|Subject:||Finally met w/ missionaries ...... long but amazing|
|Date:||Nov 05 21:07|
|I rarely post here but the post by ABC (another
visitor to the board) about the challenges he's having with his wife
prompted me to share my meeting with the missionaries.|
I am in a similar situation in that my wife who came from an LDS family decided to become active in her church about six years ago after about 40 yrs of being inactive. I am a nevermo and think the whole story is a crock. Now I had no problem with her going back to church as I preferred golfing on Sunday's anyway. But with our kids being exposed to teachings that I am now finding out about I've had to intervene. As difficult as it has been on our marriage, I will NOT let my kids be taught that I am not worthy to attend their wedding. I WILL speak out when people teach my kids things that are factually wrong. And, finally, I WlLL demonstrate to those making claims why they are wrong when they are. These are my kids and I WILL NOT compromise my integrity or honesty for the sake of a church.
I fully cherish my wife and my marriage, but these are my kids and when they find out what I know, they will be thankful I was painfully honest now.
I love my wife but she is mormonfully naive and I now see follows the bretheren blindly. I get the same reaction as most here that if I point out an unpopular fact, it's met with "where did you get that, from the internet?" She knows I research things well but has been taught by her ward leaders that I am not yet ready "to hear the gospel" Consequently, discusions go nowhere as my information is not credible.
So I took a different approach and decided that I would never present facts to her unless somone she respected was present. Her TBM siblings or members from her ward. Because of what I do in the community, most in her ward know me or of me. By her ward standards we are probably in the top 1% financially so they would love some of our tithing which is not even up for discussion with me. But I have done everything I can to get a meeting with her bishop or BIL (who is also a bishop) to sit with her and I to address my issues. I speculate that they are leary because they found out I have done a tremendous amount of research and preparation. I also think she does not want this, but I,m not sure why.
Anyway, after a year of requesting meetings, including two letters to her bishop, nothing has happened except that my kids keep going every other week with her to church. So I took the website approach and kept filling in that screen on the lds website asking to have a member in my area come visit me. Only I filled it out with my work address and number. When I finally got the call, I explained that my wife was a member and could I get someone from her ward to come over. They said sure, left me a contact number, and followed up with the missionaries from her ward. I've since found out that she met with her bishop when he found out about my requests. While I don't know what was said I suspect that they had to go forward as I would have followed up with the contact number. Anyway they finally came over.
My objective has always been to try and demonstrate that I do not get info from anti-mormon materials, the information is factual and, somehow show her that she has been the one not told everything. I have always maintained the postion that if my kids want to choose the mormon church - fine, but let them know ALL the facts and history. Not ever been mormon I always take the postion of wanting to learn and investigate as I have nemurous sources showing that is what their leaders have always "publically" stated.
So - Here come the elders for dinner:
Dinner was great and we were outstanding hosts. Enjoyable time. Talked sports, families, background, hobbies, careers
and so forth. Mrs was very worried how I would treat them but I actually enjoyed their company and conversation. I gave them passes for free dinners at some establishments I have ownership in which they really loved. They said that it may be hard for them to use them with their schedules though.
After dinner we moved to the living room for desert and coffee (for me anyway). The lead elder ("LE") asked me what is was that I wanted to discuss. Fair enough. I told him that I did not want to do the lessons but had questions over doctrines my kids were being exposed to and that my wife thought I didn't have a good understanding although she didn't feel knowlegable enough to expain it either. The companion elder ("CE")said it was very honorable for me to have concerns about my children and I should ask questions. LE goes on to say that it was better to ask those within the church about these issues. He drew the analogy of buying a car and said "well, if you wanted to learn about a toyota, you wouldn't go to the chevy dealership".
So I explained that this whole concept of temple weddings, worthiness, being denied to witness your childs wedding vows, and the requirement to be married and to be mormon to reach God's greatest level of glory were very foreign to me and I could not find scriptural support.
LE assured me that these were very good questions and that he deals with these issues alot. He said "I think I can explain these things to you" I said great and sat back and let him go.
LE goes on with how to be humble, how god gave JS the priesthood, gives me about 6 "I know the church is true", why the bom needed to be delivered, about 12 scriptures taken out of context and how the church has helped him and his family. Well after about 30 minutes of utter emotions I finally had to step in. Here is how it went from there:
Me: Would it be alright if I got to some specific questions I have.
