Date: December 18, 2012 06:20AM
29 years ago, the new neighbors down the hall told me and my roommate that they were mormons. It seemed like the missionaries pratically lived at their apartment because we were always being invited over for dinner or to watch a video (I guess VHS back then).
I was 19.
I cannot count the number of times I turned down their invitations. I worked a lot and that was a good excuse not to be rude. My roommate, a very religious catholic, became great friends with them.
Once again, I had been invited and told them I had to work (true). I unexpectedly got off work early and when I began to walk down the hall to my apartment, I could hear my roommate and neighbors and other voices coming from their apartment. Out of guilt and hunger (I knew they would have food!), I knocked on their door.
I was introduced to 2 young men, my same age, that appeared to shine. Was I that exhausted from my 3 jobs? Why did these "guys" in their suits and ties have a glow around them? Must have been time to change my disposable contact lenses...I was starting to see that (Doris Day halo-effect).
That first meeting they did a great job of 'building relationships of trust' -- not that I knew they were doing that. And, there was a lot of 'flirt-to-convert' going on...boy, was I both hilarious and interesting...everything joke I made was funny and I was the most facinating person they had ever met! Yeah, I was buying it! People who are half-broken usually do.
It was the second time we met. Every question the missionaries asked me had only one answer.
"Do you think God would choose to have so many different churchs teaching so many different things?"
"Do you beleive that God chose prophets in the early days, like Moses & Abraham?" [This one was easy, I'm a Jew and they knew it...they learned loads of info about me that first night--and they used it.] IMO, missionaries were much more well-trained back then --then they are today.
And on it went...questions with only one answer possible.
Date: December 18, 2012 10:58AM
Yes, that is what we are taught in the MTC. To build relationships of trust and use what we learned to adapt the lesson so investigators could "feel the spirit." Also, to ask questions that moved the lesson along to the conclusion we wanted. If someone came up with a good answer that we didn't have a prepared comeback for, we were always flustered. We'd even share the comments that flustered us at district meeting with the other missionaries, brainstorming comebacks for one another in case we were ever faced with that answer again.
Nowadays, if someone asked me "Do you think God would choose to have so many different churches teaching so many different things?" I'd answer, "it doesn't make sense that he wouldn't. If I were God, I'd talk to people in the language and culture that made sense to them and helped promote their spirituality. To say that there is only ONE correct religion is like God expecting everyone to learn English before they are allowed to pray to him."