In all my blogging interactions, I try to be diplomatic, respectful, and inoffensive. 1 Peter 3:15 says to be ready always to give a reason for the hope that is in you, but to do so with gentleness and respect (NIV). So I usually try to be somewhat gentle and respectful because I feel we can all disagree without being disagreeable.
I genuinely try to set the record straight, while being pretty mainstream and mainline, as well as honest. I'm not afraid of controversy, but I don't seek it out. I have opinions and I share them, no matter what the topic is. I'm not afraid to say things, but I am very conscientious of how I say it. I suppose I try to be more middle-road, because I believe I can say what I need to say without driving people crazy or being offensive. I'm not offended when Evangelicals say that "You're wrong and we're right", and I would assume Evangelicals wouldn't take offense if I were to say (or at least believe) that "I'm right and your wrong". It shouldn't be a surprise to any of us that we both think we're right. But I think there is a more effective means of communication.
For example, I don't believe we should go out and say other churches are all wrong. It's not that clear-cut, not that black and white to me. My paradigm allows other churches to have much truth--just not a fullness of truth. I readily acknowledge that many churches sprung up, not because of the Great Apostasy, but in spite of, to counteract the Great Apostasy. In other words, I think most Christians are doing the best that they know how. This might be a different perception than other Mormons might have, but in this case I deeply believe I'm right. But Mormons actually have a lot of freedom to believe differently in many things, and still be considered faithful and in good standing.
In this case, I believe that most Christian churches have the core of the gospel--they have many pieces of the puzzle. So I have great respect for good Christians everywhere. But why I went on a mission, and what I share when I go out from time to time with the missionaries in my local area, is not to tear other people down and say that their churches are completely wrong, because I just don't believe that. I just think that Mormons happen to have additional pieces of the puzzle--though a fullness of the gospel might be still allusive if the restoration indeed continues.
Nevertheless, this is why the LDS missionaries don't leave your doorstep when you tell them you are a Christian. We deeply believe that we have more to offer you as Christians with a fulness of the gospel. "Bring all the good that you have and let us see if we can add to it". Essentially, my take is this: Let's learn from each other, but please be open to seeing if we can't make more sense out of your framework or your puzzle pieces. I think we can all learn something together if we're open minded. I like the synergy that comes from dialogue rather than the abrasiveness that comes from trying to "win" an argument.
Peter Schuttler, Wagonmaker
3 hours ago