Mormons and evangelicals, again. Sigh.

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CanceledYesterday I got a surprising voice mail message from the organizer of the Flunking Sainthood retreat I am supposed to lead this coming Saturday. The retreat was canceled, the message said. “Oh, darn!” I thought.  Not only was I looking forward to meeting the women I had prepared my material for – with sessions on lectio divina, Sabbath-keeping, and gratitude — but I felt sorry for the organizer.

She had already had to reschedule the retreat from its original February date because of weather. I wondered if they were canceling because it had just proven too hard to reconfigure all of the various components that make for a successful retreat –- you have to renegotiate the availability of the venue, the musicians, even the PowerPoint tech dude. It’s kind of a nightmare to reschedule any long-planned event.

But when I returned her call this morning I found out it wasn’t a logistical problem at all. I was the problem. They were canceling this retreat because they found out that my religion is “drastically different” from their own.

They canceled the retreat because I am a Mormon.

My initial response was shock. After nearly a year of planning this retreat, they’re canceling now? For this?

(And how could they not know from a two-second Google search that I am Mormon? It’s not like I’ve tried to be stealthy about my faith. I co-wrote Mormonism for Dummies, for heaven’s sake.)

But any shock and anger I felt soon dissolved into pure sadness. What a thing. These people are willing to sacrifice all the effort and expense they’ve put in to planning this retreat (yes, I am still getting paid since I did all the prep work) because they’re just now noticing the Scarlet M emblazoned on my chest. The organizer told me that the church leaders had determined that I was not an “appropriate” person to be a leader at a Christian event. She sounded sad about it too.

I hope I managed to be polite on the phone. I was crying by the end and trying not to show it. I do remember saying that part of the ministry God has called me to is to help build bridges between Mormonism and other Christian denominations. I’m married to a Protestant. We are raising our daughter as a Protestant. I speak at Protestant churches and retreat centers all the time, and I’m grateful for the many blessings I enjoy there (like terrific preaching, which frankly we don’t get a lot of in Mormonism).

But in this case, somebody blew up the bridge before I even arrived. If I’m mad about anything, it’s that whoever made this decision did not have the courage to sit down and talk about it with me beforehand.

When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window, right? This sad impasse brings to mind another opportunity that came to me a couple of weeks ago. Last month I was asked to be part of the ongoing Mormon-evangelical dialogues that have been taking place over the course of many years at Fuller Theological Seminary and BYU. The group is made up of scholars from both traditions and has resulted in some of the best books available about the differences and similarities between Mormons and evangelicals, including How Wide the Divide? from InterVarsity Press and Richard Mouw’s Talking with Mormons: An Invitation to Evangelicals.

The dialogue group has been fruitful on both sides. An evangelical friend of mine who was in the conversation for more than a decade told me how much his view of Mormonism expanded and became more nuanced over time. He realized, for example, that evangelicals had mischaracterized Mormon ideas about grace; I can guess that the Mormons in the group confronted how LDS claims to exclusive truth can sound pretty hollow outside the faith.

More than any theological advances, I think the scholars who’ve been involved in the dialogues thus far would point to the lasting friendships that have developed over the years between members of two groups that have historically mistrusted one another. I’m looking forward to being part of that.

Don’t get me wrong. There are real theological differences between Mormons and evangelicals, but there’s far more that we share, resting on a mutual belief in the Savior, Jesus Christ. And the way that we suss out those differences and core similarities is not by fearfully calling off an opportunity for us to address them, or by labeling each other.

The way to do it is that we sit down together. We break bread together. And we talk it out.







  • Cwc

    Oh Jana. This bums me out hard. What a loss for them.

  • Nathan

    You are a trooper. You are an inspiration. You model how to “be” in the world in the midst of misunderstanding.

  • Bobbie

    Close to 20 years ago, one of my sister-in-laws attended a Christian retreat (held at a Christian retreat center) with several other women in her ward. When the woman leading one of the sessions asked for a volunteer for a prayer, my SIL volunteered–only to be turned down b/c she was LDS. Stories like yours remind me we still have VERY far to go before we can say the majority of evangelicals view us as people whose prayers God would bother listening to. I’m humbled by your continued efforts. I don’t know that I would be so gracious in your shoes.

