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Author Topic: First encounter with LDS at my door
Stephan
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Nice young men - "First, let me say I love the spider man stickers on your car."

Stephan - "Thanks, kind of a geeky family."

Nice young men - "Cool. Well we are with (I don't remember the official sounding term they used) and wanted to know if we could set up a time to talk to you about (church/Jesus/LDS, my adderral has already worn off so it kind of blended together then).

Stephan - "Well, it really isn't for us. But I have had good experiences with your organization. I have known a few Mormons and they were really good people."

Nice young men (looking around) - "Someone around here?"

Stephan - "Oh no, my college roommate who is an amazing individual. I also remember someone in my neighborhood when I was young who would talk to me sometimes. I grew up Jewish, and he was never pushy, just a really good neighbor that liked to talk about religion in general."

Nice young men - "Well thank you. (Huge smiles) Do you happen to know anyone in your neighborhood (really paraphrasing here) that might be going through hard times that might be interested in learning more about Jesus?"

Stephan - (Looking around) "No. Not really. But I really do respect you guys, have a great night."

I really was fine up until that last part. Though atheist, I have moved well beyond the Dawkins atheism of my 20s. Teaching world religions to middle school students kind of calmed me down. I take it as a compliment that they truly care. I just didn't like that last question.

Is it normal to seek out those in suffering to target for conversion?

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Lyrhawn
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Well, you'd think they'd certainly be easier.
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Scott R
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Seeking out the poor is pretty standard Christian protocol.

The Mormon missionaries I know just ask if there's anyone who needs service; they leave off the part about teaching religion to them.

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Risuena
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I got some missionaries in my neighborhood a couple weeks ago. They asked if I needed any help with anything and then asked if I knew anyone who needed help or would be interested in their message.

I don't think they're necessarily seeking out those suffering in order to convert them. I think it's more that one part of their mission is to spread their religion and another part is to just help people.

And sure it's likely that someone they help would be more willing to listen and probably more likely to eventually convert, but still kind of think the goal is to help, and any possible conversion is more kind of the icing on the cake.

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Dogbreath
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*nods* I don't know exactly how the missionary program works, but I know a lot of it is oriented around community service. I know this because they show up to volunteer events I go to pretty frequently. I've never seen them proselytizing on those occasions.
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Samprimary
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can they fulfill missionary duties by starring in the Book of Mormon
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MattP
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The church already has that angle covered.
http://iowaadguy.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/book-of-mormon.jpg
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-dnprEXxmGIg/UPJllM94RNI/AAAAAAAAFRM/IZrSxDTF0l4/s1600/Book+of+Mormon+Playbill+Chicago.JPG

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephan:
... Is it normal to seek out those in suffering to target for conversion?

Seems like it. There were opportunistic recruiters of various stripes at my university who made a habit of targeting vulnerable students that were having a tough time adjusting to life away from family and home.
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scifibum
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It's certainly possible to take the view that they want to do service first and foremost. But most of the conversion stories I've heard were from people who were having a really hard time when they met the missionaries, so there's that too.
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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
The church already has that angle covered.
http://iowaadguy.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/book-of-mormon.jpg
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-dnprEXxmGIg/UPJllM94RNI/AAAAAAAAFRM/IZrSxDTF0l4/s1600/Book+of+Mormon+Playbill+Chicago.JPG

That's pretty brilliant advertising.
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fifawei
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to me sometimes. I grew up Jewish, and he was never pushy, just a really good neighbor that liked to talk about religion in general."
(Post neutered by JanitorBlade. Not pushy about religion, but pretty pushy about spam.)

[ September 19, 2014, 12:01 PM: Message edited by: JanitorBlade ]

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advice for robots
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I think what we have here is spam.
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Samprimary
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seldom necessaries, but then they cost so little, girl will come out at once, as she did not before"oh, march. whose tender little heart had known him in temper, i'll say no more. talk it over with the such restraint, and looked like a blissful
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advice for robots
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I think what we have here is samp.
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Samprimary
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Samprimary
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Yozhik
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I wouldn't call it opportunistic so much as that people who are having some problems in life are more likely to be at a point where they are searching for answers, and thus likely to at least give the message a chance.

Anyway, that's what my personal experience was like. A profound betrayal and a destroyed family had left me with panic attacks and a craving to find some kind of meaning in life. "How could somebody have done that?" and "If all there is in life is recurring suckiness, then what's the point? Why is life like this?" were common thoughts.

I surprised myself, though, when I had sister missionaries knock on my door. Instead of telling them I was not interested (I was agnostic), I asked them to come back some other day as I had a dentist appointment to get to. "Why did I do that?" I thought. I ended up taking the discussions without anyone in my family knowing about it. Eventually I wanted to go to church, and get baptized, so then I had to tell my spouse, but he was pretty cool with it, although he didn't understand it. I had a few family members who were strongly against, and sometimes I wonder if they were disappointed that I didn't go all weird (ok, weirdER) after joining the church. Instead I finally discovered a career at age 30, went back to school, got a job, bought a house, and had 2 kids.

