A Catholic reader made an interesting suggestions to me based on her experience with the LDS missionaries. She feels it would be helpful if they knew the Lord’s prayer verbatim. While she understands that we are taught to avoid repetitious prayer and try to make our prayers personal and fresh, I think she has a good point about the value of at least knowing the words to the immensely popular Lord’s prayer. Since missionaries and Latter-day Saints in general tend to memorize a lot of passages of scripture, seems like that would be a good one to include. Your thoughts?
Here’s her recent email, used with permission:
Dear Mr. Lindsay,
I have just read your detailed on-line description of Mormonism. I found much of what you had to say enlightening and beautiful. I dare say, I am NOT in search of another religion, for I was raised Catholic, remain Catholic and bring up my children as Catholics. My interest regarding Mormons, I mean no disrespect with the usage of the word Morman for I am an outsider looking in…I will proceed with the proper terminology Latter Day Saints (LDS). As I was saying my interest in LDS stems from your missionaries that come every year to my front doorstep. Like all the other neighbors, I would dismiss them without any regard to their mission for I looked upon them with the same interest as I did all the door-to-door salespeople that come through the neighborhood. However, about four years ago I took the opportunity to talk with two young gentlemen that called themselves elders. Well, one was an elder and the other the trainee, for lack of knowledge of his real title. By the way, two men coming to a door is not the optimum situation when you are a woman answering the door. Anyway, I talked with the young lads for about 45 minutes on my front porch. First, the trainee spoke and was very pleasant, then the “elder” took over…that was not so pleasant. He advised me that the one true way was thru the Church of Latter Day Saints and the only way to Christ and to heaven was thru his church and the Book of Mormon, that Joseph Smith, the prophet, will lead the way. He told me that he knew this to be so because he prayed about it and later saw a vision, therefore truth had prevailed. I thought, “Ok, he is a fervent believer in Christ and the teachings of his church” He started his profession of faith at the bottom of my front stairs, which was a comfortable distance…his fervour took him and he proceeded up the front stairs until he stood a few inches right in front of me. He started exclaiming that Catholics and other faiths have commited many atrocities in their past and the one true church was established to set things right.
I am not a woman who is easily intimidated or swayed. I am accepting of others people’s beliefs and asked the young man if it was possible to reciprocate. He was adament that there is no other way but his. In his point of the view, the Catholic priests are scandalous, etc. I reminded him that leaders of ANY church are human, not divine. If there is a fault with any religion, it lies with humans and their sins, not the religion itself. I also reminded him that polygamy was a part of Joseph Smith’s past. I also pointed out that Jesus gave the task to Peter to build his father’s church…Peter was the first Pope and created the Catholic church, if it was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me…with all it’s human imperfections. Well, let’s just say this did not go over well. My husband came to the door and ended the “discussion”. But, first the young man asked me if we could close with a prayer. “Sure”, I replied. He asked me to pick a prayer and I agreed. I asked the two young men if “The Lord’s Prayer” would work. I stated I’d like to pick one that came straight from Jesus…teaching his apostles and instructing them to teach others how to pray. We all agreed…as I lead the prayer I noticed the two young men were a bit “off”. I stopped and asked the young men if they knew the prayer and to my astonishment they said No. The elder said, “I’ve seen it written in the bible before and it is beautiful, but I have never actually spoken the words.” I suggested they learn the Lord’s Prayer before they go to even one more house…which of course did not happen.
I have talked with all of the subsequent LDS missionaries and found them to be wonderful, faith-filled people that complete their task with great zeal. I admire the courage and devotion that these youths put forth in doing God’s work. I tell them all that trying to convert me will be to no avail…to me being a Christian of any denomination opens the door so God can do his work. Your website gives so much information, I thought you to be a good source to reveal my experience with LDS missionaries. This was not intended to be a hurtful note, and I truly hope that I do not upset anyone who reads this. If you have any influence, please pass on the suggestion that “The Lord’s Prayer – Our Father” be part of every LDS missionaries teachings.