This edition of "Mormonism in the News: Getting It Right" features a column from an Episcopal priest who demonstrates the importance of speaking with Mormons to understand Mormons. We also include a blog post that discusses Mormon beliefs about grace and a story from Kansas about a returned Mormon missionary who describes the purposes of his service.
Huffington Post: Understanding the Mormon Experience by Speaking With Mormons
As we have written previously, the “full symphony of the Mormon experience — or any religious experience — is comprehended only through personal and profound acquaintance.” A prime example of this is Danielle Tumminio, an Episcopal priest and author. In her most recent Huffington Post column, she writes eloquently about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ proselytizing efforts and beliefs. Importantly, her conclusions are based on personal discussions with Mormon missionaries and members in Boston.
Tumminio, who has written about the Church in the past, says she learned that the Church “wants to cultivate relationships with everyone, and all are welcome.” She also notes that “for a religion to be vital, it needs to show it’s relevant to people. And the [Mormons seem] well aware of that.”
She concludes with an insightful statement about the Latter-day Saint belief in divine revelation in modern times: Mormons “seem to have discovered that God doesn’t only speak through ancient revelations. Instead, revelation continues today, in the lives” of everyone.
Read Tumminio’s entire column at HuffingtonPost.com.
Religion News Service: Mormons Believe “It Is by Grace We Are Saved”
In her “Flunking Sainthood” blog at Religion News Service, author Jana Riess thoughtfully corrects another news outlet’s view of the role of grace in Mormon teachings.
Riess’s post references several Latter-day Saint scriptures about grace, including one verse that says it is “by grace we are saved, after all we can do” and another that adds that we are forgiven only “through the merits of” Jesus Christ. Riess also quotes an official Church topical index, which defines grace as “the help or strength given through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Riess correctly notes that the “Mormon definition focuses on grace as ‘enabling power’ and ‘spiritual strength.’ It is a gift, yes, but it’s one we have to unwrap and put into play.”
Riess concludes by saying she’s grateful that “Mormon theology demands, every day, that any faith that God’s grace has sparked in me be put into action.”
Read her entire column at janariess.religionnews.com.
The Topeka Capital-Journal: Mormon Missionaries “Bring Other People to Christ”
Reporter Phil Anderson writes about three young men in the Topeka, Kansas, area — one who recently returned from Mormon missionary service in New Jersey, and two others who will soon serve in Russia and Uruguay.
Summing up his duties as a Mormon missionary in New Jersey, one of the young men, Andrew Smith, tells Anderson that his purpose was to “bring other people to Christ,” to “help them find the same blessings I have experienced in my life … [and help] people understand their purpose in life.”
Read Anderson’s entire article at cjonline.com.
- Infographic: The Dedicated Life of a Mormon Missionary