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9.21.2003

On Mormonism (or, Funny, I thought I was going for the IRS agent look) 

So I showed up to church today wearing a white shirt and a black tie and black pants. I was also wearing my nametag, since I was driving a church van that day and wanted to display my nametag as a courtesy to any visitors who might be coming to our church for the first time. Naturally, I got a whole bunch of comments about looking like a Mormon, and one guy jokingly suggested that I could infiltrate the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Well, a few minutes on Google yielded this treasure trove of (mis)information.

I won't comment on the allegations of improper touching or blood oaths of secrecy during the Mormon confirmation ceremony or any other things I haven't seen, but I will say that it is generally understood that Mormon doctrine disagrees very sharply with evangelical Christian doctrine.

The essential teachings seem to be that the person we (evangelicals) think of God was once an ordinary mortal who followed the precepts of Mormonism exceptionally well. Jesus Christ was a similar mortal turned divine, of a slightly lesser status than God. Salvation through Christ's atonement is a meaningless concept in the Church of LDS. We "ordinary" mortals are supposed to be able to achieve (lesser) divine status through a similar process.

As I understand it, the essential truths of Mormonism described above derive from the Book of Mormon, which was supposedly a work of divine inspiration penned by Joseph Smith in the 1800s. What is really puzzling is that Mormons claim that the Book of Mormon and the Bible are both divinely inspired. How do they resolve the contradictions between the two texts? By saying that they believe in the divine inspiration of the Bible "insofar as it has been correctly translated or interpreted," or something like that. Pretty big copout, I'd say.

Speaking from the point of view of a evangelical Christian, the things that Mormons believe in are pretty clearly heresy, though I don't know that having these incorrect beliefs automatically disqualifies them from entrance into heaven. Anyway, Christ himself warned us against speculating about such things.

They do seem like really nice people, though. After all, they were responsible for the name of the greatest album of the 1980s, the Joshua Tree.

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