An American Church

June 28, 2004 | 27 comments
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In the vigorous debate about Iraq happening below, Laurie Burk (hi, Laurie!) wrote: “In the Mideast, America is still viewed as a Christian nation. In most of the world the LDS church is still viewed as an American church, and the violence of the Iraq war is seen as American instigated violence. And violence does not advance the cause of Christ.”

I will leave the Iraq debate to that thread, but I am interested in the idea of an American church. I heard this often on my mission, and I heard it just last week in Germany. It was never intended to be flattering, but it wasn’t necessarily intended to be insulting. The speakers often applied the description as a simple statement of fact, which carried with it the implicit suggestion that the Church was not relevant to them.

Two questions:

1. What do people intend when they say that we are an “American church”? I think that they intend to imply more than the fact that Joseph Smith was living in the United States when he received the First Vision and the Book of Mormon or that the Church headquarters is in Salt Lake City, even though these may be the only facts that they know about the Church. They intend to say something about the content of Church teachings, inferring that any church founded by an American and based in America must have an American slant on gospel principles. If this is the starting point of the discussion, missionary work is almost surely doomed, especially in a day when the U.S. is so widely reviled.

I suspect that most people who care about the Church would prefer to position it as a worldwide Church. We think of Church teachings as inspired and — at least to a large extent — not cabined by political boundaries. This prompts question #2.

2. What, if anything, would change this perception of the Church? Here are two possibilities:

(a) More Church leaders — especially at the highest levels — from outside the United States. The Church has recruited a number of Seventies from outside the United States, but have we ever had an Apostle who is not from the U.S.? (I suspect that the Church had an early Apostle from England or some other country outside of the U.S., so I might limit the question to “a recent Apostle,” meaning Apostles within the past 50 years or so.)

(b) A larger institutional presence outside the United States. The building of temples outside the U.S. probably helps, as does the construction of Missionary Training Centers in other lands. I have long thought that the Church should consider building smaller versions of BYU in South America, the Philippines, and Africa, but that would entail enormous costs.

Even if we accomplished these two things, I suspect that the Church’s image as an American church would persist. Does this mean that the Church is inextricably bound to the fortunes of the U.S.?

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27 Responses to An American Church

  1. A Edwards on June 28, 2004 at 2:53 am

    I’ve actually grappled with the Church’s “American” image among non-LDS relatives still living in the Netherlands. In many respects, the Church, along with Big Macs and Hollywood movies, is another quintessential projection of American ideals to the rest of the world.

    Few Americans grasp the level of agency and social mobility that this country provides. These traits – agency and social mobility – are also uncannily central tenets of the Mormon missionary message.

    Allow me to elaborate briefly…In Holland, as in most of the EU, people find great comfort in having a sense of place. Families frequently live in the same town for generations, or businesses/trades may be passed down from father to son. The concept of place is that same framework that allowed a class system and peerage to develop in previous generations. While the European system might be chafing for the restless, extremely ambitious, or uniquely talented, it provides a comfortable, low stress community contract for the vast majority. While agency – defined here as the ability to chart one’s own course – and social mobility are low, security and belonging are high.

    Compare that to the American model, where one’s “place” in society is determined in a much larger measure by one’s talent, drive, ambition, or good fortune. (And, lest we forget, heaps and gobs of Money!) In Europe, it would be difficult to imagine that the wealthiest man on the planet could be some nobody from Seattle. Yet here we are brought up with the credo that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to accomplish. To the Dutch, Americans have a boundless enthusiasm and (at times unrealistic) optimism that they can upturn any existing order to achieve their end. Americans are viewed, depending upon the circumstances, either wistfully (I wish I had the guts and self-confidence to XYZ) or derisively (if that arrogant American punk thinks he can XYZ…). However Europeans may interpret its manifestations, the American system functions because it emphasizes agency and social mobility.

    Theologically, the “American” LDS church also emphasizes agency and social mobility. Our status in Heavenly Father’s society is based entirely upon our own choices, and we even have the audacity to strive to become as gods, living in eternal families in the Celestial Kingdom – from a European perspective, the typical American LDS housewife is a greater social climber than Eva Peron! The European Catholic and Protestant churches are much more content to fulfil roles as caretakers of last resort or as shepherds to a calm and established flock.

