Thursday, August 19, 2010

... And I'm a Post-Mormon, Part II

Continuing my blog post from yesterday, here are my answers to the questions on the website. 

Are Mormons Christian?

Mormons consider themselves Christian but Protestant Christians generally do not, owing to some significant differences in how they each define "Christian". Mormonism is a non-Trinitarian restorationist Christian religion. The LDS Church claims exclusive authority from Jesus Christ, through the prophet Joseph Smith. By historically setting itself apart from all other Christian religions (whose various "creeds" are considered "abominations," JSH 1:19)  and eschewing euchemicism, the LDS church is different from what would generally consider American Christianity. Recent mainstreaming efforts on the part of the LDS church have sought to embrace the term Christian, with substantial emphasis being placed on Mormons' worship of Jesus Christ. 

Another key difference between Mormonism and many reformationist Christian church is that Mormonism does not consider the Bible to be the inerrant word of God. Furthermore, Mormonism also has an open canon that includes the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price as on-par or even superior to the Bible in revealing God's truth.

What is the Relief Society?

The LDS Church has an incredibly strong emphasis on gender roles. The Relief Society was set up to be an autonomous organization for Mormon women, parallel to the mens' Elder's Quorum. Joseph Smith's stated objective for the organization was 

"that the Society of Sisters might provoke the brethren to good works in looking to the wants of the poor - searching after objects of charity in administering to their wants - to assist by correcting morals and strengthening the virtues of the community, and save the Elders the trouble of rebuking; that they may give their time to other duties, etc., in their public teaching."

It is quite evident from that passage that the organization was largely set up to help the "brethren" (i.e., Mormon men), in a subsidiary or auxillary role. 

Although intended to be a separate institution that permitted women autonomy in choosing their leaders, etc., the correlation movement that largely began in the 1960s placed the Relief Society under the jurisdiction of the Priesthood, thereby making it so that no decision by this society can be made without the exclusive consent of the presiding priesthood leadership (i.e., men).

A gift given, a gift taken. 

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