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Source: (consider it) Thread: Should Christians criticize Mormonism?
Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Fr Weber:
Or Orson Scott Card, if you happen to like SF.

Other Mormon genre writers: Tracy Hickman, Stephanie Meyer, Brandon Sanderson. That's just off the top of my head. Hickman and Meyer may not have the critical acclaim but they're certainly popular.
I suspect that Mormon theology lends itself to an unironic good vs evil fantasy in a way that Christian/Jewish/Islamic theology doesn't. Compare the most famous Christian fantasy fiction. If you read the Narnia books as a tale of the struggle between the good guys and the bad guys you'll be intensely bored. And Lord of the Rings can be read as an ironic deconstruction of the standard three volume fantasy quest saga.

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Martin60
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Fr Weber. You can be as wrong as you like from now on: Orson Scott Card is a damn fine writer.

Mousethief. There are all sorts of appalling us that are creedal Christians.

So it´s OK to be a worse than useless evil son-of-a-bitch and right than good and wrong.

OKayyyyyyyyyyy.

What´s happened to you man? Ohhhhh. Nothing.

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Augustine the Aleut
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quote:
Originally posted by ORGANMEISTER:
Their temple architecture is certainly striking. The temple in DC makes a very distinct addition to the skyline. Too bad I will never be permitted to see the interior.

I think that Stalin gothic works better with that approach. There are partial tours of the interior and, should there be a temple opening up near you, they usually hold complete pre-consecration tours.

I have only read about 4 of Orson Scott Card's books and I think he is uneven-- as I noted above, Battlestar Galactica and Mormonism offer some really interesting parallels. Glen Larson, a writer of the original series, was LDS, but I think that the newer series dealt with Mormon themes far better. And the two missionaries whom I closeted for two hours in May quite agree with me and one of them had pretty well memorized the scripts of the second series. They did not want to talk about how plural marriage for women with several husbands seemed more practical to me.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Fr Weber. You can be as wrong as you like from now on: Orson Scott Card is a damn fine writer.

Mousethief. There are all sorts of appalling us that are creedal Christians.

So it´s OK to be a worse than useless evil son-of-a-bitch and right than good and wrong.

OKayyyyyyyyyyy.

What´s happened to you man? Ohhhhh. Nothing.

I'm wondering if you posted this on the wrong thread?

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Rowen
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Mormons are not big in Australia, as far as I can tell. I have never known any personally, or heard of any undertaking public office. I don't know where they meet, in my rural part of Oz, if anywhere. As a minister, I have never talked about them with other church folk. I have met a couple of evangelists door knocking, maybe, or am I thinking of JWs?
But then, that is true really of other religious groups... Although I did meet two Jewish folk 3 years ago....
Homogenous region really.
But even when I lived in the city...

I fid it fascinating to read of the brouhaha about it all in other countries.

I guess I don't think of them as Christian, and I don't think any of my local clergy would either. Tat seems to be the general sweep of opinion here.

[ 27. July 2013, 00:27: Message edited by: Rowen ]

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Stetson
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quote:
I have met a couple of evangelists door knocking, maybe, or am I thinking of JWs?

At least in the places I've lived(Canada and Korea), Mormon missionaries tend to be from North America, usually Utah but also California, Idaho, and western Canada. They do team up with locals, but there's usually at least one North American in tow.

If the people you met were Australian, my guess would be that they were JWs. The one foreign JW door-knocker I know in Korea is, coincidenatally, Australian, but he's married to a Korean. Other than that, they've all been Korean.

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Gramps49
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I grew up in Mormon country. In my high school senior class, there were only five of us that were not Mormon. Consequently, there was a lot of pressure on us to become one of them.

I think we were very polemical against the Mormons at the time, as a way of distinguishing us from them.

There are still things that get to me about the Mormon faith. For instance, the Twilight Series is really fictionalized Mormon theology.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/24/mormon-influence-imagery_n_623487.html

I just would not call the Mormon faith a Christian faith, myself. I think when Mormon missionaries do try to influence our young people or friends, we have to make distinctions between what they believe and what mainstream Christians believe.

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Martin60
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Well any extracanonical mandatory distinctive, i.e. hostile exclusion makes a Neuoffenbarungsreligion.

Therefore the Roman Catholic Church (ecclesiae, cults) is one for a big start. Followed by Islam then the Orthodox Church in time. Then the Reformed Church.

