Monday, April 10, 2006

Meeting with the President

I met today with the president of the Hungarian mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons). He's an American guy in his sixties from Seattle named Clement. A swell guy, young for his age. I've known him a few years already and have always liked him. I've been attending the LDS for a few years now with my wife and son. We love the joyful, grateful, friendly responsible community there. But I've never joined, never been baptised. I was hoping Pres Clement and I could just talk as friends about interesting topics. And we did open with light talk about business and family. But pretty quickly he switched to a hard sell of baptism, quoting scripture. I agreed with everything he said, drawing comparisons to other scriptures, notably the Bagavad Gita. But he expressed no interest in hearing about other scriptures. I like Pres Clement a lot. He's a righteous, spiritual guy.

He spent the last hour or so of our meeting digging deep into scriptures and putting enormous energy into spelling out his faith and trying to somehow stress why it's important for me to be baptised. How it was revealed to Joseph Smith that his calling was to (re)establish the one true Church. For most of this I sat in respectful silence, nodding thoughtfully. I felt a bit overwhelmed and also a bit guilty at being somehow the cause of his exertion. He struck me as out of character in pushing an agenda. A nice guy like him usually lets his virtues speak for themselves, thereby attracting others to him, to his wisdom, guidence, inner peace.

I told him my feelings about myself and my spirituality and explained that I had no intention of joining his church. I told him I was honored to be asked to do so. But he felt compelled to challenge my position in a manner that left me uncomfortable.

If I see him again I may say the following:

"President Clement, thanks for our talk the other day. Until I come to my senses and get baptised in your church, could we leave the judgements to the Almighty and just respect each other as friends?"


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