Op-ed: What we do makes us 'Christian' Mormons

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  • thomas1 Gilbert, AZ
    Aug. 28, 2017 2:35 p.m.

    I'm an Evangelical Christian, formerly Roman Catholic. The Bible is the inspired Word of God which is the foundation of Christianity. If one considers the Book of Mormon a more important writing for the doctrine, then they are not a true Christ follower, but a follower of Joseph Smith. The Bible explains that in order to be a true Christ follower, you must receive Christ as your Savior. (see the website Peace With God dot net for more info on this subject). If one has not done that, then they are not a true Christ follower and therefore, not a true Christian.

  • Pssst LOGAN, UT
    Aug. 27, 2017 8:09 p.m.

    It's different depending on where you live and can change whenever members create their own culture or new members come into a ward. In one ward my husband and I made friends with two other couples and exchanged invitations to dinner. In another ward we have never been invited to dinner and they didn't seem to do that in that ward. On the other hand it only takes one or two families to change all that. We try to be good neighbors. Not sure if we ever received visits when we arrived in a neighborhood by welcoming neighbors or given cookies at that time, but they gave cookies at Christmas. Sometimes it takes a long time to make friends but at other times it happens quickly. You can make a difference and the agency of man is as free as air.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Aug. 25, 2017 12:51 p.m.

    I grew up before St. George got over-run by Californians. Everyone in my neighborhood was active LDS.

    I can't remember a single social event held in that neighborhood, among the adults. Not one. All of us kids played together and spent a lot of time in each others' homes. Turns out our parents were quite busy with work, caring for elderly parents, and hosting an occasional family reunion or other even with extended family.

    The neighborhood got together as adults a couple of times a year when the church had a social event. But mostly, adults interacted with neighbors when and because their kids were interacting: Fathers and Sons campouts, Scout campouts and Courts-of-Honor, Young Women and Primary events.

    We were all friendly, and helped when there was a need. But neighbors didn't much get together to socialize. We did that at church and at church-related events. Non-church time was devoted to family events.

    Living outside Utah, neighbors often barely knew each others' names.

    Let's be honest, most of the time, an invitation to a social event is an obligation more than something we were really hoping for.

    Has nothing to do with religion.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Aug. 25, 2017 11:57 a.m.

    Like others, I get tired of the stereotypes and bigotries toward Utahns, LDS, or those of Western European descent.

    If a few people who happened to be racial minorities mistreated me or mine, what would I expect to be called if I painted everyone of that race by the conduct of the badly behaved few? Ditto if a few atheists were very rude, or a few a religion engaged in terrorism?

    Fact is, Utah LDS can't win this one. When non-LDS are invited to social activities by their Mormon neighbors, some claim they just tying to convert them. When they are not invited, they are being shunned.

    I make a point of inviting all my neighbors--active LDS, less-active LDS, and non-LDS--to each non-religious, social event being held in the neighborhood. Many of those are sponsored or hosted by various parts of the LDS Congregation. In 10 years, I've only been invited to a single social event hosted by my of my less-active or non-LDS neighbors. Should I be offended?

    I don't think so. We are all busy and most of our social events are family or close friends. My neighbors are friendly and if any one of us are in need, we all help each other.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Aug. 25, 2017 7:48 a.m.

    Patriot (of course).." Today we especially fight along side Catholics and Protestants and Jews and Muslims to preserve religious freedom and family values against the forces of the political left."

    So it's not evil any more, or Satan, it's the political left?

    That's how you can support the memorialization of traitors, because it's opposed by the political left?

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Aug. 24, 2017 3:59 p.m.

    @2 bits - Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 2:39 p.m.

    OMM,
    I don't think Christ would dictate that we vote for Trump or Clinton though. He probably would be about as disappointed as I was in both of them, and the state of our political affairs. I don't think he would have endorsed either of them. I didn't endorse either of them. But now that one is our President... I kinda feel like I need to support him and the United States of America. What's the alternative?

    We will have an election in 4 years. That's when we do something about this. Not today. This is the wrong time to be trying to destroy the President and his administration.

    =======

    We ALWAYS have choices, even after the election.

    Impeachment?
    The 25th Amendment?

    Who is trying to the President and the administration? Certainly not me.

    We are merely trying to DEFEND the Nation and the Constitution against a man who clearly is destroying it.
    You - on the other hand - are defending a single man - over the entire Nation, our Democarcary, our Consititon and our VALUES!

  • Piper Scio, OR
    Aug. 24, 2017 3:48 p.m.

    Let me point out the 500 pound gorilla in the room. My children have always had a close net group of friends in our ward and surrounding wards, but one of our son's first used tobacco and marijuana when we decided that we shouldn't be so insular. This isn't to say that he couldn't have been exposed to these substances from a member, but I think the overall likelihood is much less.

    This son was a bit of the prodigal son and is now strong in the faith. The bottom line is that we have a responsibility to raise our children in truth and light, so a parent needs to be careful who their children associate with.

  • Mick , 00
    Aug. 24, 2017 3:44 p.m.

    Laura-

    Did you invite any of your LDS scout troop families to diner? Did you strike up the conversation first? Or did you just judge Mormons to be exclusive?

    Many times people feel excluded because Mormons do so many things together. We have 3 hours of church on Sunday and many activities throughout the week are intertwined with church activities. It isn't intentionally excluding, but I understand how it may feel that way.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 3:14 p.m.

    If you don't want some person or some group of people to fall under the classification of 'Christian' then you can certainly redefine the term in such a way that excludes them. Conversely, you can redefine it such that it now requires behaviors that traditionally were excluded.

    This happens all the time in society. Someone doesn't like some group of people so they think of how to exclude them. It doesn't matter if they are Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Blacks, Asian, etc.; you can always find a way to demonize them.

    The latest label seems to be 'hate group'. Just define it such that the group you want to exclude falls under that category. Sometimes mental gymnastics are required so that your new definition does not include your friends as well.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 2:41 p.m.

    Actually members of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints are certainly NOT christian in the sense that we are not Catholic and we are not Protestant and when the term 'christian' is used in pop-culture today you have to be one or the other. Mormons are neither. Our claim is that we are the restored original church of Jesus Christ. We are not some sort of reformation nor are we part of Catholic history. Yet not being part of either of the two traditional christain dogma's we center everything on Jesus Christ and his atonement. Everything. Also we share much with Catholics and Protestants today and we celebrate with them the life and death and ressurection of Jesus Christ. We also follow his commandments literally. We differ in core doctrine but we share much of the same beliefs on family values and the right to life with Catholics and Protestants. Today we especially fight along side Catholics and Protestants and Jews and Muslims to preserve religious freedom and family values against the forces of the political left.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 2:39 p.m.

    Re: 'Christian' Mormons...
    ---
    When you join the church you say you are willing to take his name upon you. So you are quite literally "Chist"-ian. From then on it's a life's pursuit to act as much like him as you can. It's not possible but we do the best we can.

    OMM,
    I don't think Christ would dictate that we vote for Trump or Clinton though. He probably would be about as disappointed as I was in both of them, and the state of our political affairs. I don't think he would have endorsed either of them. I didn't endorse either of them. But now that one is our President... I kinda feel like I need to support him and the United States of America. What's the alternative?

    We will have an election in 4 years. That's when we do something about this. Not today. This is the wrong time to be trying to destroy the President and his administration.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 2:24 p.m.

    2 Bits: "I'll bet there's not one person who thinks temple recommend question 7... prohibits them from associating with someone who mows their lawn on Sunday."

    Apparently there is one person judging by his comment.

    There sure are a lot of comments on this forum by people with a huge chip on their shoulder against their Mormon neighbors. They find any excuse to point out how silly the beliefs and behaviors of its members are and then seem mystified about why they are not fully included in social gatherings among them.

    Christian teachings are that we should reach out to others who are different than us. They do not require us to surround ourselves with people who will constantly ridicule our beliefs.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 2:06 p.m.

    What being missed here is the writer’s seat mate was exhibiting the same behavior he accuses all Mormons of having. Here is a Mormon girl at a Jesuit college and she is treated this way. Courtesy and manners is always best practice. Being that she was attending a Jesuit college tells me she is trying to reach out to others not of her religion. This should be a lesson to any religiously sponsored college to be diligent in making those students not of their religion always feel accepted and welcome.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 1:55 p.m.

    "Once people realized we weren't becoming Mormon, they didn't give me or my kids the time of day."

    It could very well be that this person had hundreds of Mormon neighbors who were very friendly and accepting, but had one or two who behaved like this. Because he/she was so sensitive to this, they forgot completely about the hundreds and judged all Mormons by the actions of a few. I have seen this hundreds of times in my life.

