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Dear Evangelical Friends: Can A Mormon Be A Christian?

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So, you (speaking generally not specifically) after that, HAD to change your definition of being a Christian to exclude Mormons? And in doing so you inadvertently excluded one or more groups that heretofore were unquestionably considered Christian.

It is so humorous to see.

 

I have no idea what your question, if it indeed is a question, means, or what "after that" refers to. 

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God! 

 

It is not about trusting Joseph Smith. It is not is Joseph Smith that Mormons put their trust. All Mormons look to Jesus Christ for salvation.

Actually that is not entirely accurate. What you are trusting is a particular interpretation of those Biblical authors.

They, indeed are. Mormons DO believe the Bible and what its authors taught. We just don't believe all of how the Modern American Evangelical Protestant interprets them.

 

Indeed it is about Joseph Smith. Like I said it's all about who you trust. You answered, "God!" But, that doesn't get to the heart of the difference. We both claim to trust God. 

 

Joseph Smith (or any other prophet or teacher you want to insert here) taught certain things/doctrines/etc... You obviously trust him. I do not. 

 

I trust other teachers who are from an evangelical perspective. 

 

Your response focuses on "interpretation" and my response is focusing on trusting a certain teacher who teaches that interpretation. I don't disagree with you that we trust different interpretations. 

 

Like I said, it's all about who you trust. 

 

 

 

 

 

THANK GOD for a prophet.

Quite frankly, Mormons and the LDS church could and would function just fine if all of the scriptures were suddenly taken away.

I appreciate that. And know that I would never try to exclude you from being called a Christian, even though I disagree with some of your doctrines.

 

Well it is interesting that the LDS church doesn't consider some groups to be "LDS" even though those other groups still see themselves as such. 

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I have no idea what your question, if it indeed is a question, means, or what "after that" refers to.

Perhaps I should have just used a (.) to end that sentence. And then put ??????? on the next line.

Was it really necessary to attempt to rewrite the definition of what it is to be a Christian in such a ridiculous way?

Or even rewrite it at all?

Was there really a need to change the definition?

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Indeed it is about Joseph Smith. Like I said it's all about who you trust. You answered, "God!" But, that doesn't get to the heart of the difference. We both claim to trust God. 

 

Joseph Smith (or any other prophet or teacher you want to insert here) taught certain things/doctrines/etc... You obviously trust him.

I trust what God has told me about him. So, it is about me trusting God.

 

I trust other teachers who are from an evangelical perspective.

And THAT is no different than what you are claiming about me trusting JS.

 

Your response focuses on "interpretation" and my response is focusing on trusting a certain teacher who teaches that interpretation.

I think that is a distinction without a difference.

I don't disagree with you that we trust different interpretations.

We have different interpretations and you trust yours and not ours, ergo, you trust different interpretations.  

  

 

 

Like I said, it's all about who you trust.

Well, if you insist upon pushing it.

We trust God! (And you do not.)

Now, you can insist that it is the other way around all you want. But you can't provide a reasonable argument as to why your interpretation is more authoritative as ours.

 

Well it is interesting that the LDS church doesn't consider some groups to be "LDS" even though those other groups still see themselves as such.

Really? What groups are claiming to be LDS that we are insisting are not? Edited by Vance

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How does baptism play into all of this, for both Mormons and Evangelicals?  From the Catholic point-of-view, it is baptism that makes one a Christian (a rite of initiation, among other things).

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How does baptism play into all of this, for both Mormons and Evangelicals?  From the Catholic point-of-view, it is baptism that makes one a Christian (a rite of initiation, among other things).

I would say LDS believe that baptism is NOT a requirement of being Christian. It is ones belief in Jesus Christ as our Savior.

From an LDS point of view, all non-LDS are not baptized(with proper authority), but we would still consider them Christian if they say they are.

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How does baptism play into all of this, for both Mormons and Evangelicals?  From the Catholic point-of-view, it is baptism that makes one a Christian (a rite of initiation, among other things).

 

I think Mormonism sees baptism as an essential rite, combined with pure intent of heart

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I would say LDS believe that baptism is NOT a requirement of being Christian. It is ones belief in Jesus Christ as our Savior.

