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 Post subject: A gentile's impression of mormonism....
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:48 pm 
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I had an interesting experience today that typifies mormonism’s PR problem in “the mission field.” While talking about families with large numbers of children with a coworker, I casually mentioned that I used to be LDS and knew several very large families. She was surprised, and rushed to assure me that she’d been to Salt Lake City and heard the Tabernacle Choir, so she was familiar with Mormonism. She also shared that she’d had conversations with missionaries in the past, out of curiosity and no interest in conversion, being extremely skeptical of anyone who claims to KNOW the “truth”.

She mentioned a couple of things that, to me, demonstrate that, despite spending who-knows how many millions on PR, the church is still pretty screwed in that area. First, she immediately associated polygamy with Mormonism, and remarked that she realized there were still some Mormons who practiced it. I tried to explain to her about the different sects of Mormonism, and that while they shared a common origin, the polygamous groups were offshoots and not connected to the Utah Mormon church, except through history. She nodded and added that Catholicism varied quite a bit from region to region, too. I tried to explain yet again, that they were actually a different church, an entirely different organization, albeit with common origins, but I’m unconvinced that it made any difference. I think that she views the LDS and FLDS like different branches of the Baptist church – some more conservative than others, but still under the same umbrella. The Mormon church’s worst fear come true.

No matter how hard the church tries, polygamy is the first thing most people think of when they hear “Mormon”. I do not believe the LDS church will ever escape this.

The second thing that was odd was something that the missionaries had supposedly taught her about the LDS church. She commented that she didn’t like that, to join the church, you had to agree to allow the church to automatically withdraw 10% of your income as tithing. Hunh??? Once again, I tried to explain how tithing works, how you’re not forced to pay tithing, and the church isn’t accessing people’s bank accounts. I said maybe she had gotten confused because you couldn’t enter the temple if you didn’t pay 10% of your income. She was insistent, though, that this was what the missionaries had taught her. Maybe, she said, it was just that particular congregation. No, no, I told her, the SL church controls how things are managed everywhere… by that point the conversation had to end.

I want to emphasize that this is an intelligent woman who has lived in several different cultures. She is educated and has experience in several different career fields. And yet, to her, despite all the valiant attempts of the LDS church, this is what she knows about the Mormons.

Guess all those “happy, shiny, Mormon” commercials aren’t doing much good.

No wonder the LDS church feels compelled to spend millions on PR campaigns. I’m afraid that they may be wasting their money.

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 Post subject: Re: A gentile's impression of mormonism....
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:01 pm 
Master Mahan

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beastie wrote:
She mentioned a couple of things that, to me, demonstrate that, despite spending who-knows how many millions on PR, the church is still pretty screwed in that area. First, she immediately associated polygamy with Mormonism, and remarked that she realized there were still some Mormons who practiced it. I tried to explain to her about the different sects of Mormonism, and that while they shared a common origin, the polygamous groups were offshoots and not connected to the Utah Mormon church, except through history. She nodded and added that Catholicism varied quite a bit from region to region, too. I tried to explain yet again, that they were actually a different church, an entirely different organization, albeit with common origins, but I’m unconvinced that it made any difference. I think that she views the LDS and FLDS like different branches of the Baptist church – some more conservative than others, but still under the same umbrella. The Mormon church’s worst fear come true.



What?!? The LDS Church and the FLDS Churches don't share the same historical origin! That is a disputable historical fact! ; )


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 Post subject: Re: A gentile's impression of mormonism....
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:26 pm 
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beastie wrote:
The second thing that was odd was something that the missionaries had supposedly taught her about the LDS church. She commented that she didn’t like that, to join the church, you had to agree to allow the church to automatically withdraw 10% of your income as tithing. Hunh???


I heard this urban legend in the early days of my investiagting, as well. Don't recall where. But an LDS friend confirmed that some people do set up automatic tithing payments each month, though this is on a purely voluntary basis (rather than mandatory, as I had heard).

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:26 pm 
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What?!? The LDS Church and the FLDS Churches don't share the same historical origin! That is a disputable historical fact! ; )


Hunh? No one said they don't share the same historical origin. We agreed on that, it's just my coworker thinks that it's just a more conservative LDS congregation, versus a completely different organization.

I wonder if part of the confusion is due to the fact that individual congregations in the protestant tradition have quite a bit of freedom and flexibility, and hence, can really differ dramatically.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:29 pm 
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beastie wrote:
I wonder if part of the confusion is due to the fact that individual congregations in the protestant tradition have quite a bit of freedom and flexibility, and hence, can really differ dramatically.


Indeed. This is especially true of the Baptists (whom you rightly used as your example of what it's not like). They have no confession, except governing seminary teachers and missionaries.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:30 pm 
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I heard this urban legend in the early days of my investiagting, as well. Don't recall where. But an LDS friend confirmed that some people do set up automatic tithing payments each month, though this is on a purely voluntary basis (rather than mandatory, as I had heard).


I mentioned this as a possibility, as well. But I didn't convince her.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:35 pm 
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Indeed. This is especially true of the Baptists (whom you rightly used as your example of what it's not like). They have no confession, except governing seminary teachers and missionaries.


Yes. I definitely sensed that my explanation of how the Salt Lake City church controls EVERYTHING and would not allow one specific congregation to "mandate" automatic withdrawals of tithing, it went right over her head. A complete cultural disconnect.

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 Post subject: Re: A gentile's impression of mormonism....
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:59 pm 
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I had an interesting experience today that typifies mormonism’s PR problem in “the mission field.” While talking about families with large numbers of children with a coworker, I casually mentioned that I used to be LDS and knew several very large families. She was surprised, and rushed to assure me that she’d been to Salt Lake City and heard the Tabernacle Choir, so she was familiar with Mormonism. She also shared that she’d had conversations with missionaries in the past, out of curiosity and no interest in conversion, being extremely skeptical of anyone who claims to KNOW the “truth”.



I think that is common among many people. Even the solid Catholics I know, and I know quite a number, don't feel they have the corner on truth.
Quote:
She mentioned a couple of things that, to me, demonstrate that, despite spending who-knows how many millions on PR, the church is still pretty screwed in that area. First, she immediately associated polygamy with Mormonism, and remarked that she realized there were still some Mormons who practiced it. I tried to explain to her about the different sects of Mormonism, and that while they shared a common origin, the polygamous groups were offshoots and not connected to the Utah Mormon church, except through history. She nodded and added that Catholicism varied quite a bit from region to region, too. I tried to explain yet again, that they were actually a different church, an entirely different organization, albeit with common origins, but I’m unconvinced that it made any difference. I think that she views the LDS and FLDS like different branches of the Baptist church – some more conservative than others, but still under the same umbrella. The Mormon church’s worst fear come true.


Quote:
No matter how hard the church tries, polygamy is the first thing most people think of when they hear “Mormon”. I do not believe the LDS church will ever escape this.


THere is no question about this. Polygamy will always be tied to Mormonism. This is why the LDS Church is SOOOOOO anti polygamy. They are the most anti polygamy organization out there. But even so they leave it intact through their practice for sealings if a wife is deceased. And the Church leaves it in the canon. So perhaps this is deserved.

Quote:
The second thing that was odd was something that the missionaries had supposedly taught her about the LDS church. She commented that she didn’t like that, to join the church, you had to agree to allow the church to automatically withdraw 10% of your income as tithing. Hunh??? Once again, I tried to explain how tithing works, how you’re not forced to pay tithing, and the church isn’t accessing people’s bank accounts. I said maybe she had gotten confused because you couldn’t enter the temple if you didn’t pay 10% of your income. She was insistent, though, that this was what the missionaries had taught her. Maybe, she said, it was just that particular congregation. No, no, I told her, the SL church controls how things are managed everywhere… by that point the conversation had to end.



I am sure she was just confused.
Quote:
I want to emphasize that this is an intelligent woman who has lived in several different cultures. She is educated and has experience in several different career fields. And yet, to her, despite all the valiant attempts of the LDS church, this is what she knows about the Mormons.

Guess all those “happy, shiny, Mormon” commercials aren’t doing much good.

No wonder the LDS church feels compelled to spend millions on PR campaigns. I’m afraid that they may be wasting their money.


I disagree. Actually I have been asking a lot of non LDS what their view of the Church is. Some of these persons are my business partners and I have asked them to be candid. In every case they have said that they LDS Church is good organization, does a lot of good, its members a great people, live their faith and make good neighbors and citizens. Two have told me they admire anyone that can be do devoted to a faith that requires so much dedication and had such high standards. One commented he could never do it-he is a liberal Catholic, the other said he could not and would not want to and he is a liberal in name and heritage Jewish person.

