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7 years ago  ::  Feb 22, 2008 - 1:43PM #1
Jettboy
Posts: 9
I am wondering what Jews think of Mormons. What do you know (or think you know) about them? Have you ever met one? What are some similarities or differences that you think exist between Judaism and Mormons? What kind of interaction should Jews have with Mormons religiously and personally? Add any other comments not related to these questions about the topic.
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7 years ago  ::  Feb 22, 2008 - 2:19PM #2
Pam34
Posts: 2,659

Jettboy wrote:

I am wondering what Jews think of Mormons. What do you know (or think you know) about them? Have you ever met one? What are some similarities or differences that you think exist between Judaism and Mormons? What kind of interaction should Jews have with Mormons religiously and personally? Add any other comments not related to these questions about the topic.



well, first, why?

and second, yes, we know lots of LDS. Our town is about 50% LDS. Our next nearest and dearest neighbors are LDS. Our kids closest friends include plenty of Mormon kids.
Our neighbors throw awesome parties, too, although alcohol-free, of course.

I think they are people. Some of them are terrific and some of them aren't. Like anybody else.

If you are talking about Mormon THEOLOGY, then of course I think it's looney tunes. But that doesn't translate to thinking that about the actual people!

Like a lot of folks, most were raised being taught LDS doctrine, and they mostly either don't think about it much, or accept it pretty much as a given. (I don't quite 'get' how they convert actual ADULTS, personally).




As for similarities: sure, there are some:

[LIST]
[*]LDS have certain dietary restrictions and so do Jews.(not the same ones, different ones).[/LIST][LIST]
[*]LDS have a cherished history of persecution, exodus and triumph, (Brigham Young in the role of Moses) and so do Jews (I'm not too sure about the 'cherished'  description, but certainly it's IMPORTANT).[/LIST][LIST]
[*]LDS have a history of being misunderstood and being unfairly depicted in the media and by other religions - ahem.[/LIST][LIST]
[*]LDS get a lot of flack about 'magic/holy undergarments' and I think that's a topic anybody with a tallit katan in their closet should avoid at all costs.[/LIST][LIST]
[*]LDS puts a lot of emphasis on family.[/LIST]



There are plenty of differences as well, of course:


[LIST]
[*]LDS believes in a God with an actual physical body. Judaism does not.[/LIST][LIST]
[*]LDS believes in a God that is not unique, but is one of several gods. Judaism does not.[/LIST][LIST]
[*]LDS believes men can aspire to become, not just 'like god', but can aspire to BE god (you get  your own personal planet).(LDS restricts this goal to men only.) Judaism, of course, does not.[/LIST]

There's likely lots more, but those are certainly some of the important aspects - off the top of my head, at least.


The only thing about the LDS church that bugs me these days, is their practice of baptism for the dead - although they do carefully say that it is really just a kind of OFFER, and the dead person has to agree to it to have any effect - but still. I really truly wish they'd stop 'baptizing' deceased Jews. It's at least kind of rude, to be going through that when they should know, or could know, that the persons they are doing it 'for' would never in their lifetime have agreed to anything like that.

It comes out of their idea that families will be reunited in the afterlife. But it's one thing to do that for your own personal ancestors, and something else entirely to do it for totally unrelated other people's ancestors.

Be nice to the poor LDS missionaries - they are out there knocking on door out of their own funds. The church doesn't give them anything at all, except some training and an assignment.

Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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7 years ago  ::  Feb 22, 2008 - 2:37PM #3
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617
The standard Jewish opinion on other religions is that all religions that inspire their adherents to live just and righteous lives are meritorious and valid for them.

Mormonism may be unique in many ways, but the practical result is that the religion generally urges Mormons to be compassionate and caring to their neighbors and to raise strong and loving families, so there's nothing to worry about there.

Jews are, understandably, wary of Christian missionaries -- but since Mormonism is a uniquely American religion not even 2 centuries old and was itself a target of persecution Jews are unlikely to feel the same way toward Mormons as they might toward other Christian denominations.

One issue that has caused a great deal of distress involves the Mormon doctrine of post-mortem baptism by proxy -- particularly of victims of the Holocaust. Many Jews, especially relatives of the deceased, are offended by the notion of Jewish martyrs being counted as Mormons. The LDS Church pledged to stop this, but then apparently went back on its word. This has been the cause of some distress.
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7 years ago  ::  Feb 22, 2008 - 2:38PM #4
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617
Pam beat me to it! :)
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7 years ago  ::  Feb 22, 2008 - 2:46PM #5
Jettboy
Posts: 9
The reasons for my questions is that Mormons know far too well what other Christians think of them and their religion. However, I haven't heard much of what the thoughts from non-Christians are. The way Christians and particularly the U.S. and European media talk it is as if Christian perspectives are the only perspectives about anything really. Amazing considering there is a larger world that seems to get ignored.
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7 years ago  ::  Feb 22, 2008 - 2:52PM #6
Pam34
Posts: 2,659
I think most Jews probably would be quite comfortable placing mormons in the generic 'christian' box.
I do know that we (Jews) don't 'notice' the divisions within Christianity nearly as much as Christians themselves do!
As far as my MIL was concerned, Catholics, Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses and LDS were all 'the same'. Different sign out front, same product inside.
Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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7 years ago  ::  Feb 22, 2008 - 4:03PM #7
riviya
Posts: 125
I'd go with Pam and nieciedo.

I'd add that "Jews" are not a monolithic group and since we don't have any centralized hierarchy there is no one voice (such as the Pope for Catholics - even then all Catholics don't agree with the Pope either).

I don't particularly care for the Mormon Church as I'm old enough to remember the major role it played in helping to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment for women back in the 1970's. 

I dislike people coming to my home, uninvited to "sell" me their religion.  I don't go to your home trying to push my agenda on you.   Back in my lesbian days I used to joke about knocking on the doors of JWitnesses and Mormons asking to speak to the womenfolk about how great and liberating it was to be a lesbian. 
Think how offensive it would be for me to come to your home and tell you that what you believe is wrong and that if you were only my religion then G-d might let you into heaven.
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7 years ago  ::  Feb 22, 2008 - 10:08PM #8
Pam34
Posts: 2,659
Oh LDS boys are no problem. They knock. I say 'we're Jewish', and they apologize and leave immediately. I think it's some kind of deal the LDS made with Israel when they built that LDS place in Jerusalem.

JW's will stick around longer. OTOH, I don't usually mind talking to them anyway. Quite often, JW kids and my kids would be the only lonely kids NOT celebrating 'the winter holidays' at elementary school. Parental bonding.
Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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7 years ago  ::  Feb 23, 2008 - 8:03PM #9
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617
Mormons are nothing if not polite. And they're usually adorable.
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