mordorbund

How Wide the Divide? A dialogue with theplains

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I've started this thread so @theplains can engage more fully with saints without derailing other threads with his favorite topics. The title is deliberate. I am hoping that theplains and fellow saints can communicate and understand each other's position with convicted civility, leaving room for holy envy (if you don't know what this means, maybe start by asking @prisonchaplain).

With that in mind, the rules are as follows:

  • All the forum rules (duh). So keep in mind that this is not a place to disparage the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nor to disparage the beliefs of others. The goal is to understand and be understood.

Some guidelines to foster this atmosphere:

  • When embarking on a new topic, start with a steel man not a straw man.
  • Do not move forward until both parties concede that the steel man is accurate.
  • Since theplains is by himself in this forum, he can call out one of the regulars to interact with him (this prevents him from feeling ganged up on, and allows for a more singular and coherent discussion than often happens with multiple posters and multiple view points).
    • "@mordorbund, let's talk about Anti-Nephi-Lehies".
    • Of course mordorbund can decline if he doesn't feel like he can do the topic justice.
    • Others may chime in, but they are treated as youtube comments. Neither party has to respond or acknowledge these comments, or they may freely quote them if they feel it contributes to the discussion.
    • theplains may call out another person to engage in the conversation. I would recommend not dialoguing with more than 2 at a time for the reasons given above, but these are just guidelines.
  • Both parties should acknowledge that the topic has run its course before starting a new one.

Some topics raised in the past that might be worth discussing:

  • Soteriology - what does it take to be saved
  • The Nature of God - Who is He and what is our relationship to Him?
  • The Fall
  • Epistemology - how do we know truth?

 

What do you say theplains? Before getting started are there any guidelines you would add? @prisonchaplain you're the resident expert at this, anything you would add?

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A couple of guidelines that have served me well:

1. Ask open questions. In other words, be ready listen to actual answers, and do not assume to already know what the answers will be.

2. Believe that the Holy Spirit convicts and converts. Let Him. Members are believing the same thing, of course. So, post truth in love and sincerity, and with openness. As an example, I have been allowed to share Assemblies of God perspectives here--even on matters like speaking in tongues. Why? Because, I've tried to engage sincerely and honestly, and then some posters were truly curious about my take on matters. With over 90% here being lurkers, we never know who gets blessed by our words. We'll never get to post them though, if we are abrupt, or if we fail to let Holy Spirit do his work.

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How do we help members of the Latter Day Saints and members of the Christian Denominations connect....I am intentionally using this language....  Although the LDS are now considered Christian there is still a wide gulf... How do we build bridges?... The Christian and the Latter Day Saints really need to talk....Open discourse and discussion....

It seems difficult on both sides of the aisle.... It doesn't matter whom I talk to from either camp, if you will, resistance.... Christians....everyone can be saved but the Mormons..... Mormons go....yeah well, you Christians THINK you know it all, but you're idiots......Sigh.....Everyone wants their special status as God's saving grace...can you see how stupid it all is when Christ came, died and rose again for ALL!

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21 hours ago, Word Chasing said:

How do we help members of the Latter Day Saints and members of the Christian Denominations connect....I am intentionally using this language....  Although the LDS are now considered Christian there is still a wide gulf... How do we build bridges?... The Christian and the Latter Day Saints really need to talk....Open discourse and discussion....

It seems difficult on both sides of the aisle.... It doesn't matter whom I talk to from either camp, if you will, resistance.... Christians....everyone can be saved but the Mormons..... Mormons go....yeah well, you Christians THINK you know it all, but you're idiots......Sigh.....Everyone wants their special status as God's saving grace...can you see how stupid it all is when Christ came, died and rose again for ALL!

In this discussion, it is pretty simple.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have it written in black and white on their Articles of Faith that:

We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

 

So, as you can see, we don't want no special status, we desire for all people to join us in the eternities.  This is really what got me very curious about the LDS faith when I married my LDS husband (who I thought was going to convert to Catholicism).  I asked him, do you think I'm going to hell?  And he answered that he has a greater chance of going to hell than me.

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On 11/25/2018 at 10:41 AM, Word Chasing said:

How do we help members of the Latter Day Saints and members of the Christian Denominations connect....I am intentionally using this language....  Although the LDS are now considered Christian there is still a wide gulf... How do we build bridges?... The Christian and the Latter Day Saints really need to talk....Open discourse and discussion....

The first thing is to get other denominations to stop spewing out insults at us.  I think it would be a great place to start. 
I've personally heard all of the following applied to us just in common discourse. 

Cult
Crabgrass
Parasites
Children of Satan
Damned
Unbelievers

What names have we called other denominations? 

Apostate  - We tend not to use this anymore.  So, we've stopped unless pressed to do so on a very logical and definitional level.  And on a definitional level, we'd have to admit that you are, just as you'd admit that we are.  But in common discourse, we never say this.
Sectarians - This is a fairly logical dictionary word that isn't meant to be insulting.  But we have to have a concise word to describe "other Christian denominations."  And to be honest, not a lot of Saints use this word.  I do.  If you can come up with another word to replace it, I'm all ears.  We can say "Christian."  But since we consider ourselves Christians, then that isn't useful.
Evangelicals - Obviously a subset.  And it is a self-applied monikker.  So, not insulting.

