I must confess something: Before I moved to Waco, I looked forward to having religious discussions with others here, but, disappointingly, I have only had a few. And those have generally been with non-Texans. Perhaps knowing I'm a Mormon has led others to avoid discussing religion with me.
And I wouldn't blame anyone. Although I don't know much of what Texans believe about my faith, I have heard that Mormons and Mormonsim are frequent topics among the various denominations throughout Texas. And I must say that I feel at somewhat of a disadvantage because I am left to generalize about what others believe.
So, in an effort to promote understanding---principally mine---I would like to know what you believe. But before I open up my blog to religious discussion, I do have a few rules when discussing religion. (I've adopted most of them from men and women much wiser than I).
1. Never attack someone else's beliefs.
2. Declarations of sincere belief are always welcome. And if you wish to rebut someone else's belief, then do it by expressing what you believe. NOT by pointing out which points of doctrine you find to be silly, erroneous, or misguided.
3. If you want to know what members of another religion believe, go to them and not to their enemies.
4. Never judge a church by its worst members. Those who fail to live according to the tenets of their religion are not representative of that religion.
5. Leave room for divine envy.
6. Everyone has the right to believe or not what you are saying.
7. Listen (in this case read) for understanding, not to plan on what you will say to refute what the other is saying.
Now that these rules are established, I want you to know that I hold everyone's right to worship God, or not, according to the dictates of her conscience as sacred. But, as you know, I also believe that we should express our convictions to others.
I have found that as others share their beliefs with me, I am more introspective about what I believe. At times, I have struggled with doctrines and have spent hours in prayer and scripture study to determine what is right. Often, I find that my understanding was incomplete, and at other times, my beliefs are reaffirmed.
But without listening to others, I would never have had such experiences. And I sincerely wish to understand your faith.
So, what do you believe?
I eagerly await your response.