Episode 5: What does it Mean to be Mormon?

In this podcast, the panel returns to discuss what it means to be Mormon and the Churches role in defining the term. We discuss the Churches efforts to control and define the proper usage of the term and sort out who is a Mormon and who is not, the modern polygamists, trademark and brand protection, the corporate Church, racism, criticism and anti-Mormonism. The panel further explores the role that titles play and those who are cultural and liberal Mormons and what relationship they hold with the Church today.

Episode 5

27 comments on “Episode 5: What does it Mean to be Mormon?”

  1. Me_My_Zelph_and_I Reply

    Just listened to this episode. Very disappointed in the individuals labeled “anti-mormon”….i know several of those labeled and know they are not “anti”…someone that is critical is not “anti”…..

    • John Reply

      Me_My_Zelph_and_I:
      If you listen again, I think you will find that the individuals tagged as “anti-Mormons” were done so because they are commonly identified as such. I don’t think this should be taken as any kind of reflection on their character. In fact, I specifically said at one point that the most ardent antis are usually motivated by their zeal for their Christian faith.

  2. Me_My_Zelph_and_I Reply

    Just listened to this episode. Very disappointed in the individuals labeled “anti-mormon”….i know several of those labeled and know they are not “anti”…someone that is critical is not “anti”…..

  3. Me_My_Zelph_and_I Reply

    Just listened to this episode. Very disappointed in the individuals labeled “anti-mormon”….i know several of those labeled and know they are not “anti”…someone that is critical is not “anti”…..

    • John Reply

      Me_My_Zelph_and_I:
      If you listen again, I think you will find that the individuals tagged as “anti-Mormons” were done so because they are commonly identified as such. I don’t think this should be taken as any kind of reflection on their character. In fact, I specifically said at one point that the most ardent antis are usually motivated by their zeal for their Christian faith.

  4. Tom Reply

    Me_My_Zelph_and_I,

    I’ll tell you what, if I did cause any offense I am more than willing to apologize. As you heard in this podcast, I hate labels to be put on me so I should be more aware of casting undeserved labels on others. I will re-listen to the podcast, but I do offer you and those I mentioned an apology in advance. I did not mean to offend anyone.

    Thank you for your comments and your criticism, it didn’t fall on deaf ears.

    -Tom

  5. Tom Reply

    Me_My_Zelph_and_I,

    I’ll tell you what, if I did cause any offense I am more than willing to apologize. As you heard in this podcast, I hate labels to be put on me so I should be more aware of casting undeserved labels on others. I will re-listen to the podcast, but I do offer you and those I mentioned an apology in advance. I did not mean to offend anyone.

    Thank you for your comments and your criticism, it didn’t fall on deaf ears.

    -Tom

  6. Devin Reply

    I am amazed at the church’s leadership insisting on one hand that:

    1) They, and they alone, get to decide whether the LDS church can be called Christian. And that:

    2) They, and they alone, get to decide what other churches can self identify as Mormon.

    Either an organization should be allowed the right to self identify or not. The LDS special pleading to be able to have it simultaneously both ways and neither way is hypocritical.

  7. Devin Reply

    I am amazed at the church’s leadership insisting on one hand that:

    1) They, and they alone, get to decide whether the LDS church can be called Christian. And that:

    2) They, and they alone, get to decide what other churches can self identify as Mormon.

    Either an organization should be allowed the right to self identify or not. The LDS special pleading to be able to have it simultaneously both ways and neither way is hypocritical.

  8. Devin Reply

    I am amazed at the church’s leadership insisting on one hand that:

    1) They, and they alone, get to decide whether the LDS church can be called Christian. And that:

    2) They, and they alone, get to decide what other churches can self identify as Mormon.

    Either an organization should be allowed the right to self identify or not. The LDS special pleading to be able to have it simultaneously both ways and neither way is hypocritical.

  9. Matt Reply

    Great discussion as usual. My takeaway thought is that labeling oneself is difficult, yet most people find it not only easy but but also useful to label others.

    One reason for that is social impact: labels are fine for other people — in my own mind labels organize and categorize others in useful ways — but when they are applied to me, I must consider how they will be perceived by others, and I am bound to find them insufficiently nuanced.

    And so the church’s schizophrenic approach to labels becomes more comprehensible. They are trying to cover all the angles: they want to be exclusively “Mormon” to shut out the sects who reflect badly on them, but at the same time they prefer “Latter-day Saint” to “Mormon” because of the latter expression’s more pejorative history, while simultaneously they are striving to be embraced (or at least not rejected) as “Christian.”

    Similarly, panelists couldn’t decide if they were or were not “Mormon” or “New Order Mormon” or simply “raised in the Mormon church.” I don’t know what I would call myself either. “Used to be Mormon” is what I most often tell others, but that’s not a label, it’s a description that avoids a label. And I think that’s why I use it.

  10. Matt Reply

    Great discussion as usual. My takeaway thought is that labeling oneself is difficult, yet most people find it not only easy but but also useful to label others.

    One reason for that is social impact: labels are fine for other people — in my own mind labels organize and categorize others in useful ways — but when they are applied to me, I must consider how they will be perceived by others, and I am bound to find them insufficiently nuanced.

    And so the church’s schizophrenic approach to labels becomes more comprehensible. They are trying to cover all the angles: they want to be exclusively “Mormon” to shut out the sects who reflect badly on them, but at the same time they prefer “Latter-day Saint” to “Mormon” because of the latter expression’s more pejorative history, while simultaneously they are striving to be embraced (or at least not rejected) as “Christian.”

