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Mormons and evangelicals have long been aligned on political issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion and religious freedom. The two groups were also among President Trump’s most dependable supporters. However, theological differences still cause tension between the two groups, National Public Radio reported Saturday.
Following the passing of LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson last week, President Trump offered his condolences but many evangelical leaders have simultaneously been critical of President Monson as well as LDS teachings.
“Trump’s own faith is not a centerpiece of his political identity. But those two faith communities — Mormons and evangelicals — have historically been the religious groups most closely identified with the Republican Party,” NPR’s Tom Gjelten wrote. “And they have long aligned on such culture war issues as same-sex marriage, gender roles, transgender rights and abortion.”
“However, those shared political views do not translate to a theological alliance. In contrast to Trump’s warm remembrance, many evangelical leaders responded to Monson’s death with unsparing criticism of the LDS teachings he represented.”
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler used his daily podcast following President Monson’s death to highlight differences between historic Christianity and Mormonism.
He declared the LDS Church should not be considered a Christian denomination as it “simply fails every major test of historic Christian orthodoxy.”
Mohler’s comments may come as a surprise as the Baptist leader has previously visited BYU twice to speak about religious freedom and has said he considers several LDS apostles his friends. However, Mohler has long expressed that while Mormons and evangelicals are allies politically, their beliefs do not align doctrinally.
In 2013, Mohler spoke to BYU students as part of the “Faith, Family and Society” lecture. He addressed shared concerns between Mormons and evangelicals involving religious liberty.
“I do not believe that we are going to heaven together, but I do believe we may go to jail together,” said Mohler, referring to combatting legislation and court rulings regarding contraception, traditional marriage and family.
He said Mormons and evangelicals both share love for the family, children and the human society and do so “out of the gift of a growing and genuine friendship.”
Four months later, Mohler returned to BYU for a forum address and once again advocated joining together in the defense of religious freedom.
“We may go to jail sooner even than we thought,” he said due to what he called “the age of the advanced meltdown” of traditional values.
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