Over the last year, the news media has brought many illusions of information of what is considered to be truth for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or Mormons as we are known).
According to Anthony Man of Sun Sentential in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Rev. O’Neal Dozier (03/12/2012) accused the Mormon religion of being prejudiced against blacks, Jews and Native Americans. As a dyed-in-the-wool, born-in-Brooklyn, New York Jewish girl, I take offense to that comment. My thoughts today are geared towards those of the Jewish faith.
Back in 1969, my parents were friends with members of the church and we were taught the gospel by two wonderful missionaries sent from the west, Elder Margetts and Elder Mickelson. My parents and sister and I were baptized six months later and I never regretted our decision. My brother being too young to be baptized was later baptized at eight years-old. So as a “Mormon Jew”, I have the perspective of both sides of the story. The Jewish people have always been greatly respected by the Mormon Church leadership and by most of its members and I’ll tell you why.
One reason the Mormons respect the Jews is that in our own Book of Mormon there are numerous writings about the Jews and the Gentiles. (According to Jewish tradition, all people who are not Jewish are considered Gentiles) We read these revered verses and know that the Jews were the covenant people of God. In one particular verse it says: (2 Nephi 29:5) “O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them and hated them and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads, for I the Lord have not forgotten my people.” Mormons read their scriptures often during the week and we know that the Jews are held in high esteem in God’s eyes. Why wouldn’t church members treat them with respect? This is rumor and misleading information.
Another reason the Mormons respect those born in the Jewish faith are because of the great similarities between our religions. The Mormons have what they call “The Word of Wisdom” which explains what is acceptable to eat and drink to maintain our best health and the Jews ingest only food that is Kosher to them. So when I joined the church, I gave up smoking, drinking liquor, and tea and coffee (which we rarely did anyway) and was finally able to eat BLTs and pepperoni pizza without feeling guilty. There are more similarities. Both groups of people are industrious and believe in educating themselves. Both Jews and the Mormons were persecuted for their religious beliefs and traveled long distances to find a safe haven. Both are married in the temple: one being a synagogue and the other The House of The Lord. Both groups have strong family ties which last through many generations.
Then there are the three degrees of Judaism: Orthodox, which is the very strict, devoted Jew. Reform which is the least devoted and not so strict and the Conservative Jew which is somewhere in the middle. There are three degrees of Mormonism. The Celestial Mormons who are very strict and devoted to the gospel, the Terrestrial Mormons who are baptized as a child and do not follow the teachings of the church and then there are the Telestial Mormons who are somewhere in between.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has always been and always will be kind and courteous not only to the Jews but those of all races. Never in all my 43 years of membership have I ever come across any prejudice from church members or church leadership. If anything, it was the other way around, especially for me and my Jewish heritage, I am held in high esteem.
So you see, the Mormons and the Jews are a match made in heaven from the beginning of ancient writings to the present time. The Mormon Church loves all people from all walks of life and wants to help our fellow man. Isn’t that what being a Christian is all about? That of course is another topic for discussion.