    Similarly, panelists couldn’t decide if they were or were not “Mormon” or “New Order Mormon” or simply “raised in the Mormon church.” I don’t know what I would call myself either. “Used to be Mormon” is what I most often tell others, but that’s not a label, it’s a description that avoids a label. And I think that’s why I use it.

  11. Matt Reply

    Great discussion as usual. My takeaway thought is that labeling oneself is difficult, yet most people find it not only easy but but also useful to label others.

    One reason for that is social impact: labels are fine for other people — in my own mind labels organize and categorize others in useful ways — but when they are applied to me, I must consider how they will be perceived by others, and I am bound to find them insufficiently nuanced.

    And so the church’s schizophrenic approach to labels becomes more comprehensible. They are trying to cover all the angles: they want to be exclusively “Mormon” to shut out the sects who reflect badly on them, but at the same time they prefer “Latter-day Saint” to “Mormon” because of the latter expression’s more pejorative history, while simultaneously they are striving to be embraced (or at least not rejected) as “Christian.”

    Similarly, panelists couldn’t decide if they were or were not “Mormon” or “New Order Mormon” or simply “raised in the Mormon church.” I don’t know what I would call myself either. “Used to be Mormon” is what I most often tell others, but that’s not a label, it’s a description that avoids a label. And I think that’s why I use it.

  12. PowderChaser Reply

    Just wanted to say thanks and tell you how much I enjoy these podcasts, I hope you keep them coming.

    I too answer the traditional question of “Are you Mormon?” by saying I grew up in the church but no longer attend. This is usually understood pretty clearly. I often hear an agreeing response of “oh yeah, I grew up ___________ religion but no longer attend either.”

    Works for me so far.

  13. PowderChaser Reply

    Just wanted to say thanks and tell you how much I enjoy these podcasts, I hope you keep them coming.

    I too answer the traditional question of “Are you Mormon?” by saying I grew up in the church but no longer attend. This is usually understood pretty clearly. I often hear an agreeing response of “oh yeah, I grew up ___________ religion but no longer attend either.”

    Works for me so far.

  14. Pingback: Mormonism and Christianity: the definition of things « Irresistible (Dis)Grace

  15. Nom de Cypher Reply

    I just listened to this episode last night and it really got me thinking. When you discussed the pejorative label ‘anti-mormon’ I was thinking to myself, well, you manage 2 critical websites and encourage your kids not to go to church: I guess I am anti-mormon. This is surprising to realize, given how much time I spend encouraging other people to stay in the church.

    I guess I have mixed feelings still.

  16. Nom de Cypher Reply

    I just listened to this episode last night and it really got me thinking. When you discussed the pejorative label ‘anti-mormon’ I was thinking to myself, well, you manage 2 critical websites and encourage your kids not to go to church: I guess I am anti-mormon. This is surprising to realize, given how much time I spend encouraging other people to stay in the church.

    I guess I have mixed feelings still.

  17. Nom de Cypher Reply

    I just listened to this episode last night and it really got me thinking. When you discussed the pejorative label ‘anti-mormon’ I was thinking to myself, well, you manage 2 critical websites and encourage your kids not to go to church: I guess I am anti-mormon. This is surprising to realize, given how much time I spend encouraging other people to stay in the church.

    I guess I have mixed feelings still.

  18. Swearing Elder Reply

    Something missing from the discussion was the use of the term “Non-Mormon.” This is a weird thing that Mormons do. Do Catholics in Rome (or Boston) refer to a Mormon as a “Non-Mormon”? Only in Utah (and the Mormon culture generally) is someone from another faith referred to by what they are “not.”

  19. Swearing Elder Reply

    Something missing from the discussion was the use of the term “Non-Mormon.” This is a weird thing that Mormons do. Do Catholics in Rome (or Boston) refer to a Mormon as a “Non-Mormon”? Only in Utah (and the Mormon culture generally) is someone from another faith referred to by what they are “not.”

  20. Swearing Elder Reply

    Something missing from the discussion was the use of the term “Non-Mormon.” This is a weird thing that Mormons do. Do Catholics in Rome (or Boston) refer to a Mormon as a “Non-Mormon”? Only in Utah (and the Mormon culture generally) is someone from another faith referred to by what they are “not.”

  21. profxm Reply

    Um, isn’t this discussion basically just a rehash of this article published a few months before the podcast:

    Cragun, R. T., & Nielsen, M. E. (2009). Fighting over “Mormon”: Media coverage of the FLDS and LDS. Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 42 (1), 65-104.

  22. profxm Reply

    Um, isn’t this discussion basically just a rehash of this article published a few months before the podcast:

    Cragun, R. T., & Nielsen, M. E. (2009). Fighting over “Mormon”: Media coverage of the FLDS and LDS. Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 42 (1), 65-104.

  23. profxm Reply

    Um, isn’t this discussion basically just a rehash of this article published a few months before the podcast:

    Cragun, R. T., & Nielsen, M. E. (2009). Fighting over “Mormon”: Media coverage of the FLDS and LDS. Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 42 (1), 65-104.

  24. Dr. Shades Reply

    Tom may not like labels, but every word that comes out of his (and everyone else’s) mouth is a label. Every word in our language (and every other language) is a label for some concept or other.

    In George Orwell’s 1984, “Newspeak” was Big Brother’s way of destroying language, thereby destroying thought. The fewer labels in our retinue, the less we can think.

  25. Dr. Shades Reply

    Tom may not like labels, but every word that comes out of his (and everyone else’s) mouth is a label. Every word in our language (and every other language) is a label for some concept or other.

    In George Orwell’s 1984, “Newspeak” was Big Brother’s way of destroying language, thereby destroying thought. The fewer labels in our retinue, the less we can think.

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