What’s This Mormon Thing?

Hostile Anti-Mormon posts subject to editing or deletion

Pastoral Behavior – Not Theology

Posted by JLFuller on August 25, 2008

I am legitimately criticized for having a less than respectful opinion of a major part of traditional Christianity’s pastors. I have formed my opinion based on their behavior not their theology. In my mind, I have a picture of a high school graduate who couldn’t get accepted into a real four year college where he would be taught how to think and had to settle on the trade school version called bible college where he was taught only what to think. My opinion is based on my experience with many such people. I was a case officer in a government agency and interacted professionally with many of these folks. I have to say it was a mixed bag of experiences and some left me with a very distasteful opinion of their abilities.

 

These less than well educated leaders in the traditional Christian, (read Evangelical) community are the people who created the bulk of anti-Mormon sentiments extant. It takes only a little effort to find out what Mormons actually believe but yet they continue to regurgitate the old, lame, uninformed pap that was thrown at us by their grandfathers. I have said that if these people are bound and determined to hate us anyway they should at least get our theology and practices right. It’s kind of like the cop who tells the father of the perpetrator he arrested that if he is going to sue make sure he gets the name right.

 

Oddly enough, these same denominations are the churches of the slave owners of the Old South, modern segregationists and supporters of the Ku Klux Klan. They have a visceral reaction to Mormons, Jews, Indians, Catholics and others they perceive as undesirables. The Southern Baptists for example, have a laundry list of churches that are OK to hate. They actually teach this crap from the pulpit. They have an online book store with 26 pages of hate filled derogatory offerings for sale to their adherents.  It is unsettling to me as an American that so many look to these people for leadership. You will notice that none of what I said was theological in nature but rather are comments on officially sanctioned behaviors.

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11 Responses to “Pastoral Behavior – Not Theology”

  1. kjelllee said

    I read your comments and I can’t find it nowhere in the bible that God has a group of people that are undesirables. My bible says clearly that God is no respecter of persons, that wants all to be saved and that he wants no one to go lost. Isn’t it wonderful the God loves the world? That we as pastors, can proclaim that wonderful message?

    Pastor Kjell Lee (if you want to, take a look at my podcast on: http://www.kjelllee.org)

  2. JLFuller said

    kjelllee
    That is thet basis for my comment too. It is the behavior of these uninformed leaders that is so anti-thetical to Christ’s message. Thanks for your comments.

  3. JLFuller said

    Many Evangelical leaders have cogent and important things to say that are applicable in everyone’s life. Of course not all agree with each other let alone us Mormons. But when it comes to discussing LDS leadership, history or theology it is like Satan takes over and some of the most awful and villainous hate spews forth from their mouths. I have to wonder whether their other words have any value.

    I once went into a Christian book store and asked for an album by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and was told very abruptly, by an otherwise apparently decent woman, that they would not carry such a thing that they only carried Christian products. The look on her face was indeed hateful. She went from kind and inviting to mean and derogatory in an instant. That is not unlike many such encounters I have had with these so called Christians. Other LDS members have other such stories and some have even suffered physical attacks. You should read what some of the “Christian” websites have to say about us.

    I have never commented unfavorably about those people who took the time to listen to or read what we really believe. Pastor Greg Johnson is one fine pastor of a Baptist Church in Utah who makes an honest attempt to understand our theology and accurately relate to others what we believe without all the infamy of others. I don’t agree with his assessment and understanding but I do respect him as a man and leader in his church and the community.

  4. jackg said

    Hi JLF, it’s been a while since I’ve been here. I appreciate this article. I have to agree with you, and that is an issue addressed at the Bible college I attend; in fact, the first year is spent weeding out those who are only doing it because they are looking for what they seem to think is an easy lifestyle, or because it’s expeted of them. However, I also want to add that there are new pastors being trained up in the Word to serve their community with a sense of respect for all other faith groups. I hope you can understand that even though tolerance of what others believe is important for us to treat each other with the respect and dignity that everyone deserves does not mean that a Christian leader will not stand up against those things which are considered to be heretical teachings, which is how Mormon teachings are perceived to be, right or wrong.

  5. JLFuller said

    It is good to hear from you again. At least I know your new bride hasn’t loaded you up with such a honey-do list that you have no time for us.

    I suppsose you wonder why I was picking on bible colleges. As I understand it, most are just two year programs aimed at training students for community level placement. The paucity of training in deeper studies of comparative religion and research theory leaves graduates unworthy to do more than administer on a congrgational level. But that doesn’t seem to stop them from makng sweeping and woefully inacccurate statements such as we see most anti-Mormon commenters make. Such comments really are bearing false witness. Anytime an instructor fails to acknowledge the other side of a story he is inviting such behaviors and is, in my opinion, complicit. That doesn’t mean gradutates of four-year schools are immune from such behaviors. It just seems the two year variety are prone to generating more heat than light.

