So I was really enjoying having a cooperative, candid, and constructive conversation with someone not of our faith (named Andrea) who made some statements about Mormons which needed either to be explained and or corrected. I jumped in towards the end of the conversation, but I've never doubted her sincerity. I've also enjoyed reading the explanations of another Latter-day Saint, named Jared. And then comes a drive-by anti-Mormon (named Neil) who I have a somewhat long history with, who makes one last comment that ended up being the final straw that broke the cammel's back:
"[Clean Cut, you are] trying to sucker us now. I and others have shown you again and again how inconsistent your views are and how you worship a different Jesus than Christians do. You are disingenuous in the extreme. Mormons use the same vocabulary as Christians but have a different dictionary. Deception is not a good work."
Here is my response:
Neil, I think Andrea and any reader here can judge for themselves whether I’m trying to sucker you or simply correct what has been erroneously assumed. To be disingenuous means to not be candid or sincere, or to pretend to know less than I actually do. In no case, whatsoever, have I been disingenuous. In fact, I have strived with everything that I know to be just the opposite.
That’s an ad hominem attack. I’ve tried harder than you will ever know to be sincere and candid, and to tell you what is true and what is not based off what you’ve expressed about my faith. I have no agenda but to correct false beliefs about Mormons which you want to perpetuate among your evangelical friends. The only thing you and others like you have shown me is that you don’t really want to understand us–or know the truth. You want to continue to spread lies about Mormonism because you don’t like Mormonism, and you feel the end justifies the means. That, my friend, is not only rude, but deceitful.
And contrary to what you believe, you were unable to show me anything about my views and worship. You did, however, prove to me that you don’t really understand my views and worship, and you don’t care to get it straight either. You will go on in your anti-Mormon efforts, but in no way will I concede to you any uncontested “slam dunks”.
Believe what you will about my faith or how it doesn’t match up to your understanding of Christianity or your views on the Bible, but it doesn’t contradict the Bible or Christianity--[except for your brand of Traditional Christianity]. Well, perhaps your misguided beliefs about what Mormons believe contradict the Bible, but nothing the Mormons actually believe contradict the Bible. You’ve not only said things about us that contradict your views and go against your personal understanding of the Bible, but you’ve said things that contradict OUR views and our understanding. You have no copyright on truth or the correct understanding of the Bible. You don’t even have any authority. And you certainly don’t have a true grasp on Mormonism. You buy into the disrespectful, derogatory and demeaning language ("verbal violence")–and you perpetuate it.
Mormonism can and will stand up to any sincere investigation of anyone truly wanting to seek [the truth, and] understanding, but that doesn’t mean that we should concede to you the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or have you tell us what we are, who we are, or what we believe. I have no interest in conversing with any anti-Mormon who simply wants to mud-sling. You, Neil, have no interest in fairness and letting our message speak for itself. You just want to shoot us down and puff yourself up. I have no interest in arguing or debating your pet points about Mormonism, for you have shown no desire to understand or “get it right”–you just want to be right, and look real good doing it.
I have chosen to have a candid, constructive, and cooperative conversation with Andrea about our beliefs; where they differ, and where evangelicals seem to have gotten things wrong. You’ve validated your ticket to “more of the same”. Sincere dialogue to explore where our views differ is a “good work”. Correcting misunderstanding is a “good work”. Slinging out accusations out of fear, anger, intolerance, or because you’re convinced you’re right is not only a closed minded dismissal, but it puts up walls between us and causes more misunderstanding and confusion. Neil, that is what you have been all about on your blog. And that is not a “good work”.