Saturday, October 15, 2005

I'm curious about mormons... Are you?

Informed by only assumptions about the background of the author and the resources applied to publish the Newsweek article, "The Mormon Odyssey," I am satisfied with the results. My assumptions are that the author did not attend LDS Sunday School for the past 25 consecutive years (as I have) and that the resources given to compose the article were less than the resources given to educate me. I consider myself an expert in the history of the LDS church compared to the average human.

I thank the author for writing the article. I'm always excited when someone asks me questions about the history of the LDS church. I think many things were done well. I think that some things could have been clearer. Let's explore some things that could improve the article and future articles.
1. Smith's times are much like our own, and his story has a particular resonance in the first years of the 21st century. Like us, he lived in an era of evangelical energy...

The "evangelical energy" of today couldn't be closely compared to that energy of the early 1800s. It would be like comparing a candle (today) to a lit-up baseball stadium (Joseph Smith's time). (Wikipedia: Revival History 1830).

2. During the next five years, the Missouri Saints were driven by mobs from Jackson County to Clay County to Far West, Mo. As prejudice increased, Missouri Gov. Lilburn Boggs issued an "extermination order" in 1838, and Smith and his followers fled to Nauvoo, Ill.
I think many people will be confused about what "issued an extermination order" means. Something as horrible as that order deserves a few words of explanation.

3. Central tenets of Mormonism seem confusing—even literally incredible—to those outside the faith. An angel named Moroni? "Plural" marriage?
Like, Coop, I found this part misleading. Plural marriage is a central tenet? I don't even see it in the 13 Articles of Faith. The church teaches that monogamous marriages are the rule, not the exception. (Church response to Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven).

4. The church is organized into "wards" in which members deliver meals to new mothers, help relocating families find housing, and pack and unpack during moves.
Wards are so much more than places to receive food and service. Attend a church service and you'll find out.

In a few places, the author could've given Joseph Smith the benefit of the doubt more than he did. I'm proud of the author for swimming through the oceans of lies about the Prophet Joseph Smith to give some accurate information to the average American.

My friend Coop also read and made comments in his blog about this article.
Cooped Up

I especially like his idea that the author is repeated seeming to say that Mormons now think that polygamy in the 1800s was a problem or a mistake. We do not believe that polygamy was a problem.


Blogger Justin said...

actually, chris, the author of the article is a mormon, a lifelong member, and a graduate of byu.

not that i disagree with your analysis or anything, though.

12:18 AM  
Blogger Coop said...

How do we know she's a member? I would really love to know that for sure.

Good analysis of these points, my man. And thanks for linking me. Makes me feel like I did something worthwhile. Which I'm sure I didn't.

10:24 AM  
Blogger Justin said...

it's a chat wrap with Elise Soukup, the author of the article. her quote: "One disclaimer: I'm an active member of the church, but I certainly don't speak for the church. With that said, let's get started...."

4:01 PM  

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