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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Some distinctions concerning Mormon lexicon

In many media articles I see about Mormons or Mormonism, the authors confuse the gospel, the Church, and the sub-culture that is Mormonism. This is understandable, and they're difficult to define. It's confusing even for members of the LDS Church! Still, it is important to understand these differences as you read reports about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its members and its beliefs, because if you don't you'll get a completely faulty understand of who we are.

First: the gospel of Jesus Christ is the body of knowledge from God to help us return to Him. Gospel, also known as doctrine, never changes.

Second: the Church is the organization put in place by God, run by Church members, to teach the gospel. The Church and its leaders and policies may change over time. Being made up of humans, the Church is not perfect and neither are its leaders, but the goal is to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ despite human failings.

Third: the culture of Mormonism is most pronounced in places with a high concentration of Mormons and a low concentration of converts. The culture doesn't have much in common with the Church or the gospel, and it is the reason for the reputation of Mormons being insular, judgemental, and exclusive.  Some aspects of the culture (such as these failings) do not mesh well with the gospel.

I hope that helps a bit.

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