What do we as Mormons do, when someone refers to us as a cult, or claims that Mormons are not Christian? I'll tell you what we do, we educate!  Yup, that's all. You and I both know that going on the defense, or becoming offended, rarely works.  Take for example, the recent claims of a baptist minister who pronounced that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not Christianity.  Unfortunately, he has a large and very public audience of which he is able to broadcast his opinion.  So once again, the distortions about what Mormons believe and how we believe becomes a media firestorm.   And that's what's happening right now.   The beliefs of Mormonism are once again, high on the radar of mainstream America.

In response, or actually not in response, the Church made this statement on the LDS Newsroom blog

"In response to media calls regarding comments made by a Baptist minister at a political event stating that Mormons are not Christians, the Church issued the following statement today:
"We really don’t want to comment on a statement made at a political event, but those who want to understand the centrality of Christ to our faith can learn more about us and what we believe by going to mormon.org."
So here's the good news...  It gives you and I another chance to teach those interested how we feel about Jesus Christ, and His central roll in our personal religious beliefs.  Have you noticed that these opportunities seem to be coming with greater frequency?  It's not any wonder that  LDS leaders continue to urge members to share what we believe with others -- and are especially encouraging this online.

If you have not yet created your own profile on Mormon.org, I'd like to challenge you to do so.  The most powerful tool we have for sharing the gospel is our own personal testimony of its truthfulness.  When creating your own personal profile on Mormon.org you have the opportunity to share with others your feelings, thoughts and testimony on many different topics of Mormonism.  As an example, you can check out mine, here.

I love that the Church responded to the question of our Christianity by directing those interested in learning more, to members of the Church.  We are the ones that will have the greatest impact on those who are searching to know for themselves -- what and how Mormons believe.

This video that highlights some of the recent teachings from the October 2011 General Conference, does an excellent job of sharing with others what Mormonism teaches, believes and how we are counseled to live.  Jesus Christ is at the very center of Mormon beliefs.  We can share our testimonies of Jesus Christ with others, so that they may know for themselves, from a Mormon, that we truly are Christians.

I really loved the counsel that L. Tom Perry gave to members of the Church, on the importance of sharing the gospel...

"If you will respond to the invitation to share your beliefs and feelings about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, a spirit of love and a spirit of courage will be your constant companion."

Instead of becoming defensive or offended when we hear of those who make false claims toward the Church, we should consider it an invitation to share.  Elder Perry explained it this way...

"While the Church is becoming more visible, there are still many people who do not understand it. Some have been taught to be suspicious of the Church, to operate under negative stereotypes about the Church without questioning their source and validity. There is also a great deal of misinformation and confusion about what the Church is and what it stands for."

Elder Perry, on the part we as members can have to help correct distortions...

"The growing visibility and reputation of the Church presents some remarkable opportunities to us as its members. We can help “disabuse the public mind” and correct misinformation when we are portrayed as something we are not. More important, though, we can share who we are.

There are a number of things that we can do—that you can do—to advance an understanding of the Church. "

Elder Perry goes on to list a number of suggested way that we can share our faith with others, online, here.

I particularly appreciated this counsel on how we should communicate with others, when discussing our Mormon beliefs...

"We should appreciate and approach such conversations with Christlike love. Our tone, whether speaking or writing, should be respectful and civil, regardless of the response of others. We should be honest and open and try to be clear in what we say. We want to avoid arguing or becoming defensive in any way.

Today’s “manner of conversation” seems to involve the Internet more and more. We encourage people, young and old, to use the Internet and the social media to reach out and share their religious beliefs.

As you utilize the Internet, you may come across ongoing conversations about the Church. When directed by the Spirit, do not hesitate to add your voice to these conversations.

The message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is unlike anything else you will share with others. In the information age, it is the most valuable information in all the world. There is no question about its worth. It is a pearl of great price."

I'd just like to reemphasize the counsel of Elder Perry, by restating that this truly is a time of opportunity to share the gospel with others.  So instead of getting upset when we hear something unfavorable about what and how we believe, lets get excited that people are more apt to listen to what we have to say, because we are Mormon.  And then, say something!

Kathryn Skaggs

Here are a couple articles that I wrote over on Hubpages, a few years ago, that are getting quite a few hits over these last few days...

Is Mormonism A Cult?

Beliefs: Mormonism vs Christianity - Can a Comparison be Made?

Mormons Are Christians - No Doubt About It

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