About Bridget Jack Jeffries

Bridget Jack Jeffries is a human resources professional living in Chicago. She holds a BA in classics from Brigham Young University with a minor in Hebrew and an MA in American religious history from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. She is a member of the Evangelical Covenant Church and a single mother of two. You can read more of her writings at www.Weighted-Glory.com.

General Authority Compensation

CompensationAs you are probably aware of by now, MormonLeaks recently produced a few financial documents dealing with General Authority compensation: a set of pay stubs from Henry B. Eyring (then an apostle) from the year 2000, and a January 2014 internal memo noting that members of the First Quorum of the Seventy would have their “living allowance” increased to $120,000 that year.

One of the pay stubs for Elder Eyring is for the pay period ending December 8th, meaning it was likely the second-to-last pay stub of the year, and it shows a year-to-date of $83,132.75. This means that, seventeen years ago, an apostle was likely being paid $86K-$87K a year. (This would match what was told to me by a former church tax auditor c. 1998, that the apostles are paid a “high five-figure amount” while the First Presidency is paid a “low six-figure amount.” It would seem that my source from all those years ago was accurate.) The publication of these documents has produced some tension in LDS thought given the common Mormon criticisms of the “priestcraft” of other paid Christian clergy. My thoughts are as follows:

(1) LDS friends, it is time to give up the “priestcraft” accusations, no “ifs,” “ands,” or “buts” about it. It’s nothing but hypocrisy at this point.  While it’s true that you have very few professional clergy—as in people who planned and trained specifically for a paid career in ministry (I would limit this group to LDS chaplains and some LDS educators)—your top leaders are compensated, and they are compensated well. They are compensated much better than the average pastors and other clergymen (and women) whom you are criticizing. Please do feel free to criticize largesse, consumerism, and materialism in our churches when you see it, but the principle of a full-time minister being reimbursed for his or her service is a sound one, and one that you clearly share.

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Because I’m Tacky: Mormon / Ex-Mormon Style

tackyRecently, some short-sighted YSA leaders in Provo urged ward members to go to Amazon and post positive reviews of the Book of Mormon. When their suggestion got out, the ex-Mormon community exploded with class and rushed to Amazon to saturate the book with negative reviews instead.

Consider this my plea to both parties: don’t. Giving Amazon reviews to books of ancient Scripture (or even, you know, relatively modern, nineteenth-century Scripture) is tacky in the extreme. It’s like giving a Yelp review to your local McDonald’s.

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“Show Us Your Leaders”

Three_White_ApostlesA black couple began attending my church a few years ago, one of them the provost of a local evangelical college. They said they had settled on my denomination (Evangelical Covenant Church) because the leaders truly seemed to have a heart for racial diversity. This couple did not want to attend a traditional black denomination nor be the only black couple in a predominantly white church. They wanted a church that could reflect the complexity and racial diversity of the kingdom of God.

Very few white denominations will deny that they would like to attract more members from minority groups. Most pastors enthusiastically told this couple that they would love to have them and were all about racial diversity. This couple would evaluate the sincerity of that claim with one simple challenge: “Show us your leaders.”

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“But whom do you say that I am?”

I first heard the following chestnut as a teenager. Though it is sometimes shared by miscellaneous kinds of Christians (often as a humorous but good-natured anecdote meant to show how confusing the Trinity can be), it was first introduced to me by a Mormon friend who wanted to show me that belief in the Trinity was ridiculous. It reads as follows:

“Whom do men say that I am?”

And his disciples answered and said, “Some say you are John the Baptist returned from the dead; others say Elias, or other of the old prophets.”

And Jesus answered and said, “But whom do you say that I am?”

Peter answered and said: “Thou art the Logos, existing in the Father as his rationality and then, by an act of his will, being generated, in consideration of the various functions by which God is related to his creation, but only on the fact that Scripture speaks of a Father, and a Son, and a Holy Spirit, each member of the Trinity being coequal with every other member, and each acting inseparably with and interpenetrating every other member, with only an economic subordination within God, but causing no division which would make the substance no longer simple.”

And Jesus answering said “What??

The joke was recently posted to the comments of an LDS scholar’s blog, with the scholar who runs the blog calling it, “A wonderful joke, and right on target.”

