Friday, January 27, 2012

Are we jealous of mormonism?

That is the contention of New York Times writer David Reynolds as he examines what he perceives as the core issue behind Why Evangelicals Don’t Like Mormons. At the outset, the title itself is prejudicial. It isn't a matter of "not liking" mormons. It is a matter of recognizing mormonism as a dangerous false cult. Mr. Reynolds spends a few paragraphs getting around to his point, namely that evangelicals are just jealous of mormon "success", as if making converts to a false religion is somehow a sign of success.

The real issue for many evangelicals is Mormonism’s remarkable success and rapid expansion. It is estimated to have missionaries in 162 countries and a global membership of some 14 million; it is also, from its base in the American West, making inroads into Hispanic communities. Put simply, the Baptists and Methodists, while still ahead of the Mormons numerically, are feeling the heat of competition from Joseph Smith’s tireless progeny.
Mr. Reynolds repeats this oft quoted notion that we are just jealous of mormonism. The sheer size of mormonism is a factor but not as a matter of jealousy but concern. With millions of adherents and millions more who have turned away from mormonism and are disenchanted with faith in general, coupled with an aggressive effort to lure away church going people, makes mormonism a religious movement that cannot be ignored. There are plenty of lone wolf crackpots like Victor Hafichuk and his sad band of cult followers but other than random emails and blog posts, they are somewhat self-contained. Hopefully Christians who live near them are making an effort to witness to him or at least his deluded followers but he has little impact outside of his internet rantings. Mormonism on the other hand has spread like a cancer around the world. Every town in America has a mormon presence and the combination of their all-American virtues and carefully disguised language allows them to worm their way into the homes of many unsuspecting families. Far from jealousy or competition, evangelical Christians see mormonism as the home of one of the most dangerous pseudo-Christian cults around. If I witness to someone and they end up going to a different local church than the one I am associated with after professing Christ, that is not a win for that church and a loss for mine. It is a win-win! On the other hand someone converting to mormonism has taken a path that leads to an eternal hell and as followers of Christ that trumps any of our denomination differences or personal preferences. Souls are quite literally at stake. I can't speak for every evangelical but for myself and everyone I personally know, jealousy of mormonism is the last thing on our minds.

I think this is largely overblown. Many evangelicals, far too many, seem to care more about political victory than Gospel fidelity. Pauls admonition to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Cor 6:14) is not speaking specifically of marriage at all but that is how it is interpreted. It certainly should include political issues as well as business dealings and marriage but that doesn't seem to concern many evangelical voters and leaders. Regardless, if Mitt Romney is not the GOP nominee it will be because of his shaky conservative credentials, his past flip-flopping, his nonchalance about the race and the ugly pseudo-populist attacks on his wealth and success, not because he is a mormon.

5 comments:

David Bartosik said...

ps: how do you keep up 3 blogs!?!?! Seems a little too much :) but maybe thats just because I am not as capable :) cool to hear your journey dude and how God is working in your life in the church, politics, and the journey out of mormonism. truly encouraged my faith.

Arthur Sido said...

David, thanks for the encouraging comment! As far s three blogs, I make up in volume what I lack in quality!

Anonymous said...

Hello, There is an ingredient that sometimes slips by some Christian evangelicals (does “evangelical” distinguish between Christian who are not?), that is, (1) the Mormon system (rather than their doctrine) is appealing to many non-Christian people, and (2) most of those who are draw into Mormonism have never accepted / received / believed on the Biblical Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God, as their Lord and Savior. This means that most Mormons fall into the category of the ‘unsaved’ of the world. If LDS are viewed in this way, there is no distinction between Mormons and the rest of the lost world without Christ.
That being said, the Christian evangelist dealing with the person who has been indoctrinated into Mormonism, or another cult, will have a difficult time. Patience is essential, understanding that much time is needed for the mind to sort out things, and for the Holy Spirit’s work to reveal the Living Christ. Years should be allowed in this effort, and very importantly, give the person(s) plenty of space, do not force or push the issue. Something real of the Gospel in the life of the Believer must be a large part of winning the lost. It is not just about changing a mind, but living life in such a way that something of God shines out, something of the glory of God shines out. This is something only God can do, when we are after the glory of God and not our own.

Arthur Sido said...

Anonymous

Thanks for the comment, I agree with the need for patience and persistence. I use evangelical fairly loosely and would say that there are many people who are labelled "evangelical" that do not truly know Christ.

AntisocialMisanthropicPessimist said...

You guys totally are jealous. The doctrinal thing is a secondary rationalization (and intensification) of this envy towards a growing religion where people actually take their beliefs seriously. Most Christians are de facto secular humanists anymore, and the ones who show the most piety tend to be self-righteous frauds.

Mormons are a picture of what Christianity was like before it became a cadaver and a tool for people to rationalize their cultural prejudices.

God is dead and Christians killed him. You guys are just sad because Mormons still have a living faith, and don't need bullshit apocalyptic miracle nonsense to maintain it.