An Evangelical Pastor’s Journey to Mormonism

Tom Scott, a former Evangelical pastor, recently released a book about his conversion to the LDS church.

As my standing policy goes, I don’t review books I haven’t read. But I concede that I should probably read the book and offer a review. Sadly, it’s not currently available on Kindle.

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68 thoughts on “An Evangelical Pastor’s Journey to Mormonism

  1. Interesting. I’m glad the couple is happy.
    Thanks for presenting the other side, Tim.

    At one point, the man said the LDS is “a true church.” That’s okay, but it’s a lot different than saying the LDS is THE true church.

    The sad part is that when people are led by God into a Christian church (whether it’s non-Mormon or Mormon) they accept the string false traditions that are attached to the church at the same time. Watch out for those attachments!

  2. Let me clarify: As long as the man sticks with “a” true church, I’m okay with it, but if he ever says “thee” true church, his momentum will have carried him too far.

  3. So would you say the LDS’s church’s momentum has carried it too far by claiming to be THE true church?

  4. I kinda feel bad for that guy, and the people he ministered to for the 27+ years he says he was an evangelical pastor. I doubt that he really had much to offer to people as far as a vision for kingdom living, much less was living it out himself. After watching that video, I can identify with being drawn to the passion exhibited by mormon missionaries, especially foreigners who are so deeply moved by their own testimonies. Maybe it was the cheesy background music, but it felt fake, over sappy, and extremely unanchored to me.

  5. jrprehn,

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to speculate on what he was like as an Evangelical. As one who is no longer Mormon, it’s de rigueur to have my past life as a Mormon impugned and questioned. I don’t think it’s fair for either side of the debate to do this.

  6. David I agree with you. I was concerned that my comment might come across that way. I did not mean it as a put down or a judgement even though my second sentence above, I see, comes across that way. I assure you, no questioning going on here. (Maybe a little projecting as to what I would experience if I were in his shoes, but other than that, I’m just trying to participate in the conversation) Either way, I’ll have to read his book to know more about him and what he says about his conversion and experience.

    I was attempting to convey a more heartfelt or empathetic acknowledgement that even though he may not have known any differently (so no judgement on him) that its sad to not be able to participate in the “so much more than, or a grand life” [my emphasis] than 27+ years of feeling a sense that something is wrong with your spiritual reality.

    Then I got sad thinking about all the people he interacted with during that time, knowing that if he wasn’t really happy then whether they knew it or not, they were not getting the truest connection with their friend/pastor. Thats what made me sad.

  7. Now he has become a Protestantized Jew.

    Ascending to God by keeping the law. One might as well become a Jew. There’s really no difference.

    Sorry, but that’s how I see it.

  8. Well, it may risk coming off as a bit condescending or judgmental to say “I doubt that he really had much to offer (as an evangelical minister) to people as far as a vision for kingdom living, much less was living it out himself.” Was Saul less of a devout Pharisee in his former Jewish life, just because he later became Paul, a devout apostle of Christ? Or wouldn’t it be more fair to say Saul was a devout Pharisee until he became a devout follower of Christ. Devotion isn’t necessarily lessened just because your theology evolves. This couple comes off as very sincere and trying to follow God, as they feel moved to do. That’s not a sign of hypocrisy as I see it. I did not get that impression at least. I did find the music a bit distracting though, but not suggesting fakery to me.

  9. I was typing while the conversation evolved to my same point without me seeing it clarified.

  10. Now he has become a Protestantized Jew.

    Ascending to God by keeping the law. One might as well become a Jew. There’s really no difference.

    I am pretty sure Jews would vehemently disagree with you.

  11. I’m sure they would.

    But if they are not trying to work their way into God’s good graces by keeping the law…then I would not know what to call it.

    Which is precisely what so many religions are all about. Jesus put all that ascendancy stuff to death on the cross. For anyone who has ears to hear it.

