cj.myfreeforum.org Forum Index cj.myfreeforum.org
NEWS, prophecy, dreams, ZionsCRY, Bible, teaching, visions
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   Join! (free) Join! (free)
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Mason, Mormon, Muslim, Catholic
Page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    cj.myfreeforum.org Forum Index -> CHAPEL
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
BornAgain2



Joined: 12 Dec 2009
Posts: 17194



PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:47 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

Massive global push to criminalize all dissent against Islam officially begins
12/27/13

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IGjPc2P7ILs

In yet another openly hostile, in-your-face act of intimidation against anyone who dares to disagree with the “Religion of Peace,” 57 Muslim countries around the world are now coming together to pressure Western countries into silencing and prosecuting any and all criticism of Islam as a “hate crime.”

As Investor’s Business Daily explains, it is all happening under the banner of a Saudi-based group called the “Organization of Islamic Cooperation,” which released its 94-page document on “Islamophobia” (noticing Islamic violence is fear-based bigotry) in recent weeks.

If this calculated attempt to obliterate all dissent has its way, it will officially become a felony in the U.S. and Europe for citizens to even suggest “that Muslims are inclined to violence” or that “Islam is an inherently expansionist religion.”

Never mind the fact that huge portions of Muslims in countries all around the worldadmittedly believe adulterers and non-believers should be put to death, support suicide bombing civilians, and endorse honor killings.

Or that these are the same people who routinely stone women to death for being raped, who erupt into murderous worldwide riots over cartoons, and who danced in the streets on 9/11.

Or that Islam was founded at the tip of a sword. Or that its Koran openly teaches violent jihad against all non-believers. Or that Islam has remained entrenched in self-initiated carnage in every corner of the world since its bloody inception.

Islam revolves around violent expansion and conquest. Every last thing that in any way indicates something about a religion confirms this–its history, its founder, its teachings, its followers…everything.

But noticing this or objecting in any way is to be condemned and persecuted as “hate speech.” Instead, we are to believe that approximately one abortion clinic bombing per decade makesChristians the dangerous extremists here…while Islam is just a misunderstood “religion of peace.”

Incidentally, it is also worth noting that the “pro-tolerance,” “pro-diversity” liberals who defend Islam as it murders, mutilates and enslaves women across the globe are the very same champions of civility who vindictively smear anyone who objects to limitless taxpayer-funded abortion and contraceptives as being “at war with women.”


http://countdowntozerotime.com/20...-against-islam-officially-begins/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BornAgain2



Joined: 12 Dec 2009
Posts: 17194



PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.infowars.com/dhs-gave-...d-vip-treatment-no-tsa-pat-downs/
DHS Gave Muslim Brotherhood VIP Treatment, No TSA Pat Downs
1/20/14

Document reveals delegation was allowed to skip secondary screening

A newly released document obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request confirms that the State Department ordered the Department of Homeland Security to spare members of the Muslim Brotherhood traveling to the US in 2012 a TSA pat down or any kind of secondary screening.

The one page document (PDF), obtained by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, shows that members of a Muslim Brotherhood delegation traveling through Minneapolis Airport, New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport and Dulles Airport were handed expedited entry known as “port courtesy,” which is normally reserved for high ranking government officials and dignitaries. At the time, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate Mohamed Morsi, later deposed, had not been elected president.

The document contains four separate entries which include a directive that Muslim Brotherhood members, “not be pulled into secondary upon arrival at a point of entry.” As well as a TSA pat down, secondary screening involves carry on luggage being inspected by hand and the use of puffer explosive detectors.

Two following entries confirm that Muslim Brotherhood members traveled through both JFK and Dulles Airports “smoothly” and “without incident” after the DHS had been alerted about “port courtesies”.

Another entry reads; “MB delegate departure: In response to a request from the MB, the desk worked with the office of Foreign Missions to arrange for TSA to escort the last member of the visiting MB delegation, Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, through security at Minneapolis Airport and JFK Airport on April 15. We did not hear anything further from the MB, so we assume the departure went smoothly. In the coming days, we’re going to write down a list of procedures for dealing with MB visits to the United States.”

The delegate was given privileged access despite one of their members being linked to a previous child pornography investigation in the United States. In addition, the Muslim Brotherhood, which has now been declared a terrorist organization by the Egyptian government after bombing a police HQ last month, is closely affiliated with Al-Qaeda and has long been cited as the foundational inspiration for both Al-Qaeda and Islamic Jihad.

The IPT also highlights the fact that individuals traveling from Syria to give speaking tours in the United States, people like Sheik Osama al-Rifai, that have openly endorsed Al-Qaeda militant groups under the banner of the the Islamic Front, are being handed visas by the State Department with no questions asked.

While completely innocent Americans continue to be subjected to invasive TSA grope down procedures and placed on no fly lists for no reason whatsoever, members of a group with direct links to terrorism were given VIP treatment by the State Department, the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BornAgain2



Joined: 12 Dec 2009
Posts: 17194



PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-yo...ds-new-holidays-article-1.1601237
New York City public school kids getting new Muslim, Lunar New Year holidays

Mayor de Blasio said Monday that he’d move forward with closing schools for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, two Muslim holy days, and for Lunar New Year. But he was hesitant regarding Hindu festival Diwali.

2/4/14

New York City is moving to close school for two Muslim holidays and the Lunar New Year — but Mayor de Blasio isn’t so sure about the Hindu festival Diwali.

Appearing on WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Show” on Monday, the mayor said he hadn’t taken a position on whether Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated in India and other South Asian countries, should be a day off from school.

But he said he’d move forward with closing schools for Lunar New Year and for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, Muslim holy days.

“It is complicated in terms of logistics and school calendar and budget. But it’s something I want to get done in a reasonable time frame,” he said.

A spokesman for the Indian community appealed to the mayor to recognize the Hindu holiday.

“We are disappointed. We’ve been trying for a long time … It’s very important for the community,” said Dr. Shashi Shah of the Association of Indians in America.

Ethnic communities have pushed for all four holidays to be recognized. Former Mayor Bloomberg opposed the change, saying kids should not miss more school.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BornAgain2



Joined: 12 Dec 2009
Posts: 17194



PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Former House Stenographer Whose Bizarre Rant Included God, the Constitution and Freemasons Says She ‘Did Not Have a Breakdown’
3/17/14

Former House stenographer Dianne Reidy, the woman who was removed from the House chamber last October when she went on a rant about God and the Constitution, released a video statement Saturday denying she suffered a breakdown and claiming that God guided her actions.

Reidy, who appears alongside her husband Dan in the video, said her public comments are meant to “set the record straight” about what unfolded late last year.

“I remember getting up to the podium and after saying, ‘God will not be mocked.’ I don’t have a memory of anything else that was said that evening until I was escorted off the floor,” Reidy said during the 38-minute video statement.

She later added, “I knew that God was going to speak through me, and I knew it was going to be during the vote, raising the debt ceiling level and ending the government shutdown.”

Below, see video of Reidy speaking on the floor, though the audio is not available as the microphone was off at the time:

The husband and wife indicated that they believe video of Reidy’s House floor comments was “interposed” with comments Reidy made after she was removed from the floor and preparing the exit the building. They said that they have not been able to locate exact audio or video of precisely what she said on the floor.

“So evidently what took place is somebody took that audio from that clip of the elevator and interposed it onto the video on the floor as being the words that Dianne actually said on the floor of House of Representatives and we now know that is not the case,” Dan said.

In video released last year, Reidy could be seen saying the following as she was leaving the House chamber: “This is not one nation under God, it never was … the Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons. They go against God. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God, lord Jesus Christ.”

Regardless of what Reidy said on the floor, the couple believes that God spoke through her day, prompting her to bring a “word of correction” to the U.S. government.

Reidy said she was experiencing guidance from God well before the October 27 incident. Three weeks before the rant unfolded, she described waking up in the middle of the night to read the Bible.

