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Super Awkward

January 16, 2009

[This’ll be a short one, guys. After my latest post at Main Street Plaza (and the construction of the Great Wall of Comments), I’m feeling just a tad bit burnt out on blogging. Also, since I’ll be settling back in to dorms within a day or two, I probably won’t update tomorrow (er…later today) or Saturday. You can also read my new post at Mormon Matters :D]

…So, I was linked to this video from Harvard’s Day of Faith about interviews with several different religious traditions. I thought that the girl who represented Mormonism was pretty good…I guess she touched some touchy issues, but she did so tastefully. I was impressed…and one of the things that most people who’ve watched this are impressed by is how articulately she knows the Gospel — she’s more natural at it than many missionaries I know for sure.

Let me see if I can figure out this newfangled code…

Well, anyway, I just wanted to see snippets of the other one, and I got to the one where they interviewed a Christian. Hmm…but didn’t they already interview a Mormon? Well, they wanted a Christian. I only have one word for the first 39 seconds of this next video: awkward!

I don’t know what’s more awkward: how the Mormon girl tries to chime in and say “I’m Christian,” or how the moderator fumbles around afterward.

I know she means no harm, so I think this is a *perfect* opportunity to use this expression:

Awkward!

Mitt Agrees: Awkward!

I’d like to give this girl a hand. Or rather, a mitt.

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11 Comments
  1. That’s the thing – it does go back to definitions. Who gets to make the definitions (I didn’t get to watch the embedded video yet- perhaps later)…specifically the definition of who is Christian? (And who is not christian?) I don’t have an answer for that.

    If it’s just a belief in the divinity of Christ, well, I may have an answer. But when one gets into tradition and convention…it becomes more complicated. Things like the trinity and the virgin birth come into play. Which mormons/the LDS do NOT believe in – but most mainstream christians do.

    As far as whether or not the discussion in itself is offensive – I disagree strongly. It goes back to who gets to define who is mormon.

  2. Ah, of course it does go back to definitions, I agree.

    But then we have to wonder about what the definitions *should* be…I mean, we don’t have any kind of objective measure. Should it merely be based on a belief in the divinity of Christ? Or should it include tradition and convention? Should it be based on creeds? Things like that.

  3. Andrew – I certainly can’t say. I’d even like to say something like – majority rules. But for a case like the FLDS, who call themselves mormon, are they mormon? If the Utah LDS church doesn’t consider them mormon?

    I know that the slippery slope argument is not logical – but that’s where I see this discussion leading. If a person rejects the right of some Christians to define christianity by things like creeds and specific beliefs, then you can’t also define your own religion and exclude others that disagree with some of your beliefs and practice (FLDS). I don’t know that this makes sense in the way I worded it – but that’s what I’m suggesting.

  4. I consider the FLDS “Mormon.” And any other offshoot group. Certainly a belief in Joseph Smith’s calling and the Book of Mormon is enough to qualify you in my book. Heck, I even consider ex-Mormons still “Mormon” (whether they like it or not).

    A response to aerin:

    “Things like the trinity and the virgin birth come into play.”

    I know Mormons who believe in both of those things.

    As for the trinity… a bit complex, but I think what Mormons typically reject is a modalistic caricature of the Trinity, rather than the actual Trinity. The Book of Mormon itself is full of trinitarian language. Mormon scholars like Blake Ostler and David Paulsen are making the scriptural case that Mormons are actually “Social Trinitarians.”

    But anyway…

  5. Oh, man — now Mormon Matters is trying to steal you away after all of my efforts to recruit you for MSP? Note that they also invited my brother to write for them, yet I’m still waiting for my own invitation. 😉

    I just hope you’ll remember all the little people who “knew you when”… 😉

  6. aerin: I dunno though…even though it seems like “majority rules” would make sense, my gut is particularly disinclined to agree with that. It wasn’t too long ago that the majority believed in the inequality of races or of sexes (at least, I hope a ‘majority’ don’t still take such a position o_0).

    I think we do kinda need to look at a rational position…why do certain groups have certain definitions. Is it rational for them to have that? Is it rational for the church HQ to say that the FLDS aren’t Mormon. Or is it rational for someone like Seth to look at other factors (belief in Joseph Smith’s calling, BoM, etc.,) and use that as a definition. And as Seth alluded to as well (but I think even we have different ideas on it), he considers ex-Mormons Mormon and even sometimes we consider ourselves Mormon (we aren’t just ex. There is a part after it). Is it sound to say that a shared cultural background is enough to be Mormon? And what does cultural background imply about Mormons being Christian? Should it be taken into consideration there.

    I think that’s how the slippery slope would be…combated, I guess?

    but like you said, I certainly can’t say.

  7. Oh Chanson, I couldn’t replace MSP with MM — they are very much different spheres.

    I’m just floating a trial balloon now…I don’t know if I’ll like the results in the end.

  8. btw – I was not trying to get into the discussion about whether or not mormons are christian – at all. I have seen that discussion go around in circles. Maybe by even bringing that up I’m starting that discussion, and if so, I should probably withdraw. now.

    I think I was trying to figure out who gets to define who is mormon or christian – if a person can self-identify or if it is majority rule. And Andrew I agree that majority is not always right, ethical, etc. (like your examples of racism or past opinions toward slavery).

    It goes back to groups vs. individuals. Seth, just because you as an individual mormon believe FLDS are mormon, or in some of those beliefs, doesn’t necessarily mean that the SLC LDS priesthood leadership agrees with you.

    OR – another great example, my college defines anyone who was enrolled as an “alumnus” or alumni. So, a friend of mine who went for two semesters is listed on their alumni rolls – although they might not consider themselves an alumnus (forgetting the plural/singular here). Or maybe they do – but shouldn’t there be a difference between someone like me, who graduated and completed all the course work and someone who dropped out after two semesters? English doesn’t have a term for that, at least, my college doesn’t (hoping the two semester person will still donate funds).

  9. Oh, I see what you mean, aerin. No need to go there.

    I think in the end, though, it’s not necessarily so clear-cut as self-identity vs. majority rule. It would be great if we had some rational way to evaluate definitions of group memberships, so then we could say, “Well, rationally, even if you don’t consider yourself a member of this group, you should be.” or “Well, even if they do consider you a member of this group, that doesn’t make too much sense.”

    unfortunately, we just don’t have such a thing. In lieu, we do have countless subjective standards.

  10. Gaerin – Actually the FLDS church does not call themselves “Mormon”. They distance themselves from the LDS church. “Mormon” is understood to mean someone who belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

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