Is Seeking Converts Bad?

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I would LOVE to know who that quote is from. Sound like a person I can have a constructive conversation with and not a rabid ideologue devoid of decency and respect.

"Constructive conversation" and "a rabid ideologue devoid of decency and respect??" Calling anyone's conversation "rabid" is devoid of decency and respect, to me. Dolling out what you don't want to receive isn't congruent or constructive, either~

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Before my conversion to Mormonism, I had investigated in-depth the beliefs of many mainstream Christian denominations. Discouraged, I left Christianity behind to explore Hinduism and Buddhism, thinking there might be something there that was not to be found in Christianity.

The Dalai Lama expresses a sentiment in the comments above that are reflective of Buddhism. It is not a "theistic" religion. It is pantheistic in nature. In Buddhism, God is everything--the rock, the tree, the river, the bird, the stars. Thus, each person is simply a piece of a greater whole that changes shape and configuration constantly and eternally. Salvation is not a concept in the religion. Instead, the hope is that each individual will attain enlightenment and live in such a manner as to escape karma--and endless cycle of rebirth, suffering, and death.

Thus, with no central deity, the focus is solely on individual responsibility and "works." Grace isn't a factor. Atonement is not a concept. Each person "atones" through multiple lives until karma can be escaped. When that state is reached, the individual ceases to exist and simply merges back into the universal soul from whence sprang--a state of non-being. No vestige of the individual remains. There is no heaven and hell.

Thus it makes no sense for a Buddhist to proselytize and seek converts. In his eyes, you are already "god," just as the rock, the river, and the stars are god. To him, there is no personal deity who watches over and gives benificent blessings. There are avatars or higher beings who may intervene from time to time, but they are not the object of worship. Indeed there is no real worship. There was no fall or original sin. There is no redeemer necessary, there is no need for ordinances, authority, or grace. So, for the Dalai Lama, conversion is really a non-sequitur.

As Christian believers, we believe in a personal God, the necessity of a Redeemer, and the fallen condition of humanity. Unable to obtain deliverance from death and hell on our own, we seek salvation through Jesus Christ who was the sacrificial lamb for all sin. His offering extends grace to us. From that point on, denominational differences emerge regarding how one receives grace, ordinances, the Trinity, etc. But at the essence, Christianity believes in a personal God, that the individual identity can continue after death, and that Jesus Christ is the key to eternal felicity. Thus, for us, proselyting becomes a duty towards our fellow men and women, because it awakens their faculties to a path we believe will save them.

I have no problem with any religion that proselytes others, so long as it is done with respect to the dignity of the person as a child of God and recognizes the individual's free will. As a manner of effectiveness, I think a positive message works better than teaching individuals that they'll burn in hell forever. When I was 10 years old, i got "saved" by a Baptist preacher who scared me half to death. That wasn't really very effective and it didn't "take." I ended up coming to Christ through the testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. Nobody was more surprised that I would become a Christian than me!

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Thank you so much for relating the Buddhist beliefs and for expressing what I've been trying to say all along about proselytizing~ It was so nice/refreshing to hear your take.....

I really like what I perceive the ideals of Buddhism to be. To me, enlightenment does not focus on things outside oneself in order for one to find inner peace. I love the concepts of harmony, being kind, being "at one" with the universe..... I was talking to my friend about "Brahma." The belief that the Higher Power is in all things

I would like to study it more. Finding peace or "enlightenment" is my goal.

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I am not so sure that we really disagree - but maybe. In essence it seems to me that the L-rd would have us comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. But we must do so honestly. If we are not convinced there is no reason to warn others or to express misguided joy.

The Traveler

I agree, one can't share a testimony without having a testimony. One thing to clarify, being "convinced" includes having a testimony without necessarily having understanding. Right?

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I agree, one can't share a testimony without having a testimony. One thing to clarify, being "convinced" includes having a testimony without necessarily having understanding. Right?

Seminary Snoozer~

I don't know...How can we be convinced of anything we don't truly understand? Perhaps it's like knowing that the sun rises and sets on the horizon but not knowing it's the world turning to cause this effect.....

I feel a lot of power in the priesthood; Godly power. I feel a lot of spiritual strength from reading the Book of Mormon. I see blessings manifest themselves in my life when I do this consistently. I feel the Spirit talk to me and comfort me often. Yet, there are so many things in the gospel I am not "convinced" of, or haven't received a sure witness about. Of course, this is where faith comes in. I see a lot of opposition in the church, which is what causes me to really question what it is I believe in...