From an LDS point of view, all non-LDS are not baptized(with proper authority), but we would still consider them Christian if they say they are.

I see what you are saying, but on the flip side LDS doctrine holds that baptism IS a requirement for entering the path of Christianity.  Many Evangelicals, on the other hand, don't think that baptism is a requirement.  In fact some Evangelicals are upset and question our very Christianity because we believe that it is necessary.

I think that all Mormons should follow the 11th article of faith and allow all Christians the right to worship how they like -- without questioning the authenticity of their devotion or "true-Christian-ness".  My experience is that most all Mormons do so.

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Perhaps I should have just used a (.) to end that sentence. And then put ??????? on the next line.

Was it really necessary to attempt to rewrite the definition of what it is to be a Christian in such a ridiculous way?

Or even rewrite it at all?

Was there really a need to change the definition?

I honestly have no idea what you're talking about.

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Once Christ, according to the LDS Church, declared that we were/are Christians in name only, then it became difficult for believers to just blithely accept LDS as part of a Christian community of faith.

 

The foundational principle of the LDS Church wasn’t that the other churches, people, and teachings were of a “different but still positive and edifying stripe” – quite the opposite.  And if one goes to the LDS-provided cross-referenced verses in Isaiah, Matthew, and 2 Timothy that accompany the First Vision, then the inference is made clearer that historical and current mainstream Christianity is on par with the worst of the worst.

 

All of our churches are wrong, all of our creeds are an abomination in the sight of the Lord, our preachers and teachers are all corrupt and we deny the power of God.  I’ve never understood why LDS think it’s a slight to not include them in our general definition of Christianity.  We are of such a lower order that it should be seen as disparaging to do so.

 

Christianity’s response to the LDS Church’s judgment of Christianity has not always been stellar – learning to turn the other cheek is easier said than done.  But it sounds as if some Christians are actually acting Christ-like, based on comments here.  As soon as we lose the capacity to respect the inherent dignity of someone else’s freedom to disagree, stereotypes set in. And stereotypes are the first step toward de-humanization, and eventually violence. 

While in LDS scripture the Lord does come down hard on apostate Christianity and its creeds from time to time, LDS scripture and prophets also speak well and positively of non-LDS Christianity. Here's a sampling: from 1 Nephi 13:

12 And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.

 

Whether the man in this verse is Christopher Columbus or somebody else, he was no doubt a non-LDS Christian who enjoyed the inspiration of the Spirit of God in his life. 

13 And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.

 

It appears our non-LDS Christian forefathers, who came to America in search of religious freedom, also experienced the Spirit of God in their lives

14 And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten.

15 And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain.

 

16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them.

 

In the above three verses, we are told that the early American colonists, who were Christians of various sects, enjoyed the Spirit of the Lord in their lives. And that as a consequence of the Lord being with them, they succeeded and prospered in their new promised land. We also see that these same non-LDS Christians pleased the Lord by humbling themselves before Him, and as a result the power of God was with them. 

17 And I beheld that their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them.

18 And I beheld that the power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle.

 

Because these Christians, who were not Latter-day Saints, so pleased the Lord by their attitude and behavior, God was with them and helped them defeat their enemies in battle.

19 And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations.

 

These non-LDS Christians so pleased the Lord that the power of God had made and preserved them a nation in spite of the designs of nations.

 20 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land; and I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them.

 

 In this verse, the Prophet Nephi informs us that these non-LDS Christians, who so pleased the Lord, carried the Holy Bible among them.

 

If you are interested, there is much more I can share in this vein. Just let me know and I'll provide more examples of the Lord being pleased with and blessing non-LDS Christians.

 

All the best...

Edited by teddyaware

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I trust what God has told me about him. So, it is about me trusting God.

 

And THAT is no different than what you are claiming about me trusting JS.

 

I think that is a distinction without a difference.

We have different interpretations and you trust yours and not ours, ergo, you trust different interpretations.  

  

 

 

Well, if you insist upon pushing it.

We trust God! (And you do not.)

Now, you can insist that it is the other way around all you want. But you can't provide a reasonable argument as to why your interpretation is more authoritative as ours.