    Just my $.02; I could be totally off base in other parts of the world. And as gross generalizations, my observations are entirely without merit anyway. But you read to the end, Ha Ha.

  2. Dan Burk on June 28, 2004 at 2:58 am

    Gordon, I think it’s clear that we presently are an American church, not necessarily in a positive sense, and it is going to take far more than the couple of suggestions you’ve given in order to change that.

    I cringe, for example, when I hear what I’m sure was an entirely well-intentioned general authority, speaking in general conference, offering advice on how to avoid sexual abuse of children, make the suggestion that we ensure each child has a bathrobe, in order to promote modesty.

    This might [possibly] be worthwhile advice for members in North America and parts of Europe. It makes no sense at all for members in parts of the world where they not only can’t afford a bathrobe, but live in a single room, very possibly without running water. Not only is the suggestion unlikely to be helpful to them, what kind of message does it send about the perspective of the Church leadership?

    Our conferences and printed materials are shot through with this sort of thing. I’m not trying to pick on general authorities especially (although they, if anyone, should be aware of the audience they are addressing). Even with all the missionaries that have served in other countries amid other cultures, those of us based in North America just don’t seem to get it. We’re going to be an “American Church” until we do.

  3. Julien on June 28, 2004 at 3:23 am

    Well, living in Belgium and having the German/Belgian dual citizenship, I figure I can say a couple of things here… ;-) I think the American aspect of the Church is the main thing that caused me over two years of investigation before I decided to join the Church. Here are some things I believe make for the view of an American church:

    1. Like Gordon said, most general authorities are American, even most (I think…) mission presidents in other countries.

    2. Most missionaries (at least in Europe) are Americans, but I guess that’s just due to the higher membership numbers. We’re sending Europeans on missions to the States as well.

    3. Quotes by non-GA Saints are mainly taken from American books. So far I’ve only found one LDS book by a non-American author (“Jesus Christus in Amerika”, by a German).

    4. American-focused activities – why are we celebrating a 4th of July picnic on Saturday, but have never celebrated the 3rd of October (German Unification)?

    5. Talks about patriotism are almost always focused on America – e.g. Bishop Featherstone’s talk on patriotism can be quite repulsive to some Europeans, and I think is quite on the verge of nationalism (although he throws a little “everybody should consider their own country in there” – he’s still talking about his pride in the sales of American flags…)

    I’ve noticed, though, that compared to American Christians of other denominations, American Mormons are a lot more aware of other countries and cultures, which gives me hope, that the focus off of America will shift to a more worldwide focus if membership rates keep rising elsewhere. I think the focus on America might be the fault of local leaders in the rest of the world, that always act as if everything that is good about the Church came from America. I have hope that the Church will become more worldwide in the hopefully not too far future, especially with the calling of non-American GAs.

    A Edwards: Your description is quite superficial, and doesn’t always fit.. I lived in the American Midwest for a year, and your description of European people staying in the same town for all their lives quite perfectly fits the small Midwestern towns – if you haven’t gotten a football scholarship or a beauty pageant, you’re most likely to stay there… (ok, that’s superficial, too). And at least the people attending college in Germany and Belgium are motivated to climb up the ladders and make something “more” out of themselves. (I, for example, am going to do an intern in Africa this summer… ;-). Just wanted to point that out….

  4. Gordon Smith on June 28, 2004 at 9:34 am

    Three very interesting responses. A Edwards, I am not sure what to make of this. Julien is surely right that your description does not fit every circumstance, and I am not really sure that it fits most circumstances. I was raised in one of those small, Midwestern towns that Julien describes, and it felt a lot like your description of Europe. On the other hand, I have spent a lot of time in Europe and met a lot of people who sound like Julien.

