This week: Lesson 29, “Building the Kingdom of God in Nauvoo, Illinois” (D&C 124:1–21, 87–90, 97–110; 126).
For instance, did you know that the LDS Church, in America, has more racial diversity than several other religious traditions who routinely criticize us for our “racism.” Mormons are 86% white, compared with other predominantly white faiths, such as “Jews (95% white), members of mainline Protestant churches (91% white) and Orthodox Christians (87% white).” The diversity among Mormons is growing, as well, as only 72% of converts are white—a statistic that would have been unthinkable only a generation ago.
In what will hopefully become a recurring feature on the FAIR blog, we present a list of issues that could come up as you teach or participate in your ward’s Gospel Doctrine class. Each issue is linked to an examination and response by FAIR.
This week: Lesson 27, “They Must Needs Be Chastened and Tried, Even as Abraham” (D&C 101; 103; 105).
A few years ago, I made a foray onto a message board for individuals who have left the Church. I was open in my identity both by name and also regarding my status as a full, believing member (TBM as they call us). I went there looking to learn, hoping that I might somehow gain some insight that would help us with people who have floundered in their faith. What I failed to do was identify my association with FAIR. I tried engaging in an email exchange with Steven Benson, grandson to President Benson and a nationally recognized cartoonist who famously left the Church. The result was Steve employing his journalistic skills and “outing” me as a FAIR board member. I was banished and ridiculed as a “troll” as if I was someone spying on their open message board with a hidden identity. But there were a few who witnessed my sincere and respectful efforts approached me independently and offered to share their experiences.
Recently I put together a reference guide for Mormons that are potentially in discussions with other Christians that have some interest in early Christian priesthood structure. In this post, I have confined myself to helpful LDS treatments that are available online. Perhaps in a separate post, I will consider compiling a list of articles and books written from a non-Mormon perspective, that are nevertheless worthy of attention. The most important LDS treatment, High Nibley’s Apostles and Bishops in Early Christianity has not been put online yet. Please feel free to comment on any of this literature or point out additional resources that you find helpful.