Sunday, January 22, 2012

The LDS Faith on Trial in 2012

I had hoped it would not come to this.

However naïve I was, my hope was that the number of people who would attack the LDS Church itself during the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign would be relatively small. However, I see now that this hope was utterly in vain.

  • Despite statements by religio-political group officials that Mitt Romney’s Mormonism was not a factor in the South Carolina primary, people interviewed by The Daily Caller spontaneously brought up Romney’s faith as the reason they were leery about voting for him. On Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, the interviewer also pointed out that being Mormon hurt Romney in South Carolina.

  • Heading into the Florida primary, it is noteworthy that at Rick Santorum’s speech in Coral Gables today, the Los Angeles Times reported that “people sat in front of giant posters warning voters that Mormons worship false gods.” The Times reporter interviewed a Santorum supporter holding a poster saying, “Americans, Beware. Mitt Romney is a lifelong Mormon.”

  • The person who introduced Santorum at his speech today was Rev. O’Neal Dozier, whom the Palm Beach Post reported as saying that “The American people will not vote for a Mormon to be a president of the United States.” This is the same man who told the SunSentinal last October that “Mormonism is a cult … Once people really understand Mormonism, they will begin to lose faith in Mitt Romney.”

Examples could be multiplied. The overall conclusion seems inescapable: in this presidential election cycle, at least through the Republican convention in August and quite possibly through the election itself in early November, the LDS Church and the Mormon faith will be on public trial.

I have long known that anti-Mormon authors, predominantly evangelicals, have spread misconceptions and misinterpretations about the Church. What is apparent from these articles, and from the comments I received in response to my recent online article on why evangelicals are opposed to the LDS faith, is that huge numbers of people actually believe this anti-Mormon trash-talk. They really believe that:

  • Mormonism is an unchristian cult.
  • Mormons teach that Jesus is not even divine.
  • Mormons teach that Jesus and Satan are somehow equal or in cahoots because “they are spirit brothers.”
  • Evil things happen in LDS temples.
  • Mormons forcibly convert people posthumously.

and a ton of other things that are equally false.

Please understand—for me, this is not about the presidential election. (My own political stance is in a different direction.)

My concern is about spreading the truth about the Church and the Gospel. On the one hand, anti-Mormon lies and misrepresentations are getting unprecedented play in the media. On the other hand, this “Mormon moment” is an opportunity, largely still unrecognized, to spread the truth about the Church and the Gospel.

So what is to be done?

 Let me tell you what I am doing, and what it is that you might do to be a part of it.

Three years ago I started a blog, LDS 101: The Latter-day Saint / ‘Mormon’ Faith, to answer basic questions about the faith. I didn’t know much about blogging then, and was not able to generate sufficient interest in the blog to keep it going. Now, however, I know a lot more about promoting a blog, and so I have reactivated it. (My first substantive entry: “Do Mormons Teach that Jesus and Satan Were Spirit Brothers?”)

My plan is to use that blog to answer specific anti-Mormon claims, something that is outside the mission of the Church web site most of the time.

There are two ways that you, readers of this blog post, can be a part of this (and I know that that includes a lot more people than the official “followers” of the blog):

  1. When you come upon people who bring up specific distortions or falsehoods about the Church or its doctrine, please refer them to LDS 101. I may very well have addressed that specific distortion or falsehood. If I have not done so yet, the readers are welcome to bring up their own questions or issues for future posts.

  1. Drop in yourself. Critique what I have to say so that I can make it better. Suggest questions or issues for me to address.

These are things that anyone can do. If we all contribute, we can stand up for truth together and further that cause. I hope you will take me up on this invitation.

[Readers are welcome to become official “followers” of this blog through the box in the upper-right-hand corner.]

Copyright 2012 Mark E. Koltko-Rivera. All Rights Reserved.

 [The image of the Nauvoo Temple ruins was obtained from Steven D. Cornell’s utah-rchitecture blog, and is in the public domain.]

1 comment:

  1. As a member of the LDS faith and a former UCF psych student, I am thrilled to have found your blog. I am grateful to you for boldly defending our beliefs in the skeptical world that you operate in. Thank you for making yourself vulnerable in an effort to speak the truth!


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