The title of my post today is based on the conversation I got to listen in on yesterday as my in-laws hashed things out with my little sister-in-law who’s been big by the venomous serpent 🙂
I add the smiley face only because an explicative probably wouldn’t be appropriate for this site.
The script of last night’s saga went pretty much how B and I thought it would:
- Mom and Dad started off by asking questions
- Mandy didn’t really have answers
- Mandy reworded what seems to be what her new friends have told her to say
- Mom and Dad get bugged that Mandy doesn’t seem to be giving both sides a “fair fight”
- Mandy gets defensive and emotional and says stuff like, “I can’t believe you would say that” and “I’m an adult and I want you to respect my decisions” and “I’m 100% positive that I’ve found the truth”…
- Mom gets emotional too.
- Dad gets frank and matter of fact (but not really heated).
- Mandy gets more defensive and eventually storms out of the house crying.
- Mom goes to get her.
- More discussion.
- More yelling and crying and not too much real listening.
- Mandy storms out again crying.
The thing that caused the last “storming out” was that Dad said he looks at Mandy’s boyfriend’s parents as SCUM for they way they have handled the so-called missionary work with Mandy. Basically seeking out someone out here that has had an experience similar to Mandy’s (dating a non-member and leaving the Church for this boyfriend/girlfriend). The ex-member reveals a bunch of anti-Mormon stuff (which Mandy insists that a) he didn’t reveal and b) it isn’t anti-Mormon, it’s just fact and c) the ex-Mormon tells her what she should be prepared for when her parents talk to her about the decision.
So, my question in all this is “How is missionary work described, especially in the Old and New Testament?”
First some scriptures:
Scriptures about Missionary Work in the Bible
“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” ( Mark 16:15 ).
“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” ( John 3:5 )
“…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” ( 1 Peter 3:15 ).
“7 How abeautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bbringeth cgood dtidings, that epublisheth fpeace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto gZion, Thy God reigneth!
15 So shall he asprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been btold them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.” (Isaiah 52:7,15)
“Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings…” (Isa. 61:1)
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14)
“I bring you good tidings of great joy…” (Luke 2:10)
“And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.” (Acts 8:25)
“And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.” (Acts 15:7) This had to do with the “change” Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ made in declaring that teaching the Gentiles the Gospel was now the appropriate thing to do. To me, this is similar to President Kimball revealing in 1978 that the blacks could now receive the priesthood.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)
“And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)
“10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no adivisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same bmind and in the same judgment.
11 For it hath been declared unto me aof you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are bcontentions among you.” (1 Cor. 1:10-11) This isn’t specifically about missionary work but, to me, talks about how there shouldn’t be contention when we’re preaching the word of God.
“2 But have arenounced the hidden things of bdishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God cdeceitfully; but by manifestation of the dtruth commending ourselves to every man’s econscience in the sight of God.
3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
These verses in 2 Corinthians are really interesting:
- they warn about “renouncing the hidden things of dishonesty” (scholars have shown that much of the anti-Mormon literature is dishonest)
- they warn about “not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully” (isn’t this what any anti-type literature is? Crafty manipulation of the Word of God?
- they talk about how preaching the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is about manifesting the truth
- they talk about the “god of this world (Satan) [blinding] the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (this sounds really familiar in dealing with Luke and with Mandy)
- they talk about what we preach, not about ourselves, but about “Christ Jesus the Lord” and we are only servants in His hands
Other Missionary Scriptural References
- Genesis 12
- Jeremiah 16
- Ezekiel 34
- What is Missionary Work?
- Topical Guide – Missionary Work
- Missionary Work in the LDS Church
Why do Anti-Mormons Preach the Way they Do About the LDS Faith?
I just found this article about anti-Christian literature written back in the time of Jesus and the establishment of Christianity and how it compares with anti-Mormon literature since the restoration of the Gospel. Here are a few sections that stuck out to me:
…to show that these same tactics have not changed since ancient times, and have survived in only slightly modified form from the time that Christians were being fed to the wild beasts in Roman circuses.
Our concern here is…an analysis of Celsus’ claims to show significant parallels between ancient anti-Christianity and modern anti-Mormonism.
My aim is to show that the body of modern anti-Mormon writings, from the time of the Church founding until the present, bears striking parallels to the tactics, accusations, and in some cases even the language, used by Celsus, an avowed enemy to the doctrines of Christ.
I hope this might serve as a warning to those who find they use the same arrows as the Adversary, lest they find they are imitating the wrong side in the fight between Good and Evil.
It is necessary for the anti-Christian expositor to show why the reading audience ought to take him seriously. In our day, this amounts to the macabre list of Joseph Smith’s supposed personal acquaintances who prefaced their own evil reports by solemnly avowing that it all came first-hand, that they knew the Smith family better than anyone else, and that therefore they were to be believed. Celsus’ claims, “I have first-hand knowledge” of the deeds of the Christians. (Celsus, On the True Doctrine, translated by R. Joseph Hoffmann (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 106.)
[The anti-Mormon author ] claims that he is doing the Church members a favor, that it is only their own well-being he has in mind, and that he is piously looking after the welfare of the horribly fallen. “I have undertaken to compose a treatise for their [the Christians’] edification, so that they can see for themselves the true character of the doctrines they have chosen to embrace and the true sources of their opinions.”
