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August 30, 2016 / 26 Av, 5776
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Our Friends the Mormons

I learned that the Mormons have great respect for Jews and the state of Israel.


With large families, a deep love of Israel and the Jewish people, simultaneous dedication to our faith and engagement with the broader world, dietary restrictions and modest dress, and being misunderstood (even by our coreligionists), Orthodox Jews surprisingly have much in common with one of the fastest growing religions in the United States – the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS), colloquially known as the Mormons.

I would like to share reflections on last week’s meetings, coordinated by the Orthodox Union’s Advocacy Center, with the church and its political leadership in Salt Lake City, Utah.

There are fourteen million Mormons worldwide. There are fourteen million Jews worldwide. Six million members of each faith live in the U.S., three million of whom are centered in one particular geographical area (the East Coast and Mountain states respectively).

We both believe we are descended from the twelve tribes of Israel. Around the age of thirteen, Mormons receive a personalized Patriarchal Blessing that they consider their life’s mission statement.

Like us, Mormons send their children away after high school for one or two years to experience spiritual growth, are committed to giving ten percent of their earnings to charity, and permit abortion when the mother’s life is endangered.

Like us, the Mormons have Thirteen Articles of Faith (though we of course do not subscribe to most of them). Mormons call their homeland (Utah) Zion, consider their Temple holy ground, and only allow people who are pure in their eyes to enter it.

Mormons were persecuted and killed, but are quick to point out that the persecutions of the Jews are unparalleled.

Mormons are disproportionately represented in many walks of life, including the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and 2012 presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are members of the LDS. The founders of Marriott Hotels and JetBlue, as well an increasing number of high-level lawyers and bankers, are Mormon.

To be clear, there are certainly differences between the two religions. The Mormons respect these differences. To address just one of the misconceptions many people have, bigamy has been strictly prohibited for over 140 years by the LDS and is only practiced by some splinter groups.

Though we both are dedicated to inspiring our co-religionists with our faith, Mormons do this in many countries even with non-Christians. They do separate their humanitarian and religious arms, so people understand that the aid to underprivileged people throughout the world does not come with any strings attached.

Most of us associate the Mormon church with two “parshiyot” – the construction of the Mormon Center facing the Old City of Jerusalem in the 1980s and the posthumous baptism of Holocaust survivors in the 1990s. In fact, the church uses its Mt. Scopus facility to inspire its own members with a love of Israel and is committed to not proselytizing in Israel. And the church also forbade these posthumous baptisms.

LDS is governed by a president (and his two counselors), twelve apostles, and two groups of seventy elders. We met with two of the apostles and one of the elders. They provided and ate kosher food with us and offered to drive us to minyan at the Chabad of Utah. Neither they nor we brought up matters of theology. We spoke exclusively about issues of common cause such as the increasing secularization of American society, legislation, and how to keep our youth in our respective folds.

We met with Utah’s senators – veteran Republican Orrin Hatch and Tea Party freshman Mike Lee – as well as Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell. Each of them deeply shares our concerns for guaranteeing religious liberties (e.g. not forcing religious institutions to provide benefits that are not in keeping with their beliefs), maximizing constitutionally-appropriate funding and tax breaks for religious institutions, and not pressuring Israel to make dangerous concessions in the name of peace.

I learned that the Mormons have great respect for Jews and the state of Israel and truly want to help us. We should work toward building bridges to the LDS in our local areas, as these people share many of our values, ideals and concerns, and essentially are our allies.

Nathan Diament (executive director of public policy) and Maury Litwack (director of state political affairs and outreach) of the OU’s Advocacy Center masterfully organized this important mission. Together with my fellow mission participants, Rabbis Lenny Matanky of Chicago, Shalom Baum of Teaneck and Pace Cooper of Memphis, I am indebted to these extremely talented professionals for letting us help them build bridges with an important group of Americans with whom we have so much in common.

Rabbi Perry Tirschwell

About the Author: Rabbi Perry Tirschwell is executive director of the National Council of Young Israel. A graduate of Yeshivat Har Etzion, Yeshiva University, and RIETS, he holds a Master’s Degree in School Administration and Supervision.

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125 Responses to “Our Friends the Mormons”

  1. Todd McKinley says:

    I really enjoyed this article.

  2. KyleJudah says:

    mickhagen hunterschwarz I can vouch that this is an entirely true and widely held belief across The Tribe. Props to my Mormon brothas

  3. As a life-long Mormon (i.e., a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), I am honored by Rabbi Tirschwell's commentary in this article, especially the part where he refers to us as being "allies" of the Lord's covenant people. I am grateful for my Jewish friends and neighbors. As an international tax and finance attorney, I have had the blessing to know many wonderful Jewish colleagues. I believe that our affinity toward modern Judah is not prompted merely out of mutual suffering or historical similarities; but as the article indicates, it is prompted out of a knowledge of our peculiar relationships together—relationships which, at least from our part, claim a common heritage. I believe that we Mormons need to know more about the Jews, and the Jews ought to know more about the Mormons.