  12. I am a former evangelical who converted to the Lutheran Christian faith. I still consider myself evangelical, only I don’t identify with the American version of Evangelicalism any longer. I was won over by Scripture – reading, listening, understanding the Scriptural Lutheran position. I came to understand the gospel in an entirely new light – a new freedom came over me as I came to understand both the theology of the historic Christian Church and how the Reformation brought the Church back to it’s Biblical roots as expressed in the Scripture and by the Church Fathers. I came to understand it’s not about me, it’s about Christ crucifed for me. This truth continues to liberate my thoughts and my spirit. I am absolutely convinced that the gospel is not about feelings, or works, or doing the right thing – it’s about a bloody cross and forgiveness given freely – Lord, have mercy on me a sinner. Sure, I feel an awesome liberation as a by-product of my faith – but it is not what convinced me. Really I feel that Jesus won my heart as my Savior when I was baptized in High School, and God has continued to reach me by His Word and guided me home to the Lutheran Church. Certainly the Lutheran Church did not win me by their missionaries and winsome outreach! That said, the entire testimony based / conversion story model of witnessing is off to me, and does not demonstrate truth. Paul strived to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified.

    As a matter of fact, what can one read or examine to determine who is right – the pastor in this video or myself – or perhaps prove us both wrong? We can’t both be right because our beliefs are radically different. If all religions are true, then no religion is true. Prayer is not a useful guide for determining the truth of religion, one can convince oneself by pure emotion that “this is true.” Plus, it would take aeons to pray about every religion to determine it’s truth.

  13. So… a bunch of Evangelical commenters see a story about a former Evangelical minister going over to the enemy camp, and immediately start saying “well, he must not have been a GOOD Evangelical minister.”

    Wow. I bet no one saw that one coming.

    At least bother to attack the mistakes he made about Evangelical doctrine!

    Come on… do a little work for your arguments.

  14. On the stuff Cal was saying before the hit-squad arrived.

    I like what Teryl Givens told John Dehlin in an interview about LDS claims to truth.

    He stated that the LDS Church is not the sole-repository of all truth in the world. There are unique doctrines that each denomination has been entrusted to safeguard. And likewise, God has chosen the LDS Church as the steward of crucial ordinances he wants preserved for mankind. But that doesn’t mean we are the only church out there with truth in it.

  15. Seth I think everyone has done a good job of not making any claims about what a lousy pastor he was Jprehn’s comments might indicate that, but he clarified that he wasn’t saying that.

  16. So… a bunch of Evangelical commenters see a story about a former Evangelical minister going over to the enemy camp, and immediately start saying “well, he must not have been a GOOD Evangelical minister.”

    Could you please point to the commenter(s) who have said this? I thought jprehn was saying something like that, but he has said that was not how he meant it to come across.

  17. Tim asked, “So would you say the LDS’s church’s momentum has carried it too far by claiming to be THE true church?”

    I’m not sure what you mean by momentum. I’d say the LDS is not the entire church of Jesus Christ. We understand the Bible to teach that the church of Christ (the body of Christ) is made up of all born again Christians. They are scattered among many denominations and movements.

  18. Seth R., I don’t know whether Teryl Givens is an official rep. for the LDS but I am aware that the LDS recognizes that they are not the only church out there with truth in it. I appreciate that . . . but see my message to Tim above.

  19. No he is not Cal.

    I’m not entirely convinced on the other matter, but I’ll back off on it and simply take the reassurances to the contrary then.

  20. Cal,
    Have you watched out for that string of attachments in your own tradition? What false traditions have you found in your own denomination? What if that which you hold as true I find to be a false tradition? And vice versa? Where do we then turn to determine whose false tradition is false, and whose tradition, or theology, is true? I have no reason to question that you are a baptized Christian and that Christ has redeemed you – so please don’t take my questions as challenging what you know Christ has done for you on the cross. But I find that many Evangelicals operate under presuppositions that they don’t even recognize – they function according to their own traditions, while claiming adherance only to Scripture. They simply can’t see the Scripture that does not support their ideas, or might instead support the ideas of those they disagree with – they read right past it without even noticing that their theology or traditions don’t quite fit with the text. The biggest thing I think Evangelicals miss is radical grace – how we have nothing to do with our salvation. They may give lip service to the idea, but then turn around and preach law law law. And Jesus is made into the law-giving example to follow, rather than the redeemer who died on the cross and rose again for our justification, so that we are now dead to the law – it has no power over us to condemn us.

  21. 4fivesolas said:

    But I find that many Evangelicals operate under presuppositions that they don’t even recognize – they function according to their own traditions, while claiming [adherence] only to Scripture. They simply can’t see the Scripture that does not support their ideas, or might instead support the ideas of those they disagree with – they read right past it without even noticing that their theology or traditions don’t quite fit with the text.

    I suspect that’s something we’re all guilty of — even Lutherans and Mormons.

  22. . .. I am aware that the LDS recognizes that they are not the only church out there with truth in it.

    The LDS Church believes it is the only church on earth with which God is “well pleased”. This means that there are other churches that contain the truth, but only one that has a “fullness” of the truth and all the authority to act in the name of God. Its as if Christian churches are in a dimly lit room while the LDS Church is in daylight. The fact that other churches are not fully lit is a consequence of their clinging to traditional beliefs rather than accepting new light and knowledge from God.

  23. I think if you just focus on Christ’s grace and forgiveness, you are simply settling for less.

    Christ didn’t just die to forgive the world. He came to redeem it as well. I’ve found Evangelical theology generally rather lacking in the redemption end of things.

  24. I agree with this:

    I think if you just focus on Christ’s grace and forgiveness, you are simply settling for less.

    Christ didn’t just die to forgive the world. He came to redeem it as well.

    I disagree with this:

    I’ve found Evangelical theology generally rather lacking in the redemption end of things.

    Go read “The Divine Conspiracy” or “Generous Justice”

  25. Cal said:

    As long as the man sticks with “a” true church, I’m okay with it, but if he ever says “thee” true church, his momentum will have carried him too far.

    Tim said:

    So would you say the LDS’s church’s momentum has carried it too far by claiming to be THE true church?

    Cal said

    I’m not sure what you mean by momentum.

    Why don’t you tell us what you meant by “momentum”. I only used the word because you did.

  26. Kullervo, just Google “Seth R.” “LDS-Evangelical” and “Romans 8”.

    But to summarize. There is a distinction between Justification and Sanctification in the Pauline theology. Justification is merely being forgiven of your sins and freed from the punishment of death and hell. This work was done on the cross.

    Sanctification is the work of the third member of the Godhead – the Holy Spirit. It is the work that follows justification and works on the life of the believer to improve them and make them into a saint.

    LDS theology is primarily focused on the work of Sanctification. Aside from Baptism and the Sacrament, all of our ordinances have a focus on Sanctification, not Justification (although Sacrament does have a Sanctification angle as well).

    Evangelicals, on the other hand, in my experience are primarily focused on Justification, and rarely get much into Sanctification. So you might say that both the Mormon and Evangelical human cultures are lopsided – and neither are following Paul’s writings as well as they could be.

  27. Tim, if you get to point me to a book from an Evangelical who “get’s it” can I do the same with Robert Millet and Stephen E. Robinson?

  28. Ah, gotcha. I don’t think that “forgiveness” and “redemption” mean “justification” and “sanctification,” respectively, but I get your meaning if that is how you were using them.

  29. Seth, by all means. Please don’t forget you’re in a conversation with me, not some caricature of an anti-mormon Evangelical.

  30. Tim said, “Why don’t you tell us what you meant by “momentum”. I only used the word because you did.”

    I suspected that! I used “momentum” in reference to the man & woman of the video moving into Mormonism. You used it in reference to the whole LDS.

    ————
    I happened upon a verse in Acts today that applies to a discussion above. Paul told the Ephesians that “men would arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:30). I think that verse fits Joseph Smith like a hand in a glove.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not judging his intentions. I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt so I’m going to assume that the false teachings of his that made the LDS elitist or sectarian were created subconsciously, that is, under a cloak of blindness.
    And I’m not saying he wasn’t very prophetically gifted. He obviously was. And God did signs and wonders through him, setting people free in spectacular ways. I know that. I don’t dare call him wicked. I have too much fear of God to do that. Psalm 105:15 says, “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”

    However, I can and should point out that he must have over-interpreted Peter, John, and James—or whoever they were—when they told him they were giving him authority. The momentum (Tim loves that word!) of his interpretation of the message from the three apostles carried him too far—at least that’s my #1 theory as to where the mix up started.

  31. Cal,
    You did not answer any of my questions. My point is that Evangelicals often rely on a point of view of “just the Bible” – which is a false respresentation of their actual perspective. They bring an entire theology to bear on how they interpret Scripture; they don’t even realize that American revivalism and the broken theology of men like Charles Finney has a huge impact on their entire way of viewing Christianity. Whereas, Lutherans identify the Augsburg Confession and the Book of Concord as our standard of proper Biblical theology – and we value the historic Christian faith and understand the heavy lifting that was done by the Church in laying out the Nicene Creed, the Apostle’s Creed, the Athanisian Creed. Have you examined some of the false ideologies that have attached themselves to your Church? How do you identify those ideas that are driving your theology and where do you turn to determine the truth or falsehood of my theology or your own?

