"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our Lord stands forever. Isaiah 40:8

22 February 2006

My Thoughts on Mormons and Christians

Apparently there was some controversy in the blog world recently, at least amongst a small group of Christian women bloggers. I came in to the whole business a bit late and in all honesty it’s really not that big of a deal, but it did get me thinking. So bear with me as I don’t think I have all the facts but I won’t let me stop from commenting anyway.

Here’s a recap for those who have no clue what I’m talking about. Recently a blog held an award contest looking for nominations for things like “best blog design” and “most inspiring blog” and some mom stuff. Anyone nominated could post a little button on their blog saying they were nominated and anyone could vote for their favorite blog in a particular category. I was nominated in one of the categories (and I’m pretty sure I know by who) and posted the button on my sidebar.

Now here is where I may be a little fuzzy on the details but I think the jist of it will suffice for what I have to say. I guess Marla made a post pointing out her observation that the majority of the blogs nominated for these awards were either Mormon or Christian. Strange bedfellows…but nothing overtly wrong with the whole thing, there were no prerequisites for the nominations with regards to religion. But Marla’s ensuing posts over her observation obviously upset some people and I guess some mud-slinging occurred, mostly at Marla.

My original tip-off to this whole mess was based on a post by one of my favorite bloggers - Carol at She Lives. Carol made a very thoughtful, gentle argument against there being any problem with being nominated in a blog contest alongside non-Christians. I don’t disagree with one thing she said. But when I went over to read Marla’s posts on the subject, I didn’t feel like she was saying that a Christian shouldn’t be in a blog contest with Mormons, she was just making an observation that the mix of Mormons and Christians together was a bit curious.

Now, Marla did go on to offer a discernment award for anyone that could pick out the Mormon vs Christian blogs. I think this tactic is what upset people the most, but I think her main point may have been missed. I believe her point was that there are many Mormons who could be mistaken as Christians based of the content their blogs (ie quotes from Christian authors). Lump Mormon and Christian blogs together in a contest and perhaps the line between the two becomes a bit more blurred for non-believers or less-mature believers.

Here’s where I think Marla got the short end of the stick. I think her observation is worth taking a look at, just as a point of caution. It is clear to me that Marla has the gift of discernment and one of the benefits of that gift is seeing trouble coming long before anyone else. That is also a downfall of the gift for the discerner as sometimes their distress calls are seen as judgemental or oversensitive. Discerners can seem like troublemakers or chicken littles and often don’t get any credit when their “prophesies” finally come to pass.

Now, am I convinced that the intermingling of Christian and Mormon bloggers is a sign of something bad to come? No. But I do think it’s something to be aware of and keep an eye on. Especially if Mormons are starting to call themselves “Christians”. Mormons are not Christians, they are a cult as Marla explained and if you don’t know much about them I suggest you read Marla’s posts. I wouldn’t want a seeker or immature Christian to think that there is any common ground between Christianity and Mormonism and personally, that has made me question my own involvement in the blogger contest run by a Mormon site.

But to be honest, I’m not sure what I think is right or wrong for me in this case, but it has helped me to make clear decisions about things I could run in to in the future. For one, I wouldn’t put a Mormon blog link on my sidebar. I wouldn’t want a visitor to think I support the Mormon religion in any shape or form. Jesus is the one and only way to heaven and any religion that says anything different is leading people astray and I can’t tolerate that. I’m sure there are some very lovely Mormon ladies who have blogs and I have nothing against them personally, but they have been deceived and I pray that they will be set free and turn to Christ.

Last point (I think). The one thing that I noticed about this controversy that breaks my heart was that some self-described Christians attacked Marla (I'm not talking about Carol's post here - Carol did a good job of expressing her differing opinion without attacking anyone). As I said, I really don’t believe Marla did anything wrong, but even if she did, her fellow sisters in Christ should not be saying bad things about her or posting nasty comments. If genuine reproof were warranted then it should have been done in a loving, gentle manner and best by private email. A differing opinion is certainly fair game for the public arena but it too should not be done in attack mode.

