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There are major doctrinal differences between the Mormons and Christian churches, which are essentially related to Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.

Long story short -- Smith was an early-19th-century charismatic leader who made up the Book of Mormon, convinced people to believe in its fantastic provenance, Meso-American fables, and the concept of Smith as a modern prophet, and thereby created the Mormon church.

From the get-go in the 1830s, Smith sent missionaries bearing the Mormon gospel all throughout America and to Europe.

Mitt Romney's forebears in England heard one of the first foreign missionaries, then joined the Mormon church and in 1841 emigrated to the USA, on the same ship as returning missionary Brigham Young.

Then as now, Mormon missionaries target Christians for conversion to their semi-Christian church.

Most Christian churches do not like their members being poached by Mormon missionaries.

Especially the largest Protestant Christian denomination in the USA -- the Southern Baptists.

More, below.  

First, it's pretty obvious that Mormon missionaries are not targeting American atheists, agnostics, Jews, Muslims, etc., for conversion.

That's a bridge too far -- much easier is convincing Christians that Joseph Smith's new-and-improved version of Christianity is the "only true and living church."

Southern Baptists have been aware about the threat of Mormon missionaries for decades:

In the early 1980s, Southern Baptist Convention leaders discovered — much to their horror — that 40 percent of Mormonism's 217,000 converts in 1980 came from Baptist backgrounds. More than 150 Mormon missionaries had descended on the northern Georgia area alone, a Southern Baptist magazine noted warily in 1982, and they found Southern Baptists among their most promising targets.
Here's just one example of Mormon missionaries "lying for the Lord" in their campaign to convert Christians:
A Mormon missionary admitted by letter that he was recruiting for the Mormon church at a Christian singles group.

When the pastor confronted him, he outright lied to the pastor until the pastor showed him his own letter. Caught in embarrassment, he then apologized, only to
turn around and repeat the same thing at a later time in the same church.

IMHO, Southern Baptists dislike Mormons in part because they have been competitors for tithing true-believers for a long time.

Southern Baptists may quibble about Mormon doctrine and practices, but it's really all about the money, as it is for almost every religion, new and old.

Both Mormons and Southern Baptists are, generally, very conservative white Republicans, and will vote for the GOP presidential candidate in November.

But one major reason Romney is suffering in the primaries is because many in the GOP's Southern Baptist/Religious Right/tea party base have a problem with any Mormon presidential candidate that goes beyond Book of Mormon fables, Masonic-based temple ceremonies, and baptizing the dead against their families' wishes.

Though Southern Baptists are themselves evangelical proselytizers, they resent Mormons who actively proselytize their members.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's like watching a tape worm verson of (5+ / 0-)

    ouroboros work it's way out of a dying pig. Only it's two tape worms eating themselves instead of just one and they're not so much eating themselves as much as one is eating the other (at 40% faster). So it's not as cool as an ouroboros, but similar.

    Lo que separa la civilizacion de la anarquia son solo siete comidas.

    by psilocynic on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 07:25:13 PM PST

  •  Oh, really? (12+ / 0-)
    First, it's pretty obvious that Mormon missionaries are not targeting American atheists, agnostics, Jews, Muslims, etc., for conversion.
    I  remember missionaries bothering us when I was in high school, with a pamphlet about how Jews should become Mormons. And don't tell me they've stopped that, after hearing about their continuing baptism of dead Holocaust victims.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 07:30:31 PM PST

    •  I doubt that Mormons try to infiltrate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Jewish singles groups that meet in synagogues.

      Or that the Mormons' new-and-improved version of Christianity sells as well with non-Christians as it does with Christians.

      Of course, Mormon leaders say they proselytize everybody, but they've said a lot of things that are not true.

      A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

      by devtob on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 08:11:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Mormons paid me a visit (21+ / 0-)

    A group of them came around to see my Buddhist ass one day, when I was a professor at a small college on the Kitsap Peninsula.  I listened politely for a while, then at one point, I told them I have good news - you're all on the verge of creating a convert.

    TnT: Smith's gold tablets - that happened in the early 1800's, yes?

    Elder Pester: Yes.

    TnT: Only a few short centuries ago?  If that?  In other words, this was all recent history, yes?

    Elder Pester: That's correct.

    TnT: So, where can I see those tablets?  Here's my promise - the moment I lay my eyes on them, I'll convert to Mormonism.

    Elder Pester: God took them back to heaven.

