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Posted on July 2 at 4:44 p.m.
Mr. Woodring has served up a whitewash.
“… an early church policy favorable to polygamy.” More like hell-bent on it. Polygamy was a COMMANDMENT (D&C 132).
“… the Mormon Church has officially disconnected itself from … polygamy for the past 123 years!” Only after national legislation and under threat of losing lands to the U.S. government. Still, the church continued polygamy in the U.S. in secret and colonized Juarez, Mexico, to continue it there. (I recommend Joanne Hanks’ book “It’s Not About the Sex My A**” for an inside look at modern Mormon-derived polygamy. Easy to find if you google her or the title.)
“… it doesn’t help when an undiscerning public associates the polygamous practice of a few minor splinter groups with the Mormon Church.” The public has every right. The splinter groups draw their beliefs and practices from those of the original Mormon Church, which today’s Mormons still defend.
“For a period of time, the Mormon Church was guilty of racial discrimination, as certain ethnic groups were excused from holding offices in the church.” The “period of time” was 138 years. “Certain ethnic groups” were Black men of African descent. “Excused” means barred and “offices” means priesthood, needed for exaltation in the hereafter. The church began ordaining Blacks in 1978 after pressure from civil rights groups and protests at Brigham Young University sporting events.
“… accused of being cultist, but the actual reality is in the opposite direction.” Cults are characterized by central authority, holding back information, “us” versus “them” thinking, showering recruits with attention, and promoting adherence by psychological intrusion. The Mormon Church gets a checkmark next to each.
“… every individual has the basic freedom to choose the direction and nature of his or her beliefs. Blind obedience and obsequious behavior under a tyrannical authority is nonexistent within the Mormon Church.” Not true. Apostasy is excommunication-worthy, and obedience is harped on.
“Mormons … recognize the community stature and value of other religions and will limit themselves to a friendly dialogue based on mutual respect and acceptance.” Nonsense. Founder Joseph Smith said Jesus told him to join no other church, and that “… their creeds were an abomination in his sight … all corrupt … ‘they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.’” This position has never changed.
“Mormon missionaries ... are bound, under church authority” — the one he just called nonexistent — “to discuss doctrinal principals [sic] only after obtaining verbal consent from prospective members. … With the stigmata [sic] of the past largely eliminated and forgotten … the Mormon faithful pursue an agenda of altruism and enterprise the [sic] leads to an increasingly positive contribution to the spiritual and social well-being of the world.” Show me.
On Mormons and Their Religion: A Brief Portrayal