In the current political climate, one must realize that this could backfire.
I think it is a positive thing that others are objectively studying a religion
that is highly misunderstood by the general public. Just as a
general comment, IMHO, to understand The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day-Saints, one does not need to necessarily be converted to it. True
conversion is a voluntary accepting of LDS beliefs, doctrines, ordinances and
modern revelation. But, one who studies the LDS faith needs to understand that
WE believe those things. Our deepest-held convictions and doctrines need to be
considered when studying us in order to describe and understand us accurately or
fairly.I applaud the college for what seems to be an honest effort
to study our religion. It is much better than letting hundred-year-old
falsehoods prevail. Thank Heaven for open-minded people. I welcome their
study. I believe the church and its doctrine will stand under scrutiny.
With all due respect, it would be very difficult to take a "neutral
position in truth" using "the language of scholarship" when
studying the claims made by the church regarding the Book of Abraham. Based
upon the available evidence, such claims are simply academically untenable.However, it would be interesting indeed to see how the subject is
approached without the sanitized influence of the church, the paradoxical logic
from apologists, or the mean-spirited rhetoric that characterizes so much of the
The best way to learn about Mormons and Mormonism is to talk to Mormons
themselves," Westbrook said.If more people did this there would
be less misunderstanding and rancour. I dislike intensely being misrepresented
in others' views and in the media.Why not go to the source like LDS
Web sites or a Latter-day Saint? Otherwise misinformation abounds.
Religion is such a personal issue that there is not really a way to be neutral
or totally objective. It would be like a parent having to take a course on how
good or bad their children are.
I applaud Claremont's effort here, and I think it can go a long way towards
dispelling the misinformation that is so rampant about Mormonism. That said, a
strictly historical approach to understanding the LDS Church will only carry you
so far - but perhaps that is far enough for many students. I submit that
it is impossible to fully understand Mormons or the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints without becoming one. Our deeply held core beliefs can only be
comprehended by being baptized and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. To some
degree, this can also be said of any other religion or ethnic group - you have
to be one to to understand them.
I enjoyed this article and the comments. I would like toread more about the
from today's Bloggernacle:"In the century since the Chicago
fair, Mormons have been lauded for their choirs and their football. They are
largely respected as good, decent, family-centered people, who are welcome to
sing for presidents and dance with the starsâand everyone agrees to avoid
theological questions. But as presidential nominations near, Romney's candidacy
threatens this compromise, because what a Mormon presidential candidate actually
believes seems far too important to table. And when Mormon theology enters the
public discussion, the words Charles Dickens wrote in 1851 strike many as still
apt: "What the Mormons do, seems to be excellent; what they say, is mostly
nonsense."After ten years of discussions/debates with Mormons,
it is quite clear that many/mostMormons do not know what is in the
doctrines of Joseph Smith,Jr. They know the basicsebut not much further.
What the Mormons do...seems to Christian behaviors, WHAT theirdoctrines
teach is most certainly contradictory to Christian Doctrines. Confusionabounds. And yes,as Ciobello says, one doesn't really know Mormonism until
onehas Mormon baptism...and then they are 'eligible' to hear the 'truths'
of Mormonteachings. Why is it such a secret? ...because Mormonism is all
about being 'worthy'...the exact opposite of the basis of the teachings of
Jesus the Christ.I have heard countless Mormons misstate the
doctrines of Joseph Smith, Jr. I have heardthat some wards teach that no
caffeine IS in the W.O.W...when, of course, it is not.Teaching about
the personality, the history and the developing of the Mormon religion is just
as appropriate in the teachings of World Relgions as those of Buddaism,
Islam,Hare Krishna or Zoroastrianism. Whether or not the student has
beliefs that matchany of these non-Christian world religions is
To Ciobello: There is essentially nothing about Mormon doctrines at official
LDSwebsites...other than the sanctioned statements of the Church. Asking
any questionsdirects one to their 'ward' bishop....Asking any questions of
the missionaries outsideof their narrow scope of 'training' is fruitless.
So the best way to 'learn' about Mormonism is NOT to ask one. The best
way is toread and study the doctrines in the writings of Joseph Smith, jr.
etal.Converts do not, I repeat, do NOT, know all the trappings of
Mormonism untilafter they receive the Mormon baptism and are allowed to
slowly learn of them.