Fun with Mormons


It was Saturday afternoon. I was walking through Liscard and listening to my iPod, when I was stopped in the street by a young man in a sharp suit.

“Excuse me, sir.  I’m here today to tell you the Good News™”

Fantastic! I love it when they pick on me. Seriously, I do. We don’t get many religious zealots around here, so it’s the only sport that I get.  I think our lackadaisical national religion has bred most of the zealotry out of the population.  The most extremist thing you’ll see a Church of England vicar do is invite himself over for tea and Victoria sponge.  This bloke has an odd accent.  He sounds American, but at the same time he sounds Dutch.  I’m never good with American accents.  Maybe one of the Mountain States?

“What would it mean to you if I were to say that there is a God, and He loves you, and that He has a prophet on Earth right now? What would it mean if these things were true?”

Well, if that were true, it would mean a lot.  If it were true.  But I don’t think it is.

“I understand, sir.  Can I ask you why that is?”

Well, I’d quite like to see some good evidence first before I’m going to accept what you say.  I assume your god is of the all-knowing variety?

“Yes, sir.  He is.”

Which means your god knows exactly what evidence it will take to convince me that he is real.  I’m not even sure what would convince me, but your god will know.  He hasn’t provided that evidence for me, so far.  Maybe he doesn’t want me to believe in him?  Seems to me the ball is in his court.

“Well, that’s an interesting point you make, but I can prove to you right here and now that God is real and that He loves you.  All you need to do is pray to Him with sincerity in your heart and He will send a prophet to you.”

Please, don’t assume that I’ve never prayed.  I was raised a Christian, I’ve prayed and sincerely.  I’ve since thought a lot about it and decided, really, it’s not true.

“Well, maybe you have never prayed properly. We aren’t like other Christians, we know the Truth™.”

To which Christian denomination do you belong?

“I’m from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints…”

Aaaha! Right. We’re on that page, okay.

“… and I know that if you pray to God sincerely, He will prove himself to you.”

Isn’t that a bit backward? Don’t you need to prove it to me first and then I’ll pray to your god?

“No, sir.  If you put your faith in God, then He will prove himself to you.”

No, I’m sorry.  If you told me that you could fly, and that you can teach me how to fly too, then I want to see you flying before I throw myself out of a window on your say-so.

“I assure you sir, what we’re asking you to do is not dangerous at all.”

That isn’t the point.  The point is, you prove it first and then I believe it after.  You don’t prove something to me by asking me to believe today and promising the proof will come tomorrow.

“Can I ask if you have ever had chance to read the Book of Mormon?”

No, I’m afraid not.  Old Testament and New Testament, yes.  But I’ve never had cause to read the Book of Mormon really.  To be honest, it’s not taken that seriously in the UK, although I hear it’s big in Utah.

“Yes, that’s right,” he laughed, “it is big in Utah.  Would it be possible, then, for us to arrange a time we can come and visit you at home, take up twenty minutes of your time and present you with a copy of the Book of Mormon?”

If I want to read the Book of Mormon, I can just look it up on the Internet, thanks.

“Well, perhaps then I can give you this card with our website on it?”

Absolutely, yes.  Please do.

“The church pictured on the card is only up in Chorley.”

Really?  It’s a lovely building. That’s something I’ll say about religious architecture, it is very beautiful.

“Yes, yes it is.  Well, it was very nice talking to you, sir.”

And you. Have a good afternoon, okay?

,

  1. #1 by Colonel Molerat on June 15, 2009 - 09:38

    Ah! Just before the Joe Power meeting, I was siezed upon my some religious types! (Middle-aged, plumpish avuncular women). (Avuncular… Can that be used for the feminine article?)
    I can’t remember the conversation in great detail – I was a bit flustered at the time, but the jist was that I had been ‘singled out’ by the Lord, or some such, and that I was somehow special.
    I was told that I was blessed (“Ooh! Does that mean I can fly now?”, “Haha, no, not that”, “Oh… why would I want to be blessed then?”), then I was asked to join with them in prayer. My response that prayer isn’t my thing and, when asked, that ‘my thing’ was “anything but prayer. Or anything else equally absurd.”
    After another short while, and a little more god-nonsense, I assured them that I would take being ‘special’ as a compliment, in a very secular manner; that whatever ‘singled me out’ was a purely physical phenomenon, but nice all the same, and, with a thanks-but-no-thanks, got them to leave me, with the hope that “I find god” or somesuch.
    They were very friendly, though… If a little unsettling.

