David Mason, author of “My Mormonism: A Primer for Mormons and Non-Mormons,” had an op-ed in the New York Times this week in which he took issue with the apparent need of Mormon newsmakers to be liked.
This is the so-called Mormon Moment: a strange convergence of developments offering Mormons hope that the Christian nation that persecuted, banished or killed them in the 19th century will finally love them as fellow Christians.
I want to be on record about this. I’m about as genuine a Mormon as you’ll find — a templegoer with a Utah pedigree and an administrative position in a congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am also emphatically not a Christian.
For the curious, the dispute can be reduced to Jesus. Mormons assert that because they believe Jesus is divine, they are Christians by default. Christians respond that because Mormons don’t believe — in accordance with the Nicene Creed promulgated in the fourth century — that Jesus is also the Father and the Holy Spirit, the Jesus that Mormons have in mind is someone else altogether. The Mormon reaction is incredulity. The Christian retort is exasperation. Rinse and repeat.
This is one reason that in 2008 evangelicals said Mitt Romney was not “guided by God.” But, as Mason notes, it’s a distinction that Romney has painfully been trying to avoid on the campaign trail. He doesn’t want Christians to think he’s different than them.
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