Robert Starling says some people do not believe Mormons are Christians and has written a book to refute that claim.
Recently published by Brentwood Christian Press and available on Amazon.com, it is called "Really Inside Mormonism: Confessions of a Mere Latter-day Christian."
A 1964 graduate of Jordan Vocational High School and now a resident of Utah, Starling visited Columbus recently.
Holding a copy of his 459-page paperback book, Starling said there are thousands of Christian denominations in the world and one of those is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which he has long been a member of.
"There are different flavors, different ways of worshipping. But Jesus is what we all have in common," Starling said. "Mormons are not Baptist Christians or Evangelical Christians. We do have some different beliefs and doctrines, but we are no more different from those flavors of Christianity than Roman Catholic or Orthodox flavors."
He said the difference between denominations is not great.
"Our founder Joseph Smith said the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the apostles and prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that he died, was buried, and rose again the third day and ascended into heaven," Starling said. "All other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it. Most of the misunderstandings other Christians have about Mormons pertain to the appendages, not to the fundamental principles that we share with them."
About his book, Starling remarked, "I've spent 30 years preparing and researching the answers regarding my faith that are explained in detail in this book. I hope it will bring more unity and fellowship into the Christian community."
He feels now is the perfect time for a book such as this.
"In a day when all people of faith find their religious liberties under attack from an increasingly secular and anti-religious society, we need to stand together on basic Christian values. The program director at the largest radio Christian radio station in America once said 'We don't always have to see eye to eye on every doctrine in order to walk arm in arm in a righteous cause.' I believe that."
Starling said he has seen unity among different denominations work for good.
"When I lived in Lancaster, Calif., a group of concerned citizens were able to shut down a porn store in our town because Baptists and Catholics were willing to work with Mormons. Christ prayed to his father that his disciples would be 'one, even as we are one.' The purpose of my book is to try and bring about that kind of unity among today's followers of Jesus no matter what their flavor might be. Together, we can change the world."
He is proud of his faith.
"I am a Mormon, and I am a Biblical Christian. I am not a member of some cult. We have 15 million members," he said. "I want to give people a better understanding of my faith. I want to deal with critics of the church."
Starling is currently head of Trefoil Productions LLC., a film and video production company.
The graduate of Brigham Young University has vast experience at writing, directing and producing. He has worked locally at television station WLTZ where he was creator and executive producer of the "Dee Armstrong Show."
A former writer and producer for NBC Universal where he did promotional productions, he has worked on several video and DVD projects for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"A lot of people say the Mormons keep secrets, but we have been very forthcoming about our beliefs," he said.
And he details those beliefs in the book.
Starling said having more unique church doctrine does not make his any less Christian.
"I have found when I can get past the stereotypes in talking with other Christians we can share our common love of Christ and his teachings and have a great time together," he said.