Are there any of us that aren´t neuoffenbarungsreligiösen?

I certainly am as I´ve been infected with the postmodern viral meme and that takes me in to extracanonical territory on the trajectory of the New Testament I now can´t not see. Hence my social liberalism on (DH alert! DH alert!) sexuality feeding back in to my ecclesiology.

And mousethief, you, as ever, are - most graciously it has to be said in the face of my passive ... counter hostility - right, but I, as ever, am justified in blurring the threads.

And senile.

[ 27. July 2013, 06:51: Message edited by: Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard ]

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Martin60
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´ang on a bleedin´ minute. Wot other thread?! I thought you must be right mousethief, as you´re never wrong, so I thought it must be the Heresy thread. Fool that I am for not checking.

Your graciousness stands, but so does the essence behind my passive aggression to your formal hostility:

Who are we religious hypocrites to exclude?

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Komensky
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I think an important diasctintion needs to made here. Comparing Christianity, Islam, Judaism and probably a few others as well, to Mormanism isn't quite fair. For starters, Mormanism, in its establishment, documents and central claims lacks historicity. I think a comparison to Scientology is much more apt.

K.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
For instance, the Twilight Series is really fictionalized Mormon theology.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/24/mormon-influence-imagery_n_623487.html

I just would not call the Mormon faith a Christian faith, myself. I think when Mormon missionaries do try to influence our young people or friends, we have to make distinctions between what they believe and what mainstream Christians believe.

Fascinating article - thanks for the link.

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Arethosemyfeet
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quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
I think an important diasctintion needs to made here. Comparing Christianity, Islam, Judaism and probably a few others as well, to Mormanism isn't quite fair. For starters, Mormanism, in its establishment, documents and central claims lacks historicity. I think a comparison to Scientology is much more apt.

K.

The comparison with Islam is slightly more viable, given that the sacred texts are based on the testimony of a single person, who was as at least apparently convinced of his message. Scientology is a rather different kettle of fish.
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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Who are we religious hypocrites to exclude?

I'm not sure what you mean by "exclude." It's not like Christianity is this fun circus with clowns and carnival rides and taffy apples that we're keeping them out of because we're hypocritical meanies. It's a body of people with a common understanding of who God is.

The Mormon understanding of who God is is completely different from the Christian understanding. And in no small way: their "god" is created (and indeed somewhere in the middle of a long line of "gods" fathered by a previous god and fathering subsequent gods). Ours is the uncreated creator of all that is. That's not some small difference; that's huge. From a Christian understanding, their "god" isn't God. They don't worship the same deity we do. Mormonism is not Christian.

This wouldn't be a problem if not for one thing: they claim their church *IS* Christian, and they obscure the nature of their "god" from would-be converts, making out like it is our God. "We're just like Methodists and Presbyterians except we have a new Testament of Jesus Christ," they will say. But they're not. That's dishonest.

There are many admirable and many objectionable things about Mormonism other than their concept of God. But their concept of God puts them outside the Christian tent.

[ 27. July 2013, 18:57: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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mousethief

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I should have clarified one thing further: "this wouldn't be a problem."

By this I mean there are plenty of non-Christian religions, and our response to them is different from our response to Mormonism. Muslims don't claim to be Christians. Jews don't pretend to be Christians. Buddhists, Hindus, Shintoists, Baha'is don't claim to be Christians. Mormons do.

[ 27. July 2013, 19:01: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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Martin60
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mousethief, you are always, always right, it´s cool, we coo-el. So what? What difference does a right belief make? Especially when so many people with right ones have other hostile ones?

To mix threads, should we smack them in the mouth?

They same most analogous not to Muslims or Scientologists but to Samaritans to me.

And how did Jesus deal with them?

That´s the only example I´m interested in following.

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balaam

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Why do so many Christians spend more time criticising others than they do proclaiming and celebrating what they do believe.

We don't get much contact with LDS here, but my approach would be much the same as I deal with Muslims: Whilst acknowledging there is much we disagree on, concentrate on

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balaam

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oops.

...concentrate on what we have in common.

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Augustine the Aleut
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quote:
Originally posted by balaam:
oops.

...concentrate on what we have in common.

