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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Is This Worth a Pout?

Dr. Robert Jeffress has hurt my feelings. He stood in front of a camera and called me the member of a cult. I know there are 14 million Mormons in the world, but lets be clear, it is all about me and my feelings are hurt. And because I am a mouthy salty woman I can't just leave it there.

It is not my intention to counter any of his points, I am not about to try and "set anyone straight". No argument here. Dr. Jeffress has access to the truth about my religion but he chose, as my sweet uncle would say, "to not let the facts get in the way of a good story."

And what good would it do anyway? What would I gain by trying to persuade him that Jesus Christ is the center of my life? He won't believe me.

But He is. The the center of my life. But Dr. Jeffress says I don't believe in Jesus Christ. And no matter what anyone says, it doesn't stop, he doesn't stop saying it. And it hurts my feelings.

Dr. Jeffress couldn't know that I searched for a religion that felt right. I wasn't born a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints....I went looking for a place to worship. My mother's family is Baptist, but my mother never went to church. My father's family is Methodist, but he never went to church. When I started my search for a religion I went to the Methodist Church first. The Pastor asked that if anyone wanted to turn their hearts over to Jesus to just come up front. So I did. I went right up front.....and I waited, and nothing occurred. That was it.....wait, this is it? No further instruction?....nothing. I didn't know much but I knew that just saying I believed was not going to help me be a believer. I didn't even know what I believed in. I had questions, I wanted to learn, I wanted to know why, I wanted to know everything.....So I kept looking....and then 2 missionaries came to my house. Mormon missionaries. I knew lots of kids from high school who were Mormon. They went to 3 hours of church on Sunday, and before school every day, very intense. And a little daunting. But I listened to them anyway although I was eager to rush them out of my house.......but they kept coming back. And then that Sunday I went to church and suddenly I knew I was home. It just felt right....I had to join, I wanted that feeling all the time. There have been only 2 decisions in my life that have been easy, decisions I haven't regretted one minute.....they are joining the Mormon church and marrying my husband. It wasn't easy for my parents when I joined there was an implied rejection and a lot of mother's cousin didn't help by sending some information to my mother about Mormons that scared her to death. That was the first time I came across anti-Mormon literature.

I have been aware of it ever since.

Anti Mormon demonstrators are outside every temple opening, they come to every conference in Salt Lake City, they come to the pageants our church puts on in the summer at Manti Utah and Palmyra New York, all on our property. Everywhere we go, there they are. Signs, whistles,and yelling at sweet older women as they cross the street to go to conference. And as we leave conference, all 21,000 at a time, our leaders remind us not to engage the demonstrators.


I so want to engage them, I told you I am a salty mouthy woman.....I did do that one time, engage was really dumb. But I did pull one great prank. When our temple was having it's open house, I was in charge of driving people up to the temple. Right there at the gate entrance were the anti's. I stopped and they walked over to the car to give me their literature. I was mad, I mean c'mon this is our temple.....but I was polite. All I could think was, leave us alone, this is a big deal to us...... but I smiled and took their stuff and went on my way....and then I had an idea........the next time I went through I was really nice...I told them how much we enjoyed their literature and could we have extras? They complied and we pretty much emptied them out. Every time I went through I got a stack of their papers and put them right in the trash. All Day Long. It was fabulous!!

I am not going to tell you that being Mormon is some big put upon deal, I mean after all we get every designated driver job. And if you needed a kidney wouldn't you hope a Mormon was available? We are actually very healthy people. I have never been denied a mortgage because I am Mormon.....but it does hurt when I have had great conversations with other mothers at school, we chat and find out how much we have in common, delighted to find a "kindred spirit" and then they find out I'm Mormon.....suddenly there is no friendship and no play dates. That stings.

But to be sure I have had great experiences with religion and friends who aren't Mormon. Case in point my friend Ellen Ayoub. She called one day and said, "Donna I heard something about your religion today that just doesn't sound right, I know you and I know you wouldn't have anything to do with a religion that believed what I heard today." She was right, it wasn't true and I was able to explain what we really did believe. I will never forget that, so kind, so tolerant.

Someone needs to contact Dr. Jeffress and tell him that the people he vilifies and judges so harshly have feelings. But it isn't new....People have been making people feel badly forever. From the Merchant of Venice, one of my favorite Shakespeare plays.......Shylock talks about being Jewish and doesn't he bleed like everyone else? I tried to put the quote in, but it didn't work...but you know how it goes, we are just like everyone else, we laugh, we bleed.
And as a people we are adorable. Gladys knight? Donny and Marie? Philo Farnsworth? (invented TV) your neighbor, your child's teacher, and of course, me.

So Bob, cut us some slack....and give me a call. I would like to know what you think....


  1. Donna--you said it so well. I need not say more, other than to link others here. Thanks. I read your Shakespeare quote in my reader, but it doesn't show up on your actual blog page.

  2. Did you see the pastor in question interviewed by Anderson Cooper? Did my heart good.


  3. Perfect. Thank you for feeling the way you do and for writing this wonderful piece. I love how you handled the temple protesters!!!

  4. Awesome write Donna, I loved every truthful word of it!;D

  5. Sue I did watch him, in fact I watched every single interview he did....I went to youtube and there he was....

  6. Headed over from Pedaling's link and what a well said post! Exactly how I feel. And I love the idea of taking all the literature. Sounds like something I would have done and I'm gonna keep it in mind for the next opportunity!


  7. Donna - This was fab!! This guy is such a quack - it is amazing to me that anyone would listen to him.
    I also watched Anderson Cooper throw him on the BBQ and fry him up - Loved it!
    Wish he could read this - not that it would probably make a difference to his hard little nerdy head with that sick smile. Ugh!!

    Love ya this was great!

  8. You are amazing! You made me cry. Thanks for your testimony.
    We do have feeling and it hurts. But then again, there is mean people everywhere and a lot of no respect.
    Have a super day.

  9. I found you on missionary mom's. This was so well written and from one mouthy, salty woman to another--I would like to be your visiting teaching partner to visit Bob.

  10. Well said!!! I found this posted on FB by my mom, who found it from another lady. So glad this is going around :)

  11. Loved your post. I, too, am always anxious to mix it up with these people, although I really don't like conflict. It just makes me angry to be talked about in such an uninformed way. But I was comforted and calmed when Anderson Cooper filleted him and made him look like the bigoted, uninformed idiot he is. HA!

  12. There's a reason we don't engage: it's that we've got a different agenda than these antagonists. I'm surprised that your feelings were hurt, Donna. Like your friend, people who really want to know more about us will go to the right sources, and those who so casually swallow whatever snake oil is being dished out usually wind up poisoned. Either way, it doesn't hurt us. We know what we are, and we know who we answer to. It certainly isn't the Robert Jefress crowd.

  13. I'm trying to imagine a scenario where an LDS Apostle goes on national television in the context of a political event and says LDS people shouldn't vote for Perry because he belongs to an apostate branch of Christianity and what kind of response that might engender. But you know what, I can't really bring myself to imagine that because I just know it would never happen. Mormons: we may be peculiar, but we do have class.

    Chris Albright

  14. Great post. I found you from Pedaling's blog. I've lived in Dallas nearly my entire life and Pastor Jeffress has a long, checkered history of spouting hatred. He's done it to Mormons, Catholics, Jews, etc. and there will always be haters like him. The outcome of his actions will result in Mormons having more discussions with their friends/neighbors, the Church receiving more exposure in the media, and good people of the world seeing right through his charade. The sunshine wouldn't feel as warm without the rain.

  15. Donna, I'm not Mormon, but I don't select my friends by their religion nor do I believe that we should select a President that way either. What about separation of Church and State? The country was founded on that principle.
    Leave it all on his table, it's his problem, not yours.

  16. I don't know who Dr. Jeffress is but I know his type: judgemental. Jesus told us never to judge anyone because only God is the judge of all. I had (she moved away) a good friend who is a Morman and she was so kind and good. I went to her Bible studies a few times. My daughter had a next door neighbor who was a Morman. She was the sweetest person she had ever met. I read blogs by Morman women all the time and love flows out towards their readers and their family. I've visited Utah and been impressed with the beauty of the towns and cities and the friendliness of the people.

    I had NO idea people actually gathered outside your temples bothering Mormons going to worship! How horrible! Jesus would never, ever do such a thing and neither would the apostles! I am really tired of this stupid world sometimes.

  17. Your family history is so awesome!!!!
    Yes, the Temple in France is amazing!
    We had a long wait.
    Following you back.

  18. Donna, This is the first time I've ever commented online except to E-mail, but your wonderful words just made me want to respond. You are so awesome, and I wish I knew you personally. I bet you are alot of fun, in a great way. My feelings were so much the same as yours. But when I heard Mr. Jefress' interview on the news, I could truely see how much the name of this Church is coming to the forefront, even brought by people who choose to ridicule, but who are really only showing their true colors. Like you, I am a convert to the Church and so glad to be.