In a recent article in the SLTrib (10 May 2012), Peggy Fletcher Stack writes:
In his book [Talking with Mormons: An Invitation to Evangelicals], [Richard] Mouw [president of the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.] argues that understanding Mormonism isn’t about being nice, it’s a Christian mandate.
Too often, Evangelicals pick up little-taught LDS beliefs–such as human becoming gods or having their own planets–and put them at the center of Mormon theology, rather than at the periphery.
I would personally argue that the belief in “humans becoming gods” is central to Mormonism. It helps define why we are here on Earth; it describes where we are going. It is not–and I repeat–a peripheral doctrine. It is central to our view of the universe.
On the same subject, Noah Feldman, a law professor at Harvard University and a Bloomberg View columnist writes (reprinted in the SLTrib on 22 May 2012):
The consequences of turning Mormonism into just another denomination are epochal for Mormons. The doctrine of “be careful what you wish for” certainly applies. . .
Entering the mainstream poses major risks. If Mormons think of themselves as another Christian denomination, the risk of defection rises. The distinctive Mormon beliefs in a new scripture and in the possibility of joining the supernal realm for eternal life is in jeopardy precisely because they mark the differences with the Protestant mainstream. If you believe you are not that different from others, there will be a tendency to downplay those practices and beliefs that suggest otherwise.
Mormons need to think long and hard before they place beliefs like human deificiation (or theosis) into the category of “periphery.”
Sorry Richard Mouw, but for me theosis is not a peripheral belief and I don’t plan on downplaying it just to get along with Evangelicals. Mormonism IS different.