“I knew [God] was doing something and I didn’t know what it was,” she said. “As it got closer I was having a lot of spiritual warfare. As it got closer, I knew that God was going to speak through me…and I knew that it was going to be during the vote.”

Reidy declined to tell anyone about what she was experiencing at the time, she said, because she was worried others would think she was having “some kind of a breakdown or something.”

“I’m not a protester, I’m not a conspiracy theorist,” she added in the video statement. “I did not lose my mind, I did not have a breakdown.”

Watch the video below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1Nih7at8eQ&feature=player_embedded

Reidy previously spoke out right after the incident in October, explaining her belief even then that God has led her to that moment on the House floor.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2...cord-straight-in-video-statement/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BornAgain2



Joined: 12 Dec 2009
Posts: 17194



PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

End Time Current Events: 4-6-14 — Part 2
Table of Contents:

   GET OUT OF THE MILITARY, DON’T ENLIST–By: Devvy Kidd
   Soviet Sweden? Model Nation Sliding to Third World
   Muslim Brotherhood in America: The Overview

   CRAZY! Pope Francis to Be Seen Worldwide In 3D on April 27th!
http://www.newswithviews.com/Devvy/kidd602.htm

Click Here to Play the Part 2 Audio
http://www.contendingfortruth.com...uploads/389.2-4-6-14-DS300006.mp3

PDF: End Time Current Events 4-6-14
http://www.contendingfortruth.com...nd-Time-Current-Events-4-6-14.pdf
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BornAgain2



Joined: 12 Dec 2009
Posts: 17194



PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Atheist national conference aims at Mormon church
4/18/14
http://news.yahoo.com/atheist-nat...aims-mormon-church-220135115.html

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Leaders of a national atheist group say the best spot to find a nonbeliever is in a place of faith.

To that end, the American Atheists, in an effort to raise awareness and attract new members, are holding their annual conference over Easter weekend in the home of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

They say the church's large influence in Utah has made atheists in the state reluctant to speak about religious doubts for fear of being shunned. Atheist group leaders also criticize the LDS influence as having overstepped its boundaries in areas of public policy.

"Religious morality is dictating the Legislature. That's unconstitutional, and that's why we're fighting this fight," atheist spokesman Dave Muscato said, speaking against the state's ban on gay marriage.

Mormon culture dominates Utah, and the effect can be seen in the state's strict liquor laws and overwhelmingly conservative politics. About 60 percent of residents and about 4 in 5 Utah lawmakers identify as Latter-day Saints.

Many residents view the church's influence as responsible for what they consider a "pro-family" atmosphere that makes the state attractive, a University of Utah professor says.

The state prioritizes children, education and good health, said Don Herrin, who teaches family studies. He said this may help people feel "safer, more upbeat, more positive."

The expansiveness of Mormon principles can be seen as "an achievement of something that is valued in the culture," Herrin said.

The head of an LDS anti-defamation group also dismisses the atheists' criticism, saying the church doesn't publicly endorse legislative candidates. Scott Gordon, president of FairMormon, also says in an email that detractors are to be expected.

**Who are you trying to fool? The LDS church is also a 501c3 - of course they CAN'T endorse political candidates! :Smile

"Anytime you have an organization that has a large economic footprint in a community, there will be some who will resent it and want to push back against it," he said.

LDS officials say the church isn't responding to the atheist group.

Twice a year, tens of thousands of Mormons arrive in Salt Lake City for the church's general conference. Early this month, attendees heard LDS church officials denounce gay marriage. A group of a few dozen demonstrators, led by Atheists of Utah along with the American Atheists, protested outside the conference.

About 700 attendees came Friday to listen to atheist speakers and discuss their beliefs. The visitors ranged from casually dressed college students to people in business suits to parents carrying toddlers.

Atheist leaders say their group members comprise a spectrum of views. Those who believe for certain that God doesn't exist, those who are unsure but aren't active in their faith and those who don't give the matter much thought all could be called atheists, they say.