    Thank you for your kind words, Rabbi Tirschwell. We too consider you our friends.

  4. This was great. I love my Jewish friends!!!

  5. Dave Lobell says:

    And I love my Mormon friends as well. I do not for one moment deny the possiblity that the Mormons are descended from one of the ten lost tribes of Isreal. I do question how exactly this lineage would be traced given the relative young age of Mormonism vis a vis Judaism. If any of our Mormon Brothers or Sisters would care to explain I would love to hear it.

  6. I am certainly no authority, but as a practicing Latter-day Saint for many years, let me give this a shot. Latter-day Saints believe that salvation is "of the Jews" (cf. http://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/4.22-23?lang=eng). Namely, that the covenant made with Abraham and renewed with Isaac and then Jacob is the way whereby man is reunited to God. Hence, all must be placed within the house of Israel. The patriarchal blessing mentioned as the roadmap for life in the article also includes an identification of lineage. Much more could be said about whether this is a spiritual adoption or a literal blood descent, but that is not my focus here. To me the larger point for Latter-day Saints is a deep theological and practical respect for the descendants of Israel, and their role as the covenant people. To cite just one other example, the Book of Mormon chastises the world for not respecting the Jews as the covenant people and for bringing scripture to the world. (Cf. http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/29.4?lang=eng#3). Hope this helps.

  7. Matt Hughes says:

    As a believing Latter-Day Saint (aka Mormon) I might be able to answer your question with the understanding that I am not an official or authorized spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ so take what I say with a grain of salt. According to my understanding the Latter-Day Saint claim to Israelite heritage is based more on their covenantal relationship with God rather than direct lineal descent from ancient Israel. While most, if not all people living today probably have at least one Israelite ancestor somewhere along their line (based on what little I know about population dynamics) that is not the most important factor. When the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was established through Joseph Smith we believe that the covenant between God and Abraham, which was inherited by Israel and his descendants, was re-established and those who are baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gain access to the blessings that ancient Israel enjoyed by right of their lineage. It is conceivable that some Latter-Day Saints may actually be direct lineal descendants of the lost ten tribes of Israel, the rest of us, we believe, are adopted into the family through covenant (which we define as a formal set of promises we make to God to serve Him and our fellow human beings across the world). Because of this it is natural for us to feel a kinship with modern Jews. In fact the Book of Mormon tells us that modern Jews are God’s covenant people as well so we see ourselves as cousins in a sense. Hopefully this answers your question at least somewhat 🙂

  8. In writing this, I am not trying to gloss over the fact that there are significant differences in belief (beginning with the obvious central role of Jesus). But that does not diminish at all our respect for our Jewish friends and the prominent role they play in G-d's plan for His children.

  9. Jacob Alperin-Sheriff says:

    Most dead Jews have rachmana litzlan become Mormons. On the plus side, most dead Mormons have embraced the toeiva lifestyle. http://alldeadmormonsarenowgay.com/

  10. I am a mormon and I loved this article. Thanks Rabbi Tirschwell. I don't know any jewish but now I want to now at least one of you and now more about your beliefs because of this article.

  11. Thanks for sharing your time with our church leaders and embracing each other in the true light it's been shared with

  12. Jill P. Lex says:

    We have had a tradition of lending our Mormon church building to one of the local Jewish congregations (Or Shalom in Vernon Hill, IL) for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

  13. It is just a brotherhood; the way it should always be.

  14. Linda Dawson Fiatoa says:

    Vicarious baptism does not make anyone Mormon, unless they choose it themselves. We believe that the dead have the same free agency after death that they have in life. So, in case they did not have the chance to make that choice in life, we give them the chance after they have died. We do the baptism in their behalf, and then it's between them and God.

  15. Lucinda Dunn Wade says:

    Thanks for sharing! It is a great article.

  16. Carmen J Lopez says:

    Thanks Rabbi, we truly appreciate the friendship and the goodwill!

  17. Christopher Kirkland says:

    Having spent some time at BYU Jerusalem's Mount Scopus campus, I can tell you the next time I get back to Israel, I'd kiss the ground as soon as I stepped off the plane! I am also someone who has a deep love for the LDS Temple, which in our eyes serves the same purpose as the ancient Israelite's temples: bringing man back into God's presence. As a Mormon, there is no religion I feel more yearning for than the Jews. That might sound counter-intuitive, but I know they are a remnant of Jacob's seed, and are entitled to great and precious promises.

