By Kent Larsen
Dispute Over Whether Mormons Are Christian Hits Internet Directories
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- A survey by Mormon News of Internet directories
shows that the fight over whether or not Mormons are Christian has
affected how Mormonism is classified on some sites. While most of the
directories and classification systems analyzed by Mormon News
classify Mormonism under Christianity, a handful do not.
One of the most widely-used directories on the Internet, LookSmart,
is one that does not classify Latter-day Saints under Christianity.
LookSmart's directory is used by a number of other sites, including
Excite, Go2Net, and Altavista.
LookSmart's classification of Latter-day Saints has changed from time
to time. LookSmart originally had Latter-day Saints under
Christianity, but changed its classification scheme in the past year
several times, putting Latter-day Saints first under "Christian
Influenced," and then under the general religion category. Mormon
News was unable to contact anyone at LookSmart to get an explanation
for the changes.
Another website that includes Mormons separately from Christianity is
the advice site, Askme.com. An Askme.com spokesperson told Mormon
News that the site had been told by Mormons and Non-Mormons alike to
classify Mormons separately from Christianity. Askme.com creates new
categories based on user demand, and when it came time to create a
Mormons category, four "experts" on the site, two of whom reportedly
were Mormon, told Askme.com to put Mormons simply under religion.
The directories also differ on exactly what to call Mormons.
Following instructions from the LDS Church and many members, most
directories use the term Latter-day Saints or Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints. However, some instead name the classification
Mormons or Mormonism. This is also a source of some differences of
opinion, with some LDS Church members claiming that there isn't any
difference between Mormons and Latter-day Saints, and others claiming
that Mormons is broader, including a variety of other denominations
that believe in the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the gospel
by Joseph Smith. [Mormon News falls in this latter category.]
Oddly, there are some sites that put Mormons in more obscure
categories. Online retail giant Amazon.com puts Mormons under
Christianity - but in the Protestantism subcategory. NBCi.com
(formerly Snap.com) also includes Mormons under Christianity, but in
an Independent Denominations category.