The shoe’s on the other foot
I wish that we, Mormons, especially those raised in the church, would assume that we know as little about other religions as we complain they know about us.We hate being mischaracterized, so much so that we often tell each other stories about how people in other Christian churches misrepresent our beliefs and actively seek to discourage others from converting to our faith. And yet, in Sunday School and other places where Mormons gather together, we talk about how wrong the other Christians are and mock the idea that accepting Jesus as one’s personal Lord and Savior is enough to be saved. We cite examples of people who claim to be saved, but still live lives of sin. On our behalf, I will say that this is generally done without intentional malice, but that cannot justify it.
Is it fair to judge a religious doctrine by the beliefs and actions of people? It is certainly natural. We encourage all Mormons to live exemplary lives so that others seeing us will want to learn more about our faith and eventually join us. But we cringe at the thought that we may all be judged by the notorious actions of a few of our members. If we’re being honest, we must admit that very few of us live lives that would stand up favorably under unforgiving scrutiny. Who among us is without sin? Let him cast the first stone.
If our church is true, then we should just be able to say “Our church is true and these are the truths we believe.” That truth must be able to stand alone. We need not say how others are not as true in order to make ourselves seem more true in comparison. It is unnecessary, and ultimately, unChristian.