Monday, July 24, 2006

It is a peculiarity of the LDS faith that many members "know this church is true." Among ex-mormons it is even common to hear that they "know this church is false." I've always felt like the odd man out to such ideas. I must admit that I "know" virtually nothing. What I do know amounts to these three things. 1) I know that there is a God (I fought him and lost)... 2) I know that you my reader are not Him (don't make me prove it)... and 3) I know that I'm not Him either (you'd best be glad of that). Beyond that I have convictions and opinions, but so does everyone else, and I respect that.

My concern has become how I can interact productively with the "true/false" crowd. This as you can see from previous posts goes beyond all things mormon. I simply don't like getting caught up in contradictions. From the wrong perspective anything can start seeming goofy or stupid, and in just the right light the silliest ideas start to make sense. I look at the world and see people blowing themselves up over what they believe is "true," and I don't want any part of that. But at the same time I see people who are motivated to do phenomenal things because of what they "know," and I get a little jealous.

Would the world be an inherently better place if there were more people like me in it? We'd all like to believe that to be the case for at least ourselves. But before I get much higher on a soap box I'd like to be a little more sure that I'm doing more good than harm. Or maybe I'm just worried that I'm not doing any good at all. Any ideas? Thanks...

-markezuma

Friday, July 14, 2006

Lately I've been surfing the net and people have used words like "cult" and "heresy" to describe the LDS faith. Now this is not a new occurrence or one that comes as a big surprise to me, still I find the tendency for name calling very disturbing. It is a mystery to me why such animosity has developed for my church, and why it is especially prevalent among otherwise loving and well meaning orthodox Christians.

The LDS faith is outside of the orthodoxy of the historical Christian church. This springs from an attempt to restore what we call the primitive (pre-orthodox) Christian church. Another factor that provides an obvious difference is the existence of the Book of Mormon and its implications on defining the canons of Christianity. But restoration and canon aside our faith is growing, and I think that scares some people outside the church. So the challenge becomes: How do Latter Day Saints encourage dialog with and alleviate fears of traditional faiths?

LDS doctrine states that "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." (Article of Faith 11) To the best of my knowledge no one has ever been forced to join the LDS church. This is not true for other faiths. When people have started talking about cults and heresies historically it has been followed by forced conversions and often times murder. Mormons were shot on sight because of the fear I am trying to end. If you've had some success in dealing with this problem give me some input on how to solve it. And if you think the LDS faith is a cult or a heresy let me try to convince you otherwise. May God bless our broken world.

-markezuma

Sunday, July 02, 2006

It's Sunday and I'm not in church again. My children are running around and screaming happily, and my wife is out smoking. To top it off, this is fast and testimony Sunday, and I forgot to fast. Not that I have trouble fasting and praying. I pray all the time and sometimes even remember to fast on purpose. But part of the point of fasting is to create sympathy for people who don't have food. And I know first hand what it's like to go without. For several years I lived on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and whatever I could steal from work (in various fast food restaurants). This was all before I joined the LDS faith. So now instead of feeling guilty for stealing food I feel guilty that I have food and forget to fast. On the positive side, I've been diligently reading my Book of Mormon this week. I encourage everybody to read it through a least once if for no other reason than to become educated about what's in it. So lately I've been "practicing what I preach." I've read the Bible (cover to cover: twice) and prefer it to the Book of Mormon (which I've only completed once). But I always feel like I'm on solid ground telling people to open up either one since I've "been there and done that." If you've read both I compliment you; if you haven't I can not stress the importance of doing so enough. I've also read the entire Koran in English translation and have successfully encouraged 1 person (my wife) to do the same. But that's brings up a whole different worry. I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that makes me a Mormon. But I also believe Mohammed (peace to him) was a prophet, and I don't know what that makes me. So what're your favorite books, and do they affect how you spend your Sunday mornings?

-markezuma