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Would I convert to Mormonism?

April 30, 2012

I think converts are fascinating. I can’t imagine what it would be like to see a religion for the first time, to learn about it, and then to realize that you believe in that religion. To grow faith in that religion.

I imagine it must be something like falling in love with someone for the first time…

I simply haven’t had that experience with Mormonism. Having grown up with Mormonism, I saw it for the first time as a matter of just growing up. I learned about it every Sunday as a matter of course. The whole step of realizing that I believed in Mormonism wasn’t necessary, and for me, it never happened.

So, when people ask me if I would convert to Mormonism *now* (in a parallel universe wherein I didn’t already grow up Mormon, or perhaps just in a hypothetical universe where I knew then what I know now), my answer is pretty easy: I doubt that I would. But I think the answer is a bit more complex.

I think when people ask this question, the person asking it is trying to get at a post-faith crisis decision-making process. In other words, it’s certainly possible even for someone who was a convert to have a faith crisis down the line and to reconsider his or her membership. The question of whether this person would convert to Mormonism is still valid — because one thing that is different about them now is that they’ve had a faith crisis.

However, to be honest, my answer isn’t really based on post-faith-crisis decision-making…because I didn’t really have a faith crisis, so much as I had a lack of faith crisis. Instead of once believing and then coming to disbelieve, it was more that I didn’t believe, but I panicked over my inability to believe.

…but if I hadn’t been raised in the church, that panic would never arise. I don’t really panic over my inability to believe in any other of the world’s many religions, but that’s because those traditions aren’t my tradition. If I hadn’t grown up Mormon, I would have little reason for feeling it to be my tradition either.

But because I never had the faith crisis that many people have had, I can say that many of the issues that affect other people haven’t affected me in the same way. Issues in the past with Joseph Smith or Brigham Young haven’t shaken me, because I haven’t ever looked at them as being anything other than products of their times.

I maintain that there is always the possibility that things could change, but that possibility would have to be dependent on an experience to change my mind. I just don’t think belief is a matter of an individual choosing on their own to change what they will think or feel. So, I would need some experience. Some kind of experience that could cause me to hear something after praying rather than hear nothing. Some kind of experience that could cause me to read the Book of Mormon and feel it was speaking to me and my situations, rather than to read it and think nothing about its relevance or significance. I’m sure that God, if he so wanted, could cause me to have that kind of experience, but so far, things just aren’t so.

I tend not to be a joiner. I like the flexibility to flit around from opportunity to opportunity, from group to group. I try to avoid buyer’s remorse by avoiding buying into stuff.

Here’s a story. So, I fence epee. In Houston, there are a few fencing clubs, but of the different weapons, there are two clubs that specialize in epee. One of them is actually in the Woodlands, so I guess it doesn’t really count. So that leads one club in Houston for epee. I have gone there a few times to practice. Some people are starting to recall my name.

But I haven’t bought a membership there. I pay my floor fees every time I go, but that’s all.

After this summer, my club affiliation with my alma mater for the United States Fencing Association, will expire. For all the tournaments I attend in the future, instead of having “TAMU” next to my name, I will be “UNAT” — unattached. Clubless. Independent. Unaffiliated.

What can I say? I tend not to be a joiner.

I don’t see why there would be much different about the church.

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6 Comments
  1. John Gustav-Wrathall permalink

    Is your name still on the Church records?

  2. John G-W,

    Yeah. Apparently, I’m not a quitter either? :3

  3. Seth R. permalink

    I think you’re right about the underlying motive of the question Andrew. It means to get the believing Mormon to try and think objectively about whether the LDS Church is true or not, or whether Mormonism is true or not (and I do distinguish the two).

    The problem is – it’s not an objective question to begin with. And it can never be answered objectively.

    My answer to the simple question “would you convert to Mormonism” is probably a “no.” I don’t think I would have – knowing what I know about myself.

    But for me – this says absolutely zip, zero, zilch about the actual truthfulness of the whole thing.

    So I wouldn’t sign up.

    So what? What does that have to do with the price of eggs? Since when did my own preferences and judgment become the loadstone for all truth?

    Furthermore, belief in religion is something you learn by doing more often than not. Through participation in this faith, I have learned things I would not have had access to as an “objective” (heavy quotation marks around “objective”) disinterested bystander. I would actually assert that you can’t really know this religion as a bystander in the first place. It’s impossible. You can only know by doing.

    And before you say it Andrew – I’ve never really seen you as a “disinterested bystander.”

  4. at the very least, no one who writes as much as I do can be “disinterested.”

    …on a completely unrelated note, it’s like those people who go around blogs commenting about how bored/disinterested they are with whatever the blogger is blogging about. Yes, they are so disinterested that they had to comment about that.

  5. Seth R. permalink

    I get something like that myself.

    Someone posts a bunch of angry, and I think inaccurate, stuff about my religion. Then I come in and defend it, and they start whining:

    “Why do you care so much about this? Are you paid by the church or something?”

    Sigh….

  6. Cheerio permalink

    I am a convert of almost 13 years! It was the most amazing “conversion” hard but well worth it, everyone has to be converted….by the Spirit. I have friends born and raised went on missions, became inactive, went through a horrible trial and bam the Spirit opened their eyes, have helped them through this trial and they are being transformed by God in amazing ways. People have to really want it or really need it, (takes a lot of faith and action on our part!) I consider myself very, very blessed to have been rescued from the world and to have been found by Christ! I am so grateful! The Gospel can make life easier, does not make the journey easy if one needs to be refined (refiners fire) but you come out smelling like roses if you endure the process! The Church is true and no matter how imperfect some of the people are (aren’t we all), the doctrine, Spirit and truthfulness of it is out-of-this-world amazing! The pure nature of authority, truth and the Spirit’s wonderful ways are the conversion tools. Not worried about the naysayers…..it is hard to open your eyes and your heart to the truth, man is a stubborn creature, no matter, God loves everyone and all will get their “chance” to learn and choose.

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