That's really all I can think of that Latter-day Saints commonly use to describe other Christian faiths.

Second, stop with the false statements, descriptions, and characterizations.

If others want to bring up actual facts that may cast us in a bad light, that is one thing.  But when people just make things up and then spread it.  Then the vast majority of sectarians believe it and spread it further, this doesn't serve anyone.  It isn't true.  Yet many are perfectly content spreading this about "Those Damn Mormons" because it's God's work to lie about them. 

  ... That just don't make no sense.

To my knowledge we've never spread any lies about other denominations.  We have, like other sects do about us, find some beliefs incomprehensible to people of other faiths, and we discuss them as such.  But as far as I know, there has never been a wide-spread intent to spread a lie about others.

Third, Language.  We tend to use different terms to talk about similar concepts.  And we use the same words to talk about different concepts.  This difference in terminology can cause a lot of confusion.  But if we take the time to "learn each others' language" then that can greatly help the conversation.  I know personally of several beliefs that most will find unacceptable simply because of a difference in terminology.  But once we learn each others' language, then we find it is either exactly the same, or it is pretty darn close.

Fourth, Don't come LOOKING for a fight.  We have plenty of those.  It doesn't help anyone feel the Spirit of the Lord.

Fifth, I don't really know if we can completely bridge the gap because:

We stand apart.  No matter how much we try to reach out or find people on the other side who are trying to reach back, we are simply different.  There are some fundamental differences that we will never give up.  And we're simply not going to accept those fundamental things of each other.

The fact is that we are different faiths.  So, we have to be different.  If we all believed the same, then we'd all be the same faith.  But we are different faiths.  So, we will always have areas where we disagree about the way things actually are.  This is a definitional thing that we are not going to get across. 

Too many say the Trinity is the fundamental difference.  Well, we're just not going to get through that are we?

Edited by Carborendum

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On 11/25/2018 at 8:41 AM, Word Chasing said:

t seems difficult on both sides of the aisle.... It doesn't matter whom I talk to from either camp, if you will, resistance.... Christians....everyone can be saved but the Mormons..... Mormons go....yeah well, you Christians THINK you know it all, but you're idiots......Sigh.....Everyone wants their special status as God's saving grace...can you see how stupid it all is when Christ came, died and rose again for ALL!

This is a variation on the old Unequal Comparison theme. "There's plenty of blame to go around! We're ALL at fault here!" Those words are just fine when they're true, but they are an impediment when they're false. And used here, they're false.

Don't misunderstand me. There are plenty of individual Latter-day Saints who use berating, condescending, or otherwise unkind language when talking about non-LDS Christians, and there are plenty of decent, honorable non-LDS Christians who work hard not to give offense when talking about what they call "Mormonism". I acknowledge that. But when you compare the typical sectarian Christian with the typical Latter-day Saint, that is simply not the case. And when you compare how the sectarian church organizations describe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members with how the Restored Church describes sectarian Christianity, both in modern times and even historically, the difference is stark.

So let's start out by doing away with the canard that everyone is equally at fault in this situation. Everyone is not equally at fault, not even close.

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Well, IMO, our church demands a response.  We show up late on the scene, with our stories of apostasy, and tell everyone else they're doing it wrong, and we're the True Christians.  The rest of Christianity can either ignore us or respond.  When you wake up one morning and find your aunt, or father, or 10% of your congregation, have taken the missionary discussions and got baptized, you absolutely must respond.  So you start from a mindset of how to convince traditional Christians that no really, everything is fine, and all this mormon stuff is just out in left field.  Or wrong, or deluded, or evil.  I get it.  Not everybody is a scholar, but everyone seems to have a friend or family member investigating the CoJCoLDS, so you have to do something.

Humans, when they see some vague thing off in the distance, separated by a gulf of ignorance, tend to fill in that gulf with what they figure is the most likely answer.  And also since we're humans, we tend to fill in that gap with stuff more nefarious, dark, or horrid than is actually the case.  

So yeah, Vort is speaking the truth.  For every one LDS off spewing outdated cultural belief that Catholicism is the great and abominable church, you can find twenty, a hundred, a thousand traditional Christians worried about their children being suckered into a cult that worships the wrong Jesus.  But it makes sense why they're doing it, so we can respond out of empathy, patience, and love.   Good responses involve revealing the truth, letting our light so shine, speaking from our own experiences.  It doesn't have to be a contentious debate, there are ways to contend for the faith gently but firmly.   (Maybe one out of every five discussions I have, I actually manage to not be an abrasive jerk.)

Edited by NeuroTypical

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On 11/25/2018 at 10:41 AM, Word Chasing said:

 Although the LDS are now considered Christian there is still a wide gulf... How do we build bridges?...

considered by who?  At what point?  