    TnT: {looking at watch} My, time does fly! . . . you'll excuse me, will you?  I have so many papers I need to grade . . .

    “Are you calling the Koch brothers during the recess?” - Henry Waxman

    by thenekkidtruth on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 07:30:55 PM PST

  •  What? (9+ / 0-)

    Mormons aren't targeting others for conversion? Then how come they go door to door? They are trying to convert anybody they can.

    They've knocked on my door to convert me several times and I'm an atheist.

    Plus, there are all the posthumous baptisms of people of all faiths or nonfaiths, including Jews, Muslims and others.

  •  I think it's simple annoyance at being told (7+ / 0-)

    that they're "not the real church." Nobody likes to hear that.

    Also, there are some Mormon beliefs that could easily put average people off. I don't want to attack Mormons, but their church has a history of racist teachings, polygamy, and all kinds of weird stuff. In the church today, there's also extreme misogyny, but the Christian right mostly has no problem with that.

  •  people who thing they're the One True Faith (11+ / 0-)

    tend to get testy about being told there's another one better than theirs.

  •  Not really sure I can tell the difference between (4+ / 0-)

    Mormonism and any other ism that involves an old man with a beard in the sky. Including Ra. Though I do have an attraction to Peyote based rituals.

    Rick Perry is George Bush without brains.

    by thestructureguy on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 07:46:03 PM PST

  •  And the RCC got Newt and they're voting FOR him (5+ / 0-)

    Can you explain that?

    Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

    by Clem Yeobright on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 07:46:16 PM PST

    •  The Southern Baptist Convention Has Veered... (6+ / 0-)

      ...strongly in the direction of being pro-hierarchy since the takeover by ultra-conservatives some years ago. It started in Texas and spread from there. A denomination that used to be strongly in favor of the separation of church and state did pretty much a full 180. The Baptist belief that all believers were equal in authority was supplanted by a 'new' insistence on the superior authority of the pastor. The belief used to be soul freedom for each believer. The idea used to be that each believer was able to work out his or her own relationship with the Almighty, and was able to interpret scripture as the individual felt led to believe. That's all pretty much gone now. It's a breathtaking transformation. It's not likely you'll be seeing pictures of the Pope in any SB Church anytime soon. But the distance from the RCC is not nearly as great as it was 50 years ago.



      Strange that a harp of (a) thousand strings should keep in tune so long

      by jabney on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 12:02:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The 'idea'? I thought it was the DOCTRINE (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        devtob, jabney

        the raison d'etre, if one may.

        Seriously, the Baptists I know do not accept the authority of the clergy. Where are you?

        Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

        by Clem Yeobright on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 04:34:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Here: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Clem Yeobright, devtob
          The Patterson-Pressler coalition insists that the pastor is the unquestioned ruler of the church. W. A. Criswell said, “Lay leadership of the church is unbiblical when it weakens the pastor’s authority as ruler of the church . . . a laity-led church will be a weak church anywhere on God’s earth. The pastor is ruler of the church.” In 1988 the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution affirming that the pastor was the ruler of the church.
          There's lot's more, here.

          I'm in New Jersey now, but I still google now and then for old times sake. The changes in the SBC during only a portion of my lifetime have been breathtaking.



          Strange that a harp of (a) thousand strings should keep in tune so long

          by jabney on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 12:50:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  There really isn't much of a mystery here (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra Waites, devtob, JeffW, G2geek

    Rightwingers tend to dislike anybody who isn't exactly like themselves. And by dislike I mean consider a threat and fantasize about assimilating by force or making disappear.

  •  The key is the value-add marketing. (9+ / 0-)
    Southern Baptists dislike Mormons in part because they have been competitors for tithing true-believers for a long time.
    Mormons offer the best buy in American religions today. Baptists have to step it up if they want to compete.

    For 10 percent of your income, the Mormons offer you your very own planet after you die.

    What do Baptists offer? A cloud, nightgown, and harp.

    That's just not going to work in the 21st century.

    "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." - Aldous Huxley

    by Pluto on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 08:19:01 PM PST

  •  i found a history that helped me a little but... (8+ / 0-)

    it was probably not written by a Morman. I have several Morman friends and we agree to disagree on religion (I'm an Eckest, and no I do not want to convert you.).

