Mormons and Cultural "Orthodoxy"
* There is an important angle missing from your account of the successes of Mormonism, and it points to the abiding need to revive the evangelical mind ["Mormons on the Rise," June 15]. It is true that Mormons have a tough row to hoe in their historical apologetic; that liability is more than compensated for in the power of their philosophical apologetic. One ought to be duly aware of how well Mormon orthodoxy comports to the prevailing cultural "orthodoxy." Evangelicals may smile at a Mormon tradition of stone-peeping, polygamy, and polytheism. However, the materialism in Mormonism and their willingness to conceive of God as a material object makes them very compatible with the materialism of the academy. Mormon belief expresses a very plausible way of holding religion together with current philosophical views of the mind. The universalism, social ethos, and relation of church and state are also, I suggest, very compatible with contemporary liberalism.
Consequently, it may not really be asking a lot for a modern person to become a Mormon. Mormonism has a cultural advantage in holding a modern view of life and potentially satisfying postmodern longings for spirituality. In confronting the success of Mormonism, evangelicals must tackle these fronts—the philosophical and cultural fronts—as well.
* Hooray for the Southern Baptists! I wish the rest of us had had the courage and compassion to go to Salt Lake City for our annual meetings. Maybe some will in the years to come. My thanks to the SBC!
* After studying growth statistics in Operation World, I have regretfully observed that the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses are rapidly ...1