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Rakeesh
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Of course it's opportunistic, Yozhik. Your first paragraph neatly describes someone taking advantage of an opportunity to persuade someone of something. It's just that opportunism has a negative connotation-but technically someone seeking to vaccinate children could also be called opportunistic.

It's a bit of a mixed bag in my mind, appealing to a potential convert at their lowest ebb. Yes, the proselytizer does believe they have a handle on something good that it's important to share. If they're right, well all to the good in the end I suppose. That said, though, it doesn't speak in the best terms of one's argument's strength if it's so useful to wait until someone is prostrate with suffering and then taking extra care to offer it.

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Samprimary
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Most religions in the world have little room to claim that this isn't standard operating procedure; hell, many of them have it down to a fine science
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Rakeesh
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I won't particularly criticize religion for that, or at least not for being somehow unique in opportunistic persuasion. But it just leaves a bit of a bitter tang in my mind, when charity tied to evangelism is on offer and is held up as entirely selfless and disinterested, which it often is. A new home built for a flood victim or a meal given to a starving person isn't somehow less helpful if a holy text is also given, but when it's tied to recruitment I think the recruiter can't quite claim to be first about helping.

I suppose it's a bit like (portrayals of) the Hippocratic Oath, and doctors who heal all comers without giving preference. That man or woman's guiding light is to alleviate what is universally recognized as suffering, period. If there is another doctor who heals just as many, but also gives sermons at the same time, they're still doing serious good, obviously. But it isn't their sole motive.

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Samprimary
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yeah why critique the methods of persuasion? first, why is it anything but an auxiliary complaint? it's ultimately about if you find the practice they are being persuaded to bad, and second, we're talking about a social institution whose necessary core component for survival is indoctrination from birth. appealing to an adult is already a league out in if we're talking about acceptability.
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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Of course it's opportunistic, Yozhik. Your first paragraph neatly describes someone taking advantage of an opportunity to persuade someone of something. It's just that opportunism has a negative connotation-but technically someone seeking to vaccinate children could also be called opportunistic.

It's a bit of a mixed bag in my mind, appealing to a potential convert at their lowest ebb. Yes, the proselytizer does believe they have a handle on something good that it's important to share. If they're right, well all to the good in the end I suppose. That said, though, it doesn't speak in the best terms of one's argument's strength if it's so useful to wait until someone is prostrate with suffering and then taking extra care to offer it.

Hmm. Well, in Yozhik's case, the missionaries just knocked on her door. They didn't know she was at a low point; they were just looking for people who would be interested in listening to the message. Having been a missionary myself and knocked on my share of doors, I can say that the people who did end up inviting us to present our discussions were almost all at a point in their lives where they wanted something to change. Not all of them were at rock bottom in their lives; many were just not satisfied with where they were at and were looking for more.

I'd definitely call it opportunistic, although I think there's a big difference between ambulance chasing as it were and inviting people to hear our message. Missionaries don't target people down on their luck. They don't wait until someone has had something terrible happen to them to approach them. They contact whoever they can, and people accept the invitation if it resonates with them at that point in their lives. The person who accepts the invitation could be someone who lives in a multi-million dollar mansion or someone who lives in a double wide.

Heck, the whole Book of Mormon is full of examples and commentary on the state of mind people have to be in to accept and live the gospel. In the BoM, the minute they started fixating on their wealth, learning, and accomplishments was the minute their downfall began. It wasn't until they were ready to listen with humility again that things would turn around for them. Mind you, wherever they were in that cycle, the gospel message would be being proclaimed to them--not just when they were down and out. There were times as well when the people were very prosperous in general but remained humble and took care of the poor among them. Those were the times when society flourished.

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BlackBlade
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Well said AFR.
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GaalDornick
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quote:
There were times as well when the people were very prosperous in general but remained humble and took care of the poor among them.

Such as?
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by GaalDornick:
quote:
There were times as well when the people were very prosperous in general but remained humble and took care of the poor among them.

Such as?
That was the state of things for the next 100 years or so after Christ visited them.
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advice for robots
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Mosiah 2--The people of Benjamin's reign, according to Benjamin.
Alma 1:30--When Alma was the chief judge after King Mosiah.
Alma 62:49--After the conclusion of the long war with the Lamanites.
4 Nephi--The 200 years after Christ that Blackblade referred to.
Edit: You could say the Jaredites experienced such a period at least once, as recounted in the middle of Ether 10.

[ October 17, 2014, 12:54 PM: Message edited by: advice for robots ]

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iglee
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Here is a link to Elder David A. Bednar's talk of Oct. 5th at our General Conference. It is apropos to the subject of this thread.

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/come-and-see?lang=eng

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