I was at General Conference for the priesthood session downtown yesterday, and rather than fight with the anti's before hand, I saw Van Hale, and he suggested I visit the Church History Museum, which I did. They have some great items on exhibit.
I then went to Priesthood in the Tabernacle, and spoke with a few folks afterwards, and went to my soccer game.
Nothing really remarkable. But I was struck by the hate speech of Lonnie and others, which they attempt to justify as Christian love for the lost, and a defense of the Christian faith.
So first, let's define the word "Defense". It means to protect. No one can misconstrue the difference between national defense, for example, and an act of war. Putting up walls around your castle did not mean you were marching on your enemies' castles. It is pure "future speak" to call war a defense.
No one can read my columns and say "Bob is anti-Catholic". Or anti-Protestant, or Anti-Evangelical. I would concede I border on anti-TULIP, simply because I write very pointedly of their differences to the LDS faith.
I am definitely "anti-anti", that is, I have no qualms engaging specific individuals arguments. I do not believe I engage in Ad Hominem attacks against the critics as a means of argumentation. To be specific, I don't say "Shawn McCraney is a liar about everything, so his arguments against the Church are obviously wrong." No, I describe his specific arguments, and show where they are wrong, and as with some writers I have engaged, I will point out things which I believe can be observed as so obviously in error, they are either lying or too ignorant to be taken seriously.
But even these conversations I attempt to do in a civil manner, as any viewing of my interactions with anti-Mormons on Youtube clearly illustrate.
So back to the unChristian protesters at Temple Square. What can we say about them? They have objects which in LDS religious settings are considered religiously important. Priesthood clothing articles, the Book of Mormon, pictures of LDS leaders or religious vignettes. And they mock them all.
Paul noted that a Pastor must have a good reputation with the non-believers (1Tim 3:7). Since Shawn McCraney, for example, claims to be a pastor, such a claim does not hold up to even basis scrutiny. Nor upon a deeper review, owing to his own public admission of having committed the physical act of adultery against his marriage, and his acknowledge ongoing issues around committing adultery in his heart. He can certainly be a disciple of Christ, but such actions, I believe, disqualify him to be a Pastor.
Lonnie Purciful likewise claims to be a pastor. REALLY! If Shawn McCraney is disqualified as a pastor, Lonnie is literally a thousand times worse. His attacks against LDS and non-LDS alike place him outside of Christianity. In fact, his approach is really one which defines him as the arbiter of the definition of what is "Truth". He rejects most other non-LDS Christians, and so has managed to marginalize his importance in the efforts at conversion away from any faith he attacks.
In other words, as rude, uncivil and mean-spirited as Lonnie and his group is, they do fulfill prophecy. They are they who believe no one can teach them anything, and are comfortable acting as the persecutors of the humble who simply love God and seek to live a life in conformity to the teachings of God.
We should love Lonnie, and thank him. Many, many people have joined the LDS Church because of people like Lonnie. Their persecution of the LDS faith provides the context for us to defend our faith. And people see the difference between sharing what you believe, and ignorantly attacking what you don't believe.
We should contend for the Faith. We should attack no other faith.
Joseph Smith asked which church he should join, and was told to join none, for they were all in error. Were that not the case, the Restoration would not be necessary. So too Jesus established His Church because the Jewish faith had gone astray. So back through time. That Jesus felt the Jews were people in error within his faith is clear from his continued attendance and involvement with the Jewish faith. Though the Jews eventually through the Christians out, the Christians still feel brotherhood to the Jews.
So to the LDS. We share a common heritage of faith. While we acknowledge our brothers to have significant errors because of their not having the light of prophetic leadership, we still view them as brothers and sisters in Christ. There was no Trinitarian test of faith to know Jesus of the Gospels and the Bible.
And like those early Christians, Mormons are rejected by those brothers, and persecuted for daring to point out where the primitive faith was corrupted and is now restored. There is no anti-Catholic or anti-Protestant "ministries" in the LDS Church. Period. It is a sign of which faith is true.
Likewise, the fact that "Christians" will defend Lonnie and Shawn and others as legitimate expressions of Christian outreaches, shows all of those groups to actually not be "Christian" by the simplest of definitions. They don't follow Christ's or the Biblical model of evangelizing those outside their faith. And they don't do it with respect and meekness (1Pet 3:15-16).
So we invite you to come learn of Christ with us. We reject the hateful speech, actions and evil spirit carried by such. The contrast between Good and Evil is obvious.