**A lot like the Babel church building system!

Wilson Bateman, a 29-year-old from Sandy, said he was glad to see events that raise the profile of atheists. "Sometimes, it's just fun to be around your own people," he said.

The group plans its gatherings for Easter weekend in part to draw attention, but also because their members are generally available and hotel and convention centers offer good deals. Atheist organizers last brought their conference to Salt Lake City in 1981.

As a warm-up, conference officials hosted a panel discussion Wednesday featuring Mormon and atheist experts speaking about negative public perceptions and stereotypes about their respective groups.

Atheist speakers aimed to dispel notions that members of their community are immoral or unfriendly. LDS panel members, meanwhile, said their faith is neither unwelcoming nor exclusionary.

The American Atheists president, David Silverman, said Friday his group wants to make sure people of all faiths who have doubts, especially disillusioned Mormons in Utah, come to learn more and realize they have allies.

"We hope that they will come in droves" before Easter celebrations, he said, "and see what we're really like."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BornAgain2



Joined: 12 Dec 2009
Posts: 17194



PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.chick.com/bc/1985/jehovahswitness.asp
Don't Worry About Hell
Jehovah's Witnesses -- What Do They Believe?


Issue Date: May/June 1985

They offer a cunning mixture of Scripture verses and "almost" Christian doctrines. Their approach, like that of the Mormons, is to stress elements of their doctrine which avoid controversy. The rest comes later.

But they are an "organization" of slaves, working desperately to "earn" eternal life. They seek salvation, not by grace, but by becoming "Kingdom Publishers."

They don't have a personal relationship with Christ (who they say is not God), but rather they observe a system of law and works.

They devote their attention to an all-encompassing fascination with prophecy, and the "vindication of God's sovereignty." They believe:

   Jehovah God existed from the beginning. His first creations were two angels, Michael (who later becomes Jesus) and Lucifer. Jehovah God created all else through his firstborn, Jesus (Michael).

   Jehovah appointed Lucifer to watch over earth, but the angel became jealous of Jehovah. He seduced Adam and Eve, and became Satan. He dared challenge Jehovah's right to rule! Jehovah gave Satan 6,000 years to try to win over all humanity. When he fails, Jehovah God will re-establish his kingdom and destroy Satan and all his rebellious followers, thus vindicating Jehovah's name (an obsession with Witnesses).


   After thousands of years of this struggle, Jehovah God arranged for Michael to cease to exist and be recreated as Jesus, a human. He was killed as a ransom on a torture stake (not a cross) for all mankind. This released men from Adam's sinful legacy, and gave them a chance to be worthy of eternal life, if they were faithful Witnesses.


   When the human Jesus died, he stayed dead. He was recreated as a spirit (no bodily resurrection) and lives in heaven.


   Jesus Christ (now Michael) returned to earth invisibly in 1914 (the date has been changed repeatedly) and is working through his "Organization" to re-establish Jehovah's kingdom over the earth.


   The final battle between Jehovah and Satan, the Battle of Armageddon, is to start shortly, settling the question, "Who will rule earth?" A very special 144,000 Witnesses, the only ones considered "born again," will rule with Jesus in heaven at the end of this battle. All other Witnesses (numbering millions) will survive Armageddon, and live forever on earth, in the kingdom of the "New World."


   After 1,000 years of this utopian Kingdom comes the final test. Satan will be loosed for a while and deceive many. He and those who rebel with him will be destroyed by fire from heaven (no eternal hell, just quick annihilation). Jehovah's sovereignty over all creation will have been vindicated once and for all.

While many Christians disagree on the order of final events, there can be no disagreement on the work of Christ, or one is not really Christian. J.W.'s bear the indelible mark of a cult: they claim Christ's death on the cross is not sufficient for full salvation. One must believe that Jesus is God, and also in His bodily resurrection. Both are denied by the Witnesses.

