Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An Uncomfortable Subject

I debated not writing this post today.
Seriously debated.
Religion and Politics are two very, very touchy subjects, I thought.
I shouldn't run the risk of making anybody angry.


an hour went by.
two hours. 
two days.
I was still thinking about this post,
thinking about what I felt should be said.
I decided that this blog can't be entirely composed of sunshine and rainbows,
If something upsets me I should certainly write about it.

And so here I am, writing about it.
Watch these two videos:

Just after Pastor Robert Jeffress announced presidential candidate Perry, in which introduction he said that “...Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Mormonism are all false religions," He stated in an interview that Mormons are part of a "cult" and are in no way to be considered Christians.

Huh. That's new. All this time I've been in a cult and didn't believe Jesus was my savior. The things I learn these days!

Jeffress said in his interview with Anderson Cooper that the Mormon Faith was a cult, primarily because it was founded by a human being (In this case Joseph Smith) instead of a divine being such as Jesus Christ.
What I have to say in response to that is this:
Frankly, if you're going to put down a religion, at least be educated about the religion you are condemning.
Such an argument doesn't make any sense! Saying that Mormonism is founded on Joseph Smith is like saying that Evangelical Christianity is founded on the apostle Paul, because he preached the Christian gospel on behalf of Christ. Mormon Christians look at Joseph Smith in exactly the same way; a spokesman for the Lord Jesus Christ in the latter days, just as Paul was a spokesman and a preacher at the time of Christ. Also, note this: at the beginning of the first video he stated that the "Southern Baptist convention, which is the largest protestant denomination in the world, has officially labeled Mormonism as a cult." Hm. Protestant denomination, you say?
Martin Luther? Calvin? Knox? HUMAN BEINGS?!
The qualifications by which Jeffress defines Mormonism as a cult would actually put his own religious denomination in the same category. If evangelical Christianity isn't a cult, than neither is Mormonism.

I've gotten a bit sidetracked, because the topic the Mormon religion's centrality in Christ and it's status as a supposed "cult" is not the main reason I am writing this today.  I am solid enough in my own beliefs and comfortable enough with who I am to not allow myself to become (too) upset by derogatory statements made about my religion - it's not as if this is the first time I've encountered such words.

What really gets me here is that this man was introducing a presidential candidate at a major policy conference, and yet he spent his time putting down other religions, Mormonism in particular, in a not-so-subtle effort to condemn the beliefs of fellow republican candidates. Because Mitt Romney and John Huntsman are Mormons, this goes to say, to cast a vote for them would be to promote the cause of a cult.

Who else sees what's totally, blatantly wrong here? 

More than that, in the interview following his introduction, Jeffress says "I think Mitt Romney is a good, moral man, but I think those of us who are born again followers of Christ should always prefer a competent Christian to a competent non-Christian like Mitt Romney."

Completely setting aside the fact that Jeffress just called Romney a "non-Christian", as I have already stated the fact that Mormonism is centered entirely around Jesus Christ our Redeemer, Jeffress just pointed out that voters should refrain from voting for a "good, moral man" like Mitt Romney simply because he does not share their beliefs.

I don't care if Mitt Romney (or any other candidate) is Mormon, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or an absolute Athiest.
It Just. Doesn't. Matter.
There are core issues that affect this nation. Foreign policy, domestic policy, our position in the world as Americans. Religion is not one of these core issues. I absolutely understand that a person's moral values should come into consideration when selecting which presidential candidate to vote for, but morality and religion are not mutually exclusive.
Newsflash: There are Christians (I am including Mormons under this label as well) who are really not very good people.
The same goes for members of other faiths.
In reverse, I have met generous, kind, beautiful people who don't believe in or follow any God at all.
People who, should they someday decide to run for president, I would absolutely vote for. 

I have no idea who I'll vote for in the 2012 election,
but I do know that it would be wrong of me to factor the religion of the candidates into my decision.
 Is choosing a candidate based on their religion any less closed-minded than choosing one based on their race?

John Huntsman said this in a recent CNN interview: "I say let's respect religious beliefs, let's show a little more tolerance in terms of what people's belief systems are. Thomas Jefferson got it right when he spoke about tolerance for religions and the fact that they wouldn't play a role in American politics, and here we sit over two hundred years later spending more time than it's worth on this very subject." 

 I quote Mormon religious doctrine:
"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." 
- The 11th Article of Faith. 

I am a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
I pray to my Heavenly Father often. Although I should pray more than I do.
I believe that Joseph Smith began this religion through revelation from God and Jesus Christ
which does make divine beings the founders of our religion, and this "cult" label very inaccurate.
I believe the Bible to be the word of God.
I also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God, and a new testament of Jesus Christ.
My beliefs will not waver, but I promise I will never condemn yours. 

All I ask is that you do the same for me and my Mormon neighbors. 

note: I have no intention of turning this blog into something centered on religion, politics, or any combination therein. I use this blog as an outlet to document life events, feelings, and beliefs, and feeling quite strongly about this subject I felt I couldn't keep silent. I do not mean any disrespect to members of the Evangelical Christian faith. These words reflect my opinion and beliefs as a Mormon and an American and you are absolutely welcome to disagree with me. 

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