The mask becomes the face

I’ve mused about Mormons many times, and particularly about their recent “nobody here but us Christians” posture.

The Mormons are relentlessly nice people. I once lived and worked in the southwest, where they are particularly prominent. It’s not as idyllic as it sometimes appears, but they’re pretty “good people” as far as anyone is “good people.”

But the “nobody here but us Christians” posture? I’m not buying it. “Christian” has some objective content, and a group that cannot affirm the Nicene Creed, as can’t the Mormons, fails to make the cut. But they’re nice. Really.


Scott McCullough surprised me today, though, by suggesting both promise and peril in the doctrinal flexibility of a Mormonism, born in the most sectarian “God told me you’re all wrong and we’re right” mentality, that now wants to wear a mere Christian mask:

[A] group with this degree of flexibility in doctrinal development, one that feels the pressure to adapt to a certain kind of American mainstream, represents a tremendous opportunity for traditional Christians. To put the point from the evangelical side: The mask eventually becomes the face, and if evangelicals can induce them more and more to mask themselves in the trappings of traditional Christianity, they might more and more become traditional Christians. To put it from the Mormon side: Who is to say that God does not act in the ambient culture, that the church could not learn from those around it—provided of course that God ratifies any new teaching through the prophets?

That’s the hope. I recall that the Worldwide Church of God (i.e., Herbert W. Armstrong and Garner Ted Armstrong‘s baby) split into factions after Herbert’s death, one faction becoming essentially Evangelical Protestants, the other doubling down on all the really wrong stuff. So sects and what Evangelicals used to call “cults” aren’t necessarily stable.

The peril is summarized in a synechdoche: “In the parking lot afterwards, the conservative Catholics I was with wondered: What will the Mormons think about gay marriage in thirty years? ”

I penned this, coincidentally, on the second anniversary of one of my most pointed prior posts.

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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

Church history (according to the Mormons)

Thanks to fellow-Orthodox blogger John, I discovered this Mormon version of Church history, for which I explicitly claim “fair use” and provide the obligatory link to the original.

The basic storyline is this: “Regardless of the valiant efforts of Christ’s apostles and their faithful followers, the original church that Christ restored began to fade away.” Then along came Joseph Smith. Woohoo. (Italics are in the original. My comments are not italicized.) Continue reading “Church history (according to the Mormons)”

Musings on Mitt’s Mormonism

Sunday’s Washington Post brings forth the latest establishment media hand-wringing on its own coverage of GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s Mormonism.*

Of course, one cannot write about whether one should write about such things without discussing what LDS doctrines might make it divisive to write about such things. There is a resulting disingenuousness about the project, like making a “prayer request” for sister Suzy, who’s been gossiping again. Continue reading “Musings on Mitt’s Mormonism”