Through the Ears of a “Gentile”

John Nilsson book of mormon, catholicism, christianity, church, Culture, faith, inter-faith, LDS, missionary, Mormon, politics, religion, restoration, sacrament 37 Comments

“I’m so glad I was born in this, the one true church of God.”

“Please bless the party leaders tonight [of the Republican Party] that they may be guided to make the right decisions.”

“Please be with our armed forces as they fight for freedom [in Iraq].”

“The Book of Mormon gives us a much clearer picture of Christ than the Bible.”

“The Second Coming must be drawing near. I don’t feel we have a true presidential candidate in the race now. The world is getting worse and worse. Gays want to get married.”

“I can’t believe that Bill Clinton made so much money off of his new book. He is an adulterer.”

“The Lord helped us buy our new house [in a swanky neighborhood].”

If you attend an LDS worship service, you may hear statements like the above. I have heard variations of these statements many times. Next time you attend, try this experiment. Pretend you are a “Gentile” (if you need help imagining a non-Mormon, you can pick one of my top ten non-Mormon lives) and experience what happens during the three hours through their eyes and ears. Imagine their reaction to what you see, hear, and feel. I’ve done this many times, attending church with friends not of the LDS persuasion, and latterly with some extended family, both Protestant and Catholic. The result has been that I have been more careful and considerate about the things I say at church!

Questions:

Would hearing the statements above make you more or less likely to have goodwill towards Mormons?

What are the positive and negative impressions you receive about the LDS Church from them?

Do you think statements like the above are likely to be taken as normative by non-LDS in attendance?

Comments

comments

Comments 37

  1. “Would hearing the statements above make you more or less likely to have goodwill towards Mormons?

    “What are the positive and negative impressions you receive about the LDS Church from them?

    “Do you think statements like the above are likely to be taken as normative by non-LDS in attendance?”

    Who cares what “the world” thinks, it’s all true. (Isn’t it?)

  2. Ever since becoming a missionary, way back when, I always try to listen to the comments over the pulpit as if I was an investigator. I cringe at some of the things I hear, mostly on Fast and Testimony Sunday. “I want my children to know that I love them very much.” (okay, fine, but why are you telling the whole congregation? Can’t you just tell them in person?) “I love my husband very much.” (okay, but did you want to share your Testimony of the Gospel?) While some of these comments are fine in line with a testimony, or to make another point, often they are the WHOLE testimony. Testimony meeting is for sharing testimonies of the gospel. I think the GA’s comment last Conference (what it Packer? Oaks?) was right on–we have to remember what F&T meeting is for. Saying you love your children is not a testimony. Saying you love your children/parents/cat is not a testimony. Sharing a “Mormon Legend” is not a testimony. A personal experience that strengthened your faith IS a testimony (and won’t sound silly to an investigator).

  3. Would hearing the statements above make you more or less likely to have goodwill towards Mormons?

    Heck, hearing statements like those make me less likely to have goodwill towards Mormons and I’m already a Mormon! Maybe it is because I am far away from Utah, but I haven’t heard much of these kinds of things anymore, out here in New York. And when I have, I responded back strongly. In one instance, in Elder’s Quorum we were talking about atheism, and one man brought up Anne Coulter and godless liberals and such. I confronted him about it in class, that this kind of stuff should not be talked about here, that it withdraws the Spirit, and on and on. Needless to say, it has not been brought up again.

    This past Sunday, I gave the lesson in Elder’s Quorum. The branch president asked me to speak about service in the church. I downloaded a talk by President Packer (from 1997) and didn’t really prepare any notes besides his talk that I merely glanced over. I already knew what I wanted to bring up. And this is something that I’d like to see talked about more, more generally across the church. The church is to be a refuge from the world. It is a place for us to seek a break from the world around us. But the church doesn’t magically appear. God doesn’t wave a want and poof, his kingdom is upon us. No, the church is us. It is each one of us individually. I am a refuge for someone else, and someone else is a refuge for me. We cannot have the world penetrate this church if we wish it to be a refuge. And I need a refuge because this world is awfully violent and mean. The service we provide in church is to create that environment where we can feel the weight of the world taken off our shoulders. We cannot do this with the kinds of comments we see above.

  4. “Please be with our armed forces as they fight for freedom [in Iraq].”

    If I ever heard this I would start laughing out loud hysterically during the prayer……and probably shout out…..and “OIL!”

    Great Post John.

