Friday, January 06, 2012

What Religions are Friendly Towards Mormons?

In a recent sacrament meeting talk, the speaker told us about a church that some of her friends and acquaintances attended. "They play guitar at church, and it's only an hour, and you go whatever day of the week you want to..." Now, some of you may think that that sounds like a fantastic idea--guitar music, services on other days for those who can't attend on Sunday, and just for one hour--but she meant it as criticism. She then continued, "and they speak out against the Mormon church during their church meetings!"

I love my ward, but it was sad to see the intense irony in her remarks. I'm not sure if anyone else caught it.

I don't think church is the appropriate place to criticize other religions, and I think other religions should, for the most part, be respected. Recent political events have forced the LDS religion into the spotlight. At least this time around there's no anti-Mormon running (no Huckabee), but plenty of people, due to misunderstandings and bigotry, are concerned about voting for a member of the LDS church.

Most liberals seem to be mainly concerned about the LDS church's involvement with stopping gay marriage--but almost any Republican candidate for president is going to take the same stance, so, in regards to a Republican presidential nominee, that point is moot.

Many conservatives, on the other hand, fear the LDS church. Maybe they pay attention to Huckabee and his ilk when he said "Don't Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers?" Maybe they think Mormons don't celebrate Christmas, or have multiple wives, or....

And so they search for someone, anyone, other than a Mormon for their GOP candidate. As one of my least favorite people, Bill Maher, states, "If you were a Republican in 2011, and you liked Donald Trump, and then you liked Michele Bachmann, and then you liked Rick Perry, and then you liked Herman Cain, and then you liked Newt Gingrich ... you can still hate Mitt Romney, but you can't say it's because he's always changing his mind." And now I can add, "and then you liked Rick Santorum" to that long list. Notice that Huntsman's missing from that list...

So obviously many evangelicals have problems with Mormons. But what groups do Mormons get along with?

In my experience:

1. Muslims (if the individual Mormons aren't themselves biased).
Why: Dedicated, modest, prayerful minority religion. Lots of similarities, and both have a history of being persecuted in the U.S.
Unfortunately, any problems in the relationship between Mormons and Muslims is usually the fault of those Mormons who pay more attention to Fox News and talk radio than to the scriptures and the prophet...

2. Catholic
Why: Religious Catholics tend to marry and have higher than average number of children--like Mormons. They're not really mainstream Christian (although they're close) and they still remember their history of persecution in the U.S. They're also a bit of a minority religion in the U.S. (only one president has been Catholic, and he was murdered), but they've got pretty good representation on the Supreme Court. They seem to be better informed about Mormonism than most evangelical Christians. (And if "better informed about Mormonism" implies "more intelligent in general," so be it). My best friend at law school was a faithful Catholic, and several other friends were Catholic (some less faithful than others). The religious ones avoided the Christian Legal Society club as much as the Mormons did.

What other groups seem to get along with Mormons?

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