    Then again, the missionaries don’t have much success in small, Midwestern towns, and they do have success with people like Julien, so you might be right that an emphasis on agency and social mobility appeals to a certain crowd. That said, is this all a question of emphasis? Surely the Gospel includes teachings that focus on security and belonging, too. Perhaps the reason I am struggling so much with your comments is that they seem so pessimistic: we are different, and unless we change the message (not happening), we will stay that way.

    Dan, it may be even worse than you describe. How many times do you listen to General Authorities (either in GC or in Stake Conference) and hear advice that was clearly prompted by events in Utah? (Your post on civil disobedience seems to be an example.) As someone who has spent most of his life in the “mission field” (ugh! I hate that term), this is infuriating.

    Julien, this is a heart-warmingly optimistic take on this problem. I tend to be optimistic, too. Despite Dan’s comment on missionaries who serve outside the U.S. not “getting it,” I think that the practice of sending Americans away and bringing non-Americans here is good for the Church (even though it means that the face of the Church will continue to be American for many people outside of the U.S.). The patriotism stuff should probably be scaled back. My understanding is that we emphasize patriotism towards the U.S. because of our belief that the U.S. Constitution was inspired and created a place where the Church could be founded. Given the early history of persecution aimed at the Church, I have always wondered at why Mormons are so patriotic. Maybe Fred Gedicks can give us his sense of this. Anyway, I see no reason to make this a big part of our message or practice outside the U.S. By the way, that’s strange about the July 4 picnic. Do you have a lot of Americans in your ward?

  5. lyle on June 28, 2004 at 10:02 am

    As usual, a gross oversimplification. However, regardless of the lack of ‘factual’ merit for the comparison…the sociological ‘reality’ that the Kingdom of God has to deal with in other countries if fairly real, sadly.

    1. LDS missionaires as CIA spies
    2. Folks who twist & find every opportunity to criticize (i.e. snarking Featherstone talks, etc) instead of ‘translating’ them to a more appropriate cultural context. Why is it that _liberal mormons_ (per Russell’s distinction) are fully capable of translating the Gospel for themselves, & stay in the Church, but then fail to take the next step of doing so for others rather than withholding their service and/or criticizing?

    3. Lack of compassion for GAs/other church leaders who have to speak to a worldwide church…I’m reminded of Pres. Ballard’s talk on “cultural traditions” that _was_ addressed to a worldwide audience…yet was selectively interpreted by most who heard it (myself included, initially) as criticizing only the cultures of others (i.e. not Utah).

    While there is great hue & cry re: American insensitivity…it takes two to tango & my guess is that the same is true on the opposite side, i.e. those who demand an “Irish Apostle” or a “Black apostle,” or a “German written Jesus the Christ” or a Japanese written “Church History,” etc.

    Sum: Sounds like more sour grapes in the same theme/vein as the BCC discussion re: hating/criticizing Utah…except that now the LDS Church is expanded/conflated with the U.S. instead of just Utah.

  6. Gordon Smith on June 28, 2004 at 10:47 am

    Lyle, I am an American, and I feel quite blessed by that fact. My father retired from the U.S. Navy with 20 years of service, and he taught me to love the U.S. No one who knows me has ever called me a liberal, at least in the sense intended by Russell (“‘liberal Mormons’ are people who identify themselves as Mormon and whose political preference result in ‘liberal’ voting habits”). And I do not go out of my way to criticize General Authorities. To the contrary, I have a great deal of respect for the General Authorities of the Church. I dare say that in a fair fight, I could hold you to a draw on patriotism and orthodoxy.

    Nevertheless, I have spent a fair amount of time outside of the U.S., and it is clear to me that many non-Americans perceive the Church as an American institution with no possible relevance to their lives. In my view, this is a problem, albeit one that the Church has been addressing. As I said in my original post, building temples outside of the U.S. seems like an important step in the process of making this a truly global institution. So does calling General Authorities from other countries. Sending Elder Oaks to the Philippines and Elder Holland to Chile is another laudable move. But I think it is clear to many of us that there is still some distance to travel before we are perceived as a worldwide church.

    The purpose of this thread is to think about what might make a difference. Throwing ad hominem attacks at the people who are expressing legitimate perspectives on this issue does not further the discussion and, frankly, makes you look like part of the problem rather than part of the cure.

