Friday, May 22, 2009

Chatting with a Mormon Missionary: Take 1

Why wait for the bible-salesmen to come to you? Chat Live with a Missionary!

"You are speaking live with Spencer, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Information provided in this session is to provide assistance only and is not an official statement of the Church."

Spencer: hello how may i help you

Angie: Hi I have some questions about Mormonism/LDS. I'm a college student, with a dual major in american history and middle east studies.

Spencer: ok Angie what questions

Angie: Both Islam and LDS claim to be the completions of the workings of the Jewish and Christian Bibles. How do you know yours is right?

Spencer: Well webelieve that when all the apostles were killed that the athority to lead christ church was lost

Angie: So what happened after it was lost?

Spencer: and this is seen because of all the reformations that occered druing the dark ages

Angie: Okay, so you believe that the other denominations of Christianity are lacking authority, right?

Spencer: because of this loss the true and full gosple needed to be restored to the earth

Angie: What makes you think the gospel in the standard Christian bible is incomplete? Note: I am not a Christian

Spencer: well they all have certain truths but the funness and the athority was taken from the earth when the last of the apostles died
(I'm sure he meant "fullness" but his typos were too cute to correct!

Angie: How do you know this?

Spencer: in the bible there were prophets who lead the people right

Angie: right, the Bible tells of prophets

Spencer: well in Amos 3:7 we know that god wall alway revile his truth through prophets. were are the prophets today?

Angie: according to Muslims, Muhammed was the prophet of god (Allah means god in Arabic) and according to Mormons Joseph Smith was the prophet, and according to most protestant chrsitians, they're still waiting on a prophet who will come later. Jehovah's Witnesses believe their church leadership are the prophets.

Spencer: right and but most churches now call their leaders prophets but the will not claim that they talk to god still they belive that we have the bible and thats all we need. but i know the bible is great but you need someone who can talk to god and recive interpitations of it

Angie: well no, actually. MANY churches claim to talk directly to god, or through their leaders to god. In pentacostal churches they have "intercessors" who pray and many churches have some who speak in tongues, and others who interpret this as revelation from god. The catholics ask their priests and pope to talk to god and receive inspiration that way. Muslims believe their imams get divine inspiration from god

Spencer: they believe that they talk to god but do not but do notclaim to recive revolation from him

Angie: some do. Faith healers, the pope, and imams all claim to receive revaltion from god

Spencer: ok

Angie: how do mormons believe they receive revelation beyond the bible?

Spencer: you asked earlyer how I know were right yes

Angie: yes, how do you know that your beliefs are correct and the others are incorrect

Spencer: i have prayed to god for myself because i know that god answers our prayers because he loves us and he does not want us to wander in confusion all our lives. have you read the book of mormon

Angie: I would certainly hope no god would desire its followers to be confused. You say that you know god answers your prayers and that you know god loves you. can you explain this?

Spencer: well i know we can get answers and we don't have to take someone elses word for it we can ask. god will let us know fi something is true or not

Angie: I don't know what you mean. Are you saying a revealed truth directly to you, not through a book or through what others tell you?

Spencer: you said your not christian well cani ask what do you belive in

Angie: Sure, but first, can you answer my question? How do you know that what you believe is right, when so many people of different faiths so they know that they are right, and that their god answers their prayers? I don't see how one can choose when they all say the same things

Spencer: one second
(long pause while Spencer gets help)
you can ask for yourself

Angie: Please explain - I don't know what you mean by "ask for myself"

Spencer: get on your knees in a quiet place and ask god if there are prophet today or ask if the bible is true or any questions like that

Angie: mmmm, well how will I know that it is god answering me, and not just the thoughts in my own head or demons trying to deceive me?

Spencer: i know that if you ask in faith you will recive an answr not a voice or an angel but a feeling in your heart a burning or a feeling of peace

Angie: So I'll know it's god if I feel peaceful burning?
I'm just confused, because protestants say the same thing, and so do muslims. and there's a really nice hindu woman on my bus and she says her gods answer her prayers and that she can feel them when she talks to them

Spencer: it is difficult to describe i'll do my best

Angie: thank you.

Spencer: when i was young i didn't know if this church was true my parents said tehy knew but i had just always followed along

Angie: sure, most people end up with the same religion as their parents

Spencer: but when i was 15 a lot of things had been happening in my life and one of my friend asked me why i still went to church how do you know it's true and i didn't have an answer for him or myself

Angie: Right, I think a lot of teenagers of various faiths experience that - wanting to know that what they believe is true

Spencer: so when i got home that day i went into my room and read from the scriptures in the book of mormon there is this chapter in moroni that says if you pray in faith about these thigns the truth of them will be show unto you. it diricult beliveing enuything as a teenager
(at this point I began to wonder how old this missionary was

Angie: So you wanted to know if Mormonism was right, so you read the Book Mormon, and it said in the chapter Moroni that if you had faith in Mormonism and prayed then you would know Mormonism was true?

Spencer: if i had faith that god would answer me theni would recive an answer
whether it was true or not

Angie: That doesn't make sense to me. I would have to believe that whatever I thought was from god, without knowing for sure it WAS from god, because I had already chosen to believe it before I prayed about it!

Spencer: my church friend all talked about this great burning feeling they got when they prayed for truth

Angie: Is there any way to know that the Mormon religion is true outside of the book of Mormon, like from the world around us, or something that mormons know that other people don't?

Spencer: welll i didn't know it was true all i knew was people said it was true

Angie: right, you didn't want to take someone's word for it. you wanted to know for yourself, I can respect that

Spencer: i didn't want to belive it i wanted to know if it was true. i was also scared because if it was true then i had to live it

Angie: so you don't just believe, no you know that it's true?

Spencer: yeah and it doesn't matter if my parent come and tell me that they don't belive anymore because i know that i'm right

Angie: wow, you sound really certain. can you tell me how you know you're right? I mean, if it's true I'd certainly rather know that. I really care about what is true and want to know as many true things, and believe as few false things, as possible.

Spencer: when i prayed it was different from what many people described. i asked if god loved me because i wanted to experiment with an easy answer. when i did this i waited for an answer and felt myself start to feel just completely safe comfortable that nothing mattered because was loved an i could feel it at that moment

Angie: feeling loved is very nice, yes

Spencer: when i knew that god would answer me i asked if prophet excisted on the earth and if joseph smith was one

Angie: you knew god could answer you because you felt loved when you asked if god loved you, is that right?

(5 minutes later)

Angie: Are you still there Spencer?


So what have I learned from this experiment? Well, that if I refrain from "you moron!" type comments I tend to make in comments to YouTube videos and to trolls here *ahem* I get a lot farther. My goal was to get him to start asking questions, by posing as dumb blonde agnostic (not to insult agnostics, you know what I mean). I learned that you can keep the other person on defense by asking all the questions. Notice how when Spencer asked me what I believed, I quickly deflected back to you, Sure but first answer my question. He was trying to change the subject to one that is easier - attacking the beliefs of someone else are much simpler than defending your own beliefs. I learned that bad internet connections can hinder the process (if he didn't just run away, lol). And I learned that you don't always have the opportunity to go back later. I wish I'd asked him while he was still on why he was afraid of god being true, and having to follow the teachings of his church. Finally, I learned that Mormon missionaries aren't required to be good at spelling to represent the church on this website.

Try it for yourselves if you want to get some good debate practice in without an audience:


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