Answering anonymous mail is useful if it serves to instruct others. Normally, I do not answer anyone who does not have the courage to put their name to their ideas. However, I thought readers of this site may get something from the following:


message:
I am not Mormon, and I haven't any religion at the moment but I know, that in the Bible it says not to judge people. Am I correct? You probably have never read the LDS Church Doctrine have you? You are judging Mormons from what you think you know and you need to leave them alone. If that is what they believe, more power to them. You and so many others are so worried about making the Mormon's look bad, you forget what is important. GOD. Remember who that is?


REPLY:

There are several problems with this message. First of all the writer is doing the one thing he counsels me not to do—judge someone. He/She has not bothered to find out what I believe about Mormonism because, if she had, she would have known that I was a Mormon Elder, went to a Mormon College, was married in the Mormon Temple, and taught Gospel Doctrine classes on the Ward level for five years.

The Bible does say, in one place, "Judge not lest ye be judged." And that is good counsel. "Judgmental" people—that is fault-finders, finger-pointers, condemning types—will find that they, themselves, are condemned and judged.

Fault-finders and nitpickers are bad company in any society. The Bible condemns that, and so do I. (In fact I wrote an entire book about that called, Heresy Hunters: Character Assassination in the Church.)

But if we take that biblical counsel to mean that we never point out error and sin, we sadly miss the mark. The anonymous writer could have quoted I Corinthians 6:2-33

2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

I wonder if the writer would suggest that we should never make any judgments at all. Should we tell teenagers that promiscuous sexuality is OK? Shall we turn a blind eye when a friend starts using drugs or packs a hand gun to school?

No, if we believe a friend's behavior, or even his beliefs are dangerous to himself and to others, we have the God-mandated responsibility to speak up. Again, the Bible instructs us:

Ezek. 3:18 When I say to a wicked man, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood.

Mormon teaching has much in common with that of the Pharisees. And Jesus called the Pharisees snakes, evil-doers, and cruel taskmasters who get in the way of the Kingdom of God. They refuse to enter into the Kingdom themselves and hinder others from doing so. Such, in my humble opinion, is the role of Mormonism today.

p.s. If I were a betting man, I would put good money on the proposition that our anonymous writer really is a young Latter-day Saint. (Such people often deny being Mormons because they think it makes their case more believable. But nothing works better than honesty and straight forwardness.)