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Can Grace Save Mormonism?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a problem. A historical problem. A problem disclosing the difficult parts of its history to its members. This problem exists because the church’s current outlook on itself and its leaders makes it difficult—and at times, impossible—to craft the entirety of its own history into a faith-promoting narrative. Those parts that cannot be safely included are instead quietly omitted.

Evidence of these omissions is abundant. Ex-Mormon disaffiliation narratives frequently revolve around some point in a person’s journey wherein the member learned something about church history not previously known before, something that became a catalyst for loss of faith. The recently published (2011) Daughters in My Kingdom manual makes no mention of the first Relief Society President’s defection from Brigham Young’s faction of Saints, or 19th century Mormon women regularly performing blessings and anointing with oil, or the fact that the Relief Society was shut down in 1844 because Emma Smith was using it to oppose polygamy, making DiMK but one of many official church manuals to carefully tiptoe around the problematic aspects of the church’s history. More obviously, the Church’s official Joseph Smith Web site says not a word about polygamy. It mentions the existence of some of his polygamous wives, like Eliza R. Snow, but it fails to mention that they were married to Smith. When it comes to potentially troubling details in LDS history, the church’s unspoken policy seems to be something to the effect of, don’t ask, don’t tell.

Unfortunately for the church, its history has a habit of getting loose in very public and embarrassing ways despite its best efforts to sweep it under the rug. Continue reading

Denial is a river in Utah

Approximately 1.75 years ago, I published my second guest-post at this blog, a little number entitled “Evangelicals, Theosis & Exaltation.” Quite unexpectedly, that post sparked an immense discussion that got to 281 comments, brought in numerous first-time commentators, and seemed well-received by most. In February of this year, I was contacted by the Mormonism portal gatekeeper at Patheos with a request that it be re-published there, and after making some minor modifications, it was.

As you may recall, I used something of a gimmick at one point in the article. I quoted a lengthy excerpt which I attributed to The God Makers film by Ed Decker. This excerpt taught that:

  1. Mormons believe in becoming God. Not just a god, or a God, but becoming God.
  2. Mormons believe they will one day rule over their own universes.
  3. Mormons believe women are needed for exaltation so that they can give birth to the spirit children who will populate these universes.

After citing this excerpt, I pulled a “just kidding” and came clean that the dialogue comes from an LDS Institute manual called Achieving a Celestial Marriage, and I did not get it from Ed Decker or any anti-Mormons. I purchased it from the Distribution Center in the basement of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on Temple Square during my first trip to Utah in August 1999.

I had my reasons for this ploy. Continue reading

Romans 16

Bridget Jack Jeffries (“Ms. Jack”) is a member of the Evangelical Covenant Church. She blogs at ClobberBlog.

Romans 16 has often been overlooked and underappreciated when compared to the rest of Romans. It’s far lower in theological content and subsequently tends to warrant less space in commentaries and fewer mentions in sermons so that many end their reading of Romans without taking a careful look at this chapter. I find this unfortunate, because I consider Romans 16 to be the “cool-down” at the end of a high-energy theological cardio work-out. And as anyone who works out can testify, while it may be tempting to turn off your television and step away from your exercise video once the trainer initiates the cool-down phase, you’ll only be cheating your body if you do. Likewise, Romans 16 does have important lessons to teach us, even if they’re of a much different tone and nature than the heavy theological treatises of the preceding 15 chapters, and we cheat ourselves out of a portion of God’s “revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past” (v. 25) when we skip over this chapter and call it a day.

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Questions for my Mormon friends

(If you are new to this blog, please see this disclaimer about this post.)

Recently, commentator Aaron (no, not that Aaron) dropped by and posted a list of questions that he would like Mormons to answer. It has also come to my attention whilst Googling for the counter-cult site from which Aaron plagiarized copied-and-pasted the questions that you cultists won’t listen if I try to preach to you, so I should bait you with questions instead and make you think I’m interested in joining your religion.

So, let’s see all you smarty-pants Mormons try and answer these . . .

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The Council of Deerfield

I want to pose a hypothetical scenario.

Let us say that a council of Christian leaders convenes for a meeting at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois to discuss the question of Mormonism’s relationship to the historic, orthodox Christian faith and issue a ruling on the matter.1 The Council of Deerfield is attended by prominent leaders from all across the Christian spectrum including members from the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Church of England, and representatives from all manner of evangelical, Pentecostal, and mainline Protestant churches.