  • Sandy

    I’m so sorry, Jana. How disappointing. Flunking Sainthood (the book) was my first exposure to your work, and I actually spent the first several chapters puzzling over your religion. “She’s not talking like a Mormon, but something about her just *seems* Mormon,” I thought. Like you said, all it took was a few seconds of Googling answered the question. I love your example drawing the best from all faith traditions and looking for common ground with other believers, whether it be in your personal life, at work, or on the internet. Thank you for the work you do in this sphere, and for being the person you are.

  • Laurie M-K

    Sad to say, the timing of the cancellation makes me suspect that someone further up the chain of command got wind of your membership and pulled the plug. Intolerance drives a lot of this, but fear of other people’s intolerance drives it, too. We Christians could use a little more bravery in reaching beyond our own little cocoons . . . I’m sorry.

  • Saskia

    as a non Mormon Christian living in Utah, I have experienced this in reverse, and it is hard. I’m sorry, Jana. Here’s to more bridges and less chasms.

  • Marcia

    Christians: proud to take you back to the 19th century.

  • Shelley

    That stinks. Their loss, for sure.

  • heather b from sc

    I’m so sorry. We have neighbors who have forbidden their kids to play with ours, softball leagues who won’t let us join, so much here in the South. I am always more amazed by the bridge builders than I am by the burners. You keep on building!!!

  • Fred M

    Sad news. So sorry to hear this. Fear and ignorance. We don’t hear much (or at all) from people of other faiths at our sacrament meetings/firesides either, I must admit. And we could definitely benefit from it, as the women at the retreat would have benefited from hearing you.

  • LRL

    Hi Jana, I’m so sorry to hear this. As a non Mormon Christian, I would have loved to have been apart of this retreat to sit and hear your wonderful thoughts and ideas on the subjects you listed. While I recognize the differences between Mormons and evangelicals (and still consider myself a Protestant Christian), I can honestly say that my religious experience has been hugely blessed as a result of studying and meditating upon LDS teachings and theology. The standard evangelical position toward Latter Day Saints continues to sadden me. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your dialogue at Fuller Theological Seminary. I would love to read/watch/hear whatever kind of discussion you participate in. Please keep us updated! Thanks, and many blessings to you.

  • Anthony N. Emmel

    I am so sorry to hear this. I’m roman Catholic myself, but I attended a Sunday service back in October out of curiosity. LDS members were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met; I’m pretty sure every adult present that morning took the time to come by before or after the service to come by and welcome me. In the study afterwards, my input was allowed in the discussions, even knowing me as an outsider.

    I just can’t believe people treated you
    like this.

  • Joel J Campbell

    Dear Jana:
    Thanks for your gracious response. This, like your earlier column, about “excommunicating” someone because of a preconceived notions helps us dig past our false barriers, stereotypes and misunderstandings. I recently took a group of students on a Sunday morning tour of churches and a Buddhist temple. I ask the students to not go seeking something to criticize, but to admire. Someone heard about my visit and said “don’t lose your testimony.” In fact, our visits strengthened faith. Keep up the good work despite the down days.
    Joel Campbell

  • Old Guy

    “They were canceling this retreat because they found out that my religion is “drastically different” from their own.”

    It was pretty rude of this group to cancel your slot, but it’s good they paid you for your work.

    I find it reasonable the organizers didn’t know Jana was Mormon. As this is an Evangelical conference, it’s reasonable for the organizers to assume Jana is an Evangical Christian.

    Evangelical Christians tend toward the conservative side and a conservative definition of Christianity. It is likely that Mormonism falls outside this conservative definition.

    It’s important (to paraphrase Covey) that we “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.” It may be disappointing, but it’s important to think about the organizers’ perspective, and see things from their point of view.

    It’s also a learning experience. In the future, when signing up for a conference, it might be wise for Jana to state her affiliation up front or include a bio, rather than assume the event organizers know her.

  • Tim

    It sounds like the event organizer probably knew and didn’t think it was a problem, but that some higher-up who was not involved with setting up the program eventually found out and put a stop to it. It’s not like Jana’s trying to hide the fact that she’s LDS; a quick and simple internet search would reveal that fact.

    I’m sorry the event didn’t take place; I imagine many of the other people who hoped to participate are also disappointed. It’s always a shame when this sort of thing happens.

  • MacGregor of Glencoe

    Take courage lassie,

    Matthew 5:10-13
    Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
    Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

  • Rich

    Their loss for sure. I regard you as one of the brightest of our rising stars, a true prophetess, inspired and inspiring.