  18. Lorilee Saunders Roskelley says:

    Very good. Just one correction…the official name of our church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Thanks for a wonderful article.

  19. MahonriStewart says:

    An interesting commentary on the LDS view of other nations and peoples was made by Mormon leader Howard W. Hunter in 1979 during his address “All Are Alike Unto God.” He specifically mentions the Mormon/Jewish kinship: https://www.lds.org/ensign/1979/06/all-are-alike-unto-god?lang=eng

  20. Sc Woz says:

    And our Brothers and Sisters the Jews.

  21. Rodger Worthen says:

    Considering the Jewish state of Israel has few friends in the world I am happy the LDS church is considered to be one of them. Abraham's people are truly among us.

  22. Lance Peterson says:

    We see the Jews as our brothers and love them as a tribe of Israel.

  23. Mike Makuch says:

    The lineage probably cannot be directly traced. The lost tribes were indeed lost and scattered throughout the earth. It would take divine revelation or intervention for the knowledge of their lineage to be known again. Joseph Smith had known he was of the lineage of Ephraim because of such revelation. He felt that it was his duty, due to his location in a Gentile nation, to start the process of the great gathering of the house of Israel. Isaiah 11:10-16 come to mind here. Anyway, there is a great article on the whole of this topic found here:

  24. Ryan Scott Hunter says:

    Excellent article. It's a joy to see an article focusing on our common ground rather than our differences. Thank you.

  25. Jon-Michael DeShazer says:

    I was a full-time Mormon Missionary in Los Angeles late 1990's, and some of the best experiences I ever had with people not of my faith were those affiliated with Judaism. I still have a print of a wood carving done by a Jewish man of whom I came in contact with out there. It's a beautiful portrayal of Moses coming down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments and Exodus 12:24 written in Hebrew as the border. One of my favorite pieces of artwork I ever received. Thank you for a very thought provoking and informative article Rabbi. The world needs more people like you in it!

  26. I have recently reconnected with my best friend from growing up in Upstate New York. The Jewish boy and the Mormon boy, we were as close as brothers. As we are catching-up on our life stories, we find that we still have much in common. I will always richly value the teachings of the Jewish faith from what I learned being in his home. It has helped me to be a better Latter-Day Saint.

  27. Linda VanCott says:

    Loved this article. I have been a Mormon all my life and have always loved the Jewish people. I took Hebrew at BYU and joined the Hebrew club, and my brother married a Jewish girl, so I am thrilled to know that their children will be considered Jewish (if it's true that it goes through the mother's line?) I got a chance to go to Jerusalem and was thrilled to be there! It's always nice to know we may not be so "disliked" by people we hold in such high esteem.

  28. Debbiee Eyre says:

    Wonderful article. Yes, we Mormons love Israel and our Jewish brothers and sisters!

  29. I really enjoyed this article. I'm a convert to the Mormon church but my wife was raised LDS on the east coast and has a lot of fond memories of her Jewish friends and their families growing up together.

  30. AprilSaundersAnderton says:

    Some of my most wonderful memories are of my  years spent in Boston as a nanny for a Jewish family. I claim them as my own. Our conversations on religion were amazing and inspiring and I will never forget them. This article listed so many of the points we covered around the dinner table with love and genuine interest in each other’s beliefs and practices. Thanks for bringing back great memories.

  31. Kathy Adams Richards says:

    This was a wonderful article. I have always had a deep and abiding respect for the Jewish people. We are indeed allies. Thank you for your eloquent words Rabi Rabbi Tirschwell.

  32. Rosie Kiser Jones says:

    As a young mormon mother, one of the most inspiring books in creating my home has been "how to run a traditional Jewish household' by Blu Greenberg… for the reasons explained in this article! I may not run a kosher home, but in nearly every commandment and holiday I have found a meaningful parallel. I feel a great love and kinship for my Jewish brothers and sisters! 🙂

  33. Jose G Ochoa says:

    finisimo my dear brother

  34. What a great article, and love the picture of Jarom!

  35. Great article- thank you for sharing!

  36. Jan Johnson Parker says:

    Great article! Although I have a (newly converted – from agnostic to Judaism) friend who can only see our theological dfferences and is even more antagonistic. I guess there is no convincing of some people?

  37. Lee Baroldy says:

    What a great and positive article. Wouldn't it be nice if more of the great religions of the world got together like this and compared their many similarities rather then focus on divisive differences. Of course, there was the exclusion of "Jesus Christ" in the name of our Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), but overall, a great article and great example of how complimentary religions should associate with one another. I hope this example will be repeated between all of the great religions of the world. What Joy that would bring. 🙂

  38. Eva WB says:

    I am Jew-loving Mormon too! I love this feeling of comraderie (sp?) and dearly wish that it would extend even further; that everyone could see the common brotherhood of mankind. Division and contention are not of God. Alas, that will not happen until all people learn to set aside their differences to build something much greater: love.

