One of the Dumber Theories of Mormon Temple Building (and Silly Mormon Movies)

December 3, 2004 | 17 comments
By

The not-surprising Evangelical backlash against Rev. Muow’s we-have-sinned-against-the-Mormons comments in the tabranacle has produced one of the least plausible interpretations of Mormon action that I have read in some time. Tim Clarke, who is executive secretary of the Utah-Idaho Baptist convention insists, among other things, that Mormons have been targetting Evangelicals for conversion. This, I am hoping, is true. (If we don’t save them, who will?) At this point, however, Mr. Clarke spins off into la-la land, saying:

The evidence is tangible. Why are the Mormons building temples in New York City, Dallas and Atlanta? It’s because they’re targeting Baptists who don’t know what they believe.

That’s it! That is why Mormons build temples! To fool Baptists into thinking that we are Christians! I knew that all of the talk of eternal families, redeeming the dead, and careful analysis of whether there were sufficient active members in an area to support a temple was a front for something!

The evidence of a Mormon effort to convert Baptists, however, is even more damning that this. Mr. Clark, along with Mike Gray, a pastor in Salt Lake, both point toward . . . Baptists at Our Barbecue, one the latest romantic comedies from the newly minted LDS film industry. You may have thought that this was simply an attempt to make a bit of money by marketing a silly movie to Mormon audiences, but if you did you are wrong. This is simply another part of the Mormon master plan to convert Baptists!

Strangly, niether Gray nor Clarke mention what I would have thought was the best evidence of Mormon intentions toward Baptists: The benametagged 19-year-olds in white shirts and dark suits who knock on Baptist doors every day.

Tags: ,

17 Responses to One of the Dumber Theories of Mormon Temple Building (and Silly Mormon Movies)

  1. CJ on December 3, 2004 at 2:41 pm

    Amen.

  2. danithew on December 3, 2004 at 2:43 pm

    Baptists at our BBQ? Ummm. Tastes like chicken. (hehe)

  3. William Morris on December 3, 2004 at 2:48 pm

    There’s also that radio call in show that features LDS members talking about why Evangelicals are wrong and asks Evangelicals who converted to the LDS Church to call in and denounce their former religion.

    Oh, wait…

  4. danithew on December 3, 2004 at 3:13 pm

    Has anyone here seen Baptists at our BBQ? I haven’t heard anything about it since it was released.

  5. Rusty on December 3, 2004 at 3:45 pm

    Dan, Eric Snider usually gives great reviews and gave it a B-. Go here to read it.

  6. Wilfried on December 3, 2004 at 3:47 pm

    Our family saw BBBQ and we enjoyed it thoroughly — also realizing its limitations and no-ambitions… Crazy, fast, fun, and with very touchy moments in between. However, beware! If you expect a movie showing a good healthy balanced Mormon ward, ahum. The funniest experience my wife had was when someone told her: “I did not like that movie because it reminded me too much of strange people in our ward”. That’s exactly why we loved it so much. We were partly reliving some of the funniest moments of our own Primitive Church http://www.timesandseasons.org/wp/index.php?p=1484

  7. Max Lybbert on December 3, 2004 at 3:48 pm

    It’s common to assume everyone else in the world is just like us. That’s why I laughed pretty hard when I read

    I consider myself an “average Mormon in the pew.” I give talks in church about Church doctrine, I enjoy studying Church doctrine, and I most certainly do care. I can think of about a million counter-examples to Roberts’ claim, mostly from decent Sunday School lessons (youth, Gospel Doctrine, and Gospel Essentials).

    The question is, why would Russell assume members of a growing church wouldn’t know, or care, enough about the doctrines of that church to go looking a little more? I can’t think of any answer that doesn’t make him look bad. Either he belongs to just such a church, or he simply believes nobody could possibly intend to believe in Mormonism (which would imply that his understanding of Mormonism is flawed — which is exactly what the original comment was about).

  8. David King Landrith on December 3, 2004 at 3:49 pm

    From what I understand, there have historically been increases in the effectiveness of missionary activity in areas where temples are built. While it strikes me as a vast oversimplification, it may well be that the church expects to see conversions increase with the increased placement of temples.

