Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Dangers of Studying Other Religions

Some of our critics warn their congregations against reading the Book of Mormon, and with good reason: in spite of being such an obvious and moronic forgery, utterly devoid of value, without a single redeeming virtue, it is a powerful conversion tool that has transformed millions of lives, brought people to Jesus Christ, and helped people find meaning and joy. Can you imagine what might happen if it weren't such obvious trash?? I can understand why other ministers would be concerned about the dangers of exposure to such literature, literature that make make members of their flock drift away. It's actually fairly logical for them to tell their people to not read the Book of Mormon, and especially not to pray about it. There is real danger, from their perspective.

These dangers cut both ways, and this month my family was shaken by the effects of some non-Christian religious materials I had in my home. I didn't think I would be putting my family at risk just by having a couple books on Eastern religions in my basement - famous last words. Tragically, our little granddaughter, who just turned one year old but is extremely precocious, got a hold of the books and studied them. The photos below show what happened the next day at the park. If the winds had been a little stronger, who knows how far she would have drifted. She was about 8 feet above the ground when I snapped these shots, shortly before my tall son was able to catch her. Now her parents keep her strapped down much of the time, especially when driving. It might be years before they dare to leave her completely unattended.

Whatever you do, please don't let your kids meditate over Eastern religious materials - especially the uplifting stuff.

My granddaughter doing Transcendental Meditation in the woods.




Note: In fairness to my son, I should admit that I edited my son's hands out of the image. She was having fun being tossed, but it wasn't dangerously high.

11 comments:

Todd said...

Sign in front of the "First Baptist Church" (location unknown:

"DON'T PRAY ABOUT THE BOOK OF MORMON. THAT'S HOW THEY GET YOU."

Looks like they're on to us!

quandmeme said...

It is an insidiously decentralized epistemology to which we adhere. It was 10 years ago that I first invited an fellow student who was at a evangelist booth in Arizona to try asking God for confirmation that the _Bible_ was true. He was preaching that the historical lineage of the Bible made it divine. I was surprised by the resistance to that idea, it made me start to understand how revolutionary it is.

Applying your post in a way you didn't mean it, I have an interest in comparative spirituality but feel I have to be anchored before I start reading other systems' texts. There is much truth mixed in with the philosophies of men. When my kids get more literate (or precocious!) I'll want them to be sure they're properly anchored so they will be able to discern between the "doctrinal debris" and the thorns on the figs.

Scherer said...

I didn't know trancendental meditation could be so fun! Surely anything that could make such a beautiful child smile like that is covered by the 13th Article of Faith. I'm thinking about practicing some with my 1 year old tonight, but it makes my wife very nervous :) .

Meester said...

The picture reminds me of the end of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

texasspirit314 said...

Quandmeme: By "anchored", do you mean "biased?" How do you know your religion is correct if you don't study the claims of others? And if you start studying other religions with the preconception that yours is right, is that a fair study?

What if a Muslim said, "I'll read the BOM, but I'll make sure I don't convert to JCLDS no matter what!" Surely you'd object.

I started studying other religions awhile ago. I've come to the conclusion that if there is a God, he's playing a shell game.

Mormanity said...

I wouldn't object at all. I don't expect people who read the Book of Mormon to be willing to convert - I'm just happy that they are reading it. And I know that my Muslim friends are happy when I read a little in the Koran, without expecting me to convert. They would especially love it I would learn to read it in Arabic, where the real beauty and power of the text is found. But they won't be shocked if I made it clear I'm not converting, but just want to understand more.

I think most of us would be delighted if others would try to learn more, without any overt hope of converting.

Michael B. said...

Great post, made me smile.

itsmithismith said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
itsmithismith said...

Mr. Lindsay,

I'm sure it was solely through divine intervention that I stumbled across your blog today. I am wondering if you could email me regarding this exact topic. (I can't seem to find another way to contact you without signing up for some profile service) I have a young group of people that I would like to expose to the mormon religion. More information to follow. I look forward to hearing from you! Please email contact information to: <email address deleted by Webmaster to protect privacy>.

Thank you for your time!

AST said...

Quadmeme,

Remember that the Book of Mormon promises that its truth will be verified by the spirit only if you ask in "faith" and "with real intent." If you don't believe God answers sincere prayers, don't bother. And if you don't ask with a willingness to abide by what his answer is, the "real intent" part, he probably won't answer either. Why would he wish to reveal something to you that you weren't willing to live by?

AST said...

Quadmeme,

The promise in the Book of Mormon is conditional. "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."

By "real intent," I think that he means that you are willing to live by what he reveals to you. Without that, the revelation could cause you harm.