That idiot acquaintance of mine called again.
Did he apologize for the BYU/missions snark?
After all, as I’ve noted, except for Oaks, Nelson and Uchtdorf the leaders of the church all served missions. General Conference had BYU graduates talking at at a higher percentage than graduates are a percentage of church members.
Instead he parroted a recent anti-Mormon meme that the LDS church has been outed as a bunch of satanists.
After all. Mormon=give Satan the victory. Giving Satan the victory=Satanist. Every president of the church until Nelson, and everyone who called him to the ministry used “Mormon.”
So. Conclusion. Nelson just admitted that the LDS Church was a hotbed of satanism until 2018.
Even though I’m not hiking right now (I’ll be back on trail later this week), I hung up.
What do you think?
Am I owed an apology about his BYU crack?
How silly is his satanic meme?
As silly as this: https://religiondispatches.org/a-new-mormon-religion-has-taken-qanon-conspiracies-and-canonized-them-as-doctrine/?fbclid=IwAR29o3dWY1Hla_xuluziFLy1_mqpGQdk-AHYfHOJahgeUCYKSaEaPlXLFgo
Would a car warranty call have been preferable?
Well, it does a decent job of pointing out how over-the-top President Nelson’s rejection of the word Mormon is.
I don’t think you are owed an apology. After all, we neither seek nor give them. We can choose not to be offended. =)
As for being satanists, meh. Been there, heard it all before. In my youth, this claim seemed to stem from our theology that Satan is our brother, and other Christian are not cool with that. Now it’s our own kookiness, as Melinda mentions.
On the whole, I think I’d rather have a telephone acquaintance attempt to engage with me about my Mormon roots than endure another call about my expiring auto warranty and/or my impending IRS property lien. YMMV.
I don’t like to be critical, but it sounds like your choice to maintain a friendship with this individual is a bad one.
Good points Chadwick. Upvoted everyone.
@Chadwick, lol. While I don’t think Nelson is actually apologizing for the Church, in some ways, this is the closest the Church is coming to an institutional apology / call for institutional repentance and *this* is the issue it’s picking. Love it.
In all seriousness, it’s so weird. If Nelson wants to be like, “you know what? Some people don’t think we’re Christians. I think we need to do more to make sure Christ is at the center of our worship. Here are a bunch of things we can do. [List some actual Christian things, like spending money to clothe the naked, feed the poor etc.]. In addition, I am not sure ‘Mormon’ as a nickname effectively conveys our Christianity, so I feel inspired that we should use the term ‘Restored Church of Christ.’ We’ve made changes to our website to do so and I encourage you to adopt this as well when you describe the Church.”
Like, fine, say that. But blaming “Mormon” on Satan and making such a big freaking deal about it? That’s just too much and so fear-based.
Elisa is right. I simply cannot believe that sweet Gordon B. Hinkley was acting on behalf of Satan when he so effectively used the well known name “Mormon” to be in attention to the Church.
Nelson’s criticism of the word Mormon was really ridiculous. That it came just a couple years after the church was promoting “Meet the Mormons” makes it even more ridiculous.
