Skip to comments.The Truth About Mormonism
Posted on 04/15/2012 9:22:28 AM PDT by Kaslin
Being a Mormon isn't an easy path.
Heather Beeseck, a sophomore secondary education major at Potomac State College, would know. She has been involved with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for two years and was baptized into the faith on August 6, 2011.
The Church, according to the National Review, is the fourth largest religious organization in the United States. Its numbers expand at 2.5 percent higher rates than the Roman Catholic Church and may soon pass the United Methodist Church in size.
Matt Slick of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry published estimates that 800 people per day joined the faith. Just under 12 million worship in it worldwide.
Despite their growing strength of numbers, Mormons face a unique challenge of perception. Media coverage is usually the first time that non Mormons are exposed to the faith. As Beeseck explains, Many people have never met a Latter-Day Saint. Five years ago, I hadn't. The media is all some people ever know about the church, and even once those individuals meet a Mormon, they don't always revise their opinions.
This can be problematic, as when Lawrence ODonnell of MSNBC claims that Mormonism was invented to excuse Joseph Smiths infidelity. Or when the Huffington Posts Andrea Stone implies that Mitt Romney has some power to change Church doctrine.
Tom ONeill, vice chair of the West Virginia Republican Party, has been a Church member for 20 years and active in it for almost a quarter century. He does not see most media coverage as overtly malicious, but says that negative stories are more often than not the products of misunderstanding.
Beeseck agrees and states that for or the most part, the media tries to get its facts right, or at least be believable for their audience. She then warns that, when they do get it wrong, the average person believes them.
Misconceptions stem from salacious accusations about the faith, especially coverage of renegade polygamist cults. Covering these stories without mentioning that the Church does not condone polygamy leaves a false impression in the public mind. For example, Mike Taibbi narrated a segment on NBCs Rock Center that highlighted an ancestor of Romneys from the 1800s who fled to Mexico to escape prosecution for polygamy. For some reason, NBC considered this a relevant story to run on the eve of the New Hampshire primary.
Media coverage also tends to describe Mormons as systematically oppressing minorities, homosexuals, and women. They also imply that there are mysterious secretive rituals. Some outlets on the fringe of, or outside, the mainstream media do blatantly attack Mormonism. As National Review deputy editor Kevin Williamson writes there are few if any websites dedicated to unmasking the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., but there are dozens dedicated to Mormons.
The Stone story, featured in the Huffington Post last February, took the Church to task over posthumous proxy baptism of Jewish victims of the Holocaust. ONeill explains (which is necessary, because Stone does not) that the baptisms are not conversions and that recipients are not considered members of the Church. The practice is based on a biblical understanding that baptism is a rite essential for salvation, together with the Churchs belief in the inviolate ability of a person to choose for themselves whether or not to accept and ratify, in the hereafter, the baptism performed on their behalf. Stone did quote a Church spokesman as saying that the practice did not have official sanction.
The story also describes how Mitt Romney refused to respond to calls that he try to force the Church to halt the practice, which is akin to demanding that John F. Kennedy over a half century ago convince the Pope to allow clerical marriage.
One of the largest misconceptions is that Mormons are a single unit of voters that will automatically line up behind one of their own. Media types generally, and falsely, assume that groupthink predominates (or should predominate) over individual choices. Traditional teachings of Mormonism frown upon unthinking acceptance of a political leader. One verse from the Mormon Book of Mosiah states, Now I say unto you, that because all men are not just it is not expedient that ye should have a king or kings to rule over you
Beeseck speculates that many Mormons, because of the importance of free agency to their faith, may tend to support Ron Paul. She also says that fear of ramped up intolerance might drive some believers away from voting for Romney. The media often demonstrates a fatal analytical flaw in their analysis of religion, race, and gender in politics. They assume that all members of a group will, or should, vote as s single collective bloc, regardless of individual beliefs. These assumptions also reveal the most important misconception held by political types, that everyone is as obsessed with politics as they are.
The blogger Ablayn on MormonPerspectives.com states that even sympathetic coverage misses the mark. In an attempt to seem evenhanded, they never reach understanding. They never talk about what Mormonism means to the heart of the believer.
Some of the problems encountered by Mormons in media perception of their church might originate in how the Church evolved in its dealings with the public and the press. ONeill describes how violence and legal assaults against the Mormon church in the 19th century created a culture within the Church of introversion. Threats of violence drove believers out of Missouri and Illinois before the Civil War. In 1903, the US Senate refused allow Reed Smoot (no known relation to the author) to take his seat for four years because he also served in the Church.