I was once part of an email group of Christian women and saw a similar type of attack happen when one member made a comment about how she disciplines her kids. Other members starting throwing around labels like "child abuse" and just belittled this mother. I was astonished. One of the things that became apparent to me was that anyone can call themselves a Christian – that doesn’t make it true. Christian women should never be associated with the words "cat fight".

Well, I think I hit all my main points. I don’t have any strong feelings about this whole issue, but I thought it was an interesting lesson on human nature, discernment, and the pitfalls of written communication. I think that a lot of what Marla had to say was simply misconstrued to be bigger and worst than it was intended to be. It was in my opinion an interesting observation that brought up some good thinking points for true believers.

Finally, I was reminded of these verses as I thought over all of this:


1Corinthians 10:18-33 (NIV)

Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

"Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it."

If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if anyone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience' sake the other man's conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

43 comments:

jane said...

What a blessing to read your post. Thank you for sharing your insights and for understanding what I was trying to do. Words can't express the gratitude I feel :)

Catez said...

I see it a bit differntly to you. I think personal attacks are unnecessary and agree that reproof can be expressed privately. I also believe that expressing a different view on the ideas presented can be done publicly - since they were presented publicly and specifically pointed to particular bloggers or what some Christian bloggers do. So there's a place for fair and reasonable response publicly I think.

It's helpful to look at the issues/ideas rather than the person.

Thanks for sharing your take on it - I think people each have their own take and we differ a bit in some aspects. I certainly agree with being discerning and not confusing my beliefs with other beliefs.

Carrie said...

Thanks for stopping by Catez. Actually I wasn't trying to say that differing opinions shouldn't be made publically (I was actually afraid that might not read right so maybe I'll edit some of that), but that a real need for reproof is probably best done in private and that mean-spirited comments have no place in God's kingdom (the kind found in the comments section of some of Marla's posts).

Carol's post was a good example of how a differing view can be handled appropriately. She gently made her counterpoints and never named any names. The only way I found Marla's post were due to a comment that Marla had left behind.

Marla - I'm glad you felt I did you justice. Some of the heat you were getting seemed unfair but some of the differing opinions are fair. But when I read your posts I did not see the things that others saw, so I thought it was worth posting about. I appreciate your courage in making a stand where you felt you should.

Jeana said...

I think this controversy was taken much more personally because it follwed *another* controversy involving blog awards, where someone was singled out and felt very much attacked. Without the earlier one, this one probably would not have ruffled so many feathers. Often works that way, doesn't it? Your post was very thoughtful.

Ellen said...

There is evidence that Mormons are moving toward becoming accepted as Christians and that Mormons are encouraging it.

Gordon. B. Hinckley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said: "We are Christians in a very real sense and that is coming to be more and more widely recognized. Once upon a time people everywhere said we are not Christians. They have come to recognize that we are, and that we have a very vital and dynamic religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ."

It's hard to argue with their own words...

Anonymous said...

It would have been best if reference hadn't been made to DYM's sister in Marla's first post. It would have been best if there hadn't been some sort of insinuation made that her sister running a contest was somehow wrong i.e. the remark about it being a coincidence. And it probably would have been best if the awards name hadn't been mentioned either.

Discernment is fine. But I wonder if there was any discernment made regarding how many Christian women perhaps were turned off by this sort of snarkiness?

Muley said...

Thanks for the articles you and Marla have posted. And thanks for having the courage to do so.

surcie said...

I had a problem with the idea that Marla was encouraging her readers to "out" the other bloggers and categorize them based on what religion her "discerning" friends judged them to be part of. I am a Christian, but I my blog is not a Christian blog per se. I'm not writing about theological issues or my faith practices. I like to write about my various experiences raising my toddler, however, and that is why I read (and enjoy!) DYM's blog as well as other blogs by mothers who like to write. DYM has a wonderful sense of humor and a great perspective on parenthood. The idea that I should not be "hanging out" on her blog because I'm a Christian is preposterous to me. If I could, I'd hang out with her in person!
I don't know what Marla was thinking or what she intended. All we had to go on were her words. She came off as being not only extremely judgemental and self-righteous but hurtful. She might've thought she was telling the truth, but she' definitely wasn't "telling the truth in love." If she was attacked in response, it was because she singled out DYM in a way that seemed completely unjust and un-called for.

