I hear similar comments over and over again. What is missing here is that we often bring on such contrariness and negative attitudes ourselves. We tend to isolate ourselves; we make statements from the pulpit about us being a "peculiar" people; we criticize other religions for their "great and spacious" buildings, and we tend to shy away from genuine and open friendships with those of other faiths. Summarily speaking, we leave ourselves wide open for vexing responses brought about by our own attitudes. We are in an area that had a recurrent history of just what you are talking about. Then, we started offering genealogical research in service of those not of our faith. We took on community service projects with other faiths. We invited people to Church and we went to their Churches. Pretty soon people began to realize that we weren't just trying to convert them and that we were genuinely interested in them as friends. The results over the last 10 years have been nothing short of amazing. We are in the media positively and consistently. We are noted for our contributions of service to our communities, and we are not maligned by other Churches. But, most importantly, we have increasing opportunities to express our beliefs to those not of our faith. For example, and this is just one of many, not long ago we hosted an annual meeting of a cemetery preservation alliance. 44 members of that group, none of them being LDS, listened while our Mission President explained what our Temples are for, that families can be together forever, and a good deal of our doctrines to those present. They were captivated by what they learned, and they thanked us for sharing our beliefs with them. I could go on with many more examples, but, let it suffice to say that we have found an effective method for ending confrontations and conflict. Simply said, try dwelling on how we can change ourselves and how we are regarded by others and forget worrying about how to defend ourselves. It works.
My post above failed to include a closing paragraph....here it is....
I have been able to share the gospel with people I do not really know, as we share our genealogy and discuss family we have in common. Also, I was on a group email list that began talking about "those Mormons" who were baptising their relatives. They were offended because their family member had already been baptised while living. The group did not know I was LDS. I entered the conversation..... that had been going on for quite a while. I told them not to worry. If the Mormons are right, then there will be a lot of happy united families in heaven. If the Mormons were wrong, then they have contributed greatly to world records and have given us a great avenue to pursue our genealogy hobby. That satisfied the group conversation. A conversation about doctrine would have further irritated the group.
A member of the church told me there was a stigma to being LDS. I told him that he felt a stigma because he needed to strengthen his testimony. When you have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel, then there is no stigma. I have NEVER felt a stigma for my belief.
I have been called all those anti-Mormon names. I might laugh and joke with about it with them. It is so silly. Local churches teach from the pulpit against the church. My husband tells his co-workers......you know me....do you think I would believe such as that? There is always someone who wants to prove their point or argue. I tell them if you want to know more about my church, I will be happy to share what I know, but I do not argue.
I have been able to share the gospel with people I do not really know, as we share our genealogy and discuss family we have in common. I was on a group email list that began talking about "those Mormons" who were baptising their relatives. They were offended because their family member had already been baptised while living.
Had an experience with my bus driver last week. In an apprent sincere question, I responded with a Book of Mormon into which I had placed my testimony. I received an unflattering response, full of biblical text belittling my beliefs' I plan to respond with love and my testimony of Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour!
I have always believed that the correct path should be: "Differences polarize: commonalities unite!" I will continue to repond in that vein.
I love Joni's good sense clear understanding. God bless you sister!
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