  9. Max Lybbert on December 3, 2004 at 3:50 pm

    Arrgh! The Blockquote Function works differently than I thought it would.

    The quote is:

    “The average Mormon in the pew, he doesn’t care,” Russell said. “It doesn’t make any difference to him. To them it works. They have friends. They’re big on family. And not only that, they can spend eternity with their family. They don’t stop to think about how it works. So they’re happy with it.”

    The stuff that I did quote was meant as my rebuttal.

  10. David King Landrith on December 3, 2004 at 3:52 pm

    Clarification in preceding comment:

    “While it strikes me as a vast oversimplification…” means “while the thesis that we’re building temples to convert evangelicals strikes me as a vast oversimplification…”

  11. Max Lybbert on December 3, 2004 at 3:52 pm

    Yes, David, temples are great missionary tools. And, temples are great indicators of successful missionary efforts (lots o’ converts can lead to a temple). I don’t know which way was originally meant.

    OTOH, the Church spends the money building temple mainly for the ceremonies that take place inside it.

  12. Geoff B on December 3, 2004 at 5:53 pm

    It’s always surprising to me how little your average evangelical knows about our church. I know I shouldn’t be surprised given that there are literally thousands of evangelical ministers out there warning their flocks that we are of the devil, but I still am always taken aback when by the level of ignorance. I know quite a lot about what evangelicals believe, and I consider them brothers in Christ, most of whom will accept the fulness of the gospel very soon after crossing the veil. The relationship appears mostly one-way.

  13. John T. on December 3, 2004 at 6:42 pm

    Sort of off-topic, but I am always struck by the visual aspect of the LDS faith. When I was young, I attended Expo ’74 in Spokane, WA. where the Church had an impressive exhibit with statues of Joseph Smith and Moroni and others that “came alive” with video projection. As I left the exhibit, I was handed a BoM with a large number of Illustrations by Arnold Friburg. Even now, I am encouraged to watch DVD portrayals of Scriptural events, and missionaries have told me to visit various buildings in Temple Square (I have). I’m not sure exactly why this visual emphasis exists, but it seems peculiar in a way, as if the Church is trying to over-compensate for the strangeness of the doctrine to the uninitiated. I suppose that during the middle ages and early renaissance when the literacy rate was quite low, this was an effective strategy to reach and hold the masses to the Catholic Church. Now, however, it sort of reminds me of a Walt Disney strategy — Good Fun, but not to be taken too seriously.

  14. Mark B on December 3, 2004 at 7:00 pm

    The other things about the temples being built in New York, Atlanta and Dallas:

    Has this guy ever been to New York?? There are only about 100 Caucasian Baptists out of 20 million people in the metropolitan area. No telling how many people of African descent are Baptists, but the West Indians, an ever growing portion, are mostly not.

    And, Atlanta and Dallas: they were dedicated in June 1983 and October 1984–in the context of the restored Church, that’s ages ago.

  15. Mark N. on December 4, 2004 at 12:11 am

    John T: When I was young, I attended Expo ‘74 in Spokane, WA. where the Church had an impressive exhibit with statues of Joseph Smith and Moroni and others that “came alive� with video projection.

    Hey, John, you forgot the most “visual” aspect of the LDS exhibit: unless I’m horribly confused, the building itself was a giant mock-up of our conception of the Golden Plates, as I recall.

  16. John T on December 4, 2004 at 1:38 am

    ….So, there I sat, like a liitle 4-letter reformed-egyptian word amongst the pages of the most perfect book in history…. !

  17. David King Landrith on December 5, 2004 at 11:28 pm

    Nate Oman: Strangly, niether Gray nor Clarke mention what I would have thought was the best evidence of Mormon intentions toward Baptists: The benametagged 19-year-olds in white shirts and dark suits who knock on Baptist doors every day.

    I think you’re insightful to note this, and I think it’s a safe bet that it exposes the mindset (and perhaps the intentions) of both Clarke and Grey. They want to focus on the subversive and make Mormon’s sound creepy and underhanded. Identifying methods of proselytizing that are forthright and candid dispels the air of cultish conspiracy they are fostering with their rhetoric.