Saturday, June 20, 2009

Anti's In Manti

For about the 6th year now, I am in Manti, Utah during the LDS Manti Pageant. This event draws far more anti-Mormons and "missionaries to the Mormons" than any other event in the Church. Typically there are around 120 individuals in the streets around the Manti Temple attacking the faith of the LDS faithful and guests attending the Pageant. I of course say "attacking the faith of the LDS faithful" because their "message" is that Mormons are wrong and should become any flavor of Christian but Mormon.

I have blogged previously on just how unBiblical these "Christians" are in their approach, so I won't belabor that point now. What I find funny is how I am being received by the various Anti's I engage. Whenever I start to talk with someone I don't know, someone walks up to them and either says directly to them or whispers in their ear, "He is an LDS apologist, don't waste your time." I respond that I see this as a great missionary opportunity since these people at least claim to be interested in Biblical truth.

Last night I spoke with Leonard, the ex-Mormon who claims he really was active before he read a booklet which got him on track to leave the Church. I have seen the booklet and sort of scratch my head. Now Leonard talks about believing the Bible, but doesn't know it very well. Cases in point: We were discussing "faith only" salvation, and that it cannot be lost. I note Heb 5:8-9 says that Jesus is the savior of those who obey, which means we obviously have to do more than just believe. Moreover, Mark 16:16 says you must have faith and be baptized, and even more pointedly 1Pet 3:21 says it is "baptism which is now saving us". He actually gets incredulous and doesn't believe the verse in 1 Peter is real until I show it to him. So then he insists that it is not water baptism being discussed. I point out Peter specifically says it is not because of the water washing away the dirt which is saving us, but the response of our conscience to the Spirit. He says "see". HELLO!! He is specifically saying water is involved, but it is not the washing away of physical dirt. I love it when folks think they have this stuff figured out without bothering to study it.

I was speaking with a small group of LDS and non-LDS men, and one non-LDS guy was quoting from "The Miracle of Forgiveness" to try and make some points about how you must forsake all of your sins. I had been preparing to do a sort of fireside conversation down here with anti-Mormon Aaron Shafovaloff specifically on "The Miracle of Forgiveness", and I had my book with me. So I pointed out to the young man that Kimball makes it clear that our progress is expected to include day to day follies, as stated on the last page of the conclusion, but that he is focusing on getting past serious sin and gradually overcoming our less serious issues. He then asserted that we would be in a position of losing our salvation every time we sin and get our sins back to us. I said that while it is possible to lose our salvation, it is not the LDS view that simply sinning destroys our salvation, so long as our desire is to press forward.

He disagreed that we could lose our salvation (my inner voice puzzling "don't they read the scriptures?") So I reminded him that Galatians 5:4 does in fact say that they have "fallen from grace", with the context being they have ceased to obey the Gospel by going back to the Law, and have therefore lost their salvation which is in Christ. He questioned if that verse really meant losing salvation in the Greek, and told him it did. He said "Have you read it in the Greek?" "Yes", I said. "In the Greek, you have read it?" "Yes, I read Greek, I don't have it with me, but I have read it in Greek, and it does mean fallen from Grace."

At this point a guy named Tim jumped in, after a guy walked up to the young man I was speaking with and warned him about me, (I am sooooo dangerous to unstudied anti's :-) ). Tim wanted to prove that Kimball and McConkie taught that you must be perfect in this life to be saved. This is clearly not LDS belief, but this line of conversation always devolves into a discussion of my own sinful nature, and my position that God will forgive me because my attitude is one of wanting to do what is right, and trying to live to that standard, understanding that while I will fail at times, my repentant attitude coupled with my consistent general living of the Gospel is good enough. He wanted to argue that position, but at that point I saw some of my family, and excused myself and visited with them until the pageant began. It was a great night for the pageant, and I stayed to watch it. It was very good.

I plan to put a couple of small flyers together on eternal security and faith and obedience, and so long as the rain lightens up, go have some fun.


Anonymous said...

Good job bob.

Anonymous said...

you're arguments are extremely weak, and you fail to see the core of the issue that separates you from being a christian. you can't try and sound smart by calling anyone who disagrees with you an "anti-mormon," because it is very well possible that they are "anti-mormonism" and you can't just take certain particular verses out of context to justify your strange brand of gnosticism/paganism. im sorry it's just not working for you, im sure you get attention from the mormons who think you have some kind of intellectual advantage over christiandom, but that's all you have, and you don't.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Thanks for the comment anonymous. First, I don't believe everyone who disagrees with me is an "anti-Mormon". That is reserved for those people who don't simply defend their position, but attack me, Mormons or Mormonism. The great failing of the public school system is probably the lost art of using a dictionary. Thus we could learn that "Mormonism" are those ideas and practices which emanate from Mormons. Since it is impossible to hold an idea separate from a person, at some point a person must be against the people who hold and propagate those ideas, since they are seeking to repudiate the ideas of that person.

