Anti-intellectualism and pluralism
"As long as they make you happy and a good person, then I'm happy you have your own beliefs." "It's not Christ-like to criticize another person's beliefs." "Instead of Bible-bashing, why don't we both just share our perspectives on religion?" "People can prove anything from the Bible. It's open to interpretation."
This kind of speech can be associated in the Christian community with something known as postmodernism. Postmodernism here is referred to a package of related influences, attitudes, and worldview assumptions that have to do with communication, pluralism, and the nature of truth. Some aspects of historic Mormonism make it fit very well with postmodernism, and contemporary Mormonism is heavily influenced by the trend as a whole. Many Mormons tend to:
- be very skeptical over the idea of objectively clear authorial intent in text, especially religious text.
- see a variety of interpretations as conclusive proof that something is not sufficiently clear.
- view criticism of anyone's beliefs (especially their own) as deeply unethical.
- view authoritative proclamation of one's own worldview, as though it were absolutely true, as deeply unethical.
- view means of communication which are distinctively connected to authoritative views of truth as "contentious" and even hateful.
- view deliberate, initiative stranger-evangelism as overly militant and unloving.
- view interfaith dialog as an endeavor chiefly centered around amiable, increased mutual understanding and enjoyment, not urgent persuasion. Focus is put more on surface-level commonality (utilizing language-overlap between Mormonism and mainstream Christianity), and fundamental worldview differences are often seen in a positive light for the diversity they provide.
- view different religious worldview-perspectives primarily as co-existing viewpoints to be appreciated and respected, not competing systems of belief to be authoritatively accepted or rejected.
- view the pursuit of truth as an almost completely subjective endeavor, and are very skeptical of the value of looking outside oneself objectively when inquiring whether their religion is true.
- view their own organization's missionary endeavors as centered around a simple, polite invitation, not at all the spread of a command by Jesus Christ to all nations to repent and submit to him as authoritative king.
- be satisfied with empty religious rhetoric from Mormon leaders, even if it is significantly vague and ambivalent.
An increasing number of Mormons say they are open to the idea that God calls people to join other religions.
Mormons are almost never fully postmodern in their worldview, as they do hold to some staple beliefs as knowable truths (there is one true church, Joseph Smith was a prophet, conservative values, etc.), but beyond some basics they are seemingly very atheological.
 Partial embrace of the contemporary idea of "tolerance"
A typical Mormon would not buy the liberal appeal to "tolerance" in support of homosexuality, but he or she would appeal to the modern idea of tolerance when it comes to matters of public criticism, especially criticism that regards basic Mormon truth-claims.
- "When I was a young man, tolerance meant that we treated those with whom we disagreed with civility. It did not mean that we were obligated to accept their point of view. To many of the young people in my classes today, it means that we are to be non-judgmental, holding all men and all ideas to be equal and that it is morally wrong to say that something is morally wrong. It is not an unusual thing to have students cover willful disobedience in the blanket of God’s love and to advance the idea of a universal salvation that sounds dangerously like that advocated by Lucifer in the councils of heaven.
- "People like to equate tolerance with Christ-like behavior, which is in many ways a rather awkward fit. My assumption is that you too have noticed that the appeal for Christ-like behavior generally comes from people who have no meaningful understanding of how Christ behaved and who would be greatly surprised to find out.
- "When the dialogue between Christ and the woman from Canaan was read recently in a religion class at BYU, a number of the students were uneasy with the account of Christ’s behavior. A number of attempts were made to excuse or justify it. One student suggested that in calling the woman a 'dog,' Christ was really using a term of endearment. Such an explanation does not fit well in the context of the story. Finally a young lady gave expression to the thought that troubled many of her classmates. With tears in her eyes she exclaimed, 'But Jesus was so unchristian' (Matthew 15:21-28)." 
 Mormon apologetics
- "Jacques Derrida is revered by those at the foggiest fringes of postmodern thought and reviled by almost everyone else who is familiar with his work . Derrida made a career out of accusing all who critiqued his work of misunderstanding him, while refusing to clarify his position. The whole point of the exercise seemed to be avoidance of understanding... The smell around Daniel Peterson and his ilk at FARMS are symptoms of an ideological system in distress as much as the smell of decaying flesh is of a dead body. They are Derridian postmodern fog machines whose purpose is to make the terrain around the borders of Mormonism so hard to find and to appear so baffling and unattractive that the faithful who wander in that direction will turn back in dismay." -Bob McCue 
- "[T]oday's spirituality remains a deeply privatized matter whose access to reality is through a pristine, uncorrupted self." (David Wells, Above All Earthly Powers, p. 152)
- ↑ Kyle, a Mormon, writes to Rob Sivulka, "I have a feeling that God has a tendency to lead us to churches that will draw us closest to him in our own life circumstances." URL: http://mormoninfo.org/index.php?id=284
- ↑ "The First Vision and Religious Tolerance", by Joseph Fielding McConkie. http://www.meridianmagazine.com/jsbicentennial/051115vision.html. Accessed 8/16/2006.
 See also
- Postmodernism (Theopedia)
- Correspondence theory of truth (Wikipedia)
- To Fog or not to Fog – Mormon Apologetics, by Bob McCue
- Why do smart Mormons like post-modernism?, by Philocrites
- Anti-Intellectualism, Legalism, and the Cults, by Gary F. Zeolla
- The First Vision and Religious Tolerance, by Joseph Fielding McConkie
- Postmodern Mormonism - Part 1, Part 2 (Dave's Mormon Inquiry)
- Joining the Church, Leaving the Church, by Aaron B
- One Light, Many Rays: The Case for Mormon Pluralism, by Joseph Vogel
- Anti-Intellectualism in Mormon History, by Davis Bitton
- Anti-Intellectualism in Mormon History - Thoughts on Anti-Intellectualism - A Response, by James B. Allen
- Do We All Believe in the Same God?, by F. Enzio Busche - Ensign, May 1980, p. 27 - a good example of a traditional, non-pluralistic Mormon position. This kind of rhetoric is largely absent now in Mormonism.