Bringing back Liberal Mormonism
Hello, MSP Community. I am Chris H. I am a permablogger at Faith-Promoting Rumor. I teach political science at Casper College. Thanks to Chino Blanco and chanson for the chance to share a few posts over here.
Growing up in Maryland, I always found Judiasm to be very interesting. Not so much the details of Jewish theology, but the nuances of Jewish culture.
Within Judiasm, as I understand it, there are Orthodox Jews, Conservative Jews, and Reform Jews. What I have longed wondered has been whether there could be similar categories within Mormonism. I know that there are categories like New Order Mormons, but this seems a bit narrow to me.
In particular, I am curious as to whether the category of liberal Mormon could be better developed and more excepted within Mormonism, in the way the Reform Judaism has. This does not mean that Orthodox and the Conservatives do not disagree with Reform Jews of many things, but the Reform Jew is still a Jew.
Within Mormonism, to be a religious liberal put one in the position of having your Mormonism challenged. But, what is liberal Mormonism? For now, I will argue that it centers on two things. While a Mormon liberal loves the scriptures, she does not take them to be literal. It is this interpretive approach to scripture (and this could include church history) that makes it fun. Additionally, liberal Mormons, following the example and thought of Lowell Bennion, place doing good and loving your fellow human beings above the importance of believing correctly.
Now, the likes of Harold B. Lee and Bryce Hammond would say that there is no room for religious liberals within Mormonism. They are not a minority voice on this. However, I think that this requires the liberal Mormon to stand up and claim a place within their beloved religious tradition. I am ready for that fight.
I have more to say on this, but I am curious about your initial thoughts and questions.
@ Chanson – thanks, was totally kidding about taking anyone’s name. Regarding the existing communities and the known association aspect, I think that there is about zero understanding of those terms for non-internet Mormons. On one hand its frustrating, on the other… since I’ll have to explain the term to anyone I meet I guess I can choose any term that I want 🙂
@the troll – I’m keeping my freedom of thought and my right to inquiry and non-belief, which may or may not disqualify me from temple worship, baptizing/confirming my kids, etc. And depending on how many people come across my thoughts online may some day also qualify me for apostasy and excommunication :).
Very good point! Most of my Mormon interactions are on the Internet, so sometimes I forget what it’s like IRL. 😉