A small bit of perspective
When “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” was formed in April of 1830, we were far removed from the “information age.” There was little understanding about our church, and many fears and misconceptions. We had our share of “persecution,” which was largely the result of misunderstanding concerning our beliefs. One misunderstanding was that we were not Christians, but a “cult.” Luckily, those misunderstandings are all but evaporated in today’s information and fact-driven world.
Still, even with the facts of our faith readily available for all, and despite our own Christian proclamations, some individuals continue to drag out the century-old insult of “cult” and “un-Christian.” When called to answer on these insults, the offenders generally shy away or hide behind technical definitions of their speech, rather than address the facts of our faith directly.
We as a Church adopt the following approach: let people look at the facts for themselves, and decide for themselves whether we are followers of Christ, a cult, or anything else. Like many Christians, we make every effort to follow Christ’s teachings. Those efforts, along with any sort of investigation into our teachings and beliefs, speak for themselves.
Wait, “Church of Jesus Christ…” I thought you were “The Mormons?”
“Mormons” is a nickname that was first used pejoratively, then stuck as a common reference to members of our faith. Today, it’s how people know us, and no one that I know is offended by the nickname. However, the full and official name of our church is, and always has been, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” It’s a mouthful, so it’s no wonder people welcome the shorter alternative!
When people start to question our belief in Christ, it helps to point out that the full name of our church, the one that “LDS” actually stands for, is first and foremost the Church of Jesus Christ.
So why the media uproar?
If you’re wondering why the media is up in arms about the recent “cult” insult, you need look no further than the elections forthcoming in 2012. With a “Mormon” potentially on the ballot, the question of religion comes in to play, especially with a large base of Christians in our country as possible voters. Each candidate wants to get their share of the action, and often it comes at the expense of the other candidate’s personal beliefs.
Still, it is important to remember that “Mormons” have a long history of being involved with civil matters in the USA and elsewhere. In some sense, we feel it our duty to be involved personally with the countries in which we live. We are encouraged to be active participants, but never told how to vote, think or act. This is evidenced very clearly by a variety of different Mormon politicians and leaders over time. You can learn about a few of them on this website that I found.
Mormons: Christians, Politicians…. People.
Regardless of the hype, the reality of all this is that Mormons are just average folks: Christians, Politicians, Mechanics, Sportsmen, Inventors, Teachers, Farmers, Police… People. We, like any other group of people, have our share of members in all walks of life. But in an election year, you can bet your lunch that since people don’t necessarily know much about us, any Mormon candidate will have to introduce the public to our Church, and it won’t be made easy by the competition.
If you have more questions about Mormonism, please feel free to ask them here!