Time for the Baptists to Do Unto
What Mormons Have Been Doing to Everyone Else
The Southern Baptists are coming.
Judging from the rash of letters to the editor, the planned
Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Conference in Salt Lake City this
June is a matter for some con-cern. Feelings are high in what is fast becoming
a gospel range war.
At issue seems to be whether Mormons really are the Lord's
sheep. To the So-Baps, Mos look suspiciously more like spiritual cows or
llamas or even badgers. and there simply isn't enough grass and water for
all of us.
For crying out loud, where's Shane when you need him?
Rather than being annoyed, Mormons should feel flattered
by the Southern Bap-tist visit. After all, the same outfit boycott-ing Disney
because that company is nice to gays is coming to Utah even though Mor-mons
aren't really Christians. At least they
think we're worth saving.
Severe theological differences notwith-standing, the Baptist
meeting will not ad-versely affect most Utahns, unless, of course, you happen
to be both of the things that Baptists find really objectionable: Mormon
NOTE: If you're gay and Mormon, you may want to plan some
time away from Utah next summer. There's no telling what will happen if
and when the dispa-rate (but loving) urges to boycott and evangelize meet
in the middle. A gospel melt-down or something.
Awaiting the hallelujah onslaught, Mor-mons seem to have
fallen into three distinct camps: Mormons who welcome the exchange, Mormons
arming themselves, and Mormons focused instead on this year's BYU-Utah games.
Mormons who welcome the exchange, and I think there are
only nine of us, see the Baptist visit as a chance for both sides to learn
more about each other. If the theological issues don't get resolved, at
least there will be the positive aspects of the cultural exchange.
Mormons girding themselves for a fight, and there are
a few, tend to view the com-ing of the Baptists as Johnston's Army Part
Two. It's just one more persecution in a wave of grossly unfair anti-Mormon
troubles, all of which could be resolved if the stupid Division of Wildlife
Resources would simply let us hunt Baptists this year without a limit.
Meanwhile, smart Mormons see the Baptist meeting for what
it really is: a cun-ning plan by the University of Utah to di-vert attention
away from this year's real struggle between good and evil: Cougars vs. Utes.
Do not be fooled.
Rather than get all lathered about it, Mormons should
understand rather than resent the fact that we have been targeted for enlightenment
by the Baptists. After all, we have been doing it to the rest of the world
for 150 years. And if the rest of the world doesn't exactly like it, we
at least expect them to put up with it, Why should it be any different for
Every year, the LDS Church cranks thousands of missionaries
out into the homelands of other faiths. A lot of frets and prayers go into
worrying about how our sons and daughters will be received. We should take
the time to use some of those prayers on ourselves, specifically regarding
our reception of others,
If it will help, put a note on the refrigerator: "Be
nice to Baptists." If you don't plan on listening to them when they
come' around with their version of the Good News, at least don't be rude
· Salt Lake Tribune
columnist Kirby lives in Springville, The self-described "OxyMormon"
welcomes mail at P.O. Box 684, Springville, UT 84663 or e-mail at rkirhy@sltrib,com.