Much as we do (or should be doing) with Muslims and Jews. This doesn't have to be done, and probably couldn't easily be done, at an organized church level-- but simply as individual Xns/Jews/Mormons/Muslims working together on common humanitarian efforts. There's plenty of food banks which need help, plenty of women's shelters which could use a hand, plenty of ex-prisoners who need a break.
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Gramps49
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The thing of it is Mormons are pretty exclusive when it comes social services. They have an active aid society for Mormons, but not necessarily for gentles (their description of non Mormons).

In our community churches are banning together to do a Family Promise program--where we house homeless families to help them transition into jobs and permanent housing. We invited the LDS to become a sponsoring church, but the church headquarters in Salt Lake said no. Still it has agreed to provide some sopport though it is not being encouraged by their higher powers.

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Who are we religious hypocrites to exclude?

I struggle how we have got to excluding what we are talking about is drawing attention to obvious differences. (It's the usual argument of course - bleating about exclusion - when what we are actually talking about is a difference over essentials. Since we believe ourselves to be right, that makes those who differ fro us wrong).

We're not excluding, simply pointing out the obvious differences which mean we have little of core belief in common - and that matters.


It could also be that we are

1. Human
2. Right

[ 28. July 2013, 06:41: Message edited by: ExclamationMark ]

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Martin60
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Jesus was the only one who managed that. Because He was good.

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Golden Key
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BWS--

What's your problem with the Amish? Theologically, they're Anabaptist and (IIRC) Calvinist. Much of that I disagree with, but they're hardly the only ones with that theology.

My problems with them are more cultural: limitations on women; sending their young people out to try on the wider world, without preparation; whether radical simplicity is a goal or a means; and needing a wider gene pool. (Problems with in-breeding, though outsiders who marry in do bring new genes.)

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moron
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IF I were going to criticize Mormons I'd make sure the family that lives across the street didn't know I was doing it cause when some 'society ending event' occurs I know which door I'm knocking on begging for food first.


(I have a signed copy of this book... all I had to do was call in to his radio talk show and mention the New Madrid fault to get him going on for about 10 minutes... [Razz]

but the problem as I see it as all too much of what these types talk about has a smell of 'this makes pretty good sense and if you weren't so damn uppity you'd acknowledge it' about it. [Paranoid] )

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BWSmith
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
BWS-- What's your problem with the Amish?

Stated simply, the Amish embolden atheists like no other Christian denomination.

They are the Christian version of the "Essenes". They are a punch line of late-night talk shows and fodder for 20/20-Dateline "rescue from religion" stories.

Life (i.e. the everyday struggle with evil) isn't as "ideal" as they would like, so rather than joining with other Christians against "Rome", they choose to go hang out in the "wilderness" and create their own "Jerusalem Temple" while they wait for God to restore everything. (They consider the belly of Jonah's whale to be a nice place to set up camp, if it means avoiding dealing with Ninevah...)

Fundamentalism flourishes in that kind of environment, and when the Essenes of history went into battle in 70AD, they proved to be pretty useless.

(It's significant to me that nothing in the NT mentions Jesus or the early church having anything to do with the Qumran community.)

[ 28. July 2013, 12:30: Message edited by: BWSmith ]

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Gramps49
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What are we talking about, the Mormons or the Amish? Seems to me we should stay on topic.
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Martin60
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Indeed, we are not talking about the makers of dairy products in general but about cheesemakers.

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Augustine the Aleut
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
The thing of it is Mormons are pretty exclusive when it comes social services. They have an active aid society for Mormons, but not necessarily for gentles (their description of non Mormons).

In our community churches are banning together to do a Family Promise program--where we house homeless families to help them transition into jobs and permanent housing. We invited the LDS to become a sponsoring church, but the church headquarters in Salt Lake said no. Still it has agreed to provide some sopport though it is not being encouraged by their higher powers.

This an excellent example of the difficulties and possibilities of doing service work with Mormons. They have a strong ethos of taking-care-of-our-own and I know of several examples where this has worked wonderfully with younger people in difficult home situations. As I mentioned, such cooperation is likely not possible at an organized level, but more informally, I think that a great deal can be achieved. While those of us who love structural responses might be frustrated, at least those needing help can get some in the interim.
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Sober Preacher's Kid

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Speaking of Mormon temples, there was a photo tour book produced before the Salt Lake City building was consecrated in 1890; it's the only picture series available of the interior. With the advent of the internet it's become much more available.

Some would describe it as interesting, others as tending towards kitsch. I don't believe the interior has changed much, if at all, in the intervening century.

