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Stranger in a Mormon Land
The American Spectator ^ | July-August 2013 | Jeremy Lott

Posted on 07/02/2013 5:54:59 AM PDT by Alex Murphy

...There are many things that you will recognize, including concepts and even scriptures, but they will be recast in a way that is weird, in fact, utterly foreign to you.

Sure, members of this relatively new faith will use the same Hebrew Bible, but they will call it something different, the “Old Testament,” which hints at a divide. They also use other authoritative books, and their method of interpretation has little to nothing to do with your own tradition. They have transformed the Passover meal into something barely recognizable to you. They profess faith in a messiah, but their idea of him is different from your own hopeful notion of the savior of the Jewish people and the world. They affirm the truth of your religion to a point, but insist on a newer, fuller revelation from God that has superseded yours, and invite you to join them in this final dispensation.

My visit to the Mormon ward was a bit like that, and included one young missionary’s well-drilled attempts to proselytize me in the break between the “church” and “Sunday school” portions of the morning. Latter-day Saints don’t go in for compulsion in religion, just really strong and persistent suggestion, so we kept it civil. (Missionary: “If you pray about this, God will show you.” Journalist: “Yeah, I’ll get right on that.”)

One thing outsiders usually don’t understand about Mormonism is that, outside the official power structure in Salt Lake City, it’s mostly a religion of earnest amateurs. The white-shirt, black tie-wearing, backpack-toting missionaries (known as “elders”), pastors (“bishops”), and bishops (“stake presidents”—yes, it’s confusing) don’t draw salaries and serve for fixed terms. There is thus a real sense, shared by both audience and speaker, that the guy up there talking is one of us...

(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.org ...


TOPICS: Catholic; Ministry/Outreach; Other Christian; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: catholic; lds; mormon
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There are many things that you will recognize, including concepts and even scriptures, but they will be recast in a way that is weird, in fact, utterly foreign to you....

Their method of [Bible] interpretation has little to nothing to do with your own tradition.
They have transformed the Passover meal into something barely recognizable to you.
They profess faith in a messiah, but their idea of him is different from your own hopeful notion of the savior of the Jewish people and the world...
Latter-day Saints don’t go in for compulsion in religion, just really strong and persistent suggestion...

One thing outsiders usually don’t understand about Mormonism is that, outside the official power structure in Salt Lake City, it’s mostly a religion of earnest amateurs.

1 posted on 07/02/2013 5:54:59 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy
Sure, members of this relatively new faith will use the same Hebrew Bible, but they will call it something different, the “Old Testament,”

Wut???

Looks like those dastardly Anglicans call it the "Old Teftament", too ... guess that "hints at a divide". Blasted Protestants "hint[ing] at a divide" ... what other heresies will they come up with?

Hint: If you're going to trash people for having weird theology, don't get so carried away with it that you catch yourself up in the overkill ...

2 posted on 07/02/2013 6:01:30 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Alex Murphy

3 posted on 07/02/2013 6:08:26 AM PDT by Gamecock ("Ultimately, Jesus died to save us from the wrath of God." ¬óR.C. Sproul)
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To: Alex Murphy

My father had business dealings in Utah in the 1970’s.
As a Yankee Catholic traveling in Mormon lands, he made the following observations to me.

-The Mormon people were polite, and maintained very high ethical standards. He actually knew someone who sent his coat out for dry cleaning in Salt Lake and left $500 cash in the pocket. It came back with the cash still intact.

-Their devotion to family and to taking care of their own was truly admirable. From what he observed there was barely any need for the state to operate a welfare system, as their church was doing all the heavy lifting.

-Like the Deep South in the 1950’s, the place virtually shut down on Sunday mornings. As it would again when Family Night rolled around.

-Forget ordering a beer! It was no doubt easier to purchase a baggie of weed from some hustler on the street. Beer was only available at super-secret backdoor speakeasies where you had to pay a fee to become a member. He said they actually made our 17th. Century liquor laws in Pennsylvania seem sane by comparison.

-It was also very difficult to get a cup of coffee. With no alcohol and no coffee, he was awestruck by the sight of Kool Aid being served in a 3 1/2 star restaurant.

-Once they found out how many kids he had, they put on the full-court press to try and convert him. He would come back loaded down with all sorts of Mormon literature, including a Book of Mormon (which I have never seen again. She denies this, but I suspect it freaked my mother out so badly that she burned it)

-His one negative thought was that once it became very clear to them that he was not going to convert, the locals all became very cool to him and would barely give him the time of day anymore.


