The Summer Christian Fellowship (SCF) faced accusations of intolerance and a College investigation during July, when they refused to allow Meredith Brooks (Dartmouth class of 2003) a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons/LDS), a significant leading role within their group.
Ms. Brooks was disqualified due to her Mormon beliefs, which the group found conflicted with their own, as a "non-denominational, evangelical" Christian organization. Ms. Brooks reflected, "I went away...knowing that I wouldn't really be accepted as a Christian member of that organization." But despite that SCF decision Brooks stated, "I have no doubt that I am indeed a Christian."
SCF explained that their status as a "non-denominational, evangelical" organization was well known at Dartmouth and approved in June by campus ministers, which included Patricia Crossett, the Mormon student advisor, who refused to be a SCF sponsor. The SCF is not funded by the college and is instead supported by Asian Christian Fellowship, Campus Crusade for Christ, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Navigators Christian Fellowship, a non-denominational Christian group called Provision and its own membership.
SCF leader Joel Wickre (class of 2003) said, "We're welcoming of all people to be part of our fellowship, but as an organization, we want to be true to the things that we believe and consistent in our theology."
Dartmouth Professor of Religion Charles Stinson tacitly acknowledged that there are serious theological differences between historical Christianity and the Mormon Church. This included such issues as what is revealed scripture, divine revelation and the nature of God. In fact, no Christian church or denomination has ever recognized the Mormon Church as Christian. Most recently the Vatican clarified that Mormon baptism is not Christian and would therefore not be recognized by the Roman Catholic Church.
Religion Department Chair Ronald Green added that the Mormon Church has been attempting in recent years to gain recognition as a mainstream Christian Church. But Ms. Crosset, the Mormon student advisor on campus admitted, "Christian denominations don't seem to get along [with the Mormon Church] and that's just the way it is. I'm a great believer that various groups can invite who they want to be a part of them."
The theology of the Mormon Church is based upon the Book of Mormon, which church founder Joseph Smith said was translated from ancient texts he discovered with the help of an angel. The Book of Mormon claims that Jesus returned to earth after his ascension recorded in the New Testament. He then had a second ministry in America. Mormons regard their book as "revealed scripture" and thus a continuation of the Christian bible.
Ronald Green explained, "It's probably the only major religion created on American soil [and] is wholly an American phenomenon."