In fact, Jehovah's Witnesses deny most of the basic doctrines of Christianity. Former Witnesses point out several basic denials:

They claim:

   Jesus Christ is not God. Rather, he is Michael the archangel.
   The Holy Spirit is not a person, but an "active force." J.W.'s are unitarians, denying the Trinity.
   When you're dead, you're dead. Man has no eternal soul, any more than animals.
   Jesus Christ was not raised bodily from the grave, but was recreated as a new "spirit body."
   Jesus returned invisibly in 1914. There is no "visible coming" planned in the future.
   There is no hell. Just like animals, when we die, it is over.
   Only 144,000 people achieve heaven. The rest, faithful Witnesses who have died, will be recreated on earth during the kingdom of the "New World."

Focusing on the Old Testament, their system is a legalistic one. They forbid blood transfusions (they say that is eating blood). They also consider any salute to a flag as worship of that flag, and therefore prohibited. They don't vote, hold public office or serve in the military.

Consumed with preparing for a "New World," they know nothing of "New Life" in Jesus Christ.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BornAgain2



Joined: 12 Dec 2009
Posts: 17194



PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.chick.com/bc/1985/mormonism.asp
There Is Nothing More Pagan: Mormon Teaching

Issue Date: January/February 1985

You will never learn Mormon doctrine from their Articles of Faith. Those are written to hide their teachings from "gentile" readers. You must look into their secret temple ceremonies and the writings of their prophets. Here are some of the surprising results.

Mormon scripture consists of four books. They are: (1) The Book of Mormon (2) Doctrine and Covenants (3) Pearl of Great Price and (4) The Bible (in that order). The first three books seriously contradict the Bible. Mormons often ignore the Bible, claiming it is "mis-translated."
Startling facts every Mormon needs to know.

Before you think about witnessing to Mormons... read this book!

Joseph Smith was God's prophet. "No man can come to Christ except through Joseph Smith."

Prophets are better than Scriptures. The words of a Mormon prophet supercede those of the written Scriptures.

God was once a man who progressed to Godhood. Mormons believe we can do the same. Their God has a physical body of flesh and bone.

There are many gods in heaven. God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are supposedly separate gods, united only in purpose.

God is having kids. Surrounded by what must be 1,000 or more wives, God is having little spirit babies which will inhabit the people born on the earth. The number of babies this requires Him to produce daily is incredible! No explanation is given why their God of flesh and bone, having babies through physical sexual contact with his wives, has only spirit babies. They teach that Mary married God to have Jesus (or else He would have been illegitimate) and then divorced him to marry Joseph.

Dark skin results from a "curse" placed upon certain spirits, presumably for some failure during "pre-existence." This anti-Negro doctrine is an embarrassment for Mormon leaders, and they are under great pressure to change it.

Women need husbands for resurrection at the end of time. Without a man to "lift the veil" over her face on resurrection day she won't make it. She is desperate to see her husband remain a true Mormon so she may be resurrected. Women's liberation has not made great inroads here.

Jesus had many wives. They say Mary and Martha were among his wives. One Mormon authority said Jesus was killed for his polygamy.

The Book of Mormon is infallible. Mormon Articles of Faith say, "We believe the Bible to be the Word of God as far as it is translated correctly: we also believe The Book of Mormon to be the Word of God." They claim anything in the Bible which denies Mormon teaching is "incorrectly translated."

Polygamy in heaven will be the rule. While early Mormon leaders taught and practiced polygamy, today few practice it due to fear of arrest. However, they teach that men (but not women) will be polygamists in heaven.

Marriage for eternity is performed in Mormon temples. Perhaps they consider Jesus' words to the contrary (Matt. 22:30) are "mis-translated."

"Holy underwear" is put on during the Mormon marriage ceremony (performed only in the temple). These "garments" must always touch the body for the rest of life. This is supposed to keep the "anointing oil" of the temple ceremony from escaping. Some irreverently call then "angel pants."

Baptism for the dead is done to provide non-Mormon ancestors a place in "celestial glory." Mormons spend great sums on genealogical research to find relatives who had no Mormon baptism. They say no one can get to heaven without baptism, and heaven has no water, so they baptize the living for their dead.

