Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How Should We Respond When People Around Us Denigrate or Condemn Mormons?

I believe remaining silent in situations like this reinforces the negative at the expense of the positive - and that it does so in one way that gets overlooked by almost everyone:

With many people who are Christian, if they respect you but don't know your religious affiliation, they will assume (because they respect you) that you are "like them". At the very least, they will believe you aren't part of a "damnable cult" like Mormonism, as they see it. Your silence reinforces that stereotype and actually contributes to the solidification of their characterization - since they will look at you as an example of someone who knows better than to associate with people who are damned to Hell, like Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses (and, in some cases and places, Catholics).

I believe there certainly are times when it's appropriate to remain silent in the presence of someone who is railing against the Church, but the effect described above is worth considering, in my opinion - no matter how you choose to act.


Unknown said...

I've found it to depend upon the situation myself. When it's my family doing it, it's the hardest time in which to not say anything. I've made a lot of mistakes by arguing with them, but to my defense I was a rebellious teenager investigating Mormons with an anti-mormon mother. That's a potent mix right there man!

Then I have cousins who are anti-mormon too. :D Fun...

Nowadays I find it best to just live by example. One way I'm showing my family that I'm still Christian is by remaining active in my old churches. It's doable because I go to the service at Faith Church on Saturday nights, and then my family ward on sunday mornings. Of course I don't talk about Mormons while I'm at Faith and participating in programs during weeknights... It would just draw unnecessary attention to myself. I'd much rather show them I'm a Christian like them, and drop the egg only when I hear them say something bad about Mormons. I figure that'll throw them for a loop!

But yeah... Here's to hoping I've become less contentious since I was a teenager! I'm only 21 though, so I don't think I've got it down pat yet, LOL. (But I swear I'm trying!!! >_<)

Papa D said...

Tohru, thank you for your comment. I love how you are approaching this issue.

Fwiw, I served my mission in Hokkaido (the Sapporo Mission). I don't know where your heritage is in Japan or how many generations removed you are from there, but just seeing your name brought back some good memories.