Friday, February 26, 2010

Are you a Mormon, or a Christian?

I have a way of drawing people to me that I can't explain, so I just embrace it. Since I love discussion and in particular, discussions on religious topics, I took up the opportunity when it was presented to me. Lemme explain, shall I?

I love YouTube. Why? Because of the sheer number of nutty people! Granted, there are some really cool people on there - in fact, many of them are cool, and just happen to be insane - but I tend to float towards the anti-Mormon material.

Now, the sleeves get rolled up, the eyebrows are raised and you ask, "But Katie! Are you as insane as the people you just mentioned?? Why would you go anywhere near that stuff!" In short: So I know what's out there and how to respond to it. There's a brilliant talk that Hugh Nibley gave called, "How to Write an Anti-Mormon Book," and although we (referring to members of the LDS Church) can just repeat what he says and dismiss the arguments made by anti-Mormons as being old and ridiculous, we 'ought not to. Again, why? Because the sad truth is that these arguments aren't limited to the past, they're still being parroted today. Not everyone who repeats these arguments are doing so maliciously; a lot of people just repeat what they hear. A common example of this is the practice of polygamy. And although the Church stopped that practice in 1890, I'm still asked if I'm going to have to share my husband, what I think it'll be like to be wife #2, etc. In high school, there was even a rumour started that I had entered into an arranged and polygamous engagement!

This isn't the LDS Church playing victim - having to "defend" itself from these falsities - but this is evident in everyday life. I'll list a some of these myths from various facets of life...
One I like is the idea that gum (or some other food) takes 7 years to digest. I've heard this about gum and I've also heard it about Bits & Bites Snack Mix.
Another one, that giving kids sugar makes them nuts! Or rather, hyperactive. Have you ever heard that humans only use 10% of their brains? What a waste! Thankfully it's false. How about shaving your legs causes the hair to grow back thicker and darker? It doesn't, period. I could literally go on and on with these examples. My point? Not everything that's "common knowledge" is true, often thankfully.

OK, so let me get back on topic here. Why do I view anti-Mormon materials? So I know what silly arguments my friend's atheist boyfriend is going to pull up the next time I see him. Understanding what twisted things people are saying about my beliefs help me understand those beliefs better. Easy explanation: research has a tendency to make one learn, especially when it's focused research. Crazy, I know, but that's how it goes - a fact, I assure you.

So I had posted a response to this anti-Mormon video (which I won't link to because it can definitely be a stumbling block) on YouTube, and when I checked my e-mail the other day I had a message. The message went a little like this: Are you Mormon?
So I sent a message back saying that I was, and he responded with this, which I find intriguing in and of itself:
Being a Christian I'm finding it increasingly more difficult to determine if the person I'm speaking to is Christian or a Mormon.

He explained that he figured it was a new trend among members of the Church and said he was attempting to figure it out. You see, he likes to learn, so he does research. For that I can give him props. Our messages went back and forth and what seemed like a challenge to me was when he said if I wanted to have a conversation with him, I'd have to have thick skin. I'm a big fan of challenges (goes back to my investigator days), and when he said that I was reminded of that atheist boyfriend my friend has. This friend's boyfriend was saying how he was doing his best to really get under my skin. At this point one of the other guys we were with, who is a long-time friend of mine said, "Even I haven't been able to offend Katie yet." Instead of accepting defeat though, this spirited atheist just said something about re-doubling his efforts to get to me. Don't get me wrong though, I love spending time with these guys because they're fantastic people.

So that comment really peaked my interest, and I said I was open to a conversation if he was. He agreed, and then asked the question. I can only assume he thought it would trip me up.

The question is this:
If Joseph Smith spoke a false prophecy in the name of the Lord, would you still uphold him as a true prophet?

I don't know what your answer would be, but inside of 5 minutes I had an answer, and within 20 minutes I had a coherent response to explain my position.

And my position will be explained in further detail on Sunday, because I'm exhausted! And with that, to tie my exhaustion into the scriptures, and for your reading pleasure:

D&C 88:124
"Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated."

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