  2. #2 by Daz on June 15, 2009 - 18:19

    I had the opportunity over the weekend when a couple of mormons knocked on the door, but i couldnt be bothered at the time and moved them swiftly on. later on that day i rued the missed opportunity at some baiting as there really isnt enough of this type of thing anymore.

  3. #3 by Andy on June 15, 2009 - 19:55

    I had an intersting chat of a similar nature in Southport town centre some years ago. We tossed it around for about 1/2 hour then finally agreed to differ. Then I asked if he knew my brother, a Mormon from the Southport church!! He did. You should have seen his face. 🙂

  4. #4 by The Skepdick on June 16, 2009 - 20:00

    Absolute brilliance!

    I LIVE for moments such as this. They are entirely too rare, face to face.

    I do engage some serious true believers in my hometown newspaper opinions page, but it’s not the same. My opponents in the forum hide behind the safety of internet anonymity and say things they otherwise would not. Chickenshits.

    I rarely pick on someone for their faith in woo unless they present something as fact or truth. Then, all bets are off.

    Probably not the best way to deconvert anyone, but I’m not so sure that’s possible anyway. I am slowly finding out there are people out there who agree with me. I’m hoping I can get some of them to find their voices, as it were.

  5. #5 by Colonel Molerat on June 17, 2009 - 09:54

    Where are you from, Skepdick?
    I was just wondering because you say ‘I am slowly finding out there are people out there who agree with me.’ – in my experience, most people are generally sensible with one or two silly ideas (perhaps acupuncture, perhaps vaccines, perhaps religion). Often they simply don’t care, and so don’t think about some issues.
    In that way, there are lots of people who agree with me, and I’ve joined this sceptical group as a hobby more than feeling that minds needed changing – so I wondered whether wherever you are from has a much higher level of public ignorance, you just happen to have had more discussions than I to reveal that ignorance, or something else.
    I often think the general public are a lot more sceptical than they are, merely because of the people I’ve been lucky enough to encounter!

  6. #6 by Scepticarla on June 17, 2009 - 12:32

    Fantastic! If you do a bit of research on the mormon faith it’s absolutely brilliant. Joseph Smith in C19th America, who was a well known ‘bad lot’ tells everyone he’s had a revelation from God which has been written on some golden tablets, revealed by the Angel ‘MORONI’ (I kid you not). Unfortunately no-one has ever seen these tablets, and when Smith was asked for proof, he ‘lost ‘ the tablets, only to find them again a few years later when he decided to set up his own church. A forerunner of L. Ron Hubbard obviously, who said (loosely) ‘if you want to be rich, then start your own religion’
    I recently talked to a lady who was telling me the authenticity of Derek Acora (really!) and every point I brought up she answered with ‘well, it’s a question of faith, you either believe it or you don’t’ To which I had no answer. Great article in the Sceptical Enquirer this month that says if we’re playing chess and believers bring a basket ball to the table then there’s no point in playing the game. I used to like baiting religious idiots, but I get so tired of their nonsensical arguments that I just tell them to go away now… :O)

  7. #7 by Mike on June 17, 2009 - 13:06

    Yes, I hope everyone is impressed at the restraint I showed in not bringing up Joseph Smith, golden plates, polygamy or special magic underwear.

    I did consider it, but he was such a lovely bloke really and (although I didn’t put this in the article) frequently paused before answering my questions and put on this face like he had to think really, really hard.

  8. #8 by Colonel Molerat on June 18, 2009 - 13:01

    His magic underwear was just a little too tight.