I'm not so interested in converting to Buddhism as I am in finding the wonderful truths it has to offer. I would actually like to study the world religions at some point. Even though it is difficult to me to be a "member" of the LDS church, I trust that God will lead me in the paths He wishes me to go. I still question; but, this may be a good thing.

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I had a very comforting and edifying experience tonight with a couple in my building whose lifestyles are about as far removed from LDS standards as can be~

Since I've moved back to Salt Lake City and into "my" new ward, I have had one of the most difficult, full of rejection, experiences I have ever had in a ward all my life....It's been amazing. I have really begun to question why I'm "mormon" or even christian, for that matter. I have been doubting my testimony of the Savior.

My friends know of the struggles I've been having in my wards and saw me sitting out on our entryway tonight. One picked up immediately the look of concern on my face. Both of them are non-believers; but, they know that I do. They lovingly counseled and strengthened my in my beliefs, telling me not to be swayed by anyone in my testimony. That if I believed in Christ and that the church was true, to live true to that. Their words helped me to center within myself and to realize/acknowledge what I really did believe. I was able to focus and to feel what was in my heart.

I believe in Christ. I say "believe" at this time because I don't have a "sure knowledge." I strongly believe in Him~I know God loves me. The discussion I had with my friends tonight was very inspired on my behalf and showed this in spades. It was so beautiful....

These two friends care to know and love me simply for who I am, nothing more or less. I'm soo grateful for their love and example to me. It's ironic that they are so far removed from the gospel and yet so full of love. This experience has changed me.


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After studying Eastern religions, the thing that most impacted me about Mormonism was the belief that each of us is our own revelator. There is only one true source of revelation, and when we seek knowledge and truth, it comes to us in a very personal, direct way.

I was not a believer in a personal God, but I was open minded. A Mormon I had just met gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon, showing me Moroni 10:3-5, and promised me that God could tell me that it was true by personal revelation. I was impressed by that. Every other Christian sect I had talked to basically took the position that the Bible was the ultimate authority and that a believer just had to find the denomination that was the "most biblical." That seemed to me like rolling the dice with your soul.

As I read the Book of Mormon, I was impressed by the powerful impressions of the Spirit that came to me. When I prayed about it, an unmistakeable answer came. I was astonished at that. I don't want to say that I didn't expect an answer, because if I didn't, why would I have prayed to begin with. I suppose I expected that the answer would unfold gradually over months or years of studying and contemplation. I wasn't expecting the answer that I got, which was an emphatic and clear, "Yes, this is true. Joseph Smith was a prophet and he translated this book." The answer wasn't spoken, but came in clear, distinct impressions.

The clarity of the response caused a massive "realignment" of everything else I had previously accepted as truth. Those things which were indeed true suddenly made connections with many other truths. The errors in my thinking were exposed and I had to make a choice to either remain in error or abandon it. The choice was easy in the light of the new understanding I had.

Then it hit me--because God had personally told me that Joseph Smith was a prophet, I knew that he and Jesus Christ had appeared to Joseph Smith. Knowing that was true hit me like a ton of bricks. All of a sudden, God was a personal Being. I was created in his image and likeness. I was his child. I knew that Jesus Christ was real because Joseph Smith had seen him. God had told Joseph to "Hear him." Thus I knew that Jesus had authority to speak for the Father.

Through my mind these thoughts raced in rapid succession--I thought of the crucifixion and the atonement, what Jesus had suffered, and how he had risen again. Like Alma (whose testimony I had not yet read) I came to this sudden roadblock. I had sins that would keep me from his presence. In that glorious moment of light and revelation, I felt unworthy. Then, as the Book of Mormon and the Bible taught, Jesus Christ had power to cleanse us from sin. I knew I had to repent and make some changes in my life, which I was then anxious to do so that I would not lose the powerful light that had come into my life.

Although I had found much beauty and peace in Buddhism and Hinduism, it was simply a preparatory experience. Nothing matches the glory of Christ and his atonement. Speaking from experience, it is incomparable. To come to a knowledge of God is indeed a pearl of great price. And once you have experienced it, you can't help but tell others about it.

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