(NY Times Op-Ed) Spencer Fluhman–Why We Fear Mormons

Mockery of Mormonism comes easily for many Americans. Commentators have offered many reasons, but even they have found it difficult to turn their gaze from Mormon peculiarities. As a result, they have missed a critical function of American anti-Mormonism: the faith has been oddly reassuring to Americans. As a recent example, the Broadway hit “The Book of Mormon” lampoons the religion’s naïveté on racial issues, which is striking given that the most biting criticisms have focused on the show’s representations of Africans and blackness.

As a Mormon and a scholar of religious history, I am unsurprised by the juxtaposition of Mormon mocking and racial insensitivity. Anti-Mormonism has long masked America’s contradictions and soothed American self-doubt. In the 19th century, antagonists charged that Mormon men were tyrannical patriarchs, that Mormon women were virtual slaves and that Mormons diabolically blurred church and state. These accusations all contained some truth, though the selfsame accusers denied women the vote, bolstered racist patriarchy and enthroned mainstream Protestantism as something of a state religion.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Mormons, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

One comment on “(NY Times Op-Ed) Spencer Fluhman–Why We Fear Mormons

  1. Capt. Father Warren says:

    [i]Mockery of Mormonism comes easily for many Americans[/i]

    Perhaps that is true, but an institution as substantial as LDS should not worry itself about a certain amount of mockery. What might worry it, are the serious Christians who will do as they have always done in the face of other supposed religions, and that is to point out the difference between Christianity and those other religions.

    In the case of Mormonism, this is a special call to specificity because the LDS goes to great pains to publicly paint itself and its members as Christians, or believers in Jesus Christ.

    Unfortunatley for the LDS, there is nothing Christian about their doctrines and theology, and so it is their efforts to paint themselves as Christians and believers of the Jesus Christ of Christianity that rightly exposes them to Christian examination, refutation, and at the end of the day, even a little mockery.

    As to the title of the story “Why do we fear Mormons? As Christians, we don’t. But we do fear Mormonism, that it will divert souls from the one true God, and most importantly the one true Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. And in being so diverted from Him, they will not spend eternity in God’s Kingdom as a part of God’s Holy Family.