Archive for November 7th, 2008




      Mormonism often defines words differently than everybody else.  I gave an example of that in my blog of October 24th, where I talked about the unique definition Mormonism gives faith.  There I asked on what basis can Mormonism add works to the definition of faith when I found no dictionary or other non-LDS source doing that.  The comments went in a different direction, therefore nobody answered my question.

     Therefore I am asking it again, yes in regard to the specific definition of faith (see my post on Oct. 24th) but also more generally.  Here are my questions:

            1) What right does Mormonism have to define words differently from everybody else?  Does it claim Joseph Smith or subsequent LDS prophets received revelations stating that the common definition was incorrect and then furnishing them with a new definition?

            2) Do most Mormons even know that many of their definitions differ from common definitions?

            3) If Mormons know the difference in definitions, don’t they have the responsibility to alert non-Mormons to those differences in order to aid in clearer communication?  I see Christians making this point but I rarely have had Mormons make this point.  (A side point to any Mormons reading this post:  if you want to understand Christians better please realize that this is one of the reasons why some Christians say Mormons are being deliberately deceptive.  Many Christians feel deliberately deceived when Mormons, without explaining these differences, use words like faith but with a different definition.)

     I would really like more discussion on the definition of faith so I hesitate to give another example.   But I will.  Take the word “damnation”.  Most people would not think that people in heaven would be suffering damnation.  But that is what Mormonism teaches.  “All who do not obtain the fulness of celestial exaltation will to some degree be limited in their progress and privileges and hence be damned to that extent.”  (LDS Bible Dictionary)  As I understand Mormonism, that will apply to the vast majority of people in heaven.  But I don’t think that is what most non-Mormons would think of when they think about the damned.  Where else, outside of Mormonism, is damnation a term used to describe people in heaven?

November 2008

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