A lot of non-Mormons find my blog through search engines, and I’m often surprised at the search phrases they use that lead them here. Many are derogatory, some surprise me (e.g. can Mormons swim in a public pool?),
But many I get illustrate a complete lack of understanding about what Mormons truly believe, which is why I dedicate so many posts to providing them answers. I hope that some, at least, are doing so because they are genuinely curious about Mormonism, and want accurate answers.
To them, and truly to all, I support the following recommendation, provided by a very wise and prominent Lutheran, Krister Stendahl.
Krister Stendahl was a Swedish theologian and New Testament scholar. With a doctorate in New Testament studies, he was a professor (and later the dean) of the Divinity School at Harvard University, before being elected as Bishop of Stokholm in 1984.
In 1985, when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) wanted to build a temple in Stockholm Sweden, there was a lot of vocal opposition, a large part of which seemed to be based on inaccurate understandings about Mormonism. In response, Krister Stendahl presented Stendahl’s three rules of religious understanding at a press conference. These were his 3 rules:
- When you are trying to understand another religion, you should ask the adherents of that religion, and not its enemies.
- Don’t compare your best to their worst.
- Leave room for “holy envy” (willingness to find elements in another’s religion that you admire and would like to adopt).
To his points, I would suggest that if you’re trying to learn more about Mormonism, then ask a Mormon. And don’t think that the worst Mormons you hear about are an accurate representative sample of all Mormons. And finally, be genuine – don’t just seek to reprove/refute, but to understand. Otherwise, all you’ll discover is a self-fulfilling prophecy. After all, you may just find something you like.
In support of Stendahl’s rules, I’m creating a new page “Ask a Mormon”, where you can feel free to ask me (an actual Mormon) anything you wish to know about Mormonism.
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