    We see this today in so many areas. We have a bias against something so we focus on the actions of just a few in that group and make sweeping generalities based on it.

    When you go looking for unChristian behavior, perhaps the first place you should look should be in the mirror.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    Aug. 24, 2017 1:43 p.m.

    Been there, experienced that.

    Our two youngest sons were scouts in the local LDS troop. The troop had 34 boys in it; the other 32 were LDS. The scoutmaster and his wife were wonderful--they cared about all of the boys. But there was a clear distance between the other parents and us, as if being the token heathens made us somehow toxic. At dozens of family events over seven years, I never had another parent strike up a conversation with me. If a kid slipped and called me "Sister Billington", he was promptly reminded by their parent that I was a non-member.

    Twice In seven years we were invited to barbecues. One was a genuine social invitation, and the couple were gracious to us and our children. The other one, at a different couple's home--of course, this wasn't mentioned up front--included only two other guests. They were earnest young men with name tags.

  • The True Open Minded Mormon Draper, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 1:36 p.m.

    "And yet -- Ironically -- they will think nothing of voting for and 100% supporting Donald Trump."

    How you get from point A to this is astounding.

    Everyone just be nice to each other. It's really not that hard.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 1:32 p.m.

    Got a little preachy at the end... but overall a good and timely topic and reminder for all of us.

    We all need to improve. I think we all know that. That's why we go to church. Nobody who goes to church thinks they are perfect. That's pretty fundamental.

    ===

    @OMM 12:41,
    Re: "Many take it so literally to mean they can't affiliate with neighbors that mow their lawns on Sunday"...
    ---
    I'll bet there's not one person who thinks temple recommend question 7 "Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?"... prohibits them from associating with someone who mows their lawn on Sunday.

    Most understand it's not about political party, or a command to not vote for Trump (or Clinton).

    If it were about political party... your's would be just as prohibited as mine. Teaching Abortion, gay marriage, drug use, etc, are OK... is contrary to or opposes teachings accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

    It's not about that. And I think you know that. I hope you know that.

    Q7 doesn't prohibit voting for Trump (or Clinton).

  • Manzanita , 00
    Aug. 24, 2017 12:59 p.m.

    I liked this op-ed (and I don't sat that frequently about what's written in these pages.) This message is a good reminder for us all.

  • RedStateLady Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 12:41 p.m.

    This article rings so true to me. And I am not at all surprised that the majority of my fellow commenters don't get it. That's the whole point. We, as a people and as individuals, are insensitive to the ways in which we hurt, exclude, and discriminate. Because we are basically good folks who would never do those things on purpose. But it definitely happens. And, yes, this is anecdotal, but in my experience it happens frequently. I grew up in loving LDS communities where, for various reasons, I was often the odd one out. And I felt it keenly. I'm still here, sitting in church on Sundays, and serving in church throughout the week, and surrendering what often feels like an unholy amount of money and family time to this faith community about which I care so deeply. But one of the things I learn from service in the church is that we're never good enough. We are all beggars before Christ. The smug self-satisfaction of some of these comments is exactly the kind of un-Christian attitude the author (and King Benjamin, and Gordon B. Hinckley, and Jesus) decry. Not surprising; definitely disappointing.

    Thanks for a beautiful, thoughtful piece. Fingers crossed that it softens some hearts.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Aug. 24, 2017 12:41 p.m.

    Impartial7 - DRAPER, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 9:30 a.m.

    "Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?"

    This Temple recommend is designed to exclude good mormons from non-mormons. Many take it so literally to mean they can't affiliate with neighbors that mow their lawns on Sunday, have a glass of wine with dinner or let their kids wear sleeveless clothing. It makes them very judgmental and excuses them from being good neighbors.

    =========

    And yet -- Ironically -- they will think nothing of voting for and 100% supporting Donald Trump.

  • QuickRick Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 12:39 p.m.

    This gets really old. I've lived in Salt Lake, small town Utah, California, Wyoming, Ontario Canada, and small and large town Texas. Utah "Mormons" are no more likely to shun others that are non-Utahns or non-Mormons. While in Texas, we were not allowed to join the local YMCA because we were not Christian. My supervisor told me I'm a Satan worshipper.

    Our children (both in and out of Utah) played with and had friends who were not LDS. Some were Baptist, Catholic, etc. Some were Muslim. Some were atheists. What we cared about was what standards they live by, not what particular creed they adhered to.