On your friend. Kudos to you for maintaining a friendship. I don’t consider myself a believer in most of the church’s central teachings (I affiliate with the church in a cultural sense only) and I maintain company with many ex-Mormons and tend to agree heavily with what much of the leading figures in the ex-Mormon community have to say. Evangelical anti-Mormon criticism still irks me to high heaven. They are just so obsessed with this nature of God stuff, Trinitarianism, Jesus being Satan’s brother, people creating their own worlds. How the evangelical critics characterize Mormonism and how Mormonism actually is (just based on my own personal experience) couldn’t be further apart. For one, Mormons don’t obsess nearly as much about the nature of God as the evangelicals do. Mormons are a bit more open-ended on the question of the nature of God. They aren’t tethered so much to the Bible as evangelicals are, who see the Bible as a special kind of authority. When I first encountered an evangelical asking whether Mormons believed that they would get their own planets, my reaction really was, “I don’t know.” Same thing with Jesus being Satan’s brother. I simply didn’t know. Nor did I really care too much. After all, these were never centrally emphasized. You’d hear them in the periphery, but never as rudimentary teachings taught over and over. The Mormon experience for me seemed to be something in which the relationship to the institution was more important than a relationship with God, for God was best reached by strict adherence to the institution. The Book of Mormon seemed more important than the Bible. Theology was almost non-existent. By contrast, theology means everything to an evangelical. After all, it is through theological reasoning that Protestantism came into being to begin with. Humans don’t have authority in Protestantism. The Bible does. Sola scriptura is a fundamental teaching. They care about “straight outta the Bible.” Mormons simply don’t. And in fact, Mormons mostly don’t even read or understand the Bible, beyond the Four Gospels (don’t get me wrong, there are Mormon academics who have expounded at great length on the Bible and have tried their darnedest to reconcile it with Mormonism, but in the larger culture, these academics are mostly unheard of and ignored). Mormons care about their prophets and general conference. That’s where authoritative statements come from. Not theological reasoning. Not Bible study.
Some of you are pointing out that RMN tends to exaggerate. In this case, he exaggerates the role of Satan in our use of the word “Mormon”. He also has a history of exaggerating his personal experiences like the burning plane that never happened the way he described. Finally, he exaggerates when he he calls the 2015 exclusion policy a product of the revelatory process or it’s reversal in 2019 as “the Lord’s will” via revelation.
Here’s some free advice for everyone: you’ll be a lot happier if you stop taking him so literally.
Were we Satanists? I get you’re just poking fun at RMN with this question but I actually do wanna talk about Satan.
Stepping back and looking from the outside, isn’t it weird that Mormons (and many other religious folks) believe in a literal Satan? I miss some aspects of life as a believer but a belief in Satan is not one of them. I sleep much better now that I can safely blame my problems on normal human stuff and not on an ancient malevolent being bent on my destruction. I mean, does anyone else still get flashbacks of Michael Ballam looking straight into the camera and saying we’re all under his control? Creepy stuff. Let’s all breathe a collective contented sigh of relief that no literal fallen angel is celebrating any victories tonight—least of all whether people say the word “Mormon” or not.
I’d be happier if Mormons just quit blaming so much on satan – it’s a cop out and lazy.
Josh h says, “ Here’s some free advice for everyone: you’ll be a lot happier if you stop taking [RMN] so literally.”
That also seems to have been the approach taken by the rest of the Q15 when RMN challenged everyone to post on social media every day for a week with the hash tag #givethanks. Some folks tallied up the number of compliant posts by the Q15 and it wasn’t a lot. (I’m sorry Stephen, this might be just yet one more thing the antis are harping about. But I don’t think this is a purely anti-church stance. In a way I think this is a good thing. I would like everyone to be more thoughtful and less automatic about the way they perform their obedience to the prophet and other leaders.)
Stephen, I’m sorry to hear that your friend / acquaintance / frenemy  is giving you phone calls that are unpleasant for you. They seem to possibly be a bit clueless about it? I honestly don’t understand the bit about BYU/missions. I have sympathies to his snark about the “Mormon” victory for Satan, but it seems odd to call you on the phone to simply antagonize you about it. I wonder if some boundary maintenance is in order?
 I use the word frenemy almost every chance I get, if it surpasses some low threshold of relevance. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. 
 yes, sometimes I put footnotes in my comments. So Sue me.
Rockwell, I won’t sue you for putting footnotes in your comments, but I will sue you for putting footnotes in your footnotes. Or maybe you were just distracted by playing Bon Jovi too loud.
In college (not BYU), I had an acquaintance who was a huge metalhead, who briefly attended Satanic Temple services. I was a bit shocked to hear that such groups existed, having grown up during the “satanic panic” and was warned repeatedly by my parents to beware of the occult, psychics, ouija boards, tarot cards, and other things that supposedly invite the spirit of evil. That is, until he told me that they (Satanists) don’t take it all that seriously, and consider it more of a satirical anti-religion than anything else. “We don’t believe in a literal Satan,” he said, “only Christians believe that.”
