For the past few years the LDS church has really made a strong push to promote themselves as being part of Christianity.
According to Webster, Christianity is…
"the religion derived from Jesus Christ, based on the Bible as sacred scripture, and professed by Eastern, Roman Catholic, and Protestant bodies."
Those who are part of Christianity are referred to as “Christians”.
Mormons claim to be “Christian” because they believe in Jesus Christ but those in the Christian community point to many reasons they should not be considered as such and by pure definition, Webster agrees. That is not the topic of this post but definitely worth further discussion in the near future.
This post is actually being written to talk about the LDS church and how they have responded to the FLDS issue that is going on in my “backyard”. Below, are two clips from LDS spokesmen regarding the separation they wish to make between themselves and the fundamentalist groups that practice polygamy.
In both statements, the men have asked for total separation of the term “Mormon” from that of any fundamentalist or polygamous sect. It is important to note that there are over 200 religious groups, which are recognized by the US Government, that follow the teachings of Joseph Smith and consider the Book of Mormon to be scripture. The term “Mormon” obviously comes from the idea that the LDS church has an additional book of scripture that sets them apart from other churches. They are often called Mormons because of that simple fact. Why is it then that other churches that use the Book of Mormon can not be referred to by that name as well?
On the church website, they have listed guidelines for how they should be referred to in publications.
"While the term 'Mormon Church' has long been publicly applied to the Church as a nickname, it is not an authorized title, and the Church discourages its use.
When referring to people or organizations that practice polygamy, the terms 'Mormons,' 'Mormon fundamentalist,' 'Mormon dissidents,' etc. are incorrect. The Associated Press Stylebook notes: “The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other ... churches that resulted from the split after [Joseph] Smith’s death.”
I have two main questions regarding this issue:
1. The Mormon church wants to called “Christian” because they think they share the same basic beliefs as the groups that make up Christianity but they do not want churches who have the same beliefs as them to be referred to as “Mormon”. Does anyone else see the hypocrisy in this besides me?
2. If the LDS church discourages the use of the term “Mormon” even when referring to themselves, why all the fuss when another group claims a term they don’t really like anyways?
No matter what the church does, it will never be able to separate themselves from polygamy and those sects that split from them that still practice what Joseph Smith taught. If the LDS church wants to really make a statement regarding polygamy, they need to revoke section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants which gives the eternal law of polygamy and speaks of the fact that polygamy will be practiced in the Celestial Kingdom (the highest level of Heaven). Until they do that, they will always be known as the church that practiced polygamy and still practices celestial polygamy.
As for me, from now on, I am only going to refer to the FLDS group as “Mormon Fundamentalists”.
To deny the connection is to deny reality.