This difficult history means that, although the last half-century has seen strong attempts at outreach, the Mormon church has traditionally been turned inward. This contributes to an unintentional air of mystery seen by the general public.
Possibly some pundits have read the Mormon holy writings, which do contradict typical liberal and left wing ideologies. The writings in some cases portray excessive authority and taxation as leading to a breakdown of civil society. Another verse from Mosiah, for example, reads, and thus they were supported in their laziness, and in their idolatry . . . by the taxes which king Noah had put upon his people; thus did the people labor exceedingly to support iniquity.
The media often misses positive Mormon stories, such as former NBA player Shawn Bradleys involvement in a school for troubled youth. Bishop Daniel Peterson described in the Deseret News how his work often focused on helping people suffering the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, emotional problems, dysfunctional families, poverty, various chronic limitations, joblessness and despair. Nearly 50,000 missionaries serve somewhere in the world at any given time.
A news media that deigns to preach fairness, diversity, and tolerance to Christians needs to practice the same when it comes to Christians.
ONeill emphasizes the similarities between Mormons and other Christians. We are not out to convert the world, but to offer an invitation to those who are looking for something. Were pretty normal, regular people, and we just want to help make our communities better places.
Beeseck offered her own personal insight, saying My faith is my life.
If you signed on in 1999, how did you miss that there have been religious discussions with people on FR denigrating others because of their religious beliefs for years?
Additionally, every single day 52,000 mormon missionaries go out into the world and denigrate the Christian faith by claiming that every Christian faith is false and the only way to salvation is to be baptized mormon and take part in arcane rituals in the mormon temple.
Read this, direct from the headquarters of the mormon church.
"Joseph Smiths First Vision showed that the prevailing concepts of the nature of God and the Godhead were untrue and could not lead their adherents to the destiny God desired for them (see Joseph SmithHistory 1:1719)."
THIS is what Mitt Romney believes...ONLY his way is the way to salvation...
A simple solution for you is to refrain from reading any thread that has "mormon" in the title or do do a little research on what mormonism actually is.
Every day, 52 THOUSAND mormon missionaries go out and prattle the bigoted crap that all Christian faiths are false and the only way to salvation is to be baptized mormon and take part in arcane rituals in the mormon temple (which rituals, BTW you can only take part in if you pay 10% of your income in tithing).
Is this OK with you?
bert, that is just silly Elsie is not a mormon.
This is udderly deplorable!
Those folks are trying to milk it for all it’s worth!!
Please keep me abreast of the situtation!!!
But; I’m beginning to THINK like one!
Teat for tat.
I agree bert, the words from the mormon books are trash and crap, then I will add blaspheming God Almighty.
So what? I am not the Christian Taliban who insists on my beliefs or none.
We live in America not some totalitarian Christian state.
It is none of your business what others believe.
Then why are YOU so riled up?
Come on: say SOMEthing good about MORMONism.
We live in America not some totalitarian Christian state.
You defend the mormon taliban that insists on its beliefs or none. The mormons intend that their totalitarian sect will rule the world, and Mitt is the forerunner.
What the world calls Mormonism will rule every nation...God has decreed it, and his own right arm will accomplish it. This will make the heathen rage. Orson Hyde (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 53)
The Almighty has established this kingdom with order and laws and every thing pertaining thereto
[so] that when the nations shall be convulsed, we may stand forth as saviours
and finally redeem a ruined world, not only in a religious but in a political point of view. (Journal of Discourses,John Taylor vol. 9, p. 342, April 13, 1862)
I have no day to day contact with Mormon folks but have met and dealt with several. I have found them to be good , even excellent, people.
I spent a week in a youth training seminar at Philmont and there were several Mormon Scouters from Utah. The Utah Mormons have made major contributions (organizationally and theoretically) to the development of the Venture Scouting program. They were all outstanding men. They practice what they preach, solid family life for God and country.
In October I traveled the Great River Road from Minnesota to the Gulf, down the Mississippi river through the very heart and soul of America. We visited the town of Nauvoo Illinois where the Mormons have created a living museum and visitor center. I met an wonderfully gracious gentlemen volunteer from Alabama who knowing I was not of his faith led us through the history of the movement west. They have made a great effort to preserve the heritage of that westward movement. It seems those intolerant souls who murdered Joseph Smith are still alive and well in America today.
