On Thursday evening, Leah, Micah, and I headed out to the South Pasadena Farmer’s Market to pick up some fresh vegetables and to enjoy a gorgeous evening walking around. Apparently, quite a few people had the same plan, as there were no parking spots to be found. After parking about a mile away, we began walking back to the market and Leah forgot something in the car. Micah and I waited on the corner for her, and I noticed there were a couple of Mormon missionaries across the street, and they were coming my way. I tried to make myself as approachable as possible, as I love having these conversations. Sure enough, they said hi and decided to talk to me. It was interesting how they started. Very seeker friendly. They asked if I knew what it meant to be happy. Hmmm… I guess the implication is that they would provide happiness for me, which is never a claim the Bible makes. I said, yeah, but I also knew what it meant to have joy, which was more important. After this, they launched into an explanation that joy can be found in God, although they probably would have said happiness had I not brought joy into the conversation. They began talking about how God restored the church and brought truth back, etc. I tried playing a little dumb, just to see how they would approach the normal Joe on the street. Before long, they began to tell me the story of how Joseph Smith asked God what church was the right church for him to join. Before they continued, he asked me if I had heard the story, and I said I was familiar with it. So they said, why don’t you tell us what you know so we can fill in the gaps. So, I gave them my impression of the Mormon faith.
“When Joseph Smith asked this question of God, God said, ‘Don’t join any of them. They are all corrupt!’ So Joseph Smith went on his way and formed his own church. One evening he was visited by the angel Moroni, who told him go to upstate New York and you’ll two gold plates buried there. From that he dictates what we know as the Book of Mormon. “Moroni was the only survivor of the war between the Lamanites and Nephites, who are two tribes that came from two brothers, Laman and Nephi, respectively. Lehi, a Jew around 600 B.C. came over and his two sons get into a fight and have to opposing tribes. Fast forward about a thousand years and they have a massive battle in upstate New York (for which there is zero archaeological evidence). Moroni is the sole surviving Nephite, and he buries the plates for Smith to find 1400 years later.