The downside of Joanna Brooks’ Washington Post apologetic article titled “Five persistent myths about Mormonism” is demonstrated in the SLTrib (26 Aug 2011). In an article title “Myths about Mormonism,” Eric Johnson keeps the debate alive. Brooks by bringing up these five myths only allows our detractors to determine our agenda.
On the issue of polygamy, Johnson states: “Though polygamy is no longer allowed between a man and more than one living wife, it most certainly is still taught, practiced and anticipated.” Mormons are not very candid about our polygamist past and present, and until we come to grips with reality, we need to steer clear of this issue.
On Mormons as Christians, “To say that ‘technicalities’ separate Mormonism from Christianity is akin to saying Buddhism is synonymous with Hinduism because both have common traits.” Actually . . . for me, this issue is silly. I can see no reason why Mormons can’t be labeled Christian any more than to say that Lutherans can’t be labeled Christian. Mormons need to stay out of this debate.
On the third issue of Mormons are largely white, Johnson is absolutely correct when he states that: “While the membership may not fit this description, the leadership certainly does.” This is an issue that Brooks and the rest of the apologists are not going to win.
On the issue of Mormon women as second-class citizens, again Mormon’s are forced on the defensive: “Mormon women cannot hold leadership positions.” And they don’t hold the priesthood. So no matter how you shuffle the deck, this myth is true. Women are not on an equal level with Mormon men. You can argue what “second-class” means, but there is no upside to this debate.
On the question of a Mormon president blurring the line between church and state, Johnson states, “many believe those lines really are blurred in Utah.” And how about Prop 8 in California? The Mormon Church leadership is best advised to stay out of local, state, and national politics. Let Romney, Huntsman, Reid, et al defend their faith.
Internally, we need to look at the above alleged myths with open minds. There is no point in discussing them in public when we are unprepared for an open discussion that looks at all the facts.
Externally, when dealing with the non-Mormon community, we ought to deal with the issues that relate to our agenda. Being overly defensive is rarely a good plan.