Anonymous said...

I agree. The way this was handled by MS was not good.

Ellen said...

And yet, very few are telling us how they do a better job of calling Christian women to discernment.

Jeana said...

First of all, I think our view of how discernment is acted on is different. I think we can build relationships with people and witness to them through those relationships and still be discerning of any false views they have. I think we can pray that God will show us His perfect timing for when to lovingly point out those falsities. I don't think it necessarily has to be the first time we meet them, and I certainly don't think it has to be in a public forum.

Here's an interesting link. http://deceptioninthechurch.blogspot.com/
His ministry is to point out deception and teach discernment. He educates on some very specific cults and groups and their fallacies. However he does not pick out individuals and point his finger at them publicly.

I think you can write about discernment, even discernment concerning blogs, Mormons, and Christian circles AND I think you can fully make your point without singling out an individual in what looks like an attack.

Anonymous said...

Well for starters Ellen, I wouldn't do it when the actual contest was going on. Bad move. bad bad move.

I wouldn't mention DYM or her sister either.

I wouldn't insinuate there was something funning going on with them having an award either...(the conincidence remark).

and

I sure as heck wouldn't issue a "discernment award!"

What was she thinking!!!?

Anonymous said...

Oh and then I'd apologize and back off for a few weeks when it was apparent, again, that some feelings had been hurt. Marla is good at playing the martyr, but it was just tiresome here.

Catez said...
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Carrie said...

Catez - I've been meaning to read through Marla's post again to see if I could actually find the statements you are refering to. To be honest, I don't know if I have the energy. I read through all her posts on the subject and I just didn't come away with the same feelings as others.

But for arguements sake, let's say that she did say all the things you're saying. Isn't her freedom of speech on blogdom the same as everyone else's? Yes, maybe she didn't say things in the most politically-correct, gentle way but that doesn't negate what I saw as the thrust of her posts - that Mormons are not Christians.

I actually went through the comments from one of the websites that was addressed by Marla and was so saddened by the hostility that people were showing towards her. Alot of hateful things said by "Christians". What I read there sounded alot worse than anything I could have read into on Marla's posts.

Frankly, I don't understand why people are so upset by this. If the tables were turned and someone was bashing me because of my beliefs I really don't think I would care. I'm confident in my faith and no amount of mud-slinging is gonna change that.

Anyway, I don't have all the answers nor am I saying that I'm right about all this but I think there is more going on here than meets the eye. I know that God will sort it all out for me.

And yes, I know the conscience verses can be a bit complicated which is why I just posted them and let people come to their own conclusions. You caught me :)

Carrie said...

By the way, thanks to all the others who have commented here. I can appreciate everyone's take on the situation and am greatful that no one has gotten too snarky (new word for me, but I think I like it - thanks to "anonymous" who ever you are).

I would challenge those of you who strongly disagreed with Marla's comments to go back and see if you can find any truths in her posts (despite what you may think of her method).

Ellen said...

Ok, ladies, what how are *YOU* all doing it better? How are you all expressing the same truth in a better way?

What are you doing to spread truth?

Anonymous is very good at telling us what Marla did wrong, but is not saying what Anonymous is doing so much better at conveying truth.

Catez said...

Hi Christian Woman,
I haven't said some-one can't post what they want on their blog. I've said I disagree with what was posted and how certain things i.e. inference and insinuation were used to prop up a position. That's an accurate description of the writing on some posts. I am not saying there is no difference in the beliefs. A person could explore that. But mandating whose blogs should not be read is another matter. So I do disagree with targeting individuals and laying down a law for people.

On the thrusts of her posts - if that was the main point then the individual naming, singling out a group and saying who one shouldn't read was unnecessary. Sorry but I do see the legalism in it.

