I'm a Mormon

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by nbs2, Apr 7, 2016.

  1. nbs2 macrumors 68030


    Mar 31, 2004
    A geographical oddity
    So it isn't 2012 anymore, but there are a a couple of threads floating around that have raised the issue of what Mormons believe. The conversation is off topic for the original post, so I thought I'd open up the floor in its own thread.

    With some caveats, I thought I'd offer to share my perspective, and let others share theirs, in discussing who we are.

    Caveat 1: While there is a lot of information, and we consider the teachings of modern prophets to be revelation from God, there are only four books that make up our canon. Teachings outside of scripture can and will also contain the personal views of those men. As a result, you may reference material or a quote that I am unfamiliar with or disagree on the authority of.

    Caveat 2: Maybe it's just my greater exposure to the culture, but Mormons are strongly encouraged to learn principles and doctrine, and then let personal revelation full in gaps and answer questions. Later teachings from the prophet may supercede your personal view on the matter - kind of like a lot of the Star Trek novels. As a result, my answer to a question or discussion point may be different than another's.

    Caveat 3: I'm interested in conversation and the exchange of ideas. I'm not interested in jerks. It was a major reason I walked away from MR for years, and it's a major reason I've ventured back. Challenge and engage in an idea, and I'm happy to discuss it. Attack a person or show no interest in anything more than trading scripture, and I've got better things to do. Still, I might miss a question or comment, for which I can only apologize. As a result, be cool and everything is cool.

    Anyway, as a bit of background, I'm what I'd call a a first and a half generation member. I mostly grew up in the church, as my father converted when I was about 5. I don't have the history of others, but I'm more familiar than recent converts. I am a minority, which makes me an even greater minority at church.

    I was a missionary in Chile for two years. Some call their mission the "best two years" of their lives. I disagree. I think they were the in the running to be the most important and foundational two years (challenged by 0-2 and 3-5), but no way could they have been the best.

    I lean moderate right. I consider myself a Maryland Republican or a Utah Democrat. I think Orrin is too far to the right and Harry is too far to the left. I believe a strong welfare system (preferably private, but public must be there to make up the difference) and the right to own darn near any firearm you want. I believe baking a generic wedding cake without putting any company identifier on it or the box isn't a violation of your religious beliefs and that God set up the dominos of evolution.

    Also, in sixth grade, I wanted to become President and my first act would have been to abolish religion. And I believe the United Order could work...someday.

    So, where do you want me to start?
  2. aaronvan Suspended


    Dec 21, 2011
    República Cascadia
    What is the success rate of the average Mormon mission, i.e. how many conversions?
  3. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Nov 19, 2007
    Portland, OR
    Cool thread. Also a Mormon here. I'll definitely keep an eye on this thread.

    This strongly depends on the area one serves in. I served in Portugal, there were a decent amount of baptisms, the highest rates in Europe outside the UK, but still they were few.

    My brother served in Brazil, it sometimes sounds like he helped a new person convert on practically a weekly basis.

    I think there on the order of about 300,000 converts worldwide per year at this point.
  4. steve knight macrumors 68030

    steve knight

    Jan 28, 2009
    you sure you were not baptizing the same people over and over? the people see so many missionaries they tend to milk them for rewards.
  5. nbs2, Apr 7, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2016

    nbs2 thread starter macrumors 68030


    Mar 31, 2004
    A geographical oddity
    Putting my best lawyer face...it depends.

    When I arrived in Chile, in just my mission (a geographically defined area in which a group of missionaries will work) you could expect to see 300 people baptized in a month. Go to a mission in France and I suspect something like 3 in a month would be considered a minor miracle.

    There were probably multiple reasons we had so many. I'd guess a combination of pressure from mission leadership, improperly focused missionaries looking to baptize rather than convert, and an unwillingness to say no on the part of the Chileans.

    I noticed a drop in our numbers over the course of my mission - I think eventually we fell under 200 at one point. A lot of that was due to concerted efforts to change all three of those failings. Leadership pushed us to focus more with working with those who were no longer coming to church, missionaries began to focus on supporting new members and helping them integrate, and we tried to slow things down to get past the automatic yes.

    When I was on my mission, we were always reminded that each person who was baptized was a person and not a number. Looking back, I'm amazed at how true that was. I think I baptized about 50 people. I can't remember the exact number, but I remember almost all their faces and stories.

    Not sure what you mean by rewards. No one I baptized ever received a material reward.

    As far as being able to baptize the same people over, the church keeps really good records. They would need to to keep moving or lie. The same name and same birthdate at the same address getting baptized again would raise a flag.

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