Preface to my 95 Theses to the LDS Corridor, Part 3

I went to the headquarters of our local newspaper, the Post Register.  I wanted to pay for a small 2 x 4 advertisement to be placed tomorrow.  It would have these words:

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther issued his 95 theses to the Roman Catholic Church. Today, 490 years later, a Bible pastor is respectfully submitting his 95 theses to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  See here, www.heartissuesforlds.org

The newspaper has decided not to place this ad anywhere in the paper. 

Hmmm.  I don’t currently receive the local paper.  Sometime, I might get back on the list.  I do like to regularly stay in tune with what is going on locally.

But I wonder over the refusal by the higher ups. 

I do remember in the past when an employee of the Post Register had personally paid for a large newspaper insert, comparing his interpretation of the differences between his beliefs and the LDS religion.

As a matter of fact, I recall in the aftermath shock, the city of Idaho Falls going ballistic.  Many accused the Post Register of being “anti-Mormon.”  Letters to the editor clogged headquarters.  Half the town probably threatened a permanent cancellation of their subscriptions.

So I am thinking, today, the Post Register does not even think a paid 2 x 4 advertisement even worth it.  They were so burnt in the last episode.

I can understand.  Well, sort of.

No wonder we have blogs, today.

This means that you all will have to spread the word for tomorrow’s post.  Because one news avenue in Idaho Falls is already closed off to me.  It is a different ballgame altogether when you live in Mormon country.

13 comments

  1. As one friend just pointed out to me by email, perhaps this might have been better wording for the local paper:

    “A Bible pastor is submitting his 95 theses to the religious people of the region.”

    For certainly, I am not just burdened about LDS teachings.

    ’tis the truth.

  2. Do you suppose the incident at the paper says more about Mormon nature or more about human nature?

  3. Classic suspense-generating technique, done well. Did you take a creative writing course or study in film school? You’ve got me waiting for tomorrow’s post. I look forward to reading it.

  4. These are honest questions and in no way an attack. I have always struggled to understand why people exert so much energy to prove us wrong or even put us down.

    What purpose does it serve to question our beliefs so much? If you don’t accept it and don’t believe it that is your choice, but why is there such fervor amongst “Christians” to put down what we believe? Are you as equally engaged in proving wrong other faiths, i.e. Muslims, Buddhists, Baha’i, etc? How about other branches of Christianity, Catholics and anyone else who’s beliefs are not in line with your own?

    I bet you could have a very interesting conversation with a Muslim on the ridiculousness of God needing a son at all. After all, Islam also claims to have a divine origin and has the scripture to “prove it”. The Baha’i also have many volumes of scripture and also believe in Christ.

    There is nothing wrong with people having different beliefs and opinions, but when one works so hard to “prove” others wrong, who are we really working for?

    You believe differently and that’s ok. However, it makes it difficult to live in harmony and unity when a lack of respect exists for those with differing beliefs.

  5. My thoughts exactly, quantumsaint.

    I become increasingly more aware of how disdainful it is to be a Christian these days. The phenomenon you speak of is but one example, I do not mean to pass any sort of judgement on Todd.

    The other day I was at work and ordered myself a CD. My coworker, who is normally a ridicuously exuberant individual, saw the order on the computer screen and asked who the artist was. I told him it was a Christian singer. It was amazing how his cheerful and friendly demeanor instantly turned cold and restrained. His smile quite literally became an instant frown and his eyes turned away. All simply because he associated that by my music taste I must also be a Christian. I have never experienced anything like it.

    I have not been able to, and probably never will, understand what drives people to make a career and/or hobby out of proving other people wrong. Especially on intangible issues such as faith and religion. I only see how it drives deeper wedges instead of promoting greater unity.

    Todd, this is why I will continue to (good-naturedly) call you anti-ecumenical.

  6. I’ll be interested to read them. Hugh B. Brown said,

    I admire men and women who have developed the questing spirit, who are unafraid of new ideas as stepping stones to progress. We should, of course, respect the opinions of others, but we should also be unafraid to dissent — if we are informed. Thoughts and expressions compete in the marketplace of thought, and in that competition truth emerges triumphant. Only error fears freedom of expression.

    In that spirit, I welcome your theses.

  7. #3 – now that is downright funny. I would have to say that all my circumstances are under a sovereign plan. Thank the Lord.

    #4 – to your first question. The old nature of Todd Wood really doesn’t care two hoots about people. If it had its way, I would be living in some Idaho mountain cabin away from people. Less stress. No people problems. But perfect Love pursued me, quaranteed my sinful stubborn self, and told me that I had better starting caring for others and share the truth that set me free.

    for your second question. I think there is an objective authority outside of you and I, defining what Christianity is. I want both you and me to be right in sync with the correct interpretation. Which choice is the right choice? I don’t think God provides a multiple choice test in scripture where all choices are right. That is why most people throw out a serious approach to scripture.

    for your third question. Nope, I am not. I took my wife to Turkey this spring. If I lived there, I wouldn’t have a blog entitled “Heart Issues for LDS.” It would be entitled “Heart Issues for Muslims”, but I don’t know how long I would last. In fact, last time I noted, the Turkish government has shut down all internet access to wordpress blogs. But I want to head back there. And the first place I will visit is the 2007 graves of the recent Christian martyrs. Yet God has called me to minister in Idaho Falls. Our church building sits in Ammon, Idaho.