    “Would hearing the statements above make you more or less likely to have goodwill towards Mormons?”

    Less likely.

    “What are the positive and negative impressions you receive about the LDS Church from them?”
    Positive – Nothing
    Negative – Self righteous, Politically and socially unawares, bigoted, narrow minded and selfish. (The Lord helped you buy a house from the oil your country as gotten from illegally invading Iraq where thousands of civilians are dying to provide it for you.)

    “Do you think statements like the above are likely to be taken as normative by non-LDS in attendance?”
    In BYU and UTAH…..probably
    In England….I have never heard anything like this thank goodness.

  5. >>#2: Who cares what “the world” thinks, it’s all true. (Isn’t it?)<<

    uh, no, statements like those are not true. Church leaders care a great deal about what the “world” thinks. That was Gordon Hinckley’s great contribution in the 50’s and 60’s, creating a consistent story to tell the world that got us away from the perception that we’re a weird bunch of cultists.

    I live in a middle-class pocket of a fairly affluent area, and I guess people want to believe that no matter how they got their money or what they do with it, God had a hand in it. I can’t imagine bringing a non-member to church to hear that kind of self-congratulatory garbage.

  6. ‘By their fruits, ye shall know them’

    The Mormon fruit then, is weird.

    But still surprisingly tasty…

    And that’s why I don’t stress about the weirdness. The ignorant will remain ignorant and those who look a little deeper will find something more… It’s weird, but it’s something more.

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    Frecklefoot,

    Interesting comments, but not really what I meant by my post. I hear those “gratitude” comments from ward members all the time, but I don’t think statements like “I want my kids to know how much I love them”, while admittedly evidence of a strange social convention we have developed for some reason, are likely to alienate those not of the LDS faith in attendance at our meetings. They are also less likely than the types of comments I listed above to sow division and discord.

    Incidentally, I tend to believe one of the reasons the “gratitude” testimonies you reference are so common is because they reflect emotions close to people’s hearts, and like it or not, the quivering lip and watery eye are the sine qua non of most LDS testimony meetings. Not all of us can pump out the expected waterworks regularly because of abstract propositions like “I know the Church is true” or “Joseph Smith is a prophet”. I also think we don’t hear the kinds of testimonies the General Authorities encourage us to bear because I think only a small percentage of active LDS even HAVE that kind of “I know the Church, President Monson,Jesus Christ, Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith are true” kind of testimony. But that is definitely another post for another time!!

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    Dan,

    I agree strongly with your comments. I have acted similarly to you a few times in speaking out directly in Church meetings to put the kaibosh on politically divisive commentary which derails a discussion.

    But in doing this, aren’t we fighting against the main current of Mormon culture and religion, which seems to want to relate EVERYTHING to religion, or to relate religion to everything else? For instance, most active LDS I know would seem to love a little more concrete ecclesiastical direction on how to vote, and the reason most vote Republican (at least until Utah goes for Obama in November 😉 )

    I mean, imagine yourself in 1844 at a “Joseph Smith for President” rally back East, telling Brigham Young to stop talking politics because it’s driving out the Spirit. You may be in the right, but you’re taking on some powerful figures in arguing your side.

  9. To no-man (#6), Joseph Smith said that blessings are the evidence of the truthfulness of the work. (That’s a paraphrase. I don’t have the exact quote in front of me.)

    So, when a member of the church says they have received blessings, then they concluded that the church MUST BE true. No matter how outrageous the blessing. I’ve heard members make innocuous statements and extreme claims of blessings and almost EVERY TIME church truthfulness is affirmed. Thank you Joseph Smith.

  10. As a lurker for many months and an unofficial investigator, please allow me to say hello and take a stab at these questions:

    Hi.

    “Would hearing the statements above make you more or less likely to have goodwill towards Mormons?”
    Probably neither, which I’ll elaborate on in a moment.

    “What are the positive and negative impressions you receive about the LDS Church from them?”
    My impressions apply to people in general rather than to the LDS church, the church being made up, after all, of people. Positive: people love the church, people know their scriptures, people pray for (I hope all) public figures. Negative: your basic self-righteous narrow-mindedness. ☺

    “Do you think statements like the above are likely to be taken as normative by non-LDS in attendance?”
    I hope not, whether I agree or disagree with the actual statements. Please know that these kinds of statements abound in many churches, not just in the LDS church. There is always a layer of people who toe the line on a very literal level, and that works just fine for them. There is another layer who think diligently about what they do and why they do it. And there are innumerable layers in between. I can imagine thinking, “Holy cow, do you really think it’s that simple?” to comments from one person and, “Holy cow, it’s just not that complicated” to another.