Me: Where is the specific scripture that jesus tells us we need to be married, in a temple, for eternity, to get to his greatest level.
LE: Well Christ gave a new and everlasting covenant to JS that promises us...(he goes into a brief but glowing testimony of this promise)
Me: No, what I want to know is where is it -- what scripture, page and verse.
LE: Oh, well that would be in our D&C 132 verses ...
Me: (opening my wifes scriptures) Ok, I see it now. Hey, isn't this the revelation on polygamy?
LE: No, this is on eternal marriage.
CE: Wait, I think he's right.
LE: Uh, well, yes in certain circumstances this allows plural marriages.
Me: What circumstances did God allow it under.
CE: Well I really don't know much about this scripture.
LE: That part is really not important because we don't allow it anymore.
Me: Well why is it still in you D&Cs then.
Long looks but no answers
Me: Well here's one of the questions I have. At the beginning of this revelation it says God justifies many wives and concubines for David and Solomon.
LE: Yes, if you read the bible you'll see that God allowed them to practice polygamy.
Me: Well how come your bom in Jacob 2;24 God says it was an abomination before Him? Did God change His mind?
LE: (now getting a bit agitated) Well you have to remember that the book of mormon was about a time different than the D&Cs (Really, that was his answer!!)
Me: Wait though, wasn't God referring to the same incident in both scriptures. I'm not sure your answer makes any sense.
LE: Well polygamy was only allowed if it was to raise up seed as it says in Jacob.
Me: That's not my question though. My question is why would God change his mind with respect to his approval or disapproval about what David and Solomon were doing?
LE: (now even more agitated) Look, that was many many years ago and we can't possibly know every detail.
Me: (sensing the frustration of a young uninformed soldier) Ok, well, so you said if it was to raise seed it would be allowed by God.
LE: Yes, just as it says in our scriptures.
ME: Ok, so how many children did JS have outside of his marriage to Emma.
LE: I'm not sure thats really important. How would I even know that.
ME: Well couldn't we get on the church website in the family search records and find out?
LE: Yes, I guess, but why do you want to know.
ME: To see if he was practising polygamy to raise seed.
(At this point he was really getting frustrated so I dropped the raising seed issue although I had a copy of family search records and gave it to him later)
Me: Now God also gave a revelation to JS, D&C 58 I believe, that requires us to obey the laws of the land.
LE: Yes,we believe to abide by the laws of man also.
Me: Well why would God give conflicting revelations.
LE: I don't know what your talking about.
I had earlier place on a shelf in the room a folder with photocopies of original source documents. I got a copy of the 1833 Illinois Statute prohibiting bigamy and gave it to him.
Me: How could God give a commandment that was against the law at that time.
LE: (closing his scriptures and putting them on the table in great anger ) I can see that we've been brought here under false pretense. It's apparent you know our scriptures much better than you've lead on and I think you just want to embarrass us in front of your wife. I can see now that you've put a great deal of preparation into this meeting and have copies of documents that we would never be able to answer. I don't think it is appropriate for us to go any further with you. (Honestly, that was what his reaction was!)
Me: (In utter dismay yet under control) Elder, I truly am surprised by your behavior. Frankly it strikes me as an accusation of insincerety and when it comes to my children I am very sincere. I'd like you to calm down and let me explain why I'm somewhat dissapointed by your reaction. (My wife and CE are both totally tensed out by now) First of all I made no secret to you that I had specific questions with respect to your doctrines, I made no secret that this was not a meeting to be converted. Second, your church website cleary states that "if you have questions or want to talk to a member fill this out" which I did. As you can see, I made a copy of everything here to give to you as to allow you the time to review it and then we could meet later to discuss. (which I then presented) But frankly, what irks me the most is your statement on me being prepared. This is the first time I've ever been criticized for being prepared - I'm sure that both your church leaders, family, teachers and employers always teach you to be prepared. Now please answer me a couple of questions - Have I been rude, have I said anything that wasnt true, have I asked any inappropriate questions and does any of the infromations I've presented come from anti-mormon sources or is it out of context (although I admitted he should look at everything first)
LE then acknowledged that I hadn't been deceitfull in anything and asked if he could be excused for a minute and went into the kitchen.
CE: (in an attempt to re-bond) Mr. K, you're right and should be prepared. I am very impressed with how much time you must have put into all of this and you are probably far more knowledgable than even most of our members with respect to church history. I know you care deeply for your children and so your intentions must be honorable.
