Last night on Facebook one of my Christian Author friends posted a link to Chuck Colson’s warm-fuzzy about Mitt Romney. He–well, both the author and Colson, actually–are bemoaning the “fact” that Christians maybe won’t vote for Romney because he’s a Mormon.
Now, I happen to be not only “in favour of” the legalisation of medical marijuana but also “vocally pushing for”.* For me as a Christian the thought that there is an enormously effective medication with relatively few long-term side effects out there, a drug that would help MILLIONS of people for a very low cost, a drug we cannot use…in my mind that’s like looking at the least of these and spitting in their eyes. There is a tool at hand to help, a good tool, and we won’t touch it. That angers me… The main reason I’m never voting for [Mitt Romney] is his stance on that issue.
Well, then somebody else chimed in and said that she, a Mormon, was as Christian as the next fellow and so was Mitt. And we don’t DARE say that Mormons aren’t Christians. Because they are. They tell us so.
There is presently an ongoing debate about the Christianness of Mormons which puzzles me. They believe in a whole different set of gospels in addition to our own, even though they reference our holy books as the precursor to theirs. Calling Mormons Christian is like calling your typical Lutheran a Jew because he reads the Pentateuch. Or like calling Muslims Christians because they pretty much have the same relationship to Christianity that Mormons do. You know–they have our Bible, they read it and they like that Jesus dude. But then they’ve got this whole new prophet who tells them extra stuff that they believe in.
I have in this lifetime made many Mormon acquaintances and a few Mormon friends. They are all very nice people. The thing is, I also have Jewish friends, Muslim friends, Pagan friends and Atheist friends. I happen to think that any of these friends of other faiths would be mightily offended if I decided that since they were nice people who in a way believed some of the same things I do that we could just go ahead and call them “Christians”. So I don’t understand why so many LDS are desperate to be taken for Christian. Are they ashamed of Mormonism? Because if I were one of the Mormons who died at any point on the trail from New York to Utah in the 1800s I’d be pretty cheesed off at my coreligionists for trying to sweep our differences under the rug to fit in. And I also wonder if Mormons are Christians, why they felt the need to massacre 120 Christian immigrants passing through Utah at Mountain Meadows? I’m sure that, like Jews and Muslims and Pagans and Atheists, the members of the LDS church want to have an end to the persecution they’ve faced at the hands of Christians. But why, unlike those other faiths, do they have to insist that they are Christians to achieve that?
As a Christian myself of the live-and-let-live variety I don’t particularly mind if someone else chooses to adhere to a faith different than my own. So why do I bristle at the new ChristoMormonism? Quite simply because there are a lot of things many Mormons DO believe that don’t square at all with Christianity and I’d rather they not drag my religion into it. We can quibble about their view of Jesus, their view of women and other such things. But until Mormons are willing to set aside the “Prophet” status for Joseph Smith et. al and to disavow The Pearl of Great Price and The Book Of Mormon as divinely inspired scripture than we are two different faiths who happen to have a large common set. That doesn’t mean I dislike Mormons or want to kill them or want to see the LDS church destroyed. Not at all. It just means that they are who they are, and who they are is not who I am nor what I believe in.