The Corner

Last Mormon E-mail of the Day, From a Mormon

I don’t want to beat the subject to death, either, but perhaps as a Mormon I should say a few things, partly in our defense and partly to set things straight.1.  The term “Mormon” isn’t like “colored,” but it’s probably headed that way.  The anti-Mormon crowd uses it sneeringly, and so it is becoming associated with them.  However, for now most Mormons don’t take offense at the term, although they do generally prefer “LDS.”2.  On Temples: Yes, only members of the Church in good standing can enter.  One must be interviewed by a Bishop and a Stake President (analogous to a Catholic Priest and Bishop) in order to confirm that status.  This isn’t very different than things done by other religions: in the Jewish Temple, for example, only certain men were allowed to enter.  Of course, we have many meetinghouses that we regularly use for meetings and activities and anyone is welcome there; Temples are relatively few in number and are not used for general meetings.3.  On Mormon “garments” (underwear): These are very analogous to the vestments worn by priests and ministers in other churches.  We have a lay priesthood, not a paid clergy, so members of our priesthood work at jobs like any other person, and wearing symbolic clothing is not always practical.  We count among our members farmers and lawyers, doctors and salesmen, bus drivers and educators.  If we wore sacred symbolic clothing on the outside we would be thought strange for having everyone dress the same; we don’t mind being thought strange, but you can see that however we did it, people would make fun.  The garments represent our covenants with God; they’re reminders that we should try to be obedient to Him and that He is our Creator and Father.  Many people of many faiths wear reminders of one sort or another, from crosses on chains to religious medallions to special aprons to a particular style of dress.  Some religious people wear their hair in particular ways.  By wearing such garments under our clothing, however, we are not trying to hide our faith.  On the contrary, we are strongly encouraged and taught to share our message openly and freely; I think everyone knows enough about us to know that we generally do just that.4.  On being a “loony” religion: Yes, there are parts of our religion that must be taken on faith.  K-Lo, your comment about transubstantiation (in which we do not believe) is perfect.  I think any religion, including any Christian religion, requires faith in one way or another.  In fact, believing that Christ rose from the dead on the third day (which we do believe) and that this was not a story started by followers after His death requires faith.  Can anyone prove that the Bible is the inerrant word of God?  Or that Christ was born of a virgin mother?  These beliefs must appear “loony” to outsiders, too.  “Loony” is very much in the eye of the beholder.I’m not trying to convert anyone here, but such comments and questions are going to come up more often if Romney runs.  Frankly, such a thing makes many of us nervous as we know that many of our most sacred beliefs will be ridiculed.  We do remember lots of anti-Mormon persecution and we still experience some of it today, although now it’s not nearly as bad as when the governor of Missouri issued an “Extermination Order” against us, saying that the Mormons should either be expelled from the State or exterminated.