Anti-Mormon vs. Anti-Mormonism
When I was a Mormon a name they used for anyone who opposed the Church was “anti-Mormon”. The term anti-Mormon covers a huge spectrum to the members of the Mormon Church. There’s a mindset within the Church that if you aren’t with them you’re against them. They expect Christians to just ignore the major doctrinal differences between Mormonism and mainline Christianity. They want all of us to just accentuate the positive things about their religion, not worrying about the rest.
Granted, there are groups that do appear to be less than kind to the Mormon people and there are others who can love the Mormon people while at the same time highly disagree with the doctrines of the Mormon Church. Many of the Mormons I have spoken with have told me that they see no difference between someone politely conversing with them using the Bible and someone screeching at them on a street corner, sign in hand telling them they’re going to hell. Both instances are perceived to be anti-Mormon, and enemies of the Church.
Through this experience I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter how you try to present the Gospel to the lost they will still find offense to it. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is offensive to those who don’t believe. Especially to the Mormons when you try to show them how the doctrines of their religion are not in line with the Bible. You may wonder as I have why the LDS think that people, who oppose the doctrines of their church, oppose them as well. In the process of reading and researching for this article I found the following quote;
“Brothers and sisters, pray for the critics of the Church; love your enemies”. Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign May 1980
Two years later he says it again. “Be of good cheer, for the Lord is guiding His church. Brothers and sisters, pray for the critics of the Church; love your enemies.” (Ensign May 1982)
These quotes bring me to the title of this article. There is a huge difference in being against the Mormon people (anti-Mormon) and being against the doctrines of the Mormon Church (anti-Mormonism).
For a Mormon to call someone an “anti-Mormon” is to call them something that is profane and vile. At least this is how the name was perceived when I was a Mormon. If a fellow church member called something or someone an anti-Mormon I knew to stay away. In Mormonism there’s an underlying persecution complex in the mindset of the Mormon. It usually kicks in not long after they are baptized into the Church when non-LDS friends and family start voicing their concerns about Mormonism.
The new member may be exposed to literature that’s not church approved and paints the Church in a bad light, or they may run across someone who is a former Mormon who tells them about their exodus out of Mormonism. It’s just easier for the Mormons to slap the anti-Mormon label on an individual’s forehead or the cover of a book rather than take a step back and consider if there are valid concerns to be had about the Church.
I know there maybe a few people in the world who are against the Mormon people for whatever reason, I’m not going to dispute that. Generally speaking, the people the Mormons are so quick to call their enemies and other names are just people who disagree with the doctrines of the Mormon Church. They have compared and contrasted their findings about Mormonism to Biblical research. I’m not talking about pulling stuff out of the air or off any random website discussing Mormonism.
These people honestly looked at the historicity of Mormonism, its leaders, and its scripture. So if people are honestly researching, reading the materials the Mormon Church has already provided, and from there draw their own conclusion that Mormonism is a fraud, does that still make them “anti-Mormon” or does it make them “anti-Mormonism”?
I believe the problem of being quick to judge someone who opposes the Church stems from the notion the Mormons have that tells them “they are their religion”. They put on a pure, happy, clean cut image for the world. When someone speaks against their church, while bringing up historical facts about their religion it tarnishes the way they want to be seen. I think maybe when someone shows them the truth about their religion; on some level it hurts their ego. With all those thoughts bouncing around in their heads it’s no wonder the moment someone makes a less than flattering remark about the Mormon Church they go into a defensive mode and think they are being attacked.
I would love for the Mormon to understand that we aren’t against them. Sadly I know as long as they believe only their Church holds all the keys to salvation, they may never see the difference in an anti-Mormon and someone who is anti-Mormonism.
Melissa Grimes (firstname.lastname@example.org)