And finally this:
Where, then, is truth to be found for the wayward fol- lowers? In ancient times as well as today, the answer is surprisingly the same. Celsus and the corpus of anti- Mormon literature enshrine nothing less than reason as the God of Knowledge. Criticism of the Book of Mormon does not hinge on a comparison with the Bible, ultimately, because the Mormons are just as good at finding proof in the Bible as are their attackers. It is therefore a perceived lack of archaeological evidence that makes belief in it as a genuine record so laugh- able. In other words, science and religion are going toe to toe. “One ought to first follow reason as a guide be- fore accepting any belief, since anyone who believes without testing a doctrine is certain to be deceived.” That is why Moroni’s promise is seen as such a weak test, according to skeptics, because it is not based on science. “Those who have had anything to do with philosophy, on the other hand, are above such trickery, since they are interested in examining actions and looking at their consequences.” To the question “Canst thou by searching find out God?”, Celsus and the anti-Mormons agree the answer is a resounding “Yes!” In fact, it is the only way to find Him out: “any conception of the Nameless First Being is dependent on proper reasoning.”
I really like how he concludes his research with a scripture:
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matthew 5:11–12)
How to Handle Anti-Mormon Literature
Since, to me, the purpose of anti-Mormon literature is to bring our Church and beliefs down; and, based on my research today, the purpose of missionary work in Christ’s Church during Biblical times (and today) is to bring to light that which has been lost and to teach truth, I believe it’s important to understand how to deal with “friends” or people who are trying to “protect you” or “warn you of the Mormon’s evil snares”.
Here’s a great comment I found at LDS.org:
Here are a couple of things to remember about anti-Mormon material.
First, it would be a waste to spend a lot of time and energy reading it. For one thing, it’s incredibly repetitive. Most of its questions and claims have been brought up—and answered—time and time again for over 100 years. But because anti-Mormon authors want to discredit the Church, they keep writing the same stuff over and over in the hope that they can reach a new audience. For another thing, you may not have the knowledge and experience to successfully investigate and counter all of the arguments they make. If you do end up reading something that criticizes the Church, discuss it with someone you trust who is knowledgeable in the gospel, like your parents, bishop, or seminary teacher. They can help you find answers and, more importantly, put things in proper perspective.
Second, you should never take the claims of anti-Mormon literature at face value. Although some critics of the Church may be doing what they sincerely believe to be right, too many of them are either misinformed about the Church or downright antagonistic toward it. This latter group is often all too willing to rely on deception and dishonesty to achieve their goals. The literature they produce often uses lies or half-truths; it distorts, sensationalizes, or misinterprets Church teachings and history; its intent is to tear down the Church and scare people away from it.
Think of how you feel when you read the Book of Mormon, pray, or bear your testimony. How do those feelings compare with the feelings that come from reading anti-Mormon literature? Which is guiding you to the truth?
I studied a bit more about anti-Mormon literature history and found this statement that made me feel good about how I’ve handled the whole Luke Facebook issues:
Though anti-Mormon criticisms, misrepresentations, and falsehoods are offensive to Church members, the First Presidency has counseled members not to react to or debate those who sponsor them and has urged them to keep their responses “in the form of a positive explanation of the doctrines and practices of the Church” (Church News, Dec. 18, 1983, p. 2).
Lawrence Foster, a non-Mormon historian who has written about the church, has written that, until the Tanners “are prepared to abide by accepted standards of scholarly behavior and common courtesy, they can expect little sympathy from serious historians.” He criticized them for “a holier-than-thou stance, refusing to be fair in applying the same debate standard of absolute rectitude which they demand of Mormonism to their own actions, writings, and beliefs. … The Tanners seem to be playing a skilful shell game in which the premises for judgment are conveniently shifted so that the conclusion is always the same—negative.”
Michael Quinn, a historian and former member of the LDS Church, takes issue with the Tanners’ work. He noted that, “although the most conscientious and honest researcher can overlook pertinent sources of information, the repeated omissions of evidence by the Tanners suggest an intentional avoidance of sources that modify or refute their caustic interpretation of Mormon history.”
Yes, this started off as research on how missionary work was taught in the Bible, and it turned into how anti-Mormon’s share their literature and how to handle it as a member of the Church.
Ultimately, I feel the position is clear: Christ and his apostles taught the Gospel. They didn’t belittle or speak down to other’s beliefs. Yes, Christ may have questioned the Pharisees from time to time or taught them via parables about how they were misrepresenting the truth; but His ultimate invitation was to “come unto Him”, to repent and be baptized, and to sin no more.
I’m grateful for the chance I had to go on a mission.
I love the Chilean people.
I even had a dream last night about being on a mission again (I re-found Miriam from Ochagavia).
I know that the mission work of the Church is ordained of God because I’ve felt it’s power in my life, not only as a full-time missionary but as I’ve done missionary work after my mission too.
I hope I can learn from this experience.
I hope I can teach my children how to develop and gain their own testimonies so they won’t have to worry about these “fiery darts of the adversary”.
My study of truth will continue!