 

Really? What groups are claiming to be LDS that we are insisting are not?

 

I trust in God as well. 

 

As to whose interpretation is more authoritative? It is simply another way of asking who is more trustworthy? 

 

What groups claim to be LDS? It seems to me that there are some groups that are in the news that believe in polygamy still, that the Salt Lake LDS church says isn't apart of their group. The point is that having a "living prophet" is meaningless in terms of demonstrating truth. It means you trust your prophet. They claim to have a prophet too, whom they trust.

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I trust in God as well.

Good! 

 

As to whose interpretation is more authoritative? It is simply another way of asking who is more trustworthy?

I am ok with that. I know in whom I trust. 

 

What groups claim to be LDS? It seems to me that there are some groups that are in the news that believe in polygamy still, that the Salt Lake LDS church says isn't apart of their group.

They are not a part of the LDS church and they don't want to be. And even they admit it.

They have their own leadership, and it is in a different location. They have different doctrine. They even went so far as to have a different name.

The point is that having a "living prophet" is meaningless in terms of demonstrating truth.

And yet, having a living prophet IS the Biblical pattern.

It means you trust your prophet.

I trust God and His Biblical pattern of calling and having a living prophet to lead His people.

They claim to have a prophet too, whom they trust.

So?

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I trust in God as well. 

 

As to whose interpretation is more authoritative? It is simply another way of asking who is more trustworthy? 

 

What groups claim to be LDS? It seems to me that there are some groups that are in the news that believe in polygamy still, that the Salt Lake LDS church says isn't apart of their group. The point is that having a "living prophet" is meaningless in terms of demonstrating truth. It means you trust your prophet. They claim to have a prophet too, whom they trust.

Just because a group claims to have a prophet that is not evidence that all prophets are false. I am just confused why people, like you, would not wish to have more prophets to day to lead us like they did back in the day. And no "the bible" is not enough. For basic doctrine it is. But there is a whole lot that seems to be missing.

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Good! 

 

I am ok with that. I know in whom I trust. 

 

They are not a part of the LDS church and they don't want to be. And even they admit it.

They have their own leadership, and it is in a different location. They have different doctrine. They even went so far as to have a different name.

And yet, having a living prophet IS the Biblical pattern.

I trust God and His Biblical pattern of calling and having a living prophet to lead His people.

So?

 

As you stated. This is of course, based on your interpretation, which is based on those teachers/prophets/leaders whom you trust. 

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Just because a group claims to have a prophet that is not evidence that all prophets are false. I am just confused why people, like you, would not wish to have more prophets to day to lead us like they did back in the day. And no "the bible" is not enough. For basic doctrine it is. But there is a whole lot that seems to be missing.

 

 

I'm not trying to say that all prophets are false or that all teachers are false. Rather, that we put our trust in those we follow. It's all about who you trust. 

 

The bible alone leads us to God. He is all we need. 

 

I understand that is a simplistic statement, but my intention is to juxtapose the complexities of any church organization (LDS, Catholic, etc.) and their many requirements, with the very basic fundamentals taught in the bible. 

 

I'll give you one example. Jesus said by their fruit you will know them. Now, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We agree on that so far, right? 

 

Now, when I read about someone who claims to have seen visions and/or makes all sorts of new claims about truth, and I look for the fruits of the Spirit. When I see these, then I know he/she has the spirit or not. When I see the opposite then I know they don't have the spirit. 

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As you stated. This is of course, based on your interpretation, which is based on those teachers/prophets/leaders whom you trust.

Yup! (Although I would add that God has confirmed to me personally that they are correct.)

Just as your interpretation is based on those teachers/leaders whom you trust.

Edited by Vance

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I'm not trying to say that all prophets are false or that all teachers are false. Rather, that we put our trust in those we follow. It's all about who you trust.

The bible alone leads us to God.

Not so. The Bible is quite clear that it is the Spirit that leads to truth. The Bible, without the Spirit to provide the correct interpretation, is useless.

 

He is all we need.

The Bible is not a "he" it is an inanimate "it".

 

I understand that is a simplistic statement, but my intention is to juxtapose the complexities of any church organization (LDS, Catholic, etc.) and their many requirements, with the very basic fundamentals taught in the bible.

