Thinking Out Loud

April 15, 2020

Jack Christian? (Not the Movie Producer)

Jack Rabbit (Wikipedia) — sourcing this image meant adding a note to the third definition below.

Until yesterday, I had never heard the term ‘Jack Mormon.’ It was a two-word reply to something in a long string of texting I was doing with a friend in Toronto, and I had to pause and check it out.

Wikipedia is always a good place to start:

The term Jack Mormon is a slang term originating in nineteenth-century America. It was originally used to describe a person who was not a baptized member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints but who was friendly to church members and Mormonism, sympathized with them, and/or took an active interest in their belief system. Sometime in the early- to mid-twentieth century, however, the term began to refer to an individual deemed by adherents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) to be an inactive or lapsed member of the LDS Church who, despite his personal religious viewpoint, maintained good relations with and positive feelings toward the church.

There then follows various theories as to the origin of the term.

But then there was this definition at Urban Dictionary:

A person who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but seldom or never practices their religion. Unlike ex-Mormons or anti-Mormons, Jack Mormons usually support the goals and beliefs of the church and maintain friendships with practicing Mormons, but for reasons of their own choose not to attend church services and activities. Jack Mormons may also indulge in activities discouraged by the church, such as drinking alcohol, smoking, and premarital sex.

Jack Mormon equivalents in other religions are “Christmas and Easter Christians” and “Yom Kippur Jews”.

The last paragraph sounded familiar. Chreasters. CEOs (Christmas and Easter Only.) Or perhaps in the case of a Jewish friend, non-observant.

This item at HJ News is South Logan, Utah, linked to an article that we couldn’t trace, but it was definitely worth including; if you only click one, this is the best article on the subject:

…Depending on whose mouth the words come from, it’s a term that can be bitterly derogatory or delightfully descriptive, colorful or off-color. Use it in a Cache Valley conversation and it is almost certain to illicit some sort of facial expression from your listener be that a smirk, a frown or a grimace.

Even putting it in print on a newspaper page is a bit scary. No matter what is written about this group of people with the curious nickname, someone out there is likely to become offended…

…According to the Web site Mormonhaven.com., an unofficial LDS information exchange, the term refers to people who are Mormon in name but not in deed. “Just as a Jackrabbit looks like a rabbit but isn’t truly a hare [Ed. note: Wikipedia disagrees], ‘Jack Mormon’ refers to someone claiming to be Mormon but who does not follow the teachings of the church,” the Web site states…

In the Cache Valley vernacular, a “Jack Mormon” isn’t necessarily an outright hypocrite or a closet smoker and drinker, as the above definition implies. Rather, the term is commonly used in reference to all people who were born into the LDS faith but have drifted away from its practices while remaining on the church’s membership rolls. Some try to keep up appearances. Some don’t…

Coffee for people who can’t drink coffee. Except they do. And it’s coffee.

At this point in your reading of this, knowing that Mormons aren’t allowed to consume caffeine, it should come as no surprise to you that there’s even a Jack Mormon Coffee Company.

So what about the term which is the title of today’s piece, ‘Jack Christian?’

I don’t expect it to take off; Chreasters is probably the most entrenched right now, or in more formal company, nominal Christian.

Revelation 3:15-16 came to mind,

I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! (NLT)

As did Luke 6:46

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? (NASB)

As did many other verses. (James 1:22, Matthew 7:21, Romans 12:11 )

The point is that from celebrities to politicians to church acquaintances to sometimes even a deep search of our own hearts; we can often identify that state of being on a membership roll somewhere, or keeping up the appearance of being a Christian (sometimes for the advantage it gives in the civic arena or in business) without really living it. Having a talk which doesn’t match our walk.

I guess that’s why I found this term so interesting. To know that in every religious tribe there are people who, despite their connection to a faith which should be all-engaging, choose to dwell on the sidelines. Or even in complete rebellion.

And just because it happens in other faiths, doesn’t make it right or normative. Christ’s desire is that we be all-in.


After this article was posted, I continued the theme later that same day at Christianity 201. Click here to read ‘Nominal Christian’ is an Oxymoron.