    Visitors to the church will parallel those layers. If, as a visitor, I hear your example statements and they appeal to me, case closed. If I hear them and they are anathema to me, case closed. Then there are the rest in the middle. Me, personally? I would wonder whether they are biblical/doctrinal in source, whether they are cultural in source, whether they are a vocal minority, to what degree they represent consensus. It’s up to me to find answers that transcend individual idiosyncrasies.

    Depending on what you’re looking for, finding the right church takes some work. If all some visitors do is hear those comments and decide the LDS church is too for them, maybe that’s as it should be. The downside is that you might be misrepresented. But the upside is the people want to be there. Numbers are important, but so is conviction. I envy of those of you who have grown up in the church and have the comfort of familiarity and tradition. But going to the effort of learning exactly what I believe and why offers the chance actively to choose. That act of choosing is crucial to me.

    I’m finding through the Bloggernacle that the LDS church has valid places for faithful people along a very long continuum. Paradoxically, the level of discourse here represents extremes, and yet it continues to promote faith. You can beat yourselves up all you like about the goofy things some LDS say and do and how they and the church might be perceived. Those kinds of things happen wherever there are people. You haven’t cornered the market on nuts. Your strength is in living what you believe and working hard to do that better. By your fruits, indeed.

  11. Depends on the Gentile:

    “I’m so glad I was born in this, the one true church of God.”

    Maybe some people might be offended- but it’s true so that’s their problem.

    “Please bless the party leaders tonight [of the Republican Party] that they may be guided to make the right decisions.”

    Well, I’ve rarely heard something like this specifically directed towards Republicans. I have just as often heard prayers for the Democratic party leaders during their caucus nights. More often it’s about blessing President Bush and Congress to help them make good decisions- which most gentiles wouldn’t have a problem with. In fact some gentiles wouldn’t have a problem with blessing the Republican party at all.

    “Please be with our armed forces as they fight for freedom [in Iraq].”

    Why would any American be offended by this? The fact that you seem to be offended brings your patriotism into question. No I am not joking. Why anybody should be upset with someone praying for their country’s soldiers is beyond me. Even if you do think the Iraq war is stupid (which is an understandable position) you should still hope for our success- No?

    “The Book of Mormon gives us a much clearer picture of Christ than the Bible.”

    Well, this can have two effects: Either it will make an investigator want to read the Book of Mormon, or it will get them all upset because they think we are disrespecting the Bible. I wouldn’t say this, because I think the Gospels are the best source of understanding Christ (although I’d put the BofM before the Epistles and the OT), but I don’t know if we can get so upset about someone sharing their personal experience.

    “The Second Coming must be drawing near. I don’t feel we have a true presidential candidate in the race now. The world is getting worse and worse. Gays want to get married.”

    Ah yes- well, although these kinds of statements annoy me I’d like to point out that there are a lot of Gentiles who’d agree.

    “I can’t believe that Bill Clinton made so much money off of his new book. He is an adulterer.”

    Again as answered in the previous question.

    “The Lord helped us buy our new house [in a swanky neighborhood].”

    What’s wrong with this statement? Most Gentiles would be impressed by such a statement that attributes a man’s financial success to God instead of his own genius. The fact that you hear a statement of arrogance while I see a statement of humility and gratitude ought to make you consider if you are being too swift to take offense.

    In general you seem to be sitting there thinking: “How would I respond to these statements if I didn’t have a testimony?” Which is quite different from: “How would the average non-member respond to these statements?”

    Try thinking about the typical gentile response to a normal talk on Family History. Then imagine they add in the “free the birdies” bit too. Those are more the things that come to my mind when I wonder what a gentile would think.

  12. I joined the church when I was 19 (many years ago…)and since that time my ears have caught many things that I knew would not be understood or received well by ‘gentiles’.
    My biggest pet peeve is when people bear their testimony and say, “I know this is the ONLY TRUE church.”
    So, what are all the other churches, “FALSE”? This is especially hurtful to someone of another faith.
    I choose to think that all churches, if they are leading their followers to do good and be good people have some truth, they just don’t have all the knowledge or ‘truth’ that we do. This doesn’t make their chosen religion false. My time growing up and learning in both the Baptist (My Mom’s background, I attended from birth to age 12) and the Lutheran (My Dad’s background where I attended from 12-18 years old) churches, feel like a preparation to me. I don’t know that I would have been ready for what I learned and accepted and grew to have a testimony of in the LDS faith without that foundation I got from the other churches I attended.
    Different does not mean bad, or false, it just means different.
    How can we ever love those of other faiths enough to try and share our beliefs with them if we have already branded everyone but us, as “false”?