Those "many requirements" are well established in the Bible, when correctly interpreted.

 

I'll give you one example. Jesus said by their fruit you will know them. Now, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We agree on that so far, right?

Yup.

 

Now, when I read about someone who claims to have seen visions . . .

Like Paul????

 

and/or makes all sorts of new claims about truth,

Like Jesus ?????

 

and I look for the fruits of the Spirit.

That is ALWAYS a good thing to do.

 

When I see these, then I know he/she has the spirit or not. When I see the opposite then I know they don't have the spirit.

That is all good. I don't see any problems here. I fully agree that we MUST trust in the Spirit.

Edited by Vance

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Yup! (Although I would add that God has confirmed to me personally that they are correct.)

Just as your interpretation is based on those teachers/leaders whom you trust.

 

Right. (and I might add, that God has confirmed to me personally that they are correct.)

 

Not so. The Bible is quite clear that it is the Spirit that leads to truth. The Bible, without the Spirit to provide the correct interpretation, is useless.

 

The Bible is not a "he" it is an inanimate "it".

 

Those "many requirements" are well established in the Bible, when correctly interpreted.

 

Yup.

 

Like Paul????

 

Like Jesus ?????

 

That is ALWAYS a good thing to do.

 

That is all good. I don't see any problems here. I fully agree that we MUST trust in the Spirit.

Note, I didn't say that the bible was a "he". The Bible leads us to God, and who is all we need.

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Yes

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Right. (and I might add, that God has confirmed to me personally that they are correct.)

14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.

 

Note, I didn't say that the bible was a "he". The Bible leads us to God, and who is all we need.

You said,

The bible alone leads us to God.

Which clearly expresses it is ONLY the Bible that leads us to God, thus excluding God Himself.

 

He is all we need.

The "He" must be "the Bible" to be consistent with the previous sentence, that said "the bible alone leads".

Perhaps you didn't really mean "the bible alone (thus excluding any other means) leads", but that is what you typed.

Please clarify what you really meant.

Edited by Vance

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14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.

 

You said,

Which clearly expresses it is ONLY the Bible that leads us to God, thus excluding God Himself.

 

The "He" must be "the Bible" to be consistent with the previous sentence, that said "the bible alone leads".

Perhaps you didn't really mean "the bible alone (thus excluding any other means) leads", but that is what you typed.

Please clarify what you really meant.

 

Your quote of Moroni 7 is meant to say what? 

 

Let's analyze what I said, "The bible alone leads us to God. He is all we need."

 

The reference to The bible *alone* was in the flow of the conversation where there was a reference to the idea that "something was missing in the Bible" and my contention is that the bible isn't missing anything. God has made it whole and complete and it alone (without the LDS "scriptures") leads us to God. Now, again, because I'm juxtaposing two ideas, I'm not saying that God himself doesn't also draw us by his spirit, nor am I saying that God doesn't use other means as well.

 

Next, grammatically speaking, the pronoun "he" in the second sentence must refer to God because the Bible is not a person. Only God is. 

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Your quote of Moroni 7 is meant to say what?

Exactly what it says.

 

Let's analyze what I said, "The bible alone leads us to God. He is all we need."

 

The reference to The bible *alone* was in the flow of the conversation where there was a reference to the idea that "something was missing in the Bible" and my contention is that the bible isn't missing anything.

That is a presumption on your part, nothing more.

But the implications are far reaching.

IF (and that is a big if) the Bible is sufficient, THEN,

1) God has abandon His biblical pattern of having prophets to lead His people, which would be counter to what He has said to His prophets as recorded in the Bible.

2) There would NOT be any confusion or disagreement of "Christian" doctrine.

3) You and I would understand/interpret the same verse of scripture the same way.

4) There would be no need for the Spirit to be involved in our lives.

Just to mention a few off the top of my head.

 

God has made it whole and complete . . .

And yet it does not include a clear and definitive statement saying that.

 

. . . and it alone

And yet does not include a clear and definitive statement saying that.

 

(without the LDS "scriptures") leads us to God.

Which is counter to some of the verses found in the Bible.

