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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended May 07, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 10May00

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Are the Latter-day Saints -- who face growing rejection -- Christians?
Ft Worth TX Star-Telegram (Arizona Republic) 5May00 N1
By Maureen Jenkins: The Arizona Republic

PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- With The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints becoming one of the world's fastest-growing religions, Mormons are under close scrutiny by other faiths and are currently being asked the question, "Are you Christians?" Mormons are no strangers to persecution and a closer look reveals the quintessential American success story.

Today the Mormon church boasts a membership of 10.3 million members, with more than half living outside the United States. One-sixth of its members live in Utah, where the church headquarters are located. Current prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, whose recently published book, 'Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes' espouses many of the beliefs held in the church. Yet, the heart of the issue of who is a Christian lies in matters of doctrine and theology.

This year a Christian festival was held in Phoenix and attracted 35,000 people from the Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox congregations. The Mormons were conspicuously absent, they were not invited. Evangelicals say that Mormons aren't Christian because of the way the Evangelicals interpret the bible.

"The Mormon church is neither Catholic nor Protestant," says Phoenix-are church spokesman Wilford Andersen. "It's no less Christian."

"I think people understand we can respectfully disagree on matters of Christian doctrine," Andersen said, "but should never disagree on Christian conduct. "There certainly are some [churches] who find it difficult to work together with us, and I respect that as long as we don't have ill will toward each other and as long as we don't have misinformation."

Richard N. Ostling, co-author with his wife of 'Mormon America: The Power and the Promise' believes that the Mormon church has a "sweeping policy of secrecy" that contributes to it being misunderstood. He claims that weddings held in temples and the disallowance of internet publishing of the church's governing documents are off limits to outsiders. "Any time you have this situation, it creates rumors, speculations, misinformation," said Ostling. "There is room for a lot of confusion."

"Most of the disagreement is doctrinal," Ostling said. "The fundamental issues between Mormonism and tradional Christianity are the nature of God, the doctrine of Christ, the Bible's authority, and the doctrine of humanity and relating to God."

In an attempt to examine the commonalities and the differences between the groups, Professors Craig L. Blomberg of Denver Seminary and Stephen E. Robinson of BYU wrote the 1997 book, 'How Wide the Divide? A Mormon and an Evangelical in Conversation.'

Maria Cornwall, a sociology professor at BYU believes the animosity exists because "we share the same niche." "If you can use that marketplace language, both evangelicals and Mormons share the same target: the unchurched," she said. "We can compete in the marketplace of religion, and evangelicals want to make sure their targets realize Mormons are different."


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See also:

Standing for Something More about "Standing for Something: Ten Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes" at

How Wide the Divide More about "How Wide the Divide: A Mormon &Evangelical in Conversation" at

Mormon America More about "Mormon America: The Power &The Promise" at

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information