It’s all about the Fruit!

20 08 2013

“Sorry we’re late,” they said, “we had trouble parking.”

“No problem.  Parking around here is a bear,’ I said.  “Come on in and relax.”


“My wife made some brownies and iced tea, can I get you something?”

“How about some water,” they replied.

“Are you sure?” I said.  “The ice tea is decaffeinated!”

“Water is good.  It’s very hydrating . . .”

And so began my meeting with my two new Mormon friends!  I had done all my homework, and I was now ready to love them no matter what! 

They asked if I had read the brochure they had left with me three days earlier, and I said that I had.  They asked if I had any questions about any of it and I said that I did not.  So they pulled out their Books of Mormon – books that were fatter than any Bible I had ever seen – and I immediately thought of Sam Harris’ quote in “The End of Faith.” 

It seems that if our species ever eradicates itself through war, it will not be

because it  was written in the stars but because it was written in our books;

it is what we do with words like “God” and “paradise” and “sin” in the

present that will determine our future.


We spoke for more than 90 minutes;  and although I wish I could say that we discussed important matters of faith and God, grace and mercy, justice and love, such topics were apparently not on the agenda.  Instead, like so many fundamentalists, they had their own talking points and carefully sought to guide and direct the conversation toward . . . more important issues.  So we talked about the picture of the Arian looking shepherd holding a lamb on the cover of their brochure, and they proceeded to explain how Jesus takes us from the apostate world, and safely comforts us in his loving and protective arms.  We talked about the necessity of being baptized by a ‘real’ prophet of God, following in the Aaronic footsteps of John the Baptist, who had been chosen by our “Father in Heaven.”  And we talked about sin, and evil, and apostasy; about humanity’s separation from God, and our need to believe correct teachings in order for us to return to that place from which we came in the first place – heaven.  And . . . yadda, yadda, yadda! 

I truly did go into the meeting with the intent to just show them the love of Christ!  I really did think that if they just saw that my life was not all that different from their own, that they would skip the attempt to persuade me to believe as they do.  I naively believed that if they could just see that my core beliefs were really just like theirs, that they would see me as a person with whom they could engage as a fellow traveling companion who was seeking to know God and follow in the ways of Jesus just like they were, and not as just another perspective convert.  

But like far too many in the world today – Evangelical Christian, Radical Muslim, Militant Atheist – creed was elevated above deed, and belief was put ahead of behavior.  Forget the fact that I, just like them, sought to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly.  Forget the fact that I, just like them, sought to love God and neighbor.  Forget the fact that I, just like them, valued family, loved my country, and . . . didn’t smoke or swear! 

In the end, it all boiled down to what I believed – about Noah and the Ark, about Jesus’ virgin birth, about the vision of Joseph Smith, and about God’s restoration of the Gospel thru a new Church, born in the most important nation on the earth . . . America.  (Because, after all, if God really DID visit the earth, of course He would come to America!)  Most importantly, it was really all about “The Book of Mormon”, and whether I believe what it said, or not! 

They’re coming back on Thursday.  So once again, I’ll sit, and politely listen, and gently try and challenge these two passionate and faithful young men to . . . JUST THINK . . . about what they’re saying.  My hope is that they, like so many zealots in the world today, will come to see that followers of Jesus are NOT people of the book – we are people of the WAY!  And that WAY, is the WAY of Jesus – a way that can recognized by the love we have for one another; a way that acknowledges and celebrates the fact that we will be known NOT by our beliefs, but by our behavior, not even by our faith, but by our fruit.


Maybe that’s what I can offer them.  Forget the tea or the brownies – maybe I just need to stick to the fruit.   Maybe we all . . . just need to stick to the fruit!

I will certainly acknowledge theirs. I guess I just want them to acknowledge the little bit that I’m seeking to bear!     



One response

20 08 2013

Wow, Bob! Fruit and friendship. Oh, that we had more of that in our sometimes shallow lives.

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