People were not upset because their beliefs were being debated - they were upset because they were singled out in a situation that is generic - for any women bloggers.

Yes there were some comments that were a over the line - but that has gone both ways too.

Anyway - it really isn't about who is for or against some-one personally for me. If you don't want to read blogs or be in awards you don't have to. But there is no biblical position I can see for laying down a law to everyone else.

I emailed you btw - hope you got that.

Ellen said...

But mandating whose blogs should not be read is another matter.

Catez, I'd like a quote from Marla on that, please.

HolyMama! said...

Interesting discussion you have here!
Here's my view: One of the things I LIKE about blogging is that - surprisingly - a lot of people who have little/none/completely different religious views than mine come by and stay awhile. Yes, I like that!

Christ lives in me, and God has given me a gift to write. Why in the world wouldn't I welcome them and get to know them, via blog or any other way? I'm just doing what I'm supposed to do. Writing. Sharing Christ. Loving.

Catez said...

Hi Christian Woman,
I commented more than I intended. I am not realy wanting to have a debate to be honest. Appreciate your graciousness.

Hi Ellen - There are several posts you can read. I'm not interested in arguing as it can just go on forever.

Ellen said...

Catez, there is no direct quote, I read all the posts.

Marla preached caution and discernment, not prohibition and your accusation is false.

Carrie said...

I agree with Catez, I think we should move on. It seems to me like everyone is reading Marla's posts and her intent differently depending on their own personal biases (me included). As such, we seem to be arguing past each other in some cases and that's just not productive.

Let's all just pray for God's wisdom about all of this and ask that no non-believers have been alienated in the process.

Holymama - I agree with you. I'm happy to have anyone visit my blog and if they are a non-believer than I hope they can see a glimpse of Christ and their own need for him as their Savior. I tend to only visit other Christian blogs because my time is limited and I want to spend that time getting edified.

I think this is a good lesson for everyone as to how easily it is to upset people even if you weren't intending to do so. I tend to be a straight-shooter so I have gotten into trouble myself with this and have learned to exercise caution whenever approaching a potentially hot topic. I still miss the mark but I try.

I hope nothing I have said here has offended anyone. If it has, please email me and let me know.

If you need some laughs after all this seriousness, head over to HolyMama's blog. And try not to judge her because she once had a crush on Scott Baio.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't going to say anything, but it seems I can't visit a blog tonight without someone mentioning their nomination in the Share the Love awards, hosted (and conceived of) by the sister of Daring Young Mom. Coincidence or... ? Anyway, her contest is different from the Blog of Beauty (BOB) awards: It is hosted by a Mormon rather than a Christian and it is open to ALL women.

Ellen said...

Ok, let's move on...

Mrs. Blackberry said...
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Catez said...

Ellen,
I think we'll just have to agree to disagree. I wasn't directly quoting - but there is an obvious madate that and in my view it was being prohibitive. I know you feel strongly on this. I think moving on is a good idea.

Anonymous said...

"Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches. Had bellies with stars. The Plain-Belly Sneetches. Had none upon thars." Is this all about judging?

Catez said...

I am moving on from this but did just want to say that it's ok to disagree with some posts. It doesn't mean I disagree with everything else a blogger has said or will say on other issues.

I do hope I conveyed that I was looking at some of the post content as I, like other ladies (and maybe some gents) am not wanting to be personal. My observations are on the writing techniques and ideas, and the way an argument was constructed, not the character of a person.

This isn't my blog so I'll just suggest that for me anyway it would be helpful if people who don't have Blogger IDs typed a name at the end of their comments. I've no idea if Anonymous is the same person each time or different people on this thread.

Thanks.

Catez said...

Sorry I should have had this in my last comment. I am uncomfortable with part of what I said here:
"if we speak the truth it should be the truth, not assumption and tenuous links to get people thinking how we want".

I think we should endeavour to be as truthful as possible and avoid assumption and making tenuous links. And I think that happened. But I can't say that in this instance it was done to get people thinking how some-one wants. So I do want to rectify that on my part.