  39. Tonia Izu says:

    I have always felt that if I were not LDS I would have converted to Judaism.

  40. Tonia Izu says:

    Thank you, Rabbi Perry Tirschwell! I love this article. During my freshman year at UCLA, I dated several Jewish men. I think there was at least one mother trying to be a matchmaker! I attended synagogue and celebrated Jewish holidays with my friends. I attended Jewish weddings and enjoyed the traditions therein. I have always felt that if I was not LDS, I would have converted to Judaism. I have a great love and appreciation for that faith.

  41. LarryHilliard says:

    Enjoyed the article.  I’m a fan of Dennis Prager and appreciate his kind words about Mormans.  Thru listening to his program I’ve attended a couple CUFI (Christians United For Israel) gatherings here in Phoenix and have often thought that it would be great if there was an organization MUWI… Mormans United With Israel.

  42. Lori Lyn Price says:

    I am a Mormon and several of my colleagues are Jews. I always enjoy learning more about their religion and holidays. One of the highlights of my year is participating in the Seder dinner with one of my Jewish friends and her family.

  43. Lori Lyn Price says:

    I am a Mormon and several of my colleagues are Jews. I always enjoy learning more about their religion and holidays. One of the highlights of my year is participating in the Seder dinner with one of my Jewish friends and her family.

  44. Edward Simms says:

    We have a lot in common. Great article, lets continue bridging the gap and growing together. There are no coincidences in Heaven.

  45. Edward Simms says:

    We have a lot in common. Great article, lets continue bridging the gap and growing together. There are no coincidences in Heaven.

  46. Who is this lovely looking young lady?

  47. Remember we share the abrahamic covenant.

  48. Leslie Leap Broad says:

    Hi Lorilee, we both enjoyed the article: Our Friends the Mormons. The spelling of our church is very precise. The word day in Latter-day always has a lower case "d" unless the entire name is capitalized. Maybe you overlooked that in your response. I've found it often written incorrectly even in Ward programs. Wishing you well.

  49. Scott Shields says:

    I am a Mormon and have Jewish ancestry – I love both religions! Love the article!

  50. Mv Nieves says:

    I'm LDS of Jewish ancestry and I feel very complete in both my faith and heritage. I feel very blessed to have both.

  51. MamallamaKantrow says:

    As a woman of Jewish heritage with membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I am so grateful for my lineage and my faith.  There are so many wonderful similarities between them. This beautiful and well-written article affirms that for me.

  52. It's the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, not the Church of Latter-day Saints…. A common misprint/oversite.

  53. Matt Warren says:

    Indeed, as a Mormon I feel we have much in common. Judaism and Jewish heritage are fascinating subjects of study, and very inspirational. I hope a lasting relationship continues into the future.

  54. Ben Budick says:

    I see the good Rabbi didn't dig too deep…

  55. Dear Tonia, being LDS should not stop you from converting to Judaism if you felt it deeply in your heart.

  56. Tricia Gregory says:

    Thanks for a great article! I agree that we have more in common than most people realize.

  57. Dear Jan, I think the fundamental theological difference between Judaism and Mormonism is that we Jews depend on our own to achieve salvation, in other words Mormons depend and believe that through Jesus salvation can be achieved, Judaism is not only a religion but a Nation a land and the believe in on God. Our lives and traditions go back thousands of years, we've had to endure horrible attempts to extinct us and still are. We do share a wonderful bond to the land of Israel and our love of family and faith in our God. Bottom line is that we should stay close to each other and continue to do good work for humanity and reapir the world regardless of our theology. That we are still creating the

  58. Rabbi Tirschwell,
    My husband has often reflected on the parallels you outline in your article. He was in the first year of students to attend the BYU Jerusalem Center on Mount Scopus (1988), and he still speaks of keeping his commitment to not proselytize, while living there. Moreover, he talks often of meeting good men such as you, and of how love supplanted misunderstanding by beholding what the Eternal family has in common, rather than how it may be divided. G’mar Chatima Tova, Be’ahavat Yisrael.

  59. Lorilee Saunders Roskelley says:

    Yes, thank you. I sometimes capitalize it and sometimes don't. I was more concerned about making sure the name of Jesus Christ was recognized. Thanks for the correction.