Proxy marriage for the dead is performed in Mormon temples. Mormons believe that loved ones who died outside Mormonism will live alone in the hereafter. Mormons conduct proxy weddings to "seal" these dead ones so they can be husband and wife in heaven.

Three heavens (degrees of glory) are taught: "Celestial," "Terrestrial," and "Telestial." All except the worst sinners (doomed to perdition) are expected to go to one of these. Only Mormons who marry in the Temple, keep the "Word of Wisdom" and wear their "garments" can get to the Celestial kingdom. God is supposed to be there. Those whose works aren't good enough, are stuck with the lower levels, where they are denied the "joys" of a polygamous eternity.

There is no hell according to current Mormon teaching. Even though The Book of Mormon teaches about hell, Mormons deny its existence. Much of current Mormon teaching contradicts their "infallible" Book of Mormon.

The one true church is the Mormon church. All others are apostate.

Many of their doctrines, taught by Mormon "prophets," are a great embarrassment to present Mormon leaders. They are even attempting to deny that their great prophets ever taught some of theses things.

But the historical record is clear. The writings of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and others include the above doctrines.

Obviously Mormonism, which bases its claim to be the true church on the absolute reliability of early Mormon prophets, is proving today that those prophets were not speaking the words of an infallible God. Mormonism is continually changing and self-contradictory.

Imagine being born into this pagan system, believing with all your heart that it is the only truth! May God give us compassion and boldness to lead Mormons to abandon this horrendous mixture and find life-changing faith in Jesus Christ!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BornAgain2



Joined: 12 Dec 2009
Posts: 17194



PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://news.msn.com/in-depth/putt...nds-of-19-year-old-missionaries-1
Putting Eternal Salvation in the Hands of 19-Year-Old Missionaries
8/24/14

When young Mormons are sent around the world to attract new adherents to the Church, sometimes they end up questioning their own faith.

Seventeen-year-old Matthew Timion was smoking a cigarette out his bedroom window when he heard a knock at the door. He’d just moved across the country with his mother and stepfather, a militant atheist. The recent death of his alcoholic father had left him with many questions about life, death and faith. Without looking, he somehow knew the visitors at the door were Mormon missionaries. He later interpreted this as a sign from God.

“Mormonism came as a white horse,” Timion says. “They talked about families that can be together forever, life after death, the purpose of life. And there was an instant community. [For] someone like myself, who has father issues, this church run by men ready to give you a pat on the back filled every need I had.”

The missionaries Timion met that day guided him through the conversion process. Two years later, Timion embarked on a mission himself.

* * *

Non-Mormons are used to hiding from pairs of clean-cut young men in name tags and dark suits. But few of us understand what it’s like to be inside those suits, knocking on doors and approaching strangers in public to discuss their most deeply held beliefs.

Since the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded in 1830, over one million Mormons have gone on missions. In March  2014 alone, there were 85,039 full-time missionaries serving at 405 missions around the world. Sixty-four percent of those missionaries were young men, 28 percent were young women, and 8 percent were seniors, who are defined in church literature to be worshippers who have left the workforce.

For young men growing up in Mormon communities, the pressure to go on a mission is enormous. Open any newspaper in Utah and you’ll find farewell and homecoming announcements. An advertisement in The Universe , Brigham Young University’s campus newspaper, offers a free pre-mission dental exam. One missionary we spoke to had his wisdom teeth removed as a farewell gift from his Mormon dentist.

Russell Beckstead is the ninth of ten siblings, six of whom had served before Russell was old enough to serve on a mission. In the small Idaho town where he grew up, 66 percent  of the county was Mormon, and time was marked by the comings and goings of missionaries.

“If you’re a man in the church and you didn’t serve a mission, that immediately raises eyebrows,” Beckstead explains. “Your prospects of getting a mate are linked directly to whether or not you served an honorable mission. A common joke is that the more people you preach the gospel to, the more attractive your future wife will be.”

