Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Waiting for a Knock on the Door

The strangest thing happened the other night. A little after seven o'clock I get this phone call from an unknown number, but with the same area code. I decide to take my chances and answer my phone.

Me: "Hello?"

Unknown: "Hi, umm, yes ... can I speak with Rusty [insert my name]?"

Me: "May I ask who's calling?"

Unknown: Someone in the background feeding the caller an answer ... "We're the missionaries with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

Me: "Oh, okay. I honestly thought you were a solicitor calling this late at night. What's up?"

Missionary: Again being fed an answer ... "We would like to talk with you about the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Me: "That sounds great. How about tomorrow at one o'clock?"

Missionary: The background missionary feeding a final response ... "Great! What's your address? ... we'll see you then!"

Me: "Looking forward to it!"

I've had some random run-ins with LDS missionaries, but never quite like this. I'll be honest: I was really looking forward to the following day. It had been a couple years since I spoke with Mormons, so I needed to brush up on a few things. I primarily read through the King Follet Discourse - a key sermon by Joseph Smith - and some Biblical texts pertaining to the Trinity.

The next morning, I began arranging my day to accommodate their arrival. Just before 1:00pm I sat down on the living room couch, and re-read some passages before they arrived. The only problem is, they never showed. I actually waited until 1:40pm before officially giving up. And they never did show, or even call. I was a bit disappointed.

My best guess for what happened is that they took the time to look up who I was, and determined that someone with my first and last name, in Gilbert, has had dozens of encounters with Mormon missionaries. In other words, I'm on the so-called "black list" of persons not to talk to. I've been told by more than one pair of LDS missionaries, in my own home, that I'm "not worth their time, because there are many who are ready and willing to convert." In other words, they take proselytizing very much like sales: if someone isn't ready now, move on to the next person. My problem with this approach is that it is entirely unbiblical.

I completely agree that if someone is behaving unreasonably, and proves to be a factious individual, that person would fit the bill for someone you're wasting your time on. We don't want to cast pearls before swine, surely. But in my experience, respectfully and meaningfully disagreeing with Latter-day Saints is all it takes to get branded an "anti-Mormon" and "contentious" individual. The cultic mindset is demonstrated in their unwillingness to read or even to listen to the other side. Of course, they will meet with you all day if you keel over and blindly embrace their message. Be wary though of the moment you ask biblically-based questions that seem to disagree with their views. Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, the conversation will abruptly end.

After the realization hit me that they were not showing up, I wasn't angry. I felt bad for them. After all, I once was like them: lost and deceived by sin. I'm again reminded of how beautiful the gospel is ... the real gospel that saves sinners. I'm so thankful that the triune Lord of majesty had mercy on a sinner like me, though I was completely unworthy. I can have nothing but compassion for the Latter-day Saints because they are lost sinners, part of a cultic system, where they are actively encouraged to not interact with opposing viewpoints. The saving gospel has the opposite message: know the enemies of the gospel so that you can reach them with the gospel. That's why I have taken the time to study their scriptures and beliefs: to speak their language and to be able to communicate the truths of Christianity to them. 
I pray that the God of Peace would have mercy on those two gentlemen, whom I may never meet; that He might save them through the power of the gospel. In the meantime, I'm happy to be a willing instrument to proclaim the good news about Jesus Christ.

14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “ How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15, NASB).

Thanks for the journey,

No comments:

Post a Comment