Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'd Like to Know

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.
Best,
Craig

9 comments:

Craig Pankratz said...

This is to make sure the comments will post.

RG said...

Craig, I just stumbled on to your blog through Osler. I'll have to give some thoughts to how I want to respond before I do. But I wanted to pop up and say that I lived the first ten years of my life in the Salt Lake City valley - Orem, Sandy, Taylorsville - and I miss it all the time. And I've been all over Utah, North and South, and I'm pretty steeped in the history and lore. I'd love to have coffee with you and your family at some point to reminisce about the beehive state and talk religion. I was raised around Latter Day Saints, but I took a brief detour through Baptist-land and into Calvinism, undergrad was with Pentecostals, and now I'm some combination thereof. So I loooove to talk comparative religion.

Anonymous said...

I have a (serious) question...

1. Do mormons believe God lives on a star named Kolob? I have been told different things and don't trust what I read on the internet.

Craig Pankratz said...

Anonymous 1:04

I know it sounds like I'm splitting hairs, but we believe that Kolob is the star closest to where God lives. But what you've heard is pretty accurate.

This belief comes from the Book of Abraham. In the early days of our Church, Joseph Smith purchased several mummies and egyptian papyri. From the papyri, Joseph translated writings of the ancient patriarch Abraham which had previously not been revealed.

The book is relatively short and is posted online by my church. Here's the url:

http://scriptures.lds.org/en/abr/contents

Craig Pankratz said...

RG,

I always welcome sincere discussions on religion. We'll have to skip the coffee (a Mormon thing), but other than that let me know.

-Craig

Anonymous said...

Craig,

Thanks for the answering my question. I recently spent about 30 minutes talking to two young men on their mission when they stopped by my house. After the visit, I spent some time on the internet reading about the Church of LDS.

I checked out the link you provided. Thanks again.

RG said...

Wow, I can't believe I said that. I know better than that, I really do. Maybe next time I'll just ask if you want to go grab a beer or something. I'll hang my head in shame now.

I went back to Salt Lake City a couple summers ago, and found that they know advertise alcohol, a change that apparently came about after they hosted the Winter Olympics. That was beyond shocking and discomfitting for me.

Craig Pankratz said...

RG,

No worries. I'm just glad that you're open to learning more about what I believe.

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