LE comes back into room after about 5 minutes and gives a heartfelt apology for his reaction and unintentional accusation. I told him that I wasn't mad but would really like someone to deal with the issues. He admitted that my concerns are genuine and that while he knows the church is true he probably was not knowledgable enough to answer my questions (which I knew but had to start somewhere given my previous attempts). By this time the Mrs. just wants to bring closure to the evening and thanks them for coming. I ask them where I should go from here and they say they will talk to their mis. pres. to see if he would meet with me which I encouraged. They then did turn to the Mrs. and told her that I was very knowledgable and did not use any antimormon materials.
On the way to the door LE gives me one last testimony of his beliefs and what good things it has done for him. CE then looks at me and asks "did you get any benefit from tonight"?
Me: Do you want my real feelings right now?
LE & CE: Sure, we know you speak the truth anyway
Me: Well, going back to your analogy of asking question from the guys at the toyota dealership - I feel like the salesmen are really excited and enthusiatic about this shining new pretty car on the showroom. They are eager to tell me everything about why they really like it and why it would be a great buy. But as soon as I ask to look under the hood they leave and go onto the next customer. So naturally my concern is - do they not want me to see whats under the hood or do they just not know anything about whats under there!
CE: Wow thats a great statement
LE: Lets go elder.
We'll see now if there is a follow up meeting but my sense is now they will have to deal with the ball that is most definitely in their course!
|Subject:||That was quite a meeting! The real fun would be inviting some Institute Directors|
|Date:||Nov 05 21:26|
|over for a good talk! :-)|
Usually, they know a lot more than the missionaries about what you brought up, however, it seems to me that the run of the mill member ought to know the things you talked about. Having said that, I was completely in the dark as a member about some of the same issues.
If all the members have is a testimony of their feelings, what good is that?
Keeping their feelings consistent by repeating the same phrases seems to be the only defense they have against the truth.
Ask them what they know about this or that and their response is that they don't know much about that but they do know the church is true!
Besides, if it were all true, why would it take faith and prayer to believe it?
Had to laugh at the "anti-Mormon" material jab. The BEST all around ANTI MORMON material is always the FACTS as found in their own books, by their own authors and the laws of the land!
Yes, indeed, there is nothing under the hood!
It is possible that the things you brought up might get one or both of them to start THINKING!!!
|Subject:||Whoa! I would have given anything to been a bug on the wall for that meeting. . .|
|Date:||Nov 05 22:14|
|What a great read!|
FYI, one thing you can do to really make TBM's stop dead in their tracks is to bare your OWN testimony about what you believe. They have absolutely no response because they think it's their trump card, not yours.
Sounds to me you have things under control either way. Keep us posted.
|Subject:||Re: Finally met w/ missionaries ...... long but amazing|
|Date:||Nov 05 22:46|
|I enjoyed reading of your encounter with the
missionaries.I think, however, that you might make better mileage with
someone who knows more about the church....or....should I say someone who
is expected to know more about the church.|
Having served a mission myself, and after sending four sons on missions, I fully realize how little they know about the church for which they are seeking converts. During the past ten years and after watching my last two sons and their many friends go through the process of getting out on a mission, I am convinced that a big part of it is for show, i.e., seeing how many friends you can get packed into the chapel for your farewell, etc., when, in reality, they know almost nothing about the church except what has been packed into them in seminary and at the MTC.
I have complained about this in my family circles...but it has only fallen on deaf ears. (I was glad to see the Morg discontinue farewells....'cause, as far as I am concerned, it was all a bunch of hype.
Your wife probably realizes just how programmed the young missionaries are and may have felt that you were maybe trying to sabotage them with your study of the Morg. I think you ought to get the Mission President in the hotseat and show her that he, in all probability, doesn't know much more than the missionaries who serve under him.
I had a three hour meeting with my stake president during which I laid out item after item, point by point, with references and everything. After it was over, all he could say was, "Well, I certainly haven't read all that you have. All that I can do is bear my testimony to you that I know the church is true." We hugged and I left.
I know how you feel about your kids. I feel the same way about mine, but, I have found that, as they have grown older, they tend to open their eyes more.
