Reason #166: Because of Letters Like This
I sometimes get letters like this. They do indeed cause me to pause and re-evaluate my reasons for writing what I do, and reasons why I won’t return to the LDS Church, in spite of the joyful experiences I had there. Here’s the letter, and my reply.
I received your book Latter-Day Cipher from a very important person in my life for my eighteenth birthday this week. The person who gave it to me was unaware that she was giving me anti-mormon literature. Because the title included the words “latter-day” and she saw that you were a graduate of BYU, she assumed that I would appreciate the book. However, after reading the back, I made the decision to not read the book. Though I commend your writing abilities, I do not understand why you must write about things concerning the mormon religion. Because you were a member for so long, you must know that mormons are NOT bad people. I just felt that I should tell you that your books are not uplifting, nor are they beneficial to anyone in any way. I am usually open to reading any book, but I had a bad feeling about yours before I even read it. Holding it in my hands, something felt wrong. I am telling you this, just to let you know that your books are hurtful. The fact that you would write bad things about other people’s beliefs and faith is not commendable, and because of this I cannot respect you or your work. I don’t mean this to be mean or rude or anything of the sort. I was just very frustrated and I do not understand why you would do such a thing. Also, I was wondering if you were aware of the pain you could be causing other people by writing the things you write. I am aware that you have the right to publish anything you please, because of the country that we live in. But being the Christian you say you are, you should not take that right as far as you do. Also, there is one other minor thing that bothered me somewhat. In your biography on the books, it states that you “converted to christianity”. You should not send the false message that mormons are not christians, because I KNOW that YOU KNOW that mormons are christian. I know I am just a kid, and I probably have no affect on the things you do. But, please, rethink the messages that you are sending out. I am begging you.
I am grateful that you have the passion and loyalty to Mormonism that caused you to write to me. I was still LDS when I was 18 years old and I believe I would have done exactly as you did.
I’ve had many years to reflect on my decisions, first to leave the LDS church, and then to publicly write about it. Believe me, neither decision was a completely joyous one.
Letters like yours make me stop and re-evaluate my life and my ministry.
I would like to address a couple of things you said. I am surprised that you have made such strong judgments about a book you have not read. First, you have called my book anti-Mormon. If you will read the reviews on Amazon.com, people make a point of mentioning the fact that I have great compassion for Mormon people and portray them with great love as I depict them struggling with faith issues.
It’s true that I bring up the issue of whether or not Mormons are Christians. Perhaps you’ve never thought about this, but there are significant differences between Mormons and others who call themselves Christians. (This is not something to argue about, it’s just the fact that there are great differences — otherwise all Christians would be Mormons and there wouldn’t be conversations like we’re having here.)
People of the Christian world don’t believe that God the Father was once a man. Christians don’t believe that they will become gods and create worlds. So Christians and Mormons may call their supreme Deity God but they mean quite different things when they say the word.
People of the Christian world don’t believe that Jesus Christ was created by God the Father. They believe He has always been God. They also don’t believe that just as Jesus would be our Elder Brother so Lucifer would be too.
People of the Christian world believe that Jesus made an ironclad promise that He would never leave or forsake His church and that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church. Mormons believe that Jesus did indeed abandon His church for 1800 years.
You see, there are great differences. Christians believe in a heritage of a church founded by Jesus Christ whom Thomas called, “My Lord and my God,” a church that endured persecution and hardship and prevailed to this day under His leadership.
I believe your letter indicates that at this stage of your life you’re more prepared to put stock in your feelings about such things rather than looking at Scripture. Perhaps you will want to do that later, and when you do, please let me help you. I was devastated at the age of 21 to discover, after a faithful life of service and temple work, the LDS church was not true. If you begin to have questions, I am at your service with love and understanding.
Yours and His,
Latayne C Scott