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Mormon, Yes. Christian, No.

| June 13, 2012

A Mormon temple in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. 'It is a beautiful building,' the photograph's author writes, 'even if it is a den of hateful anti-gay bigotry.'

David Mason, an author and professor of theater at Rhodes College–he got his BA from Brigham Young–writes a provocative column in today’s Times on his Mormon faith. He warns: don’t call him a Christian.

the live wire flaglerliveMason writes: “I want to be on record about this. I’m about as genuine a Mormon as you’ll find — a templegoer with a Utah pedigree and an administrative position in a congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am also emphatically not a Christian.” He reduces the dispute to the difference of opinion (because it is, in the end, all opinion, fact in these things being as elusive as unicorns) about Jesus. Christians believe in the divinity of Jesus and the trinity, or that Jesus is the incarnation of God the Father and the holy spirit all in one, and vice-vice-versa. Mormons, like Muslims–the similarities between Islam and Mormonism are fascinating–don’t. “The Mormon reaction is incredulity. The Christian retort is exasperation. Rinse and repeat.”

Mason is very funny about it. And pointed: “Being a Christian so often involves such boorish and meanspirited behavior that I marvel that any of my Mormon colleagues are so eager to join the fold.” Of course, the same can be said of any religion you choose, Mormonism included (Joseph Smith’s boorishness being exhibit A). That’s the nature and exceptionalism of religion: none is exempted from embarrassing itself, or contorting itself in self-justifying knots that only divine intervention–as opposed to reason, a more believable alternative–can untangle. Mason makes the point against himself in his column’s very last sentence (coming up).

Here’s his conclusion: “Eventually, Mormonism will grow up. Maybe a Mormon in the White House will hasten that moment when Mormonism will no longer plead through billboards and sappy radio ads to be liked, though I suspect that Mr. Romney is such a typical politician that, should he occupy the Oval Office, he’ll studiously avoid the appearance of being anything but a WASP. This could set back the cause of Mormon identity by decades. Whatever happens in November, I hope Mormonism eventually realizes that it doesn’t need Christianity’s approval and will get big and beat up all the imperious Christians who tormented it when it was small, weird and painfully self-conscious. Mormons are certainly Christian enough to know how to spitefully abuse their power.”

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9 Responses for “Mormon, Yes. Christian, No.”

  1. Jim. R says:

    Good if Romney becomes President .instead of feeding Christians to the lions we can feed them to Mormons.

  2. Tim says:

    Unbelievable and sad…

    From Webster…

    1a : one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ

  3. John Boy says:

    Please take this story down, quickly. The Religious Right might stumble on by accident and finally discover the truth about magic underwear.

    • Rex Whitmer says:

      John Boy,
      I happen to wear that so called “Magic Underwear”, and I can tell you there is nothing “Magic” about it. It is not something that I appreciate persons such as yourself speaking of. It represents covenants I have made with MY GOD and is sacred to me! We do not go about making fun of things (if there are any) that you hold sacred or holy, nor do we make light of what you may or not believe. In a relatively short time we will each of us mortals, be in a postition to know who was and was not right in their beliefs and comments.

  4. NortonSmitty says:

    I watched that TV show religiously every week and I don’t remember that cute little Webster ever saying that.

  5. Dan says:


    Fact…. the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe and teach as doctrine that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God the Father, that he was born in Bethlehem of a virgin, Mary, that he suffered and then died on a cross for all mankind, that he overcame death and resurrected with a “glorified” and “incorruptible” body of flesh and bone, that he now is on the right hand of God, and is the Lord, Savior and Redeemer for all…

    If you really want to know more… and/or

    If you really want to know more…

  6. Brian McMillan says:

    I’m very disappointed that this story is on your site.

    This person, David Mason, is clearly not a real member of the church. I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we are Christians.

    As your previous commenter said:

    1a : one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ

    Obviously, if you read the full name of our church, you can see that we believe in Jesus and in His teachings.

    Brian McMillan

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Brian, North Korea’s full name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. At least three of those words are Saturday Night Live punch-lines.

  7. palmcoaster says:

    We have enough problems with politicians and politics aside form their personal religious practices.
    I know religions have been and still are the cause of may great wars, even before the Crusaders Wars.
    In spite of that the religious beliefs of a candidate are not important to me, but his/her agenda regarding all the issues that affect our economy,education and freedoms. Lets keep focused on the real serious problems that America confronts now and leave religion for later, please.

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