Best Wishes to You!!
|Date:||Nov 06 00:06|
|Author:||Rose Park Ranger|
|Like my role model Jim Rome would say.|
Over at the Tanners' website, they have copies of "embarrassing" original materials in case you need to "reload".
|By the way, I LOVE the new car analogy about looking under the hood. If you don't mind, I may borrow that sometime. Thanks. Great post.|
|...who's going to have an interesting rest of his
mission. I found it very interesting that he actually stood up and went
into the kitchen for a few minutes. Whether he prayed there or simply
calmed himself down, who knows? But it's very telling that he couldn't
handle the heat of your honesty and knowing.|
You're a better man than I am - I would have asked him to grab me a beer while he was in there pouting.
Up to that point he had probably been so full of himself that he was about to explode. He probably wnet there to meet with you, sure in the knowledge that he was going to get you to see the light and baptize you. Somehow I think it was his light that got turned on. And his ego knocked down a notch or two.
And I'll bet that jr. companion of his got an earful afterwards too. He probably got raked over the coals for being even the least bit sympathetic to your questions and concerns. I wouldn't have wanted to be in his shoes. Oh wait - I was in his shoes once. It wasn't fun.
As for me and my house, I would fight the church to the end of my days for my daughter's soul. Thankfully, it didn't take till the end of my days and my daughter has joined me in leaving the church. I know how you feel about your kids. No matter what else happens, they're the ones upon whom everything else balances.
Don't give up.
|Subject:||Meeting with mishies is normally a total waste of time|
|Date:||Nov 06 09:49|
|But if you do meet with them or any church
leader/member make sure to get them to make and keep commitments to tell
the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If they won't do
this then push them to show you where the church has a doctrine that
"telling the truth" isn't important.|
For me they regularily drop by about once a month. Somebody has arranged also for sister mishies to visit my wife. Maybe they think that there is hope if they can get to her. Yet what they don't know is that she's further down the road to recovery than me. I've just barely come to realize this myself. I wish I could've recovered so quickly. I guess though its because she's a convert so she never got thoroughly brainwashed even though she made huge sacrifices in order to join up in the cause of "truth".
I had such a visit on Saturday. We had an interesting discussion on how the members are shirking their duty as the numbers of member referrals is on a never ending decline. Gosh I was a good member-missionary and gave lots of referrals to the mishies just a few years ago. I promised these mishies that I'd give them plenty more referrals once the church committed itself to a full program of truth-telling. I asked them how many of their potential investigators have internet access and they said "about 90%". I then asked them where their investigators will go to find more information once the discussion is over and they said "probably on the internet". Then I told them that this is probably correct because Moroni 10:3-5 is all about reading, pondering and praying & a common teaching in Christianity is that God will only answer prayers IF you do your part so any investigator who doesn't do all they can possibly to find the truth is too lazy to really expect that God will answer their prayers. This reminds me of a test I forgot to study for in High School but I said a quick prayer for God to help me. Nevertheless my prayer wasn't answered and I got a horrible grade. The lesson I learned that day was that "we cannot expect God to answers our prayers IF we don't do our part". One of the mishies was a supposed Lamanite descendant. I advised him to have his DNA tested and then to make a choice whether the scientists are fully of baloney or not.
|Subject:||Great Post, Bach|
|Date:||Nov 06 10:28|
|I hope you will post here frequently. Your insights
and experiences would be a great contribution.|
I am especially interested to your wife's reaction to the evening. Did you end up on the sofa?
Thanks for posting this.
|Date:||Nov 06 11:43|
|Author:||Søvnløsener - Insomniac|
|I wish I could articulate without my emotions getting
Post again on the follow up meeting.
BTW, CE is going to get his spiritual ass kicked. A Jr is to never disagree with a senior.
|I took mine from a copy in Sharon Bannister's book "Questions for any Latter Day Saints". However I've seen it in a number of places and I think you find it somewhere online at the Tanner's site utlm.org.|
|Subject:||Update and Post Script|
|Date:||Nov 06 14:43|
|Well LE just called Mrs to say that MP will meet w/ me
to discuss my concerns. Now the real irony was that the invite was for me
to meet w/ MP at his home tonight. I told Mrs that we will meet at our
house with both present and that I will call MP to arrange a mutually
agreeable time and date as I have a dinner to attend tonight and will then
be travelling the balance of the week. Mrs. said that LE didn't leave a
number for MP. So I just called LE and got the voice mail. Message left:
"Elder, just spoke w/ Mrs. and wanted to thank you for arranging some time
with your MP. Can't do it tonight and will be travelling the next few days
so if you give me his number or have him call me at work or cell I will
coordinate with him. Also, Mrs. and I would love for you and CE to join MP
for this meeting as it sounds like we could all learn some new things.
