LDS scholars Peterson and Ricks, in their Offenders for a Word, 55-62, cite Reverend John L. Smith as an example of confusion by anti-Mormons anxious to argue that Latter-day Saints worship "another Jesus."
Helland picked up this same charge (p. 3). Reverend Smith, who has the distinction of having founded Utah Missions, Inc., responded to Offenders for a Word in the November 1992 issue of the Evangel, a UMI newsletter. Reverend Smith triumphantly proclaimed: "I Have Arrived," because he found his name mentioned in Offenders for a Word. After attacking Latter-day Saints for forty years, he expressed his gratification on finding that some Latter-day Saints had finally taken notice of him.
Reverend Smith concedes that Peterson and Ricks are correct when they claim that UMI has been in the business of "denying that Mormonism is Christian" (Offenders for a Word, p. 2, which is quoted by Reverend Smith, cf. also p. 20, etc.).
Reverend Smith knows where he stands on Mormon things; he does not soften his stance, nor does he deny that he has identified the "Satanic nature of the Christ-denying cult of Mormonism" (quoted from The Utah Evangel 33 [May 1986]: 3), or speculated that Anti-Christ may turn out to be a Mormon.
He proclaims that Mormonism is "anti-Christian" (see The Evangel 37 [Oct. 1990]: 12).
Watch Out For The Strong Adversive!
However, Robert McKay, Smith's assistant at UMI, garbles the issue by denying that Peterson and Ricks have correctly stated the position of UMI. McKay distances himself and UMI from the "stinging comments about the church made by anti-Mormons."
McKay concedes that "those thus quoted [by Peterson and Ricks] were totally out of line in their language if not their message."
McKay's strategy, unlike that of Reverend Smith, is to make the practice of vilification, misrepresentation, slander, vituperation, mockery, innuendo, bald lies, and ridicule less obvious. He seems determined to salvage whatever he can of the anti-Mormon "message" by stating the thesis of Offenders for a Word incorrectly.
He claims that what he calls "the premise of this book is that anti-Mormons merely twist words in order to make it appear that "Mormons are not Christian,' when in fact members of the LDS church are Christians."
Reverend Smith, on the other hand, gets the key point right: anti-Mormons, he acknowledges, are in the business of flatly "denying that Mormonism is Christian."
McKay equivocates: he asserts that Peterson and Ricks argue that anti-Mormons claim that Latter-day Saints are not Christian, but UMI has never made such a charge, though in the same issue of The Evangel Reverend Smith makes that charge.
McKay claims that UMI has always held that some Latter-day Saints are in fact genuine Christians; it is Mormonism that is not Christian.
McKay's mistake allows him to avoid confronting the argument set out by Peterson and Ricks.
When Reverend Smith stated the position of UMI, it turned out to be the claim refuted by Peterson and Ricks, that is, that UMI denies "that Mormonism”as a doctrinal system and institution is a Christian church."
Such is the quality of Utah Missions, Inc., one of Reverend Helland's chief sources of information on Mormon things.