FOXNews.com compiled a list of 21 questions (Feb, 2008) about Mormonism and submitted them to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for an official response. Mormonism became a ‘news’ item because Romney (a Mormon) was running for President in 2008.
I found the whole exercise to be disappointing at best.
First of all, the FoxNews questions themselves were substantially lacking. On the most part they didn’t really deal with important doctrinal issues that separate Mormonism from orthodox Christianity. In some cases, they actually seem to be merely trying to embarrass the LDS –or at least make them look somewhat weird or strange. One wonders where they got some of the questions in the first place.
In fact, the LDS Church officials objected to some of them claiming that they misrepresent the basic tenets of the Mormon religion:
“Many of these questions are typically found on anti-Mormon blogs or Web sites which aim to misrepresent or distort Mormon doctrines. Several of these questions do not represent … any serious attempt to depict the core values and beliefs of its members.”
Secondly, the responses of the LDS Church to the questions were incomplete at best. It is a shame that the LDS didn’t take this opportunity to clarify their understanding of the issues addressed, but instead responded halfheartedly in some cases and really not at all in others.
Rather than treating the questions seriously and answering each one, in some cases they merely repeated the same trite formula answer for several of the more important questions. It really doesn’t reflect well upon the Church and it probably would have been better if they had not participated at all since they came across as rather ‘smart aleck’ rather than forthright.
1. The first question- Q:Why do some call the Church a cult?
Response: It would have been better for FoxNews to ask those who call the Church a cult to give their reasons and to identify what they mean by ‘cult’. There are some important issues that separate Mormonism from the rest of Christianity —It is not merely a matter of some folks disliking the LDS.
2. The next three questions are answered by the LDS with the same formula answer:
Q: Does the Mormon Church believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God? Q: Does the Church believe in the divinity of Jesus? Q: Does the Church believe that God is a physical being?:
A: Mormons believe Jesus Christ is literally the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer, who died for the sins of humankind and rose from the dead on the third day with an immortal body. God, the Father, also has an immortal body.
While the answer does somewhat respond to the questions, it really does not offer any real clarifications. The Mormon Church does believe in the Divinity of Jesus Christ and that he is the Son of God, that has never been questioned. However, they do have some unique views about the physicality of the immortal ‘body’ of God the Father that was not shared or fully explained here. For comparison, historical Christian doctrine teaches that God the Father is a Spirit.
Also, the greatest disparity between Mormonism and all the Christian Churches revolves around their understanding of the Trinity. They view the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three separate divine beings who are one in purpose, while all of the recognized Christian Churches are monotheistic and view the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as One God. It is a shame that FoxNews didn’t ask a question that would clarify that doctrinal difference.
We will continue with the analysis of the 21 questions and answers in -Part 2.