To illustrate, I don't care if someone is a Boston Red Sox fan. Great team, great tradition. I might even be a Yankee fan. Another great team with a great tradition. But I become "Anti-Bosox" in the moment I take it as a personal crusade to use the means of denigrating, slurring, lying about the team history, falsely comparing their players, or start to care about the schools, family or other jobs the Bosox players, management or fans may have held. Those Yankee fans may firmly believe there is only one great baseball tradition in America, and so "converting" the blinded, but good, fans of the Bosox is their sacred duty, and offending the Bosox fans while attempting to convince them of their errors by humiliating them, and often lying about their team, even if ignorantly, is clearly "Anti-Bosox", and is against the fans, not just the team. See, there is no team without fans, and they are humans.

There is no "Mormonism" without Mormons. Because anti-Mormonism goes beyond simply contrasting the ideas of non-Mormons and other faiths. It attacks the honesty, integrity, intellectual capacities and every sacred belief of those who are convinced of the correctness of the LDS faith by their own personal study and spiritual experiences.

"Anti-" means "against" or contrary to whatever it modifies. If you can preach what you believe without attacking anothers' belief, you are "pro" your position. Since I am a believing, convinced Mormon who attempts to defend my beliefs and convince others of its correctness, I am clearly therefore a target of the attacks of numerous "anti-Mormons", since I do represent the physical embodiment of "Mormonism". The ideas exist in my head, and I believe them to be as true as I believe this Earthly existence is real. There are many people in the LDS faith such as myself. You can't be "Anti-Mormonism" without being "Anti-Bob". Certainly I have met dozens of "Anti-Joseph Smith's Teachings", and I have personally heard Sandra Tanner describe former LDS president Gordon B. Hinkley as "that lying Hinckley". Last time I checked, these were people.

As a final thought, you should know that the Tanner's themselves described LDS critics as "Anti-Mormons". Until the obvious meaning of that phrase became untenable to such respected "Christians", I suspect. See under "History of Anti-Mormons" for a full list of how the phrase is used. The thin-skinned Anti-Mormons of today simply can't look themselves in the face with a term so obviously describing the lack of love which Paul and Jesus had said would exist in our day, as those who persecute the followers of God think they do his work.

So they have fulfilling scripture on their side at least.

Ammon said...

Wow, I'm really glad I've found this blog! I have been on a few internet boards over the past few months dealing with Anti-Mormon's who don't like the term and they say things like "what does that mean?", when they know what it means to be an Anti-Mormon. The small handful that I've come across of those who have attacked the churches teachings either haven't been members and haven't read the Book of Mormon but attack it constantly, or ex-LDS members who don't really seem to even understand the church, so they weren't very active. They one's I've come across don't attack any other faith, just ours. I find that interesting. I also find it interesting that they all have the same 'list' of things wrong with our church. As if they were reading The Journal of Discourses one peaceful afternoon following church and hometeaching, and they came across all of these problems...LOL The "I haven't read the Book of Mormon completely, but the Journal of DIscourses is really wrong" approach makes me laugh. I'm sure there are people who have studied and come across their own concerns and I respect that, but I don't have respect for those who are the water-boys of Anti-Mormon websites, they have no belief in what they're saying and usually it only takes a few well-placed questions to put them on the defensive instead of the attack.

Anyway, there are so many insignificant things relating to the early days of the church that don't affect my personal testimony. My testimony is based on my own experiences and my own relationship with God and Jesus Christ. I know that if I follow the precepts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ I will be happier than if I don't. It's that simple. I know that because I've lived both ways, it's not a question for me, I've experienced it (sadly), but what matters now is what I'm doing now. :)

Aaron said...

I am liking what I am reading in these blogs. You seem to have a strong understanding of scriptures as well as the teachings of Church leaders. I think we should all be able to provide and answer when asked and I feel there is a certain sense of witnessing when we can share why we believe in the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Weston Krogstadt said...

Cool blog, keep up the good fight.

Anonymous said...

Anti Mormons do not care what the bible says. They just care about their interpretation of it. If you read Romans it starts out talking about faith and grace but ends up talking about works. It is not really clear from reading the bible exactly how somebody receives salvation because it depends on the scripture that you are quoting.