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Stetson
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quote:
There are still things that get to me about the Mormon faith. For instance, the Twilight Series is really fictionalized Mormon theology.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/24/mormon-influence-imagery_n_623487.html


I didn't find everything in that article entirely convincing. Some of the supposed similarities seemed to be on pretty general points, eg. someone in the movie talked about having an abortion, Mormons allow abortion in some instances. Lots of movies talk about abortion, and lots of religions have partial allowances for it. Some of it seemed on firmer ground though.

Another movie that critics connected to Mormonism was Knowing, a somewhat underrated(IMO) apocalyptic sci-fi story from a few years back. Apparently, its usage of the Edenic Tree to symbolize something positive(rather than just the Fall) is akin to Mormon usage. I think the Mormons might have lifted that motif from Freemasonry, but don't quote me on that.

The image

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Sylvander
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Some folk seem to think that Mormons are to be faulted for "pretending" to be Christian. Why? They genuinely think themselves Christian and have every right to present that viewpoint, even if nobody agrees with them. It is our job to educate our co-religionists about the basics of our faith so they can recognise why the Mormons' claim is wrong.
It seems that recently Mormons have begun to stress the generally Christian elements in their doctrine more. That applies to their self-presentation to the outside. But is also seems to hold for their inner life. It is not just propaganda. I have spoken to many Mormons and they all say they never heard the stuff about God living with wife and son on the planet Kolob in the galaxy Kokaubeam in church. Apparently in practice this is not relevant to their teaching - so I well believe that inside their Church they feel Christian. An illusion born from ignorance about our faith, I think, but a genuine one.
I recently heard a Mormon analyse the docrine of trinity going through church history from the earliest times. He tried to reconcile it with Mormonism. Unsuccessfully imo (I told him so), but he seemed genuinely interested in understanding Christian doctrine. That is rare among Mormons and an effort I gave him credit for. It was a German FAIR conference.

quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
For starters, Mormanism, in its establishment, documents and central claims lacks historicity. K.

It is a common assumption in our culture that faiths are to be taken more seriously if they are old and/or numerically strong.
But if you think about it, neither age nor numbers tell you anything about the veracity or quality of a persuasion, idea, thought or religion, does it?
If nothing else, simply remembering the start of Christianity should give you pause for thought. It was tiny and brand new once.

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gorpo
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:

This wouldn't be a problem if not for one thing: they claim their church *IS* Christian, and they obscure the nature of their "god" from would-be converts, making out like it is our God. "We're just like Methodists and Presbyterians except we have a new Testament of Jesus Christ," they will say. But they're not. That's dishonest.

There are many admirable and many objectionable things about Mormonism other than their concept of God. But their concept of God puts them outside the Christian tent. [/QB]

That also applies to some forms of liberal protestantism...
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Komensky
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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
I think an important diasctintion needs to made here. Comparing Christianity, Islam, Judaism and probably a few others as well, to Mormanism isn't quite fair. For starters, Mormanism, in its establishment, documents and central claims lacks historicity. I think a comparison to Scientology is much more apt.

K.

The comparison with Islam is slightly more viable, given that the sacred texts are based on the testimony of a single person, who was as at least apparently convinced of his message. Scientology is a rather different kettle of fish.
Point taken. I was thinking about the role of invention. In short, the Book of Mormon was clearly a fake and (at least partial) forgery right from the start.

K.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by gorpo:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:

This wouldn't be a problem if not for one thing: they claim their church *IS* Christian, and they obscure the nature of their "god" from would-be converts, making out like it is our God. "We're just like Methodists and Presbyterians except we have a new Testament of Jesus Christ," they will say. But they're not. That's dishonest.

There are many admirable and many objectionable things about Mormonism other than their concept of God. But their concept of God puts them outside the Christian tent.

That also applies to some forms of liberal protestantism...
True. I thought it was grossly dishonest of Spong to pretend he was a Christian.

[ 28. July 2013, 23:09: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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Nicolemr
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The trouble with Mormonism is that you are expected to take the Book of Mormon literally, and it is blatantly non-historical. Much of the Bible is non-historical as well but plenty of Christians don't take it literally.