4 posted on 07/02/2013 6:24:23 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Buckeye McFrog
-Forget ordering a beer! It was no doubt easier to purchase a baggie of weed from some hustler on the street. Beer was only available at super-secret backdoor speakeasies where you had to pay a fee to become a member. He said they actually made our 17th Century liquor laws in Pennsylvania seem sane by comparison.

Don't know about the 1970s, but I've been to Utah recently. Beer is available on most menus of an Appleby's class restaurant on up. And if you want to buy a six-pack. you can do so in any local convenience store if you are of the proper age.

Compare that to Pennsylvania where we still have those 17th Century liquor laws, including state-owned stores

5 posted on 07/02/2013 6:37:53 AM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: ArrogantBustard

I’ve always considered the label somewhat misleading. The “Old Testament” might be more correctly labelled “God’s revelation before Christ walked the earth” and the New Testament “God’s revelation since Christ walked the earth”.

The first relates God’s attempts to interact with sinful man on his own terms and, since the fall of Adam and Eve, finds him unholy and unrighteous despite every attempt to bridge the gap. Even when man seeks God and is willing to clean up his act to win God’s favor, he will continue to fall short of attaining God’s holiness and righteousness.

Like Isreal itself, the constant history is of periods of sin followed by periods of atonement followed by more periods of sin.

Enter, Jesus, God’s incarnate being, to serve as the ultimate atonement to make us holy and righteous with God. It is His gift, not something we could achieve by ourselves.

The Old Testament was a religion of laws which the Pharisees then piled on their own man-made laws in an attempt to keep followers from sinning against God’s laws.

Christ did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it so that those who believed in Christ could live a new freedom built less upon laws and more on the relationship we wave with God through Christ.

That is, I think, the stumbling block of both the Jews and the Mormons (and some Christians too). Now freed from the laws of sin thanks to the grace and sacrifice of Christ, these religions still wish to deny men their freedom which Christ died for by stacking up more laws.

The thrust of Paul’s teaching is that we have the freedom to drink alcohol - just don’t get drunk or lead others to drunkeness by your behavior. We have the freedom to eat meats of all kinds - just don’t eat meats that you are aware were sacrificed to false idols. God does not care as much what goes into a man as what comes out of him and so should we.

There are, of course, social and health reasons why we should not do certain things with regard to eating, drinking and sexual activity because of the negative effects on our bodies and minds if we indulge in these things but, under Christ, these behaviors should not define us. Rather, it is what we have in our hearts and the relationship with God and Christ that we seek through a life of prayer and obedience which matters most to Him.

As I get older, I realize that we are children in God’s eyes, never in this life able to grasp and comprehend the world God understands so we must depend on His leading just as young earthly children trust their earthly parents even as they don’t understand and sometimes rebel against their wisdom. But as badly as we behave, our earthly parents love us with a special love because of our position in the family.

So, too, through Christ, we have a special position and receive a special love from God which we may at times rebel against yet our Heavenly Father is ready to forgive as long as we want to maintain that relationship. He will guide us if we will let Him do so. That’s a salvation based on status, not on laws, thus freedom so we are not constrained by a list of “dos and don’ts” that we can never adhere to no matter how hard we try.


6 posted on 07/02/2013 6:59:28 AM PDT by OrangeHoof (Howdy to all you government agents spying on me.)
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To: OrangeHoof
I may very possibly agree with your thoughts, there ... certainly I am inclined to see the Bible as a unified whole, even though of 73 distinct "books" (somewhat of a misnomer) written at different times and in different ways.

Still, that "King James" Holy Bible title page, printed in 1772 (long before Joseph Smith suffered from hallucinations), exists as an historical artifact. That Anglicans (and other Protestants) used the terms "Old Testament" and "New Testament" long before there was mormonism is simply inarguable.

7 posted on 07/02/2013 7:08:25 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

I have no dispute of that. I’m just saying the labels “Old Testament” and “New Testament” don’t exactly ring clear but that has nothing to do with Mormonism and everything to do with the revelations and clarifications received through Christ.

Plus, not everyone agrees on which “books” should be in either canon. I am no expert on that but am happy with the modern Protestant bible as is.


