The Parable of the Good Mormon

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Part One

I’m not a Mormon, nor am I a fan of Mormon teachings (although I know and love quite a few Mormons). But that’s not what this post is about. Read on…

Some years back, my comedy act Mitch & Allen did a live show sponsored by a group of churches in Ogden, Utah. We’d been there twice before and built a strong following, so this time they moved us to a large university auditorium. When we got there, it was standing-room-only!

Scary, but cool.

We were a faith-based team, so churches expected us to close with a message. As always, I sought God’s guidance, but the answer I got was so dicey, I questioned whether I’d heard correctly (I’m always cautious not to confuse my “vibes” with God’s leading).

The performance went well. In fact, we received a standing ovation. Then, as the applause died down, I stepped up to the microphone. My Bible was still marked where I’d been reading before the program, at Luke 10:30-37, the Parable of the Good Samaritan. I shot up an emergency “are you sure about this, God?” and got an unnerving, “Duh, Mitch” in response. “Well, OK, then,” I brain-whispered.

What I was nervous about was this: The crowd was made up primarily of non-Mormons, a minority in Utah, home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. There are two common strains of spiritual pride in Utah: Mormon “We’re-the-only-true-Church” pride, and non-Mormon “We’re-the-people-who-left-that-false-church” pride (a large percentage of Christians there are ex-Mormons). My heart was with the minority. In fact, I’d been asked to consider pastoring a church in Ogden and had studied Mormonism’s unorthodox teachings at length. So I was as surprised as anyone when God led me to re-tell the story in Luke, Chapter 10, as…

The Parable of the Good Mormon.

I felt like I was beating sheep. Because so many of those ex-Mormons had been disowned by their families for leaving “the true Church,” had lost jobs and community standing, had given up everything to do what they believed was right. And there I was, telling them the parable of a “good Mormon” who compassionately aided a stranger when other “godly” people passed him by.

When I finished, there was deadly silence. I began to explain: We think of samaritans (with a small “s”) as good guys. But in Jesus’s time, Samaritans (with a big “S”) were a Jewish schism—just as Mormonism is a Christian schism—one that had reinvented Judaism and labelled themselves the only true Jews. Result? Jews hated them. And they hated Jews. So why did Jesus cast a Samaritan as his hero?

To make a point.

It’s not knowing the right stuff that makes us good or righteous, it’s what’s in our hearts. The Jewish prophets had been gifted with revelations from God, and the Samaritans had not (Jesus acknowledged this). But that didn’t automatically make all Jews good, or all Samaritans bad. What mattered to God, Jesus insisted, was the disposition of a person’s heart.

“OK, go on…” said the sea of silent faces before me.

To read the Conclusion, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Memoir, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith, Story Power and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to The Parable of the Good Mormon

  1. Roos Ruse says:

    Monday can’t come soon enough.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. joyroses13 says:

    Leaving us with a cliff hanger I see. 🙂
    I am anxious to know whether the crowd accepted your teaching or if you were chased out!
    Good for you in being faithful in doing what God told you too. I have had those type of emergency prayers too. The “are you sure God??” Like when is God not sure! LOL! But hey we just have to ask.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. nancyehead says:

    Great idea, Mitch! Nothing like taking the Bible and making a parallel for today! God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. numrhood says:

    10:30-37
    12:35-55

    Like

  5. Candice says:

    I’m anxious to hear the rest of the story!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You love cliff-hangers… and I’m going to hang here until Monday? Ha, ha! Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. John Eli says:

    How dare you leave this story unresolved… ha! ha!
    I look forward to the rest of it on Monday.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. revruss1220 says:

    Ooooo! Suspense! I love the way this begins and can’t wait to hear how it ends.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. RGS says:

    Thank you for putting into print the words, “..the disposition of a person’s heart.” I know many Christians who believe dogma overrides the heart’s intention.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. cricketmuse says:

    Brave message. I hear you—nice people, yet that doctrine…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Unfortunately Mormons are a bit overbearing. But much like the samaritans and Jews, we all come from a similar background. And we are all more alike than different denominations sometimes think. All part of the human family.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Gary Fultz says:

    I’m patient (Wiping rotten tomato off lap top)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ann Coleman says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing how this story ends. But in all honesty, I have to say that what I like best about your blog is that you are not afraid to let everyone know you are a person of deep faith, but you are also a very open-minded person who is willing to accept others as they are. And speak the truth to them gently. I think that is what Jesus had in mind……

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Jennie says:

    Wonderful story, Mitch. Like your readers have said, Monday can’t come soon enough!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: The Parable of the Good Mormon | Mitch Teemley

  16. notdonner says:

    I have met quite a few Mormons, with whom I differ on doctrinal issues but they practice love for one another, for the lost, and do know the Bible. I don’t understand how people who call themselves Christians, either do not practice what Jesus preached, are not engaged in deep study of the Word, or are self-assured in their infallibility of being saved after their last breath. I certainly need to do much better. We do not earn it, but we need to live salvation -grace toward others esp.- until we return to the dust – or pardon the pun -die trying.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    Being a bridge-builder is scary, but it causes you to really listen to the Lord even more intently. Sounds like sonething Jesus would say.

    In Christ,

    Gary

    Liked by 1 person

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