What I Learned At The LDS General Conference

Got Hugs?

Last weekend I spent part of my Saturday in Downtown Salt Lake City hugging total strangers. That’s right, I stood on a downtown corner with a sign in my hand that said “Got Hugs?” and total strangers came up to me and thanked me for doing it, while others said “you guys are great!”

Myles and Shanda had signs too… as a family (Myles counted and beat us all) we gave out 100’s of hugs to people attending the semi-annual LDS General Conference. The conference is attended by over 100,000 Mormon faithful to hear the leaders of the church speak about where the church is going… each year updates are given on membership, temples that are being built around the world, and the future of the LDS Church. The conference center in Salt Lake City is a site to see with over 21,000 seats.

So why were we there? My Pastor Charles Hill went down to the conference last year to see what all the fuss was about, and what he found broke his heart. Men standing outside the conference with HUGE signs yelling and screaming at the Mormon folks walking outside of the conference. What did they yell and what do their signs say? Things like, “you turn your women into whores”. “Hey Mormon, how do you suppose Jesus and the Devil are brothers, prove it Mormon.” “Wake up, little Mormons, wake up… Jesus shed his blood for you!” and the hits just keep on coming. There are plenty of videos from previous conferences, you can watch them for yourself on YouTube, check this one out!

But why did we go? The people that are being yelled at, and abused verbally by these so-called “Christians” are our neighbors… they are our teachers, our friends, and most importantly they are PEOPLE who are valued by God! Can you imagine Jesus speaking to the women at the well and yelling this kind of stuff at her? Can you see him treating anyone like this? I think the answer is clear… he would not have anything to do with these men yelling and screaming at people with no other agenda than to upset them with hateful words and provoke a response that only builds their own selfish pride rather than building a bridge to a relationship!

What did I learn from our little visit to the 2011 LDS Conference… I learned that people will respond to someone who is there for the right reasons. If your motive to share Jesus with someone is pure, people will listen… And agree with you or not, they will have no choice but to take what you are saying seriously because you are motivated by LOVE not HATE! When it escalates to yelling and bad mouthing people for their beliefs while dragging their holy book on the ground all you get is a big fat slice of prideful pie… which goes against everything Jesus and his disciples accomplished 2000 years ago. The world was changed by followers of Jesus loving people into a position to see Christ clearly, not by mocking people and challenging their man-hood!

By the way, the Mormons were not the only people who got yelled at by these winners! Yep, they hated us too!


Until the next conference in October…

Grace and Peace

Check out the Christian Post article -http://www.christianpost.com/news/christians-counter-hate-offer-love-to-mormons-49714/


11 thoughts on “What I Learned At The LDS General Conference

  1. Wait! So screaming at people and putting them down doesn’t win people over? I’m gonna have to rethink my weekends… Should I put a smiley-winky face so everyone knows I’m joking?

    1. Keith,
      I wish you would have replied that would be great… but you will have to point out what in my blog you respectfully disagree with. Maybe the readers here could dialogue with that as well.

  2. Thank you all for being true Christians. Jesus Christ is my savior and I know that only through his mercy I am saved. I am also quite sure no one will go to hell for hugging a Mormon. I am one and nobody that has hugged me has gone to hell that I know of.

  3. If we try to understand people and what speaks to them, it becomes pretty obvious that these preachers in the video are just talking to themselves. There are things that we can feel are “right” backed by our own experience and even by scripture but when you find yourself defending being right over actual principle you are, IMO, in the arena of pride. It sounds silly but I think there is a subtle, yet vitally important difference. So if you are right and they are wrong who really cares, honestly….they don’t. Who does “being right” serve? Does it serve them or us?

    The preachers depicted here, with thick southern accents, and aggressive, provocative language are just lining right up with the caricature that these LDS members already have in their minds. Their culture has been sealed and strengthened through persecution and they know exactly how to respond to it. Most LDS members probably only see men who feel extra confident about their arguing skills here, but who would ever see the face of Jesus in the insulting language of the preachers in this video (You Mormons are wusses…seriously)?

    Mormons cannot help that they have been born into this tradition. Generations of them have lived and died with this as their only spiritual language and tool for connecting with God.They have learned religious devotion and, believe it or not exposure to Christ’s teachings through their tradition and hopefully the value of that is not overlooked.

    I feel that thinking we are “right” has little value when contrasted against examples of Christ-like love in action. Christ commanded us to love our neighbors and our enemies. I don’t think he commanded us to find what is sacred to them and drag it with a string on the dirty ground. I think we have to consider what that love would look like. How would it manifest?

    If anyone here is new to the LDS culture always keep in mind that these people did not reject a more traditional approach of Christianity for Mormonism, their ancestors did. The people walking in and out of the LDS conference center represent those who have decided to seek God within the context that was provided to them from birth. These are people who are trying to be obedient to God in the only way they have been shown how. The guy with glasses that this preacher is speaking with is more than likely a returned missionary who has possibly given up more of his life in service for his church than the guy yelling at him.

    This was a very classy post. This is the kind of language that could make an LDS member give a second look to the core of their faith. If it isn’t obvious I have also been an active member of the LDS church for most of my life and I am very pleased to see what I perceive to be a truly Christian response here.

    Sorry for the long post.

  4. Thanks Chris… you hit the nail on the head in my opinion. Being on the right side of things is not what Jesus spoke nor what he died for! Jesus died for sinners to become followers and lovers of God, and for those people to become free from the pressure to act and be right! I do believe following Jesus is the key to life, and that the following can happen in many different Christ centered traditions. Every Christian doesn’t have to believe like me to be a follower of Jesus! Jesus said there is non greater than John the Baptist and that dude was a different cat : )

    I also love how you point out the name calling and belittling is nonsense primarily because the majority of people they are mocking have been “born into” this faith tradition. This fact you point o is the reason why my family joined the hugs campaign… as much as I want to dialogue about some of the differences and discuss the different view points that may help to bring clarity, the light bulb isn’t going to turn on in a moment of me yelling and mocking someone for their families faith traditions.

    Grace and Peace to you and your family!

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