A Brief Discussion of Anti-Mormonism

I will never classify a person as "anti-Mormon" who is defending his own beliefs, no matter how much at odds with LDS beliefs that may be. Contrasting what you believe with LDS beliefs and showing why you think you're right and the LDS are wrong is, in my book, not anti-Mormon.

People can step over the line and become anti-Mormon, however. (People can step over the line and become anti-anything, of course.) Usually it happens when a person become so passionate about proving Mormonism to be false that he stops being kind, tolerant, patient, and respectful.

Paul McNabb's Five Signs of an Anti-Mormon

An anti-Mormon is a person who does one or more of the following.

  1. Describes Latter-day Saints or LDS leaders as being stupid, insincere, dishonest, or evil.

  2. Accuses Latter-day Saints of having a "secret" doctrine or agenda, argues with Latter-day Saints about "what Mormons really believe," or refuses to accept a Latter-day Saint's description of his beliefs as being valid LDS beliefs.

  3. Distorts and mischaracterizes LDS beliefs by presenting beliefs or citations out of context; presents the most unfavorable LDS behaviors or statements as being typical, normative, or authoritative; or presents and mocks LDS beliefs using parody, caricature, and demeaning language.

  4. Interferes with Latter-day Saints in their worship and religious practice, such as by picketing Church buildings and events, shouting through bullhorns at LDS gatherings, etc.

  5. Uses seminars, books, newsletters, websites, and other forms of mass media to specifically target Latter-day Saints to destroy their faith or to encourage others to do so.

How to Conduct an Apologetic Discussion

People often want to discuss, debate, or argue about LDS beliefs and practices. I'm generally open to friendly and stimulating discussions, but I have some "apologetic rules of order" that I insist upon. Here they are.

Paul McNabb's Five Apologetic Rules of Order

  1. Be respectful and don't call me names or use foul language.

  2. Don't say or imply that I'm not Christian. You can't compare "Christian" beliefs with "Mormon" beliefs. It has to be "orthodox Christian vs. LDS Christian" or "Evangelical vs. Mormon" or something similar. Either we're both labeled Christian or neither of us is labeled Christian.

  3. Don't mock my faith. It is unacceptable to use phrases such as "Ole Joe" instead of "Joseph Smith" or "sex-crazed Mormon dictators" instead of "LDS leaders."

  4. Believe me when I tell you what Mormons believe. If I tell you that a book or statement is not considered authoritative or doctrinal by my church, believe me that the thing really can't be used to prove something about what Mormons believe (you see, we definitely do not accept everything said or written by prophets and apostles to be necessarily true, doctrinal, or binding). The exception to this is that all LDS scriptures and anything issued jointly by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve can be automatically assumed to be authoritative and binding. If you think I'm not preaching orthodox Mormonism, you can ask me about it, but I'm the ultimate authority on what I believe.

  5. Stay focused on the topic under discussion. If we are discussing the canon and you don't think you are making progress towards convincing me that I'm wrong, don't drag up lots of other topics as evidence that "the whole Mormon system is wrong." If you want to put the current topic on hold and go on to something else, you have to explicitly ask and I have to agree to the switch. Don't just segue into a new topic.
That's it. Be polite, don't say or imply I'm not Christian, don't mock, let me speak for my own religion, and stay on topic. I'll agree to do the same for you.

Anti-Mormon Tactics

Here's a list of anti-Mormon tactics collected by W. John Walsh.
Walsh's Anti-Mormon Tactics