Please call me or have MP call me at your earliest conveneince." I will
make the same request from MP about having LE and CE there - why shouldn't
I? I will suggest to MP that they both indicated they didn't know much
about these issues so wouldn't it be a great learning opportunity for all
For those who have inquired this has been difficult on the marriage and Mrs has not said much to me since the elders came over. Frankly she's been very cold. I talked with her right after they left reassuring her that it is not the people but the claims and doctrines that give me concerns. I tried to demonstrate that in fact I do not get my info from anti-mormon sources as the elders confirmed. I went on further that it is the worthiness issue the kids are being taught and why, as a father, I should let someone other than God tell my kids that their father is not worthy. With all of her anger at me for pursuing this, the wedding attendance issue is the most difficult for her to deal with as I really believe she knows there is no scriptural logic to it. And when I ask her, if my church taught the kids that how would she feel being the one excluded, its difficult for her to respond.
I know there are many fronts to which one can attack the mormon theology. (For that matter the same is true with just about any church) But, I personally believe after all the research I've done, mormons cannot separate eternal marriage from polygamy once they know the history. Because of its divisive impact on families (both mormon and non-mormon)and becuse I've never been mormon but care for my family, I find it to be the most effective way to demonstrate what a fraud JS was. I really think thats what bothers Mrs and the members of her family and ward the most, my concerns are for my family and not just isolated mormon bashing. But I have never seen a more obvious case of fraud than this whole polygamy / D&C 132 story in my life.
For the record, I do not enjoy being in this position at all. Too much time has been spent on things that are divisive vs things that grow a marriage/family. But I just can't compromise my integrity w/ respect to my kids. My wife is a beautiful lady and means the world to me. But her reactivation in the mormon church has taken so much from her and me. For those of you who've seen this befor, she has just about given up all her non church friends over the past year and a half. We used to have a great social life which I now carry on by myself since they are "distractions" for her now! Even our kids ask me why is mom so angry all the time? There is absolutely no question that before she got active in the church, she was a blast, the centerpiece of every party or event we went to. I really can't see what she is getting out of this at all.
Will it last? Honestly can't say. But I'm not a quitter and while this may not be best way to go about thing right now, I can't see any other approach than a healthy dose of both love and truth.
If something does happen with the MP next week I'll let you know.
|Alone and away from any influence of the Morg. Can you take time off and go on an extended vacation somewhere without a mormon culture? Get her to see that there are moral people of all persuasions in all walks of life. Sounds like she needs some intervention and deprogramming. Good luck!!|
|Subject:||Re: "I have never seen a more obvious case of fraud than|
|Date:||Nov 06 16:01|
|this whole polygamy / D&C 132 story in my
I bet people on this board could debate for days about which particular part of mommonism was "the most obvious" fraud. ;-)
But seriously, thanks for sharing your story and keep us updated. I wish I had run into someone like you on my mission, I probably could have made it out of the church quicker if I hadn't had to figure it out all on my own.
|Subject:||Re: Finally met w/ missionaries ...... long but amazing|
|Date:||Nov 06 14:55|
|Thankyou for your excellent description of your
discussion with the missionaries. You are truly a person I would enjoy
meeting. And where did you get the statute from illinois? Haven't heard
I can sympathize some, my wife is also a TBM, but I think she's leaning the other way. She likes Fawn Brodie's work and is currently reading BOM Studies by BH Roberts. Here's to hoping that when I leave the church after BYU she'll go with me.
|Subject:||Re: Finally met w/ missionaries ...... long but amazing (|
|Date:||Nov 06 16:37|
|wow, amazing story. those missionaries are all the
same. my friend and i met with a couple of them (who brought a "more
experienced" Mormon with them) and they could not answer our questions.
the second time we met, they brought an older guy (an elder?) with them,
obviously trying to gain some control of the situation.|
their whole philosophy of praying to "see if it's true" is ridiculous. the young missionaries looked like scared boys with their words sounding sort of robotic. the older Mormons were definitely more persuasive and charismatic and their flattering words made us cringe because we simply didn't believe them. (especially when they were complimenting on our church!--which is where we had the meetings) definitely an interesting experience.