Friday, November 16, 2007

My Missionary Talk

Today as I was walking home, I stopped on the street corner waiting for the crosswalk light to turn on. As I stood there I noticed two men in black coats talking to a woman, and I wondered if they were missionaries. Turns out, they were! Upon noticing me glancing over, one of the young men came up to me and introduced himself. Thus, our discussion begun.

It started simply enough as they began speaking about the church and representing it. I then began to ask questions about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, which they answered. I asked why I should believe in the Book of Mormon when there was no empirical evidence for it. The answer? There is! Apparently, according to this Elder, there is loads of archeological evidence confirming the Lamanites and the stories in the Book of Mormon. I asked him to quote me a source for his claims and he couldn't name any websites or verifiable institutions. He just referred to one book - which he could not remember the name of - and a few LDS members, which he could not remember the names of either.

I then asked him about Joseph Smith's 33 wives. He went on to confirm that there had indeed been polygamy in the past, that it was wrong, the church had renounced it, and that it was no longer practiced. At this point, I simply introduced myself as an ex-member who knew all about the church and had left it.
To save time, I won't get into detail about everything. But we discussed a broad range of issues. I asked about Joseph's polygamy - and got the standard responses. Even when I discussed his sexual practices with young women, his lying about it, his conveniently timed "revelation" to Emma and more, I only got cookie-cutter LDS replies. I asked about everything including:

> No Empirical Evidence > Joseph's Polygamy > Brigham's Polygamy > Hill Cumorah in New York > No DNA Evidence (in fact disproving Mormonism) > The Book of Abraham Papyri > The Kinderhook Bell-Plates > Joseph's Changing First Visions and Angel accounts > Changes to the Book of Mormon > Brigham's Murder Squads and Martial Law in Utah > How "The Great Apostasy" could happen if John the Revelator and the 3 Nephites were still alive and Priesthood holders > Joseph getting Drunk the night before he died, and him shooting 3 men with a pistol > How the Witnesses saw the plates in a "spiritual vision" and not Literally
I know there's more, but that's the most of what I can remember. We must have stood on the street corner for roughly 40 minutes talking. At last we had to part because it was so chilly out we were all shaking, not to mention it was getting late and I needed to send my sitter home.

I think what surprised me most about the discussion we had, was the knowledge of one missionary and his responses. His companion seemed stunned every now and then at everything I was saying, and I noticed him scribbling something down on a card (which he then gave to me, he had written "").

The one Elder was very well-informed and knew almost everything that I spoke about, give or take a few things. He told me he already knew all of this, but that it did not affect his testimony. He made the usual excuses: 'prophets acting as men not prophets', 'nobody is perfect but are called to do the work', 'even the Biblical prophets weren't perfect', 'nobody knows the truth, only our own opinions', ETC.

It was deeply disturbing. I had expected surprise on their part, and denial about my claims (some he did say I was mistaken about, but not much), and an attempt to argue a revisionist history. But surprisingly, they were generally informed about many matters, and sadly, did not seem to care. What absolutely stunned and shocked me - was that they already knew all of this, and yet somehow were still able to convince themselves that the church was true.

In addition to the points listed above, I also mentioned my disgust at how the LDS church is less than honest in how it portrays Joseph Smith and the church history. The Elder (it was one that did most of the talking) disagreed and seemed to somehow believe that these things are common knowledge among members. I assured him that for every member I spoke with, about 9/10 did not know most of (if any) the points we had discussed, and that he was unusually informed about them. He did admit to me that as a teenager he had been forced to go to church by his mother, and that he had always disliked and resented the church. He told me he himself had often questioned, and had heard of some things from "anti-mormons". Perhaps that is where he learned some of the information. All I know is, the majority of the members know none of this stuff -- and it is absolutely ridiculous to act as though the church is upfront about it. I might add that he stated however, that before his mission he had a 'total true conversion' to Mormonism, realized and "knew" the church was true, and was eager to spread it.

They then went on and on about their testimonies, and how we need to have faith and feel the spirit within us. They said that everyone could argue about facts and claim to have evidence, but the most important thing was a testimony through the Spirit. I then told them that a "testimony" meant nothing since it was only your own good feelings or reassuring yourself. I told them that Muslims and Jehovah's Witnesses had testimonies too, how would I know which testimony to believe? How? Well by empirical evidence, common sense, and research of course. But they denied this, claiming you only needed to pray, ask, and wait for the Spirit to confirm it.

Essentially they told me that they did not need evidence, proof, or care about arguing either side of the issues - but only needed their testimonies to continue membership and believing. I argued everything I could think of - but it did not seem to rattle them much. It was truly a sad sight indeed. These two naive young men, believing the most ridiculous nonsense from that charlatan snake oil salesman Joseph Smith -- and claiming we did not need to concern ourselves with evidence disproving him, but only needed our "testimonies from the Spirit".