 

Now, again, because I'm juxtaposing two ideas, I'm not saying that God himself doesn't also draw us by his spirit, nor am I saying that God doesn't use other means as well.

Ok, so now you are throwing logic and reason out the window. So wonder I can't have a reasonable conversation with you.

First you say, that only the Bible can lead to God, and then you say there are other means that God can use to lead us to Him.

Well, which is it?

 

Next, grammatically speaking, the pronoun "he" in the second sentence must refer to God because the Bible is not a person. Only God is.

Only God is a person?

Then what are we?

Edited by Vance

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Note, I didn't say that the bible was a "he". The Bible leads us to God, and who is all we need.

 

The issue with that is that the Bible can be interpreted many different ways (hence the numerous Christian sects).  Without a prophet taught by God it becomes pretty much anyone's guess which is right.  Methodists or Lutherans?  Baptists or Presbyterians?  Hey, why not the Amish.

 

In short, the Bible is true and is the Word of God, but even God needs to continue to communicate from time to time.

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Exactly what it says.

 

That is a presumption on your part, nothing more.

But the implications are far reaching.

IF (and that is a big if) the Bible is sufficient, THEN,

1) God has abandon His biblical pattern of having prophets to lead His people, which would be counter to what He has said to His prophets as recorded in the Bible.

2) There would NOT be any confusion or disagreement of "Christian" doctrine.

3) You and I would understand/interpret the same verse of scripture the same way.

4) There would be no need for the Spirit to be involved in our lives.

Just to mention a few off the top of my head.

 

And yet it does not include a clear and definitive statement saying that.

 

And yet does not include a clear and definitive statement saying that.

 

Which is counter to some of the verses found in the Bible.

 

Ok, so now you are throwing logic and reason out the window. So wonder I can't have a reasonable conversation with you.

First you say, that only the Bible can lead to God, and then you say there are other means that God can use to lead us to Him.

Well, which is it?

 

Only God is a person?

Then what are we?

 

Taking my statements out of context doesn't help understand what they are saying. Sorry I can't help much more than that. 

 

As for you assumptions of what would happen if the Bible was sufficient, I disagree. I'm not sure how free will would disappear as a result of the text being sufficient. Or how we'd suddenly not need the Spirit?

 

And of course your interpretation is that the Bible doesn't state that it's complete. I read that it says God has given us all we need, which includes his word in written form. 

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      My dear and beloved Father in Heaven,
      your forgiveness has washed over me lord and I truly believe that spirit within me will guide me towards you.
      In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen
    • By Coreyb
      When someone tells me "you Mormons aren't real Christians" I tend to respond with something like "who cares, why would I want to be?" This may seem blasphemous to some, but this is truly how I feel. Now don't take this as me admitting that Jesus isn't all that important to me, because that is not what I am saying. I believe in Jesus, and His religion, I just don't like what has been done/ is being done with the popular name of that religion, particularly by certain large and loud segments of American Christianity. Yes I admit to a location bias, but this is where I live.
      I have lived in numerous places across the western and Midwestern United States and my experience is that many of my correligionists (Mormons) seemingly want nothing quite so much as to be accepted as a part of the evangelical Christian community. This seems to go deeper than just wanting to be friends with neighbors. It's like we have this need for validation, that only evangelicals can give.
      Perhaps this is just us teaming up to fight our "common enemy", the godless "secular humanists". Perhaps we just really admire our evangelical neighbors and seek to emulate them. Either way, I feel that our adoption of American Christian culture, which I believe has been occurring slowly but steadily over the last century, is robbing us of our mormon-ness, and perhaps more importantly is forcing us to wrestle with their problems because they are becoming ours. Most damaging however IMO is that it puts us in the same camp as them to the rest of Americans, you know, the ever growing secular humanists, plus all the other religions out there. We become just part of the "Christian Right", but an even weirder version of it. I dunno, maybe I am just sick if my mormon friends bombarding me in every situation with all the videos, memes, slogans, music, movies, shows, books, politicians, role models, arguments and causes borrowed from evangelicals, whether they really reflect mormon thought or not.
      So if I made any sense, what do y'all think of this?
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