  60. L'havdil
    If you feel a compatibility with their Avodah Zara, good for you. As to the rest of us, the fact that they act in an exclusionary manner and have a collection of cultish behaviors that they came up with 175 years ago gives them a lot less in common with Jews than 1 billion Muslims.

  61. not at all
    he dug just as deeply as his intellect allowed; but he's as facile and superficial as a 30 minute sitcom

  62. loving 2 religions means you live neither
    it's not baseball with team favorites

  63. along with 1.2 billion muslims and the rest of christianity

  64. CpaHoffman says:

    MamallamaKantrow what a pile of syncretic garbage

  65. Christina Wilhelm says:

    It is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  66. Stephen L Hoemke says:

    Charles Hoffman If you love two religions, but only live one, you are still faithful. I believe (speculation here) that Scott Shields meant to say that he loves the people and values, not the religion itself.

  67. Galen Haugh says:

    What is your problem, Charles? Are you part of that group that would maintain an insular, uncooperating attitude rather than look at the values two groups have in common? If that's the case, you'll end up being alone when the "wolves" come to your door. Good luck being pure to the point of being obtuse.

  68. Galen Haugh says:

    Then if Jesus was a Jew, WHY is he rejected by the Muslims? That's a rather inconvenient truth, would you say?

  69. Lee Baroldy says:

    "the rest of us"? Hummm. You're speaking for whom? The article and most of the comments speak of unity, love for fellow man, and common ground. And then you walk into the China shop. I'm not feeling the love Charles. 😉

  70. Lee Baroldy says:

    "the rest of us"? Hummm. You're speaking for whom? The article and most of the comments speak of unity, love for fellow man, and common ground. And then you walk into the China shop. I'm not feeling the love Charles. 😉

  71. AprilSaundersAnderton says:

    CpaHoffman MamallamaKantrow   Besides not being very nice, you seem to be saying that one can’t appreciate both their heritage and a new-found belief system.  I fundamentally disagree.

  72. I live in El Salvador, Central America. I am descendent of spanish and native-americans. In The Book of Mormon, we learned that a prophet, descendant of Josheph, son of Jacob, was guided by G-d from Jerusalem to the American Continent and their people grew among the people that already lived here. They were not the main group of the Ten Tribes, but we have blood of Israel in our veins. I am sorry if my english is not good enough and I could not express my ideas.

  73. Thank you Rabbi Perry Tirschwell for your kind words concerning the people of the Mormon faith and for bringing to light things we have in common. I am always happy to work with men and women like you on common concerns. May we work together to make the world a safer place for people of faith to worship freely and ensure that the horrors of the past are never repeated.

  74. I don't misunderstand Judaism and I don't misunderstand Mormonism. Both are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. The Scriptures say there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. My wife and I were reading the Scriptures recently about the sons of Aaron who approached God in an unauthorized manner, and God killed them both. A holy God is the one who prescibes the way for us to approach Him. We don't make up our own way. Jesus didn't recommend that we be born again in order to enter into the kingdom of Heaven, he said that's the only way to enter into heaven. And it is only in Christ and through faith in Christ that a person may approach God with freedom and confidence. http://downtownministries.blogspot.com/

  75. Alisah Neumann says:

    And they agreed? Oy vey thats US reform judaism in full effect.

  76. Alisah Neumann says:

    Linda Dawson Fiatoa
    Thank you for highlighting why i dislike your religion.

  77. Alisah Neumann says:

    "I do not for one moment deny the possiblity that the Mormons are descended from one of the ten lost tribes of Isreal"

    Then you have some serious reality problems.

  78. Lee Baroldy says:

    Linda, we have been directed, long ago, to stop doing baptisms for anyone but our kindred dead. There were times when a few became over zealous and took it upon themselves to do this for the victims of the holocaust and others. It was not appropriate. It offended many. Our Church has apologized. I hope you will accept that apology.

  79. Not really. They accept him as a prophet ,but believe the their mohammed is somehow superior.

  80. Dale Wight says:

    It's oversight, not oversite…. A common oversight.

  81. Ch Hoffman says:

    Lee Baroldy sometimes love isn't the answer
    and there are such fundamental differences between Judaism and a subsect of American pseudo-Christianity, that to compare or contrast them is not worthy of a mature audience

    They're nice people; but there are a lot of nice people around. All-in-all, however, the Mormon Church has been as much of a wellspring of Western Anti-Semitism as any Southern evangelaical strain.

    You want nice – fine, be nice. You want to compare religions – do it with an eye towards – their Christianity is just another branch.

  82. Ch Hoffman says:

    Galen Haugh no
    I'm not the least bit insular.

