A favorite gripe in the Bloggernacle and in the Church in general is the fact that lots of other Christians refuse to acknowledge Mormons as fellow Christians. (See Ben’s most recent post on the overall subject over at M*) This snub gets us Mormons in a tizzy. And that, of course, is half of the fun for those who don’t want to let us in “the club”. But not being in the club doesn’t bother me. I really don’t give a hoot who calls me Christian in this world. And when I think about it I can’t figure out why any of us should.
First of all, it should be noted that we also only consider members of other Christian religions “Christians” in a broad sense of the word. In the narrow sense, we believe ours is the only church of Jesus Christ in the world. Further, when the Father and Son appeared to Joseph Smith they told him to join none of those churches because all of their creeds were an abomination in His sight. Make no mistake — our claims about them are at least as offensive to them as theirs are to us.
So why are we so gung ho to be included in the abominable creeds club? Now let me clarify that no one is calling the fine and faithful believers in these churches abominable; we just believe they teach and believe false doctrines. Of course they say the same thing about us. So back to my question: Why do we want in the club so badly?
I suspect one reason is that we believe that being in the club will help us with missionary work. So our complaint might essentially be a marketing complaint. But our marketing activities are exactly what these folks want to stop. Mormon converts are often at their expense after all. Is this all really just our whining about competitive marketing practices?
If this is about marketing, what’s wrong with standing out like a sore thumb in the religious landscape? That can be an excellent marketing strategy after all. Isn’t that how it was for the Jesus-believing Jews we read about in the New Testament? Didn’t they preach something different, special, and even revolutionary? We don’t see them trying to fit in with apostate Judaism; we see them openly spurning it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for kindness and gentleness and love unfeigned toward people of other faiths. But I don’t want to fit in with them doctrinally. I want them all to see the additional light that has been restored to the earth and embrace it. Honestly, if Christ knows we are his church why are we so worried about the opinions of men? Do we think he can’t handle the opposition?
Of course the real problem may be that we just want to fit in. We don’t want to actually be a peculiar people. Maybe we are ashamed because all those people in that big building are pointing and laughing at us. The following verse worries me about our obsession with fitting in with the Christian crowd:
Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world and aspire to the honors of men… (D&C 121:33-34, italics mine)
You can keep the honors of men along with the world’s definition of who is a Christian. As long as Christ knows I’m his disciple I could not care less what the rest of the world thinks.
Am I missing something?