“A Different Jesus” by Robert Millet (a Mormon scholar) and published by Eerdmans (an Evangelical publishing house) is attacked by many Evangelical Christians who say Millet is presenting a deceptively inaccurate picture of Mormon belief. I have not read the book, but I did read this interesting, sympathetic and insightful review on Dave’s Mormon Inquiry which says that if you really want to know Mormonism from an unbiased perspective, Millet’s book and “How Wide the Divide” are two good books to start with. In another post, “The Curriculum of Understanding“, I asked readers for suggestions on books to learn about their faith from the inside — rather than reading an unsympathetic analysis. This book sounds like a such a good book for Mormonism.
And as you can imagine, many Evangelicals attacked the book and they even attacked an Evangelical scholar, Richard Mouw, for his sympathy to Millet’s Evangelical friendly Jesus. Mouw, in Millet’s book’s afterword, says he feels Millet is sincere and does not fall into the common perception of Mormons:
The most common charges along these lines are that LDS leaders are so eager to be accepted as a mainstream religion that they are deliberately misleading us about their actual beliefs and that when Mormons utter Christian-sounding words, such as that “Jesus died for our sins,” they are using the words in very different ways than do we in the Christian tradition. (p. 179-80.)
Ouch, that is me. I have lived with Mormons and had several of Mormon acquaintances over the years and I still feel they hide their beliefs so as to not be judged. And I have always felt they hide them for good reason — because they are pretty bizarre; “Bizarre” like Scientology’s outer space people and Orthodox Christianity’s doctrines of “Daddy-god and Child-god are the same person” and “Innocent blood is the only thing that cures” and “God loves the smell of blood”. Heck, every religion has bizarreness. But heck, we all hide our beliefs — I know people who hid the belief that Obama is a Muslim or Global Warming is a myth or that they think buying lottery tickets is a good gamble. See my post on “Kinds of Weird” to think a little more about why we would hide our beliefs or our actions.
I wanted to expose my bigotry and ask on Dave’s Mormon Inquiry if it isn’t true that Mormons hide their beliefs, but the post’s comments are unfortunately closed.
Question for readers:
- Do you hide any beliefs? How weird are you?
- Do you think Mormon’s hide their beliefs?
- Can you suggest “Curriculum of Understanding” books?