I have been quietly spending a great deal of time lately on ‘unofficial’ Mormon websites, forums and blog sites, and communicating with so many Mormons, [under a pseudonym, obviously].
I didn’t do this to argue or debate. I wanted to listen, to feel the pulse of regular Mormon people.
What I have found is an astonishing discovery of something I have already suspected for some time.
The LDS Brethren have been trying to align themselves with general Christianity for the last decade or so. It was never clearer than when Mitt Romney ran for President.
It rose up to a crashing crescendo when Glenn Beck gathered up groups of Christian leaders and put on his “We are All One’ party at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall.
Mormonism can never align itself with Orthodox, biblically based Christianity for many reasons, yet the Mormon people want to be known as true Christians.
What these Mormons are saying on their forums, blogs and FB pages is that most of them generally pick and choose what they want to be the focus of their ‘religious’ experience in the Church.
They just junk the parts that make them feel uncomfortable. Sort of what American Catholics and ala-carte’ Christians have been doing for years?
Now, this is true across the general population within the LDS church. It isn’t a segment of the members; it is widespread among them.
On the part of the leadership, we see another anomaly. Rarely, if ever, are the deviant doctrines preached from the pulpits anymore.
The preaching is a feel good set of messages meant to make the members and their families happy to be there and smiling when they leave.
We talk to recent converts about some of these strange doctrines and they look at us like we are crazy. They haven’t been taught about their Mother in Heaven, or the black skin curse, or Jesus and Lucifer being brothers, as examples.
The LDS Church leadership has recently made great strides in cuddling up to the Christian body, but it isn’t where you would think, understanding the conservative DNA of Mormonism.
They are copying and using the same methods and techniques as the Seeker Friendly and Emergent Church groups and finding that they have strong compatibilities.
They also see that the leaders of these groups accept them at smiley face value and would never think to challenge them doctrinally. A Tinker Bell and Peter Pan relationship.
A Mormon could go to any one of such a church type and be openly welcomed, accepted as a Mormon ‘believer’ and be extremely comfortable… while never challenged spiritually. And leave church feeling really good.
Except for the weekly Wonder Bread and Water Sacrament, the Mormon can feel right at home…at any Seeker Friendly or Emergent church gathering.
One recent forum thread was about which non-LDS churches they felt comfortable attending.
This is what one of our Board members, Eric Barger has to say about the Emergent Church. Look at the Emergent Mormonism parallels here:
The Errors of the Emergent Church
I know many Emergent sympathizers would object and say that I am generalizing. However, that simply is not the case. Even without much space to elaborate in this article, and even as difficult as "Emergent Speak" can be to decipher, once one boils it down, just a partial outline of Emergent philosophies indicates glaring flaws.
To Emergents, Christianity is:
* Experience over Reason
* Images over Words
* Spirituality over Doctrine
* Subjective Feelings over Absolute Truth
* Earthly Justice over Salvation
* Social Action over Eternity
Mormons are 100% in line with the first four characteristics and with a little tweaking, can accept the last two, as well. They also have their own Mormon-Speak vocabulary.
When then President Gordon B. Hinckley was interviewed by Larry King in 2004, he was asked what happens when a person dies.
Here he had the opportunity to speak as a true prophet and declare the judgment and the three degrees of Glory. Instead, God’s mouthpiece for the earth just didn’t know.
KING: What happens when you die?
HINCKLEY: When you die? Well, I'm not fully conversant with that. I haven't passed through that yet.
Sort of reminded me of a recent interview on the Piers Morgan Tonight program that replaced Larry King Live. I do like the more direct approach to issues that Piers has, compared to the King approach.
Piers was interviewing Joel Osteen, Pastor of one of the largest Seeker Friendly Churches in America.
Piers worked hard to get him to reluctantly admit that homosexuality was a sin, according to the Bible, but could not get him to define what makes a person saved and going to heaven.
Pastor Osteen did not know or would not say who was going to heaven and how to get there.
Millions of people were watching and the pastor of tens of thousands of Christian church members could not give the basic elements of Salvation, lest someone be offended.
This is the kind of Christianity the Mormon leaders are becoming kissing cousins to, and it will get far worse as time goes on and no one speaks out about it.
One LDS Blogger wrote that the church was suffering from a case of spiritual schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder.
The Dictionary definitions of these two are,
First schizophrenia: Any of a group of psychotic disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, delusions, and hallucinations, and accompanied in varying degrees by other emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances
And Second, multiple personality disorder: A situation, state of mind, in which widely conflicting opinions, ideas, or practices coexist, often resulting in indecision, vacillation, wavering, etc.
While one can smile and see the sad truth in what the blogger wrote, The Emergent and Seeker Friendly Churches suffer the same maladies and they are the Christianity the Mormons are now seeking fellowship with and getting results.
Watch and be warned. The LDS Church will soon become another branch of shattered Christianity.
Read more articles by Ed Decker or search for articles on the same topic or others.
Great article Ed! This is a message that really needs to be brought to light. The Mormon Church's recent unquenchable thirst for acceptance is driving a major media campaign that says to the world "we're just like other Christians - there is nothing weird about us." Suddenly, Mormons are throwing around terms like "grace" and "saved by faith in Jesus Christ" when those are concepts that they've rejected in the past (unfortunately is is only what they are "saying" that has changed - not actual doctrine and beliefs). But Christians need to look beyond what the LDS church and its apologists are saying in public to what they really mean and say. Chameleon Church is what I've been calling it. The public display colors are changing as necessary to mislead the world about its true doctrines. What you've pointed out about the similarities and alignment with the Emergent Church is new light for me. Keep up the good work and God Bless your ministry.