I found an interesting post on the Huffington Post this week entitled “What’s the Least You Can Believe and Still Be a Christian” by Martin Thielen. I encourage you to read the post as a companion to this one.
This particular post struck me on two levels. Firstly, it reminded me of a situation I found myself in as a teenager. And second, especially, here on the Bloggernacle, we have quite a few “cultural” Mormons, those who seem not to believe in the Church as a God-given, divinely inspired organization, led by Jesus Christ, but a social organization that they grew up in, but cannot leave or leave alone. And, they attend Church, for a myriad of reasons as well. How do those folks answer this question?
When I was about 15 years old, I came to the conclusion that I must not be a Jew because neither I nor my family did anything that practicing, observant Jews did. We didn’t belong to or attend Synagogue on a regular basis, barely acknowledged the holidays (except Hanukah, of course), didn’t pray, study scriptures or Talmud and generally didn’t participate in Jewish life. Sure, I was Bar Mitzvah. But it pretty much began and ended with that.
Well, as I’ve mentioned before, this set off a firestorm within my extended family, none of whom were observant either, that I was a Jew by birth, wherefore, I was a Jew.
My real problem, at the time and subsequently, was that the tent of belief within Judaism is quite large and runs the gamut from very, very conservative to very, very liberal. If one is born a Jew, believes in one God, almost everything else is optional. You can cover your head at all times; you don’t have to cover it at all. You can believe in resurrection, you don’t have to. You can believe in the coming of the Messiah, or you can say “what is a Messiah?” There is a lot of flexibility.
After I joined the Church and especially with the advent of the Bloggernacle, I discovered there is an almost equally wide range of belief within Mormonism, both for those active members of the church and those around the fringes of the Church. Even so-called mainstream orthodox, Temple-going, Tithe-paying, Family Home Evening-holding, scripture-studying members will have a variety of belief on certain topics.
So, without my creating a laundry list, I ask you the simple question:
“What’s The Least You Can Believe and Still Be a Mormon?”