ForwardA note to my LDS friends: Please understand that the purpose of this post is not to disprove or discredit your belief system or you personally. I have a deep respect for each one of you and only desire that the lines of communication that exists between myself and you continue to stay open. I only wish that the rest of Christendom were as open to discussion and as kind in doing so as you have always been to me. Even during the times when I made a fool of myself as a self-righteous Christian and if I have done so now as an atheist. Please allow this post to represent my care for mankind and not a hate for god or religious people. If something here is offensive it was not my intent, but I challenge anyone and everyone that does read this to consider the purpose behind it and the logic behind my own doubt. ———————–
About two months ago I was browsing through my normal routine of atheist sites and blogs when I happened upon an advertisement for Mormon.org’s chat service which allows anyone to log onto the website and chat with a missionary from the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter Day Saints (also known as Mormons or LDS). I decided to log on and chat with the kind folks there to see why they believed what they did and so on, being an individual that is not entirely unfamiliar with LDS beliefs I came in with a foreknowledge of the basic LDS doctrine and simply wanted to challenge these kind people to think about the origin of their belief – something I had to do for myself once upon a time.
Missionary One: Initial encounter
The first missionary I talked to was a very kind young man, if I remember correctly he was 19 and in training to go to South America to present their version of the gospel to the people there, you see, the chat center is located in Provo, UT at the Missionary Training Academy where all the LDS missionaries go for a time prior to being sent out. (Most LDS members go on mission at some point in their life usually in their early 20’s, the mission generally lasts two years and is part of being a holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood). I explained to him that I was an atheist and that I was at one time a Christian, he spoke to me about his “relationship with god” and how he knew god was real because he felt him so strongly in his life and because he had seen god’s many blessings on him and his family. I explained to him a little about my past and how I too had a relationship with my own deity and that at one point I came to realize that this deity was merely my own mental and emotional interpretation of the god of the Bible and the god that I most wanted to serve. (aka, an imaginary friend that I molded after my own view of god). Eventually I gave this missionary my phone number and he and I talked about this subject on two different nights, he would also give me some verses from the Book of Mormon to read. I read what he asked each time that he did. During our last conversation he let me know that he was leaving to go on his mission and would therefore be unable to call again and asked permission to give my number to another missionary named Stephen, I agreed and issued one final challenge to him: I simply asked that he ask himself if he would be comfortable with even the idea of there not being a god and that if he could find a way to cope with that if he would then begin to challenge the idea of god that he had. He agreed.