Mercer County church league plays hardball with Mormons
By Bobby Kerlik
Published: Thursday, May 24, 2012, 8:01 p.m.
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2012
The 23 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Slippery Rock who signed up to play in a Mercer County church softball league weren't trying to make a religious statement, their would-be coach says.
"It's softball, for heaven's sake. We thought it would be a good opportunity to get involved in the community," said Brett Udy, 50, of Grove City.
The 10-team Grove City Area Church Softball League disagrees and won't let them join.
"It's more than softball -- it's church softball. If you're saying something's a church, that's more important than what's on the field," said Bryson Hoobler, 31, of Grove City, president of the league, who considers it a Christian league.
"Most of our churches don't view them as Christians. We don't regard the LDS church as a Christian church," Hoobler said. "When you include someone in a group -- that's kind of like saying they're fundamentally the same as most people in the group. We don't feel that's accurate with LDS."
The league's vote last month to keep the Mormon church out -- after at least two teams threatened to quit -- highlights a continuing issue involving how some Christians view Mormons, observers said. The issue cropped up on the national political stage as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has answered questions and concerns over his Mormon faith.
"There has been a discussion of the perception of what Mormonism really is," said Gerald Shuster, professor of political communication at the University of Pittsburgh. "Politically, there will be issues for Mitt Romney in some areas of the country where evangelicals have a strong foothold.
"Overall, it's not going to be the decisive issue in the election. Most clear-thinking people are not going to vote for or against Romney because he's a Mormon."
Mormons consider themselves Christians. The church is based on revelations by Joseph Smith in the 1820s.
Udy detects religious intolerance in the league's decision to keep them out of the softball league.
"Each church in the league has theological differences -- which we do, too. But we do consider ourselves Christians," he said.
The softball league, which starts play next week, includes Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Church of God and Christian Missionary Alliance churches.
Hoobler said individual members of the Mormon church have played on other teams in the league in the past and his league has no problem with that.
Hoobler said representatives of the Mormon team showed up at the first organizational meeting and said they planned to join.
"That kind of took us by surprise but we went on as if they'd be joining. I learned later that people had concerns," Hoobler said.
George Worgul, chairman of the theology department at Duquesne University, said that some Christians could interpret Mormonism as not being Christian based on what they believe about Jesus.
"Mormons are saying in their own way, we do believe these things. It's a battle of interpretation," Worgul said.
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First off, they (mormons) are not in anyway shape or form christians. It wasnt till 1975 that they decided to call themselves that. Joseph Smith was nothing more than a crook and womanizer. He would have people pay him or go out on his own with his stones that he said would find treasure. (the same stones he later said helped him read the brass plates) Joseph Smith also said and I quote " I have done more for the church than Jesus Christ or his apostles have ever done" What a retard. What did Jesus say himself? That He would never leave His Church. So is Jesus a liar or Joseph Smith? Also, why cant every member of the lds faith enter their own temples without a temple recommend and paying their 10%? And why is it every year the bishops of their wards have a meeting with with their flock and ask why they didnt pay their 10% Is that not strange? Its all about money with these people, nothing more. So I guess a scientoligist is a christian too because they could say they believe in Christ. There is no forgiveness for these people because they have denied the Holy Spirit (Its in the Bible, the 1 unforgivable sin), therefore the Trinity. God, His Son ans His Spirit. They will tell you no about alot of things but its still in their doctrine & covenets. Ive lived here in Utah 20+ years and they are the biggest bunch of phony, back stabbing crooks there are.
Submitted by: P on Friday, June 1, 2012
Discrimination against The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons)- bigotry at it's very 'best'... Satan must be very proud and happy! Mormon's are noted for their significant contributions to individuals and communities- including organ donations... The thought of some self righteous bigot's life being spared with a Mormon liver is ironic... especially if he is a 'Christian' softball player :-).
Submitted by: Cade on Thursday, May 31, 2012
I think the softball league was worried that the Mormons would kick their &!$ in the game and make them look like a blabbering bunch of infidels. But, then I read the comments on this post and think that was inevitable despite the ban on the Mormons from joining their league of whiners. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt (Abe Lincoln). I find it funny, too, that all of you non-Mormon types believe you have the authority to claim or assign the title "Christian" as you see fit. I would think only one Man has that right, and in the end, He gets to decide.