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Stetson
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Sylvander wrote:

quote:
I have spoken to many Mormons and they all say they never heard the stuff about God living with wife and son on the planet Kolob in the galaxy Kokaubeam in church. Apparently in practice this is not relevant to their teaching - so I well believe that inside their Church they feel Christian. An illusion born from ignorance about our faith, I think, but a genuine one.

I once read a Jack Chick comic in which it was speculated(somewhat uncharacteristically for Chick, who tends more toward absolute certainty) that the passageway to heaven lies behind some star in a distant galaxy.

Now, granted, Chick is a bit of an outlier, but I'd be willing to bet that there are LOTS of people in mainstream demoninations who, on a personal level, subscribe(if only be default) to some idea of God being a guy sitting on a throne in heaven, accesable to humans via space and time. Which comes pretty close to the Mormon idea of God as a created being up on Kolob.

This is kind of the reverse of your Mormon congregants, who believe in the traditional mainstream idea of God, unaware that they worship in a church that teaches the sci-fi idea of God on another planet. But still, if we're going to say(as I think most of us would) that the untutored Presbyterian who thinks God is up somewhere behind the dog star can still be considered a Christian, do we set the bar higher for orthodox Mormons who follow the teaching about Kolob?

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Golden Key
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
What are we talking about, the Mormons or the Amish? Seems to me we should stay on topic.

Because BWS mentioned them upthread.

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gorpo
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About the Amish, they seem to be very weird but their theology is not very different then what you get in average baptist churches. They´re certainly trinitarians. Here in South America there are the Mennonites, which are kind of cousins of the Amish. Those who live in rural areas tend to be very strict, and a small minority behaves exactly like the Amish. But those who live in big cities have become pretty much mainstream evangelicals.

Most Mormons I´ve talked too seemed to be monotheistic in their tone, but I´ve never engaged in serious religious discussion with any. I suppose the most weird aspects of their doctrine is only known to the more hardcore Mormons.

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malik3000
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A member of one particular Christian group can call members of another group "Christian" as well, without having to agree with their level of orthodoxy. From my catholic (or anglican) perspective there are others who self-identify as Christian and I am perfectly willing to go along with that, even though I may consider their expression of Christianity very heterodox indeed. It's not just "small o" orthodox Christians that get to be called Christians, or get to decide who can be called Christian IMHO.

So if the Mormons think of themselves as Christians, that's OK by me. Just not my particular cup of tea.

I don't think it's fair to equate Mormonism with Scientology. From everything I have seen of Scientology it seems to me to be none other than an on-going scam. (I tend to be sympathetic to the German government's view of Scientology.) However dodgy the 19th century beginnings of Mormonism probably were, mainstream Mormonism has grown into a sufficiently large group that they aren't being mentally enslaved as cult members (See my above post on Mormon supporters of Obama). It is important to distinguish mainstream Mormonism from small cultic offshoots like Warren Jeff's group.

Re Mormon additions to the canon of scripture, in their services, the Christian Scientist's read portions of Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with Keys to the Scripture -- whether they consider the Eddy work to be the canonical equivalent of the Christian Bible, I don't know. And some Christian groups treat Patristic writings as being as important to their doctrines as the Bible. Some might call that adding to the canon of scripture.

Re distinctive contributions to the world of religious art and architecture, what contributions has Pentecostalism made? (Not a criticism of Pentecostalism, as I don't think a groups contributions in this area have any bearing on their legitimacy as a religious group -- Although now as I think of it, they have made contributions in the area of religious music, I'd say.)

[ 29. July 2013, 03:13: Message edited by: malik3000 ]

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malik3000
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quote:
Originally posted by Nicolemr:
The trouble with Mormonism is that you are expected to take the Book of Mormon literally, and it is blatantly non-historical. Much of the Bible is non-historical as well but plenty of Christians don't take it literally.

But more than a few Christians do, particularly in the U.S. -- and that includes some Christian denominations that insist on it. Creationism is one of the manifestations of this.

[ 29. July 2013, 03:20: Message edited by: malik3000 ]

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Golden Key
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quote:
Originally posted by BWSmith:
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
BWS-- What's your problem with the Amish?

Stated simply, the Amish embolden atheists like no other Christian denomination.
???? Have you ever heard an atheist target them? I haven't. IME, they general go after traditional Christian beliefs, the Catholic church, and right-wing American Christians. And hypocrites.


quote:
They are the Christian version of the "Essenes". They are a punch line of late-night talk shows and fodder for 20/20-Dateline "rescue from religion" stories.
Ok, you do know that there's a long history of all kinds of Christian communities? Monastic communities, but lots of others.

AFAIK, the Amish don't claim any kind of esoteric spiritual knowledge, whereas the Essenes did.

Late-night TV talk shows make fun of EVERYBODY in the news, more or less.

The TV news magazine coverage of the Amish that I've seen has either been basic cultural info, or about the dangers of the rumsprina ("running around") year that Amish teens get in the outside world to decide which way they want to live. They're in a world they're not prepared for, and faced with the dangers of sex, STDs, substance abuse, etc. Then they have to decide which world to live in. They can't go back and forth.

And those same news magazines spend much more time on other religious communities and issues.

quote:
Life (i.e. the everyday struggle with evil) isn't as "ideal" as they would like, so rather than joining with other Christians against "Rome", they choose to go hang out in the "wilderness" and create their own "Jerusalem Temple" while they wait for God to restore everything. (They consider the belly of Jonah's whale to be a nice place to set up camp, if it means avoiding dealing with Ninevah...)
Where are you getting all this?? They fled religious persecution in Europe, and religious refugees often live in somewhat separatist communities.

You sound like you really *loathe* them.

quote:
Fundamentalism flourishes in that kind o
f environment, and when the Essenes of history went into battle in 70AD, they proved to be pretty useless.

(It's significant to me that nothing in the NT mentions Jesus or the early church having anything to do with the Qumran community.)

The Essenes had a different set of beliefs than the early Christians. While IIRC there were some parallels and belief in some kind of prophet of light, it didn't seem to *necessarily* refer to Jesus.

Fundamentalism flourishes in all sorts of environments, about all sorts of beliefs--religious, secular, scientific, music, fashion, nationalism...

Whatever their flaws, the Amish aren't doing any systematic recruiting. They just want to live their lives and their faith.

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Stetson
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Gorpo wrote:

quote:
I suppose the most weird aspects of their doctrine is only known to the more hardcore Mormons.
Well, assuming by "weird" you mean "unorthodox", I think stuff like Jesus Visiting The Americas and Baptism Of The Dead are pretty well known among the Mormon rank and file.

The stuff about Kolob, maybe not so much. I'm not sure how much they know about God being married and having children.

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Sylvander
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
Gorpo wrote:
... Baptism Of The Dead are pretty well known among the Mormon rank and file.

And among the Bible of course :-)
1 Cor 15:29

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Augustine the Aleut
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
Gorpo wrote:

quote:
I suppose the most weird aspects of their doctrine is only known to the more hardcore Mormons.
Well, assuming by "weird" you mean "unorthodox", I think stuff like Jesus Visiting The Americas and Baptism Of The Dead are pretty well known among the Mormon rank and file.

The stuff about Kolob, maybe not so much. I'm not sure how much they know about God being married and having children.

The missionary training used to (I don't know if it still does) provide them with scripts to pursue if these questions were raised. I suppose that the missionary cohort could be called hard-core, but it is pretty sizeable and pretty well all leadership is drawn from it.
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BWSmith
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
quote:
Originally posted by BWSmith:
Stated simply, the Amish embolden atheists like no other Christian denomination.

???? Have you ever heard an atheist target them? I haven't.
I didn't say that they "targeted" Amish. The Amish embolden atheists in their conviction that all Christianity (including mainstream Christianity) is fundamentally anti-modern.

From their point of view, the Amish are following Christianity to its logical conclusions: reject modernity, believe outdated ideas, live outdated lives. (Therefore, it's a good thing to be an atheist and be free from all that...)

This relates back to my original topic of Mormonism: If something as laughably false as Mormonism can gain millions of adherents, then atheists need not believe that mainstream Christianity necessarily has any core truth that justifies their billions of believers. Both Mormonism and the Amish provide templates for the deconstruction and delegitimation of Christianity.

quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
quote:
They are the Christian version of the "Essenes". They are a punch line of late-night talk shows and fodder for 20/20-Dateline "rescue from religion" stories.
AFAIK, the Amish don't claim any kind of esoteric spiritual knowledge, whereas the Essenes did.
Of course they "aren't Essenes". They are 'like' the Essenes in their willingness to separate themselves from the real problems of the world.

quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Late-night TV talk shows make fun of EVERYBODY in the news, more or less.

