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McKay Coppins: What is the definition of ‘anti-Mormon’?

SHARE McKay Coppins: What is the definition of ‘anti-Mormon’?

I have often heard the criticism that Latter-day Saints classify everyone who disagrees with our beliefs as "anti-Mormon." Of course, the people who say this are usually anti-Mormons. Am I proving their point? I don't think so. I actually agree that this is a problem in our church. After all, our belief system, if firmly embraced, demands a lot of personal sacrifice, and we often become hyper-defensive when we sense a threat to our faith. Unfortunately, this often leads to irrational name-calling and blindly neglecting to differentiate between non-Mormons and anti-Mormons. Of course, that's not to say anti-Mormons don't exist, or that it's unimportant to identify them. We just need to properly define the term. First of all, we shouldn't call people who simply don't believe in Mormonism "anti-Mormons." We should call them Catholics or Baptists or Muslims or atheists. People who ascribe themselves to faiths or philosophies that contradict Mormonism should not automatically be seen as antagonists. They should be credited with having their own beliefs. Now, what about people who try to convert Latter-day Saints to their belief systems? Are they anti-Mormons? No. The believing Baptist who testifies of his church's doctrine to a Latter-day Saint is trying to do something he believes is constructive. Even if he attempts to point out supposed flaws in Mormon doctrine, if his genuine intent is to save a soul and he maintains a polite, rational tone, I don't think he deserves the anti-Mormon label. After all, should Mormon missionaries be considered anti-Catholics or anti-Protestants? The line, I believe, that separates non-Mormons from anti-Mormons is motivation. Anti-Mormons are people who put down Mormon beliefs, practices and people simply for the sake of destroying their faith. Not many anti-Mormons would admit that is their primary goal, of course, but that doesn't mean it isn't so. For the most part, anti-Mormons should be ignored. But before that can happen, they have to be identified.