Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Debunking a Few Myths

Welcome to With Eyes Wide Open: Thoughts of a Mormon Scientist. As my welcome post, I thought I'd start by seeing exactly how many myths about Mormons I can debunk by my very existence. So let's get started.

Myth: There is a church called the Mormon Church.

Response: Hello. My name is David, and I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One of our volumes of scripture is the Book of Mormon, from which the nickname "Mormons" is derived. It's like if we called all Christians "Bibles", which would be rather strange, to say the least. The correct term for members of the Church is "Latter-day Saints", with the adjective "LDS". But we use "Mormon" just as much as anyone else, so don't worry about it.

Myth: Mormons aren't Christian.

Response: I have two volumes of scripture known as "quads". These contain the four Standard Works of scripture of the LDS Church -- the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. The Book of Mormon is subtitled "Another Testament of Jesus Christ", and documents the workings of the Lord among His people, including the appearence of the resurrected Saviour in their midst. Through the Book of Mormon, I have come to know of the power of the Saviour's Atonement, and of the love Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has for me and for all mankind. Because of the Book of Mormon, I can truthfully say that I know that only through Jesus Christ can I ever be forgiven my sins and return to live with God. Tell me that's not Christian.

Myth: Mormons all live in Utah, in America.

Response: I was born in London, England. I grew up in London, England. I now live two hours away from London, England. I've visited the USA a total of three times, never for more than a week, and only one of those visits was to Utah. No, I don't have any ancestors from Utah, either.

Myth: Mormons only believe the things they do because they were indoctrinated with them.

Response: My mother was brought up a Methodist, while my father was raised a Roman Catholic. By the time I was born, they'd both lapsed completely from church attendance. For the first twenty years of my life, I went to church only for things like harvest festivals and the occasional Christmas mass. Oh, and my grandparents' funerals. I wasn't christened as a child because my parents wanted me to be able to choose for myself. Well, I did choose. At age 20 I chose, of my own free will, to be baptised and confirmed into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Myth: People only join the Mormon Church because they're ignorant.

Response: See the subtitle of this blog? I'm no Henry Eyring (the archetypal Mormon Scientist, and author of the Eyring equation), but I do have a Master of Chemistry degree. That's from a British university, for the record -- which means four years of intense study entirely focussed on science, as opposed to an American degree which is a lot broader in scope. I joined the Church during the second year of my degree.

Myth: The Mormon Church doesn't want people to think for themselves.

The title of this blog is With Eyes Wide Open. It's taken from a song:

With eyes wide open I'll walk in His light
And bask in his bounty of proof

Our Heavenly Father has given us brains for a reason: He wants us to think. He wants us to explore the world around us. He wants us to study the truths He has revealed and find out for ourselves if they're true. Whatever people may tell you, Mormons aren't afraid to think.

No comments: