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.
Every religion has a built in persecution complex.......
I’ll take a Mormon over a communist!!!
"...who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all time;...that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them. ""I HAVE SWORN UPON THE ALTAR OF GOD ETERNAL HOSTILITY TO EVERY FORM OF TYRANNY OVER THE MIND OF MAN"--The Virginia Act For Establishing Religious Freedom
--Thomas Jefferson, 1786
"The [my] only connection [to the Republican Party]is I'm registered as a Republican"--Mitt RRRRRomney
[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. ]
Please tell the class all about the Mormon Doctrine of [Murder] Blood Atonement.
And then tell us about Planet Kolob and Jose's magic Underwear.
“James P. Lewis, Jr. may have launched his con on a Sunday. After all, he collected the seed money for one of the longest-running Ponzi schemes in U.S. history at [the Mormon] church.”
“To start, Lewis recruited people from his Mormon church in Southern California. But over time, his con grew legs and expanded well beyond the confines of his community. At the time of his arrest, Financial Advisory Consultants had about 3,300 clients who had invested $311 million on the promise of 40 percent returns. A select group of these investors the wealthier individuals who were less likely to withdraw their funds from his custody actually saw returns. “
Ladder Climbing FAIL.
“in my Father’s house there are many mansions. “ Mr. Jesus Christ.
A misleading statement at best. Smoot was not just a member or volunteer in the Church, he was a member of the 12 Apostles.
This was the rough equivalent of having a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church elected to the Senate. Not surprisingly, some were concerned about such a highly placed member of a church recently involved in serious conflict with the US government being a senator.
Amen my friend.
I’ve been a member of the LDS Church for 42 years, having joined the Church of Jesus Chrost of Latter-day Saints as a teenager when me and my fmily had been Southern Baptists.
There are certainly differences in interpretation and doctrine, there are certainly (as there are with any religion or group) those, even in ledership, who speak their mind and opinions which does not always represent the church’s official position.
I have been around and around on this with most of those here on FR who seek to deride the LDS Church endlessly and tell us what we believe and label us as a non-Christian cult.
I do not intend to revisit all of those or even contend, debate, or discuss it further here.
However, in an effort to give a counter balance to what is sure to be an onsluaght of attacks on my faith, I will, here, as a faithful LDS member... “card carrying” so to speak, and one who supported Palin, then Cain, then Sanorum and now Newt...here is my own witness for Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.
My Witness for Christ
...and in terms of day to day living, here’s my journal regarding my fight with malignant bone cancer, and who I depended on in getting through it to this point, which has also been much discussed here on FR and where hundreds here have prayed for me in the name of Jesus for my health, as have I and my family, relying on His will in the end, for His will is what is roght.
My Sacral Chordoma
This is how I, and those I know who are LDS live. Folks may read about it and judge accordingly...according, as the Savior said, by the fruit.
label us as a non-Christian cult.
The article is STILL full of lies, and is a propaganda piece for the mormon church. Townhall should be ashamed.
Judge by their works?
Mountain Meadows Massacre
"God directed" racism
Believers in the doctrines of modern Christendom will reap damnation to their souls.
- Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, see pp. 45-46
Is there little doubt where romney gets his flipflop lies from?
Apostate Binger Ping!
Apologetic Liars Ping!
I wonder how many BIC people like me there are out there. In my own family there are, ALL of my kids and grandkids. All have left the Morg.
>>There are certainly differences in interpretation and doctrine,
Uhuh. Got Blood Atonement?
“That truth is great and will prevail, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them”.
How does the Mormon Cult, America’s Islam, traditionaly deal with those who contradict them within the context of their militaristic purview?
Is the con artistry/doctrine associated with Planet Kolob an “error”?
Etc etc etc.
>>This is how I, and those I know who are LDS live.
How’s Jimmy Lewis enjoying “living” in Federal Prison?
>>My Sacral Chordoma
Do you have a Reformed Egyptian version?
Sorry, can’t you see how absolutely unChristian such a remark is. So you resort to making fun of, disparaging, making light of, and using such vitriol against the disabled? Against people suffering from malingnant bone caner?
Don’t get me wrong, personally, it does not hurt me...given my experiences on the hurt or pain meter, it does not register. At any rate, I know who my salvation rests in and who it is that has answered the prayers of many fathful Christians on my behalf, including many of my own faith and many good FReepers too.
But I just find it sad...actually, pretty disgusting...that you would, in an effort to try and show through these examples you have mentioned (which there are bad examples of LDS people, like there would be in any population numbering in excess of 15 million...but when compared to the vast majority of the people who live and practise the faith, such numbers pale to insignificance)...anyhow, in attempting to show “bad fruit” amongst the LDS, you resort to this?
Making fun of, dispariging the disabled and those afflicted with malignant cancer?
Well, have your laugh. I sincerely pray to God in Heaven, in Jesus name, that you and yours are never afflicted with such a diagnosis or disease. But talk about removing the beam from your own eye so you can see clearly...sheez, amazing.
Typical “It’s all about me” Jeff Headonism.
Wearing your affliction(s) on your sleave does not undo the factual history surrounding America’s Islam.
Have a nice (Latter) day.
What total hogwash, Jeff.
You are attempting to use your cancer to pimp for Romney and the mormon church. Dozens of FReepers have or have had cancer and are not trying to accuse those who disagree with them of "making fun of, dispariging the disabled and those afflicted with malignant cancer" in order to make political points or pimp mormonism. Shame on you.
[Spoken as a breast cancer survivor since July, 2010...and no, the mormon god had nothing to do with my survival. I owe it to God and His Son, Jesus.]