    Do some Utah Mormons exclude other not of their faith? Of course. Do some Utah Baptists, Catholics, etc? Yes. Is that a fault of their church? Usually not. Most religious organizations teach love and friendship toward all. Some people simply choose not to follow all of their religion's guidelines. That is not an excuse to condemn the organizations or the general membership of those organizations.

    Sometimes, people see exactly what they expect to see, rather than what is actually true.

  • bass679 Novi, MI
    Aug. 24, 2017 12:38 p.m.

    So, I grew up in Utah in a single parent home. I personally experienced being left many times because my mom was divorced. Not only that but we lived in a small town where our family had lived for several generations. I found that if other kid's parents knew who my grandparents were, that was a whole different story and I was included.

    I don't for one second believe it's an LDS things. I think it's that people in general can be pretty terrible. Living outside Utah I've seen the opposite. Where being LDS made others exclude you. It's something we need to work on, the inclusion of the "other".

    Sometimes I think it's people not knowing how to integrate other people into our activities. My wife is a non-member so obviously she cannot hold a calling. But in the first Ward we lived in after getting married the Bishop wanted to make clear that she was a member of our Ward, just not our congregation. So he asked her to be part of the cub scouting program which is not necessarily a church calling. Honestly it did wonders for making my wife feel part of a culture she generally finds quite alien.

  • Z South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 12:20 p.m.

    @Impartial7, that is the most twisted interpretation of that question in the temple recommend interview I have ever heard. There is nothing in that question, in LDS teaching, or in anything taught by church leadership that implies or condones the attitude that you suggest. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

    Unfortunately, the sad truth is that we as a people do not always live up to the standards that we should, and this is not just true of Mormons. All people tend to hang with the crowd that they are comfortable with, and it takes deliberate thought to break out of that circle. But is that not what the Savior himself challenged us to do?

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 24, 2017 12:15 p.m.

    When I was a child, a nonmember neighbor girl was excluded all the time--by the other kids, myself being one of them.

    All the Mormon kids on the street came to my brother's birthday party, but we didn't invite the little girl across the street--until my mother realized she was sitting out there on the curb by herself. Instantly, Mom invited her over and made a nice fuss over her.

    My mom was a Mormon Christian. From then on, that girl was included in everything we kids did--Mom made sure of that. And she taught me a key lesson that day that I've tried (and often failed) to remember.... We Mormons, like all "in-groups," can be pretty callous....

  • IAlaw Council Bluffs, IA
    Aug. 24, 2017 12:14 p.m.

    Articles like this, and the accompanying comments of self-flagellation, are becoming too common here. I disagree with the increasingly popular implication that I am--or that I should feel--guilty because I'm a male, because I'm of European descent, and because I'm an active member of the LDS church. The reality is that I don't feel guilty about any of those things. And I shouldn't.

    I don't mistreat or ignore or look down upon others for being of a different race, religion, level of religious activity, or gender. I've never withheld friendship or kindness because someone is black, or baptist, or less active, or gay. And frankly, in my dealings with other male Mormons of European descent, I haven't seen the sort of unChristlike behavior we're being accused of. I've no doubt that there are fools and bigots out there who have done and said inexcusable things. But I take issue with the suggestion that the fools and bigots are representative of the group as a whole. I agree with other comments here: you will find what you're looking for.

  • Rubydo Provo, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 11:24 a.m.

    I'm not overly impressed with my Mormon peers, acquaintances, and neighbors because most of them are just going through the motions like everyone else that tries to live religiously.

    Just because someone is a Mormon doesn't automatically make them upstanding and trustworthy individuals.

  • Mayfair City, Ut
    Aug. 24, 2017 10:57 a.m.

    In another opinion piece last week, LDS were painted with a broad brush as being racist.

    And now this.

    I agree with 112358.

    These generalizations that we all are offensive or unchristian to non-members is ridiculous nonsense.

  • MacMama Sandy, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 10:31 a.m.

    I grew up in a small Utah community that was mostly related to me. I didn't know any that weren't LDS until I was in high school, when I had a number of friends from different religions. After I got married, we moved to several states before returning back to Utah. We have always had friends from all religions as have my children. In fact, living back in Utah in the Salt Lake area I can honestly say that I have never known anyone in my entire life who excludes people including their childrens' friends based on religion.
    My thoughts are that you find what you are looking for.

