The producers of the I Am A Mormon commercials worked hard to convince the world that Mormons are like everyone else. “Mormons are normal people. We are not different. Look! We have enlisted a few minorities to our cult.”
Mormonism’s recent attempt to appear mainstream is not a new idea. Around the turn of the 20th century Mormonism began to transition from a secretive, polygamous cult to a prosperous, political power-player. America began to forgive and forget the embarrassing doctrines propounded by the Latter-day Saints when it was made known that the Mormons wished to become patriotic, landowning citizens of the Republic. Favorable opinion was further advanced when the Tabernacle Choir staged events that looked and sounded like those in typical Christian churches. When The Osmonds arrived in Hollywood the church believed it finally crossed the threshold. They appealed to music lovers and built a positive church image. Despite all this a cloud of suspicion lingered, and still does to this hour.
The reason Mormons historically have made these attempts is because Mormonism varies significantly from biblical Christianity. At every doctrinal turn Mormonism contradicts or compromises a crucial tenet of the orthodox faith. Discovering that their religion is unacceptable to those who have read the Bible, the Mormons have adopted a “blending in” strategy.
Mormons are indeed looking more Christian to the uninformed. This has occurred through Mormon efforts to place a stronger emphasis on the name of Jesus rather than their own founder, Joseph Smith, without actually changing any of their heretical beliefs about Christ. Mormons, therefore, do not wish to conform to the teachings of the historic Christian Church; rather, they wish to change the world’s perceptions about Mormonism. Do you see the difference? And the dangers?
The Mormon Makeover took decades to get off the ground and, to the surprise of the LDS PR Machine, The Makeover was never fully taken in by the masses. Salt Lake did their best to disguise their true beliefs by adopting the theological language of mainstream Christianity, but it was too late – the Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and sermons of the church prophets were already in circulation and could be refuted by anyone with Bible in hand. Though their language was similar to the Christians, the concept behind the words was misleading. Orthodox theologians saw through the fog and trained their flock to debate the Mormon missionaries knocking on their doors. These young lads (marketed as “elders” and “priests” by Salt Lake) peddling their bicycles door-to-door were sincere and wholesome – but when put to the test these Mormon evangelists are found lacking basic Bible knowledge.
Mormons then became savvy politicians – but when questioned about faith they claim (so as not to scare off potential voters) that Mormonism is irrelevant and of no consequence in their decisionmaking; later, they retract and say that Mormonism is the key to their success. Well … which is it?
Why don’t you show the world what Mormons are really like instead of advertising the oddballs who do not conform?
The latest blending tactic by which the Latter-day Saints employ is the I Am A Mormon campaign. This is a mere cosmetic and rhetorical change. Gone are the white shirts and ties and name badges. This new presentation of Mormonism not only involves a dissemination of incomplete and deceptive information, but a restriction of accurate information concerning Mormon beliefs.
Although Mormons profess to be a tolerant, accepting faith it still has a few condemning skeletons in its closet. Attempts to obscure their racism have been unsuccessful. The LDS PR Machine has launched a concerted effort to promote their church as an equal-opportunity religion but their leaders’ speeches and writings must be denounced publicly before all is forgiven.
According to Richard Abanes, “This positive publicity push began in the late 1970s, when in response to mounting social pressures, black males in the LDS church were granted access to Mormonism’s priesthood.” But such a politically-correct move could not eradicate 150 years of Mormon racist/white supremacist teachings, which are traced to the teachings of their prophets and other church leaders by Abanes in his book One Nation Under Gods:
Tenth LDS president Joseph Fielding Smith presented in his book Doctrines of Salvation: “…There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient, more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less…” (Smith, Joseph Fielding, Doctrines of Salvation. Salt Lake: Bookcraft © 1954, Volume 1, page 61). He also said that Blacks could not hold the priesthood because they represented an inferior race “cursed with black skin” (Smith, Joseph Fielding, The Way To Perfection. Salt Lake: Genealogical Society of Utah © 1931, page 101). When the time was right, he contradicted himself, hoping no one would notice: “The Latter-day Saints have no animosity towards the Negro people. Neither have they described him as belonging to an inferior race…”( Smith, Joseph Fielding, Answers To Gospel Questions. Salt Lake: Deseret Book Company © 1979, Volume 4, page 170).
Blacks lucky enough to find themselves in more favorable conditions are enjoying God’s mercy, says Stewart: “…There are Negroes born into families of wealth and refinement, others who are blessed with great talents, and there are those born into the lowest classes of society in Africa, in squalor and ignorance, living out their lives in a fashion akin to that of the animals. Does not this infinite variety of circumstance give further evidence of man’s being assigned that station in life which he has merited by his performance in the premortal existence?…” (Stewart, John J., The Glory of Mormonism. Salt Lake: Mercury Publishing Co., Inc. © 1963, Page 152).
“Cain was cursed with a dark skin,” said LDS apostle Bruce McConkie. “He became the father of the Negroes” (McConkie, Bruce, 109; cf. PGP, BMO, 7:8 and PGP, BOA 1:21-26).
But it was LDS prophet Brigham Young who provided McConkie with the racist foundation in the first place: “…You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable, and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. . . . Cain slew his brother. . . . and the Lord put a mark on him, which is the flat nose and black skin. . . . then, another curse is pronounced upon the same race—that they should be the “servant of servants;” and they will be, until that curse is removed…” (Young, Brigham, 09 October 1859, [JOD Liverpool: Amasa Lyman, 1860; lithographed reprint of original edition, 1966], Volume 7, page 290).
In reference to the priesthood, Mormon Elder George F. Richards made the following remarks: “…The Negro is an unfortunate man. He has been given a black skin. But that is as nothing compared with that greater handicap that he is not permitted to receive the Priesthood and the ordinances of the temple, necessary to prepare men and women to enter into and enjoy a fullness of glory in the celestial kingdom [i.e., godhood]…” (Richards, George, Conference Report. April 1959, page 58).
“… If that Negro is faithful all his days, he can enter the celestial kingdom. He will go there as a servant …” (Peterson, Mark E., Race Problems As They Affect The Church. Address at the Convention of Teachers of Religion on a College Level, delivered at Brigham Young University, on file at BYU Library, Special Collections).
During a missionary conference in Oslo, Norway, LDS European Mission president Alvin R. Dyer warned his listeners to not reveal what he had to say about Blacks: “…I want to talk to you a little bit now about something that is not missionary work, and what I say is NOT to be given to your investigators [i.e., potential converts] by any matter of means. . . . Why is it that you are white and not colored? . . . [Remember that] God is not unjust to cause a righteous spirit to be born as a cursed member of the black race….” (Dyer, Alvin R., For What Purpose? Missionary Conference in Oslo, Norway 18 March 1961, printed in The Negro In Mormon Theology, page 48-58).
Mormon segregation included a prohibition on interracial marriage, which was once considered one of the most heinous deeds a Mormon could commit: “…we believe it to be a great sin in the eyes of our heavenly Father for a white person to marry a black one. And further, that it is a proof of the mercy of God that no such race appears able to continue for many generations …” (Juvenile Instructor, Volume 3, Page 165).
What to make of such a mindset? Are we going to select among our presidential candidates men who belong to a racist, bigoted faith as Mormonism? Let these contenders condemn these LDS teachings publicly and in writing. Abandon these heretical and racist views by denouncing Mormonism. Let them say “We are Mitt and Jon, and we are ex-Mormons too”
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