    fourth question. If I lived in Texas, the blog would probably be “Heart Issues for Baptists”. No joke.

    fifth question. I pray and work so hard each week in study to have a proper understanding of a scripture text. When you spend so much time studying a real million dollar bill (for the sake of analogy), you get a little excited by blatant counterfeits which people are carrying around. It would be dumb of me to keep my mouth shut. If I did, God should kick my butt.

    quantum saint, I might post a 95 theses on a blog. But if you lived on my street, tell me what I could do to be a better neighbor. Need a babysitter in a crunch. Help put together a street barbecue. Set up a fun jump in the cul-de-sac for the kids. Join together to shoot off family fireworks. Need someone to watch your house when your family is on vacation. Just because I passionately disagree or hate wrong doctrine, does that mean I am going to be pointing my bb gun at your pets every night.

    How is Christian love defined in America? Let’s all join our hands together in sweet, religious ecumenicism. That sums it up well.

    But some differ because they care. And some of that care runs so deep, they would die for it. I have seen it in scripture. It’s mindboggling. And I am asking God each day to shake me out of my own self preservation and concerns (I hate confrontation) to have a little of that supernatural other love.

    #5 – Tate, there is only one category of people that the religious emergents don’t tolerate . . . anti-ecumenicists. This is the group they attack. They often skewer their motives, probably because there are a lot of bad examples out there. And I chat good naturedly with you, my friend. Quite open to your ongoing observations.

  8. And one more thing, Tate, unity is fundamental in Christianity.

    Look at the unity of the Father, Son, and Spirit.

    Absolutely unique.

    The unity is so profound, I drop to my knees tonight in worship.

  9. If I lived in Texas, the blog would probably be “Heart Issues for Baptists”.

    This brings a whole new set of thoughts…
    But it’s late, so in short… This blog would be more appropriate.

    Criticize or address the shortcomings, misunderstandings, etc. etc. etc. of your “own people” before attempting to “fix” a body of people you admittedly barely understand despite living among them. I know I am anti-label (ha) but that’s the easiest way to illustrate that.

    In another illustration… Too often, to me, your blog, your words portray that you know everything. Your congregation is perfect. You have led them all to perfect understanding. And therefore you are the authority on leading people to Truth. I know, you will immediately reply with “That is not so!” and I wouldn’t expect it to be… But, from an uninformed outsider’s point of view… wouldn’t all this Mormon-interest energy be better spent improving and teaching your own congregation, your own self? If “your” Truth is so right, what are you potentially not learning about it by instead spending so much time learning about Mormons?

    But therein lies an issue I have with fundamentalists…They think they know everything, can teach everything, and cannot possibly learn anymore. (Again, I know you’ll say it’s not the case, but it’s too often the way they ‘come off’.) I digress.

    Disclaimer… I’m truly not trying to be “mean” or judgemental… just stating my perception. Take it or leave it.

  10. Tate, I don’t know either you or Tom, nor have I read over his entire blog, but I can only imagine that he’s just trying to proselyte us Mormons. We proselyte to all non-Mormnons, including to Christians and Christians proselyte to all non-Christians, including to Mormons. The proselyting approach has to be different. We say keep the Bible and here is more scripture that throws additional light and knowledge upon what you already have. But Christians can’t do that to Mormons. So, the approach has to be different. We’ve got to get people to believe in something more, whereas Christians have to get Mormons to disbelieve the more they’ve already got. Two very different approaches and goals. Nevertheless, Mormons should be very familiar with the Christian technique, as the Book of Mormon illustrates this in the Nephite missionaries’ two-fold mission, when proselytizing among the Lamanites, of teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ and also convincing them of the errors of the traditions of their fathers (the fathers of the Lamanites.)

    How else can you convert a Mormon to contemporary Christianity? If I accept the Bible wholeheartedly, but also believe the Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price and Book of Mormon to be true, I’ll never become a Christian. This is a no brainer. So, Christians proselytizing among LDS have a harder job than Mormons doing the same thing among them.

    Tom says that he thinks all his “circumstances are under a sovereign plan. Thank the Lord.” I think he is right. Tom is dedicating a good deal of thought and research and time and effort in focussing upon the LDS. (I wish everyone did this.) The hand of the Lord may, indeed, be directing him. Who knows where all of this will lead? It may lead to Tom’s conversion into a LDS. It may lead to a spiritual revival among the LDS. We don’t know what it will lead to. Only the Lord does.

    What we do know is this: the Lord has said to let our light so shine that all may see it and glorify our Father in heaven. So, let Tom show the light that he has to us LDS and let us LDS show our light to him and everyone else. When everyone is showing their light, it makes it a bit easier to determine which person has the brightest light.

  11. Tate, like some say, “Perceptions = reality.”

    I will work on your perceptions of the fundamentalist Bible pastor in Ammon, Idaho.

    But you need to hang with me, ok?

    Soon another blog, a Berean church blog, will be running parallel to HI4LDS. Perhaps you might dig this as more up your alley.

    But let me personally try to understand LDS culture because so many of my perceptions = reality.

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