My objection is to the strident, bigoted self righteousness here that masks a political view. We should be better than that on Free Republic and once were. It is in my view unAmerican to trash good people in the name of one’s own very narrow minded belief. To trash them for a trivial political point is even worse. It is uncalled for and should cease.
Then what do you care about what others are saying religiously???
Doesn't your own standards -- your own supposed "absolutes" that you dogmatically preach to others -- like this one: "It is none of your business what others believe."...Doesn't this apply to yourself???
Why do you care what they proclaim religiously...apparently, that's NONE [as in ZERO] of your business, anyway (per your own standard).
What are we to believe?
What you preach [what business is whom's]?
Or what you practice? [what you've done by coming into this thread to insist that people act according to your prescribed 'business' standards of dealing with others religiously]
You're a dual-faced hypocrite who has refuted himself!
I have many Lds relatives whom I love...Yet I can tell you that even Jesus questioned somebody who called him "good"...Jesus questioned the assumption that He was good (not the actuality or factuality of it).
I can also tell you that when you're auditioning for godhood like temple Mormons are, of course you're going to be on your best public behavior.
Even Jesus, in His sermon on the mount, highly complimented the outward behavior of the Pharisees, saying that unless one displayed the same outward righteousness as the Pharisees, they would IN NO WAY inherit the kingdom of God. But Jesus didn't stop there...
In Matthew 23, He labeled the inward nature of the Pharisees like whitewashed tombstones...and in John 8, labeled them children of the devil. Perhaps the closest contemporary legalists we have to the Pharisees are the Mormons.
My posts are not really about beliefs, mine or others.
I’m posting for those who come from outside to gather propaganda on right wing cooks. I want them to know there is at least one rational minded person on Free Republic that objects to Mormonphobe harangues.
I object to the downgrading of Free Republic standards of civility and American principle
Well...let's see...you've just trashed good people as being...
...Care to add to that list???
Tell us, something, Bert...Are you "trying" to teach some class here on "How to be tolerant in 6 or 7 easy steps" or something?
Your labeling...your name-calling...your bashing...your trashing here...Are these earmarks of some great "enlightened" level of tolerance here?
You actually trash others for what you perceive to be trashing others...and you expect to get away with this kind of absurd hypocrisy???
What? You can't even put two sentences together without contradicting yourself? Without refuting yourself???
Is it your message that we're supposed to be hearing...???
Or your practice???
Seems to me that you're pretty intolerant -- "bigoted" if you will -- toward certain religious worldviews that happen to object to Mormonism...
See my post #135...You seriously call all those words you've trashed others with -- the ones I pointed out in post #135 -- as some primer on how to have a "civil" discussion???
You should talk to those on the RECEIVING end of Mitt's political rhetoric!
Romney's spending was on NOTHING but trash talk!
ALL of it is underhanded & juvenile???...Is this some absolute conclusion based upon your personal omniscience???
You know, Kolob happens to be mentioned in the Lds Pearl of Great Price (one of their "Scriptures").
It's either a real place -- which calls for respect...or a purely mythical one...which calls for derision...no less than L. Ron Hubbard's "Thetan" -- who supposedly abandons a physical body & then heads to a "landing station" on Venus...
Tell us, Webheart...have you visited plenty of places on the Web, asking posters to show some respect for this Scientology "landing station" on Venus???
If no, aren't you being a wee bit on the inconsistent side here???
Have you patrolled the Web...asking posters to curtail any negative comments about Thetans???
I mean, let's say we had two POTUS candidates -- one a Scientologist and another a "True-Believing Mormon."
Per wikipedia, a Scientologist believes that people are "immortal alien spiritual being, termed a thetan, that is trapped on planet Earth in a physical body." Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientology_beliefs_and_practices
Similarly, a Mormon believes that people are immortal alien spiritual beings, termed residents of Kolob, that come to planet Earth to inhabit physical bodies.
That's part of a true-believing Mormon's testimony -- and it's why they believe ALL people on earth can call their god "Heavenly Father." They believe this "fatherhood" status was a true spirit-paternity in a "pre-existence" on Kolob.
Well, if 'birthers' demand "proof" for Obama -- and if you haven't lectured them on FR; I'd like to see some "proof" for Romney "spirit-birth" on Kolob!
Testimony in a court of law is treated to some degree as "proof." I'd like to hear it from their lips that they were "spirit-born" on Kolob to a divine goddess.
Probably would then foster a whole new spirit-birther" movement!
Harry Truman had some things to say about folks like you:
My great unpublished work involves Wooly Worms.