On 11/29/2018 at 12:38 PM, NeuroTypical said:

For every one LDS off spewing outdated cultural belief that Catholicism is the great and abominable church, you can find twenty, a hundred, a thousand traditional Christians worried about their children being suckered into a cult that worships the wrong Jesus.  

And why wouldn't they worry about that when your own President Hinkcley stated:

"The traditional Christ of whom they [Christians] speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. He together with His Father, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in the year 1820, and when Joseph left the grove that day, he knew more of the nature of God than all the learned ministers of the gospel of the ages."

This obviously results in some major theological differences.

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https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Question:_Did_Gordon_B._Hinckley_say_that_Latter-day_Saints_do_not_worship_the_biblical_Jesus%3F

ETA: PS: I now know that that quote is hugely popular among people who dislike the Church.

Edited by zil

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Quote

President Hinckley is referring to the concept of Christ that has developed in the centuries since the Nicene Creed was formed—He is saying that we do not believe in non-Biblical creeds. This statement is quite correct: Latter-day Saints do not have some of the same beliefs about Christ that other Christian churches do. He is not saying that we do not believe in the Biblical Christ. 

We both believe in the Biblical Christ.  But what we believe is quite different.

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3 hours ago, Klaymen said:

considered by who?  At what point?  

Based on surveys about 50% of the US calls us Christians.

3 hours ago, Klaymen said:

And why wouldn't they worry about that when your own President Hinkcley stated:

"The traditional Christ of whom they [Christians] speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. He together with His Father, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in the year 1820, and when Joseph left the grove that day, he knew more of the nature of God than all the learned ministers of the gospel of the ages."

This obviously results in some major theological differences.

Yes, it does.  And?

If we didn't have difference then we'd all be the same faith.  But the central definition of Christianity is that Salvation comes in and through Christ's Atoning Blood and in no other way.  And we believe that just as much as you.

All the rest are details.

Edited by Carborendum

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6 hours ago, Klaymen said:
On 11/29/2018 at 11:38 AM, NeuroTypical said:

...you can find twenty, a hundred, a thousand traditional Christians worried about their children being suckered into a cult that worships the wrong Jesus.  

And why wouldn't they worry about that when your own President Hinkcley stated:

"The traditional Christ of whom they [Christians] speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. He together with His Father, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in the year 1820, and when Joseph left the grove that day, he knew more of the nature of God than all the learned ministers of the gospel of the ages."

This obviously results in some major theological differences.

So again, Vort's overall point was about acting like rude jerks.  Yes, there are some major theological differences.  Doesn't mean we have to be uncivil.   

Right?

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5 hours ago, Klaymen said:

We both believe in the Biblical Christ.  But what we believe is quite different.

Yes it is.  You are a Trinitarian.  We are not.  Big Difference.  The title of the thread is "How Wide the Divide".

So, does that warrant Trinitarians to deride the LDS as a "cult" (in the negative connotation of the word) and the LDS to deride Trinitarians as abominable?  Well, if you want the divide to be wide, then you can answer Yes.  If you don't want that divide to be wide, then you practice Christian charity.

 

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1 minute ago, anatess2 said:

Yes it is.  You are a Trinitarian.  We are not.  Big Difference.  The title of the thread is "How Wide the Divide".

Would you consider me a Latter Day Saint?

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2 minutes ago, Klaymen said:

Would you consider me a Latter Day Saint?

You just told me you are charismatic Christian.  So the answer would be No.  Latter Day Saints are Christians baptized under the authority of the prophet of this latter-day dispensation.

Edited by anatess2

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Just now, Klaymen said:

And why would that be (just a few simple reasons)?

I edited my post above.  But so you won't have to scroll up, I'll cut-paste it here:

Latter Day Saints are Christians baptized under the authority of the prophet of this latter-day dispensation.

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But "Christians" are baptized all the time without the authority of any prophet, so why would you want to be named among them?

I think you want to see us as close enough, but obviously we aren't close enough for me to be considered LDS so what's the difference?

Edited by Klaymen

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12 minutes ago, Klaymen said:

But "Christians" are baptized all the time without the authority of any prophet, so why would you want to be named among them?

I think you want to see us as close enough, but obviously we aren't close enough for me to be considered LDS so what's the difference?

Because I am Christian.  I don't care what others call themselves.  I only know what I am.  And what I am is a Christian - Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.

Words have meaning.  I am a Christian.  You are Christian if Christ is your Savior and Redeemer.  You are not a Latter Day Saint because you are not yet baptized by authority of the prophet and you're not Roman Catholic either because you're not baptized by authority of the Pope.  You can insist to be Latter Day Saint or Roman Catholic.  That's up to you.  You can also insist I'm not a Christian.  That's also up to you.  I simply state that I know who I am and it's not dependent on who you say I am.

It's the same thing as, I'm not American because I am not a citizen of the United States of America.  I am Human because I belong to that species.  It's really not that difficult of a concept.

We don't state falsehoods to bridge a divide.  Rather, we highlight what we have in common amid our differences and be kind.

Edited by anatess2

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