  7. lyle on June 28, 2004 at 11:08 am

    Gordon: You mistake (easily done, Kaimi has told me numerous times that I don’t communicate very well) me.

    1. I agree, it is a problem. I stated as much; albeit I labelled it a “sociological” fact; rather than a “truth.”
    2. I did not attack you personally. I don’t recall using your name.
    3. My suggestion for a solution: nothing…none is needed other than what is already being done or about to be done by the 15.

    Sum: I don’t think a solution is needed; so, I’ve said that & won’t debate the issue. :)

  8. greenfrog on June 28, 2004 at 11:54 am

    Gordon,

    In connection with this topic, I was interested to hear (and then later read) Elder Oaks’ remarks about what he perceived to be needed in the Phillipines. The discourse is located here: http://www.lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-401-12,00.html

    In particular, I found worth noting his sensitivity to the perception of the Church as peculiarly American, especially followed by his instruction which, to my admittedly biased ear, sounded like an endorsement of Americanism.

    I’ll excerpt portions of the talk, but I recommend reviewing it in its entirety for its application to this subject.

    He states the following:

    “The traditions or culture or way of life of a people inevitably include some practices that must be changed by those who wish to qualify for God’s choicest blessings.”

    And then reviews a number of practices, including chastity, weekly attendance at Church meetings, Word of Wisdom, honesty, and flexibility within hierarchy (?!)

    He concludes this section of the address with the following:

    “In these examples I am not contrasting the culture or traditions of one part of the world with another. I am contrasting the Lord’s way with the world’s way—the culture of the gospel of Jesus Christ with the culture or traditions of every nation or people. No group has a monopoly on virtue or an immunity from the commandment to change. Jesus and His Apostles did not attempt to make Gentiles into Jews (see Romans 2:11; Galatians 2:11–16; 3:1–29; 5:1–6; 6:15). They taught Gentiles and Jews, attempting to make each of them into followers of Christ.

    Similarly, the present-day servants of the Lord do not attempt to make Filipinos or Asians or Africans into Americans. The Savior invites all to come unto Him (see 2 Nephi 26:33; D&C 43:20), and His servants seek to persuade all—including Americans—to become Latter-day Saints. We say to all, give up your traditions and cultural practices that are contrary to the commandments of God and the culture of His gospel, and join with His people in building the kingdom of God. If we cease to walk in darkness, the Apostle John taught, “we walk in the light, . . . we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).”

    In the third section of his address, he makes the following point, which captures the fundamental belief that is sometimes associated with an American Church.

    “The gospel plan is based on individual responsibility. Our article of faith states the eternal truth “that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression” (Articles of Faith 1:2). This requirement of individual responsibility, which has many expressions in our doctrine, is in sharp contrast to Satan’s plan to “redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost ” (Moses 4:1). The plan of the Father and the Savior is based on individual choice and individual effort.

    The doctrine and practice of personal responsibility and personal effort collide with individual traditions and local cultures in many lands. We live in a world where there are large differences in income and material possessions and where there are many public and private efforts to narrow these differences. The followers of the Savior are commanded to give to the poor, and many do. But some gifts have promoted a culture of dependency, reducing their recipients’ need for earthly food or shelter but impoverishing them in their eternal need for individual growth. The growth required by the gospel plan only occurs in a culture of individual effort and responsibility. It cannot occur in a culture of dependency. Whatever causes us to be dependent on someone else for decisions or resources we could provide for ourselves weakens us spiritually and retards our growth toward what the gospel plan intends us to be.”

    gf

  9. Adam Greenwood on June 28, 2004 at 12:15 pm

    The percieved Americanness of the Church is indeed a problem overseas and sometimes a blessing (although probably less so). Something probably needs to be done. Perhaps the perception can’t be fixed without changing the substance of the Church’s identification with America.

    I submit, however, that the actual American identity of the Church, while not an unmixed blessing, is on the whole positive. Trying to extract the gospel from culture and from its historical past in this country is a chimerical quest. We may have to try to do it nonetheless to evangelize abroad, but we shouldn’t be excited about it.