The findings of the Council of Deerfield are as follows:

  1. Just as Christianity was eventually classified as its own religion rather than a branch of Judaism in spite of its Jewish origins, Mormonism is best categorized as a new world religion rather than a subset of Christianity in spite of its initial Christian heritage. The Council stresses that Judaism is considered its own world religion, yet Mormons already claim more adherents than Jews.
  2. If Mormonism is to be considered a form of Christianity at all, it is a heretical one, having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.2
  3. The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price are an abomination in the sight of God and all their professors corrupt.3

The Council of Deerfield makes the following recommendations in proceeding with members of the LDS faith:

  1. Members of Christian faiths should be discouraged from seeking baptism in the LDS church in the strongest terms possible.
  2. Members of Christian faiths should attempt to share their faith with Latter-day Saints whenever possible with the goal of proselyting Mormons out of the LDS church and into orthodox Christianity.
  3. Converts from Mormonism should be re-baptized by an ordained or licensed Christian minister, even if they had a baptism in another Christian church before joining the LDS faith.
  4. Christians are strongly discouraged from receiving communion in LDS church meetings. Local Christian churches are advised to discourage Mormon visitors from receiving communion with them—although the Council of Deerfield does not condone slapping anyone’s hands away from the communion table.
  5. The Council of Deerfield takes no position on whether or not it is acceptable to pray with members of the LDS faith, recognizing that there exists a difference of opinion among Christians on this matter. The Council only recommends that Christians prayerfully consider the matter themselves and come to their own conclusions.

These recommendations shall stand until a time when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should reform its teachings on the following issues and bring itself in line with historic Christian orthodoxy:

  1. Its “finite theism in which God at some point in eternity past was merely a man and not divine”;
  2. Its “view of the universe as not eternally contingent on the will or being of God”;
  3. Its “denial of the necessity of prevenient grace to overcome humanity’s sinful disposition in the process of conversion or regeneration”;
  4. Its “denial of Trinitarian monotheism”;
  5. Its “denial of the classic Christian understanding of the relationship of the two natures of Christ;”4 and
  6. Its canonization of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price in their current form.

At which point the Council shall reconvene to reconsider its ruling on the matter.

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What do you want from us?

On our other thread, Seth R. made this comment:

Mormonism generally does a pretty good job of highlighting the problems with classical Christian thought. You can’t just expect people to forget all that, and pretend they didn’t see it. Why aren’t there prophets anymore? Why aren’t there temples? Why did God stop talking around 100 AD? Why did his “plain word” in the Bible result in such a complete mess of denominations? And what on earth was John Calvin smoking when he came up with the TULIP? And what IS this three-gods-in-one stuff, and why can no one explain it to me?

Then later followed up with:

I think our very existence is an attack on traditional Christianity.

Assuming that you are LDS and you agree with Seth’s statements, my question is, what sort of reaction do you expect from traditional Christians as the ones your religion attacks?

Over the years, I have heard Mormons complain about all of the following things:

  1. That we refuse to accept Mormons as Christians
  2. That we publish books, tracts, Web sites, and pamphlets which aim to proselyte Mormons and dissuade others from joining Mormonism
  3. That said publications are often misleading, dishonest, not very accurate, or outright malicious
  4. That evangelicals distribute literature and proselyte at LDS events such as the Manti pageant and General Conference
  5. That evangelicals often behave very poorly at said events
  6. That we teach Sunday school classes and make films aimed at exposing the problems in Mormonism
  7. That said films and Sunday school classes are malicious, dishonest, misleading and inaccurate
  8. That we create entire parachurch ministries aimed at proselyting Mormons and educating people on the problems in Mormon theology and history
  9. That we proselyte Mormons at all.

I think most of us will agree that 3, 5, and 7 are bad. But what about the rest of them? If attacking traditional Christianity is an intrinsic part of what Mormonism is, and that can’t be changed, can you really expect traditional Christians to change the other things on that list?

People have asked me what exactly I was expecting. It’s difficult for me to answer that question because so many different Latter-day Saints over the years have given me different answers on their expectations for the future of evangelical-Mormon relations. I agree that I can’t expect Mormonism to change all of the distinctives that make it Mormonism. The question is, what’s essential to Mormonism? What could it theoretically change? Let’s take a poll:

Could Mormonism still retain its distinctive identity if . . .