  32. Cal,
    I think I am understanding some of your underlying ideas:
    “Don’t get me wrong. I’m not judging his intentions.” Intention trumps truth.
    “God did signs and wonders through him” Signs and wonders are evidence of truth?
    I get the distinct feeling from your posts that indeed feelings and experience are more important than theology, more important than getting doctrine correct. I think you’re wrong there – God is very concerned about truth and correct teaching.
    As for “settling for less” with God’s mercy and grace given to us in the cross of Christ that betrays a complete misunderstanding of the unmerited favor that God has given us in Christ. Having a clean slate as a gift, eternal life with God, complete restoration of our relationship to the Heavenly Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It literally cannot get any better. It is the hope that keeps me rambling on despite my sin, hatred, and rebellious heart.

  33. 45solas said, “Have you examined some of the false ideologies that have attached themselves to your Church? How do you identify those ideas that are driving your theology and where do you turn to determine the truth or falsehood of my theology or your own?”

    I turn to the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and my experience, that is, how the theology works when I apply it to my life. What false ideologies do you have in mind?

    You said, “Intention trumps truth.” Do you mean good intentions alone can get you to heaven?
    You asked, “Signs and wonders are evidence of truth?” Matthew 11:2-6 says, “When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?’ Jesus replied, ‘Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.'”
    I believe the devil’s signs and wonders are destructive, not life-producing. For example, Kullervo can’t set captives free with his paganism.

    You said, “I get the distinct feeling from your posts that indeed feelings and experience are more important than theology, more important than getting doctrine correct.”

    I wouldn’t go that far. But I do believe that if we would wait for the Spirit of God to reveal the Scriptures to us rather than relying on our own natural thinking, there wouldn’t be so many disagreements and divisions and religion in the church as a whole.

    I like your description of the doctrine of justification. . . . but what do you do with verses such as these?: Titus 3:1-2: “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.”

    Have an obedient day, 45solas. =)

    P.S. I hope we’re still on topic. Tim can tell us if not.

  34. @4fivesolas

    You said:

    …the entire testimony based / conversion story model of witnessing is off to me, and does not demonstrate truth.
    and
    Prayer is not a useful guide for determining the truth of religion, one can convince oneself by pure emotion that “this is true.” Plus, it would take aeons to pray about every religion to determine it’s truth.

    This is interesting to me.

    First, I’m curious how you feel testimony based conversion stories are off. Throughout the New Testament and especially with Paul, he uses his conversion story to witness of Jesus. I don’t understand how you could think that is off-based to use a conversion story to testify of truth.

    Next, regarding using prayer as a useful guide for determining truth. How would you go about learning truth and God’s will in your life if you aren’t communing with God in prayer? I completely do not understand this comment at all.

    You did bring up a good point though on how it is easy to confuse our own desires with the Holy Spirit’s desires. I wrote an article on this a couple years back that addresses this concern. Feel free to check it out: http://graceforgrace.com/2009/07/28/discerning-between-god-speaking-to-us-and-our-own-desires/

  35. Hi Cal,

    It’s been a couple years since I was here. I was thinking about writing about this video I saw as well, but these guys beat me to it! : )

  36. Hi Cal – Thank you for responding. I can tell we are far apart in our theology, but we share a common Savior. You mentioned that we all need to be wary of false traditions that our Churches bring in – so I was wondering what you had identified in your own Church. In my understanding, modern day signs and wonders testifying to the gospel do not happen. I attended Charismatic Churches while in college – I did not see any true miracles, lots of emotionalism and supposed signs and wonders, but nothing real. I am not saying God does not heal, it just not done in front of the Church with the slapping of the forehead, etc. I’ve not heard of one verifiable modern-day miracle performed in this way. This I would count as a false tradition/theology.
    The altar call was an invention of American revivalism in the 1800s – this I would count as a false tradition. God works by bringing His word of forgiveness to us by the proclamation of Christ crucified for our sins in Word and Sacrament – whereby He creates faith in our hearts. Emotion based altar calls are a modern day invention. Faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross is not a decision we make, rather it is a sure confidence in the believers heart that God has provided the sacrifice for their sins – “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” It’s not about a decision – this is a false tradition/theology.