  • Danny Chipman Lehi, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 10:30 a.m.

    Very well said! Over the years I've had non-LDS neighbors who were way nicer than some of my same church.

  • NWClerk Salem, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 10:21 a.m.

    Even among those who despise their politics or object to their theology, Mormons have a widespread reputation for being nice people. That reputation did not develop from them "not giving others the time of day". Charity's interlocutor seems to have been unusually rude, so it's not hard to believe that otherwise nice people would have had a bit of a hard time reaching out to him personally.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 10:14 a.m.

    back in 1977, my friend Joe and I rode our 10-speed bikes from the Salt Lake Valley to Yellowstone Park and back, a 1,000 Mi plus Journey. While attending a branch of our LDS faith in Mammoth Hot Springs, I witnessed one person after another bear testimony of how bad Utah Mormons were on Fast Sunday.

    The author of the above article writes about Mormons who adhere to Mormons mostly clinging to those who share a "sameness".

    And yes, I too have witnessed how we as Latter Day Saints often will change our friendliness towards those of our non Mormon neighbors if they don't come along as we would have them do into our faith.

    Our love, our attention to others, should not always be predicated upon if others are doing as we would have them do.

    However, our time and attention too is limited, as is that of many of our non-LDS neighbors.

    It is impossible for us to always be everything to everyone, as supposedly we should be.

    But I have heard a non- LDS neighbor of ours who initially failed to answer a knock at his door by a relative of his, because he, as I heard him explain it to this relative, feared it was maybe Mormon missionaries knocking.

    The follies of us all!

  • Casey See Camarillo, CA
    Aug. 24, 2017 10:10 a.m.

    My family and I have lived in Utah a number of times and we have lived in another 10 states. In my experience there is a difference, but there are similarities as well. In general, we all, LDS and non-LDS people tend to associate with those who are most like ourselves. We need to get out of our shells. Second, if we have family members living close by, and most LDS who live in Utah do, we tend to have Sunday dinners together, Saturday BBQs, together, etc. We forget that there are those who have moved into our communities that don't. For them, both LDS and non-LDS without families close by, they feel left out. They didn't grow up in the community, don't have childhood friends and family to associate with on the weekends.

    I have also seen this in small communities in other states, so this is not just a Utah thing. But seldom is there a majority religion or association that newcomers can blame for their feelings of being left out. If we want to change peoples perception of Mormons, we need to open our homes, BBQs, and activities to our neighbors, no matter if they look, smell, or act differently. We can teach our children that neighbors who smoke/drink/LBGT are good people too.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 9:30 a.m.

    "Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?"

    This Temple recommend is designed to exclude good mormons from non-mormons. Many take it so literally to mean they can't affiliate with neighbors that mow their lawns on Sunday, have a glass of wine with dinner or let their kids wear sleeveless clothing. It makes them very judgmental and excuses them from being good neighbors.

  • 112358 Alpine, UT
    Aug. 24, 2017 9:17 a.m.

    While this article is well-intentioned, the DN has printed so many articles of this exact same form that the additional information provided by each new installment is minimal. The boilerplate form of these articles is to use proof-by-anecdote to find an entire faith -- at least those living in Utah -- presumptively guilty of a sin which the author finds herself or himself not-guilty of.

    In this case, because a single person told the author that Mormons in Utah were guilty of X, it must be true. As the author does not live in Utah, she finds herself free from the dread disease that all of us living in Utah inherently suffer from. This makes the author uniquely qualified to prescribe a cure. As always, the cure is to be more like the author.

    The author certainly would not make sweeping generalizations of certain classes of people; she shouldn't make them about any group.

  • ldawgg Chino, CA
    Aug. 24, 2017 8:41 a.m.

    We can learn a lot from non-members. I served on the public affairs committee for several years. We developed a strong relationship with a Muslim community. Their mosque burned down and our stake offered up one of our meeting houses for their evening worship on Fridays and Saturdays for a couple of years. During that time we learned a lot about each other. This community will wash their hands and faces before they read from their scriptures. What a great lesson. I have applied that lesson in my life, and I have found that washing my hands and face before I read from the Book of Mormon prepares me to read. This simple action allows me to adjust my spiritual tuner to better receive promptings as I read. It is a simple cultural lesson that can be used to enhance our spirituality.