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The first thing I ever read about Mormonism

I remember very well the first thing I ever read about Mormonism. It was an entry in a book called Concise Dictionary of Cults and Religions by William Watson. It had a red and gray design on the cover and I had borrowed it from my aunt after one of my visits to her. I knew that there were at least three or four Mormon students in my sophomore health class in high school, and I was curious about what they believed, so I was somewhat surprised to find an entry on Mormonism in this scary book on “cults.” I took the book to class and read from it to them before class began. I asked them if that was what they really believed. I confess, I laughed. It all sounded bizarre, especially the part about men becoming gods. Not one of my better moments.

I found a copy of the book at the TEDS library recently and re-visited that excerpt on Mormonism. I’ve cited the excerpt here for discussion. Tell me what you think.

Concise Dictionary of Cults and Religions by William Watson. Chicago: Moody Press, 1991. p. 155-156 Continue reading

Where have all the cowboys missionaries gone?

Two weeks ago, this headline in The Salt Lake Tribune caught my attention:

LDS add mission in Utah; cut back in Europe, elsewhere (Web Cite)

The article covers how the Church is downsizing its mission force in Europe and parts of America so that it can increase efforts in southern Utah, Central America, South America, and Africa. The Church has published a detailed breakdown of where it is adding and cutting missions, here; even my own neck of the woods is effected with the Chicago South Mission being combined into the Chicago North Mission to create a single Chicago Mission.

What really caught my eye though were these paragraphs here Continue reading

My false, pagan, so-called Christian church of men

The more I hear about the new 2009 Gospel Principles manual, the more I feel for my thoughtful, ecumenically-minded LDS friends.

My own LDS husband has always hated the Gospel Principles manual and (by extension) the “Gospel Essentials” class. He applauded Robert Kirby’s suggestion that all “Gospel Essentials” courses ought to be held in the church parking lot. It looks like, with the advent of the new manual as the text for Priesthood and Relief Society meetings, holding the second and third Priesthood/RS meetings of the month in the church parking lot might not be such a bad idea.

A chapter that seems to be getting a lot of attention lately is Chapter 16: The Church of Jesus Christ in Former Times. In addition to being historically faulty in almost every way imaginable, this chapter seems to be giving the Gospel finger to a decade or two of Mormon attempts at a kinder relationship with the rest of the Christian world. Here’s a relevant excerpt (emphases mine):

Soon pagan beliefs dominated the thinking of those called Christians. The Roman emperor adopted this false Christianity as the state religion. This church was very different from the church Jesus organized. It taught that God was a being without form or substance.

These people lost the understanding of God’s love for us. They did not know that we are his children. They did not understand the purpose of life. Many of the ordinances were changed because the priesthood and revelation were no longer on the earth.

The emperor chose his own leaders and sometimes called them by the same titles used by priesthood leaders in the true Church of Christ. There were no Apostles or other priesthood leaders with power from God, and there were no spiritual gifts. The prophet Isaiah had foreseen this condition, prophesying, “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant” (Isaiah 24:5). It was the Church of Jesus Christ no longer; it was a church of men. Even the name had been changed.

I especially appreciate that second to last line. Yes, the non-LDS Christian world is the church of men, as opposed to the LDS church, which is what? The church of women? (Remember us?) The church of God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, who (as far as LDS theology goes) are also men?

I have a hard time deciding what to think of the 2009 Gospel Principles manual given how little we know about the church correlation process and who is involved in actually producing and revising these manuals. I imagine that these lines have been changed little (if at all) from the original 1978 version of the manual, which would certainly explain some of the harsh rhetoric and outdated understanding of ancient church history. Nevertheless, someone higher up must have looked at this chapter and ok’ed it for publication, and someone decided it would be a good manual to teach to the entire church for two years.

Maybe I should open the floor to my LDS friends. What’s a non-LDS Christian to think of all this?


Other links:

“Those called Christians” and their “false Christianity” by Loyd at Project Mayhem

2009 Gospel Principles criticizes the “pagan beliefs” of those “called Christians” in “false Christianity” by Aaron Shafovaloff at Mormon Coffee

The Pierian Spring, Aquinas’s new blog for more internal LDS matters. He has been reviewing the Gospel Principles manual chapter by chapter, but Chapter 16 is not done yet. Chapter 1 is here.

Salvation & Rewards According to Evangelicals

This is a crude diagram that I made in Microsoft Paint which shows how I view evangelical soteriology, especially features which I believe will be of interest to Latter-day Saints:

(Trogdor the Burninator comes from www.HomeStarRunner.com; drawing retrieved here. All the crappy stuff was drawn by me.)

