You aren’t the first person I have heard admit that a Mormon missionary miracle story was told in such a way so as to faith promote. I am completely convinced that it happens like that. Yours was kind of innocent, I mean, there is pressure to faith promote ever so slightly especially when people you haven’t seen for two years come up to you and excitedly ask with eager huungry ears..
Well? wasn’t it the greatest 2 years of your entire existence?? tell us EVERYTHING
And then what? If it just was what it was—ho hum and you just say things like “Well, I went through 15 pairs of thick soled shoes, I have callouses on my knees from praying 7 times a day, and really, uh, basically got rejected on a minute by minute basis… so uh, it kind of sucked in that respect” You’d get treated as if you had ebola. Okay so maybe that was hyperbolic of me to say it like that… but there seems to be a temptation to bring back the sensational to the home crowd. If you let them down it’s like:
whaaa? You did not have any spectacular experience? No demons cast out? No healed broken bones? No miracle family converting on account of the spirit being so strong you could taste it in the room??? whaaa?? No voice from the clouds directing you to TURN LEFT NOW!! KNOCK ON THAT DOOR NOW in order to find god’s elect?? huh? pffffft what a let down…
I had a few experiences while serving in Spain but really nothing to write home about as described above. I tend to laugh looking backwards at them. The first big miracle was that at 7 months in Spain, I still could not say that I knew that Mormonism was true..,. as in God’s only true church. I was with one of those power Elder’s… you know the type… overtly charismatic, extremely personable, born leader, yeah, I worshipped the ground he walked on. Anyway. I was this dumb greenhorn who was still trying to learn spanish and though young, I possessed the desire to work my guts out. He took that and ran with it. During one charla (investigator lesson) it was my turn to bear solemn testimony that I knew Joseph Smith saw god. It was always uncomfortable for me to do this since I could not actually say it truthfully. I was always caught in this schism of being forced to, well, lie about something I was not 100% positive. But this time it was different. I had struggled with this and talked to my overtly charismatic companion about it ad nauseum and he assured me that the Holy Ghost would eventually testify to me through hugely powerful feelings that what I was saying was indeed true. So (surprise) it happened like the next week. I was telling this investigator how I knew Joseph Smith saw god and I wanted it to be true so badly. I was so sick of being, I felt, the only one in Spain of my kind who didn’t know 100% that it was true. I distinctly recall choking up mid sentance. The eyes of the fellow I was teaching got big and I just started to cry. This feeling washed over me like a rush, I got cold sweats and I felt so euphoric that this experience was finally mine.
I knew! How cool was that? I did not have to lie anymore!
To the unintiated (read: skeptical), you might be saying “huh”?
And looking back it is so silly. Now that I have read a few textbooks on psych theory such as confirmation bias, authority bias, and cognitive dissonance… I can totally see what a set up I allowed myself to play into.
After talking to many missionaries and Mormon members, this similar experience plays itself out time and time again. It is important to note here that I understand NOW that I did NOT “know” the Mormon church was any more true than before the experience happened… in reality, the plague of doubting ceased on account of a battle between two highly conflicting cognitions. In a way, it was a nervous breakdown. Several times a day, I was commanded to basically lie about something I did not actually know… while simultaneously being placed under oath in the temple that I would keep all the commandments of God one of which included Thou Shalt Not Lie.
hee hee! crazy shitt.
Anyhow. I had a few more significant experiences but that one was the tide turner for me. I was completely locked in after that. Locked and Loaded… bullseye for the Lord! Oh you should have seen how bold I was. I’d walk up to any priest, any person, any thing and tell them Prophets walked the earth TODAY and God spoke to these Prophets TODAY and here is what the Prophets TODAY are saying… If god told you to get baptised into the Mormon church would you do it?? Invariably the Spaniard would shift his weight and look away uncomfortable
Well, uh, sure, if God himself told me that Mor…..
AHA!!!! WELL THEN!! I’d say as if I’d snared the fattest rabbit in the forest…
Read this BOOK and pray about it and GOD will tell YOU to your heart that you should follow it!! I testify to you in the name of Jesus Christ.. blah blah blah…
I make myself sound like a nut. But I was. I even think I had the wild searching eyes and spittle formed on one side of the mouth. I am kidding about that. You don’t win converts acting crazy. (Actually you win a few crazies who are programmed for craziness already.) The message itself required humility and subdued expression of it (because it was so fantastic of a claim). I knew that and acted accordingly.
Again, long winded. apologies. My miracles were found in the 30 some odd people who listened to me and joined Mormonism. It was incredible to me to watch a father or whomever trust me enough to ask god, feel something, and actually commit his life to Mormonism by being baptised.