Even more than mainstream Christianity, Mormonism emphasizes the importance of evangelism. One of Joseph Smith’s revelations in the Doctrine & Covenants , an LDS foundational document, reads, “Ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel [...], declaring my word like unto angels.”

During our interview, Beckstead pulls a laminated card from his pocket. “This is a priesthood line of authority. Jesus gave the priesthood to Peter, James, and John, who gave it to Joseph Smith, who gave it to these guys, and these guys gave it to these guys, all the way down to me. There’s a direct line of authority from Jesus Christ to me. And so I really believed, on my mission, that I was an official, legal representative of Jesus Christ.”

* * *

All missionaries report to one of 15 missionary training centers throughout the world at the start of their mission. The largest training center, in Provo, Utah, stretches several miles alongside BYU and accommodates up to 4,000 missionaries-in-training who are called “Elders” and “Sisters.” For up to 12 weeks, they receive classroom instruction in foreign languages, theology, and conversational strategies, guided by Preach My Gospel , while the Missionary Handbook outlines acceptable language, dress, conduct, tithing, and relationships. Several missionaries described the training center as “boot camp” for its spiritual and emotional “breakdowns” and highlighted its rigorous sixteen-hour schedule—the same hours missionaries keep throughout their time abroad.

“It was like a college dorm with a bunch of clean-cut men that all look the same,” says Timion, the missionary who converted at age 17. “A clone center. They let you know that everything you’ve done is a sin. All these 19-year-old boys and 21-year-old girls feel horrible about themselves, and confess and are forgiven. It was a very, very long, miserable experience that I wouldn’t want to relive.”

The missionary training center is also a missionary’s first experience of companionship—having an assigned companion by your side 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as you dress, bathe, study, eat, and sleep. If you want to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you have to wake your companion and have him stand guard outside the door. “Your missionary companion is there to keep you on the straight and narrow path, so you don’t let Satan win,” Timion says.

* * *

Russell Beckstead’s older siblings were called to exotic locations, including the Caribbean, northern Europe, and eastern Germany immediately following the fall of the Berlin Wall. “And then I was called to Indiana!” Beckstead laughs.

“In Indiana, there was this line everybody would use. They would say, ‘There’s two things that I don’t talk to anybody about: politics and religion. Now get outta here.’ I heard that line I don’t know how many times.”

Missionaries provide progress numbers to their mission leaders, who in turn report up a hierarchical structure: How many people they talk to, how many copies of the Book of Mormon they distribute, how many baptisms they’ve performed, and so on. All of the missionaries we spoke to mentioned how rare baptisms were, and how much guilt they felt as a result. "You’re like, man, we only talked to four people this whole week. We must be horrible missionaries," Beckstead says. "And they—the assistants, and the zone leaders and the president—they try really hard to convince you that they don’t care about the numbers. They’re like, ‘Oh, it’s not about the numbers, elders. It’s not about the numbers … but what are the numbers?!'"

And those numbers were frequently dismal. “The most typical experience was just a door slammed in your face,” Beckstead says. “Somebody sees that you’ve got a nametag on, and you’re in a tie and a white shirt, and the door immediately closes.”

* * *

After the first few months of his mission in England, Adam Ballard*, 19, born and raised in Provo, Utah, began to question if he genuinely believed in the only system of faith he’d ever known. He realized one of his roommates had gone on a mission to escape his abusive father, and that others struggled with depression, suicidal thoughts, and pornography addiction, which Ballard attributed to the church’s repressive stance on sexuality.

Ballard was seeing a mission-appointed counselor for anxiety. “My counselor said, ‘Elder Ballard, you can choose to be yourself and do what you believe in, or you can live a hollow life.’ I don’t think he realized what he was saying. A week later, I called my mission president and told him I was going home.”

Before he could be released, Ballard was ordered to speak to his father, his sister, and his stake president, who acts as the head of several local congregations, or "stakes." He described this as “one of the hardest things in my entire life.”