They said of course, that the church was true, and God's only church on earth. And that it had the restored Priesthood, and Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. They knew all this not according to scientific principles, documented fact, or even circumstantial evidence -- but from the burning bosom Spirit!
They told me they were glad that they had met me this evening, and hoped I would one day return to the church. What interested me as well, was that they asked if I had been excommunicated. I told them I had not been, but had left of my own free will. They then went on to talk about the 'tragedy' of excommunication, and how most of them had sinned terribly, or had become miserable people, or that the light of the Spirit had left them. I laughed this off as Mormon propaganda and told them most excommunicated people were decent enough, many had not sinned at all, and that a lot of scholars and intellectuals had been excommunicated for telling the truth about the Mormon church. They disagreed with that last statement.

Finally it ended with them bearing their testimonies. I then bore my own testimony, my "anti testimony". I stated that I did not know whether God existed or not, but was not concerned. I told them I did not believe Jesus Christ was the Saviour of mankind, but merely a man, and that I did not need the Bible for salvation. I told them that I believed in being a good person out of a mere desire for it - not from fear of punishment or reward. I told them that I believed in the goodness of man, and our ability to progress and form a better future and greater societies.

I also told them that I knew Joseph Smith was not a Prophet, but a liar, charlatan, and vile man who had committed dastardly deeds. I told them I knew Brigham Young was never a Prophet, but a murderer and evil man. I told them I knew the church was not true, and that it was built on a foundation of lies and deceit. I told them I was grateful not to be a member as I can now rejoice in the true beauties of life, and have real freedom of spirit. I told them that I hoped one day they would leave the church, and that I rejoiced every time someone left it or refrained from joining it.

The more outgoing Elder told me he knew I still had "some of the Spirit in me" and he wished good things for my future. I told them I knew they were good people, doing what they thought was right, and I appreciated that. I said that as much as I disagreed with their beliefs, and even what they were doing (spreading them) I also knew that they believed what they were saying, that they were not intentionally lying to anyone, and that I took comfort in knowing they cared enough about people to try to spread their message - even if it was wrong and they could not see it.

We parted on polite terms. We shook hands, thanked one another for the discussion, and wished one another the best. Before they left, I wrote down on one of their cards this blog address I told them that I hoped when they returned from their mission they would visit my blog. "What is it a music site or something?" asked one Elder. I shook my head and they looked at the card - you should have seen their faces! That was definitely when it ended and we all went our separate ways.

As I waited for the light to turn, I glanced down the street and saw them walking away. One of the Elders was shaking the other one in congratulation, and they seemed rather jovial. I suspect he was congratulating his partner on a job well done, and on how he had conducted himself and fought back against the "anti-mormon" arguments.

I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, I truly liked these young men. They were polite, gracious, obviously believed they were doing good, and I thought they were awesome people. I liked them, personally, as people. It made my heart glad to see such kind, respectable young men who were genuinely great and I could easily be friends with.

On the other hand, I felt a tragic sadness in my heart. For I knew they were deceived, spreading lies, participating in this cult and dedicating 2 years of their lives - and maybe even their entire lives - to it. I thought back to Joseph Smith's horrible deeds, and Brigham Young's horrible deeds, and all the people they had murdered, all the women they had dishonored, all the suffering and horrors inflicted upon people because of their lies and savagery - and I felt a deep feeling of revulsion.

These young men are good people. I like them. Most Mormons are good people, and I like them. But Mormonism as a whole, started based on lies, greed, terror, horror and foolish blind faith of the unquestioning. Mormonism is a lie. A damned lie! From start to finish, it's nothing more than deceit, cover-ups, and taking advantage of good-hearted people. It makes me ill.

One day Elder, one day I hope you realize the truth of Mormonism. I'd pray but uh, I don't believe in the power of prayer - HA! I do though, deep down in my heart, wish nothing but the best for both of you and I sincerely hope with every fibre of my being, that you set yourselves free from this great lie.
If you should ever discover the truth, and happen upon this site, please do contact me. I would love to hear from you or interview you.

And you know, experiences like this only make me even more committed to what I am doing: spreading the truth! Never again, let us stand by as innocent people are sucked into this brainwashing cult. Never again, let us do nothing as people's lives are destroyed, their dignity taken, their money wasted, and their efforts spoilt by this cult!

I vow to FIGHT MORMONISM until the day I die. And how many I can help along the way I am not sure, but all I know is that every single person counts, and I want people to have the freedom that I have now - knowing the TRUTH!

I realize that at this time, this is only a small blog. But believe me, it will get bigger and better! An ex-mormon store, videos, blogs and entries, and that is only the beginning! I plan on doing podcasts, great interviews, and MORE! I have many surprises up ahead, believe me. It will only get better from here on out ...