So you get mixed results. Some people love Chevy's and other think they suck. Advertising reaches some and not others.


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 Post subject: Re: A gentile's impression of mormonism....
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:14 pm 
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Jason Bourne wrote:
THere is no question about this. Polygamy will always be tied to Mormonism. This is why the LDS Church is SOOOOOO anti polygamy. They are the most anti polygamy organization out there. But even so they leave it intact through their practice for sealings if a wife is deceased. And the Church leaves it in the canon. So perhaps this is deserved.

I agree with you, with one addition - a man can be sealed to two living women as well. After a civil divorce, a man's prior sealing need not be canceled prior to being sealed to a second wife. Although many point out that this is not the same as two contemporaneous civil marriages (which is true), this is definitely a case of a man having current binding marriage covenants on the records of the church with two living women. Kinda polygamy-ish.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 6:07 pm 
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Beastie,

Interesting OP! I had LDS coworkers for a number of years, going back to hmm...1976 or there abouts and forward in two states. I had many long conversations regarding Mormonism with one coworker in particular. When I moved to my current state, I had LDS friends, served LDS families professionally and also more informally in Girl Scouting. Prior to my actually investigating in earnest beginning (say 12 years ago) this is what I would have told you about LDS based on my lengthy conversations with the one coworker (who gave me my first Book of Mormon) and one friend in particular whom I grew to be very close to.

1. They have large families and are family centered.
2. They use the Book of Mormon as scripture. (I didn't know that PoGP or D&C existed.)
3. They don't believe in Hell.
4. Polygamy was part of early Mormonism. Men married multiple women who were widows in order to provide for them and their children.
5. Mormon's are Christians but they also believe the Book of Mormon is scripture.
6. Mormon's baptize by immersion at age 8.
7. Mormon's believe in Jesus and Heavenly Father.
8. Mormon's believe they existed before being born.
9. Mormon's pray in Jesus name and cross their arms in front of them when they pray.
10. Mormon's go to church in a Ward and ward's sometimes gather in Stakes.
11. Mormon's have Traveling Road Shows, celebrate Halloween, Christmas but they don't go to church on Easter.
12. Mormon's have Home/Visit Teachers.
13. Mormon's have Boy Scouts, Girl's Activity and Young Womens.
14. Mormon's hold Daddy/Daughter functions.
15. The Bishop is a Pastor.
16. Mormon's don't drink, smoke, they dress conservatively and maintain food storage for 1 year.
17. When a baby is born, a death occurs or other challenges to families, Mormon's supply food to eachother and keep meals frozen for such events.
18. LDS children attend Primary and are taught to sing "I am a Child of God" in utero. ;-)
19. Some LDS wear rings that remind them to Choose the Right (CTR).
20. LDS meet occasionally for family reunions.
21. LDS trace their family tree.

I tell you, those are all the things I really knew about Mormonism and I didn't leave out details because I didn't know more details.

As I indicated above, I received my first Book of Mormon probably in 1977 or so. When I read it, my first impression was that it was a bad imitation of the Bible.

All True.

As you can see, after investing many hours in conversation and attending events, I knew far more about LDS culture than I did it's theology or doctrine.

Jersey Girl

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 6:07 am 
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I think that is common among many people. Even the solid Catholics I know, and I know quite a number, don't feel they have the corner on truth.


Yes, I would venture to guess it is THE most common religious viewpoint. The idea that there IS "one true church" at all is pretty alien now-a-days.

Quote:
THere is no question about this. Polygamy will always be tied to Mormonism. This is why the LDS Church is SOOOOOO anti polygamy. They are the most anti polygamy organization out there. But even so they leave it intact through their practice for sealings if a wife is deceased. And the Church leaves it in the canon. So perhaps this is deserved.


Not only is it left on the canon, but apologists engage in vociferous defense of it, so yes, I think it is deserved. But it's not what the church would like. I think the only way the church could open the door to, one day, given enough time (and I'm talking decades, not years), really distancing themselves from polygamy would be to renounce the practice in their own history. I don't think that will ever happen, so they will continue to be linked to polygamy.

Quote:
I am sure she was just confused.


That's what I thought, but now Cakid says he heard this urban legend, as well. So perhaps it is not an uncommon confusion. The LDS church is fairly unique in this particular requirement.


