Today in Sacrament Meeting several current and returned missionaries "testified" of...what would you guess? Jesus? Guess again! Missionary work! It was almost like...no, it was exactly like...every "sales" meeting I've ever attended. The keynote speaker identified various strategies one may use to "invite" others to learn more about the Church, gospel, etc.
He even introduced a novel approach to "sales": set a goal to have your "close" rejected a certain number of times. Then, if you "fail" to reach your goal -- because someone actually accepts your invitation! -- you won't be disappointed! If you do "reach" your "goal"...hey! You're still a "winner", see?
How clever is that?!
Can you imagine anyone using this "strategy" in Rome or Carthage or Jerusalem in 50 AD?
I think they just shared the marvel that is Jesus, who is called Christ, because their hearts were filled with love for Him and gratitude for what He did and had done for them.
That, somehow, was enough for them. That was their "missionary program".
It was "enough" for me when I was a kid. Christ was the only topic that drove my "missionary" efforts. I wanted people to know how great Jesus was, how I felt about Him, what He had done for me, what I had received from Him -- not how great our Church's Boy Scout program was or what a great lifestyle Mormons live. (Sadly, that changed as I became more "institutionalized" by the LDS Church. And I found the LDS "gospel message" less fulfilling.)
I was asked to give the opening prayer today in Sunday School, but when I explained to the good sister that I had just been excommunicated for apostasy, she recoiled in disbelief!
"What? I don't believe it!"
"Yeah, I know! Tell me about it!" I shared her dismay and incredulity. I suggested she invite my wife to pray, but my wife declined, somehow failing to "feel the Spirit" at that particular moment, I wonder why.
The Sunday School lesson was on the tribes of Israel following the prophet (Joshua) to wage war, conquer and kill. (How perfectly that lesson dove-tails with what Rock Waterman is teaching today at Pure Mormonism!)
Combined Priesthood/Relief Society was an hour-long presentation on how to get a college degree from BYU Idaho online by paying just $65 a credit hour!
Isn't that wonderful?!
How to succeed in direct sales; how to wage and win a war of aggression (while tooting your own horn!); and how to buy a college degree through a Church-sponsored university -- these are the "stuff" of the "gospel of Jesus Christ" nowadays, don't you know?
I thank God that the LDS Church is true and that I'm the only one who is apostate!
My "unofficial" home teacher called today. I'm really grateful for him. The other ward members are taking this "ex-communication" very seriously! As in "no communication". You might be surprised how many, knowing of my "status", don't even look at me now -- as if I were one "diseased", perhaps even contagious. (I'm not sure if that's any different, however, then how they treated me before! I've always been a "cast-away" Mormon of sorts.) Certainly no one from my ward has called, emailed or come by since April 9, except for this "home teacher".
And a few friends in the stake: one, in particular, whose "child"-like love, faith and friendship will never be forgotten.
I know how Joseph Smith felt when he wrote: "[I was] persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me" (JS-H 1:28).