Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mormon Panic Hits U.K.

With an outrageous headline, "Mormon Panic Hits U.K.," Buzzfeed reviews a recent documentary shown on the BBC, The Mormon Candidate. The article fails to describe any panic over the Mormon faith in Britain, but simply highlights the documentary. It did state in the first paragraph that, "Mormonism, the British public learned from a documentary that aired on the BBC this week, is scary and mysterious, a possible 'cult' on the verge of taking over the most powerful office in the world."

The online article contains a three minute video with highlights from the documentary.  Following is my response to the highlights from the video. I tried to find the documentary online, but it appears that it has not been posted.

The video begins by stating that the Church is one of the wealthiest with an estimated wealth of thirty billion dollars, as if it is a negative thing. There are a legitimate reasons for the Church having that kind of wealth:

  • Many Church members tithe at a full 10%. This creates a large income stream.
  • It takes a large amount of money to construct and maintain buildings for over 28,000 congregations, support the work of over 50,000 missionaries, along with the support necessary for seminaries and institutes, welfare services, temples, and more.
  • The Church does not borrow money from banks to finance its construction projects, so there must needs be a strong revenue stream.  
The documentary continues, "The charge made against Mitt Romney's faith by some ex-members is that it is a church that spies and a church that shuns." A brief interview is shown where it is indicated that the Church has hired ex-CIA and ex-FBI members to spy on apostate Church members, particularly those that may have some influence.

I do not know who the Church hires, but it does make sense to keep an eye, not spy, on those who would do harm to the Church. The Church must be prepared to respond. Those who leave the Church with animosity must feel a certain degree of paranoia, thus feeling that they are being spied upon. The charge of shunning is baseless. I have been attending church for 60 years in at least seven different states and have never heard any teaching that approaches "shunning." The opposite is quite true. I have always been taught to love those around me, regardless of their status. I know several individuals who have left the Church or ceased activity, including family, and they are always welcome at our gatherings.  Yes, there may be those who exhibit less than Christlike behavior towards those who have left the Church, but they are the exception.

The charge of the Church being a cult was raised, once again quoting Pastor Robert Jeffress. That charge was addressed briefly in my previous blog. One interviewee charged the Church with the not allowing free thought. Again, certain individuals seem to develop paranoia because of their actions. First of all, any religion teaches their adherents to follow a certain belief pattern. This is not thought control. Again, I have been a attending Church for 60 years, most of that time as an active member. I have been posting doctrinal outlines in the Internet for 14 years without a hint of interference. I have read numerous anti-Mormon books. No one is condemning me for my actions. It just doesn't seem to be the mind-control, cultishness of which we are charged.

The video concludes with a reference to the temple under garments worn by members, along with a reference to certain actions taken in the temple, including one that is no longer performed. Each faith has its own symbols. Many wear crosses as a endorsement of their belief in Christ's atoning sacrifice. Others go to cathedrals or sanctuaries offering prayers, lighting candles, and crossing themselves. These are symbolic actions of faith. As are the actions taken by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Without question, the BBC is jumping on the bandwagon of Mormon stories, going for the sensational, particularly when the Republican candidate for president is LDS. The sensational grabs attention and attracts viewers. Possibly, the full program is more objective, but the intro video is definitely going for the sensational and contains only the slightest hint of truth about the Church and its people.

No comments: