Words and Mormons – Updated


Andrew Sullivan discovers that E.D. Kain dislikes Sullivan’s use of the term “Christianists” to describe Mormons. Writes Kain:

While I do think it rightly applies to many in the politically active fundamentalist, evangelical movement, and certain factions within the Catholic Church, can it really be applied to Mormons?  Mormons are not, by any definition of the word, Christian, so can they truly be labeled Christianists?  I think this an example of labels taking precedence over substance. Do we risk muddying up our own causes when we paint with such broad strokes as to wholly mislabel a group of people that justifiably deserve our criticism?

Writes Sullivan:

Kain’s argument is that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not by any definition of the word Christian. No Mormon would agree.

Interesting semantic questions on who controls the definition of a word. For example, I could begin a cult and declare that it turns out that Allah lives in America, is a cross-dressing penguin, and prefers domestic over imported beer. Even if this vision came while DTing from a transcendent binge, I could get millions of jackasses to agree that indeed our shared beliefs about Allah make us Muslims. But then a bunch of mullahs would get together and declare not so much, sorry, but this cross-dressing penguin worship does not a Muslim make. And my take is they’d be right.

Yes, the Mormons are no less insane than your run-of-the-mill Christian and yes, its a relativist maneuver to differentiate, but the fact is the Christians get to own the definition of the term. Mormons, who think that an angel visited a New York drunk with tablets only he could see, can call themselves Christian all day long. It’s just that they’re wrong.


3 Responses to “Words and Mormons – Updated”

  1. Geoff J Says:

    but the fact is the Christians get to own the definition of the term

    Well good. Since Mormons are Christians I guess that means Mormons get to own the definition of Christian right?

    (In other words, you are begging the question)

  2. Todd Says:

    Mormons are not Christians because they believe an angel visited Joseph Smith, just like Catholics are not Christian because they believe that the Virgin Mary appeared to a bunch of kids in Lourdes. They are Christians because they believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the saviour of mankind.

    Many Catholic saints lived (and performed miracles, according to the Catholic church) more recently than Joseph Smith. Do you think having odd beliefs about recent divine manifestations negates someone’s belief in Christ?

  3. Words & Mormons - Continued « Geranium Kisses Says:

    […] & Mormons – Continued By gypsyrob  A recent post on who owns a definitionis sparking some great conversations, on-line and off. Writes Todd: Mormons are not Christians […]

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