Friday, September 25, 2009

The Visitation

I have been letting this post sit in my browser for a very long time this morning. I even published it on my blog and then quickly went back and deleted it. argh.  In the past i would just save it as a draft and never actually post it - but since earlier this week i have committed to sharing more of my heart, and by the encouragement of my husband (who actually hasn't read this yet - he's finishing writing a paper), i'm putting this out there for you to read. And there are some of you who "know that this church is true" to whom this may seem very offensive. but certainly know that you are just as dear to me, though maybe i may seem as more of a hopeless case to you.

(photo by Alex Mahan)

So we had our second visit with the Mormon missionaries last night. Both Landon and I were disappointed. I guess we just had such a large chunk of time with them last week and brought up some interesting topics, we were really looking forward to seeing them this week. But they came 30 minutes late, and then only had 30 minutes to go over lesson one with us until their next meeting with someone else.

It was kind of like tug-of-war. I mean, i read over that booklet they gave us really intently and wrote questions and found scripture references. Landon read it also. I guess as a Lit major in college, it bugs me when someone gives me a piece of literature for homework and then when we get together we just pretty much regurgitate and repeat the text. Those were the classes that i ditched in college - if we weren't going to elaborate on the writing then i had no point in going to class if i can read it myself and even do further study at home. It was like that. They were trying to go through the booklet and retell everything that we just read, and we  (actually Landon, i kept pretty quiet) were trying to ask questions and actually talk about what was in the booklet. So they would trudge along, trying to get everything in since we only had 30 minutes. but we wanted to get deeper. It was pretty fruitless. I enjoyed their company immensely - very sweet girls. But when they left, Landon said to me, "that was so frustrating" I agreed. Ha. I wonder how they felt.

Though I was really convicted because when we would bring up questions like, "but what about when the Bible says this" and they would say, "where?" and we look at each other and just said, "hmmm. i don't know". I felt awful that we weren't prepared in knowing our Bible references. Especially because these ladies were whipping out all these scriptures from both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Maybe next time we will be better prepared. I wish we just had more time, so we could actually FIND those scriptures and talk about them. Maybe next time.

One thing that I have noticed about the Mormon faith, is that they heavily heed the feelings that they receive  as testimonies of truth. The booklet we read (and the women last night) encourage us to just read the Book of Mormon and pray to God to know if it is true. Then if we receive the "feelings" that Galations 5 talks about (being the fruits of the Spirit) then we know that we have a testimony of the truth of Joseph Smith's revelation or a truth about the Book of Mormon or whatever. The way that I've always understood the fruits of the Spirit is not that if you possess those "feelings" then you are receiving a testimony from the Spirit, but rather, that if you possess the Spirit, then those fruits will be revealed IN you. Just like in John when it says that "they will know us by our love" for each other (love being a fruit).  Anyways.... one of the sisters quoted from memory the story of Joseph Smith's revelation from the book of Mormon (this is actually a part of the Book of Mormon that i have read several times - though i haven't read much else) and afterward she asked us if we received any feelings about it.

And while she was quoting this story of both God and Jesus Christ revealing themselves to Joseph Smith to answer his question about which church is the right church, i did have deep feelings in the pit of my stomach rising up through my chest. I did get a knot in my throat. And I definitely think it was from the Spirit. Yet, I think it was a flush of heat and unease as a warning, not as a confirmation.

Ever since I started getting in deeper relationships and involvement with our local ward and my sweet Mormon neighbors, I have been cautious. I am constantly praying that God will continually reveal to me his Truth, and give me huge sensitivity and discernment when it comes to false teaching and prophecy. And I think he has been faithful to answer my prayers (i guess I am trusting in receiving "feelings" from God also, in a way - I think that testimonies of the Spirit are one way that we can know that God is revealing something to us. But I think it must not be the only way).

Of course, my greatest desire is to know God. In order to know him, i must seek him by finding truth and knowing truth. If Joseph Smith's revelation about Christ is true, then it is what i want. But so far, I can not see it as true. And I can not imagine a world where i will ever regard Joseph Smith's revelation as a restoration of Christ's atoning ministry.


Jake said...


I love reading your posts about the lives that you and Landon are pursuing. It is great to get to know some of Kristen's friends that she has always spoken highly of. I am so sorry about your experience with the missionaries, I can totally understand where your frustrations are coming from. I hope that the frustrations have not deterred you and Landon from finding answers to those questions that you do have. I (and Kristen too) would love to hear those questions!

Eriin said...

Interesting they have the story of their history to tell. We all relate to stories. The bible is filled with stories. Preachers use stories. It is effective. Seeking and finding what we are looking for is the story of each of us. Finding a higher meaning in our lives is important to some of us.

You are so patient to listen, research the doctrine and spend the time with them. It has become important to people to fit church doctrine and theology together. For some people there is no separation between the teachings of their church and their relationship with God.

That is where I believe the danger of a fundamentalist church lies. The church then dictates to you what your relationship is to God. They want everyone to believe exactly what they do. Check your brain at the door and we will guide you. The church will even tell you how to vote. Those girls are probably not used to anyone digging into the doctrine.

So for me it isn't so much the "right church" as it is a church where I can live with the doctrine while growing on my journey as a child of God. Not sure there is the right and the wrong church. The church is made up of the people who are supposed to be the body of Christ. So I am immediately put off when people tell me they are part of the "right church".

They will now hand you off to the next level of sales team. Good luck.

doons said...

the second sentence in that last paragraph is, well, scary.