Submitted by: karen on Thursday, May 31, 2012
I can see the concern from Grove City Softball league. We had the same situation, they joined our league. We knew they were Mormons. There were no problem at first. Within 2 weeks LDS pamplets were placed in the crack of our front doors. Doorbells being rung durning the day to pray and join LDS. At this point the league felt they were being used for the Mormon agenda. Once issue was address in an adult manor, it stopped and we all continued to play the game. Morman team included.
Submitted by: Jim on Sunday, May 27, 2012
This type of behavior from so-called "Christians" is all too common. So what if it's a "Christian" softball league. It IS just softball, and allowing a Mormon team to play is not somehow the equivalent of accepting Mormonism as Christian if you don't want to believe that. To make it about theology, as if somehow playing softball has anything whatsoever to do with theology, is absurd. Let the Mormons play. It will give you the chance to tell them they are going to hell at each game, which should give you some satisfaction. You can pray that God will bless your team with victory against the Mormons so that Christ will be glorified, and if you beat them on the field of play, it will give you even more assurance that God hates Mormonism. and favors your faith On the other hand, if the Mormons win...Ah yes, I see your dilemma now.
Submitted by: Chuck on Sunday, May 27, 2012
Wow, I've don't think I've been called a "turd" since about third grade. You Mormons are a passionate bunch! And you're very well reasoned with your thoughtful responses. But let's see if we can find some common ground. I can see from the responses that the Mormons feel it's pure bigotry, hatred, and judgmental to exclude anyone just due to some minor theological issues. Only a demon or a Nazi would suggest such a thing. After all, we're all Christians here, right? Well, let's see if we can reach some common ground. I suggest that we all get together in the Celestial Room at the local Mormon temple to iron out our differences. Please just let me know when and where, and I'll be sure to attend.
Submitted by: GodWarieor on Sunday, May 27, 2012
Okay, now we're in deep doo doo
Submitted by: Rebecca on Saturday, May 26, 2012
Irwin wrote: "I guess it's wierd how the spirit of the devil tends to motivate . . . the iron fist of some turd like you . . . I hope you enjoy reading your favorite book tonight...."Mein Kampf"....love your mustache and your brown uniform too with the spider on the arm." So how does a turd have an iron fist? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints organizes separate Boy Scouts of America clubs. Scout leaders are selected by the Bishop of the Ward. LDS would never allow a "Christian" church to run a Mormon troop. Isn't that exactly what the Church Softball League did? What's the big deal? Both sides recognize differences. Irwin, are you going to call LDS Bishops Nazis too?
Submitted by: Melissa on Friday, May 25, 2012
@Tim - It wasn't just any softball league, but a Christian softball league. Mormon doctrine doesn't line up with the basic tenants of the Christian faith, so they can't and shouldn't participate. If this was just a regular softball league you'd have a point, but it wasn't. @Chelsea - Which Jesus do the so called "Christians" have to follow Chelsea? Is it the Jesus you believe is your elder spirit brother, the Jesus that was just a prophet like the Muslims believe, or how about the Jesus Jehovah Witnesses believe was Michael the archangel?
Submitted by: Terry on Friday, May 25, 2012
To all you LDS who are getting your gum in a wad over this: if the softball league chooses not to allow a Mormon team to join, that is their right--and not worth getting upset about. That said, I find it very confusing that the league would allow individual Mormon players to join and play with the other teams in the league, but give a big thumbs down on letting those same Mormon players organize their own team. This points to only ONE thing: The other teams are afraid that the Mormon team would win the league championship! Hypocritically funny, if you ask me. And as far as I'm concerned, the Mormon team is already the champions. A Bible verse comes to mind for this situation: "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;" (Matthew 5:44) To those who voted thumbs down on the decision not to allow a Mormon team into the league (and especially to those on the two teams who threatened to quit if a Mormon team were allowed to play in the league): Mormons are not your enemy; they don't curse you; they don't hate you; they don't despitefully use you; and they certainly do not persecute you. If the shoe were on the other foot, you would be welcomed into their league with open arms. However, that you seem unwilling to follow Jesus counsel in Matthew 5:44, is between you and Him.