Carrie said...

Thanks for the suggestion Catez, I agree. It would be helpful for the sake of discussion if people could log in under "other" and put down a first name (even if it is a pseudoname).

I have no idea where the "Sneetches" quote comes from nor if it's addressed to someone in particular. I'm all for friendly discussion here, even friendly debate, put please post enough info in your comment so that your question can be properly answered.

Catez - I think we're all starting to second-guess how we say things here, I know I am. Although my opinions are the same, I'm not sure that I communicate them effectively.

It's important to me that people realize that anything I say on my blog is my own opinion and interpretation, nothing else. I try to stay scriptural but I know I miss the mark sometimes. I try to speak the truth, but sometimes I'm not sure what the truth is and sometimes the truth is different for different people.

Therefore, I do the best I can at stating what I believe the truth to be and if I have back up material to support my opinion, all the better. It's up to the reader to do the investigation for themselves as to whether what I say has merit or not.

And I LOVE that people show up and leave comments or make posts on their own blogs either agreeing or disagreeing with what I say. That to me is how the real truth is revealed. Sometimes other people's interpretations and opinions cause me to abandon my original stance (and educate me in the process) and sometimes I'm not swayed at all, but I still learn how other people feel about a particlaur subject which helps me communicate with other people of similiar stances in the future.

Wow, I don't want this turn into another post so I'll stop there.

I really appreciate your viewpoints on this Catez although we do disagree in some areas. I am glad that there are people like you who are willing to engage in the discussion without getting personal.

Ellen said...

Catez, I haven't made anymore posts here...I have moved on (at least sticking to my own blog)

Catez said...
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Catez said...
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Carrie said...
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Catez said...
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Catez said...
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Catez said...

Thanks Christian Woman,
I have felt a bit uncomfortable actually. I'm aware that these are open conversations, and I think it's been difficult discussing the ideas in posts without sounding like discussing the person. So I have second guessed how I conveyed some analysis. There are a few words that I think I'd change but I won't get into that now. I do hope that I did not say anything hurtful. I've kept to the ideas, but for me, I'm aware that what I say about some-one's ideas can be read by some-one - and I think this issue has been difficult personally for some people.

I asked for some comments to be deleted - they weren't personal at all, in fact they were more about how we see things and conscience and not about specifics - but I felt I had gone on too long with this here. Thanks for doing that. (I thought I'd explain that too if that's ok).

God bless you.

Mrs. Blackberry said...

would you please delete my comment. I was wrong, and can admit it. I also change my perspective after reading everything, which I should have done in the first place before commenting.

Thank you.

janna said...

I like the way you commented here without attacking anyone. We need more people like you on the blogosphere! I can see the love you have for mormons individually without accepting their beliefs. Thanks for your post. I'll have to check out Marla's.

Catez said...

Me oh my - I still didn't explain myself. My position is the same - I haven't second guessed that. Just wanting to remain sensitive in it. (That's it!)

Shauna said...

I've now read several of these comments about the discernment awards and the Mormon/Christian dither - everyone is proud of what they are and if only those damned ones over there would get it straight and convert to us now and I just have one thing to say. It is so despairing to see the same thing as the Protestant/Catholic wars that have gone on in Ireland for many years, the Muslim Sunni versis Shi'ite battles that have gone on for centuries and are being spotlighted now for the world to see and the similar things going on in China and India and Africa and etc, etc - being continued full force here in America between two religions who both have a belief in Jesus Christ.
I don't think God is looking down approvingly on ANY of these antics - especially being played out in his name. Talk about a major breaking of one of the ten commandments - what is that? oh - something about taking the name of the Lord in vain. Grow up all of you.

Carrie said...

Hi Shauna,

I think everyone has moved on from this topic. This dispute is very different than the other religions you mentioned and Mormons and Christians do not believe in the same Jesus. This also doesn't qualify as using the Lord's name in vain.

I'd be happy to discuss these issues with you further by email if you are interested. My email is listed in my sidebar.

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