Quote:
I disagree. Actually I have been asking a lot of non LDS what their view of the Church is. Some of these persons are my business partners and I have asked them to be candid. In every case they have said that they LDS Church is good organization, does a lot of good, its members a great people, live their faith and make good neighbors and citizens. Two have told me they admire anyone that can be do devoted to a faith that requires so much dedication and had such high standards. One commented he could never do it-he is a liberal Catholic, the other said he could not and would not want to and he is a liberal in name and heritage Jewish person.

So you get mixed results. Some people love Chevy's and other think they suck. Advertising reaches some and not others.


Jason, just telling your friends or associates to be candid does not ensure that they will be. There were times when the topic of mormonism came up with friends or associates in my past when I was an active LDS, and they were always very careful in their comments. Later, when I left the church, they became more open in their criticism of LDS.

Having said that, I do agree that results are mixed, and that people who live around Mormons often have positive views of them. Mormons (as long as you don't tread on their faith in some way, like be an exmormon) are nice, agreeable, responsible people in general.

But if you're living in an area where it's not uncommon to even HAVE LDS neighbors, you aren't really living in what I'm thinking of as the "mission field". I'm referring to areas that have so few LDS members that people can easily go their entire lives without ever getting to know a "real life" mormon. These are people whose views of the church comes from social knowledge, for lack of a better term, about mormonism. I think these are the people the PR is targeted at, because that social knowledge largely consists of, more or less, Mormons are odd and possible polygamists.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 6:14 am 
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Quote:
Interesting OP! I had LDS coworkers for a number of years, going back to hmm...1976 or there abouts and forward in two states. I had many long conversations regarding Mormonism with one coworker in particular. When I moved to my current state, I had LDS friends, served LDS families professionally and also more informally in Girl Scouting. Prior to my actually investigating in earnest beginning (say 12 years ago) this is what I would have told you about LDS based on my lengthy conversations with the one coworker (who gave me my first Book of Mormon) and one friend in particular whom I grew to be very close to.


I think you knew a lot about mormon culture, actually. But, again, like Jason, you seem to be living in an area where there are enough Mormons for it to not to be uncommon to have LDS coworkers, friends, etc. I'm talking about areas of the US or world where there are so few LDS that it is not uncommon to live one's entire life without ever meeting a "real life" mormon. For example, if I were to take a survey of my coworkers over the years, I'm betting that the majority would state that *I* was the only "real life" mormon or exmormon they'd ever met. When I served my mission in France, the vast majority of people acted like they'd never even heard of it. So there are many parts of the world where people's impression of what mormonism is derives from what I'm calling (for lack of a better term) common social knowledge about it. I think that is the population being targeted by the LDS PR machine.

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We hate to seem like we don’t trust every nut with a story, but there’s evidence we can point to, and dance while shouting taunting phrases.

Penn & Teller

http://www.mormonmesoamerica.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 7:58 am 
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beastie wrote:
Quote:
Interesting OP! I had LDS coworkers for a number of years, going back to hmm...1976 or there abouts and forward in two states. I had many long conversations regarding Mormonism with one coworker in particular. When I moved to my current state, I had LDS friends, served LDS families professionally and also more informally in Girl Scouting. Prior to my actually investigating in earnest beginning (say 12 years ago) this is what I would have told you about LDS based on my lengthy conversations with the one coworker (who gave me my first Book of Mormon) and one friend in particular whom I grew to be very close to.


I think you knew a lot about mormon culture, actually. But, again, like Jason, you seem to be living in an area where there are enough Mormons for it to not to be uncommon to have LDS coworkers, friends, etc. I'm talking about areas of the US or world where there are so few LDS that it is not uncommon to live one's entire life without ever meeting a "real life" mormon. For example, if I were to take a survey of my coworkers over the years, I'm betting that the majority would state that *I* was the only "real life" mormon or exmormon they'd ever met. When I served my mission in France, the vast majority of people acted like they'd never even heard of it. So there are many parts of the world where people's impression of what mormonism is derives from what I'm calling (for lack of a better term) common social knowledge about it. I think that is the population being targeted by the LDS PR machine.


Oh. Okay. Before I left Jersey I'd never heard of Mormons.

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 Post subject: Re: A gentile's impression of mormonism....
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:11 am 
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beastie wrote:
The Mormon church’s worst fear come true.

No matter how hard the church tries, polygamy is the first thing most people think of when they hear “Mormon”. I do not believe the LDS church will ever escape this.



15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?
16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?

(Old Testament | Isaiah 29:15 - 16)


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