Catholic And Mormon : A Theological Conversation Essay

Catholic And Mormon : A Theological Conversation Essay

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The book Catholic and Mormon: A Theological Conversation is a great example of how to properly discuss religion with members of different faiths. The books authors Stephen Webb (Catholic) and Alonzo Gaskill (Mormon) are extremely knowledgeable about their respective faiths and obviously believe in their religion with all of their hearts but yet do not fall into the traps that so many people fall into when discussing religion. They exhibit holy envy for other religions, they do not step on already bruised toes, are respectful of others and their beliefs, are objective and open-minded, and they focus on the similarities of their religions rather than dwell on the differences.
Mormons are encouraged (through the emphasis on member-missionary work as well as, for some, experiences as full-time missionaries) to proselytize, proselytize, and proselytize. This is all well and good but there are people that are firm in their beliefs and that is also fine. God does not necessarily want everyone to be a Mormon but rather wants everyone to have faith and live a virtuous life. The book does a good job of presenting the beliefs of both of the religions without attempting to persuade the other author or the reader to convert. This is an important aspect of quality inter-faith dialogue. When in a discussion about our religions we should seek merely to present what we believe. An example of this in the text is when Alonzo says, “Please know, I am not trying to prove the LDS view here; only to demonstrate the concept . . .” (pg. 184).
Avoiding the urge to proselytize is a very respectful thing to do. Respect should always be given to everyone of differing beliefs and respect should be given also to their beliefs themselves. Stephen and Alonzo ...

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...n our focus is on our polarizing viewpoints. In order to understand other religions better we need to explore common positions. An excellent example of this is found in the chapter on rituals. It says, “Mormon baptism for the dead is surely its most controversial ritual, and I cannot help but [draw] some parallels between that and the Catholic belief in transubstantiation” (Pg. 86). The author could have very well expounded on what makes baptism for the dead so controversial but instead made a connection with an aspect of his own faith. Making connections is imperative to growth and development. Without Stephen seeking to find similarities and sharing it, I would probably have never made this connection between baptism for the dead and transubstantiation. This helps me better understand the idea of transubstantiation and am more accepting of this Catholic practice.

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