Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Strange Things

This would be a good time to know something about Mormonism.  If you agree, bookmark Mormon American, a thoughtful blog put together by Ryan Bell and D.T. Bell.

Its mission is "to politely but doggedly highlight the inaccuracies and unfair and sloppy thinking that so often characterize the national conversation on Mormonism." At first glance, it seems to do this quite well.  Both the posts and the comments, of which thus far most appear to to be written by Mormons, focus on presenting the Mormon movement as its adherents themselves understand it.

Here's a sample.  To the frequent charge by anti-Mormon (and anti-religious) writers that his beliefs are "weird," Ryan answers:
Yes, I do believe those things that sound strange to outsiders.  But the reason I do is because those peripheral ideas are woven into a much larger fabric of belief that reaches to the foundations of why I am here and what my life should be.  If modern, secular commentators want to toy with those out-hanging threads, they should at least consider tracing them back to the web at the heart of the belief.
This is a useful perspective for addressing the strange and seemingly bizarre aspects of many religions, our own included.

As the presidential campaign heats up, it is virtually certain that we will read a great deal about the LDS and related churches.  If the 2008 campaign and the intervening years are any guide, much of what we read will be ignorant, bigoted or foolish.  Let us hope that the Bells can provide the sort of balance which enables the mutual understanding incumbent upon citizens and neighbors in a pluralistic society.


Mark C. Christianson said...

What I'd be more interested in is writings from non-Mormon academics who is freer to interpret the doctrine and history in critical and factual ways without raising personal religious issues with the church authorities or possible interest in deminishing more controversial aspects of Mormonism.

Father Anonymous said...

That would also be very interesting to me, especially if it were set up to answer the sort of questions that will be raised by the presidential campaign. Anybody know a site like that?