  9. #9 by phil on July 29, 2009 - 14:34

    The book of momon is another testament of jesus Christ . Just because the bible has been published it doesnt mean God has stopped talking . The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the restored church that has been missing since the Apostles left the earth. Joseph Smith was Gods prophet.
    There has been no authority to carry out holy ordainances since the death of Peter the apostle who held the keys given to him by Jesus Christ himself.
    The pope proclaims authority but from whom ? Peter was an apostle not a Bishop !
    As for magical under wear …..well errrm take a look at the “magical” items the catholic church puts to use ! rosary beads ! holy water ! to name but 2. my under wear says Kalvin Klien , it used to say marks and Spencer but that wasnt magical enough on the beach !
    The restored church is what its all about , the restored Priesthood , and the fullnessof the gospel.
    My wife and I listened to the mormon missionaries and went to their church , we prayed and felt the spirit , we did this for 7 months we looked and scoffed just like some of these writers above .
    I can certainly testify that the Book of Mormon is true, and the LDS church is the true church, and the many blessings that touched our lives because of this .
    my only regret is that I wish I had found this church many years ago .
    Missionary bating is good fun …but they expect it and take it all in their stride , their faith is unwaivering , they volunteer for this, they pay for this themselves,they give up 2 years of their life to bring the restored gospel to you. Just like when your son or daughter goes off to university they miss their families like any other person ,They dont criticize other religions, they also read the bible as well as the BOM.
    If you ever get the opportunity to listen to them ..take it and give them the opportunity to show you what its all about , you can ask as many questions as you like …believe me I did.
    11 millon people did as well all over the world .
    hope you find the truth like I did ! life is sweeter , blessings in abundance, let the spirit find you my friends it really is worth the effort .

  10. #10 by Mike on July 29, 2009 - 14:59

    Hi Phil,

    We’re aware of what the Book of Mormon is. Making appeals and comparisons to Catholicism will hold no sway here. That the Catholics have their own “magic” relics and artefacts does not make the mormon underwear any less ridiculous. All it means is that the Catholics are just as daft.

    Similarly, your appeal to popularity holds no sway either. Whether it is 11 people or 11 million people, it doesn’t matter. The number of believers has no bearing on the truth of a claim.

    In fact, the only thing that will hold any sway in these parts is some good quality evidence. So, looking through some of your assertions, you claim:

    1. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ
    – Who is Jesus?
    – How do you know he is real?
    – How do you know he was involved in any testament?
    – How do you know he was involved in the book of mormon?

    2. Joseph Smith was God’s prophet
    – What do you mean by “God”?
    – How do you know your God is real?
    – What is a “prophet”?
    – How do you know Joseph Smith is one?

    3. Peter was given the “keys” by Jesus Christ
    – Again, who was Jesus and;
    – How do you know he was real?
    – How do you know Peter was real?
    – How do you know that Peter was given anything by Jesus?

  11. #11 by Phil on August 8, 2010 - 23:27

    Hi Mike .

    Just thought I would pop back to the forum its been a while . Well ….yes I can see where you are coming from with regards to the reality as to the existence of God , Jesus Christ, Peter, etc you forgot to mention Santa Claus.
    Real or not there are forces at work which make me believe them to be real , If I deny the existence of those who I believe makes my life sweeter , fuller, and blessings in abundance , I would have to call it luck , but you know it’s a little it more than that . No matter what we believe if we follow any particular religion we still need faith , we still look towards the same God , our ultimate aim is to return to him when this life ends , in the bible …yes the bible we are taught about covenants that we make with God , you remember them like the commandments and stuff like righteousness , and understanding the atonement of Jesus Christ …well that works for us too . God chose prophets many hundreds of years before Christ they foretold many things even the coming of a Messiah , They were real , After the murder of Jesus and his resurrection why should God stop talking to us ?
    Modern day Revelation within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints , came about through the restoration of the priesthood to the earth which had been lost for 2k years .
    My faith in the truth of the church is reflected in my life as it is also in my family’s
    I don’t preach I don’t have to . I don’t have to justify to anyone why I believe that my Heavenly Father loves me , as for magical underwear, well, it’s a little bit more than that ….if it was a tee shirt it would be cool, we can put some smart logo on the front to reflect perhaps our social standing , or even if we have a statement to make .

    If at the end of the day I find I have got it all wrong , then I have had a blessed life I will just say ah well whatever, no harm done turn the lights out , put the cat out and cease to exist, there may come a time when people will ask who YOU were did you ever exist ………….but on the other hand if I have got it right , and I have faith and believe that I have then I reap my rewards in heaven . I am in no hurry though, I have no inclination to blow myself up and take many non mormons with me , life is far to sweet for that , God is great no matter what religion you are . Namaste my brother.
    ……….oh by the way Santa is real …..or you wouldn’t really put up your Christmas tree would you ….or feel that magical moment when the children open the presents that Santa has left. ……Santa is real if only in our hearts .

  12. #12 by Mike Hall on August 9, 2010 - 12:40

    Interesting points, Phil, but I can’t help notice that you didn’t actually answer any of my questions?

  13. #13 by DCH on November 15, 2014 - 00:39

    What fun you must have debunking God and His followers. I wish I could live my life with such a carefree, single minded belief in a simple construct.

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