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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Margaret Edwards, January 20, 2002. Interview R-0157. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Judeo-Christian opposition to Mormonism in the South

Edwards describes the falling-out she had with her best friend regarding her conversion to Mormonism. Although she argues that other people she was close to at least tried to be accepting of her faith, even if they didn't agree with it, she explains that opposition from more established Judeo-Christian churches in the area were often vocal in their opposition to the teachings of the Mormon Church. In addressing these kinds of tensions between churches in the South, Edwards suggests that it was the rapid rate at which the Mormon Church was growing that led other churches to so vociferously oppose it.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Margaret Edwards, January 20, 2002. Interview R-0157. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Do you ever from time to time I know you said that you went with your friend to her church a few months ago. But are there other times when you do visit from time to time other churches?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
I had a girlfriend, which I broke with her because she stayed on my back about being a Mormon. She harassed me about it, and she's supposed to be my friend. In fact she supposed to have been my best friend. From her perspective she was my best friend but not from my perspective, but she had hounded me all the time about being in that church. You need to get out of that church. I'm going to find a way to get you out of that church. She made it her law that she was going to get me out of that church. I got tired of it. So I used to go to church with her.
BARBARA COPELAND:
What church does she belong to?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Some church in Durham.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh okay. Is it a non-denominational?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Probably because, yeah. I think so yeah.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Did you like the church services there?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Well, they were okay, but the thing is after the service turned out they would kind of stay away from me like I was a leper or something.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh really.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
I think it, I think it and I told her that too. I think the reason why they did it was because I was a Mormon. She probably told them I went to the Mormon church. They got don't touch me like—
BARBARA COPELAND:
That's awful in the church.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
I know. I know.
BARBARA COPELAND:
If anything they should've been more embracing.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
I know, but they weren't.
BARBARA COPELAND:
But see now there's another difference because people from other denominations other than the Latter-day Saints, non-Mormons can go to the Mormon church and be a Baptist or Pentecostal, and the Mormons don't treat them like that. I've not seen that.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
We don't. We're taught not to. We accept everybody.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Did you tell your friend that?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Yeah. One time we had an activity at our church because sometimes we have lots of activities. We have socials and stuff like that. I invited her. She wouldn't go up to that Saturday night when they had it. She talked about I wasn't led to go. She always wanted me to go to church with her, but she wouldn't go with me, so I stopped going with her.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Yeah. But she feels bad because she can't get you out of the Mormon church.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Right. She tried her best though.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Is she the only person that has been so negative about you being in the church or what about maybe other family members or other friends who—
MARGARET EDWARDS:
She's the only one that's negative that was so negative, and she had, her husband had given me some anti-Mormon literature.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Really. Oh my gosh. So he's trying too to get you out of the church. That's interesting. So do you have other family members who are also Mormon or is it just you?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Just me.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Oh okay. So but your husband or your, your ex-husband he wasn't Mormon either. Yeah. That's very interesting that you would have close friends who would not respect the religion that you choose. So she's never come to visit the Mormon church.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
No, my daughter has been there with me like when we had a, we had a picnic for the get to know family members, non-members. So they gave a pig picking for non-members, and my daughter went. She came and some of her friends came with her. We had a talent show at the stake center over on Six Forks, and she came with us too.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Did she like it?
MARGARET EDWARDS:
She said she did.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Right. That's interesting. Yeah. A lot of times people do get a lot of negative feedback from outside family members, outside friends, even people in the neighborhood that they live in once they discover that you are a member of a church that is not as widespread or not as big as or not as well known as the Judeo-Christian churches. Then they have a hard time dealing with that. I think some of that comes from just not knowing about what the church is all about. But now Mormonism is growing and is supposed to be one of the fastest growing—
MARGARET EDWARDS:
It is.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Churches. It's increasing its membership.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
It's the fastest growing.
BARBARA COPELAND:
It has churches. It's an international church now.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Right it is.
BARBARA COPELAND:
It has churches in so many different countries.
MARGARET EDWARDS:
Churches and temples.
BARBARA COPELAND:
Yeah. Yeah. That it's becoming a very, very big church.