Hello. I am an eighth grade student at Falcon Creek Middle School in Aurora, Colorado. I’m currently working on a project about the discrimination against Mormons and their historical struggle for equality with the other religions of the world. I’m hoping that it’s okay if I asked you a few questions that would be helpful to my research. If you have any further information that you can share with me, I’d appreciate it immensely. Thank you ever so much for your time! My project is due on June 1 so any reply before then would be great! Thank you again and have a fantastic day!
(Below are 10 questions By Erica directly followed by a response by Gramps)
1.) How have Mormons been discriminated nowadays? If you are Mormon and you have been discriminated because of it, how so?
Discrimination against Mormons is not so prevalent now as it was in earlier times. Very often in today’s world, because of the high moral standards of the Mormon Church, being a Mormon is more of a badge of honor, than a cause for discrimination.
2.) What about the Mormon religion do you find most appealing (if you are Mormon)? What do you think is the best part of the Mormon religion? Why have so many people converted to it in your point of view?
I find the most appealing concepts in the Mormon religion to be—
A) it is the only true and living church of God on the earth; the only church that has the priesthood authority to act officially in the name of God to preach the gospel and administer the ordinances thereof.
B) It recognizes and practices high moral principles, including the strict law of chastity, personal honesty and integrity.
C) It gives ample opportunity for growth and development in the gospel, and for service to one’s fellow man.
3.) Many other religions, especially Christianity, strongly disagree with the Mormon religion. They make arguments such as that the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants contradict the Bible. Do you disapprove their arguments and if possible, can you tell me why you believe their arguments are false?
We emphatically disapprove of the arguments of the sectarian world against the Mormon Church. However, we understand their source and therefore we are not really concerned about what they can do to tear down the work of God. No Christian church in today’s world has suffered the persecution and derision by other religions than has the Mormon Church, and the reason for this persecution is very clear. Since the Mormon Church is indeed the very kingdom of God on the earth, and has within its doctrine and authority the only means to bring mankind back into the presence of God, Satan is aligned against this church as against no other. The adversary inspires all who will listen to him to attempt to tear down and try to destroy the work of God.
4.) What about Joseph Smith made him a modern prophet? Not to offend, but couldn’t anyone back in the 1800’s have claimed to have seen revelations from God? What about him made people believe him way back then and believe him to this day?
It is true that anyone could have claimed to be a prophet, and many made that claim. However, the difference between the claim of Joseph Smith and all the others, is that Joseph Smith told the truth. As a lad of only 14 years of age, he was personally visited in one of the most outstanding visions of all time by both the Father and the Son, and was called by them to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth again. With only three years of formal education, he translated the Book of Mormon from an unknown tongue into English by the gift and power of God–the Book of Mormon being, in the words of the prophet, “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (Book of Mormon, Introduction).
The Church that he established, in spite of the severe persecution against it, has grown to over 12 million members, and is established in many countries, with more members living outside the United States than within–all in direct fulfillment of the prophecies of God, both ancient and modern.
5.) If you have heard about Mitt Romney who is running for President of the U.S. this coming 2008: Some people have discriminated against Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon. Those people believe his religion will interfere with his job as President if he becomes such, though they have never argued against a Christian or Baptist in this way. Is there anything about this discrimination that you would like to comment on? Do you know how Romney’s religion could possibly interfere with this prestigious job?
One of the prevalent points of discrimination against the Mormon Church is one that you yourself have fallen into. In the above statement you have implied that the Mormon Church is not a Christian church, by stating that others have never argued against a Christian as they have against a Mormon. I assume that you are reporting what others say rather than expressing your own belief in this matter.
Let me mention that I am personally acquainted with Mitt Romney, and worked in his organization of the 2002 Winter Olympics as an interpreter for the General Secretary of the National Olympic Committee of Spain. Although Romney’s political opponents claim that his religion will stand in the way of his nomination for president of the United States, quite the contrary is true. Because of his religion, Mitt Romney is a man of integrity and of high moral standards. His objective in seeking political office is to SERVE THE PEOPLE of the nation. Standing almost alone in the political world, he has no personal agendum of self interest or of financial gain. In fact, as the head of the 2002 Olympics he served without a salary until the operation came clearly into the black.
6.) Are any of the arts (music, painting/drawing, writing/poetry) popular in the Mormon religion? If yes, are there any historical reasons as to why that you know of? If not, do you know why not?
The practice of the arts is popular and common among the members of the Mormon Church. Among the members there are noted sculptors, artists, musicians and playwrights. When the saints crossed the plains on foot and by wagon and handcart in the very early days of the Church, they sometimes had dances at night, and composed and sang songs. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir that performs on radio and TV every Sunday is the oldest continuous radio program on the air. It is comprised of some 350 singers, plus an exceptional orchestra, all of whom serve without any pay, completely at their own expense.
7.) Is there anything violent in the Mormon religion that people possibly discriminate Mormons for? If yes, what is it and does it have any religious background? If not, what about the Mormon religion makes them peaceful and is there any practical reason for them to be seen as a cult?
There is nothing violent in the doctrine or practice of the Mormon religion. They are a peace-abiding people. The Mormon Church is a peaceable organization. They are falsely accused of being a cult by the enemies of the Church and by those who are ignorant of its doctrine and practices.
8.) There are Mormon churches throughout the world, but the religion still seems almost strictly American. It’s pretty much the only major religion that the U.S. has been the maker of, especially since the religion’s headquarters are in Salt Lake City, Utah. Would you consider this religion to be fully/mainly American, or would you consider it to be universal? What about it would make it American or what makes it a universal religion?
The Mormon Church was started in America because America was the only nation at the time what would tolerate the organization of God’s kingdom on the earth. The constitution of the United States was developed under the specific inspiration of God to uphold the freedoms that would allow the generation of this new religion. However, the doctrine and practices are not particularly “American” in nature. They are universal. Members of the Mormon Church in other countries are counseled to stay in their own countries to build up the kingdom of God there, rather than emigrating to the United States.
9.) Mormonism isn’t always taken seriously, especially not so by people who don’t know a lot about the religion. Once a person understands the basic points though, they come to their own factually supported point of view. Many people either come to the decision that Mormonism is pointless and fake or become interested personally in the religion. There are of course other decisions that can be reached. What would you say to change the minds of the people who think Mormonism is a false religion and how would you encourage people who are personally interested in the religion?
The Mormon Church sends its missionaries into the world to bear testimony of the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ, of the Book of Mormon as a companion scripture to the Bible and to the restoration of God’s kingdom on the earth through the instrumentality of the Prophet Joseph Smith. If those who hear the testimony of the missionaries are living the kind of lives that allow them to be influenced by the Holy Ghost, they will believe the testimonies and develop the faith that is necessary to follow the word of God and join themselves to His kingdom.
We would encourage those who show interest in the Mormon religion to humbly and sincerely ask God in prayer if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is indeed the true and living Church of God. If they will do so, asking “with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto [them], by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moroni 10:4).
10.) What are any of the major beliefs of Mormons that are most frequently discriminated both in history and currently? Do Mormons discriminate other religions in the way that some other religions discriminate them?
The Mormon Church does not discriminate against other religions. One of the Articles of Faith of the Mormon Church is, “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” When talking to members of other churches we encourage them to keep and retain all the truths that they have learned in their religions. We only desire to add other truths to their true beliefs.