    Hi graceforgrace – Thanks for your interesting questions. I do not think prayer is a valid way to determine truth. I believe Scripture is God-breathed and provides a sure guide and I believe the Book of Concord is an accurate and true exposition of Christian doctrine based on Scripture. I can examine the world around me and see evidence of the testimony of the Bible. If reality did not support Scripture (for instance no evidence of entire people groups or cities, no evidence for the entire narrative of Scripture) or contradicted what I read there it would be of no benefit for me to pray about it to determine truth. I commune with God through His Word – I prayerfully read it and meditate on the truths found there and expounded on by Pastors and teachers. If Pastors or teachers are not drawing out the truths of Scripture, I do not listen to them on matters of religious truth. I do listen to any truth no matter the source, but if they are teaching about Christianity, they must be drawing their source from Holy Scipture for me to value their teaching. I am not interested modern day teachers who tickle our ears with their false ideas and revelations that always seem to point to some great out pouring that is about to happen in their particular Church. Likewise, the couple in this video seem to be totally devoid of doctrine – its all about good works and feelings/emotions.

    As far as personal testimony as a valuable witness – Scripture indicates with are to lift up Christ crucified; preach the law of God to reveal our sin and convict us of our need for a Savior, and then explain Jesus is our only redemption. Testimony tends to point to an individuals personal experience rather than Christ. Scriptural testimony is an eyewitness account of those who walked with Jesus, in addition God has provided Scripture to create faith in our hearts. The testimony of those in this video have nothing of value to say to me – pretty much everything they say is emotionalism – and is not an exposition of Scripture and how God guided them to the Mormon faith through the Biblical teaching. I can provide a testimony of God guiding me to the Lutheran Christian tradition, and I believe He did – but then you end up with just two contradictory testimonies – of no value for determining truth. Instead, we should challenge people with the truth that Jesus died on the cross, and rose again, and provided salvation in Himself – point them to the Bible. I need to hear the message of Christ crucifed for my sins every day – it creates faith in my heart and brings the forgiveness of sins.

  37. Momentum is the clearest identifying characteristic of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints–other than the Savior’s full name–disregarding all doctrine. From six members in 1830 to the first million in 1947; second million in 1963; tenth million in 2000; 14 1/2 million+ at the end of 2012. We is still miniscule by world standards–but “strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” pretty well sums it up. The LDS Church will never dominate the world, but will hold up the standard of truth above all others until the Savior comes to rule personally. We don’t claim to be the “only” true Church, per se, but we possess the sum total of all truth that God has so far revealed. And we will continue to build upon that truth day by day and year by year through a living prophet–while all other faiths struggle to put together all ancient revelation they are fortunate enough to glean from the tattered records of the past.

  38. The LDS Church’s doctrinal position is that it possesses the fullness of knowledge of the ordinances of salvation, and the fulness of the Gospel.

    We do NOT claim to possess the “sum total of all truth God has revealed.” If you want a citation for that – just re-read Article of Faith #9.

  39. If momentum is the clearest identifying characteristic, then you might want to look into Pentacostalism, Seventh-Day Adventism, and Jehovah’s Witness. All of them are younger than the LDS church with many more people and all of them still growing.

  40. I think Joe makes an interesting point, but limits it to Mormonism alone. I think the fact that Christianity is growing like it is maybe the clearest identifying characteristic. If it failed to grow we could conclude that it is off-track somehow.

  41. I think the fact that Neopaganism is growing like it is is maybe the clerest identifying characteristic. If it failed to grow we could conclude that it is off-track somehow.

  42. Just about every New Atheist I’ve encountered online likes to pull the whole smug “history is on our side” line of rubbish on me.

    It doesn’t convince me coming from them either.

  43. the only clear way to know if something is good is if it grows and produces good fruit. Whatever the New Atheism is, if it beats Christianity head-to-head, it shows a weakness in Christianity that needs to be rectified (in light of what Christianity claims to be.)

  44. I don’t agree with the New Atheist sentiment.

    If the twentieth century proved anything – it proved that the new “enlightened” secular atheist models of society where a thousand times more barbarous, cruel, and frightening than anything religion was ever responsible for in the span of human history.

