Local Minister (?) Welcomes New LDS Stake Center in Neenah, Wisconsin

When the Bishop of the newly created Neenah Ward of the Appleton Stake arrived at the newly built stake center in Neenah for his first Sunday of Neenah Ward meetings this morning, he found that a small but sturdy wooden sign had been planted in front of the Church with a friendly spiritual thought from the Bible warning against false prophets. The maker of this sign had undoubtedly been trained in state-of-the-art PowerPoint presentations in Corporate America, for the lower portion of the sign contained extensive text in a microscopic font requiring high-power binoculars to read. The text listed numerous alleged statements of Joseph Smith that show he was a false prophet.

It’s nice to know that others in our community care enough to go to such trouble to welcome us. I suspect it was a local minister since I recently sent out open-house announcements to numerous ministers in the area to invite them to our new building for a community luncheon on April 21, featuring the former mayor of Appleton as the keynote speaker (Sister Dorothy Johnson, one of the most amazing LDS women you’ll ever meet, and one highly respected by thousands in this area).

The photo above (click to enlarge slightly) shows four local missionaries and myself with the sign. We’re standing on the back side of the building for this photo op, although the sign was originally planted in the front. The sign was tossed into a dumpster, but was mysteriously missing after church. I think one of the missionaries wanted it in their apartment as a gag souvenir.

Perhaps a new sign is needed: “Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing who vandalize the property of others.”


Author: Jeff Lindsay

28 thoughts on “Local Minister (?) Welcomes New LDS Stake Center in Neenah, Wisconsin

  1. Sorry that you (and your congregation) had to be a victim for such acts of intolerance. This sort of behavior is absolutely unacceptable and I hope that your church has received support from other religious leaders in your community.

  2. I guess this is the “Welcome Wagon” for the new building. Just remember… a joke isn’t truly funny till someone is crying. What goes around, comes around.

  3. At least the welcome didn’t involve a pellet gun and the big entryway windows several Saturday nights in a row. We got that at one chapel in CA during my mission. The local members finally pulled an all-night stakeout and nabbed the guy. Since the building wasn’t new at all I think it was tied to then-pending Proposition 22 (which prevents the state from recognizing homosexual marriages).

    Unfortunately for him, there are some pretty harsh laws out there about vandalizing religious property, mostly thanks to the KKK. I think he could have faced several years in prison for it, but we never heard how things turned out.

  4. Great photo Jeff. Thanks for posting it. The more of this nonsense that sees the light of day the better for the world to see the lunancy of some of our fellow “Christian brothers.”

  5. Yes, I’m on the tall side – 6’5″.

    And Guy, who said this was done by our Christian brothers? The religion reposnsible for this certainly was not Christian because they obviously don’t interpret the Bible exactly the way we do. They have departed from historic Christianity (i.e., our particlar religious views, now well over a century old) and do not accept the universally accepted principles of Christianity as defined in authoritative seminary videos and my Website. They are different and thus, no doubt, a cult.

  6. You must be from a different brand of Lindsay than I am. My grandfather and his brothers were all more like 5′ 5″..

  7. Jeff, you’re lucky. At our 3 year old inner city chapel, we had 7 outside air-conditioner units ruined (about $45,000 worth of damage) by vandals stealing the copper coils.

    (And just to describe our ‘hood, within the past few months there was a double homicide 4 or 5 blocks from the chapel.)

    Of course, our vandals did not “surgically remove” the coils, and therefore the whole compressor and everything in the outside unit plus some of the tubing/wiring to the inside had to be replaced too.

    That happened on a Sunday or Monday night, and we had air-conditioning restored by the next Sunday, thanks to the herculean efforts by the local facilities maintenance (management?) group.

    Harmless verbal persecution or mere written harrassment is sort of a blessing. We couldn’t be the _true_ church unless there was at least some persecution by non-believers. And I would hope that it all be as soft as yours was.

    I don’t think a mere sign that quotes a scripture that we ourselves believe in should rightly be labeled “intolerance.” In my opinion, Jeff’s incident was merely a case of bad manners on the part of someone. I’ve seen worse cases of bad manners from some of our own members.

    After all, we’ve been accused of “bad manners” because of one of our scriptures that says: “…the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; …” JS-H 1:19 in the Pearl of Great Price.

    When I was in grade school, I was once teased by my Christian friends for being Jewish. As a teenager, when I “accepted Jesus as my Savior” (which had nothing to do with the teasing of years earlier) I was severely verbally/emotionally abused by my father. Jeff’s little “love note” was merely a misguided attempt by someone who has a misunderstanding.

  8. If the quote was painted on the bldg would that still be ‘bad manners’ bookslinger?

    Every religion thinks they have it right compared to all others – pretty divisive if you ask me.
    Natural, understandable, but nevertheless a grave source of conflict between groups.

  9. Aaron, well of course, if the message had been painted on the building, then it would have gone beyond bad manners, and crossed the line into property damage.

    The early Mormons had such a history of being persecuted, ran out of town, horse-whipped, raped, plundered, burned out, murdered, etc., that a mere sign quoting a Bible verse is mere “bad manners” in comparison. Some might say it’s less than that, and that it’s just “silly.”

    Brigham Young had some good comments about persecution. He thought a little persecution was a good thing, in that it would keep the saints on their toes, and provoke us into pressing forward. With no persecution at all, we might get lazy and complacent.

