And not a mean one in sight.
We have 18 Mormon guys on their mission right around the block. 18. That's 9 pairs of "Elder" nomenclatured young men in white short sleeves going door to door for 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. That's 540 man hours of evangelism every week to welcome people into a cult. Think the devil takes a siesta?
Our new neighbors moved in a week ago. He is a structural engineer and is responsible for building the largest Mormon temple in Central America. Right across the street from the toy store. He has built temples in Chile, Venezuela, Panama and Costa Rica. They have 6 children, all daughters, all grown but one, and they are maybe the nicest people we have ever met.
We helped them move in, install their fridge, hoist an entertainment center made of exotic Costa Rican wood up a balcony, made them dinner, broke down boxes, let them use our fridge and freezer, helped them get things around town and let them in on some cultural things specific to Guatemala. We've taken them to the market and the grocery store and chased after their poodle when it got away. And we do all those things because they are human and are our neighbors and needed a little help. And we love them because Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.
They have made us cinnamon rolls and helped install latches on our kids' closets and offered to teach Jenny how to sew and offered to let me borrow his enormous assortment of tools. They offered to baby sit and gave all their boxes to Gladys so she could sell them. They gave us a book on raising kids and complimented me when I practiced my euphonium. They do it because...
Well, I don't know why they do it. It may be because we are human and need help. I do not think it is because they love Christ because they do not believe He is who He says He is. I am almost certain they are not filled with the Holy Spirit and so are not helped by His power and presence. But the reality is that I do not know.
And yet Mormons make the nicest neighbors, don't they?
Go ahead. Tell me they are earning their salvation so they work their butts off. You'd be right. Go ahead and tell me that it's all a veneer and deep down they are just fallen/unregenerate/unsaved/pre-saved/Un-Christian/fill-in-your-moniker. Go ahead and tell me they are faking it.
I'll tell you it seems a lot more real than many Christians I know.
Don't be mistaken - if they believe Mormon doctrine I do not believe they are saved from the wrath and judgment of God. I believe Mormons are wrong. They do not worship the Triune God.
I do. We (the family of believers) do. We are supposed to be filled with the Holy Spirit, God's empowering presence who transforms us and gives us gifts and gives us the very power of God to behave in a manner that matches our faith. To have, as Titus was charged with, sound doctrine and good works.
I see studies on faith in the US and the number of people attending churches is declining. The heart of Christianity has moved from the US to Latin America and Africa and Asia. Whole denominations are actually arguing whether homosexuals should be ordained. We get upset at something in our churches and so we form another church. Do you know there are 34,000 Christian denominations? No cults included. Take the Catholics out and were down to 33,999.
Jesus prayed for us the night of His arrest. He prayed that we would be one as He and the Father are one so that the world might believe in Him. How well do you think we're doing? No wonder people look to churches and say, "You know what, I'll pass"
They see a church who claims to be filled with people who know God and claim that God changed them and yet they look just like everyone else. We have ceased, in large part, to worship God as He is and have neutered ourselves in the process. We who are supposed to be known by our love, kindness, humility, and compassion for the hurting are instead known for our politics, fractures, theological arguments and a general "we're better than you" attitude. I'll be honest when I tell you that I was excited that Mormons were moving in next door instead of missionaries from the States because at least I knew they would be nice. How tragic is that?
And so...I'll end my rant. And ask that if you actually walk the real thing, KEEP DOING IT. Please. Keep being a follower of Christ, filled with His Sprit, representing Him and telling His message to the people you meet. If you are mean and divisive and look down on people - shame on you. Stop it or go worship someone else because the Holy Spirit doesn't act like that and neither should you. And if you are broken and in the process of getting fixed (as I am) them just hold onto the Lord and take it one day at a time. You speak truth by your honesty and the reality of your transformation.
And talk to your Mormon neighbors. They're actually really nice. And have problems just like us. And need the Lord just like us.