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 Savior....is 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 tension....my 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 them......it 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....