We Need to Apologize

I heard Richard Mouw say something and I must concur. We Evangelicals need to apologize to the LDS. I think there are far too many of us who think we know what Mormons believe without ever asking Mormons themselves. I am personally guilty of this. I am now of the opinion that no Evangelical should ever authoritatevly talk about Mormons to other Christians unless they have at the very least read the Book of Mormon cover to cover and know the current prophet’s first and last name. And that’s the bare neccesity. Many don’t qualify, they just happen to have seen “The God Makers” once or twice. We have made errors in our descriptions of LDS beliefs.

I think there are some reasons for this, none of them excuses. They include:
1) It’s hard work

2) Some of our trusted “authorities” have been sloppy and we haven’t peer reviewed their claims and corrected their mistakes.

3a) Evangelicals are taught that the word of God is static. If some one says “this is what God says is true forever” then we assume that doctrine will always be true. Mormonism has “living and breathing” doctrines and scriptures. We mistakenly apply our static paradigm to your beliefs.

3b) We encounter Mormons who don’t know or don’t want to know much about Joseph Smith’s history. When we encounter Mormons who don’t know that Joseph Smith started polygamy, we apply 3A and assume they also must not know their own church’s beliefs on Adam-God, blood atonement or whatever other now defunct Mormon doctrine.

4) Urban legends grow and take constant weeding. Not until Snopes.com came out did people even begin to think to question all of those “stories” (no matter their subject).

5) In the Evangelical mindset some Mormon doctrines are not only heretical they are utterly blasphemous. The villification of the LDS has already been accomplished as a result of those beliefs so it’s no longer important to set the record straight on other things we misunderstand.

6) In the EV mindset, Joseph Smith is a false prophet. There is NOTHING more wicked than taking the Gospel message and confusing and corrupting it with false doctrine. This makes Evangelicals angry and we unfortunately mistake the Beast for the Dragon. We view LDS as sheep-stealers instead of lost sheep. This is in my mind our greatest sin against the LDS.

LDS should not confuse the wackos outside of General Conference with the average Evangelical. In fact, don’t confuse them with Christians at all. Most Evangelicals know VERY VERY little about Mormonism other than being told that it is a cult. They have no idea why it is considered a cult, they just know to avoid it. There’s not that many of you. 4 million in a world of 6 billion is not very significant, so exposure is limited. I am in a weekly Bible Study of 14 people. There are only 3 of us who have spent more than 5 minutes in conversation with any Mormon. My wife and I (because I have sought you out) and one guy whose family is related to Porter Rockwell and apostated one generation ago.

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5 thoughts on “We Need to Apologize

  1. The thing that used to tick me off more than almost anything was some Evangelical telling me “what I really believe.”

    Even if the church teaches or taught x, I’m the only person who decides if I believe x.

  2. I’ll start by saying I am an ex-Mormon and an current evangelical. I was a Mormon for a bit over 20 years. I joined the Mormon church in my mid 20’s. I was a temple attending, tithpaying member who held quite a few responsible positions (callings), including being a member of a Bishopric. So, of course, by the standards of your post I owe no apology.

    Most of the things I see said about Mormons by non-Mormons are accurate. Some are not. But the main problem I notice is that so many evangelicals seem to think the the Mormons are just Christians who have gone of the track, “de-railed”, so to say. They seem to think that they (the Mormons) can be re-steered back into the fold. Not so. They were never in the fold, and their theology is antithetic to authentic Christianity.

    There are so many divergences from Christianity in the Mormon church that one can’t even begin to address them in a BLOG comment. But I find it relatively easy to defend Christianity against Mormonism. They make it easy with their heretical beliefs in the form of the Trinity, the nature of God,
    and by their position that all of the Christian creeds are an abomination to God. A lot of evangelicals don’t know about that last one, but it is what Joseph Smith claims that God Himself told him.

    I know that your BLOG is designed to give a forum to dialog between the two sides, and that is a good thing. But we shouldn’t shrink from the truth. We only cross the bounds of civility when we reduce ourselves to name-calling, insults, and the like.

  3. Hi, I must start by telling you how refreshing your blog is!!!!! You seem so much more intelligent then other people who write blogs on mormons!!! You are correct on so many points. I am a convert to the LDS church. My husband and I joined the church a year and a half ago. Growing up, my parents used to tell me things like, “mormons are a crazy cult, they will brainwash you and steal you, they are all going to hell!!) So until two years ago I thought the same way. Why? because that is what I was taught. That is why there are so many misconceptions about the church, like you said no one takes the time to find out for themselves. Well I was guilty of that, until 2 years ago, two missionaries knocked on the door and I decided to ask THEM what THEY believed. To my surprise they were able to answer all my questions. And they actually made sense! Go figure! So anyways, they did not steal me or brainwash me, all they did was ask me to pray, to ask God what was true and what I should do. I did not pray about it for a very long time, I was to scared because my parents had warned me as a child that Mormons were going to hell, and even though I was 26 years old, I still had that imbedded in my brain (if there was any brainwashing going on it was by my parents) So after a couple months of pondering, I had had enough of all my confusion and I fell to my knees and poured out my heart to the lord. He gave me the answer that I was not expecting, that this was the true church. I knew for myself in that instant what I needed to do. For a long time I had been a broken person and in that moment my heart was completly whole. I know that some people do not agree that the LDS church is true. But I do, it has changed my life. I look forward to having conversations with you about the church, and I want to address the issue of Eternal marriage, it will have to be later on though I have to go pick my kids up from school.

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