Let’s face it, most people don’t know much about Mormons or Mormon beliefs. They probably know about polygamy and that fact we don’t drink, smoke or consume coffee or tea, but beyond that, very little. They might have heard of Joseph Smith or Brigham Young. But they would be hard pressed to name the current President of The Church or any other leader. And most could not equate the name Mormon with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The current ad campaign, “I am a Mormon” has probably helped somewhat to cast us as regular people, but the smash Broadway Musical, “The Book of Mormon” might have pushed us a bit back into the weird category. With the presidential campaign getting underway and two Mormon candidates in the running, the light of scrutiny is once again being shined on us.
And the weirdness factor is raising its head.
CNN posted a very good video explaining the Church to people and of course, the Church has tons of videos on Mormon.org, YouTube and other places trying to explain our beliefs.
But, some folks like a local TV reporter in Memphis like to focus on more obscure ideas in our doctrinal history that make us sound like a weird religion.
We do need to face the fact there has been a lot of speculative doctrine taught over the pulpits of our Church throughout its history and that certain practices are seen in a very bad light against today’s norms. Much of that has changed and the Church has gone to great lengths to try to promote our mainstream doctrines and insure that that is what is taught to members and discussed with others. Like many others, I would never discount or dismiss what has gone before but it must be handled in the proper perspective.
Many folks, not of our faith (or even some associated with it) like to point out the weirdness and the strange ideas and practices in an effort to discredit the Church and to criticize the current Presidential candidates.
I can find such weirdness, if you want to call it that, in some of the ideas of other faiths. But, it does not seem necessary to point those out and dwell on them as a cornerstone of their religious faith.
The bottom line is the purpose of religion is to, by and large make people better people, more loving toward others and build a better world. To call out certain ideas as weird, without really understanding what is behind them is mean-spirited and unfair.
God’s people have always been enjoined to set themselves apart from the world and to be “a peculiar (special) people.”
But just not weird.