You are speaking live with James, 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.
James: Has transferred you to Matthew
You are speaking live with Matthew, 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.
Me: Hello Matthew
Matthew: Hellos Angie! This is Matt, how are you?
Me: I'm doing great. How are you?
Matthew: I'm doing great!
(My, he's chipper!)
Me: How long have you been Mormon?
(translation: How old are you?)
Matthew: 19 years. What about you?
(Even if it all goes downhill from here, Matthew wins the Shift-Key Award!)
Me: Well, I'm not Mormon. I do have some questions though. I studied a bit about LDS founders like Joseph Smith and Brigham Young in American History.
Matthew: Really? What questions do you have?
(His Shift Key use is so endearing!)
Me: Why do you think God waited so long to reveal his words to Joseph Smith? LDS is a pretty young church compared to a lot of world religions.
(Typical hard-question pause. Hmmm... I probably don't have enough time to run outside for a cigarette though. Oooh! He's back already - under 2 minutes!)
Matthew: We know the LDS church to be the restored church of Jesus Christ. After the people rejected and killed Jesus Christ and his apostles, Christ's gospel was taken off the earth. Because of the people's choices at the time, Christ's church wasn't able to be on the earth.
Me: Well, actually the Early Christian church didn't start until after his death, to my understanding. Like during the 1st century AD/CE
(Writing out both versions reminds me of the band AC/DC.)
Matthew: But Joseph Smith restored Christ's church back to the earth in its fullness!
(So far, this one seems so sweet and earnest. I don't want to burst his bubble, and yet my mission to cast seeds of doubt must go on.)
Me: Well, can you explain what you mean by the "restored church"? You say that Christ's gospel was taken off the earth. Do you mean the actual message recorded in the Bible, or something different?
Matthew: Christ's true gospel meaning the authority to act in Christ's name was taken off the earth. His priesthood died out with his apostle's death. Therefore, during the first century after Christ's ressurection all true authority no longer existed on the earth
The same church that Christ had while He was on the earth exists today.
Me: Wow, I've never heard that before. So do you think that the earliest Christians who spread the word and actually put together the Canon of the Bible - they had no authority to do that?
Matthew: I have to go Angie but thank you for talking with me!
Have a great day.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us and for your interest in the Church. Please know that you are welcome to worship with us any time, request a visit from Mormon missionaries, order a Book of Mormon, or continue to browse our Web site to learn more answers to life's greatest questions.
He hung up on me! And I hadn't even had a chance to be offensive. Since you have to enter your name and email address into the chat applet each time - and I've been using the same one - apparently it only took 4 visits for them to be onto me. Hopefully they're not also logging IP addresses, because you know this is NOT the end.
What have I learned? I've learned to get the doubt in early, in case their supervisor tells them to click off. I've learned that a group of late teen boys can be terrified of the name "Angie" if it poses enough hard questions. (James didn't even say "Hello".) I've learned that not ALL Mormon missionaries like basic typing - in fact, young Matthew does indeed win the Angie the Anti-Theist Shift-Key Award! The grand prize (should he choose to accept) is a series of links to ex-mormon and atheist-friendly websites, and a personal invitation to be my Friend on AtheistNexus.org. (Check out the banner to your right if you'd like to accept this prize yourself!)
Tune in next week when we'll discover whether Mormons track IP addresses...