    Mormons: A Shallow Yet Helpful Guide to See If You Should Hate Them or Not

    By Pete Kotz Wednesday, Nov 2 2011 in theVillageVoice

    Last month, evangelical leaders gathered in D.C. for the Values Voter Summit, where disciples of the Pissed-Off Jesus harrumphed and yammered about how much America sucked. That’s when the bomb ignited.

    Dallas megachurch preacher Robert Jeffress was on hand to introduce Rick Perry. He warned that Mormon “cult” members were not only despoiling Broadway, but were actually running for president. “Non-Christians” like Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman had invaded the Republican primary like a bunch of damn Mexicans – and they didn’t even have comparable skill at operating a riding lawn mower.

    If patriots didn’t take heed, Jeffress cautioned, America would soon be possessed by heretics. The nation was shocked. Until that moment, Mormons were considered a mere nuisance, polite yet pesky young men who came to the door when you were trying to watch Supernanny. Or perhaps they were paid spokesmodels for the short-sleeved dress shirt industry. No one was certain. But Jeffress uncloaked them as enemies of Jesus. They might even be worse than Muslims, who at least offered competitively priced 40-ouncers of Midnight Dragon at their convenience stores. So we decided to get to the bottom of this menace, providing answers to your most alarmed and misguided questions:

    Why do Mormons worship Satan?

    They don’t, actually. They believe in God and Jesus. It’s just that those guys get busy, so they named Joseph Smith their VP of Operations here on Earth. Smith was a magician from Palmyra, New York in the 1820s. He was also the first American to possess superpowers, claiming he could find precious minerals and buried treasure by staring at rocks. Farmers paid him $3 a day to locate riches beneath their fields. Alas, the buried gem market in Upstate New York wasn’t what it was thought to be, otherwise Smith would have found it. So he decided to start an exciting new career as a prophet. As fortune would have it, he began receiving visits from the Angel Moroni. Though often mistaken for the fake Italian chef in Olive Garden commercials, Moroni was actually a warrior-priest from this country’s earliest civilization.

    So you’re saying Mormonism was founded by a schizophrenic?

    No. Schizophrenia hadn’t been invented yet. And at the time, half the population of Upstate New York was claiming to be prophets, since it paid better than having X-ray ground vision. Moroni told Smith about some Golden Plates buried on a hill. They warned of religious corruption, pointing the way to a New & Improved Christianity. That’s when Smith discovered a second superpower – the ability to decipher ancient languages, which weren’t regarded for their penmanship. He translated the plates into the Book of Mormon. It was like the Bible, only better. Critics were soon hailing it as a “tour de force of ecclesiastical drama.”

    He had the audacity to rewrite God’s words?

    Yes. Smith had inadvertently launched the My God is Way Better Than Yours Period, a belief still practiced today by great leaders like Rev. Jeffress. Missionaries were sent out to convert followers. Word reached Ohio that he’d pioneered a fabulous new religion. So Smith teamed up with a preacher there and moved Mormon headquarters to a town outside of Cleveland.

    What kind of prophet willingly moves to Cleveland?

    Exactly. Though to be fair, this was the 1830s, when Cleveland was still celebrated by Chamber of Commerce types as the “Krakow of the Rust Belt,” its restaurants known for serving the finest gruel on the western frontier. With his flock growing, Smith started a bank. But he was an inexperienced prophet still grasping the subtleties of his all-seeing powers. He failed to arrange a golden parachute. When the bank went bust, he wasn’t justly rewarded for blowing everyone’s money, as bankers so rightfully are today. In fact, the flock was pissed. So they kicked his ass all the way to Jackson County, Missouri.

    Is that where he went perv?

    Yes. Smith realized that a religion known for bank failure and an inability to find buried treasure lacked market potential. Fortunately, God intervened, introducing Smith to polygamy, which allowed men to take as many wives as they pleased. The new Unlimited Chicks for My Guys campaign was a hit. The Mormon enclave blossomed. Bonus round: Smith’s money problems were also solved when God told him about the Law of Tithing, which ordered Mormons to give 10 percent of their income to Joseph Smith, thus saving him the hassle of wrecking another bank. But like Rev. Jeffress, the good Christians of Jackson County were outraged. Polygamy was not only heresy, but the Mormons were hogging all the chicks. So the Christians naturally asked themselves, “What Would Jesus Do?” Jesus apparently told them to burn down Mormon homes and kick their ass to Illinois. The Mormons tried torching Christian houses in response, but showed an inferior gift for arson.