  • Richard

    One of the sweetest comforts of the gospel`s eternal perspective is that everyone here, or who has ever been here, is in a state of more or less forgetfulness of their having chosen to follow Jesus’ plan. We dimy sense those core issues of agency, redemption, and brotherly love in whatever faith we find or that finds us in our blink of a lifetime. He knows our souls so much more completely than we even knows ourselves. We are forever His witting or not disciples. He is forever as He has always been, especially His complete love for each of us, by whatever names we may call Him. To do likewise is ALL that He asks of us. Go forth and prosper, oh fountain of loving goodness — and that “force” (His love) be with you.

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  • trytoseeitmyway

    I hope no one will be shocked if I write something positive and affirming here. 🙂

    I was raised by evangelical parents in evangelical churches. Their beliefs (my parents’ and the churches’, all the same) were mine into my adult years.

    It is a constant, regular, ongoing source of distress for me to witness how readily, happily and enthusiastically reject. malign and disparage fellow believers in the divinity and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I do remember seeing “Mormonism” on the list of “cults,” a list that could also include Catholicism depending on who was compiling the list. But I *don’t* remember being taught to treat even the worst sinner in the way that some so-called evangelicals are pleased to treat Mormons. It is shameful and it reveals the hollowness within evangelical theology and practice.

    My question at the top of this post has to do with the fact that I have been quite critical of many of Ms. Riess’s columns. I suppose that I will be again. But not today. Today, I sympathize with her for the shoddy treatment she has received at the hands of some of my own former coreligionists. It’s a sad thing.

  • Dave

    This is exactly why I don’t understand Mormons that lean to the political Christian Right. They don’t just dislike us, they hate us. They are as Christian to us as we are to homosexuals. Wait until the new law passes in Utah. It will be fun to see Mormons, so happy they can fire homosexuals, get fired by Protestants that are just as bigoted as they are.

  • John W


    Which “savior Jesus Christ” is it of which you speak?

    Is it the transcendent, eternal Supreme Being of the Bible, 2nd Person of the Trinity, the exalted and all-powerful YHWH, who declares that “before Me no god was former nor shall there be any after Me (Isa 43:10)?

    Or is it the highly evolved alien from Kolob, current but not last exalted deity to run off the LDS production line?

    It seems that neither you nor anyone else on this thread thinks the difference matters but I certainly do.

    And so does He.

  • Craig Blomberg

    You’re joining our group? Fabulous! So sorry about your experience. It’s most likely not based on malice, just on ignorance.

  • This story prompted me to share a couple of examples from some open-minded Protestants that I found enlightening recently…

    An initially skeptical Baptist Preacher, Lynn Ridenhour, agreed to accept a copy of the Book of Mormon from someone out of politeness, but not believing the person giving it to him was a Christian. This was his experience:

    “… he handed me a Book of Mormon. So, before I know what I’m saying, I said, ‘But sir, THAT’S a Book of Mormon!’ and he said yes, and then I said, ‘but I thought this was a Christian community.’ …I mean, I have a lot of bias. I grew up very with a very conservative Baptist background. And he said, ‘Oh, we’re a Christian community, but we also believe in that book.’ Well, the bottom line was simply, when he left, I took it out of courtesy.

    I did not get out of the first page—totally, as we say here in Missouri, sideswiped by God. When I read ‘I Nephi having been born of goodly parents,’ I knew. I really did. I knew that I was reading God’s word. And I kept looking for the weird stuff and I would read through Nephi, and then 2nd Nephi, and I did. You know, we were taught some… I call them ‘caricature’ beliefs regarding the Book of Mormon, and I did not find one thing that contradicted the Bible. In fact, sometimes I tell my Baptist buddies that the Book of Mormon is more Baptist than the Baptist hymnal —and it is in places. It really is. It’s jammed packed full of what I call ‘cardinal themes’ of Protestantism.

    I’ve been invited to speak in Baptist churches and Pentecostal churches, and the way I present the Book of Mormon is essentially, that is Christ-centered. So whether or not you’re a Baptist or a Methodist or a Pentecostal or whatever, I approach it through the lens that the same Jesus that I met as an 11-year-old lad in the Baptist Church I discovered in this book. That’s my approach. It’s the centrality of the Lord Jesus Christ. I tell my Baptist friends, I feel like I’ve been born again, again.”

    And there’s more. Consider this interesting commentary from Stephen Webb, a Catholic Theologian / Professor of Religious Studies & Philosophy at Wabash College:

    “I had knowledge about Mormonism before, but I hadn’t quite realized just how Christ-soaked the Book of Mormon is. You open the book and you’re expecting history stories, but what you don’t know unless you really read it is that Jesus is in it from front to middle to end— and that the book is deeply theological. I think the Book of Mormon gives us more of Jesus Christ, not less. And I don’t think it gives us a different Jesus Christ. It’s like a supplement—like vitamins added to your regular meal. Yes, the stories are important. There are these narratives in the Book of Mormon, but the narratives are all deeply theological and they all point to Jesus Christ. In fact, every character in the Book of Mormon is either being taught about Jesus or is teaching others about Jesus…”

    You can hear these commentaries the new documentary “A New Day for the Book of Mormon.” Non-Mormons sharing their thoughts about the “Jesus” found in the Book of Mormon. Watch it and decide for yourself. These people had always been told one thing and discovered another by simply reading it. Here’s hoping the organizers of the cancelled conference will one day give Jana a second chance!

  • LMJ

    Why is this an issue? Would you expect the group to welcome Jehovah’s Witnesses as speakers? Would the LDS church invite an Evangelical to speak at a General Conference? True, Ravi Zacharias spoke at the tabernacle, but he wasn’t there stating that he was a Mormon. He is very clear that Mormonism is not Christian.

  • Charles

    You should immediately send a press release to the Salt Lake Tribune and New York Times, There should be a press conference and a candle light vigil…no, I think your graceful response was much better.

  • Cordeiro

    And Brad wins today’s award for best nuanced comment. Somebody get this man a cable channel.

  • There are major differences about what Mormonism teaches about grace and what the Scriptures teach about grace.

  • There are major differences about what Mormonism teaches about grace and what the Scriptures teach about grace.

  • Read the blog and find the major differences between Mormonism’s definition of grace and Scriptures definition of grace.

  • Ira

    Nothing new, weren’t liked in the first round either.
    Acts 28:22

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    I am sorry to hear that you have been discriminated against by Mormon neighbors. I hope you understand, for example by reading Jana’s blog, that Mormons are not taught to do that, but quite the opposite, are taught to love all of our neighbors. In my community here in Washington State, we make specific efforts to do that with the members of our Mormon wards and stakes. We as families filled and donated boxes of food supplies to stock the local Salvation Army shelter. We devoted a day a couple of months ago to doing home repairs and maintenance for people not physically able to do things, including for a retired scientist who, I learned, had served a number of International missions for his Methodist church, and I had a wondrrful opportunity to compare mission experiences. Two weeks ago we donated blood for the Red Cross.

  • Seth R.

    I’m a bit confused by your first couple paragraphs.

    Is Flunking Sainthood an Evangelical gathering? I thought it was the name of your Mormon-themed blog.

    Or was it the venue owners who where Evangelical and refused to host a Mormon-themed gathering?

    I couldn’t exactly tell from your article whether a venue owner denied to host the gathering, or whether the event itself kicked you out.

  • Jana, I am an evangelical Christian scholar who has published materials that critique the LDS religion, and I am embarrassed by what happened to you. Since you can’t be specific about the context of the canceled retreat, it’s difficult to comment on the way the matter was handled. If the retreat was sponsored by an evangelical church or organization and was understood to be a specifically evangelical function, you probably should not have been invited in the first place. There’s no excuse, though, for them failing to address the matter until the last minute.

    There can be much value in evangelicals and Mormons engaging in dialogue and becoming friends. That doesn’t mean the local LDS ward is likely to invite me to speak at one of their retreats or that the local Baptist church is likely to invite one of my Mormon friends to be the speaker at one of its retreats. That fact is not evidence of intolerance on either side, but only reflects the real differences between our two forms of Christianity. Again, though, the way your situation was handled was apparently inept and unfortunate.

  • Bob

    I was a non-Mormon in Utah and I never experienced discrimination of this kind. In fact, I was asked to say prayers in meetings. I eventually joined the LDS church and I am still asked to say prayers. Nothing has changed:)

  • JTL

    It is time for Evangelicals to overcome their irrational fear/hatred of Mormons. The world is growing more evil at an alarming rate. We do ourselves and God a major disservice when different sects have skirmishes over different beliefs. We need to unite – regardless of doctrinal differences – to push forth goodness, righteousness, and humbly stand together as followers of Christ.

  • Oh, dear, it appears that my comment didn’t make it. Shall I try again?