    But as much as we may have some superficial characteristics in common with Mormons, when push comes to shove, they'll view themselves as Christians first and foremost. And we'll still be the ones who rejected their savior

  83. Ch Hoffman says:

    Stephen L Hoemke which sounds like "I'm married to X, but I'd really rather spend time with Y"

    Every religion has certain values which it professes; but if you are a believer, your belief structure isn't a "pick-and-chose" smorgasbord.

  84. Ch Hoffman says:

    Johanna Roberts whereas the Christian world believes that their revelation supplanted ours

    You want to argue as to who is more hostile to Judaism, Christianity or Islam, you'd better be prepared to look at the past 1400 years they co-exited, not just the past 80.

  85. Ch Hoffman says:

    we all have similarities; just like all mammals share some DNA.

    But we have a lot more differences, and it's those differences that have led Christians to burn Jews at the stake and to stand by while crazed murderers butchered 6 million in Poland and surrounding countries

  86. Rosie Nanette Gagnon says:

    I'm a Latter Day Saint and a member of Pastor Hagees Christians United for Israel. We love the Jewish people and pray for their safety in an increasingly anti-semetic world. 🙁

  87. Ch Hoffman says:

    pseudo-commentary by a Rabbi who shows that he is not only ignorant of the teachings of the Chrurch of JC Latter Day Saints, but has only a superficial knowledge and understanding of Yiddishkeit.

    She'haim mishtachavim l'hevel u'l'rik.

    The fact that 200 years ago someone came up with a new twist on Christianity based on some fabled wanderings of JC in North America is no surprise; a similar set of fables had inspired many in England (including the famous song "Jerusalem" by William Blake) is nothing new; as is the fact that they wrapped the new religion in some superficial trappings taken from misunderstood portions of Vayikra.

    They are a branch of Christianity; when they are favorable towards Jews, fine; when they're not, they can be just as offensive as any other branch, such as when they go around baptising victims of the Shoah, or when they seek to impose their religious standards on all who live within geographies where they're a majority.

    the rabbi may be attracted to them because of their right-wing appeal which is consistent with the new face of Orthodox Judaism; but he's letting the glitter of passing similarities blind him to core differences which are far more fundamental.

  88. John R Pack says:

    It's easy to look at differences and choose to condemn. It's often much harder to see common ground and potential to work together. I'm glad the Rabbi has chosen the path less traveled.

    No one would ever say there's no differences, but ultimately mutual respect builds greater freedom and understanding for all parties.

  89. Contention is not good.

  90. Ch Hoffman says:

    Tirschwell is falling into the same sewer of right-wing Republican politics that ensnared R. Meir Soloveitchik in his House testimony last year. If you want to make common cause with the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, including Mike Lee, you cause your organization to get dragged into their vile and delusional hatred of the President.

    The last thing the Young Israel movement needs is to be associated with the hard right of American politics – a nativist, anti-urban, and culturally repressive collection of ideologues.

  91. Ch Hoffman I stopped listening to you altogether when you said 'sometimes love isn't the answer.' It is that mindset that created ant-semitism, anti-mormonism, and all other forms of hate. Love is always an answer.

  92. Lee Baroldy says:

    Charles, it is wise to start a dialog on the topics we can all agree on. Once we can discuss these things like rational human beings, I believe we will get to better understand one another . . . and actually like one another . . . maybe even learn to love one another. At a minimum, we will be more willing to discuss minor differences in less violent ways. Yes, a very optimistic approach. But it served me well in my Key Leader Engagements in Iraq. I learned to love many of the people there and I only wish more of my counterparts would have followed the approach of focusing on the many things we have in common. Things might be different there today. Your approach would have gotten me and others killed. Your approach may be what led to many of our historic atrocities. I believe the source of your approach is clear. 🙁

  93. Lee Baroldy says:

    Charles, it is wise to start a dialog on the topics we can all agree on. Once we can discuss these things like rational human beings, I believe we will get to better understand one another . . . and actually like one another . . . maybe even learn to love one another. At a minimum, we will be more willing to discuss minor differences in less violent ways. Yes, a very optimistic approach. But it served me well in my Key Leader Engagements in Iraq. I learned to love many of the people there and I only wish more of my counterparts would have followed the approach of focusing on the many things we have in common. Things might be different there today. Your approach would have gotten me and others killed. Your approach may be what led to many of our historic atrocities. I believe the source of your approach is clear. 🙁

  94. Charles: In case you didn't notice, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) is a Mormon. And, a number of us Mormons voted for Obama.

    It sounds like your understanding of Mormons is pretty shallow, Charles, you may have some stereo types that could get smashed by knowing some Mormons in depth.

  95. Alisah Neumann It is there choice. As it is, I'm sticking with submitting my own ancestor's line for such. And, it's there choice in the end. Does a Catholic Priest performing conditional last rites on someone of unknown religion at the moment force them to be Catholic? Of course not.

