About two weeks ago I went with one of the full-time missionaries to visit a contact. The gentleman we visited is an active member of the Faith Church St. Louis, and a sincere and devote man. Because he had responded favorably to the previous visits of the missionaries, we were returning to see if he had read the passages of the Book of Mormon assigned to him in their previous visit.
He was around the back of the house, taking a swim. He came to the gate, cracked it open and said “Hey guys, thanks for coming back, but I don’t think I’m really interested. I had a talk with my Pastor and he gave me a lot of information on your church and I don’t think what you have to offer is for me.” Well, we thanked him for his time and for being amicable toward us. I then said something like, “Just so you know, there is a lot of information out there about our beliefs that isn’t always exactly correct.” I then asked him if I could illustrate the way this is done. I said, “You’re a Christian, correct?”
“Well, you believe in human sacrifice, don’t you?”
–“No, of course not.”
“Well, that’s not what I was told. I was told human sacrifice is the main aspect of your religion.”
You believe Jesus Christ was really a man, don’t you?”
“You believe Jesus was sacrificed for your sins, don’t you?”
“Well then, if you believe Jesus was truly a human and that he was sacrificed for your sins, you must believe in human sacrifice.”
— “Well, I guess so, but I certainly would never put it that way.”
“Exactly. It is technically true that both you and I believe in a human sacrifice if that is understood to believe that Jesus was truly a man and he was sacrificed for our sins. However, you would never say that and neither would I. It sounds sinister and shocking. If your neighbors started going around and saying you believed in human sacrifice just so no one would listen to what you had to say about God, they’d be doing you and God a real disservice.”
He got the point. I went on to explain that likewise many things are said about us that may, in fact, be technically true but that are put in such a way so as to keep good people like him away from considering what we have to say. He understood completely and decided to hear more of what we have to say.
In the next post I’ll talk about some of our conversation about prophets.