Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Mormon Missionaries at our Door

The other day, I was at Bill’s house doing some work when the doorbell rang. At the door were two spiffy Mormon missionaries, a Book of Mormon in hand. Apparently somebody wrote Tammy’s name down at.s a temple visitor’s center, so here were these two young men, ready to deliver.

Bill invited them inside, and soon we were in a full conversation. They asked if we had read the Book of Mormon (we had) and what we thought of it. Bill responded, “I tell you what, why don’t you sell us on the Book of Mormon.”

For us, there are just too many problems with this work of fiction for it to be considered authentic or life-changing. While the missionaries did their best to explain why they have entrusted their lives to the story of this book, I thought to myself, “They know nothing else.” A question I like to ask missionaries is if they grew up in the faith. I don’t believe I’ve ever met a missionary who had been converted to the faith. My experience has been that they have grown up in the church and they’ve never taken the time to research other possibilities.
When they asked if we had prayed about the Book of Mormon, we both said that we had not. “If I asked you about praying for whether or not you should steal your neighbor’s car, what would you say?” I asked. 

The more experienced missionary said, “I wouldn’t do it.” “Why not? “ I probed. “Because that would be silly.” “Ahh, and because God tells us in His word that we are to test everything (1 Thess. 5:21) and to ‘try the spirits’ (1 John 4:1), I believe God never wanted us to pray about the truthfulness of a religion.” After all, I continued, if prayer can help us determine which religion is true, then perhaps we ought to pray about the Qur’an and the Bhagavad Gita. (Neither one had ever considered praying about Islam’s or Hindiusm’s scripture; in fact, neither had taken the time to pray about whether or not the Bible is true.)

After two hours of an interesting conversation, it was time for the missionaries to leave. When we invited them to return for dinner the following week, they jumped at the opportunity and we made an appointment. When they left, Bill said, “They’ll never be allowed to come back.” I was hopeful, as they said they really enjoyed the conversation and didn’t feel threatened. Unfortunately, the McKeevers received a phone call two days before the planned dinner, with the main missionary saying they couldn’t come because the McKeevers' home was “out of their mission zone.” Of course, they were allowed to deliver the Book of Mormon there in the first place, but I guess that doesn’t matter.

We are only seed planters. I pray that something said that night stuck with them and they begin to do some additional research. You just never know how God will work. Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for our first missionaries, as we’ve lived here for five months. I’m sure the time is coming.

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