A few weeks later, he said he was kicked out of the group for using too much foul language, oddly enough.
Having had a personal experience where I beleive felt the power of satan or one of his minions, I am willing to grant the possibility of his existence. Nevertheless, I also believe his power and influence are limited, and is not the bogeyman behind every less than perfect outcome.
An announcement of he policy change more like Elisa’s would have been a more thoughtful and reasonable approach. However, I get the impression that RMN believes every stray thought that crosses his mind is straight from God himself.
GBH had a certain level of humility that made him endearing. With RMN, all I see is hubris.
On the other hand, RMN has more strongly condemned racial and ethnic inequality than any other presidential of the church. I think he truly has a global mindset, which is why I think he is so much against the term “Mormon”. It’s all part of a larger effor to de-americanize the church. I think his motives are good here, but his methods could use some improvement. GBH had a gift of communication and diplomacy. RMN… not so much.
I don’t understand the need for Satan in religion. The War in Heaven seems like an allegory, an allegory I don’t understand. Evil seems like the absence of good. Like cold is the absence of heat. The devil made me do it just sounds like a shallow excuse. The Church should forget about Satan and just concentrate on doing good.
To the point of the OP, in many ways Latter-day Saints still are “satanists”, in a manner of speaking. Our theology gives Satan a pivotal role in the pre- and post-mortal existence, far beyond that of just the Genesis narrative or that of an abstract “boogeyman” tempting force to scare children into being good. Rather than portray him as an archetypal cartoon with horns and pitchfork, we actually personify him in live-action drama as a well-dressed, mincing super-villain (but still very human in appearance) who purports himself to be “the god of this world” and actively conspires with non-LDS religions to try and mislead us with the philosophies of men “mingled with scripture”. Michael Ballam’s scene-chewing interpretation was the one I saw when I received my own endowment, and for a young impressionable person already in a head fog about his first temple ordinances, it’s pure nightmare fuel.
It’s also not uncommon to hear people bear testimony of Satan in church: “I know that Jesus Christ is real…I also know that Satan is real, and is seeking to tempt us and lead us astray…”. My bishop gave such a testimony recently. I find this rhetoric unsettling. How do you know that Satan is real? Did he appear to you in a vison? Or perhaps was it the inviting aroma coming from the Starbucks you walked past?
Indeed, a large part of our theology hinges on the existence of a literal Satan, probably more so than most Christian denominations. That, and Mormons are chronically allergic to taking responsibility for negative outcomes, so we need to keep Satan around to take the blame when things go wrong.
I’ll add my voice in support of Kirkstall’s and the subsequent comments that when I stopped believing in Satan, my life improved. Now I can take accountability for my actions, good or bad.
JLM, I don’t understand what the name change has to do with being a global church. The best way to be a global church is to do good globally. Part with some of your $130B every year. The Church has the personnel, international connections, global communications, and finances to have a major impact on global conditions. Yet the leadership obsesses over irrelevant issues.
@Jack Hughes, on my mission we literally had a “Charla de Satanas” (“Satan Discussion”) that we’d give to investigators who were starting to have doubts. Because, you know, the only reason someone might be reconsidering baptism is because of Satan – couldn’t possibly be their own intuition leading them onto a different path.
Has everyone really forgot that the movement to cease using the term “Mormon” as the name of the Church predates President Nelson’s announcement? It was the topic of one talk in each of the 2011 General Conferences, including President Packer’s.
A well-meaning missionary I know has this on his FB page right now – The word “Mormon” translated in Greek means more good. In ancient Egyptian, if you split the word in half, Mor=love, and Mon=established forever.
Should I send him the GBH talk which followed the RMN talk in 1990? Could be useful…
Maybe erasing the name Mormon is related to it being easily searchable.
I don’t think what comes up can be blamed on satan.