S.M. doesn’t like it when I take walks in the woods by myself. Our town is situated near a forest. It’s our very own Garden of Eden with miles of dirt pathways leading into quiet forests of pine and scrub oak. Wild flowers poke their heads up in the spring and adorn the Garden of Eden with color and cheer, and the forest is filled with browns and reds in the Fall. I take walks by myself here so I can hear God better, and we’ve had quite a conversation!
Lately, I’ve been bothered by my own fear of digging deeper into the Mormon religion. My friend met me at the local coffee shop in town yesterday where I was honest with her:
“S.M. asked me what makes Mormonism different than Christianity, and I had all the facts, but not enough of them.” I said.
“Maybe you ought to compare the words on the actual Mormon website to the Bible? What are you afraid of?” My friend ordered a large latte with a lot of whipped cream, and she does that because, she loves the whipped cream more than the latte.
I can only dream of eating whipped cream. But I stay focused on our conversation. “What if I can’t defend my faith? I know Mormonism is wrong, but I’m afraid that I won’t have all the answers.”
My friend shrugs and says, “You don’t need all the answers. But you do need to be able to explain why you aren’t Mormon anymore and that you aren’t one of those bitter ex-mormons. That you left because it wasn’t truth. Otherwise, you’re just another angry ex-mormon.”
“I’m not angry.” I said. I’m not upset at them, but I yearn for them to be set free, like I was, and to know the truth about God. Even self-proclaiming Christians get it wrong about God. Not like I get it right all the time, I hastily retract in my head.
“Then, research the truth yourself. Don’t depend on others to tell you the truth. Go right to the source. If you are right, you have nothing to fear, but you know as well as I that everyone has a bias, even if they have good intent.” My friend sips her latte again. The whipped cream is gone.
We’re sitting outside and the sun is warm on our shoulders. This Fall has been unusually warm. S.M. said to me the other day how everything is still green. What’s up with that? I focus again on my friend who just stuck her finger in the froth of her latte to lick the flavoring off of it.
“Do you do that in front of your husband?” I said and laughed.
My friend smiled and took a napkin out of the dispenser. She wiped her hands. “Yes. He’s used to me, and so are you!”
“So maybe I should use my blog to compare the Book of Mormon and the Mormon beliefs with the Bible?” I took a sip of my Earl Grey, but I realized I had drunk it all. When did I do that? That’s what friends do though–you have so much fun with them that you forget you drank your tea a half an hour ago!
“I think you should. Knowledge gives confidence.”
“But I’m not a scholar.” I barely got through school, I thought.
“You don’t need to be. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance.” My friend pushed her cup away. “That was good.”
“But I don’t want to go all anti-Mormon on the site.” I said.
“No, the online world is real. You must treat them like friends. Love on them like Jesus.”
And that’s where we parted ways.
I walked to my car, got in, and drove home. S.M. was pulling weeds from the front yard. He looked up from the walkway. “Have a good time?”
“Yes,” I said. I sat down next to him. “This blog is going to be a lot of work.”
“Then why do it?” S.M. yanked another weed out from between the brick pavers.
“Because it needs to be done.” My friend is right. I watched him pull weeds and stared without seeing at the path.
You are all important to me. We can disagree, but we can still remain friends, right?