What is the NCCJ and why does this organization keep coming to the defense of the LDS Church? The National Conference for Community and Justice recently changed its name from the National Conference of Christians and Jews. It claims to be a human relations organization that fights bias, bigotry, and racism.
I first heard of this organization back in the mid-1980s following the release of the film, “The Godmakers.” The NCCJ took it upon themselves to send letters to Christian churches urging them not to show the film to their congregations.
The point of this article is not to defend or complain about the Godmakers or its sequels. My point is to demonstrate that the NCCJ falls far short of being an expert on Mormon doctrine and history and is not in a position to pontificate when it comes to comparing those subjects with the Bible.
In 1987 the NCCJ again came to the defense of the Mormon Church after the airing of the PBS program entitled “The Mormons: Missionaries to the World.” The NCCJ accused the film of portraying Mormons as having a disregard for other religious traditions. The film’s creator, Bobbie Birleffi, rebuffed such a charge saying, “I deny having portrayed Mormons as having little respect for other religions. The NCCJ statement is so inaccurate and misses the subject matter of the film so completely that I have to wonder about the motivations of the person who made the statement. Whatever the disregard of other religions that the Mormon Church may or may not exhibit, this film does not enter into that argument” (Sunstone, May 1987, pg. 47). One need only read our response to Mormons who feel their church doesn’t criticize other churches to know that Mormonism does in fact have a disregard for other religious traditions, especially that of the Bible-believing Christian.
We wonder, doesn’t anybody at the NCCJ read LDS material? It seems that in the case of the PBS broadcast they just followed the lead of then LDS Apostle Howard Hunter who publicly discredited the film. “The film has never been challenged in terms of its overall accuracy,” Birleffi said. “It’s been challenged in terms of its balance and its emphasis, but that’s different from challenging its facts” (Ibid., pg. 46).
In 1988 the NCCJ criticized a newspaper ad placed in the San Diego Union which merely asked, “Does San Diego Need a Mormon Temple?” Donald McEvoy, the National Director at the time, wrote a letter to the editor and referred to the ad as “derogatory propaganda.” In doing so he failed to be specific with his charges. The ad included a phone number that people could call to hear a taped message which explained what goes on in a Mormon temple. There was nothing inaccurate on the tape.
We do applaud the NCCJ’s name change. Claiming to be an organization of “Christians and Jews” was certainly inappropriate since the NCCJ has members of several religious persuasions (It is a fact that when they denounced the Godmakers that they had Mormons on the board). The NCCJ is really nothing more than another ecumenical organization that fails to use the Bible as its soul standard of authority when it comes to determining truth. To paraphrase Christian theologian Blaise Pascal, the NCCJ displays a false piety by preserving what they perceive as peace at the expense of truth.
Amazing however is the fact that in a more recent statement defending the Mormon Church, the NCCJ has the audacity to again accuse those who criticize Mormonism as “intolerant.” Living in a “politically correct” society I find that this word is often used most by the intolerant and this is true of the NCCJ. In its statement it reads, “The National Conference is particularly concerned with the growing number of attacks on religious beliefs and practices by a number of groups and individuals within our society. Such attacks, that utilize false or misleading information that is intended to promote religious bigotry, are acts of intolerance and prejudice. They are both irresponsible and anti-democratic in nature. The recent attacks from a number of sources on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) reek of the same prejudice that, in the past, we have often seen used against Jews, Catholics, Muslims, and many others. This kind of behavior needs to be identified and condemned for what it is: religious intolerance and blatant bigotry.”
We think it is only fair that the NCCJ site specific examples. Such an inflammatory comment on their part is irresponsible and ignorant. Unfortunately such language is common among organizations which feed off personal emotion rather than fact. The great majority of those “groups” condemned by the NCCJ examine Mormonism from an intellectual point of view. If the NCCJ would take the time to talk with those who feel called to minister to the Mormon people they would soon find that that they have a genuine concern for the spiritual welfare of the Mormon individual. Certainly exceptions to the rule can be found but then again the same is true within the Mormon Church.
We would ask, “How can critiquing the Mormon religion be tied to bigotry?” Is the NCCJ saying that intellectual discussion of religious difference is now a sign of intolerance? How intolerant of them! If that is so let us condemn the Apostle Paul for daring to question the Athenians on Mars Hill. Furthermore, how dare Jesus Himself take a stand against the erroneous claims of the religious leaders of His day. How intolerant of Him! Perhaps our Lord was unaware he was acting in an “anti-democratic” fashion. The NCCJ claims to be the defenders of tolerance yet it verbally bashes those who believe they should not tolerate what it tolerates. If criticism is in and of itself wrong, then the NCCJ is just as guilty for criticizing us.
The NCCJ’s credibility becomes even more suspect when we consider they are defending an organization which officially considers it, the NCCJ, apostate. Are its researchers so blind that they do not know that this same Mormon Church which it ardently defends, claims it alone represents true Christianity? Is the NCCJ not aware that this same LDS Church produced leaders such as 3rd President John Taylor who said the reason we have Blacks on the earth is because the devil needed a representative? Or Joseph Fielding Smith who referred to Blacks as an “inferior race”?
I would think in most cases it would be sexist to relegate women to being nothing more than baby factories. Mormon doctrine makes it clear that one of the primary purposes of the LDS woman in the hereafter is to continually produce spirit-offspring for her “God-husband.” She must remain eternally pregnant so he can populate his new world in the same fashion the Mormon God populates this one. Is the NCCJ also in favor of the Mormon teaching that polygamy is to be reinstituted in the hereafter? Does it not view this practice as demeaning to women?
Furthermore, the NCCJ stereotypes all those who criticize the teachings of Mormonism when it claims we are guilty of disseminating “misleading information.” What exactly is misleading? Do we at MRM mislead when we say Mormons believe they can become Gods or that God was once a man, or that Jesus and Lucifer are brothers? Do we mislead when we document the many conflicting teachings of Mormon prophets or expose the willful cover up of Mormon history by LDS leaders? Do we mislead when we say Mormonism views every church but theirs as the “church of the devil”?
It is unknown to us as to why the NCCJ continues to defend the Mormon Church. If they are ignorant of what Mormonism stands for it should be ashamed for being duped into defending it. If the NCCJ is willfully ignoring the truth behind Mormon doctrine, it should be ashamed for being accomplices in helping spread Mormonism’s prevarications.
is familiar with Mormonism Research Ministry knows that our motives involve a sincere desire to see the Mormon people come to a saving faith in the Jesus of the Bible. Our desire is not to see harm come to these people which we have come to love and pray for. Furthermore, we find this to be true with the many colleagues we have in this field. Most who have devoted their lives to bringing the Gospel to the Latter-day Saints do so with great personal sacrifice. In light of this, we find the comments made by the NCCJ to be offensive and uninformed and tainted with a hypocrisy which must surely grieve the Holy Spirit. It is apparent that it is the NCCJ which is doing the misleading, not groups like MRM.