted on 08/14/2010 10:28:07 PM PDT by Darkwolf377 ("Fanaticism is described as redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim."-G. Santayana)
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To: Darkwolf377

What cheese would you prefer with your whine? ... I’m guessing ‘limpburger’, or perhaps a niced ‘stiltson’?


45 posted on 08/15/2010 10:23:08 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Dem voters, believing they cannot be deceived, it is impossible to convince them when deceived.)
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To: MHGinTN
What cheese would you prefer with your whine?

The go-to response of the ignorant loudmouth.

46 posted on 08/15/2010 10:25:22 AM PDT by Darkwolf377 ("Fanaticism is described as redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim."-G. Santayana)
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To: magritte
Their version of Christ may be the correct one and yours might be totally wrong...magritte

Then why after 180 years of mormon leaders denouncing Christianity, does mormonism NOW demand to be called "Christian"? Why should Christians simply accept the arrogance of mormons deciding at this late date to define Christianity to suit their Christ?

47 posted on 08/15/2010 10:58:02 AM PDT by greyfoxx39 (The question will be: Where do you stand on shariah?” Obama stands WITH shariah.)
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To: greyfoxx39

They have denounced and continue to denounce your false Christianity, and they wish to replace it with their true Christianity...I don’t know why that’s hard to understand...many Christian sects have done the same thing for 2000 years...magritte


48 posted on 08/15/2010 1:38:42 PM PDT by magritte ("There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself "Do trousers matter?")
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To: Darkwolf377

Bwahahahahaha ... must be such a torture having to read all the posts on all these threads, with an attitude of condescension so thick it oozes from your pores. LOL


49 posted on 08/15/2010 2:32:51 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Dem voters, believing they cannot be deceived, it is impossible to convince them when deceived.)
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To: magritte
They have denounced and continue to denounce your false Christianity, and they wish to replace it with their true Christianity........against the wishes of the major Christian religions.

As I posted earlier, the arrogance is obvious. From Joseph Smith onward, Christians were willing to allow mormons their version of "true Christianity", but from Joseph Smith onward, mormons have tried to force feed their version to the "gentile" world. If mormons wish to be one with Christians, why do mormons have special name for non-believers? This is a goal very similar to the muslim attitude toward "infidels".

As a matter of fact the mormon/muslim connection continues to grow.

Muslims and Latter-Day Saints

In recent years, respect for the spiritual legacy of Muhammad and for the religious values of the Islamic community has led to increasing contact and cooperation between Latter-day Saints and Muslims around the world.

This is due in part to the presence of Latter-day Saint congregations in areas such as the Levant, North Africa, the Persian Gulf, and Southeast Asia.

The Church has sought to respect Islamic laws and traditions that prohibit conversion of Muslims to other faiths by adopting a policy of nonproselyting in Islamic countries of the Middle East.

NOTE: Why the special conditions for muslims, yet Christians are fair game?

Yet examples of dialogue and cooperation abound, including visits of Muslim dignitaries at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City; Muslim use of Church canning facilities to produce halal (ritually clean) food products; Church humanitarian aid and disaster relief sent to predominantly Muslim areas including Jordan, Kosovo, and Turkey; academic agreements between Brigham Young University and various educational and governmental institutions in the Islamic world; the existence of the Muslim Student Association at BYU; and expanding collaboration between the Church and Islamic organizations to safeguard traditional family values worldwide.

11 The recent initiation of the Islamic Translation Series, cosponsored by BYU and the Church, has resulted in several significant exchanges between Muslim officials and Latter-day Saint Church leaders. A Muslim ambassador to the United Nations predicted that this translation series “will play a positive role in the West’s quest for a better understanding of Islam.” 12

A Latter-day Saint Perspective on Muhammad-LDS.org

Latter-day Saint Interest in Muhammad

50 posted on 08/15/2010 2:48:35 PM PDT by greyfoxx39 (The question will be: Where do you stand on shariah?” Obama stands WITH shariah.)
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