Mormonism and True Christianity

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus ChristOkay folks. Bear with me for a moment, because I’ve had it, and since this is my blog, I get to complain and grouse as much as I’d like. What am I fed up with this morning?

People trying to define other people.

Specifically, I’m sick of people–the media, anonymous commenters, etc–trying to say I’m not a true Christian. They don’t say it to my face, of course. And I’ve never had a single friend, acquaintance or even enemy tell me this personally. But time and time again, when Mormonism comes up online in a conversation or article, its “Christian Cred” is called into question. (Yes, I get alliterative when I get irritated. Sue me.) If someone writes about Mitt Romney, you can bet that the comment section will be full of people bashing Mormons for being idiots and un-Christian. If any other public figure is known for being Mormon, then the same thing happens any time they come up in the news. It’s like anytime “Mormon” appears online somewhere, then people feel the urge to tell everyone how Mormons are deluded chuckleheads who aren’t Christian anyway. (The exact flavor of criticism seems to vary based on the critic.)

I’ve attended my fair share of Mormon meetings when there are protesters gathered outside, signs in hand proclaiming I’m worshipping Satan, I’m not Christian, God hates me, or some other nonsense.

What’s up with the exclusiveness? Is there some red velvet rope club people have to belong to in order to be “true Christians.” Last time I checked, a Christian is a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ. So shouldn’t that be the test? I mean, if someone said he was a Christian, and then proceeded to sacrifice cats, kill puppies at random and worship a talking goat named Fred, then yes, I suppose you could openly wonder whether he’s really a Christian or not.

But if a person consistently strives to obey the teachings of Christ and believes himself to be Christian, what do I care if I quibble with him over doctrinal issues? He’s Christian. Yes, you can get into arguments over saved by works or saved by grace, or you can start going on about how Mormons worship a “different” Christ. But I’d like to challenge anyone who wants to say Mormons aren’t Christian to actually go to a Mormon church service and find out for themselves just how un-Christian we are.

It seems to me the people making claims about Mormonism are people who know nothing about it. They know what they’ve been told by other non-Mormons, but heaven forbid they have a discussion with an actual living breathing Mormon. We might brainwash them into thinking we’re right. Because that’s what happened to all of us. We either grew up in the church (in which case our parents brainwashed us–like me) or were brainwashed later in life (like my wife). We’re deluded idiots who go around trying to get other people to agree to brainwashing, too. So the haters content themselves reading articles on Wikipedia or anti-Mormon websites and go on their merry way, convinced of their own superiority.

In my oh so humble opinion, anyone afraid to ask questions of any religious person because they’re afraid that religious person is going to shake their own faith . . . ought to question how strong their personal faith is to begin with. I’ve talked with atheists, Jews, Catholics, Lutherans, agnostics, Methodists, Muslims and more. Not just chit-chats about the weather, but long involved conversations about religion. Why people believe (or don’t believe). What they believe. It’s interesting to me. And as long as you avoid the question of who is “right,” then it’s possible to have some really great conversations. (And yes, as a former missionary, I’ve had plenty of those who is “right” conversations as well. My take on the matter? If you’re living your religion or non-religion to the best of your abilities, following after the light and truth as you understand it, then keep on trucking. I think we’ll both end up in the same place.)

Breathe, Bryce. Breathe.

I know Mormons aren’t alone in this. I’ve heard people disparage other people for everything from not being a “real vegetarian” to not being a “real geek.” There’s a natural human tendency to want to separate yourself out from others. To want to prove that you’re doing things “right” and that other people aren’t. When you pair this up with the seemingly inborn inclination to disparage people who are different from you, then you have a powerful combination.

I’m Mormon. You all know this. I’m also a Christian. If you want to argue about it, go somewhere else. I’m done talking to you. The world has few enough religious, moral people. Do we really need to start fighting over definitions? Can’t we all just get along? Be accepting of other people?

Yes, I realize that some of you might have had bad experiences with Mormons. There are those of my faith who can be belligerent and obnoxious. Some of those end up being missionaries, and then they really have a platform and ammunition to bring that Obnoxious to the next level. They’re boneheads. But boneheads aren’t unique to Mormonism. There are boneheads of every race, creed, nation and flavor out there. Judging an entire people by a single bonehead only means that you’re vying to be a bonehead yourself.

You’re completely entitled to think I’m wrong and deluded. You can disagree with me on points of doctrine. Yes, I’ll be irritated if you start making a bore of yourself, continually wanting to harp on this or that point, but only because I don’t do that sort of thing to other people, and I expect the same in return. Yes, I talk about Mormon doctrine from time to time on my blog, but hey–it’s my blog. I don’t spout off about how other religions are wrong. I talk about my personal beliefs, while hopefully not attacking anyone else’s.

All I ask is for the same in return.

This being the internet, I doubt I’ll ever get it.

Anyway . . . venting done. I can go back to being a mild mannered librarian for the day. Thanks for listening folks. I already feel much better.

(Until the inevitable anonymous comments pop up. Really, people. If you’re going to disagree with me on this post, at least have the self-confidence to tell me who you are. It’s hard to have a good discussion with a faceless automaton.)

8 thoughts on “Mormonism and True Christianity”

  1. Well said. I should tell you I found myself explaining a few details of the Jewish religion to my kids the other day, and realized I had to qualify myself as never having actually talked to a Jewish person about their religion, only having the knowledge of what I had read as a kid, so it’s just what I understood it to be, I could be wrong. D was told he didn’t use electricity the other day because he was Mormon, so I suppose we should all be cautious about what we think we know!

    Those atheist vegetarians are full of it, aren’t they though? The nerve!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Wait. We’re allowed to use electricity? You just blew my mind.

    And a lot of my good friends are atheist vegetarians. Good people. You’re confusing them with vegetarian atheists, who sometimes smell strongly of wine and cheese.

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