Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Latter-Day Con Job!

Newsweek magazine splashed a story on the growth of the Mormon Church on its cover last week. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints keeps receiving more and more media coverage and they are handling it quite well, considering some of its more controversial teachings like polygamy and exaltation.

The article touches on their teaching on exaltation in the following few sentences and it dovetails with the polygamy problem without mentioning exaltation:

“LDS doctrine holds that some polygamist marriages will exist in the celestial kingdom, the highest tier of heaven. Smith taught that humans (who were spirits in a “pre-existence”) come to earth to get a body and to be tested. After death, everyone is placed into one of three kingdoms, depending on his level of righteousness. Those in the highest degree will dwell with God, their families will be eternal and they’ll even become gods themselves - as God did. Lorenzo Snow, fifth LDS prophet, articulated doctrine when he said, “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be.”

According to the folks over at the mail call for Newsweek’s splash on the Mormon Church this week was thick and heavy, at least according to those letters published in this week’s issue.

One member “anxious about inaccuracies” was “pleasantly surprised at the great job of compactly presenting such a huge topic.” Another insisted that “the Mormon Church has no need to ‘confront’ its past.” Still another wondered how an article by “a current member of the church could offer a ‘fair and balanced’ portrayal.” Many readers took exception to calling Mormonism a Christian denomination, and others criticized the church for its secret ceremonies and exclusivity. “The Mormon Church is a Masonic lodge dressed up for public view as a Christian church,” a former member said. Others questioned Mormonism’s history, pointing to the frequently altered Book of Mormon and founder Joseph Smith’s reported discovery of gold plates.

I particularly liked this one: “This obviously fairy-tale religion was founded by a boy magician and latter-day con man.”

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