An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

Proselytizing Perils

The current Sugar Beet “news story” reveals a new Church policy to send missionaries to “way cooler locales” rather than to developing countries. Places like Monte Carlo where missionaries can seek out wealthy investigators who have the potential to become huge tithing contributors.

Fifteen years ago our daughter actually had the opportunity to serve in the France Marseilles Mission—a way cooler missionary field than Guatemala or Boise, Idaho. Unfortunately, Jaycee didn’t convert or even meet any millionaires. Even along the Riviera, it’s mostly the young and the poor who take time to listen to Mormon missionaries. P-days were a lot of fun for the missionaries though—bicycling along the Mediterranean once a week compensated for six days of rejection.

A curious thing about Jaycee’s mission was the number of devoutly religious people who nodded as she and her companion explained about praying to receive a confirmation of the truths they were teaching. Then these contacts bore enthusiastic testimony of the spiritual witness they had already received in answer to fervent prayer—affirmation that the church they had previously joined was true.

Nothing at the MTC had prepared Jaycee to refute heartfelt testimonies that a non-LDS church was God’s plan for a sincerely religious person. These people had studied, thought, prayed and received a witness. Was she supposed to tell them their feelings of peace and happiness came from a source other than God?

Comments on: "Proselytizing Perils" (2)

  1. Dorothy J.D. Guinn said:

    Thank you for sharing this. I admit it got my issues up in a hurry as one who was once out of the fold and threatened with the absence of God’s love and input in my life for being so.

    I find it unsettling that the only other option is ‘other than God’. I find it more unsettling that our youth would be trained to think that!

    God is willing to work with all of His children. I learned this lesson from my mom when she would read Guideposts magazine–a wonderful non-denominational magazine about people’s stories with the Lord. So many stories were about how a person would sit down to read the Bible with a cup of coffee and receive all kinds of answer to prayer. How could someone breaking the Word of Wisdom gain spiritual information in the very act–unless God has a different perspective of ‘believers’ who are not ‘members’.

    C.S. Lewis, Corrie Ten Boom and Mother Teresa, just to name 3 amazing people, have given examples of God working with His children right where they are–regardless of their religious status. If all of ‘the elect’ jumped into our boat, who would be left to lead, guide and assist the others who are still searching? How many LDS Mother Teresa’s have we got? We have many ‘minor mothers’ who serve like crazy, of course, but not a one like her.

    Dallin H. Oaks in the Oct 2010 Ensign said “Many who come in the eleventh hour have been refined and prepared by the Lord in ways other than formal employment in the vineyard. These workers are like the prepared dry mix to which it is only necessary to “add water”—the perfecting ordinance of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. With that addition—even in the eleventh hour—these workers are in the same state of development and qualified to receive the same reward as those who have labored long in the vineyard.”

    …even in the 11th hour all that is necessary is to add water…can this also refer to baptism of the dead?

    It saddens me that this ridiculous concept–that the only truth or revelation or inspiration comes to OUR people who sit on OUR benches and in OUR buildings (and therefore everything else is ‘from the Other One’) is still being taught to our youth.

    God help us.

    • Dorothy,

      Thanks for your examples of people whose dedicated lives obviously obviously qualify them for salvation–even minus LDS ordinances. The hubris of thinking our church controls the only gateway to salvation is one of the most off-putting aspects of Mormonism.

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