Friday, December 28, 2007

answering questions about doctrine

Apparently prompted by conservative Christians, Mike Huckabee recently made a statement designed to call into question Mormonism's "Christianity" and Romney's legitimacy as a candidate by stating that the church believed that Jesus and Satan were brothers.  While the church believes this is true, the statement out of context sounds sinister.

The church responded on it's website:
Like other Christians, we believe Jesus is the divine Son of God. Satan is a fallen angel.  

As the Apostle Paul wrote, God is the Father of all. That means that all beings were created by God and are His spirit children. Christ, however, was the only begotten in the flesh, and we worship Him as the Son of God and the Savior of mankind.

While this is also the case, the response doesn't seem to be any closer to describing the church's belief than Huckabee's statement.  It seems that both sides are dancing around the issue, rather than disclosing the full story.

Fox News submitted 21 questions to the church about some of it's beliefs.  In the response, the church took issue with those who " misrepresent or distort Mormon doctrines."   However some of the answers by the church to the questions are puzzling and don't seem to represent a correct understanding of Mormon doctrine. took a  look at the question and felt that some of the responses  'come across as "partial" or "technical" truths, but not the "whole truth."' 

Check out their commentary  on the following questions and answers.

Q: Does the Mormon Church believe its followers can become "gods and goddesses" after death?

A: We believe that the apostle Peter's biblical reference to partaking of the divine nature and the apostle Paul's reference to being 'joint heirs with Christ' reflect the intent that children of God should strive to emulate their Heavenly Father in every way. Throughout the eternities, Mormons believe, they will reverence and worship God the Father and Jesus Christ. The goal is not to equal them or to achieve parity with them but to imitate and someday acquire their perfect goodness, love and other divine attributes.

Q: Does the Mormon Church believe that women can only gain access to heaven with a special pass or codewords?

A: No.

Q: Does the Mormon Church believe in the existence of another physical planet or planets, where Mormons will "rule" after their death and ascension?

A: No.

Q: What specifically does the Mormon Church say about African-Americans and Native Americans?

A: Mormons believe that all mankind are sons and daughters of God and should be loved and respected as such. The blessings of the gospel are available to all.

While some of these are leading questions, or not phrased well, or designed to point out problematic areas in church belief, the way they were answered is incomplete.  The way these questions were answered might be a good introductory statement, but it seems that more explanation is in order, possibly with a link to other explanatory material (such as related sections in church manuals).  This would be more forthcoming, providing a more complete description of church beliefs.  Incomplete answers have the potential to backfire and cause more damage than full disclosure.

No comments: