Monday, June 29, 2015

Why much of the world is still opposed to Mormonism

We're still in June and look at the height of the corn growing in Nauvoo.
 We've seen a about a dozen red Cardinals the past year. This is not one of them of course, but it was a good reminder for me to mention it to you.

This is the location of where the Nauvoo Expositor was located in 1844 which I referred to in our last post.

The Whys Behind Opposition to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
My head is spinning with information that I've been collecting the past year and specifically the past few weeks. I'm not sure how to put it all into words in a condensed form that still makes sense. So please, bear with me, and I'll try to make sense of why America in mob form would take the law into their own hands and murder. I will also relate it to the Presidential elections of 2012 and my opinion on why conservative Americans were so opposed to voting for a Mormon President that they stayed home rather than voting out an incumbent that they were passionately opposed to.

Last week we had the mayor of Nauvoo, John McCarty, come to our missionary training meeting. We've always had a member of our church give the training so this was definitely unique. 

Here is what we learned:

Of the 1,100 residents in Nauvoo, I'm guessing that only about 10% of them are Mormon. We were all hoping that Mayor McCarty could give us insight into how to better blend our culture with theirs. It was rather discouraging to hear him report that out of the non-Mormons living in Nauvoo; probably about 60% don't like us very much. Why you ask? Well, despite the fact that crime is incredibly low here, and we buy their stuff giving quite a boost to their economy, we also "block their view of the Mississippi River when the tourists come to town". In other words because we're here, we draw tourists who crowd their streets with pedestrians during the month of July when the pageant is here. In Nauvoo, the medium age is 51.6 with 20% under the age of 18 and 30% over the age of 65. The residents don't want to move, and they just want their small town life back. They don't care about the boost to the economy because they are largely retired or on welfare. My discouragement came because we can't fix anything. We are simply at an impasse.

Another issue is that when the Nauvoo Temple was rebuilt in 2002, it was constructed after the historic temple completed in 1846 just a couple of months before the LDS people were run out. The deal is...the temple is huge! This 54 thousand square foot white lime stone building with round windows and magnificently carved sun, moon, and stars, is a sight to see. Highway 96 runs through the tiny town of Nauvoo. There is one main turn in the road and that turn is where the temple sits. The problem is not the temple itself because it is well manicured and gorgeous, but it drove the property taxes up for surrounding properties. Then in 2007-8 when property prices fell all over the country, they fell here too. Now home values are down, but taxes stayed high. This is certainly problematic for the citizens here with the vast majority of them on a fixed income. Again, we are at an impasse. Only good government could fix the tax problem and that doesn't seem to be a commodity that we have these days.

Interesting phenomena: I learned this week that typically the surrounding communities don't like Mormons, but they do like the LDS people. Hmmmm... If we tell them that Mormons and LDS are the same, will they decide they don't like the LDS either or will they decide that they like the Mormons after all? 

Actually, did you know that the term "Mormon" was a slanderous nickname given to a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints starting as early as the 1830's? Did you also know that the term "Christian" was a slanderous nickname used for a follower of Christ after Christ's death? Obviously, it's all what you make of it.

So here is what I think the problem is. In general, people get an idea or view of something in their heads, and they stick to it regardless of facts that contradict their thinking. Here are a few examples.

While at the Kibbe Museum last week, I asked one of the workers why there is still so much negative publicity about Joseph Smith. She said, that it was largely because Joseph was trying to use his large legion of soldiers to take over the country. (Even though 175 years have passed with no concrete evidence whatsoever this rumor continues to circulate.)

She also claimed it was the "polygamy thing". (Maybe it's me, but after last week's ruling by the Supreme Court, I don't think what members of the LDS faith did in response to the death and carnage left by opposing mobs is outrageous. How else do you have posterity faster than you're being killed off by your enemies? What do you think?) 

I asked an 11 year old at the Kibbe Museum if she had ever visited the Carthage Jail. She said, "Yes, once, and it was creepy". Then she described a pile of bones that was kept in the corner of the jail. (Hmmm... what could she possibly be talking about? Remember we lived there for three months last summer.) 

Some of our friends have refused to read the Book of Mormon because their church leaders have told them that it is evil and devilish and that even reading it can mess up their minds. (Hmmmm)

At a political caucus in 2012, we learned astonishing things from our neighbors about the LDS faith. Basically, they feared that a Mormon President would follow Mormon leader's direction rather than make decisions best for the country. Did you know that we're all a bunch of sheep? We also learned that they still think Mormon women are ill treated even abused with impunity. (I think they have us mixed up with some other church.) We heard rhetoric that the Mormons are way out in left field with talk of seeing angels and having gold bibles. (I suppose the parting of the Red Sea sounds pretty far fetched to a Buddhist or a virgin birth sounds ludicrous to a Jew.) 

In 2012, three million Republicans got it in their head that no way under any circumstances would they ever vote for a Mormon President, so they stayed home on election day or they voted for a white horse candidate who could never win the election. But they wanted to make a point---no Mormon President. Well, they made their point and now the whole country suffers for it.

Human nature is fascinating to me. Perhaps, conservative America will save themselves next election and get behind the most likely candidate who can win the whole election. But it doesn't look like collaboration is in their future.  I can't think about it....makes me crazy.

 We went to another little museum here in Nauvoo near Peter's Place. The museum also had copies of Joseph and Hyrum's death masks. People have asked about the death masks and I referred them back to Salt Lake City. Sorry for the misdirection. They are right here in Nauvoo.

Commemorating the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum.
Every year we honor Joseph and Hyrum on June 27th. Last year I wrote quite extensively about it so I won't say too much this time.

Finding Truth:
I will say that it was a very nice program. The most memorable part to me was when President Gibbons spoke. He talked about Christ first. Approximately 30% of the world claim to be Christian but not all of them believe that Christ is the Son of God. President Gibbons pointed out that either He is the son of God or He isn't. 

A much smaller percent of the world has a testimony that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Again, either Joseph Smith was a prophet of God who talked with God and translated the Book of Mormon, or he wasn't and he is one of the greatest charlatan's ever.

Christ asked Peter, "Whom say ye that I am?" Matthew 16:13-17 Peter answered "Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God." Christ replied, "Blessed art thou Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not reveal it into thee, but my Father which is in Heaven."

How can you know truth as Peter knew? 
Acts 2:37-43  (They were pricked in their heart)
1 Corinthians 12:3 (no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.)
3 Nephi 11:46 (And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.)
Moroni 10:5 (By the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things.)

You too can receive personal revelation through the Holy Ghost and know whether or not Christ is the Son of God, or if the atonement can truly save us from our sins.

You can know for yourself if Joseph Smith was a man of God or one of the worst men to ever walk the earth.

How can you know you ask?
Doctrine and Covenants 9:8  (But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.)

I invite you to ask sincerely in prayer for Heavenly Father to make the truth known to you. I invite you to read the Book of Mormon and take note on how it makes you feel. I'm still reading it in English alongside a Spanish version. Whenever I read I feel peace; I feel happy; I know that it is the work of God. 

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