  96. Sarah Morrison says:


    Official Statement — 21 February 2012
    Church Statement on Violations of Proxy Baptism Policy
    Salt Lake City —

    In response to questions about violations of the Church's proxy baptism policy, the Church issued the following statement:

    The Church keeps its word and is absolutely firm in its commitment to not accept the names of Holocaust victims for proxy baptism.

    It takes a good deal of deception and manipulation to get an improper submission through the safeguards we have put in place.

    While no system is foolproof in preventing the handful of individuals who are determined to falsify submissions, we are committed to taking action against individual abusers by suspending the submitter’s access privileges. We will also consider whether other Church disciplinary action should be taken.

    It is distressing when an individual willfully violates the Church’s policy and something that should be understood to be an offering based on love and respect becomes a source of contention.

  97. Ben Timm says:

    Hate speech from Ch Hoffman. Hey, he is free to do so.

  98. BrianAndrewCole says:

    As a Mormon, I think it is important for all people to remember that our wonderful brothers and sisters of the Jewish faith are still the chosen people of God.  It is not wise to be on the wrong side of God- God loves the Children of Isreal so we better love and support them as well.  I am grateful that we live in a free country that allows us to express our devotion to God according to the dictates of our conscience and to live next to one another in respect and friendship.  I have learned much from my friends of other faiths, I particularly love the teachings of some of my Jewish friends.  I thought this was a wonderful article and hope that we can all work together to help the world be a better place.

  99. Ch Hoffman I'm getting really tired of your superiority all over this comment board. Mormons and Jews are similar, why do you have to be so negative about it? Yes, there is definitely obvious differences in the faiths, like the fact that one believes in Christ and one does not-however, if you had read the article correctly, I would think you would have realized that he'd already mentioned that. And don't you dare bring up the fact that millions of Jews were burned during the Holocaust. The LDS faith had NOTHING to do with that. Christianity itself has nothing to do with that. Hitler was an Atheist and was trying to rid the world of religion-but that's getting off topic. It is possible to love two religions and only practice one. I think the Jewish religion is beautiful. I think the Buddhist religion is beautiful. One can appreciate all religions, and not hate them, when one does not have such an air of superiority. Please set aside your predisposed conceptions about faith before you go on a tirade.

  100. Lee Baroldy it is about love.

  101. You may call the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints merely as a “new twist on Christianity.” Forgive me, but you choose to ignore the fact that Joseph Smith was a young farm boy utterly lacking in the nuances of Jewish culture and theology at the time of his “Vayikra.”

    Further, let me declare that the church is not based only on “some fabled wanderings of JC in North America.” It was what came after the translation of the Book of Mormon that distinguished the religion as something much more than a mere “branch of Christianity.” It was nothing less than a restoration of original 1st Century Christian doctrine and, believe it or not, ancient Abrahamic covenants.

    Of course, you may dismiss these assertions without further consideration. But at least you now have the words, even a testimony, of a committed "saint."

  102. Ch Hoffman says:

    Graham Ambrose where do you think they got "Aaron garments" from? Don't forget, this predated Amazon and Wikopedia

  103. Ch Hoffman says:

    Matt Alexander no
    the absence of love is not the same as the presence of hatred

    but there are many times when mutual respect is sufficient. Love is not the same as tolerance at all

  104. You state that you do not misunderstand Mormonism, and that from your understanding, you assert that the Mormon church has made up its own, unauthorized way to approach God. In so doing, you argue, it will lead to death, just as the sons of Aaron had suffered due their offering a “strange fire before the Lord” (Leviticus 10:1,2).

    If, in fact, I’m walking down a path towards God of my church’s own making, what would you suggest I do in its place. What should I do in order to be “born again”?

  105. poetsawyer says:

    As the world gets darker and more loathsome to any of us still clinging to any concept of God that promotes man rather than tare him down, we need friends, wherever they are to fight this battle.  We should reach out to all who hold moral values similar to our own.  Charles Hoffman, you are a jerk and the battle against evil, that, like I said, needs all of us to fight…. you separate us and offend us and encourage hate.  I hope you fight your battle alone.  As for me and my house, I will link up with any group that shares our love of God and country and family values, so that we can even have a chance of turning some of this garbage around.

  106. Katja Ilskov says:

    oh right we still do baptisms for the dead! but not for holocaust victims! We are instructed NOT to do so in respect of the Jewish society! I´m just an ordinary member and I´ve seen that instruction!

  107. David Miller says:

    An empty vessel makes the most noise. Like too many people you argue against that which you don't understand.