    Atheism has been a complete and utter societal disaster – once you back away from the micro-level and observe its overall march in human history.

  45. I am not saying that the New Atheism (again, not sure what this is) will succeed. My point is that its success is the defining mark of its power. A movement, good or bad, is best defined by how it works and why, not by how it fails.

  46. Atheism has had a faddish temporary surge in public attention. Whether that really translates into any lasting sort of success for the movement is an open question.

  47. When you have failures on that spectacular of a scale – I’d say you don’t have much reason to complain about being defined by them.

  48. “Lotta presumptions packed into that.”

    Sure. But I think they are sound from a long-run perpective. When religion dies it demonstrates that it did not work in the long run. Religion that does not work for humanity in the long run, cannot save humanity.

  49. I was talking about atheism Jared. And I’d hardly call a trend limited to the 20th century “the long run.”

    In fact, the “rise of atheism” wasn’t even a trend in the twentieth century as a whole. Back in the 1930s everyone was smugly crowing about the “death of religion.” They were all mighty disappointed when nothing of the sort happened.

    In fact, you can view both Dawkins and Hitchens as essentially an example of sour grapes. A movement pouting that things didn’t work out the way they wanted.

  50. Well, I think the jury is still out on atheism. The “successes”– i.e. the direct impact on lives—of atheism are very real. Atheism is a revolutionary force. Revolution is ripe when other movements have failed. What Dawkins and Hitchens seem to believe is that scientific atheism can predictably inform and guide humanity for the good. But when Christianity failed in Europe, it gave rise to very ugly atheistic revolutionary movements. When Nietzsche put “God is dead” in the mouth of a madman he was merely pointing out a social fact. Europe is still largely atheistic–and the direction of the continuing revolution remains unpredictable–and there is a growing element of American society that is moving that direction.

  51. All that said, I think that it is quite clear that Dawkins/Hitchens brands of atheism being touted today will ultimately fail. Their flaws are pretty glaring.

  52. What I am finding more and more strange among Christians is the intense desire to marginalize Christian movements (such as Mormonism) that seek to put God back into the center of lives. Given what Christians are up against, the doctrinal qualms against Mormonism seem pretty paltry.

  53. The same applies to Mormon apologetics. I’ve been engaging in LDS apologetics for some time now, and one of my big gripes about it is how focused it all is on Evangelical critiques of Mormonism. In my mind, Evangelical attacks on Mormonism are the least of the LDS Church’s worries. The radical secular critiques of the religion are far more dangerous and damaging.

    I’ve been advocating for a while the LDS apologetics stop wasting time fighting the lesser threats of Evangelical critique (which we’ve gotten very good at countering with little effort), and focus more on the bigger common problem of the toxic secularist culture poisoning both movements.

    But it’s hard to do this in practice. All LDS apologetics resources so far have been dedicated to combating Evangelical critiques. That’s where the expertise, the experience, and the resources have been for so long. Reallocating them to face the other direction is a lot of effort and work. But I believe the effort absolutely does need to be made.

  54. I agree, Mormonism both insulates and opens people up to the atheistic “threat”. I think the only way to make Christianity matter is to put it at the center of your life. Active Mormons generally do that in practice. I think the conversion story of the OP is at least in part a reaction to the Christian direction of the Mormon community. Evangelicals could learn a lot from the way Mormons have navigated brittle historical roots to develop a very strong practical faith.

    But Mormonism, unlike traditional Christianity, allows you to believe all kinds of divergent things and still be “saved.” So theologically it is mostly carrot–less stick–when it comes to keeping people in the faith. (The stick is the social consequences of separation from the church.) This leaves people open to rejecting traditional notions, creeds, doctrines, without fear of hell fire. It may explain why departing Mormons leave Christianity in higher percentages than departing Evangelicals.

  55. More to Seth’s point. . . I think Mormonism could go a long way to bolster its worldview against atheistic thought, and increase its appeal and social power by expounding and developing the principles of restoration theology. Asking and answering hard questions. Right now it is pretty content with itself.

  56. BTW- to the OP. It seems that this promotion of this conversion can be explained by Mormon pride as much as anything. Mormons love when devout from other faith’s join theirs. Scott, being an Evangelical minister, knows how to capitalize on a good story that reinforces the comfort of the devout. [not that there is anything wrong with that sort of thing ;)]

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