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By Joshua Valentine
[i saw the lower case LDS too late, and couldn't find a way to edit it. I apologize for the error. Please let me know if there is a way to edit topic titles. Thanks!]
This topic is not about whether or not Mormons are Christians. It is not about whether Mormonism is a Christian religion.
It is about whether and how the LDS leadership undermines its own position, and that of the membership - that other Christian groups should recognize it, them, as Christians - when it refuses to recognize other Mormon groups as Mormons.
Following are statements made by the LDS Church:
1) A recent news story referred to fugitive Warren Jeffs as a “fundamentalist Mormon” and “leader of a polygamist breakaway Mormon sect.”
Polygamist groups in Utah, Arizona or Texas have nothing whatsoever to do with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To refer to them as “Mormon” is inaccurate.
There is no such thing as a "fundamentalist" Mormon. Mormon is a common name for a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church discontinued polygamy more than a century ago. No members of the Church today can enter into polygamy without being excommunicated. Polygamist groups in Utah, other parts of the American West and elsewhere have nothing whatsoever to do with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
3) Recent news reports regarding various issues related to the practice of polygamy, especially focusing on groups in Southern Utah, Arizona and Texas, have used terms such as "fundamentalist Mormons," "Mormon sect" and "polygamous Mormons" to refer to those who practice polygamy.
There is no such thing as a "polygamous" Mormon. Mormon is a common name for a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church discontinued polygamy more than a century ago. No members of the Church today can enter into polygamy without being excommunicated. Polygamist groups in Utah, Arizona or Texas have nothing whatsoever to do with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
4) "...it is estimated that approximately 30,000 Mormons live in polygamous households in Utah."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discontinued the practice of polygamy more than a century ago. No members of the Church today can enter into polygamy without being excommunicated. Groups that practice polygamy have nothing to do whatsoever with the Church and should not be referred to as Mormons.
5) There is no such thing as a “Mormon Fundamentalist.” It is a contradiction to use the two words together.
-President Gordon B. Hinckley
All of these official statements made by the LDS Church deny the use of “Mormon” when referring to polygamous or fundamentalist groups. How is this to be justified when the LDS Church and its members decry Christian groups that refuse to refer to LDS as Christians or the LDS Church as a Christian church?
In all of these quotes the term “Mormon” is being defined as a member of the LDS Church. But that is at least an outdated definition - denying the reality of the existence and legitimacy of other groups that embrace Joseph Smith’s restoration and scriptures. It is certainly self-serving, especially if used to differentiate between the “Mormon” issue and the “Christian” issue.
Why do Christians deny that Mormons are Christians? Why does the LDS Church deny that off-shoot Mormons are Mormons?
See the following (especially in bold):
6) The Associated Press style guide tells its reporters that the term Mormon “is not properly applied” to the other churches that resulted from the split after Joseph Smith's death. It should be obvious why the AP has adopted that policy. It is widely understood that the word “Mormon” refers to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which sends out “Mormon missionaries,” sponsors the “Mormon Tabernacle Choir” and builds “Mormon temples.” Associating the term ‘Mormon’ with polygamists blurs what should be a crystal-clear line of distinction between organizations that are entirely separate.
While the terms LDS and Mormon are not brands in the commercial sense, these terms reflect the identity, reputation and teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The LDS Church has the right and expectation that the use of these terms will convey certain impressions to those who become aware of them. This is known in the business world as brand equity and in the words of NetMBA.com it "is an intangible asset that depends on associations made by the consumer."
Christians don’t want the public (consumers) to confuse Mormonism for Christianity. LDS leadership doesn’t want the public to confuse Mormon off-shoots for Mormonism or the LDS Church.
Insofar as the LDS Church denies off-shoot groups the name “Mormon”, the LDS Church undermines its call for non-LDS Christians to accept it as Christian. In nearly every way that the LDS Church justifies denying “Mormon” to off-shoots, it justifies Christians denying “Christian” to Mormonism.
An excellent, and Christian, idea for combating this (or any other) movement:
Is this just a case of Romans 1:32 (Advocating and advancing sinful behavior without actually doing it yourself)? What other ways can 'sinner's' money be taken and used for good? I think in this case, it's ethical. There are other cases where I'm sure that's debatable.
Has bearing on LDS life and lifestyle:
Sounds great. I wonder what the company thinks of LDS franchisees? I searched on Chick-fil-A locations in Utah and there are a few. Didn't think there'd be many out that way. Obviously, that doesn't necessarily mean they are LDS. What are the laws on religious requirements for employment? Etc.
Hey guys! I'm a student at Biola University that is part of an on-campus group called EMI (Evangelical-Mormon Interaction). We love talking to Mormons about the Bible and what we believe in! We take trips to Utah frequently and have dialogues with students at universities like BYU - Provo, BYU - Idaho, and Utah State.
We get a lot of questions about what we believe as evangelical Christians (not members of the LDS church) and why that makes sense to us. My friend recently wrote a great article about why the trinity makes sense to us and I want to engage with you guys about how you understand Heavenly Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
Check out the article HERE.
Hope to be hearing from you guys!!