  10. Gordon Smith on June 28, 2004 at 1:02 pm

    Thanks for that link, greenfrog. I had forgotten about that talk. Over on my other blog, I posted something about entrepreneurship in Germany, which prompted the following comment from a reader: “Entrepreneurship is fundamentally a cultural attitude. Which means that even though most Americans will never start their own business, the entrepreneurial attitude permeates our culture…. Entrepreneurship is a human characteristic, but some cultures are more entrepreneurial than others. And some specific cultures have evolved the institutions that reinforce, channel, and force-multiply the entrepreneurial attitude.” This reminded me of Elder Oaks’ discussion of individual responsibility. This is an idea that is comfortable for most Americans, and perhaps less comfortable for people in other cultures. Some might argue that the Church is reflecting American culture, but it is also possible that American culture is simply a good fit (in this regard, at least) with the Gospel.

  11. Julien on June 28, 2004 at 4:24 pm

    “Folks who twist & find every opportunity to criticize (i.e. snarking Featherstone talks, etc) instead of ‘translating’ them to a more appropriate cultural context.”

    “Lack of compassion for GAs/other church leaders who have to speak to a worldwide church…”

    Thanks lyle, I get you’re talking to me, and once again your twisting words around in my mouth like it’s not funny anymore. So in your view I find every opportunity to criticize, because I mention one talk I didn’t like all that much, while you didn’t say much on Dan’s thread that questioned the truth of a part of a GAs talk. You’re telling me I have a lack of compassion with GAs, even though my testimony grew because of a personal letter and book gift I received from Elder Ballard that I’m eternally grateful for (OK, you couldn’t know that), and you’re generalizing this as a “fact” that is to be “dealt with” only (I assume) outside the U.S., by “members” in general (I assume). And that is being said by an American to a Belgian… Don’t you think that would be the perfect example of the problem that Gordon mentioned? Or ought I just thank the GAs for putting up with us rebellious-by-nature Europeans?

    Sorry this got personal and I’m adding to Gordon’s rebuke, but I feel personally offended…

  12. Julien on June 28, 2004 at 4:39 pm

    One more thing to clear up: It’s not that I have a problem being criticized or disagreed with (in fact, I don’t think that discussions have much charm if everybody agrees…), I’m just allergic to people twisting things around to make them fit their agenda, and generalizing….

  13. lyle on June 28, 2004 at 4:45 pm

    Julien: my apologies. while i’m trying to morph…the twisting is very de rigeour in american political discourse right now. I struggle to remember to change tones in Saintly forums…

  14. Jordan Fowles on June 28, 2004 at 4:55 pm

    I would add that the church is considered an “American” church also in large part due to the social context surrounding its organization.

    At the time, the entire country was undergoing a religious reformation of sorts, and in this environment many new churches were born (and have perhaps since died). But the church is uniquely American in the way it was organized- I do not pretend to know a lot about religious history in other parts of the world in the 1820s-30s, but I daresay that the elements which the Lord used at the time to organize the church were not available in any other place.

  15. Nathan Tolman on June 28, 2004 at 5:13 pm

    Why would being an American Church be bad? It is true. Plus, I have faith that most people in other nations can differentiate the American Government from the American people.

    I was living in China when we bombed the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia. When I talked to Chinese people about it they would tell me they felt anger at the people who bombed the embassy, not me as an American. I have heard a similar story from someone who visited France recently.

    As far as Americanism in the Church itself, I find it can be a problem, but one easily bridged with understanding. When I was a DL on my Mission in Taiwan, I would often share how things were done in America when problems came up in our meetings with the Bishop and the ward council. One day the second councilor pointed out we were in Taiwan, not America. I assured him that I knew this and was fully confident in their ability to do things. I also pointed out that the American Church had quite a bit of experience in different matters and that might or might not help them in the challenges of the Ward. In other words I was not pointing out the way, only a way. We understood each other and things went well afterward.

    As to the GA question, I agree with many in this thread that they are in a position that is awkward in dealing with a multicultural/multinational Church, in that they have little experience in such, but they seem to be doing well overall and expect things to get better and better in this area.

