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Ostling On Mormonism

February 21, 2007

Another great example of Mormonism being exposed in the public because of Mitt’s candidacy.

“The practice of polygamy, which the church banned 117 years ago, and the unusual secrecy about its rituals are among the most cited examples. But even the story about the church’s founding is unusual to nonbelievers: God appeared to Joseph Smith and told him that all existing forms of Christianity were “an abomination” and then directed Smith to a hillside in upstate New York where, with the help of the angel Moroni, Smith recovered a set of golden tablets that revealed the real word of God. Smith had further revelations, which Mormons treat as scripture alongside the Bible, including that Jesus would eventually return to reign from Missouri… In addition to the problematic history of polygamy and the church, there is a second discarded teaching, on race, that has lingered for some in their thinking about Mormonism. Until 1978, the Mormons barred anyone with African blood from the church’s “priesthood,” to which virtually all men and boys eventually belong. Although that doctrine was abandoned, it caused significant disillusionment among blacks who had joined the church — both in the United States and abroad… Evangelism extends beyond the grave, too, through vicarious “baptisms for the dead,” a practice that is considered odd by many Christians and that drew outrage among Jews when Mormons turned their attention to victims of the Holocaust… The Mormon Church also maintains an unusual level of secrecy about internal administration and its considerable wealth. It imposes strict privacy regarding rituals in its temples, with the inner sanctums themselves restricted to certified members of the faith. Only Mormons in good standing, for instance, can attend a wedding ceremony inside a Mormon temple… Finally, the most difficult question may be: Are Mormons really Christians? They profess themselves to be — though it’s a different version from that preached in Catholic and Protestant churches. Mormons reject traditional Christian beliefs about God, Jesus and the Trinity. Given Joseph Smith’s teaching that God declared all creeds before Mormonism “an abomination,” it is not surprising that Roman Catholics and most Protestants require rebaptism of converts from Mormonism. (Mormons likewise rebaptize Catholics and Protestants.)” – Richard N. Ostling in the Washington Post


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