Not exactly. You will never hear a Leno or Letterman explicitly insult mainstream Christian beliefs. (The advertisers would bolt.) However, they are more than happy to pick on fringe groups, and what the secularist comedy writers say about the Amish is what they would like to say (but can't) about the rest of us.

quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
quote:
Life (i.e. the everyday struggle with evil) isn't as "ideal" as they would like, so rather than joining with other Christians against "Rome", they choose to go hang out in the "wilderness" and create their own "Jerusalem Temple" while they wait for God to restore everything. (They consider the belly of Jonah's whale to be a nice place to set up camp, if it means avoiding dealing with Ninevah...)
Where are you getting all this?? They fled religious persecution in Europe, and religious refugees often live in somewhat separatist communities.
I am literally describing the historical situation of the Essenes (in such a way that invites comparison with the motivations of the Amish).

quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Whatever their flaws, the Amish aren't doing any systematic recruiting. They just want to live their lives and their faith.

Not true - living our lives and our faith is what us mainstream Christians are doing. The Amish are living under a deliberate judgmental separation from the rest of us, making the symbolic statement to the world that our lives are "evil".

Christianity as a whole would be better off if these people would "return" to the modern world and focus their energies on helping us all fight the sin in the world, rather than fighting the world itself.

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Martin60
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The Amish are just early modern. Evangelicals are as modern as it gets. Modern is the problem. So atheists are right.

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Lyda*Rose

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BWSmith:
quote:
Christianity as a whole would be better off if these people would "return" to the modern world and focus their energies on helping us all fight the sin in the world, rather than fighting the world itself.
Which reminds me: I really dislike the whole "Not of this World" craze. Yeah, I know it's biblical but so is "The world is his and he made it, and his hands prepared the dry land". Me, I'm trying to work in the world. The Amish may do as they please. I believe the Godhead makes use of us as he finds us.

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ken
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Weird. As far as I can remember I have never in my life seen or heard anyione say anythign bad about the Amish or Mennonites at all before this thread. What little media representation they have in this country is overwhelmingly posiitive. (And it is very little) The few Americans I iknow who have lived in Amish-inhabited parts of the country mostly seem to rather like living around them. There reputation, insofar as they have one at all here, is probably that they are mostly harmless and rather quant.

The Christians we love to hate collectively are American-style TV evangelists. They are the poster children for atheists. They probably do almost as much harm to the progress of Christianity as suicide bombers do for the progress of Islam. Basically they put people off in droves. But not Amish. I suspect that if all American evangelicals lived like Amish, Christianity would probably be a lot less unpopular.

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ORGANMEISTER
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My experience with the local Amish community has led me to wonder if they worship CHrist as much as they do Amish culture. They seem to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort arguing about the length of hem, the color of a buggy, whether or not zippers are acceptable, and who is and who isn't going directly to hell. I know it's an entirely different mindset but I do not understand how it is more pleasing to God to impersonate 16th cent. German/Swiss farmers than it is to live out one's faith in this world at this time.
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Ad Orientem
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Living in a closed community offers its own problems as any monk or nun will tell you, like having to put up with peoples annoying little habits, for a start. Learning to live with such things without feeling any animosity towards your brother is just as difficult in such a community as it is in the wider world. In that sense it is not an escape. Personally I've always found something quite attractive in such a life, even if I haven't opted for it.
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Stetson
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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
Weird. As far as I can remember I have never in my life seen or heard anyione say anythign bad about the Amish or Mennonites at all before this thread. What little media representation they have in this country is overwhelmingly posiitive. (And it is very little) The few Americans I iknow who have lived in Amish-inhabited parts of the country mostly seem to rather like living around them. There reputation, insofar as they have one at all here, is probably that they are mostly harmless and rather quant.

The Christians we love to hate collectively are American-style TV evangelists. They are the poster children for atheists. They probably do almost as much harm to the progress of Christianity as suicide bombers do for the progress of Islam. Basically they put people off in droves. But not Amish. I suspect that if all American evangelicals lived like Amish, Christianity would probably be a lot less unpopular.

Yes, I'd go along with this. Humour about the Amish tends to be along the lines of poking gentle fun(eg. the teen-comedy Sex Drive, where the main Amish character is shown as kind, helpful, but a little passive-aggressive).

And I think in Witness they were generally shown as positive, weren't they? In general, there's nothing like the roasting that TV evangelists get being directed at the Amish.

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