walking home

Today I acquired the Book of Mormon and parted with my mobile number.

I’m too embarrassed to put it on Facebook, so I’ll just discreetly mention it to the rest of the world here.

As if I didn’t have enough things to think about than whether to meet with zealous cultists.

Poor souls. Not only wrong, but unhappy with it.

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15 thoughts on “walking home

  1. I acquired a Book of Mormon a week or two ago and, for my long forgotten sins (it’s enough to make me believe in karma), a copy of their catechism. The only phrase that comes to mind to sum up both is “curiouser and curiouser”.

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  2. The one and only time I helped at a parish mission inviting people to mission events the only person ready to listen to us at all turned out to be – a Jehova’s Witness. Upon which we spent the next hour trying to missionise each other. It was a bizarre situation.

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  3. It’s very, very bizarre. I did assure them as firmly-but-gently as I could that giving them my number did by no means imply I was prepared to be convinced.

    I’ve also given up trying to swot up on what they believe. No two pairs of them seem to spin the same line anyway, and Mormons seem to have a strategy of saying they believe the same as you as much as they can get away with. Instead if you’re prepared to discuss the eternal Sonship of Christ, or the Trinity, the differences are immediately obvious and insurmountable, and will easily take up the 25-30min slot they’re prepared to spend with you before they move on to the next victim. Mormons are generally nicer than JWs anyway. I’m still have bruises from my last encounter with JWs.

    I’ve never seen a Mormon catechism – the mind boggles! The boys from yesterday asterisked a chapter in, I think, 3 Nephi, or something, which I suppose I might try and read in case they do call back. Urgh.

    Mormons at the prayer meeting – did they just turn up? Maybe they just saw lots of guys in suits and got confused :-)

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  4. Oh no, they were from Utah. Born and bred. Actually they were stationed in Northern Ireland and only here for a day. Which they conveniently never let on till after they’d elicited my mobile number and offered to come and chat further, and then it was less of the “we’ll give you a call” and more “someone will be in touch”. As if agreeing to talk to harmless wee boys was somehow equivalent to talking to any random pair. Harmless, obviously, except for the glazed look and slick and slightly irrelevant response to any question/comment and earnest assurance that prayers (about the Book of Mormon being true) *will* be answered, I know it.

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  5. You have my condolences. It is a little like talking to a wall, isn’t it? A very friendly, well-dressed wall.

    On the plus side, you do get an easy introduction to their system of beliefs, if you have a little patience.

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  6. Either that, or it was a wee hint not to be so mean about a Book which is, after all, predicted at the end of the Gospel of Luke.

    Actually, when they told me that, I wanted to say: I think you mean John, and anyway it doesn’t. But by the time I opened my mouth, the other one had changed the subject.

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  7. They showed me the first line of the first page in the Book of Mormon where it says it’s a comparable revelation to the Bible. Clearly, it can’t be, but they didn’t seem to get the point (or i didn’t put it very well) that the Bible itself excludes the possibility of any such thing. They assured me they did believe the Bible was “unique”, which again on hindsight mightn’t have been the most transparent term to use. There was also some blether about how, if God loves everybody, he would surely have given us a book about the West as well as about the East! – dodgy logic, and no sense of the sufficiency of scripture. I hope the folks they meet in N.Ireland do better the next time they meet them.

    The other odd thing about their sales pitch was the insistence on praying – praying for God to convince you that the Book of Mormon is true. I asked what if I prayed and got convinced it wasn’t true? but their answer, which I don’t now remember, was barely relevant. The problem is, as again with hindsight I should have said, but I’m never quick enough face to face, that I would be praying to a very specific God, who (a) has already delivered his view on the Book of Mormon by giving us the contents of the Bible, and (b) is wholly different from the deity who they suppose prayer is addressed to. In theory, the best defence in these kinds of situations is to bring the conversation round as directly/promptly as possible to the being of God, partly because that’s the most important point of difference, partly because it’s what they most need to know/hear, and partly because you can stand firmly and squarely on what the Bible unequivocally teaches (three persons, one God, the divinity of Christ) so that even if they know enough heretical theology to argue with you, they won’t be able to budge you. In practice, obviously, that’s easier said than done.

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  8. You kept the book of Mormon Catherine?! I threw away Josh’s copy sometime ago and he reminds me of it often ;-).

    I am coming round more to his way of thinking nowadays though – unless it’s truly an occult book which I would definitely still throw out. It’s definitely a good idea to at least know what someone else believes before taking them on!

    On a positive note one year we had an ex Mormon come to present a stall full of material about how to reach various groups (such as Mormons, JW’s etc) with the gospel. He had become a Christian through some of his Christian friends.

    Some of our friends won’t set foot in a Mormon temple. One of the apologists we really like to listen to Ravi Zacharias got an invite to speak at the big temple in Utah! He went and got a lot of stick for it.

    http://www.rzim.org/

    However, he went to explain the Gospel to them so I think that his decision was probably right!

    Would be interested to hear your opinion :-)

    Elp xxx

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  9. I know what you mean, some people are truly afraid to speak to Mormons/JWs on their doorstep, but I’m not so sure. I think we can all be more confident than we realise about our faith – not in the slick way that they have an answer at their fingertips no matter what you say, but simply being able to state that they differ from us on the absolutely core truths of the bible, and not be bludgeoned into thinking they actually aren’t too heretical after all. They’re more to be pitied than feared, I think.

    Although, having said that … the scary JWs that I last had dealings with – we were talking about the Trinity and they played what they obviously thought was their trump card by asking, What is the Holy Spirit’s name?! The First Person is called the Father, the Second Person is called the Son, but what is the name of the Third Person? I was like, “well, em, The Holy Spirit. That is his name.” And they were flummoxed. Which made me think they’d never managed to find a Christian previously who was able to tell them the name of the Holy Spirit. Which is quite appalling if so. So perhaps there is a case to be made that flight is the better part of valour if people don’t know about the Trinity: while at the same time being a massive hint that everyone should make sure they are fully satisfied that they know who is the God that they claim to be worshipping (in general, even if they never come across anyone who challenges it!).

    I heard (?read?) the testimony of someone who was converted from either Mormonism or JWism (can’t remember which) and she said something to the effect that there wasn’t one single crisis moment in her experience but rather it was the cumulative effect of many many Christians taking the time to explain that her beliefs were not consistent with the Bible. So you never know what might come of just speaking with them. Simply treating these poor folks with courtesy must count for a lot, I think – they are clearly not enjoying their “evangelism” and they must be working under all sorts of pressures (eg the less experienced of the pair is always, always looking to the senior one to check that they’re saying the right thing). Their lives must be absolute misery.

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  10. I love it when the local JW’s come to visit me, they’re nice people I think, though sadly led astray. But ‘mine’ haven’t been around to visit for a long time now. :-(

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  11. Yes I agree it can’t be much fun for them!

    When we were in Tennessee in June there were some Mormons riding round the town on bikes in the absolutely blazing heat. They have to do a year’s placement don’t they and doesn’t getting a wife depend on doing it properly as well?

    Josh thought that they were probably making them go round on bikes rather than giving them cars to drive (which you really need in TN as you know!) as a character and faith building experience.

    He suggested we should consider doing the same thing with our teenagers but I don’t think they would buy it lol!

    I guess that the desire for a wife and a person’s perception of their need to knock on doors for their eternal salvation are strong motivators which we probably lack!

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