I spoke about a group of visiting missionaries who I was excited to meet a couple of weeks ago. I decided to expand my knowledge and agreed to meet with some Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Mormons, if you will.
I was ready, I had seen 2 or 3 seasons of SisterWives, I am a big fan of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and I knew it had something to do with Native Americans.
I was ready. Let’s do this!
Except, I knew nothing. (Well I knew a lot about the choir, so I actually knew about that.)
First off, they aren’t Mormons. There was a guy called Mormon that is important to their mythology yes, mythology: a collection of myths especially one belonging to a particular culture or religious group of people – their collection of stories they tell to explain nature, history or customs- Prostants to Buddhists have mythology, we cannot prove every last story in the Bible is true, therefore they are myths. Faith does not change that fact. It doesn’t.
Back to Mormon, who was a prophet I believe, while there is record of Joseph Smith, the person who discovered everything, nothing can be proved about the events he tells of that lead to the creation of their religious text.
So these folks aren’t Mormon they just read his book inside another book and follow its teachings with the Bible.
The Book of Mormon is to be read with the Holy Bible. They work together. They believe after Jesus died, he spent some time with the Native Americans, teaching healing, and baptizing them. Then Jesus had to continue on his path of resurrection and ascension.
The Native Americans/ Jewish descendants (that made it to America in a submarine type ship) that Jesus met with, created gold and bronze tablets some plates had Biblical text and some chronicled after during their time in America; a record of what transpired and what Jesus taught. Eventually these tablets were buried to keep them safe (cause I mean, they were solid bronze and gold tablets). Smith had visions that eventually lead him to the tablets. He of course transferred the information to papers and angels came for the tablets later. (I was hoping for pictures of said tablets, but the Angels, as I said, flew off with them. Darn.)
Thus, the Book of Mormon began.
The missionaries explained that when Jesus was killed his earthly church was destroyed. They said to picture a glass table with 13 legs (Jesus plus 12 disciples) and picture the legs being swept out from under the table when Jesus died. The glass was the church and without its legs, the table broke. The shattered glass was the old church. People tried to pick up the pieces of this broken church and put it back together. The problem is, no one is trying to gather all the pieces to build the original table. The LDS (Latter Day Saints) believe they are collecting all of the pieces and have a reflection of that original church here, in the United States of America.
Well, that’s really not any crazier than anything else I’ve heard; its kind of noble they want to rebuild Jesus’s church.
So, first meeting is over, and I think, these people aren’t complete whack jobs like I’ve been lead to believe.
The church doesn’t believe in polygamy anymore, they do have female missionaries, and everyone learns to preach, men or women. It’s different.
The gentlemen come back again and explain baptism, how it’s important in their culture. I of course ask about the recient news- why are the children of Homosexiuals now banned from the church? They admitted, they had no idea about the ruling until they saw it on Facebook (huh, that’s where I get my news too). They also researched it and called on their Prophet of Today, Thomas Monson for answers. They said they have friends with Gay parents (Lesbian couple in particular) who are apart of their church back home- shock! – and worried about their friend’s faithful standing with the church. Really? The ruling says the kids must be rebaptized at 18. No one said anything about shunning parents or 10 generations from now they’d be forgiven for past parental sins- our missionaries thought that was a particularly stupid idea.
But, homosexuality is a Sin, they say but, they are here to help. It’s okay to have thoughts that are homosexual apparently, you just can’t act on them. Like murder.
….. Like…. What? Yes, like how you may think of killing someone but you don’t act upon it, homosexuals are being tested with this sin like Jesus was tempted by the Devil’s with others.
I don’t know how I feel about this. These guys seem cool; they watched Doctor Who, read Manga, and said Marrage is an equal partnership. A lot of staunch Protestants can’t even admit Marrage is a partnership.
Today we were supposed to tour the church, but I got cold feet. Maybe it was my cold. Maybe it was because Fiona went from loving on the men to hissing at them. Maybe it was the horrifying “I wouldn’t if I were you,” dreams I experienced for 2 nights. Or possibly it was just my husband saying, “Look, I respect their religion now, but It’s not for me- I am not converting and I feel going to tour is dishonest- like saying we are actually thinking about it.”
So I canceled today’s trip and slept well all day yesterday.
Maybe they do have all the answers, maybe theirs is the “true way,” maybe. I still don’t know.
I am glad to say I lost a lot of prejudices about their faith. I was being very narrow minded. It’s not all secret meetings and multiple wife compounds- it’s a group of people trying to worship their own way, kinda like the puritans just wanted some religious freedom. So hurray for freedom of religion, hurray for new knowledge, and hurray for the right to choose!
(And hurray for the freedom to love whomever you want!)