Mormons, Baptists, and Christians

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Sun Nov 7 14:12:13 UTC 1999

Course Ron is right. How "speech communities" (and couldn't they include
religious groups?) define words is of considerable sociolinguistic


 >Someone writes:
><Now, let's get back to making this a dialectal discussion> and goes on to
>discuss pronunciation of BAPTIST.
>But of course the discussion of the social differences in the meaning of the
>term CHRISTIAN is a very interesting question in social dialectology.
>Clearly, there is a certain subset of relgious persons who use the term
>CHRISTIAN to designate only persons whose particular religious views are
>very, very close to their own. Others use the term much more ecumenically.
>There is also a grey area here, because the former are often given to such
>statements as, "To be a Christian, you must accept Jesus Christ as your
>personal savior and develop a personal relationship with Jesus." But such
>statements in themselves are open to various interpretations. I would expectd
>that most devoted Catholics and Mormons feel that they accept Jesus Christ as
>their personal savior and have developed a personal relationship with Jesus.
>Does Baylor have an official policy statement that says that Mormons are not
>Christians, or is the exclusion of Mormons rather based on interpretation of
>what it means to accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior and develop a
>personal relationship with Jesus?
>This is, it seems to me, an interesting sociolinguistic questions.

Dennis R. Preston
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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