Part Two (Conclusion)
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…
To read Part One, click here.
The crowd sat blinking, waiting for a further explanation of my dubious parable. “As finite beings,” I said, “we strain to see Truth in a darkened mirror. Like ants on the sidewalk, we can never fully understand the cosmos around us. And it doesn’t help when false prophets arise and blow smoke at the mirror. But despite that, and because of the life and teachings of Jesus, we are able to grasp that there is a God who loves us. And we are able to love him back.
“There are Mormons,” I went on, “who’ve been taught some outlandish things, but who don’t give a fig about becoming a god or having their own planet; they simply want to please their Creator. Conversely, there are learned Bible seminary grads, who don’t give a fig about pleasing God or rescuing wounded travelers on the way to Jericho. Or Salt Lake City. Or wherever it is they think is so important to get to.
“How many of you have been guilty of hating Mormons?” I asked. One by one, hands began creeping up. “And how many of you have assumed you were satisfying God simply by believing the right things, forgetting it’s not what you know, but Who you know? Hundreds of hands went up. Fearful but compelled, I asked them to come forward so that we might pray together for God to revive in us the compassion he has for all of his children—Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Hindus, atheists. Perhaps eighty percent of the people in the auditorium came forward.
After a heartfelt time of prayer, I asked if any of the people still in their seats were Mormons. Slowly, timidly, most of the hands were raised. Anxious to reach all the way through the hornet’s nest, I challenged those up front to engage with those in the seats. Some slipped away, but most stayed.
I’ve rarely seen more people crying at one time. Non-Mormons asking Mormons to forgive them, and more than a few Mormons asking the same. People of differing and undefined stripes praying together. Hearts being changed.
I don’t know what happened after that night. But do I know this: It didn’t begin with Allen and me, and it didn’t end with us. Truth is important, yes. It impacts our thoughts and actions, and we should always strive to know and teach what’s true. But in the end,
“The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love.” ~Galatians 5:6