Ballard phoned his father first. “He’s like, ‘What about when Mom died? What about what you said before you left on your mission?’ And I remember telling him, ‘Dad, I lied, because I wanted to look good.’ I got off the phone and cried for two hours.”

A 2013 study at Utah Valley University found that nearly three quarters of missionaries who return home early experience a deep sense of failure. Ballard served for seven months,and received an honorable discharge for health reasons. Although he’s finding the transition difficult and his home congregation less than receptive, Ballard remains positive about the mission experience overall. “You can ‘life shop.’ You meet thousands of people who’ve lived their lives thousands of ways, people who are doctors, lawyers, janitors, who have children, who don’t have children, who are married, who aren’t married, who’ve never been married. And you can see, like, ‘Oh, that’s how I want to live my life. I want to live my life like that guy.’”

* * *

Scott Horton’s family has been Mormon for several generations. Like many missionaries, he had doubts about his faith, but he wanted to set a good example for his younger brothers, and the scriptures suggested that the mission itself was the best way to strengthen his testimony.

While an estimated 40 percent of returned missionaries become inactive sometime after completing their mission, only 2 percent become apostates, meaning that they request to have their names removed from church rolls, or are formally excommunicated. Scott Horton is among the 2 percent. Looking back, he recalls the moment when “all the lights starting firing” on his mission in Bahia Blanca, Argentina. “In my last area, I went on a regimen of studying the Book of Mormon like crazy, praying like crazy. I got to a point where I was fasting every week, wanting to get an answer. I did that for two or three months. And just nothing.”

Another turning point occurred when Horton stopped a man on the street who was an adherent to the Virgin of Guadalupe. “I said, ‘Oh, that’s really interesting. Why do you follow her?’ And he said, ‘Well, five or six years ago, I didn’t have a job and I was out of money. And I couldn’t stand to be at home and watch my daughters cry over hunger. I was walking down the road, praying, and I had no idea what to do. And I saw a light. I looked into the light and saw the Virgin. She told me that everything would be okay, and that she was looking out for me and would provide for me. And when I looked down, below the light, there was 20 pesos on the ground. I picked it up and bought bread and milk for my daughters. I’ll always remember that, and I will never move away from her.’

“I was dumbfounded. I thanked him for sharing that story with me and let him go on his way. I remember thinking, I have nothing that even compares to something that spiritual, that profound. Who was I to stand out here telling people what to do? You start to recognize how ridiculous it is to put people’s eternal salvation in the hands of 19-year-olds who are viewing it as a competition of who can baptize more people.”

* * *

Russell Beckstead, now in his mid-thirties, remains an active member of the Church. He still accompanies missionaries every week as a model of non-missionary fellowship—what he refers to as “being a normal person.”

Young is uncomfortable with the missionary promise that conversion is a cure-all. “People will talk about how they lost their job, or they have this medical problem, or their wife left them, or their kid is in trouble at school, or their parents are suffering and old. And as a missionary, your mentality is, ‘Okay, pray and read the Book of Mormon. Done.’ And I want to be like, ‘Did you not hear all these other problems?’ I still believe that faith and Jesus Christ gives people power and comfort in their lives. But it’s not going to solve their problems!”

For Beckstead and others, like Ballard and Horton, the most memorable aspect of missionary work was the connections they developed with different kinds of people—and the theological tension these connections raised. “There’s a scripture in the Book of Mormon that says, ‘The natural man is an enemy to God.’ It gets drilled into you that everybody else is secretly miserable because they’re not in the church. As a missionary, it’s your job to share the secret to happiness. And I just found that that wasn’t true. There’s lots of happy people with great lives, just trying to do the best they can.

“Maybe my faith in the institution was shocked, but my faith in humanity was boosted.

* These names have been changed to protect privacy.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    cj.myfreeforum.org Forum Index -> CHAPEL All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10  Next
Page 8 of 10

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Card File  Gallery  Forum Archive
Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group
Create your own free forum | Buy a domain to use with your forum