Do Mormons have a more intellectually substantial belief system than JWs?

by slimboyfat 22 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • slimboyfat

    That seems to be the implication in a new evangelical response to Mormonism called "The New Mormon Challenge: Responding to the Latest Defenses of a Fast-Growing Movement."

    This books presents a sophisticated response from serious scholars in fields of theological and religious studies who bring their expertise to bear on controversial Mormon truth claims. This is said to contrast with the poor quality of previous evangelical responses to Mormonism that consisted of little more than caricature and name-calling. The need for a better quality of Christian response to Mormons in particular is explained with reference to the increase in Mormon scholarly activity and sophisticated apologetic literature from the movement.

    Not only has Bringham Young University proved itself to be an important centre of intellectual activity, but LDS scholars can be found throughout the ranks of the North American academy. This fact by itself should dictate that evangelicals treat Mormonism differently than other groups that we have typically - and misleadingly - lumped together as "the cults." Christian Science has had almost no influence in the academy. And we are not being flippant in saying that the term "Jehovah's Witness scholar" has the feel of an oxymoron. But the existence of a highly intellectual Mormon subculture - where LDS scholars engage in serious exploration of other perspectives and debate these matters openly among themselves - suggests that we would do well to treat the Mormon worldview as a serious intellectual perspective. (page 12)

    A blurb on the back cover also talks of these evangelical scholars paying Mormons "the high compliment of a serious, contemporary evaluation."

    More substantially, the editors of the book claim that Mormons present a coherent and substantial view of God, in particular relating to their view that God did not create the Universe out of nothing, that is worthy of extensive interaction and refutation within the long tradition of Christian apologetic literature written in response to other "world faiths" and philosophies such as Paganism, Islam and Atheism.

    But is it really so that a group that promotes a patently false history of an entire continent, passes of an imaginative work as a serious translation of an ancient text, and does not even have a clearly defined body of agreed doctrines is intellectually more substantial than the faith that Jehovah's Witnesses have? I would suggest that those evangelicals who have felt compelled to pay Mormons this compliment of a serious, deliberate apologetic interaction are really responding to the slick operation of an effective PR machine rather than to a coherent, sophisticated philosophical challenge. The current Mormon leadership are masters at media management, and the fact that even evangelical opponents are now calling for Mormonism to be treated as a coherent philosophical system worthy of proper evaluation is testimony to a phenomenal Mormon triumph. By engaging Mormonism thus in battle, these evangelicals only serve to prove that the Mormons are well on the way to winning the war for recognition as a "world faith" worthy of respect instead of being viewed merely as a fraudulent cult or sect deserving contempt.

    Jehovah's Witnesses have largely failed on that score, not because their beliefs are somehow inherently less coherent or intrinsically less meritorious, but for the more mundane reasons that they discourage higher education for their followers, frown upon independent apologetic efforts, and are only beginning to learn basic media management skills.

    I am going to post this topic on both the JW discussion site and the ex-Mormon board with corresponding links in the hope of promoting cross-community discussion on this subject. There are so many points of contact between the experiences of our two groups that I feel that promoting interaction can only result in a fruitful exchange.

  • slimboyfat
  • juni

    Mormons I don't feel are as over the top as JW, but they still dictate your life. They place great emphasis on family which is good, but they still like to butt in on personal lives which is not.


  • EAGLE-1

    Besides looking silly ?

  • stillajwexelder

    At least they actually encourgae college - in fact they have their own Brigham Young University

  • RubaDub

    I don't know much about their belief system but I would seriously investigate them if I was in the market for a new bike.

    Rub a Dub

  • Double Edge
    Double Edge
    And we are not being flippant in saying that the term "Jehovah's Witness scholar" has the feel of an oxymoron.

    Now THAT made me laugh.....

  • anewme

    From the little I know or have read about the Mormon religion it falls into the category of the high control groups.

    It has to be respected of course for the success within its own group which encourages people to accomplish.

    But it comes down to another bunch of men telling me what to do and how to live my life and telling me Im not good enough unless I do this or that for them.

    Im never falling for that again.

  • SickofLies

    I dated a Mormon women once, much of what I know of their belief systems comes from her. I do agree with their idea about coffee being evil, I mean if you live here in Canada you can't help but notice how Tim Hortons is taking over the country. I also like their idea about there being three different levels of heaven, with the highest being for non-coffee drink peoples who never swear and such, the second is for people who drink coffee and swear occasionally, but are otherwise good people and the thrid is for the just alright people. I feel this system is fair is it encompases just about everyone who isn't actually evil. The idea I really like is being able to have multiple wives, I say bravo. Why should a man have to settle for just one woman?

  • Swan

    I don't know, but I sure like their new show on HBO. I'm learning a lot about them and there are so many similarities between them and JWs, except the polygamy part. That thread on orgies comes close though.


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