May 4, 2014
Yesterday while grabbing a few items at the grocery store, a nice lady handed me a sheet of paper with several Bible verses and coordinating prayers on it and scurried off. The paper contained some of my favorite Bible verses on it and as I read them over, the lady walked past me again, noticed I was reading it, and came up to me with a smile on her face.
"Aren't they lovely scriptures?!" She said.
"Yes, they are."
"And it's important to recite those prayers exactly as they are written and to be baptized by water. Have you been baptized by water?"
I smiled and replied, "Yes, I have!"
She looked relieved. "Oh, wonderful! Which church do you go to?"
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." She gave me a blank stare, so I clarified, "A lot of people know us as Mormons."
Her smile was instantly gone and she backed up. "Oh, honey, that's a cult. You need to stop going there. How long have you been going to that church?"
"My entire life."
"Oh, no.......honey, it's just.....a cult."
"It really isn't. I think you might misunderstand us and what we believe. I believe in and worship Jesus Christ just as you do."
She shook her head. "Any religion with scripture that adds to the Bible is a cult. Revelations says that if any man shall add to these pages of the book that God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in the book."
"Oh, you're referring to the Book of Mormon? Well, that book is not an attempt to add to the Bible. It is merely an ancient account of God's people who lived in the Americas from 600 years before Christ's birth until about 400 years after his death when they fell into apostasy."
"I'm a Native American, honey, and my people do not believe in Jesus Christ."
"Yes, I know. But the record found in the Book of Mormon explains that there was a time when they did."
This lady began to back up with an exasperated look on her face. "Well, I could come at you with arguments all day, but I don't have the time to help you see what trouble you're in."
"Oh, I do not want to argue with you or convince you of my religion. I respect you and your religion," I smiled. "I just hope to show you that though we have different religions, we are still good people and still sisters in Christ."
She raised her eyebrows. "Uh, I don't think so."
"We both love Christ and try to follow His teachings. I think that's wonderful and I still consider you my sister," I smiled again. She looked at me wide-eyed as she continued to back up and then turned around and quickly walked away.
A few seconds later a grocery store worker with an awesome mohawk (who obviously had heard the whole exchange), walked past me and said, "Very well done and well handled. That's rough, man."
"Thanks." I smiled back at him.
The conversation I had with that lady was not the first like it that I've ever had and I doubt it will be the last, because you see, I am a Mormon.
You know, that weird religion where its followers generally refrain from drinking alcohol and use of tobacco or other drugs, don't drink coffee or tea, attend church for (at least, sometimes more than) 3 hours on Sundays, sacrifice small animals in their temples, and have horns hidden underneath their hair. Oh wait, except that we don't actually sacrifice small animals in our temples (or anywhere else for that matter) and I've never seen a Mormon with horns....yet. And to set the record straight, I don't wear magic underwear and my husband only has one wife (I'm kind of possessive like that). Nonetheless, we can create quite the stir and negative reaction from others, and sadly many of them are fellow Christians (who often claim that we are not Christian, but I assure you we are!). I get that the no alcohol, no tattoos, and using "freak" and "flip" in place of the other "f" word can seem like we're a little uptight to many folks, but we have our reasons, and I promise that if you have a tattoo, enjoy a beer with dinner, and let a swear word slip when you stub your toe, I don't think you're going to hell and I don't think you're a bad person.
I think it is wonderful to be surrounded by so many people who are trying to live good lives, serve and love others, and seek peace and happiness through their religion, no matter what that religion may be. Though I have a strong testimony of the truths I have learned from my religion, I acknowledge and respect the truths found in other religions--Christian and non-Christian alike. I believe that we are all the literal spirit sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. That makes every one of us on this planet brothers and sisters, and I rejoice in the joy and happiness my brothers and sisters experience in their various faiths and have no notion that those outside of my religion are
condemned to hell.
There is a lot more to being a Mormon than ordering a virgin pina colada (sweet mercy, I love me a good pina colada!) or not going to the movies on Sunday because it's the Sabbath. We believe in Christ. We love our families. We believe that families can be eternal. We strive to love and serve others but we are also imperfect, mess up, and like everyone else on this planet we need the healing power of Christ's Atonement in our lives. My religion has brought me the greatest sense of peace, happiness, hope, and joy I could imagine even in the middle of trials and if someone is seeking it, I don't mind sharing. No, I'm not itching to get my hooks on people and drag them into the waters of baptism, but I don't mind sharing with people what I believe and I'd love for others to see that though we Mormons might be a little weird, we're not that weird, really. Unless we really do start sprouting horns. Then I wouldn't blame you for running for the hills. ;)
If you'd like to learn a little more about what I believe, then you can always ask me, or click here. And if you don't care one iota, then that's cool too, and we can still be friends, because I'm not just a Mormon. I'm a nurse, mom, family chef, and a lover of chocolate, cookies, a good book, and chick flicks. Movie night, anyone? :)