    So you don’t want a Mormon to have your back in a bar fight?

    No. But Smith and his followers did prosper when they reconvened in Nauvoo, Illinois. At one point, it had an estimated 12,000 residents, nearly the size of Chicago. Yet they still freaked out their neighbors. The Mormons had their own religious courts, which were akin to the Muslim’s Sharia law, only creepier because everyone was dressed like the cast of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Plus, they believed in magic underwear, which contained super-celestial powers that allowed them to become kings or queens in Heaven. Sadly, this was a darker time in America, when people were less tolerant of underwear fetishists than they are today. Smith was arrested for being a degenerate. And when the Christians once again asked, “What Would Jesus Do?” Jesus mentioned that it might be good to storm the jail and kill Smith’s ass. So they did.

    Did he get 72 virgins for being a martyr?

    No, but a very nice bunt cake was served at his Going Away to Heaven Party. The problem was that God had forgotten to appoint Smith’s successor. So his followers became prophets of their own. Their revelations told them to excommunicate, poison, and assassinate their rivals. Some encountered an even more tragic fate: They were forced to move to Pittsburgh. In the end, Brigham Young arranged for the church to be run by 12 disciples – with him being the most disciplistic of all.

    But isn’t Brigham Young a football team?

    No. It’s actually a college that saw fleeting fame after discovering that Samoans were good at football. Then the Samoans realized that Mormons don’t drink, which meant that dorm parties were totally lame. They all transferred to USC.

    So how did that whole Occupy Utah thing come about?

    We’re getting to that. Young and his henchmen decided to move to a place so shitty no one else would go there. That would be Utah. Mormons migrated en masse, hoping to let their freak flag fly without anyone setting them on fire. But prospectors heading for the California Gold Rush reported that they were creating their own polygamous kingdom, which was seen as treasonous. Eastern Christians bagged on President James Buchanan for letting wild sex orgies to take place, since they hadn’t been invited. So Buchanan dispatched the army to see what was up with that.

    Is that when the Mormons went terrorist?

    Yes. By 1857, they’d grown tired of the Old Burn Down Our House & Drive us Out of Town Gag. So they took the offensive, torching army forts and setting fires to keep Buchanan’s troops from reaching Utah. They also indiscriminately robbed and murdered settlers. At one point, they killed 120 unarmed men, women and children during the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre. For reasons unknown, this is no longer taught in Sunday schools. Yet Buchanan was in no mood to start a war in Utah. The feds were soon to battle the South, and there were tons of Indians that still required slaughtering. Thus was born a strategy of armed engagement that still lives today: It always sucks to have more than two wars going at once. The feds and the Mormons reached a truce.

    So Buchanan just let terrorists hold wild sex orgies?

    Yes, except for the wild part. Think of a porn film starring ZZ Top and Ukrainian babushka ladies. It wasn’t that interesting.

    So when did they stop going perv?

    In 1890. Still worried that the feds might attack, God told them to lose the polygamy thing. They decided instead to become the most tight-assed people in America. You couldn’t even get into church if you smoked cigs, pounded brewskies, or used caffeine.

    They can’t drink coffee?

    No. That means if Mitt Romney becomes president, the government will only be open from noon to 5 p.m., and he’ll be really crabby if Pakistan starts a nuclear war during Good Morning America.

    But wouldn’t our country suck if it was just like Utah?

    Yes. Think of it as the white Saudi Arabia, only with better skiing. Have you ever tried buying a shot of whiskey in Salt Lake City? It’s like fishing for lobster in a parking garage.

    I heard Mormons don’t like black people.

    They didn’t -- past tense. Until 1978, Mormons wouldn’t let blacks into Heaven. But this created problems. Young Mormons are required to do two years of unpaid missionary work. When they went door-to-door in Detroit, they encountered uncomfortably long silences, since they could only talk about the weather. So church elders had a revelation to let black people in. They may have been 10 years behind southern Christians in their racial policies, yet they were totally pumped to beat South Africa and avoid finishing last in their division.

    But aren’t Mormons a bunch of damn socialists?

    Yes and no. Joseph Smith prophesied of building a New Jerusalem in Jackson County. To make it happen, he urged followers to give up all their property for equal redistribution. But his flock thought his commie revelation sucked, so he put the blueprints in storage. Prominent modern Mormons – like Glenn Beck and Romney -- have since had revelations of their own. They assert that what Smith was really trying to say is that Mormons should give all their money to very large corporations, whose excess divinity would eventually trickle down to everyone else. Most Mormons today prefer the revised prophesy.