  16. Jack on June 28, 2004 at 6:04 pm

    While it is important that the church be culturally flexible so as to have the widest influence possible, one has to admit that with out the good old U.S. of A. it (the church) would not have thrived. (despite the fact that even in America the Resoration barely eeked by!)

  17. Jack on June 28, 2004 at 6:07 pm

    oops!

    Res*t*oration

  18. Julien on June 29, 2004 at 3:22 am

    Nathan,

    good observation, which is very true – I’m the best example for that! And if every European was unwilling to listen to the missionaries because they were Americans, then the Church wouldn’t make the progress it is here.
    Another thing I may point out here, is that actually I don’t see that the Church, though characterized strongly by it’s American sources, does not necessarily represent “American” values all that much. Chastity and modesty rules are certainly contrary to most of what you see on e.g. prom dress pictures, as well as on graduation ceremonies in Germany, the emphasis on family is contrary to the high divorce rates in both the U.S. and Europe, alcohol is being drunk all across the world, hardly any I know pays a full tithe to their church, honesty is being disregarded everywhere, watch any movie in any language, and you’ll see that clean language ain’t a value, really…
    So what I’m saying is that while different nations may have different approaches to many issues, the “values” that the Church represents are not necessarily American or even “Western” – at least not anymore…

  19. Dan Richards on July 1, 2004 at 12:02 am

    “(a) More Church leaders — especially at the highest levels — from outside the United States. The Church has recruited a number of Seventies from outside the United States, but have we ever had an Apostle who is not from the U.S.? (I suspect that the Church had an early Apostle from England or some other country outside of the U.S., so I might limit the question to “a recent Apostle,” meaning Apostles within the past 50 years or so.)”

    Several recent apostles have been Canadian, though Utah born (N. Eldon Tanner, Hugh B. Brown), while Marion G. Romney was born in the Mormon colonies of Mexico. John Taylor was born in England, as were George Q. Cannon, Charles W. Penrose, George Teasdale, and James E. Talmage. Charles A Callis was born in Ireland. John A. Widtsoe and Anton H. Lund were possibly the only modern apostles whose first language was not English. Lund was born in Aalborg Denmark. Widtsoe was born in Norway and came to the US months after being baptized at age twelve. He passed away in November 1952, so it has been just over 50 years since we had our last European apostle.

    Trivia question: what is the only hymn in the current English hymnbook written by a Church member in a language other than English?

  20. Gordon Smith on July 1, 2004 at 12:19 am

    Dan, Thanks for that. Obviously, I knew none of this, but assumed there was some history there. As for the hymn … no idea on that either.

  21. john fowles on July 1, 2004 at 2:07 am

    Jordan: And don’t forget that although the Church was founded in America because of the favorable conditions in the 1820s and 1830s the stock of the Church came from England and Scandinavia.

    This goes to Dan’s point as well. Naming Apostles with foreign ties is useful, but let’s also remember that a large number of us Americans in the Church are only Americans because our English and Scandinavian ancestors embraced the Gospel and came to America in order to strengthen the body of the Saints at a critical time in the birth of the restored Church. Presumably, absent the need to swell the numbers in America, they would have stayed in England and Denmark and created stable, long-lasting LDS communities from that early stage on. Who knows how many Saints would be in Europe today if they had not sacrificed and come to Zion back then. Perhaps the Church would not have its American flavor if they had stayed. But they needed to come. Even with them here, as Jack pointed out, the Restoration barely squeeked by. Their coming here coupled with the Saints isolation in Deseret, which was an absolute necessity at the time, created a Church firmly rooted in America, rather than in the home countries of a vast number of the Church’s members.

  22. lyle on July 1, 2004 at 9:14 am

    I’ve been thinking deeply about this for the last lil bit…and discovered I’m fundamentally bothered by its premise.

    The premise seems to be that the Gospel should subject itself to culture in order to be more appealing. The problem with this is that the Gospel is primary, in time & importance, and that mortal cultures are mere reflections, often rather twisted, of true & eternal living.

    Why are we trying to make the LDS Church _more appealing_ to others?

    The whole discussion re: American “culture” being_responsibility oriented_ & other cultures don’t get _accountability_ is seriously wrong. Accountability is a _gospel_ principle…not an American one.

    Mayhap we should stop feeling guilty for the historical past of the LDS church & for our birth as Americans (White Mormon (wo)Man’s guilt) and start trying to universalize Gospel values?

  23. Philocrites on July 1, 2004 at 11:28 am

    In the midst of all the sociological and historical explanations here about the perception that the LDS Church is an American church, it seems to me that people are overlooking theology. Mormonism (in the Book of Mormon and in other places) gives specific theological meaning to the Americas generally and to the United States in particular. (Garden of Eden: Missouri. New Jerusalem: Missouri. Constitution: divinely inspired. Etc.)

    Not even the most “patriotic” branches of Evangelical Protestantism have an eschatology so tied up with the destiny of the United States. “The [U.S.] Constitution hanging by a thread” is an end-times prospect that has a bit less salience in branches of Christianity that don’t take the U.S. to be the “promised land” quite so literally.

  24. Gordon Smith on July 1, 2004 at 12:50 pm

    Lyle: “The premise seems to be that the Gospel should subject itself to culture in order to be more appealing.”

    No, the premise is that the Church — not the Gospel — should become more appealing. And not by “subjecting itself to culture” but by freeing itself from aspects of American culture that have nothing to do with the Gospel.

    If Gospel principles coincides with cultural principles, well, nothing wrong with that. Indeed, this is useful in that it helps people who live within the relevant culture to embrace and live the Gospel.

  25. Kingsley on July 1, 2004 at 12:55 pm

    For example, the Provo Freedom Festival’s decision to make Sean Hannity M.C. two years running might be perceived as the Mormon Church’s explicit endorsement of Mr. Hannity’s views on, say, which major U.S. political party is, da-da-da-dum, evil …

  26. lyle on July 1, 2004 at 1:06 pm

    Gordon: Then we are agreed. Accountability is _not_ a cultural principle & certainly not an “american” value that the Gospel/LDS Church needs to shed. Thank you for expressly refuting that possible interp.

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    he people with the needs of life as it is written in the (Holly
    Bible) that (Blessed is he that considereth the poor, the lord will
    deliver him in time of trouble, Palms 41:01) We should pray for you
    to God to bless and speak to you to making donation or
    anything that you can do possible in Jesus Christ. May God bless you
    very much and put a great burden in your heart to have your
    contributions in this matchless work as you minister for Him!

    Thanks & Regards

    Younger Brother in Christ

    JAVEID KHOKHAR
    President

    United Gospel Mission Pakistan
    Chak # 186/R.B Dogranwala
    Jhumra City 37700
    Faisalabad, PAKISTAN
    Phone 92-41-527644
    Fax 92-41-527644
    E.Mail:ugmp2004@hotmail.com
    E.Mail:javeid_khokhar2003@yahoo.com

    OUR REQUIREMENTS

    1.We want to support our Pastor, Evangelist’s and preachers on monthly
    regular basis as we have totally (15) in number. At least (50$ US Dollars)
    are required for each one.

    2.A Film Projectors is needed to show them Jesus Film those who don’t know
    how to read the (Holy Bible) but now we use rented.

    3.We request to every person who works for God to come to Pakistan for
    ministering to our Church, though Holding seminar Or Crusade, to bring many
    to Jesus to have eternal life.

    4.We wish to distribute (Ten Thousand 10,000.00) The Holy Bibles in our area
    free of cost among the poor needy people that cannot purchase even the
    Bible.

    5.Moreover, You can read our letter and find whatever you can do for
    organization and inform us what in formation you what more about it.

    6.We want to start a free mobile Dispensary for poor Children & women in our
    area Pakistan.

    7.We Want to start a free distribute (The Holy Bibles, Shoes, Toys, Foods,
    Sunday School Materials, New & Second hand Clothes, Medicine etc) among the
    poor Children & Christian Community in Pakistan.