California graduate university takes academic approach to Mormonism

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  • CJJ Beaverton, OR
    Feb. 18, 2012 11:43 a.m.

    To Ciobello: There is essentially nothing about Mormon doctrines at official LDS
    websites...other than the sanctioned statements of the Church. Asking any questions
    directs one to their 'ward' bishop....Asking any questions of the missionaries outside
    of their narrow scope of 'training' is fruitless.
    So the best way to 'learn' about Mormonism is NOT to ask one. The best way is to
    read and study the doctrines in the writings of Joseph Smith, jr. etal.

    Converts do not, I repeat, do NOT, know all the trappings of Mormonism until
    after they receive the Mormon baptism and are allowed to slowly learn of them.

  • beatrice Beaverton, OR
    Feb. 18, 2012 11:36 a.m.

    from today's Bloggernacle:

    "In the century since the Chicago fair, Mormons have been lauded for their choirs and their football. They are largely respected as good, decent, family-centered people, who are welcome to sing for presidents and dance with the starsâand everyone agrees to avoid theological questions. But as presidential nominations near, Romney's candidacy threatens this compromise, because what a Mormon presidential candidate actually believes seems far too important to table. And when Mormon theology enters the public discussion, the words Charles Dickens wrote in 1851 strike many as still apt: "What the Mormons do, seems to be excellent; what they say, is mostly nonsense."

    After ten years of discussions/debates with Mormons, it is quite clear that many/most
    Mormons do not know what is in the doctrines of Joseph Smith,Jr. They know the basicse
    but not much further. What the Mormons do...seems to Christian behaviors, WHAT their
    doctrines teach is most certainly contradictory to Christian Doctrines. Confusion
    abounds. And yes,as Ciobello says, one doesn't really know Mormonism until one
    has Mormon baptism...and then they are 'eligible' to hear the 'truths' of Mormon
    teachings. Why is it such a secret? ...because Mormonism is all about being
    'worthy'...the exact opposite of the basis of the teachings of Jesus the Christ.

    I have heard countless Mormons misstate the doctrines of Joseph Smith, Jr. I have heard
    that some wards teach that no caffeine IS in the W.O.W...when, of course, it is not.

    Teaching about the personality, the history and the developing of the Mormon religion is just as appropriate in the teachings of World Relgions as those of Buddaism, Islam,
    Hare Krishna or Zoroastrianism. Whether or not the student has beliefs that match
    any of these non-Christian world religions is irrelevant.

  • Straitpath PROVO, UT
    Feb. 16, 2012 9:06 p.m.

    I enjoyed this article and the comments. I would like toread more about the courses.

  • KurtFK Littleton, CO
    Feb. 16, 2012 9:23 a.m.

    I applaud Claremont's effort here, and I think it can go a long way towards dispelling the misinformation that is so rampant about Mormonism. That said, a strictly historical approach to understanding the LDS Church will only carry you so far - but perhaps that is far enough for many students.
    I submit that it is impossible to fully understand Mormons or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints without becoming one. Our deeply held core beliefs can only be comprehended by being baptized and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. To some degree, this can also be said of any other religion or ethnic group - you have to be one to to understand them.

  • m.g. scott LAYTON, UT
    Feb. 16, 2012 8:14 a.m.

    Religion is such a personal issue that there is not really a way to be neutral or totally objective. It would be like a parent having to take a course on how good or bad their children are.

  • ciaobello Concord, CA
    Feb. 15, 2012 3:32 p.m.

    The best way to learn about Mormons and Mormonism is to talk to Mormons themselves," Westbrook said.

    If more people did this there would be less misunderstanding and rancour. I dislike intensely being misrepresented in others' views and in the media.

    Why not go to the source like LDS Web sites or a Latter-day Saint? Otherwise misinformation abounds.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 12:39 p.m.

    With all due respect, it would be very difficult to take a "neutral position in truth" using "the language of scholarship" when studying the claims made by the church regarding the Book of Abraham. Based upon the available evidence, such claims are simply academically untenable.

    However, it would be interesting indeed to see how the subject is approached without the sanitized influence of the church, the paradoxical logic from apologists, or the mean-spirited rhetoric that characterizes so much of the anti-Mormon agenda.

  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 10:21 a.m.

    I think it is a positive thing that others are objectively studying a religion that is highly misunderstood by the general public.

    Just as a general comment, IMHO, to understand The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, one does not need to necessarily be converted to it. True conversion is a voluntary accepting of LDS beliefs, doctrines, ordinances and modern revelation. But, one who studies the LDS faith needs to understand that WE believe those things. Our deepest-held convictions and doctrines need to be considered when studying us in order to describe and understand us accurately or fairly.

    I applaud the college for what seems to be an honest effort to study our religion. It is much better than letting hundred-year-old falsehoods prevail. Thank Heaven for open-minded people. I welcome their study. I believe the church and its doctrine will stand under scrutiny.

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    Feb. 15, 2012 9:19 a.m.

    In the current political climate, one must realize that this could backfire.