Comments about ‘Are LDS learning to swim in the mainstream in this post-Mormon moment?’

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Published: Wednesday, Aug. 7 2013 4:05 p.m. MDT

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Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

My recommendation to Mormons who so deeply wish to be accepted as a people:

Be open.

Be open about your temple.
Be open about your finances
Be open about your history

American Fork, UT

Welcome. I swim in that water, too. And I'm doing my best to dilute it.


@Chris B

You really want the Church to divulge their temple ordinances, don't you? I can't see a circumstance in any reality in which the Church willingly makes open ordinances that are held to be so sacred by its members. The Church doesn't often compromise on things that would be in direct opposition to its mission or the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In regard to it divulging it's finances, I can only see one of those two ever happening. Like most other private organizations, it's very unlikely they will invite the general public to review its books.

As for being open with its past, I think there is merit in that. I say be open with its history and let the chips fall where they may. It's already been shown that there have been times when the Church looked like it was being run by men rather than Prophets, Seers and Revelators. That's to be expected when dealing with human weakness. The only shame in making mistakes is not in having made them, but not acknowledging them to begin with.

E. Simnitt
Bountiful, UT

To Chris B.:

The Church is open about its finances - the public knows what matters to be known. The Church has no need or obligation to be more open than that. Asking the Church to be more open about it is the same that asking you, or me or anyone to be open on our finances with the public. Where is our right for privacy?


I believe all organizations that enjoy tax-exempt status should be required to publish their financial statements (and the statements of any subsidiaries with which they have transactions). The UK subsidiary of the LDS Church publishes its financial statements in the UK (by requirement) and they are a very interesting read.

My wife and strongly believe in "reporting back" so we decided some time ago that we will not donate one penny to any charity that does not publicly disclose its finances.

Mike in Cedar City
Cedar City, Utah

In truth the "Mormon Moment" has not passed. The rise of the internet will see a continuing intensive scrutiny of modern and historical Mormonism.

And, I agree with cpafred.

Bountiful, UT

To cpafred:

If that was a required law, the Church would abide by it. Since its not, why would it be so public about its finances? In fact, does it really matter? Charity means giving without holding back, giving with love, giving with faith and sharing mostly because you are doing some good to someone.

Omaha, NE

"Be open about your temple.

Every person who wants to can walk through every temple before it is dedicated. It's an Open House. Can't get more open than that.

Be open about your finances

Do the math. How many members are there? Estimate how many active and what 10% of their tithing is and you can figure it out.

Be open about your history
The LDS website has TONS of history on there. Anyone can access anything they want. People can read all the scriptures online too.
The only people not saying the Church isn't open are the people who can't accept they are open.


@ E.S

All organizations on this earth are administered by fallible humans, and there is a wide variance in how much good charities actually accomplish (i.e, how efficiently they operate in achieving their goals).

When I give, I want to do the maximum amount of good. I expect most people want the same. So since the only way to determine where a giver's money is going is by (the charitable entity's) disclosure, I don't know why anybody would be opposed to it. Why are you?

Tooele, UT

As a Latter-day Saint, I understand full well that my religious faith will always be partially outside the mainstream. The fact that we are not a Protestant, Orthodox or Evangelical faith will always make us outsiders. We can be friends with people of other faiths, and work together on many worthwhile causes, but we will still be different and that will not change.

As for those who continue to demand the LDS Church open up its finanacial books, let me ask this question.

Do all other organized churches and ministeries and have full and complete openness about their finances? Is the LDS Church the only religious group which keeps its finances confidential? If the answer to these questions is No, then why must the LDS Church open its books but not anyone else?

Tooele, UT


Are you sure you really want "all" tax exempt groups to publish their financial statements or just the tax exempt groups you hope to find dirt on?

Critics say if the LDS Church has nothing to hide, it should open its financial books to everyone. Alright then, tell me what is your motivation in wanting to know the LDS Chuches fiances, because I doubt it has anything to do with simple curiousity.

Roanoke, VA

Swimming in the mainstream enough to let non-LDS Christians know we don't howl at the moon or sacrifice our children in Temples is one thing - all for it - but I'll quit the Church the moment it becomes indistinguishable from mainstream American denominations, concluding that the Great Apostasy, Part 2, has started.

Wilf 55

President Holland seems to forget that more than half of Mormons reside outside the U.S. His view is therefore typically americacentric. In the rest of the world Mormonism is, overall, still considered a rather weird phenomenon from the American West.

Certainly, it is possible to "be mainstream" in quiet accordance with other faiths. But the intense Mormon missionary work is by definition an agressive act toward other religions. Trying to change someone's deep familial and cultural traditions, in particular in more monolithic cultures, is disrespectful and often leads to conflicts in families. One can never be mainstream and trying to disturb the balance at the same time.

Hayden, ID

Jesus taught us "that if ye were of the world, the world would love its own, but because ye are not of the world, the world hates you". If the world ever accepts Mormonism, it means Mormonism has changed, not the world.

Wasatch Front, UT

@ Wilf55---

I don't think Matt Holland "seems to forget" anything, or that "his view is... americacentric", since the special UVU class he made his presentation to is appropriately titled:

"Mormonism in the American Experience". (catch that KEYWORD? "American"?)

I'm certain if he had been addressing a class titled "World Religions", his comments would have been appropriately adapted to a worldwide view.

G L W8

The other side of the question that ought to be asked is: have "mainstream" churches moved closer to some of the LDS doctrines as taught by Joseph Smith? I think a good hypothesis could be presented that in many instances, they have. Certainly, if we were to set up a study comparing the orthodoxy of Joseph Smith's day to orthodoxy of today, we would probably see a great deal of difference. The question would be--have they moved closer to Mormonism and further away from doctrines and/or Christian ecclesiastical norms of two centuries ago? Has anyone thought of this, or done such a study? Putting aside the theological implications, it would be a fascinating study in and of itself.

Newport, OR

As I read this article, I also thought of the new pope. It seems to me that the 'high population' religions are making some very important changes. There is a couple from our ward that is working with a Catholic Mission providing people with wheelchairs. The spirit is with all those who do God's work. I love that people can do a search on the internet and get more GOOD information on Mormons, and there are great Apps for phones or tablets! We are truly becoming "mainstream", and it feels right! The more people understand, the less they fear. I think Pope Francis and Pres. Monson should do lunch... often.

Susan in VA
Alexandria, VA

The thing that most of my friends find "weird" about me is that I am Mormon AND a Democrat... they thought the Church would not allow that. There are still so many misunderstandings about what the Church really is about. We still have so much work to do to get the truth out to others.

Springville, UT

In order to be a world religion, the tent has to be bigger. When more Mormons (especially in Utah and Mountain West) are more inclusive, particularly politically, then the doors will be truly open. Until then, it's just lip service and platitudes.

Hoosier Hot Shot
Indianapolis, IN

So not much change about perception of knowledge about the LDS resulted. But how much do people really know about Catholicism, or Muslims, or Baptists. Not much, and the prevailing "who cares" and "all I need to know" attitude will persist. But we must slog on with missionaries being our largest PR program.

It might be worthwhile to have an outside agency show the good we do worldwide, or our spotty history (according to some). A Muslim cleric once said (third hand) after seeing our welfare efforts, "I'm ashamed of us" in comparison.

And as we wish others to know and understand our theology, the best we an do is "every member a missionary."

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