  6. JLFuller said

    I have given the subject of Evangelicals much thought recently. I was preturbed my almost total lack of sympathy for Evangelicals. I think my feelings are rooted in their brutal dishonesty. I engaged in a little mental exercise of a word game I used to use when I had a caseload. I compiled a list of the first words that came to my mind when I thought about Evangelicals. Even though it was only a mental list, the first word that came to mind was nasty. Other words were liar, satanic, lazy and evil. Dishonest is another one. I stopped after that. I recognized my mind is so poisoned by my personal experience with Evangelicals and others who make the hollow claim of “Christian” that all the exercise did was raise my anger to a point where I had to force my self to think of something else. I think it is something you should keep in mind Jackg. The lesson is that too little an understanding of theology in the hands of a mean- spirited and ignorant man is a dangerous weapon. It can have lasting implications.

  7. JLFuller said

    The implication is that while the ignorant man may think he is exercising legitimate theological expression, he really has so little understanding of the subject that he does not realise he has left religion and jumped into the bad behavior sewer we see at so many anti-Mormon/Evangelical churches.

  8. jackg said

    2-year colleges is another story. Also, there is a difference between accredited and non-accredited. Most 2-years, I believe, fall in the latter category. And, thanks for welcoming me back. Married life is grand!!!

    I think most people can’t get out of the rut of folk theology. As with everything, there is bad theology and there’s good theology.

  9. JLFuller said

    I suppose there is. There are many fine schools of theology that emphasize thinking over reacting. Accreditation surely plays a role. I read an online article about some high profile Television religionists and where they were trained. It seems that they paid their money and got the diploma by return mail or something of the sort. I also watched a 700 Club presentation of a woman who had a hell experience. She related how she had been LDS, committed suicide and went to hell but was resuscitated and came back to life. The implication being that her LDS religion was why she was condemned – not her suicide. She said she had Baptist neighbors who had saved her from Mormonism and now she will go to heaven. This was obviously a very troubled woman with some deep seated emotional problems who was exploited for the propaganda value of her anti-Mormon comments. The real danger is if/when she tries suicide again she may think her new found religious doctrine will save her. You and I know it won’t. Any thinking persona knows that by giving this poor woman cover of a new theology will only lessen her resistance to suicide again. That is about the ugliest and most irresponsible thing any human being can do to another. You can go to YouTube to see it for yourself. It is unbelievable.

  10. Ray Zielinski said

    I read the comments and pondered on them as i ran over my own experiences with people outside the church. I have found that many of them are crude and rude and many of them aren’t. The one’s who are so rude you have to let loose of because they suffer from a learning disorder. I know if i can sit down and talk with an (evangelical)or anyone else that is what we term anti-Mormon and they are really just people who are uninformed we can settle a lot of issues very quickly and we both come off with a different of each other then originally thought.
    But if they are the hate-filled doesn’t care what you say person then realize your spinning your wheels and wasting your time and their’s. They don’t know what Christianity is or do they care to find out what it is.
    I have found many times their belief is based on fear. Think on this; all your life you are told you are going to heaven no matter what you do. And now you hear that is not the case and your life style and choices have to do with your salvation. Their world as they know it is shaking. It hits them harder then we realize. So, now they strike out with whatever comes to their mind to keep that from becoming a reality.
    There are many things that could be said but the main thing to say is, Hi! how are you, my name is ?, what’s your’s and start as friends and let it go from there. At one time or another you and your friend will talk about religion and beliefs but it will be under a different type of circumstances because you are friends. Sounds tough but it works.

  11. JLFuller said

    Thanks for the comment. You are correct about the difficulty in dealing with ex-Mormons who feel compelled to make comments about us. Readers should remember that these are ex-members for a reason. Being excommunicated is a traumatic event for the person as well as his loved ones. Many can’t seem to ever get past the shame and anger of the experience even though they were the reason it happened. No one is ever ex’d for no reason. Readers should understand the person is given every opportunity to get back into full fellowship by admitting their error, making amends to those they offended against and through repentance. Some may claim to have left the church for “intellectual honesty” reasons which is more often than not cover for something else. Quite often it is a sex or criminal offense. Others may have taken umbrage with Church officials over personal interpretation of doctrine. It happens occasionally. The Church is not for everyone and attempts to interpret doctrine to fit one’s personal beliefs and preferences leads to an opportunity to find another church.

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