Sunday, August 10, 2014

Speaking of - freedom

Most of you know that I am, as some are prone to say, a "born again Christian".  Well, for certain, I am a practicing Christian and am always eager to learn more about the experiences of others.

It came as quite a surprise for me recently to hear a rapping sound on my kitchen door and I had to wonder who could be there.  At first, I thought it was one of the three others occupying apartments in the same building.  I was wrong.  When I got there, I discovered two very attractive young ladies standing there and by the grins on their faces, I just knew I was about to meet a modernized version of the Jehovah Witnesses and I started to create a way to send them on their way.  Wrong again.

I was about to meet Sister G and Sister T of the Church of the Latter Day Saints - Mormons.

They were very pleasant.  Sister G was the one who greeted me, identified herself and Sister T and asked if I knew about their church.  I had to be honest and tell them I had heard about Mormons, had known a family involved in their religious beliefs, but they were the first young ladies of their faith I had ever known.  It was apparent to me - from the very start, Sister G was very confidant about her knowledge of the LDS faith.

I invited them in, but I would learn they were not allowed to enter a home unless there was another lady present and with that, I tried to tease them about being two pretty young girls doing what they were doing and I thought at the time, they were good at it.  They were not there to look pretty, they were serious about introducing me to their faith.  We bantered with each other for awhile and Sister G suggested they could come back and talk further about their mission.  I agreed.

I thought it was to be 9AM on the following Friday and it turned out to be 3PM.  They had had problems with their car and we agreed on 4PM.  Again, they were not about to enter my apartment so I got chairs and we met on the opposite side of my apartment, on the porch.  They had left a booklet with me earlier and the first question was, "Did you get a chance to read through it?.  Yes, I had.  I had heard about the plates discovered by Joseph Smith and that had always made me a bit suspicious and so that was my first question.  I don't even recall what Sister G had to say, but I could tell from her response, she really wanted to get past any such question.  I agreed.  I knew there had been a few "curious" entries in the Bible I believed, so we moved on - and she continued to offer a reasoned response to all of my questions.  She was, they both were, as serious about their faith as anyone I had ever known.  So then, I tried to divert heir attention by talking about personal experiences in my life, to which they would respond to each, by referring me to Book of Mormon.  Not quoting chapter and verse, but looking directly at me.  I was becoming convinced that these were two very serious young ladies.

So, they brought up the services their church held on Sunday afternoons and invited me - if I was interested. Suggesting that I might be, they left me with a Book of Mormon and recommended that I read Alma chapter 32.  That turned out to be a fascinating encounter involving the poor being cast out of the synagogue for no better reason than being poor and - if I had a real interest in pursuing their faith, I would want to study it further

I prayed about visiting their church and when I heard nothing to prevent it, I was there at the appointed hour. I thought at first they were surprised to see me, but by the way they introduced me to others, it was apparent, they were delighted to see me.  Sister T was scheduled to be one of three speakers and so I found a seat next to Sister G.  When they opened the service with a song, she offered to share the hymnal with me, but as soon as she began to sing, I shut up.  She has the voice of an angel. They had communion and then, three different speakers offered personal verbal essays on their roles and it was fascinating.  (I think "we" ought to try that, occasionally)  In between each talk, they sang another song and again, I was amazed.

In the row ahead of us, there were two families and their children and the children were perfect little "imps". One had a really young child and he was everywhere, every moment and when I met his Mother, I had to praise her for her patience.  The other family seemed to ignore their older children, but while no one was noticing, two of them were waging a continual battle.  I could see such happenings occurring once in our churches and you can believe, there would be a move to get children into classrooms, so the speaker would not be upset with the behavior.  That was not going to happen, here.

I was blessed by the order and the sincerity of those I was introduced to, but what really warmed my heart was the choruses they sang, about Jesus and our redemption.  They may be "Latter Day" Saints to some, but hearing those voices made me feel right at home in their midst.

I came away from that experience reflecting on the agony I feel listening to a favorite "Christian" radio station using the Older Testament to defame our nation and condemning those of different faith beliefs as if they are responsible for all of the problems, they claim to be troubling our nation.  Nothing could be further from the truth as it is not religion that is causing the problems, but the fact that some appear to have only read the pages of their Bibles that they believe supports their apostasy.    

Admittedly, we live in troubled times, but when the two churches I attended earlier today continue to exist and increase in their relevance, we are merely still going through birth pains.  My hope is not in horses nor chariots, but in those institutions that treasure the truth and teach it to their young

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