I’ve been on this reading binge lately about the Mormon Faith. Idaho is second only to Utah in the number of Mormons. . . I have a strong momorn heritage myself (My dad’s mother came from a staunch LDS background, that goes back generations, for sure some of the early pioneers who came to Utah with Bringam Young, maybe even those who went to Missiouri and Illinois with Joesph Smith. . . so it’s an honest curosity.
My two “informing reads” have been, “Under the Banner of Heaven” by John Krakauer and “Leaving the Saints” by Martha Beck. Both books present different stories, but much of the same “facts” regarding the Joseph Smith etc. Basically, lets just say there is a whole lot that doesn’t really add up. The Chuch can add it up just fine, but those outside that church haven’t been able to find the same proof. Last week, when I finished Leaving the Saints and was processing and thinking about all that she’d written, and comparing it with Krakauer’s book . . my prayer was, “Lord if the Mormon’s ever come to my house,(and I kind of hope they will now) help me ask the right probing questions.”
Mind you, I’ve NEVER had Mormon Missionaries come to my house . . Until today.
Usually I don’t answer the door. . I keep saying that, and I keep coming up with stories about answering the door. . . but whatever. . . I was quite suprised to find two young boys (19 years old) in black pants and crisp white shirts standing at my door. My first thought was, “Ah, Man, get rid of them quick, no need to waste their time”. . quickly followed by. . . “How ironic. . I’ve just finished my “moming reading binge” and these two boys show up on my steps. . .” So with a quick, “Help me Lord” prayer, I smiled, opened my door and said, “Can I get you two some water, it’s an awfully hot day.”
In my reading I learned that a Mormon Mission is successful if they can get one or two converts during their two years out. It’s really more about solidifying their own faith. Which I totally get from my year abroad. . that’s what living in China did for me. So my cleverly crafted plan last week, while reading these books, and thinking about what I WOULD do IF a missionary came to my house was to ask at least one pointed question that would maybe, on some deep level cause them to think. So after chit chat about the fact that I was from Idaho, and NOT mormon, that I did have mormon heritage etc. I said, “So, I’m curious about the Pearl of Great Price (one of four sacred books on the faith), I understand that Joseph Smith translated that from a Papyra that he bought, that at the time no one in the world could translate, which Joseph Smith DID translate, but now they have learned to translate and basically NOTHING Joseph Smith wrote has proven to be accurate. Is that true?” They told me, as best I could understand, because quite honestly, I got a little lost with their answer. That it was right, because Joseph Smith had a REVELATION, so Revelation and prophets trumps translation. . . again, they lost me on their answer. I did press them a bit, and one said, “well, I haven’t heard that.”. . .My prayer, is that even a fraction of a seed of thought is lodged in their minds. . because it can’t just be some freaky coincidence that the week after I pray that a Mormon Missionary will come to my door. .. they did.