8 posted on 07/02/2013 7:26:16 AM PDT by OrangeHoof (Howdy to all you government agents spying on me.)
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To: OrangeHoof
that has nothing to do with Mormonism

I agree. The author is trying to make an issue of it. I think he's overreaching. Mormonism is nutty and not Christian, but the OT/NT terminology predates mormonism and has nothing to do with it. The author should (IMO) remove that bit. It's nonsense.

9 posted on 07/02/2013 7:29:10 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

I’m pretty sure the author is Jewish, in case you didn’t catch that.


10 posted on 07/02/2013 7:57:59 AM PDT by Boogieman
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To: OrangeHoof
The Latin Bible had a Vetus Testamentum and a Novum Testamentum long before Martin Luther was born, and the Eastern Christian churches had equivalent terms in their languages going back to the early centuries.
11 posted on 07/02/2013 8:05:03 AM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: ArrogantBustard
ArrogantBustard: The author is trying to make an issue of it. I think he's overreaching. Mormonism is nutty and not Christian, but the OT/NT terminology predates mormonism and has nothing to do with it.

Boogieman: I’m pretty sure the author is Jewish, in case you didn’t catch that.

In the portions excerpted, the author identifies himself as a Catholic convert, the son of a Baptist minister. FWIW, I took his "Old Testament" comment as saying that the Mormons themselves consider the whole of the Holy Bible (Old and New Testaments) as an "Old" Testament. The Book of Mormon bills itself as "Another Testament of Jesus Christ".


12 posted on 07/02/2013 8:16:21 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Boogieman

Sorry - meant to ping you to #12


13 posted on 07/02/2013 8:17:46 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Boogieman
I’m pretty sure the author is Jewish, in case you didn’t catch that.

I didn't, but it doesn't really change my point. It makes no sense to ding the mormons for using the term "Old Testament" unless one also dings the Christians for using it. There are plenty of legitimate objections to mormonism. This one is silly.

In fact, if indeed the author is Jewish the rest of that paragraph is as much a condemnation of Christianity as it is of mormonism.

14 posted on 07/02/2013 8:18:44 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Vigilanteman

Mitt Romney supposedly fixed the beer thing as a prerequisite to landing the Winter Olympics. My dad used to go there in the mid-70’s.


15 posted on 07/02/2013 8:22:00 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Alex Murphy; Boogieman
OK.

I read the whole article again. Slowly.

Yes, the author is Catholic. Says so right there in the fourth paragraph.

The sixth paragraph is the author's imagining of how a Jew would react to visiting a Christian church.

the Mormons themselves consider the whole of the Holy Bible (Old and New Testaments) as an "Old" Testament. The Book of Mormon bills itself as "Another Testament of Jesus Christ".

Yes. All makes sense, now.

FWIW, there is a fad in some circles of using the terms "Hebrew Scriptures" and "Christian Scriptures" in place of "Old Testament" and "New Testament".

BTW, I agree with the mormon 'catechist' on one thing:

I came up to talk to the teacher about one item after class. He had called the Nicene Creed incomprehensible, so I told him, “Look, I’m Catholic. I understand if you don’t agree with it, since you don’t believe in the Trinity and all that, but please tell me what is so hard to understand about the Nicene Creed?” We struck up a conversation. He admitted, “Either we’re right or you guys are.” Then he thought about that and added, “Please don’t quote me by name.”

Christianity and mormonism are contradictory. They cannot both be right.

16 posted on 07/02/2013 8:37:52 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

Are the Mormons perhaps referring to the entire Christian bible as the “Old Testament” in light of the Book of Mormon et al being their “new Testament?”


17 posted on 07/02/2013 8:40:47 AM PDT by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's Economiws In One Lesson ONLINE http://steshaw.org/econohttp://www.fee.org/library/det)
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To: ArrogantBustard

In the article the author claims to be Catholic. If you can legitimately make “Jewish” out of that then words truly have no meaning unless you posit that the author lied.


18 posted on 07/02/2013 8:43:17 AM PDT by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's Economiws In One Lesson ONLINE http://steshaw.org/econohttp://www.fee.org/library/det)
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To: arthurus
I feel quite certain that you know what the word "if" means.

I feel quite certain that you can read my post #16.

Peace be with you.

19 posted on 07/02/2013 8:45:50 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

My reading was that the Mormons refer to the entire Bible - both OT and NT - as the Old Testament. Am I missing something?


20 posted on 07/02/2013 8:47:24 AM PDT by old and tired
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