Any questions?

I don’t claim to be an expert on theology, even my own theology. I’m just now enrolled in my first ever theology class which is set to cover Christ, Humankind, Sin and Salvation, but we haven’t gotten to talking about the “salvation” part yet.

Listed below are some of the scriptures from my personal study which have influenced this interpretation. I welcome correction from the other evangelicals.

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Faith & Community

When I appeared in Provo, Utah on January 4, 2001, I did not know a single person in the city.

There were a few girls from my high school somewhere on campus, but they had arrived at BYU at the start of the preceding Fall Semester, had already spent four months laughing it up and flirting with RMs, plus they were living in Heritage Halls, the on-campus apartment-style dormitories. I had been assigned to lowly Deseret Towers, 405 U Hall—and telling people that you live in “U-Haul” is about as pathetic as it sounds. The world my friends had shared with me in high school less than a year ago lay far behind us now and looking me up to welcome me wasn’t really on their agenda. I don’t blame them.

A friend from Salt Lake City whom I had met through LDSChat.com picked me up from the airport. I’d had plenty of offers from Internet acquaintances to help move me in, including a fundamentalist Mormon who had offered to drive up from Manti, but I had gone with Annelise because she seemed like the least creepy option. In hindsight, I probably should have aimed for some Y chromosomes. I had carefully packed as many of my belongings as possible into a set of four overstuffed, candy-apple red suitcases, and they were heavy.

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It’s not just the Mormons

Among the assigned readings for my last historical methodology colloquium meeting was an article by Harry S. Stout responding to some things that fellow evangelical historians David White and Iain Murray had said of his writings on George Whitefield. As I read through the article, I was surprised to find myself recognizing the framework of a familiar debate. From Stout’s response:

What about Mr. White’s central complaint that I dwell on Whitefield’s foibles and shortcomings? I object to the word ‘dwell’ for I believe I pay considerable respect to Whitefield’s strength of character alongside the criticism, particularly the mature Whitefield. But beneath this issue is a deeper issue. In fact, there are two different models for Christian history-writing, each with its own legitimately theological justification . . .

[In the first] tradition of history writing, any historical fact or quality that is not salutary or praiseworthy is forgotten for the larger spiritual sake of propagating the gospel. This history-as-propagation is history in the service of witness, and secondarily, history in the service of theology . . . Early historians of the church dwelt on martyrs and the faithful, never acknowledging that there were cowards who renounced their faith . . .

This same perspective informs such works of hagiography as Cotton Mather’s Magnalia or of Mr. Murray’s biography of Jonathan Edwards. One reads Mather in vain for any ambivalent consideration of the Puritans’ expropriation of Indian lands, or wars of national extermination. In the case of Mr. Murray’s biography of Edwards, one reads in vain for any consideration of Jonathan Edwards’s bill of sale for Negro slaves, or Sarah Edwards’s purchase of a slave from the Rev. Joseph Bellamy. These do not reflect well on the subjects, so they are left out. The omissions are justified out of loyalty to the faith and its propagation. (Henry S. Stout & Iain H. Murray, “Reviewers Reviewed,” Banner of Truth March (1995): 8-9)

Stout goes on to talk about the second method of doing Christian history, by telling the entire story with “warts and all,” and he insists that this was the approach of the biblical writers, citing the Bible’s examples of patriarchs and prophets doing less than praiseworthy things. This is Stout’s preferred method of doing history, and the one for which he’s being criticized by those who would prefer to leave out the not-so-faith-promoting bits where possible.

This article took me somewhat by surprise. Evangelical critics of Mormonism routinely point out that LDS leaders are quite fond of leaving out and glossing over the objectionable parts of the church’s history—a criticism I wholeheartedly agree with. Yet this article leaves me wondering: how often have we bothered to point those fingers back at ourselves and examine the way we’ve been doing history? How often have we been guilty of the same “whitewashing” which we accuse Mormons of?

I have no idea, but I intend to find out. And I happen to be a big fan of “warts and all” history.

(I have uploaded the PDF of the entire article here if you would like to read the whole thing. It is only five pages long and includes Iain Murray’s reply).

