This was a pretty unusual weekend. I debated at a tournament at Bates College up in Lewiston Maine. Many of the people on the circuit know that I am LDS. I was debating with EJ whom is a friend of mine and a gay Catholic theology student at Providence College. We have had some pretty interesting conversations about the nature of God and whether or not there was an Apostasy. He has read the Book of Mormon which he considers to be the best work of ‘fan fiction’ he has ever read. This weekend I actually gave him a copy of Ted Callister’s The Inevitable Apostasy and Promised Restoration which I had around. He said he would take a look at it though he was not sure exactly when he would have the time. Our conversations were fascinating because I realized how different metaphysical conceptions of God actually lead to very radically different conclusions. I gained an appreciation for Joseph Smith’s declaration that to be saved a man must have the proper conception of whom God is.
I was talking to EJ and some of my other friends from the PC, Smith and BU teams and the LDS church came up in the conversation. One girl that I was acquainted with but not exactly close to got absolutely furious. She began insulting Mormons and claiming that they were all awful people. I mentioned to her that I was LDS and she freaked out. It turns out that she was a very very very bitter ex-Mormon. For the next two days she absolutely took pleasure in bashing the church every opportunity she possibly had. Some of what she said had merit: Questions about the Book of Abraham or criticism of the fact that some members of the church disown gay family members, for instance. Other criticisms were absurd: When someone asked me whether I was allowed to eat chocolate because of the caffeine, she asserted that in the 1960’s the church had bought a majority share in Coca-Cola and therefore had lifted its ban on Cola. Aside from the fact that David O. Mckay drank Coca- Cola while modern day prophet Gordon B. Hinckley was one of its strongest opponents, this rumor had absolutely no basis in truth. I was pretty shocked by how willing she was to mix fantasy and reality in order to smear the church. I have never felt such a negative spiritual vibe or pure animosity coming from a single person.
Her parents are converts from Catholicism and apparently her father no longer speaks to her for whatever reason. It’s so unfortunate that people have negative experiences with the church and such an experience so fully clouds their world view and blocks the spirit. I want to weep when I think about the incredible wickedness caused by the actions of some. In the judgment day I think we will perhaps be judged less for our selves than on the impact our actions had on other. If the salvation of one soul means such great joy for the two of us in the kingdom of heaven, what does the damnation of a soul mean for our selves? Will we be wrecked with the knowledge of every person we could have brought to light but failed. Will every person we disillusioned stand against us at the bar of God as witnesses for the prosecution?