Sunday, April 19, 2009

Liars at the Door

Today we had a pair of LDS missionaries come to the door. They've been here before, but this was the first occasion when I happened to be the one to answer the door.

After the initial pleasantries of establishing where we all stand (introducing themselves as LDS missionaries, and I for my part introducing myself as Catholic) they said that they were interested in [rough paraphrase here] "helping people come closer to Christ." I informed them that I appreciated their sincerity, but that we were not interested in becoming LDS.

And this is the point at which the story gets a little ugly, at least in my opinion. Because they both assured me that they weren't really interested in making converts.

Yes, they said that.

Well, I had to argue with them to get them to admit what they were really doing. They're missionaries. This means that they have a mission (hence the name), and that mission is to make more LDSers. So they had to concede that, yes, that's what they're really doing. So then I told them once again that we're not interested in converting. And off they went.

What the heck is going on with LDS missions if their missionaries are lying to people? Frankly, I find it hard to believe that this was an incidental offhand remark: I'm pretty sure they are sufficiently well-trained in their spiel that this was unlikely to be an innocent gaffe by a newbie. Indeed, given the fact that they never send out two newbies together but rather pair up the greenhorns with veterans (which is a sensible approach), and given that they both initially insisted they weren't trying to make converts, it seems very likely that they were trained this way.

I'm pretty shocked and disgusted by the whole thing. I don't mind them coming to my door as much as I do the fact that they were apparently trained to lie to me.

Beware the LDS missionary. He's represents a "gospel" that is contrary to the Catholic Faith, and he will apparently lie to you in order to get you to join up.

[Update]: I'm pretty bothered by this lying bit, so I did a little Googling. First hit: here. The author, apparently a former LDSer who is now a Protestant, says that he told more lies as an LDS missionary in the 1970s than he can remember. Number one on his list: "We're not trying to convert you." He continues:
I didn't trade the Southern California sunshine for the Dakota snow merely to build interfaith relations. My calling was to teach the church-approved missionary lessons and then baptize the people I taught.
Of course it was. And a little honesty is a lot better way to say hello than lying to my face.


Nick said...

Oh, man, you are so lucky. I wish they came to my door. I wouldn't say I had no intention of becoming LDS though, I'd keep that quiet.

Then, when the time is right I'd play dumb and ask if they believe the Church Jesus established fell away for 1800 years. Then I would say "IF that is true, I'd be uncomfortable being LDS, because that makes Jesus a failure."
That argument pulls the rug right from under them. If "the Church Jesus established" (an important way to phrase it) fell away shortly after the Apostles died, then Jesus is the biggest failure. There is no defense against this, Christ left the world in darkness for 1800 years, and that is unacceptable.

As for the LDS telling lies, it is disgusting, but that is how the devil works. They tell the most damned lies if they can get close to "make the sale" (they are salesmen, not missionaries). They have "uncomfortable" doctrines which they will lie about or play dumb, like believing God was once a man.

Another utterly wicked thing the LDS do is a new spin from their marketing department. They publicly talk about how they are "christian" just like other denominations, but they actually believe all other denominations are run by satan and not true Christian. They do this because the marketing department knows if they come off as another Christian denomination that people will let their guard down.
Check out this link I found:

But don't go too hard on the guys, they are usually pretty young and don't know much about life, and know even less about critical thinking and theology.

Nick said...

Oh, one more example I remember. The LDS recently put out a YouTube film called "why mormons build temples" and for a good chunk of the show they have a guy dressed as a Catholic bishop/priest praising Mormonism as biblical and accurate and true. The guy is actually a very liberal Lutheran, but the LDS marketing knows to 99% viewing he is a Catholic (another "christian like us") giving Mormonism a good word.

And check out these two recent news articles from doing a search on the official LDS newspage:

SALT LAKE CITY 5 September 2008
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a restoration of New Testament Christianity as taught by Jesus and His apostles. It is not Protestant, evangelical, Catholic or Orthodox. Nevertheless, the basic values of morality, civility and family espoused by the Church are similar to those of most other Christian faiths. Church members find refuge from the uncertainties of the world in the gospel message of hope and happiness.

SALT LAKE CITY 19 August 2008
Most first-time visitors to a Mormon church building comment on the number of rooms. Many expect to find one large interior space, such as in many other Christian denominations’ buildings of worship.

This marketing campaign has been going on for about 3 years. I've never been LDS, but that's clearly what's going on. They make themself SOUND like one Christian option among others, but in fact they don't believe they are Christian at all. They do the same thing with many Christian terms like Trinity, so they can say "yes we believe that," but in fact radically redefined it and know they are deceiving.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Hi Nick,

Heh. I seem to have pushed a button :-)

I appreciate how you would greet them, and to be frank I have some regrets about the way that I handled it, but I am quite confident that I am not well-equipped for dealing with them on a personal basis. It has been a very long time since I did any research on the LDS, so that I would be at a terrific disadvantage on that score. No less important is the fact that I think 2Cor 10:10 applies to me very well: "Someone said, 'He writes powerful and strongly-worded letters but when he is with you you see only half a man and no preacher at all.'" :-( I'm not making any claims about the quality of my writing, but I'm much much worse in person.



Nick said...

No problem, I see what you're saying and it's better to play it safe. Especially if dishonest tactics are being used, that means their out to humiliate/trap you, while they are trained not to blush.