Some links you may be interested in

  • Over at Energetic Procession, Perry Robinson offers a critique of Keith E. Norman’s dissertation on deification.
  • Richard N. Ostling, co-author of Mormon America: The Power and the Promise, has published an article in Christianity Today on the recent state of LDS-evangelical dialogue. (H/T: Todd Wood)
  • Aquinas has offered a critique of Ostling’s piece at Summa Theologica. (H/T: Todd again)
  • Are Mormons taking cues from the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood in defending their gender system? Embodying Womanhood sure strikes me as CBMW for Mormons. My personal disagreements with the philosophy aside, I think it’s a well-done site and I’m pleased to see defenders of the status quo exploring new ways of grappling with these issues.
  • And last but not least, be sure to pick up your copy of the “Hot Mormon Muffins: A Taste of Motherhood” calendar, which has just been released. Calendar creator Chad Hardy may be a rabble-rouser and an attention whore, but he certainly isn’t objectifying women any more than the LDS church did with its 1969 Improvement EraCalendar of Hope.” Guess payback’s a [expletive deleted because this is a Christian blog].

Letter to a Christian Pastor

A little over a month ago, while I was still living in Washington state, I began searching for a church home in the Chicago area in anticipation of my upcoming move. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I’m kind of hoping to find a church with a female pastor on staff.1 I found one such church and after learning some details about the congregation in e-mail, I asked to speak with a pastor on the phone.

She called me a few days later, and at first the conversation went great. Her congregation sounded nice and we shared a lot of common beliefs. Then I brought up the issue of my husband being LDS and my need for a church that can be understanding of that situation. Things did not go so well from there.

I decided to write to her and respectfully challenge her attitude toward Mormons—and more specifically, her attitude toward what most Christians would regard as a part-believer family that was interested in coming to her church. The letter describes the specifics of how the phone conversation played out.

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Is it necessary?

So we’ve been in the Chicago area for a little over a week now. I’ve had one day of classes in addition to all of the new student orientation activities, some of which I dragged my husband along for.

Earlier this year, after I got accepted to TEDS, I e-mailed my admissions counselor and asked him what the dress code was. I doubted that I had much in my wardrobe that wouldn’t work for the seminary—I’m really nowhere near as lascivious in person as I make it sound on the Internet—but I wanted to make sure I did not spend any money on new clothes only to find out they’d be prohibited at my new school. Much to my surprise, the admissions counselor simply replied, “There is none. In the beginning I wore a t-shirt and shorts and skateboarded to class each day.  Now I wear a suit and tie, but only because I work in an office.  You can wear anything in between those extremes.”

As my husband and I walked around the TEDS campus, we were surprised to find that the student body at Trinity looks and dresses almost exactly like… the student body at BYU. Continue reading

Three evangelical approaches to Mormonism

Christopher Carroll Smith of Mild-Mannered Musings has posted three excellent interviews with different evangelical figures in the Utah area on how they approach Mormons. Since this is a subject which interests most of the participants here, and since I think we have evangelicals currently participating who hold to approaches all across this spectrum, I thought I’d direct everyone’s attention to them:

Interview with Pastor Dean Jackson, “Peacemaker in Provo”

Interview with Pastor Greg Johnson of Standing Together

Interview with Mike Stahura of SLC Calvary Chapel

(UPDATE: Chris has pulled the interviews with Greg Johnson and Mike Stahura; see the comments on the Greg Johnson interview for details. It doesn’t look like the interview with Greg will be edited and re-posted, but the interview with Mike Stahura might.)

Chris also has some follow-up thoughts to these three interviews here. As you’ll see from my comments on those articles, Dean Jackson was my pastor when I lived in Provo and Greg Johnson was the leader of the evangelical Christian Bible study on the BYU campus for my first semester there, so I’ve worked with those two men.

I’m leaving the comments open here, but I want to make it clear that I don’t want to poach discussion from Chris’s blog; any relevant comments on the interviews themselves should go there. What I do want to discuss here is the fact that there’s serious disagreement between evangelicals concerning these three approaches. Chris quotes Mike Stahura’s opinion that other evangelicals are watering down their messages and being “overly tolerant or respectful.” I myself related a story on the interview with Greg concerning how Dean asked me not to attend a Standing Together outreach event because of his disagreements with Greg’s approach. And it’s fair enough that those of us who take the more “liberal” approach to reaching Mormons are critical of our “conservative” counterparts and feel that their approach is often unnecessarily rude and unloving.

So my question is, to what extent is there room to live and let live?