Friday Minute: Responding with love to the 'Mormons aren't Christians' debate

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  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 25, 2011 1:31 p.m.

    Weber State Graduate,

    Yes, there are sincere seekers who are more questioner than critic.

    How can I provide proof of what has experienced personally? If I were Moses and had seen God in a burning bush, would showing you a burnt bush (actually, an unburnt bush) really mean anything?

    Yes some of the claims are fantastic - just as they were in the Old and New Testaments.

    The rational evidence I find is in the doctrines themselves and the eternal nature of man and the universe.

    I don't find there to be a disconnect at all between emotion and reason. Nor do I find that church service requires (or even asks) me to forfeit logic.

    Part of the answer to your question is in the full quote:

    "The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. Light and truth forsake that evil one."

    It is not intelligence simply for its own sake, but for the sake of guiding us away from evil and toward the good.

    If there is a God out there, then he can be (in part) comprehended.

    It is my testimony that He exists and this is the path to understand Him.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 25, 2011 8:41 a.m.

    It's certainly easy to paint critics of the church as malevolent adversaries demanding "proof" of simple spiritual truths. Some of these critics may indeed have "mocking fingers" and no amount of proof will ever convert such detractors.

    However, there are many objective, sincere observers who are not asking to be intellectually converted, but rather seeking some kind of reasonable evidence confirming some of the more fantastic claims made by early church leaders.

    Why can't evidence be both rationally confirmed and spiritually discerned? Why must there be such a huge disconnect between emotion and a coherent sense of reason? Why should an exclusive method for confirming truth using spiritual feelings come at the expense of logic? If the glory of God is intelligence, why must one abandon the fundamental components of intelligence in favor of strict reliance on "spiritual" feelings?

    Some may say that to reconcile both would eliminate the need for faith. The rational mind might see such a statement as a clever attempt to escape the requirements of logic.

    Such disconnect will always engender reasonable suspicion...a pervasive willingness to discourage a rational, critical evaluation of fantastic claims of "truth."

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 24, 2011 9:56 a.m.

    LDS Revelations,

    Agreed that we consider ourselves different and conceive of Christ somewhat differently than do others. No argument there. Other denominations do as well.

    I think we do embrace that uniqueness. The issue here is who gets to define the word Christian.

    Mainstream Christians do not own the word or its definition. They are attempting to draw the definitional circle so tightly around themselves that it excludes all who disagree.

    If we allow this, we say (at least in part) say to the world outside ourselves that we do not follow Christ. We are absolutely unwilling to cede that ground. To do so implies that we are not his representatives, not followers of his doctrines, not his witnesses.

    This violates every covenant we take upon ourselves. It is not an argument we will let go.

  • LDS Revelations Sandy, UT
    Oct. 24, 2011 9:22 a.m.

    I find the dust up over the 'Mormons not Christian' sort of humorous. The LDS Church for a century or so worked hard to separate itself from Christendom. To now see LDS upset that mainstream Christians actually got the message is a little odd. I guess be careful what you wish for.

    Also, clearly the LDS view of Jesus IS different than the one most creedal Christians do, despite the fact most LDS gloss over the fact. "In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints 'do not believe in the traditional Christ. No, I don't. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fulness [sic] of Times'" (LDS Church News, June 20, 1998). Why do LDS no longer embrace their uniqueness?

    Lastly, the LDS Church sees all other faiths, including mainstream Christians, as apostate and unauthoritative. So Mormons are doing the same thing to everyone else that they get mad at mainstream Christians and EVs for doing to them. Somewhat hypocritical isn't it?

  • als Atheist Provo, UT
    Oct. 23, 2011 8:51 a.m.

    "Everyone is a sinner"?

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I am not a sinner, and I know many people who are not sinners.

    John 8:46

  • Chieftess Ivins, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 10:58 p.m.

    Some of the commentators here are missing one of the points of the article, that arguing with people who have already made up their mind, or have an agenda, is pointless. Pagan obviously falls into this category, so why don't people just realize that and move on? It's obvious that Pagan threw out some bait to see if people would bite and they did. Some of us need to practice resisting. But I love you all anyway :)

  • American man WOODS CROSS, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 10:56 p.m.


    If you are capable of taking your own advice I should not see your name on the
    DN vine again. Thank you.

  • mightymite DRAPER, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 8:57 p.m.

    Mormons should just not respond. This is becoming too personal and heated for mormons. Let it go, be who you think you need to be and move on. Who really cares about mormons? Mormonism does not make a difference in the life of those outside of mormonism, so what should you care of what people think of your little mormon cult(ure). Just move on and leave this argument alone-- it does no good for anyone.

  • American man WOODS CROSS, UT
    Oct. 22, 2011 7:34 p.m.

    Pagan,10:00 AM,Oct.21,2011:

    In ST Mark 2:17 Jesus Christ said, I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

    Did Christ insult the sinners? To insult someone is wrong (sin). Christ is perfect and sinless. He did not insult the sinners.

    If someone says, love the sinner, not the sin, if the person is insulted, he made the chose to be insulted. Allow me to explain.

    God gave us (me) free agency. We can choose as we please, however we need to be carful mot to make the wrong chose as the sinner (in this story) did. If he chose to be insulted it is his responsibility, as it was Adam and Eve's responsibility for eating of the forbidden fruit.

  • Swedish reader Stockholm, Sweden
    Oct. 22, 2011 10:28 a.m.

