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McKay Coppins: McKay Coppins: Why do they hate us? The responses

I asked for it.

My column last week was met with

an overwhelming response from active Latter-day Saints, objective

religious observers and fervent anti-Mormons. It made its way onto

several message boards and blogs, sparking discussions that ran the

gamut from the insightful and

constructive

to the snarky and fruitless.

All in all, the column — in which I encouraged Mormon readers to

genuinely ask aggressors why they so dislike the church and its

members — garnered hundreds of replies. There was no way I

could have responded to every message.

Still, many of their responses were insightful and, I believe,

important for Latter-day Saints to hear. I struggled with whether I

should post them in my column because, after all, I am an active,

believing Mormon writing for other active, believing Mormons. But

ultimately I determined I would be remiss if I asked a question in this

column without providing any of the answers.

I should say now that I definitely do not agree with or accept every

assertion made in the following comments. But I do believe they are

opinions that are held by many sincere, reasonable people, and that

means we should take notice

The purpose of sharing these comments is not to discourage the faith of

active Latter-day Saints. Rather, it is intended to be an education to

those of us who hope to change others' opinions and perceptions of our

church.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

\"If you want respect, respect others. Respect my time and understand

that the intrusion of missionaries, pushy or otherwise, is an

encroachment on my time. I don't appreciate having missionaries trying

to strike up a conversation on the street that inevitably leads to

debate. I have my beliefs ... among which is that the Mormon Church is

false. I don't want to talk about it in a conversation that ends up in

a mental battle over who got in the final word and who happens to be

right. If I say 'no' I mean it. Don't try striking up the conversation

from a different angle. Simply say 'OK,' say something nice like, 'Have a nice day,' smile and go about your business.\"

JUDGE NOT THAT YE BE NOT JUDGED\"So, about a year ago, I decided to

read the Book of Mormon one more time, and pray about it, just like an

investigator would. ... \"What do I hate? When I share

that story with a member (usually someone I trust) and they tell me

that God didn't answer my prayers after years of questioning and

studying and, yeah, pleading for guidance because 1) I wasn't sincere

enough, 2) I wasn't worthy enough, 3) I wasn't listening hard enough,

or 4) I'm a liar. \"You see, none of these faithful members

know my heart, yet despite a 'divine' commandment to 'judge not,' or to

'judge not unrighteous judgments' that's exactly what they do.\" THREATENING THEIR BELIEF SYSTEM

\"As a non-member, I can offer you a few thoughts concerning this

subject. For starters 'they' are taught to hate you. Mormons do not fit

the 'traditional' definition of Christianity as understood by several

of the predominant denominations. As a youth I was raised Roman

Catholic. It was taught at that time (mid- to late '50s) that if you

were not Catholic you were a follower of the devil and would

automatically be condemned to hell. ...

\"One thing the so-called traditional faiths share is a belief in the

New Testament of the Bible as their sole source of religious

inspiration. They also share a common resentment of anyone who

challenges that belief system.

\"Now arriving is the Latter-day Saints, the Mormons, newcomers to the

religious community with a new book of spiritual inspiration that is

outside of the traditionally accepted realm of truths. It most

certainly does not 'fit in' with long-accepted dogma. With your

aggressive pursuit of growth and well-funded expansion 'they' feel

threatened.

\"Unfortunately, as with any new challenge to one's beliefs, if it

doesn't reinforce the belief system of the established traditional

congregation, they fear it.

\"As to 'Why do they hate us?' I can only suggest that you haven't

convinced 'them' of the truth of your message. But take comfort in the

fact that you are not alone. 'They' challenge each other as vigorously

as they challenge you for the right to claim exclusive rights to

understanding our creation and our place in a spiritual kingdom.\"

HATRED TOWARD ALL CHRISTIANITY

\"I teach at a major Eastern university. During a discussion just last week in a literature class, one student blurted

out, 'I hate Christians.' The pope is planning a visit to Great Britain; there is an enormous protest mounting against him.

\"In

the past, Christian churches, ours included, spread the Good News about

the love of Jesus Christ. \"Come unto him and find hope, rest,

healing.\" Nowadays the broad spectrum of Christian churches are

known, not for preaching the Good News, but for political activism and

condemnation. Fred Phelps regularly makes the news with his hate-filled protests. Evangelical Christians are taking control of

Republican politics in an attempt to legislate their personal beliefs.

The pope does not just teach Catholics prinicples for living, he makes

public statements condemning everyone for not following Catholic

precepts.\"