  10. I agree with Brigham, bring on the persecution! In some ways the more harmless, the better.

    On my mission in Southern California, there was a drive-by um fooding while we were on our bikes. I was nailed in the back with a full soda bottle (plastic) and he was nailed with a guava. They sped by at like 50 miles an hour though. Food at that speed can’t feel very good. At first we though my comp was bleeding but it just turned out to be fruit. We started home, but the criminals decided to try another round. They passed by again and somehow caught my companions seat with either the rear view mirror or something they held out the window. It picked up the back of his bike and he landed right on his face.

    I would have rather had the sign. But like I said, the more persecution the merrier I always say. I wonder if my comp said that too?

  11. Whoa, Ian. I don’t know about all of that. I get nuff pers. w/o asking for it. On our mission, we would always counsel each other half-jokingly that you shouldn’t pray for humility–you’ll normally get it and the hard way too!

    But I know what you’re saying…

  12. How nice of them to caution you about the false prophets in the area. Too bad they didn’t leave their address, or you could have thanked them with a sign of your own.
    John 13:34-35 –
    A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
    By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

  13. Quite frankly the picture is over the line of what is decent. There is no dignity in the picture. Contempt is obvious. Not a lot of love being shown to your neighbor by making fun of them and laughing at them.

  14. Anon at 9:07: That’s a real stretch, but I can see your point. Sort of.

    However, if the creator of the sign was sincere, wouldn’t he be pleased that it’s on the Internet?

    And if Jeff was undignified and showing contempt for pointing out the indignity and contempt of the anti-mormon sign-maker, then what does that make you for pointing out Jeff’s indignity and contempt?

    And I suppose I would be undignified and showing contempt for this comment pointing out your indignity and contempt.

    Man. All this religion stuff. It’s so undignified. Comtemptible even. Can’t we all just get along?

  15. Someone vandalizes LDS property with a sign mocking LDS faith, and instead of being angry, a few people find it entertaining. So they take a picture of with the sign to document the moment. And that’s over the line? Indecent? Contemptuous?

    Come on, lighten up. You’ve got one heck of a chip on your shoulder, Anon, and I bet that burden a like that is hurting you in a lot of ways.

  16. 1. The sign is not vandalism.
    2. Do you need to be angry?
    3. Do you need to laugh?
    4. Is not today Good Friday—-yesterday Maundy Thursday?
    5. I can’t imagine Peter taking a picture of the Apostles acting like that.

    It is nothing in LDS SUnday School to hear people critisize other religions openly.

  17. 1. Yes it is. Also trespassing.
    2. Obviously not.
    3. Of course.
    4. What does the calendar designation of a Catholic holiday have to do with the topic of the post?
    5. Gee, I can’t either. In fact, I never even knew he had a camera. On the other hand, I don’t have any trouble imagining that Peter laughed or smiled–even when people were mocking him and his sacred beliefs.

  18. Excuse me—–a Catholic Holiday? I don’t think so. Protestants also recognize Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

    The Church property is also a public property. I cannot imagine Neenah Police giving a trespassing ticket to someone for walking on the LDS lawn, or posting a sign.

    It is very typical LDS to laugh at and mock others. Remember—everyone else who is not LDS is an idiot because they do not have the truth. Therefore LDS have a lot to be arrogant about.

  19. Interesting that the first negative comment comes from anon.

    And ltbugaf, have you noticed that whenever people criticise you, they do so while distracting from the question at hand (you ask: What does the calendar designation of a Catholic holiday have to do with the topic of the post? They answer: Excuse me—–a Catholic Holiday? I don’t think so. Protestants also recognize Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.”) As our old friend RFP would say–“intriguing.”

    “And it is very typical LDS to laugh at and mock others.”

    It’s unfortunate that this has been the sum total of your experience. I’m at the hub of culturally conservative Mormondom–Happy Valley (Provo), Utah–and yet I absolutely disagree with that assessment.

    And don’t tell me that Isaiah wasn’t cracking a smile as he wrote some of his wittier pieces of poetry. And Moses too–with his fabulous punnery in the Torah. Good men can have a healthy sense of sardony about them.

  20. “The Church property is also a public property.”

    I think not.

    Reminds me of the time someone asked DesCartes if he would like fries with his burger. He responded, “I think not!” and Poof!, he disappeared.

  21. Anonymous, if you can’t imagine law enforcement involving itself in a case of trespassing on the property of a Church, then you need to learn a great deal more about the law–especially the law of torts and the law of property.

    It is very typical for you, Anonymous, to laugh at and mock others. Remember—everyone else but you is an idiot because they do not have the truth. Therefore you have a lot to be arrogant about.

  22. Apparently the same relevance that prevailed in the 19th comment, when Anonymous asked what day it was.

    In other words, none.

  23. The following signs shall be prohibited within the City of Neenah, Wisconsin:
    (1) Abandoned signs.
    (2) Off-premises signs.

    There's more, but I figured these two conditions were relevant to your blog, since the sign was 'abandoned' on church property, and also 'off-premesis' of where it should have been, which was on the property of the person who made it.
    I understand that this is 10 years old, but I just happened to stumble on this and got a kick out of anon's indignation against poking fun as something that happened on property that YOU oversee.

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