Me & Mormons — Part 1

I’ve decided to give a brief history of my life in regard to Mormonism. As I’ve stated in the past, most Evangelicals know very little about the LDS church and have little concern to learn more than they already know. So, why am I, an Evangelical who has never stepped foot into Utah, so actively engaged in dialogue with Mormons?

I grew up largely in the Philippines. My parents were missionaries in a mountainous region of the country and trained future pastors at a Bible college. My earliest interactions with Mormonism was mostly newly built LDS chapels. When we arrived in the Philippine, the Manila Temple was just being completed. Over the next 8 years LDS ward houses began popping up across the country in some of the most remote locales across the country.

These ward houses were always marked by two things: immaculate construction that surpassed anything the locals could afford to put together themselves and a pristine unused basketball court. Filipinos love basketball and so with brilliance the LDS church put a full sized concrete basketball court next to every building they constructed. There was a tall fence around every ward house (as there was around everything in the country) and the basketball court was for members only. So Filipinos were always outside the fence salivating over the unused basketball court.

There was a general disdain for the LDS church among Evangelical missionaries (no surprise there). Protestant missionaries for years had been making inroads into unreached tribes throughout the country. Many missionaries had lived for over 40 years in communities that had no written language and little contact with the outside world. They did this in an effort to provide the people with literacy and a Bible written in their own heart language. LDS missionaries never entered a community that Protestant missionaries had not already been working in for many years. Whether language was a barrier or not, the LDS church never “set up shop” in any place that a Protestant church did not already exist. The perception among Evangelical missionaries was that agents of an imposter of Biblical Christianity were piggy-backing off of their hard work and stealing weaker, less grounded Prostestants. It was generally agreed that teaching Mormonism to anyone who didn’t already have a background in the Bible must have been pointless. Or in other words you could only distort Christianity to Christians.

Americans stuck out like sore thumbs in the Philippines. It was reasonable to expect to know every white person we saw. The ones we didn’t know were always LDS missionaries. My strongest memories of running into LDS missionaries were at McDonalds, at a Harlem Globetrotters game and on a plane flight from the U.S.

I attended a boarding school for missionary kids located in Manila. At one point in one of my high school Bible classes, Mormonism was discussed. Our teacher advised us (wisely I think) not to engage in debates with any Mormon missionaries we might encounter. His counsel was that these missionaries would probably know the Bible better than we did. And with that advise I avoided getting into any discussions of faith with any Mormons I ran across. . . . to be continued.

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9 thoughts on “Me & Mormons — Part 1

  1. I just wanted to say that you make it sound like the church purposely put ‘New basketball courts’ in or around there chapels as a means to attract new converts. Which may or may not be true I have no idea but, I have never been to a chapel that didn’t have a basketball court in it. Whither it was in the United States or outside. I really don’t think though that its an overall strategy of the church to attract new converts by basketball courts or by having nice buildings for that matter. When you say things that are a bit far fetch all you do is distract from your main points and make yourself seem bias.

  2. Clearly Tim is not saying that the Church purposely put in basketball courts in the Philipines to attract converts, otherwise they would have actually let people use the courts.

    Nevertheless, the Church does wind up flaunting a lot of opulence in the third world. It might not be preaching prosperity theology, but the message of the gorgeous buildings and facilities inareas of extremepoverty is neverlesless unambiguous.

  3. I would imagine, though, that the Catholics of the Philippines viewed the Protestants as stealing converts the same way the Protestants viewed the Mormons as stealing converts.

  4. The LDS churches in our area welcome everyone to play basketball, it’s sad they dont do the same every where.

  5. It sounds like you are very curious about Mormons and why they believe the way that they do?
    In my studies, I have found that MOrmon beliefs are closer to Biblical teachings that any other Church. What do you think about that?

    Bob B

  6. I’ve found that the Book of Mormon is much closer to biblical teachings than the teachings of the LDS church.

  7. The Book of Mormon and the doctrines of the LDS Church are brilliant. In terms, of biblical teachings the LDS church is much closer than Protestant teaching without question. Protestants can be Christians because belief in Christ is more important than doctrine; but protestant doctrine is so far amiss , based on the Council of Nicea.

  8. I am a Mormon or rather a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints a and have been for 35 years and love it teachings when I was young I was a Protestant in the church of Ireland faith we had a life long friend as a minister in the church who came to my parents house for meals talks and social events I was not active in church at the time (smoking and drinking. Dope as well when I told him that I was thinking of joining the lds church thinking that he would be happy for me as it got me away from all the drugs drink and smoking. And other things he turned his back on me and never spoke another word right up until he died when my mother died last Christmas one of the last things she said to me was that she had made a mistake and should have joined with me as she felt it it was one of the most Christian churches she had ever known

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