    Everyone is a sinner, and "love the sinner, not the sin" only means that we don't need to think someone is perfect in order to respect, love and appreciate them. We can even disagree on major issues - there is usually something you can like, respect and admire about a person even if your outlook on life is very different. But liking, respecting and admiring someone doesn't mean we think everything they do is right. We can even like ourselves even with our total awareness of our own sins - although we like ourselves better if we keep trying to become better people.

    Calling someone a sinner is only an insult if you're saying you're better than them. And letting yourself take offense is unneccesary if that isn't what the other person meant. If they did mean to offend you, why give them that power?

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 21, 2011 5:00 p.m.


    All of the major religions I know of have some things they consider good, others bad, and a few as totally unacceptable. The lists have some confluence but some divergence as well.

    That said, and given that this is a religion we are talking about (agree with it or not) are you suggesting that we not categorize certain behaviors as bad? Is it that you disagree with the word or with certain behaviors being categorized as sin?

    If so, surely you can have this conversation with other religious bodies about hundreds if not thousands of activities and whether or not they should label them (the activities) as bad or not. True?

    Biblically, Christ and his apostles labeld certain actions as acceptable and others not. Those of us who accept the modern prophets and apostles to be such, also take their pronouncements reference the acceptability of behaviors seriously. If we did not, we would not be (active) members.

    As to the insult value of the word "sinner". As dtlenox explained, we are all sinners. Only one perfect man has ever walked the earth.

    As to loving the sinner. It is a divine commandment and our only real recourse.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 21, 2011 1:35 p.m.

    'So we are all sinners and it is not meant to be an insult.' - dtlenox | 12:17 p.m. Oct. 21, 2011


    a person who sins; transgressor.

    any offence against a principle or standard


    So, using an offensive term but not meaning it to the person you are directing it to...

    is not offensive?

    *'Dr. Laura's N-Word Rant: Radio Host Apologizes For Offensive Language' - Danny Shea - Huffington Post - 08/12/10

    'Dr. Laura Schlessinger has apologized after a shocking rant on her radio show this week during which she said the n-word 11 times over the course of five minutes.'

    Using the N-word, or the F-word is still offensive.

    *'NBA notebook: Kobe Bryant fined $100,000 for gay slur' - AP - Published by DSNews - 04/13/11

    If if you didn't 'mean' offense to the person you are directing the term, too.

    '...but you use the accusatory rhetoric you use, you've become exactly that person whom you condemn.' - yarrlydarb | 12:05 p.m. Oct. 21, 2011

    This would have made sense...

    if I didn't use this this as an example of what you should NOT do.

    What, if anything, have I called you?

  • Wayne Dequer MONROVIA, CA
    Oct. 21, 2011 1:25 p.m.

    This article makes an important point and has excellent suggestions!

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 21, 2011 12:36 p.m.

    Re: "The Importance of a Name," Despite the name supposedly given by the Lord. (HoC V 2 p. 63) it was voted on to change the name to the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Notice, The Lords name was omitted. Also the
    Christian Science church. They are not all are scientists and they deny the resurrection of Christ. Are they Christians?

    Re:" 3 Nephi 11/John 10:16, other sheep". They are: therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the GENTILES, and that they will hear it. (Acts 28:28).
    Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, "I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding." And Isaiah boldly says, "I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me."(Romans 10:19,20). Neither the Nephites nor the Lamanites meet these qualifications

  • dtlenox Olympia, WA
    Oct. 21, 2011 12:17 p.m.

    To Pagan:
    Everyone in the world is a sinner, so you are in good company. LDS members who are living what their religion teaches consider themselves to be sinners also, since no-one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. The difference is that LDS who are trying to live their religion are constantly trying to repent and improve & try to learn from their mistakes and to forgive others their tresspasses. So we are all sinners and it is not meant to be an insult. We can wish others well in their quest to repent and improve, and that is reality and not an insult. We are all in this together (meaning our earthly existence).

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    Oct. 21, 2011 12:05 p.m.

    Sorry, Pagan,

    But whether or not you use the word "sinner" or "sin" or neither, but you use the accusatory rhetoric you use, you've become exactly that person whom you condemn.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 21, 2011 10:00 a.m.

    'Given the current political climate, members of The Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are seeing an increase in the "Mormons arent Christians" debate.' - Article

    I apologize.

    But my empathy towards Mormons who are trying to say they are Christian is limited...

    when they tell me 'Love the sinner, not the sin', and don't even realize that calling someone a sinner...

    is, an insult.

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    Oct. 21, 2011 8:21 a.m.

    Thanks, Brother Monahan, for the best advice I have read (other than from a General Authority) on how to deal with the "Mormons aren't Christians" accusation.

    Way too often we as members of the Church allow ourselves to be drawn into a contentious interchange or we even promote one in our misguided zeal to "teach the truth."

    As you mention: the Lord said we should never "contend with anger, one with another ... this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger ... but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away" (3 Nephi 11: 29-30).

  • Swedish reader Stockholm, Sweden
    Oct. 21, 2011 8:08 a.m.

    I don't know who said it, but "For those who believe, there is no need of proof. For those who do not believe, there exists no proof." If someone is genuinely interested, peaceful explanation will suffice to give them an understanding and food for thought. If they are only out to argue with you, taking the bait will hurt both of you. It is very restful to know that it isn't my job to convert anyone - only to live by what I believe and represent the Church as best I can by loving my neighbor whether he loves me (or my Church) or not.