  13. Complements to the self-aware LDS who “have ears to hear” from an outsider’s perspective. It usually just takes a few to really cast a pallor on what is perceived as LDS open-mindedness (or lack thereof).

    It’s not like Mormons who really think differently are likely to stand up and bear testimony — and still affirm belief and faith — while countering more narrow political or social statements that can be heard and some just assume go hand-in-hand with Mormonism. Is it considered, as long as it is a very conservative position, even if insensitive and even possibly a minority position, that it is considered a “safe” thing to say even if other listeners would undoubtedly be in disagreement or uncomfortable? This is probably due to the very conservative alignment of most LDS congregations. But if there were less conservative congregations, I think you’d still hear insensitive if less conservative things said by a few bolder individuals. I think it reflects groupthink that will manifest within any tight community.

    What is more interesting to me is why the “rules of mixed company” don’t seem to apply so strongly even within LDS classroom meetings. Is it because teaching is more often more about life application than contextual scripture and theology — and hence conservative socio-politics will more likely crop up? Is it due to a cultural discomfort with discomfort, with challenge, with debate, with thinking anything uncomfortable is of the Adversary? Is this why contrary positions are less frequently stated? Does this environment make LDS more prone to gossip and whispered sideline discussion as a way to avoid more open truth-telling and polite debate? Is an air of certainty and consensus on many matters of discussion — even where there is truly less consensus than appears — maintained as a byproduct of “only True Churchness?”

    Even in our church, where in the classroom setting there tends to be more open diversity of opinion and a culture of contrarian discussion, there is still extra-Gospel conservative groupthink that crops up. I’m quite comfortable saying, if we had monthly “open mic Sundays” that you’d likely hear an individual or two who would be gauche and state something categorically by which an outsider would judge our congregation. (Anyone remember Jerry Falwell? 😉 ) Having professionally trained teaching pastors (who tend to moderate themselves well) and a regular contingent of visitors helps keep us on better behavior within our worship meetings, for sure. But when congregational study groups grow more homogenous and comfortable with one another some of the same problems will crop up among our congregation.

  14. Ellen,

    Thank you for commenting. You sound like my mother-in-law. She is not looking to pass a quick judgment on this church or any other, and those who are aren’t ready for organized religion. Interestingly, she enjoys Fast and Testimony meeting best, no matter what is said, because people are speaking from the heart, and she likes hearing sincerity from the pulpit.

    That said, I do appreciate when the Bishop takes the time to clarify when needed any statement that is blatantly false doctrine, or when opinion is stated as fact/doctrine.

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    Ellen,

    Great response from an “outside” perspective. Welcome to the site!

    “I envy of those of you who have grown up in the church and have the comfort of familiarity and tradition. But going to the effort of learning exactly what I believe and why offers the chance actively to choose. That act of choosing is crucial to me.”

    And I envy your freshness of perspective and the freedom from tradition you seem to enjoy in your search. Best of luck!

    Cicero,

    Ahh, yes. I never said I was offended, pal. As it happens, only a few of the comments above are offensive to me, the rest are simply ignorant or a misguided attempt to insert politics into a religious discussion. As Ellen’s comment has shown us, whether commenting in the Bloggernacle or attending an LDS worship service, those with other perspectives and from other faith traditions are there alongside us, “silent notes taking.” I’m just curious as to what they’re writing down.

  16. I don’t hear much of this at all in church, to be honest. Perhaps that is because I attend in a pretty affluent non-Utah ward. People avoid inserting politics into church at all. I truly couldn’t tell you how people vote–I am aware that many are active politically in both parties, but church just isn’t the place to discuss it. It makes it hard to ever want to move again.

  17. Picking my son up from college; no time; Ellen, THANK YOU for answering as a “real example” – and for your overall comment. It was dead-on, imho.

