Archive for December, 2013

So when did you become a Mormon?

As a missionary, I talk to a lot of people…Or at least a lot of people talk at me. It’s kind of the nature of conversation when you interrupt their day at their doorstep or on the street. Most are pretty happy with their religion, or lack thereof, and mostly don’t want to be preached to. They feel that whatever we have to offer can’t be any better than anything they can find on their own, thank you very much. Most often, people are rather friendly, or at least not outright rude. Sometimes, they’re considerably less so. Wearing the little black badge kind of gives us a second skin, or shield, which allows us to let such shoutings roll off our backs. I think some of the most interesting responses are from those who actually want to talk to us, but not to learn; they want to save us. Sometimes these individuals are preachers for other churches, or sometimes they’re simply concerned Christians who are convinced that we’ve never had a fair chance to find ‘real religion’ for ourselves, being so sheltered in ‘Utah’. This question usually devolves into a core concern:
“Haven’t you just been brainwashed by your parents? I mean, really, if you’ve been raised to believe a certain thing, can you really say that you know for yourself that your church is “true”, whatever that means?”
This is a tough question to answer, really, because when it comes down to it, aren’t we all children of the environment we grew up in? Our parents and friends heavily influence our speech patterns, interpretations of stimuli, and decision making processes. Human perspective is inherently limited to the experiences we encounter throughout our sojourn through mortality. We compare new experiences with old ones, trying to organize this complex world into one that the human mind can understand. A kid who grows up Mormon definitely thinks differently than a kid who grows up Muslim. In the end, all parenting could be considered brainwashing. Culture trains our brains to think a certain way. Quite simply, Mormons grow up in a different culture than those who aren’t. So real question is: Is my testimony based on truth, or the way I was raised/my culture? Can there even be a difference?
I think that separating the decisions I make that are based on rational reasoning as opposed to mental defaults based on how I was raised is quite futile. Instead I focus on the spiritual experiences I’ve had and the honest research I’ve done into other religions’ beliefs and practices. I think this is all anyone who honestly searches for truth and guidance in life can do. It’s impossible to be truly objective in any aspect of life, and in the end, I’m not sure that’s our purpose here on Earth.
From my research I’ve come to a firm conclusion for myself: Either The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only church led by men who actually commune with God on a regular basis, using real power given to men through our faith and righteousness, for the betterment of humanity and the eventual eternal life of man; or there is no God.
I think I can sum up this post in a simple sentence:
From a catholic priest from the movie Rudy:
” Son, in 35 years of religious study,
I have only come up with two hard incontrovertible facts:
There is a God,
And I’m not Him.”
I’m a Mormon, and I’m staying a Mormon. 😀