In the midst of the publicity storm surrounding Mormonism FOX News at the end of 2007 compiled a list of 21 questions to put to The Mormon Church. The Church objected to answering some of the questions on the grounds that they misrepresent the basic tenets of the Mormon religion.
Qu. "Many of these questions are typically found on anti-Mormon blogs or Web sites which aim to misrepresent or distort Mormon doctrines," the church said in a statement. "Several of these questions do not represent ... any serious attempt to depict the core values and beliefs of its members."
You may judge for yourself whether the questions are fair and whether they have answered or evaded them. However, Mormons have traditionally revelled in the title “peculiar people” so it does seem churlish to complain when others ask about those things that mark them out as peculiar. We begin today to look at the questions (Q) and answers (A) with comments (C) and quotes (Qu.):
Q: Why do some call the Church a cult?
A: For the most part, this seems to stem from a lack of understanding about the Church and its core doctrines and beliefs. Under those circumstances it is too easy to label a religion or other organization that is not well-known with an inflammatory term like 'cult.' Famed scholar of religion Martin Marty has said a cult means a church you don't personally happen to like. We don't believe any organization should be subjected to a label that has come to be as pejorative as that one.
C: I have commented before on how peculiar it is that a church claiming to be Christian should be so consistently “misunderstood”, even by “other Christians”. The Mormons seem to be constantly fighting a rearguard action against misunderstandings and misconceptions. This is all the more puzzling for a church with an ongoing professional programme of self-promotion. Is Mormonism hard to understand? Why does the church continually have to “explain” itself? It is a truism that someone who does a lot of explaining usually has a lot of explaining to do. Blaming your detractors is not good enough; the Mormon Church does have a lot of explaining to do and it would be wise to ask why.
As to the assertion that no organisation should suffer the pejorative label of cult, it should be remembered that Mormonism is founded on the teaching that all the creeds of “Christendom” (that’s your church and mine) are “an abomination” and that all who profess those creeds (that’s you and me if you are a Christian) are “corrupt”. Perhaps Mormons should remember that people who live in transparent dwellings should seriously consider the consequences before hurling things at others; that what goes around comes around; that people don’t so easily forget that Mormonism is established on terms that remain antagonistic to and pejorative of others.
The Mormon Church trades on the modern creed that every religion is of equal value, everyone’s right “in their own way”; there is no blame and therefore no shame; and the “everyone’s a victim” culture of today. However, Christians know that there is right and wrong, truth and falsehood, righteousness and sin and a way that seems right to a man but that leads to destruction (Prov.14:12). Mormonism is founded on the claim that the ways of Christendom lead to destruction. Christians, in turn, warn others that there is no salvation in Mormonism. They teach that we are apostate, and we teach that they are a cult and in serious error. It’s a messy old place sometimes but welcome to the real world.
And for those who want to jump in and declare “a curse on both your houses” – your going to fall out of bed in a minute. It’s your world too and you can be just as jealous and defensive of your own creeds. You know you can, don’t deny it, so stop claiming the moral high ground; it makes you sound too much like you have an axe to grind. And if you really think the world would be a better place if everyone left everyone else alone why not set the trend and keep it to yourself.
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