Submitted by: Bill on Friday, May 25, 2012
There are simply too many people willing to outwardly share and demonstrate their ignorance of Christianity. By the logic of those pretending that Christ blindly accepted every belief in every circumstance, Jesus sinned and violated his own teachings when he angrily threw the moneychangers out of the temple. By your logic, he would have welcomed them because that is your understanding of the "Christian thing" to do. If a group of Christian churches forms a Christian softball group and invites Christian churches to join, it is not discriminatory to exclude Mosques and Synnagogues. If this were an open league to all of faith, welcoming of Mosques and Synnagogues but excluding of the LDS, then your premise has merit. Those ignorant of the life and teachings of Christ need to stop bestowing upon Christians the burden to accept all actions and behaviors because their misunderstanding leads them to the conclusion that Christ did. He certainly did not. Christians refusing to have lunch with a LDS coworker b/c of faith differences is not following the teachings of Christ. A Christian softball league admitting only Christian churches is.
Submitted by: Tim on Friday, May 25, 2012
This behavior is so typical of "Christians". Like Ghandi said "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians, they are so unlike your Christ." It's softball for heavens sake!
Submitted by: Chelsea on Friday, May 25, 2012
@Melissa: You sound like a very disgruntled former Mormon, so what you have to say comes as no surprise. The point of the article is that Mr. Hoobler will not allow the LDS folk to participate in their Christian softball team... on what grounds? Because he thinks they are not Christian. What makes a Christian? At the most base, a Christian is person who has been baptized and, not only believes, but also follows, the teachings Jesus Christ. To not allow the LDS team to participate is not very Christ-like at all. As for your "main line Christian" theory, I guess you should really place the blame Martin Luther for branching away from the "main line" way back in 1517.
Submitted by: Melissa on Friday, May 25, 2012
Irwin maybe you should do a little more research on Mormonism and a little less name calling. Chuck is correct, for a long time Mormonism wanted nothing to do with Christianity or with being called a Christian and now they want to be part of the club. Why? As long as they continue to believe that Jesus is their elder-spirit-big-brother and not God, and continue to do temple works of salvation for themselves and their dead instead of trusting in the word Jesus did for all of us they will never be Christian
Submitted by: Chelsea on Friday, May 25, 2012
To Mr. Hoobler: As someone your age, I have never been so disappointed in one of my peers. You were quoted in a recent Trib article about the Grove City Area Church Softball League not allowing members of the LDS faith to participate in your league. As quoted: "Most of our churches don't view them as Christians. We don't regard the LDS church as a Christian church," Hoobler said. "When you include someone in a group -- that's kind of like saying they're fundamentally the same as most people in the group. We don't feel that's accurate with LDS." You should know that the Latter-day Saints (LDS, Mormons) are, in fact, Christian. They believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ (His Son), and in the Holy Ghost -- not as a trinity, but three distinctly separate beings. Mormons also believe the Bible to be the word of God and that His Son, Jesus Christ, came to earth to atone for all of our sins. I would think that, as someone with a clear interest in "theology," you would have studied something about Jesus loving and accepting everyone, even those with beliefs different than his. I'd just like to point out that Jesus' disciples didn't fit neatly into categories of Baptist, Methodist, etc. either, but no one acts like they weren't Christians. Yes, there are many differences between Mormonism, Protestantism, Catholicism, and other Christian faiths; however, let's think a little bit further than our own narrow minds. Is this really about differences of religious opinion or current politics? You decide, but please, I urge you to do the Christ-like thing -- allow the Mormon team, in all fairness, to play.