    So should we hate these guys or not?

    Your call. Mormons may be lesser perverts than Catholics, and not nearly as mean as the Baptists. But if Romney declares martial law and forces you to get naked with a squadron of babushka ladies, don’t come whining to us. As Rev. Jeffress might counsel, the wise man always hates first and asks questions later – if only to stay on the right side of Jesus.

    Just A Real Nice Guy, thinking out loud.

    by arealniceguy on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 08:41:04 PM PST

  •  My Jewish friends routinely complain about Mormon (3+ / 0-)

    missionaries. So it's not like Mormons only target Baptists. Also, I have little sympathy for Baptists given that they actively proselytize as well and often target Catholics, Orthodox and other Christians (especially outside US).

  •  It's rather dangerous.... (3+ / 0-)

    ....for Christians to call Mormons fake because their founder made up a bunch of ridiculous stories. It smacks of the pot calling the kettle black, with the only difference between the two being eighteen centuries of time. Absurdities do not gain respectability with the passage of time -- the reverse, rather.

    "Given the fact of servitude, the feudal relationship is the only tolerable one." (George Orwell)

    by sagesource on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 11:19:14 PM PST

  •  S. baptists/evengelicals dislike lots of people (3+ / 0-)

    Having been a fundamentalist in my youth- I can tell you, it's not anything special against the Mormons. Conservative christians are just an intolerant bunch.   In general I would say that fundamentalists have different hierarchies of scorn reserved for different groups of heathens. From the worst to the merely bad:

    Satan worshippers: active horror and revulsion. Of course this also includes followers of Santaria/Voodun, as well as rock groups that dress up in face paints

    Idol worshippers: christians have an innate fear of idolatry. A lot of proselytism stories end with the converts triumphantly smashing their shrines and buddhist/ hindu statues and talismen. If you ask a christian to touch a non-christian religious talisman or statuette - most will avoid it like it's the spawn of satan.

    secular humanists: christians don't understand secular humanists. All they know is that secular humanists have been winning in the modern world and christians have been turned into laughingstocks in the public sphere.

    Christian cultists that postdate the modern fundamentalist movement: These modern offshoots have more than matched the fundies for their aggressive proselytism. And they all claim to  be the Only Way to Heaven. Fundies hate it when other people claim exclusivity too.

    People of the book: jews are seen as horribly misguided people who will see the light of day as soon as the Lord smites their asses during the end times. Muslims are seen as the pathetic sons of Ishmael born into a life of accursed misery.

    Catholics: The mothership is occasionally disparaged but generally just ignored. The lack of aggressive proselytism means that the fundies are seldom actively threatened by the catholics. In modern day America- there is a gentleman's agreement for the two groups to work together on political issues.

    Other christian denominations: seen as either caricatures (like Sarah Palin's Charismatics), or ineffectual sell-outs (most of the 'mainstream' churches).  There is some ridicule towards these people from the pulpit, but generally the 11th amendment of 'thou shalt not speak ill of ....' is largely observed in public.

  •  I think Mormons proselytize (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, devtob

    to everyone.  Conservative Christians like Southern Baptists might be the most promising proselytes for them, but I first had contact with Mormons when I was 11 years old and they came to our front door.  I also encountered a missionary on a downtown street when I was an adult.

    The Mormon practice of baptizing one's dead ancestors against one's consent is creepy and disrespectful.  As a modern mainline Christian, I believe in freedom of conscience and wouldn't dream of doing anything like this to anybody.  My understanding of baptism as a sacrament is that it is something you either do as an adult under your own free will or is something performed as an infant with the understanding you may reaffirm your faith as an adult believer with an adult understanding of what it means to follow Jesus.  Not being baptized does not mean you are "lost"; baptism to me is a sign of one's willingness to follow Jesus and renounce evil.  Likewise in following Jesus, we forgive others of their wrongs.  When we die, I believe our spirit returns to the Source-- God, the Infinite, whatever you call it-- and there is no separation from the Source.  Therefore there is no need to baptize one's departed ancestors.  

    "You're not allowed to sell your countrymen out to multinational financial corporations anymore and still call yourself a patriot." --MinistryOfTruth

    by Kurt from CMH on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 07:15:35 AM PST

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