  108. CpaHoffman says:

    poetsawyer the purpose of this meeting with the Utah Senators had nothing to do with “love of God and country” and everything to do with enlisting Jews in the radical Republicans’ fight to destroy the Affordable Care Act.
    And sharing “family values” is about as empty a pledge as anyone can make in as much as your concept of “family values” and Mike Lee’s may well be miles apart, linked only by the buzzwords and catch phrases of the Fox News Channel and the Republican Party Platform

  109. Thomas Clement says:

    Cheyenne Joy Weber This man is not trying to be nice. He is protecting his position. It is a form of hate against anything other than what he subscribes to. We CAN ignore him, and not be hateful. That is what I do. Besides, what does he really add to the conversation anyway?

  110. Lee Baroldy says:

    Charlie, please read my reply above. In other words, I have better things to do then contend with you. The story is about making friends and you want to do the opposite. You're very good at it.

  111. I think we first have to begin with the reliability of the Scriptures, the Bible, and then show who God is, who Jesus is, what we are, what Jesus did for us, and what our response should be. In Hebrews 1:3 we are told, "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." And in Matthew 24:35 Jesus says, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." God tells us in the Scriptures that the Scriptures will never pass away. The same one who holds creation together by the power of his word is able to ensure his words would never pass away. God also has no equal. There is no other God besides God. We read in Isaiah 44:6, "This is what the LORD says–Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God." Isaiah 44:5a, "I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God." Isaiah 45:14c, "Surely God is with you, and there is no other; there is no other God." Isaiah 45:22, "Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other." Jesus is God's one and only Son (1 John 4:9, "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him." We can only be adopted as God's sons according to Ephesians 1:5, "In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–" What we are: Romans 5:12, "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned–" Romans 3:23, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans 3:10b-12, "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." We have all sinned, are by nature objects of God's wrath (Ephesians 2:3, "All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.") and Romans 6:23 tells us, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Eternal life does not come from obedience to the law (Romans 3:20, "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin." Eternal life comes through a righteousness that Jesus provides. A righteousness from God. Romans 3:21-26, "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished–he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." What does it mean to have faith in Jesus? John 1:29, 'The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" Romans 4:23-25, 'The words, "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness–for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification." You (as all of us) were born in the flesh and seperate from the God of Life, Isaiah 59:2, "But your iniquities have seperated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear." Conclusion: There is only one God. Jesus is the only Son of God. We are born once in the flesh, seperate from God and by nature an object of God's wrath. Jesus came to pay the penalty for our sin and to take it out of the way (2 Corinthians 5:21, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.") We cannot justify ourselves by obedience to the law. We can only trust in what Jesus did for us, the Lamb of God who takes away our sin. And John 1:12-13 says, "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." Ask God to save you from judgement based on what Jesus did for you at the cross. Then God will adopt you as His child. Then you will be born-again, born of God.

  112. MamallamaKantrow says:

    AprilSaundersAnderton CpaHoffman 
    Thank you April. I agree with you. Truth is truth and cannot be denied. Mr. Hoffman is allowed to have his opinions and beliefs, and I reserve the same right. There is no room for contention.

  113. Good for you guys, Matt A. and Lee B. My thoughts exactly when I read Ch statement. That is the ONLY answer- the true love that Christ taught us about, the kind that makes us one as Our creator says we must be or we are not His. United we stand divided we fall. Now unity against evils is needed not haughty "maturity" . Are we not to humble, teachable and as little children?!?

  114. Ch Hoffman: If you are referring to the temple garment given to all members of the Mormon church who enter therein to dedicate themselves to a higher purpose and commitment, you are right. As I’ve already asserted, what distinguishes the Mormon church from other Christian churches is its claim to a restoration theology, including the rites and covenants once performed in the Tabernacle and Temple of ancient Israel.

    Granted, it’s a valid criticism to claim that we merely copied those ordinances and rites from Old Testament and Jewish records. As convenient as that may be, it’s equally convenient for me to claim that those ordinances were restored and authorized from divine sources. With respect, to determine which convenience is the truth, I would ask that you ask your God—as I have done. I would be very much interested in what you found out!

  115. RandyAven says:

    Me thinks that Charles Hoffman likes to just hear himself talk.

  116. Mark_Calvin says:

    Mr. Hoffman, I realize that making comments to you is about as fruitful as discussing the rights of babies at the DNC, but I will do my best.  My question to you sir, is where were you when I was turned down by the IDF because I was a Mormon?  I wanted to fight for Israel because I love that country, even though I had never lived there, and was turned down because I was not Jewish.  I would have had to stay there 3 years to join.  How long did you spend in the IDF?  Or are you just a nudnik putz that makes snide remarks from behind his computer?  You are a very big, closed minded putz.

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