Submitted by: Melissa on Friday, May 25, 2012
Sorry Nancy the Mormon Church doesn’t base their religion on the Bible, but on the words of Joseph Smith, their other past and current leaders, and their extra books.( And I should know, I was a Mormon for many years before leaving it for a relationship with Jesus Christ.) To quote the 8th Article of Faith of the Mormon Church "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God." Notice the wording there, they don't trust the Bible as much as they do their Book of Mormon. Don't give me a sob story about a "bigoted attitude", it was the founder of Mormonism himself who said that God told him how all Christian religions were an abomination, and corrupt. The attacks and bigoted attitude toward main line Christianity didn't stop there. Mormons and their leaders have said over and over again that Mormonism is "the only true church on the face of the earth." I could give you quote upon quote from Mormon that state how really feel about Christianity. I say BRAVO to the Grove City Area Church Softball League. "What fellowship has light with darkness?"
Submitted by: Nancy on Friday, May 25, 2012
I am so saddened by the hypocritical and bigoted attitude of so called church people. The Mormons base their religion on the Bible just as they do. The Mormons would never exclude you from a softball league because of the minor ideological differences. I have noted the churches that belong to your League and would not bother to look for love and tolerance as Jesus taught in any of them. Hopefully you will have better judgement in the future.
Submitted by: Nancy on Friday, May 25, 2012
Shame on the Grove City Area Church Softball League. I'll stand by the Mormons and their exemplary teachings of kindness to the bigoted and unChristian behavior of the League, and their members. How hypocritical of you all.
Submitted by: Irwin on Friday, May 25, 2012
Chuck. Your smugness it's nauseating. Funny how you seem to know so much about other religions, tell them how to worship, and yet don't live your own. I guess it's wierd how the spirit of the devil tends to motivate people to hatred. Let's not confuse the God given, Constitution enforced right for Mormons to believe what they want, worship who they will, where they will, without the iron fist of some turd like you telling them what they should or shouldn't worship. It's called America and freedom of religion is protected under the U.S. Constitution. As for you and your biggoted friends not letting Mormons play in their league of Biggots, the Mormons shouldn't feel too bad. The "league of Christians" might make the Mormons wear a Swastika arm bankd on their uniform. My question for you and the "Christian" softball league are simply this? Does it stop with softball? How about if Mormons have their own drinking fountains and sections of restaurants in which they live? Or how about we make them wear an armband to distinguish them or put them in their own neighborhoods? Just because you and your biggoted friends OPIN that Mormons aren't Christians. I've known lots of Mormons in my life. And I can tell you that they are more Christlike and would let anyone play in their basketball and softball leauges or jello salad making contests whether they were white, black, hispanic, jewish, muslim. While they still maintain their beliefs and stand by them, they don't let those beliefs exclude others because of their different beliefs....and they try to emulate the true and living Christ. Contrast that with your softball league beer drinking buddies that really are nothign more than wolves in sheep's clothing,...(or a "bigot" in a "Christian" Softball Player's uniform. I hope you enjoy reading your favorite book tonight...."Mein Kampf"....love your mustache and your brown uniform too with the spider on the arm.
Submitted by: DC on Friday, May 25, 2012
Submitted by: Wynn on Friday, May 25, 2012
I want to congratulate my fellow Christians for doing the right thing. That is exactly what Christ would have done. He hated anyone that believed differently than Him. If Christ were in this league there is no way he would have played with the Mormons. He would have sent them straight to hell. His was the gospel of love but only for those who believed the same as Him. I would find a passage in the Bible to support this but I seem to be having trouble. I'm sure it is there somewhere... just can't find it right now. Honestly, you seem to have no trouble talking the talk but a lot of trouble walking the walk. Don't worry, Christ loves you anyway. Fortunately for you he has a lot of patience.
Submitted by: Chuck on Friday, May 25, 2012
These sorts of tensions are inevitable it seems. The entire foundation of Mormonism is based upon a belief that when Joseph Smith was seeking out a church to join he was told by God himself that he should join none of them because they were all apostate. In one version of his story, Smith claimed God told him that all those church's creeds were abominable and all their professors were corrupt. Mormons reject the baptism of all other churches and Mormons forbid anyone but worthy Mormons from participating in secret temple ceremonies. In addition to this, there are boatloads of doctrinal differences that forever divide Mormonism from historic Christianity too. So, it may be more accurate to realize it's the Mormons who have segregated themselves from the rest of Christianity. We can't really blame the other churches for simply recognizing that.