This recap was written 2 weeks after the actual date. Serious noting didn’t start until my 2nd visit with the Mormons. I sent a text to the number the “Book of Mormon’s” playbill to receive a free book. One week later, two Elders visited my house.
My initial encounter with Elder Larman and Elder Cheung is exactly how Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of South Park and Book of Mormon musical, describe them. They really look like they’re on the verge of dancing/singing. They are so friendly and polite. I invited them in and they asked if they should take off their shoes. I almost broke out laughing, not because I’m trying to mock them, but because it was so shockingly polite; that uncomfortable laugh.
I respectfully declined their request. They say down with their shoes on and we opened up in prayer; another thing they asked before proceeding with. After, from what I remember, they gave an introduction about who they are and what they do. They’re Mormon missionaries serving in San Francisco, but are from somewhere else and serve almost 24/7. They wear those slacks and ties you normally see, and they share a cell phone. So, whenever I call Elder Larman, I’m calling Elder Cheung as well.
They asked what I knew about the Mormon religion and they seemed surprised that I had decent knowledge about the reason and resurrection of Jesus, the Angel Moronai speaking to big J. Smith, and Smith translating a third part of God’s testimony, now known as the Book of Mormon, from gold plates with special seeing stones…..even though no one ever saw it. They asked what I thought about Jesus Christ. I replied, “I want to view him as a historical figure, and discover more about him, in some context other than a Bible.” Apparently, that’s what the BOM is, according to them in answering my statement.
For the most part, it was very much an introductory sit down and to get information, I’d have to seek out God and their teachings. I showed an interest to keep our conversation going. There’s only one thing that sticks out from this encounter. I asked Elder Larman why he finds Mormonism to be the right religion, as opposed to the others. He grew up in a Christian family, in Texas, and he was at an age of trying to find “answers.” A great meaning to life so-to-speak. He got on his knees and prayed to God to help him discover the truth. It was here, where he felt God tell him, “You’ve always known the truth.”
Flashback: Elder Larman remembered a time where he was briefed about Joseph Smith and the BOM and this moment, is what he correlated with the truth. He felt the “Holy Ghost” tell him that Mormonism was the way to go. Through Larman’s story and him discussing his faith, something struck me. Seeing him describe his life and religion on such an emotional level got me ALMOST sharing his emotions. I felt, “Holy shit! What if he’s right? This is a powerful feeling!” But, after this split second, this moment reminded me of a ceremony I attended at a Christian church when I was younger. At this time, I stopped calling myself religious, so I must have been 17+. The pastor was speaking about the blood of Christ and how being born again is an amazing experience. What I felt here, was the same feeling I had with the Elders.
But it was the emotions that were striking me, not their belief. It’s such a fallacy; appeal to emotions. I’ll touch more on this later. But, what I can say is, if I was someone who was seeking a sense of belonging or answers, I’d probably buy into Mormonism and let me emotions take over and throw out rationality. My emotions and brain would be convincing me that I’m feeling Jesus. This was really the tip of the iceberg. I discovered more of this emotional appeal when I visited them at their chapel.
BUT…….I finally received my free books!