    Fwiw, I always cringe when I hear, “Bless our troops.” That’s fine in a personal or family prayer, but not appropriate in a congregational prayer. Something like, “Bless all those surving in and influencing military forces around the world . . .” is what I say whenever I mention it. I also pray explicitly for terrorists’ hearts to be softened, since we are commanded to “pray for them that persecute you and despitefully use you.” Frankly, I don’t think we are being particularly Christ-like when we pray only for our own. Do not the publicans hypocrites the same?

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  19. Priesthood opening exercises is a place where I’ve seen this come out in the more casual setting. I heard one brother make the announcement that an election is coming up and I encourage everyone to vote AND “so and so” is running on the ballot (in a local election) and I’ve heard he’s a real good man. This was done with a smirk that because it was done with humor, that it was more acceptable to be phrased that way. I did want to stand up and say that I heard that “so and so” (his opponent) was a good man to.

    I also heard someone bear their testimony and express thankfulness that they could get (lasik) surgery so they could see better (thanks to their affluent parent). I wondered what kind of message this sends to the kids that wear glasses, but in the kind words used by AmeliaG (#15), I think she was speaking from the heart. I think inclusive language should be a practice by members, particularly in Sacrament meeting. President Hinckley always had a way of making people feel at ease and welcome. (I was able to witness this first hand once in a meeting for young adults). That quality has remained a model for me ever since.

    Inclusive language at church is something that should be put into practice.

  20. Ray said: “Fwiw, I always cringe when I hear, “Bless our troops.” That’s fine in a personal or family prayer, but not appropriate in a congregational prayer.”

    Who are you to determine what is and isn’t appropriate for public prayers? Isn’t this land the one true and “choice” land above all other lands? Are you a true believer or not? If the U.S. doesn’t lead in the world, then who will? Don’t through OUR troops under the tank, even if you are one who doesn’t agree with the policies of the U.S.

    God bless the troops of the USA!

  21. Cicero –

    What do you think is the higher priority – being a Christian, or being a “patriot”? I believe, and hope, that true patriotism is much deeper than simply rooting for your side when you’re at war. It is speaking the truth. It is speaking against injustice. It is being a peacemaker.

    I love the United States. Nowhere else could the Gospel have been restored. Nowhere else have so many people had so much opportunity and prosperity in the history of the world.

    We are commanded to be peacemakers. So, why might praying for soldiers offend one’s ears? Go read this.

  22. “. . . After I became the minister of Thornton [New Hampshire], I was regularly requested to pray with the military company when they met for training. This duty I performed under the delusive impression, that being prepared for war was the surest means of preventing war. This was then the popular doctrine, in which I acquiesced. But in praying on such occasions I ever felt deeply, that the business of war was horrible, and opposed to my own feelings as a christian . . .
    . . . . .
    “The war of 1812, between Great Britain and the United States, was the occasion of perfecting the revolution in my mind in regard to the lawfulness of war. . . . I regarded the war as having resulted from our own party contests, and the indulgence of vile passions;—and, on the whole, as unnecessary and unjust. . . . The President had called on ministers of the gospel to pray for the success of our arms. This I could not do; . . . I could pray that the lives of the soldiers on both sides might be preserved, and such were my prayers during the war. . . .”

    —Noah Worcester (1758-1837), quoted in Henry Ware, Jr., Memoirs of the Rev. Noah Worcester, D.D. . . . [Boston: James Munroe and Company, 1844], 63, 65.

  23. As a missionary in England I brought a non-member to church during a fast and testimony meeting only to expose my non-Mormon friend to a counselor in the Bishopric who invited the ward (from the pulpit) to his still-born son’s wedding in the afterlife. This experience is not the same flavor as the subject here, but it was interesting to see a reaction of a non-member to comments like these.

  24. Ellen #11,

    Well said. Congrats.

    hawkgrrrl #17

    “Perhaps that is because I attend in a pretty affluent non-Utah ward.”

    So then is this type of talk only heard in poor areas in the US? In the barrios aand working class Tongan wards? Are the poor all Republican?

  25. Our High Priest quorum instructor once started off a lesson by bashing Democrats, then asked the quorum: “Did anybody here vote Democratic?”, a totally inappropriate question. When no one raised their hand, one wise quorum member in the back responded: “That’s why we have the secret ballot.” I might add that we live in one of the wealthiest counties in the United States.

