I got involved in this blog about six years ago. It’s the only blog I regularly participate in that doesn’t have to do with cage fighting. Over the years many LDS and Evangelicals have challenged whether what goes on here is a good thing. Some of Seth R.’s comments on Tim’s last post prompted me to give some explanation (to myself at least) of what I am doing on this blog.
In participating in this blog I haven’t thought too much about the greater good. I have always participated for more-or-less selfish reasons, the most identifiable are:
(1) It has been my only place to openly discuss Christianity at all (either the LDS or Evangelical variety), and I have not wanted to divorce myself from that line of thinking;
(2) I find the differences and similarities between Evangelicals and Mormons fascinating. I think the problems surrounding reconciling different belief system and ideological differences between people who generally have the same values like these come up all the time in life. (See the typical differences between every married couple.)
(3) It’s something to write about when I need a break from writing legal briefs (thinking about that stuff too long is bad for you, trust me). For years I participated mainly as form of entertainment.
However, my participation has a cost. To many Mormons I know, my participation in the blog at all is lending itself to the anti-Mormon cause. I am cast as participating in destroying the faith of faithful LDS–a patently satanic exercise from some perspectives. I don’t entirely disagree. I am not a defender of the faith, even though I have the utmost respect for many involved. I am enough of a cultural Mormon to empathize with those who see me as a disgruntled apostate. This prompts me to try to examine what I say and do in a public forum.
But I don’t feel too bad. I suppose I don’t see the church as vulnerable to Evangelical Christianity, and I see Evangelical Christianity as a viable alternative for LDS who can’t be in the church for one reason or the other but still believe in God and Christ. Those LDS with children should understand. No matter how dominated by the corrupt influences of apostasy, the Evangelical faith may save some who lose faith in the LDS church from atheist cynicism.
And for Evangelical Christianity to be a viable alternative, there needs to be a more amicable relationship between Evangelicals and LDS. I think this could happen if Evangelicals looked at LDS belief and practice more charitably and understand the dynamics of LDS faith. If this happens it would be easier for LDS to transition to other forms of Christianity.
Likewise, for Evangelicalism or some other Christian faith to be an alternative, it is also important for people to have a clear understanding of the choice between the two religions. In order to do that, a very critical, honest, and open environment that prompts discussion is important. . Ultimately I think that a heated discussion that prompts people to open up their minds can be good. But this should be balanced by sincere expressions of faith. I took Tim’s post, Christ Came Down, as something of that sort. Mormons who are too intimidated by ridicule to participate, are not going to hear and understand these messages.
As Kullervo is apt to point out, it is very difficult to get a clear spiritual understanding of traditional Christianity while within the LDS Church. I think one of the reasons for this is a misunderstanding of the importance of the creeds to the spiritual life of traditional Christians. Likewise, it is difficult to get a spiritual explanation of the importance of the creeds that a Mormon can readily understand.
So after thinking about it, I suppose I continue to participate in the blog to offer Evangelicals some clear understanding of the variety of sincere Mormon belief, and to try to gain some understanding of traditional Christianity, so I can feel comfortable in charitably explaining Evangelicalism to Mormons who need another path. If we can have a few laughs along the way, all the better.