Sunday in Outer Blogness: The “C” Word Edition!

What a wild week! Somewhere in the Republican-Christian world Mormonism got called a cult, and since then people have jumped in to analyze (or write stories about) every aspect of the cult question! Just how cultish is Mormonism? Some explain why Christians don’t consider Mormons Christian, others encourage Christians to stand by Mormons, others ask why Christianity gets a pass. Some bask in the Mormon persecution complex, others give constructive suggestions on seeming less cult-like. This circus totally overshadowed all other political questions, not to mention National Coming Out Day and Columbus/Indigenous Peoples Day.

Gender and equality in Mormon families was another big theme (don’t forget Modesty!). Even everyone’s favorite G.A. gets it wrong. Plus there was some interesting discussion on deciding to have kids or not.

Now for this week’s grab bag: Smorg’s mishie adventure continues! How does virtual friendship affect our real-life social life?. In the remaining aftershocks of General Conference, it turns out The Beatles are more inspiring. Plus some good advice on various subjects: dating, building a neighborhood community (including infrastructure), science education, communicating across belief lines, and simply taking your own tastes seriously.

Have a great week, and try not to join any cults! ;)

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5 Comments

  1. 1
    Alan says:

    The Church being refused a “Christian” status by evangelicals is its chickens coming home to roost, IMO. The more I think about how the Church engages in intentional silencing of the FLDS (refusing them the label “Mormon”), the more I don’t mind seeing the Church squirm against this evangelical tide.

    The LDS Newsroom has put up a bunch of responses, since apparently lots of media folks have been contacting them asking them about the Church’s Christianness. I like this response:

    When Mormons say they are Christian, they are not suggesting that their beliefs line up perfectly with evangelicals or Catholics or other Christians. Using the term “Christian” is not an attempt to gain acceptance into the mainstream — something that has little appeal or relevance to Latter-day Saints.

    Mainstreaming the Church has little appeal or relevance? Then what’s with the whole “But we are Christian!” squirming? This is not a time for hubris, Newsroom, because the fact that Mormons are perceived as Christianly defective is what makes Romney’s electability questionable. The gap between Protestantism and Mormonism for Romney in 2012 seems a lot bigger than the gap between Protestantism and Catholicism was for Kennedy in 1960. It hinges around this “But is he an actual Christian?” question, which, personally I think has less to do with Christian theology, and more to do with questions about what it means to be an “American.” In other words, Romney is getting the same treatment from evangelicals Obama gets when Obama is referred to as Muslim.

    Frankly, I think the Church would have a lot more luck and a better future if it sided with all the “others” in this country: gays, Muslims, Hindus, immigrants.

    The number of evangelicals in the country is estimated to be between 70 and 90 million (depending on what groups are included). The CoJCoLdS in America is at about 6.5 million. That means there are at least 10 times as many evangelicals than Mormons. No amount of mormon.org ads will ever wiggle the Church into the Christian treehouse. Sure, the academy considers Mormonism to be a branch of “restorationist Christianity,” but the funny thing about secularism (or as Dallin Oaks lambasts it: “relativism”) is that it actually has space for people as they self-identify.

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  2. 2
    chanson says:

    Mainstreaming the Church has little appeal or relevance? Then whats with the whole But we are Christian! squirming?

    Wow, that is too funny!

    I followed your link to see if the quote you cited from the newsroom was followed up with a logical conclusion like “So, Latter-day Saints, let’s not waste our energy stressing over this issue or debating the other Christians about whether they accept us in their club. We know we’re not mainstream, and that’s great!”

    Nope. It was followed up by a long list of GA quotes about how Christian the L-dS are. Not that they care or anything. ;)

    BTW, I’m glad that Chino highlighted Kristine’s post with the memorable quote “Were not Mormon, unless someone else is saying theyre Mormon, and then we are and theyre not.” She totally nailed it — and the comments are amusing too!

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  3. 3
    chanson says:

    On to another conversation from the above, there’s a bit of a contrast in dating advice. First, from Jen Hancock:

    So, if you are lamenting the fact that there doesn’t seem to be anyone interested in dating and being in a relationship anymore, stop focusing your attention on the 20% of men and women who aren’t interesting in dating and relationships (ie; the hook uppers). Focus on the other 80% who aren’t participating in the hook up scene. As Ms. Walsh says, consider approach the shy guy or gal in the corner. You may just have better success. I know this strategy always worked for me.

    Also, don’t feel pressured to hook up if that doesn’t feel right to you. It is right for some, but not for all. It’s ok if it isn’t for you. Respect yourself enough to know if it isn’t and don’t get sucked into the belief that this is the only way to find someone. It isn’t. And again, if you stop focusing on “the popular” kids, you may just find that the rest of your school contains some pretty amazing people that will be worth your time to get to know.

    So totally opposite from that offensive word-art tree that’s been making the rounds of Facebook, about how everyone who makes different dating choices than you is worthless (cowardly or a rotten apple). See a great response to that image here.

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  4. 4
    chanson says:

    Looking at some of the items in the sidebar, I think you got this caption spot on: The kind of reporting that drives LDS HQ nuts.

    The problem with it is that so damn clear and accurate. So you can’t honestly dismiss it with the usual “reporters didn’t do their homework” BS. And it wouldn’t be funny if the LDS PR department didn’t put so much effort into complaining about any reporting on Mormonism that diverges from the exact story that the LDS leaders want reported.

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  5. 5
    Diane Sower says:

    Fundamentalism or evangelicalism is the nastiest form of discrimination available to those who believe in God. Reformed Christianity rarely gets involved in name calling fests where Mormons are concerned. It’s the sign carrying crowd, the ones who want to shame people into finding Jesus, who find Mormonism repulsive. I find that repulsive. I’m a Presbyterian who thinks there’s room at the table for all discussion, and whether or not someone is a Christian is not for me to judge. That call is made entirely by someone else.

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