Musing on a recent posting and comments at The Orthosphere
The problem of Mormonism for mainstream Christians could be analysed as follows:
If we distinguish Mormon Fruits from Beliefs - with Fruits being the behaviour of Mormons, and Beliefs being the doctrines, theology and scriptures - then:
The basic observation is that
1. Mormon Fruits are very similar-to mainstream Christian ideals
2. Mormon Beliefs are very different-from mainstream Christianity.
So, to mainstream Christians there seems to be a large mismatch between Mormon Fruits and Beliefs.
How to explain this?
If the above is accepted as true, with similar Fruits and different Beliefs both accepted as real facts - then either:
1. Mormon Fruits are distinct from their Beliefs - the two are utterly disconnected - in effect their different Beliefs are irrelevant. (This is the typical view of mainstream Christians sympathetic to Mormons.)
2. There is an elaborate fraud going-on - Mormon Fruits are a façade, a pretense, a fake - the Beliefs are the reality. And these Beliefs are 'Not Christian'. (This is the typical view of mainstream Christians hostile to Mormons.)
3. The Fruits are a product of the Beliefs, the Beliefs support the Fruits.
This third possibility, that Mormon Fruits and Beliefs make a mutually-reinfording unity is my understanding, and it is what makes Mormonism so revolutionary and astonishing a phenomenon.
Because it means that there is now - proven by 180 years of experience - an extremely-different way of being a Christian
The facts of Mormonism show that Christianity can be, and is, a product of an extremely-different theology, set of doctrines and set of scriptures.