Related articles at Thinking Out Loud:

  • Our own visit to a local Latter Day Saints’ church included an encounter in the lobby with a woman who whispered to us that she was completely non-observant.
  • Yes, there really is a thing called Mormon underwear. Three years ago, in an April Fool’s piece, we suggested that an Evangelical equivalent was launching.
  • Late last year, buried at the bottom of a link list item, was the revelation that Mormon scripture translators were receiving assistance from Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Note: This article uses the term Mormon throughout. However in late Summer of 2018, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints announced they were distancing themselves from and fully jettisoning internal use of that term. See this CNN article.

 

 

March 30, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Here we link again…

  • Topping the link list this week is my other blog, Christianity 201, which celebrates its first anniversary on Friday.
  • As the above picture indicates, The Book of Mormon, the book, is now The Book of Mormon the broadway play.  Even LDS leaders admit that the founding of their religion is a somewhat colorful story. (I think the guy in the forefront was working my street last week…)
  • The book Radical by David Platt was a big seller this summer, with some themes in common with Francis Chan’s Crazy Love. Here’s a link to the free download of the preview chapter for the forthcoming sequel, Radical Together.
  • Only six percent of Christian couples pray together?  Pete Wilson lays that statistic out as the basis for a seven day challenge to his congregation.
  • A related item:  Canadian Dave Carrol — a confirmed ‘scrapper’ —  talks about learning the art of ridiculous love.
  • Another Canadian, former Cambridge Vineyard pastor Robert Hall died suddenly in a construction accident on the mission field in Zambia.  He leaves behind three young children and his wife Kate who is the daughter of Canadian broadcaster Jim Cantelon and his wife Kathy.
  • A final Canadian story: Linda Bond was elected — on the first ballot — as head of the Salvation Army International; the fourth time in 150 years that a Canadian has held the post, and the third time the denomination has elected a woman.
  • In light of the latest teapot tempest over ‘that’ book, Rachel Held Evans considers The Future of Evangelicalism.
  • Dean Lusk finds some of those really old Bible translations, like the NLT, in need of an update in this more contemporary paraphrase of Romans 2.
  • The Maccabeats are back.  This time the theme is the Feast of Purim, aka the story of Esther, like you’ve never heard it before.  (Actually we’re about ten days late, Purim was March 20th this year.)
  • And while we’re YouTube linking, Darrell from Stuff Fundies Like explains the fundamentalist aversion to playing cards.
  • At the blog Biblical Preaching, a look at the problem of preaching moralism.
  • With Good Friday and Easter Sunday inching closer, I want to share a site with you that is very useful if you lead worship or prepare the quotations that often appear on-screen during weekend services.  Here’s what Daily Christian Quote offers for Good Friday.
  • Dave at a new blog, Armchair Theology is running a series of Bible misunderstandings under the title, Calling God Fool.  Click to link to the blog and then scroll into the middle of March posts.

July 3, 2010

When Scripture Becomes Conversation

Filed under: apologetics, cults — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:13 am

About ten days ago I walked in a conversation one of my staff members was having with a member of the LDS or Mormon church.   We were quite busy and so I started dealing with her, leaving my staff member to deal with other customers.

She was hoping to find some LDS material from their in-house printing company, Deseret Publishing, and I gently explained why it is that you don’t see those materials in a Christian bookstore.

But once I’d drawn a few lines in the sand, she was comfortable staying as I was comfortable continuing the conversation.

The thing that impressed me was how — without citing chapter or verse — the scriptures of her faith flowed out of her conversationally.   I could tell when she quoting something versus when it was just her talking, though she didn’t make a big deal out of it.   Of course, I don’t know if she was quoting Doctrine and Covenants, or Pearl of Great Price, or The Book of Mormon; while conversely, she was impressed that I could name those books off the top of my head.

I don’t know how many quotations our conversation contained.   I was able to spot two or three but there may have been more.    It was natural, effortless.   Biblical quotations flow from me just as easily — either quoted or instantly paraphrased — though I wasn’t trying to match her line for line, as it wasn’t that type of discussion.  But maybe that’s why I recognized what was going on at her end.

She remained convinced that I would be won over if I would simply sit down and read The Book of Mormon, though she failed several times to truly hear me when I said that I do, in fact, actually own one and have read large sections of it.

I’m reminded again of two quotations:

Of all the major religions in the world, Christians are least acquainted with their own scriptures.

And this one:

A faith community that does not impart its sacred writings to its young people is one generation away from extinction.

Sorry, I don’t have the sources on those at hand.  But obviously, either my LDS friend, or whoever has been mentoring her, gets it.

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