I would like to preface this node by stating that I am not defending the over-the-top among my religion who make it their goal in life to never speak about any topic except the church. I am talking about your next-door neighbor or your best friend who made you feel uncomfortable a couple of times because they tried to open up to you. First, yes religion looks like a form of brainwashing to those who don't believe, but so is everything in this world in some small way. Each time a biased or leading opinion is given to an impressionable child it could be considered "brainwashing" to someone of an opposing opinion.

Secondly, I'm not trying to force you to do something you don't want to do.

I've been reading the nodes about the LDS since that is the religion to which I belong. One of the main themes I saw was a resistance to our trying to "convert everyone". So here are my reasons why:

1)If there is something in this world that you hold very dear to you, would you not want to share it with those you love?

2)If you truly believed that there was a truth, would you not want to share it? (I would like to point to the history example I used earlier, but don't get me wrong it works for everything).

3)If you thought that those you loved were in danger, would you not try to help them. (A basic example is your four year old and a hot stove)

By danger I don't mean that you will end up in hell or that your soul will be forever tormented without my religion in your head. I simply mean that the world is a hard place to live in. It gets harder every day, however, because of what I was taught and what I learned to hold close to me. I stayed out of most trouble and came out(so far at least) pretty good.

It's not that the mormons are trying to force upon you something that will "brainwash" you into submission, or that the church wants your ten percent. It's not that we have a quota to fill, or that we think you'll go to hell if you don't join our church. None of that is true. The thing is that those of us that seem to push just love it so much we want to share it. We feel that it is truth and it gives us happiness. We simply want you to feel that too.

Don't get me wrong. I understand the frustration of someone trying to get you to go to church or read an odd book. I've seen the strange people on my college campus trying to tell me where I'll be in the next life. We just want to share something we hold dear with the ones we hold dear. I will grant that there are quite a few of us who don't know when to stop, but from what I have seen it's because they lack the discernment to see when they've gone too far, not because they're trying to be rude. Sure if you really love someone you won't ever push or force, but that's sincerely not what they're trying to do. Just like a parent never pushes or forces their kid into sports, or to stay off drugs, or to do their homework. Surely there could not be one good reason for someone to try to share something with you. . . Or maybe you could just be polite and let the little zealot, who just spent a lot of time and anxiety to talk to you. Your call, but just remember this experience the next time you want to share a story of some cool experience with someone you love who is busy. Don't try to get them to listen, that would be rude.

"If there is something in this world that you hold very dear to you, would you not want to share it with those you love?"

That depends. What mood are they in? Would they appreciate my sharing? If not, and if I really love them, I would never impose anything on them, no matter how dear I might hold it to myself.

"If you truly believed that there was a truth, would you not want to share it?"

Not necessarily. For many reasons!

  • First of all, if I believed what you believe, namely that there is a personal God who is an absolute being, I would also believe that I was not absolute but relative and, therefore, incapable of understanding the will, the nature, of said God. That means, logically, that if I believed in an absolute truth, I would also believe I did not know what that truth was, so how could I share it with anyone? That would be absurd!
  • Secondly, even if somehow I believed that I knew the truth, I would be very careful about sharing it with others. Truly knowing the truth would mean I was much more evolved, advanced, etc, than most people. I would have to be very careful about not destroying the world they have built for themselves.
  • It makes very little sense to me to be telling the truth to anyone (again, assuming I could even dare to think I was even capable of knowing "the truth"). It would be just an itellectual exercise, at best. For a truth to be useful, it must be fully understood, it must come from within. I might help them figure out the truth on their own, but only if they asked me to.

"If you thought that those you loved were in danger, would you not try to help them."

Only if they wanted my help. If I really loved them, how could I do anything they did not appreciate? How could I ever believe that I know better what is good for them? How could I decide anything for them against their will?

Heck, if I believed in a personal God, I would probably fear him/her/it. I would most likely believe that the God created my beloved ones with a free will. I would not dare to go against such a God's creation. If that same God did not impose him/her/itself on them, how could I go against that God's will?

Trying to convert anyone is absurd and arrogant at best, outright evil at worst. All it could accomplish is replacing someone else's prejudices and illusions with my own.

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