  • JLS

    All this “common ground” stuff ignores the truth of the matter. We would be better served by following Joseph Fielding McConkie’s approach as outlined in his book Here We Stand:

    Have you ever been tempted to downplay the Joseph Smith story and focus instead on “common ground” while telling a nonmember about the Church?

    In Here We Stand, Joseph Fielding McConkie explains that as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are the recipients of the glorious message of the First Vision and the glorious record of the Book of Mormon. To downplay them—indeed, to fail to emphasize them—is to undermine the very foundation of our faith.

    Within the pages of this book, Brother McConkie

    testifies of the reality of the Prophet Joseph’s spiritual manifestations and
    explains why a restoration rather than a reformation was necessary to reestablish Christ’s church
    points out the inconsistency of accepting ancient prophets while denying the divinely appointed mission of Joseph Smith
    shows the proper role of the Bible in declaring the message of the Restoration
    illustrates the spiritual power involved in answering questions from the revelations of the Restoration
    explains how to avoid the war of words and the tumult of opinion and to stand instead in the light of revelation

    Brother McConkie confirms the importance of declaring all that we have received, beginning with the First Vision: “Such is the message that we have been commissioned to take to the earth. To be faithful in that labor brings with it the promise of honor, glory, immortality, and eternal life; conversely, failure to be true to that divine commission places us under condemnation.”

    That gets to the heart of the matter as it disarms critics and avoids the spirit of contention. Brother McConkie encourages members of the Church to appreciate the strength of the Church’s claim and to teach it more boldly:

    “The way we answer questions about our faith ought to be by finding the quickest and most direct route to the Sacred Grove. That is our ground. It is sacred ground. And it is here we stand.”

  • Katherine

    First post of mine on your “more women should post on Flunk Sainthood” initiative.

    I am deeply saddened by this. You have my prayers to be comforted.

    Someday I hope to write about Mormonism in the Bible Belt so I’ll see how that goes.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    I have recently been quite critical of Jana Riess, but not today. Today she has my sincere sympathy. I was raised by evangelical parents in evangelical churches. Many years later, I am embarrassed at how some of my former coreligionists conduct themselves toward fellow believers in Christ.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    It is possible to have political views which affirm liberty without joining in anyone’s religious bigotry, left or right.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    It’s kind of you to use the phrase, “two forms of Christianity.” Many of your fellows would recoil at it. You’re right that dialog and even friendship is of value and should be possible.

    No one from outside the particular faith should expect to speak at a meeting *of* that faith. But it is irksome when churches consciously hold interdenominational events but draw the circle with Mormons outside.

  • Old Guy

    In my personal opinion, it’s not so much fear/dislike as reasonable exclusion. For example, suppose a martial arts association organized a conference for judo instructors, and a karate instructor signed up to speak. Well, both are martial arts, and there’s some overlap between judo and karate, but it would seem reasonable to me for the organizers to pass on the karate instructor. I think that’s what happened here, though it ought to have been handled a lot more courteously.

  • Sheryl

    Jana, I’m so sorry this happened. In defense of evangelicals, I’ve been a Mormon in a small town in the deep South for over twenty years, and I’ve never seen a Protestant behave so unkindly. I hope this is a fluke, and that you have better experiences in the future.
    I’m surprised that several commenters believe that Latter-day Saints don’t listen to people of other faiths in our meetings. My stake regularly invites ministers from other churches to speak at interfaith activities. One of my favorite memories is sitting in my stake center beside Catholic friends while we listened to a black Baptist choir. We also took our youth to a synagogue so they could listen to a rabbi explain Judaism. (My youth were quoting the rabbi for months afterwards.)
    Less formally, every month, leaders of my congregation announce that anyone in the building is welcome to come to the podium and speak during Fast and Testimony meeting. We’ve had a variety of non-member visitors take us up on the offer to share their beliefs, feelings, and experiences. Their remarks have always been appropriate and welcome.

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  • Try, here’s an opportunity to clear up a misunderstanding that stems from a difference in our beliefs. Evangelicals do not subscribe to the claim that “the faith” is the sole province of a particular denomination, or that each denomination is a separate “faith.” We also don’t claim that only one denomination is the only true and living church on the earth today. We take the position (to state the idea somewhat simply) that any denomination that holds the same basic beliefs about God, humanity, sin, and salvation is a legitimate part of the Christian church. This means that evangelicals are comfortable with interdenominational gatherings that serve purposes for which Christians of those different denominations can make common cause. On the other hand, religious organizations or groups that espouse radically different beliefs on those basic issues fall naturally outside “the circle,” as you put it, with regard to events intended to promote the common beliefs and values of orthodox or more narrowly evangelical Christians. So such events would also “exclude” Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, and even liberal Episcopalians. One does not hear about these people being “excluded” from evangelical functions only because they rarely seek to be included in them. Mormons, on the other hand, often do seek to be included in such interdenominational events.