  26. re: 19: Ray, I agree. but my current bishop is a retired Marine colonel and our ward continually has “bless our troops” in prayers. I guess the question is, does that mean “bless our troops so they can kill more godless Iraqis and secure oil fields for the USA” or does it mean “bless our troops so that even though they’re in the horrible situation of fighting a war, damage will be minimized”? We rarely hear pleas for peace in the world.

    This guy, before he was bishop, used to teach HP group in the early days of the Bush war, and he’d throw in gratuitous digs at what cowards the French are as he introduced lessons (he always started with a “patriotic moment”). He’d also bring a laptop and projector and show the latest fake-patriotic email junk he’d seen, like the picture of a lone man saluting the flag during a parade while all the other Americans ignored it. He (and he’s not alone) definitely passed the boundaries of trying to be sensitive to what other church members might be feeling. It’s sad in our little Utah culture to see how insulated people can be from the realities of the world.

    To answer the original question “Do you think statements like the above are likely to be taken as normative by non-LDS in attendance?” — I would be concerned that although such opinions are not unusual, if this kind of thing were presented in a public church meeting the assumption would be that the church automatically endorses whatever military action the USA is involved in. Read president Hinckley’s sermon when the Iraq war and see if you can justify a blanket endorsement of war.

  27. Carlos: “So then is this type of talk only heard in poor areas in the US? In the barrios and working class Tongan wards? Are the poor all Republican?” In my experience, the affluent are more socially discreet at church and have a little more finesse at skirting unpleasantness. This could also be partly due to the fact that many of our ward members are either new converts or recently (last 5-10 years) reactivated. They are there for religious reasons.

    I certainly wouldn’t characterize the poor as being all Republican, either, nor are the affluent all Democrats (just the brand of intellectuals who put ideals ahead of self-interest). However, there is a semi-recent highjacking of the GOP by populists (the Wal-Mart crowd) that is unsettling. To paraphrase Obama, people without hope clinging to guns and God.

  28. To lighten the mood — I once had a branch president who preached funny things such as the stars being failed planetary creations by us in the Pre-Existence. Hence part of our perfecting experience on the way to become Gods is to learn how to make proper planets.

    He also preached (from the pulpit) that passing gas whenever one had the urge was a function of the spirit of the WoW. To hold that inside is unhealthy for the body.

    I kid you not. Always was the talk to see what new outrageous thing the guy would teach. 🙂

  29. hawkgrrrl,

    No worries. I forgot the little 🙂 thing. I always had the impression that affluent US mormons were all republicans, but then that would be stereotyping. (By the way ya should vote Obama this time round; please?)

    noman #29,

    “does that mean “bless our troops so they can kill more godless Iraqis and secure oil fields for the USA”

    That’s what the rest of the world thinks that americans believe! Also that they deliberately lowered Iraqi oil production to push up crude prices and benefit the big Texas oil cartels -well, but thats the new conspiracy theory actually 🙂

    Just for Quix #31

    Wow!!!! Next time I pass gas…. well….

  30. Carlos: Well that’s probably because most LDS (esp. in UT) are GOP, and also because most affluent (whether LDS or no) are GOP. My home ward in PA (economically mixed) was very vocally Democrat, but that was because we had so many college professors in our ward. I was floored when I got to UT to attend BYU to find that most UT Mormons were Republicans.

  31. I am horrified when I hear statements like those mentioned in the post. We sound arrogant even to my ears, and I’ve been a member all my life. Somehow I don’t mind the occasional oddities. That’s just part of being people. But sometimes we’re very elitist.

  32. I’ve heard all of these things and worse. I was sitting in a fast and testimony meeting once on my mission when a brother bore his testimony that aborted babies would come back and “get” the doctors that aborted them during the millenium. There was another time when a brother (why does all of the crazy stuff come from men?) said he felt his family was blessed because all of his sons were doctors (except for the mentally disabled son that still lived with him, and he pointed that out too!)

    I think the best testimony I’ve ever heard was:

    “I bear my testimony that I know my wife lives, I love her very much, and I hope that I can live with her again someday.”

  33. This book is absolutely wonderful. Mortenson shows us how one dedicated person can make a difference. He also poignantly shows the world that education and non-violent assistance does a profoundly better job of winning support and “attacking” terrorism than warfare! (Duh!) I think there are very few Americans who would be willing to make the kind of sacrifice Greg Mortenson has but he has certainly inspired me to support his and similar efforts in the best way I can. In my opinion, he deserves a Nobel Peace prize. I would like to see this book in every high school library in America.

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