    I will say that I have read about events that were “interfaith” in such a broad context that there was no rational basis for excluding Mormons, and yet that happened. I don’t condone such inconsistent treatment.

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  • TomW

    Jana, you asked “how could they not know from a two-second Google search that I am Mormon? It’s not like I’ve tried to be stealthy about my faith. I co-wrote Mormonism for Dummies, for heaven’s sake.”

    I suppose that there are some in certain corners of Christendom to whom the title “Mormonism for Dummies” might suggest a primer for those who are new to anti-Mormon social media crusades rather than the attempt of a Mormon to explain the basics of her faith.

    As for stories of denominational exclusion, I once lived in a part of Southern California where our ward had a regular turn among several local churches in feeding the homeless. Somewhere along the way someone decided that by permitting Latter-day Saints to participate in this Christian act of charity, they were sending a false signal that the other denominations were granting tacit recognition of the LDS church as also being Christian, so we were summarily dropped.

    There are many areas where Evangelical Christians and Latter-day Saints are well aligned, such as with myriad social issues which come before the electorate, but it has been disheartening for me to see how certain pastors can be your friend one day when it serves their purposes to tap into the organizational power and fundraising prowess of their LDS neighbors, but then stab these allies in the back when one of their own happens to run for political office.

    It was a treat to see Craig Blomberg posting in the comments. “How Wide The Divide” is one of my favorite religious books.

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  • trytoseeitmyway

    Rob, you replied to me a number of days ago – and I only noticed it now. Please excuse my neglect in the meantime.

    A former evangelical myself, I understand exactly what you’re saying. In evangelical circles, organizations or activities can and will cut across denominational lines without quite being “interfaith” organizations or activities. This is almost a necessary result of the balkanization of Protestantism and the resulting multiplicity of denominations.

    Regrettably, this does lead – you might agree with me – to ongoing conversations within the “us” group about who is “us” versus who is “them.” (And evangelicals have a really very distressing tendency to call the “us” group “Christians,” and to call the “them” group by other names entirely. That’s something else I find irksome.)

    You’re right that I am in no position to dictate who they should think “us” is. But I would wish that people who believe firmly in the divinity and atonement of Jesus Christ; that He was sent by His Father that the wold, through Him, might be saved; and that the Bible is the word of God could qualify. It is regrettable not only that you all don’t agree but that also you invent names to call us (like “cult”) and that you treat us like Cousin Eddie if we show up at your parties.

  • Try, you wrote: “But I would wish that people who believe firmly in the divinity and atonement of Jesus Christ; that He was sent by His Father that the wold, through Him, might be saved; and that the Bible is the word of God could qualify.” Again, if each group is allowed to redefine terminology to suit their own beliefs, all sorts of groups would “qualify’ that no one thinks twice about excluding, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christian Scientists.

    Defining “us” as in “us evangelicals” may involve some judgment calls, but excluding Mormonism from evangelicalism is a no-brainer. We don’t need to do or say anything to exclude Mormons. You have already done that yourselves. Your scriptures proclaim that we are apostates. Your missionaries target us for conversion. Your prophets and apostles declare us to be shrouded in spiritual darkness. Your religion claims to be the one true church on the earth today. It is ludicrous for Mormons to make these claims and then cry foul when evangelical churches don’t include Mormons in their religious functions.

  • Seth R.

    I’d still like to hear back from you whether it was the event organizers or the venue owners who objected to your presence at the gathering.

  • Old Guy

    Rob, thanks so much for your comment. It expresses my thinking perfectly. I also like the website you linked. I had not seen it before. It explains things clearly, concisely, and without equivocation. Well done!

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Oh dear. You’re absolutely right that there are some significant theological differences. Since I was raised in evangelical churches, I am well aware of them. You tendentiously overstate them here, sadly, but I know of differences. I guess I just wish we could emphasize commonalities now and then. If we’re all trying to be disciples of Jesus Christ, we should consider acting like it.

  • Wendy

    Potentially sexist: “PowerPoint tech dude”

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