Wenesday, June 13th 2007
For the last eight years Becky and I have been coming to Manti. We decided six years ago that it would be a good idea to keep a journal and update those who are praying for us with the events of our trip so that they would know how to pray. The first journaling year was a nightmare. We went to the Manti City library and had to use a Macintosh computer. Manti is the only library in the whole state of Utah that uses Macs. Neither of us were familiar with them so we had a learning curve to overcome fairly quickly. Once we had everything typed out only to lose it once our session timed out. The wonderfully helpful librarian failed to inform us that we had limited time on the computer before it timed out.
That got old really quick so we decided to go over to Chip Thompson’s house and use his computer. At the time, Chip was the pastor of Ephraim church of the Bible. We were not happy when we found out that he uses a Mac too. The only time I like a Mac is if it is preceded by the word “big” or followed by “n cheese.” After that year, we brought our laptop computer, saved our journal on a floppy disk (remember those) and then e-mailed it to my Mom from a local friend’s computer.
My, how things change. I am sitting here under the pavilion in the Manti City park and am wirelessly connected to the internet. The little town of Manti, which is in the middle of nowhere, has wi-fi for the whole city. It is a bit pricey, but the convenience is so much better than past years.
Becky is going to continue journaling the way we have done it in the past, long detailed accounts sent to my Mom who then sends it to those who pray for us, but I am doing something different this year. Instead of writing incredibly detailed accounts of our daily events, I will stick to smaller entries and post them here on the blog. I will also post short sections of Becky’s journal too. Here goes.
Tuesday June, 12th 2007
One the first day of our mission trip, we like to spend some time at temple square, take a tour and then witness to the sister missionaries. I had a fruitful discussion with a Japanese LDS missionary who asked me about my occupation and why I was in Utah. I told her about our ministry and why we were going to Manti. She was very interested and wanted to know some of the differences between our beliefs.
I got into the Impossible Gospel approach with her and she did a good job of trying to understand even through the language barrier. I was very impressed that she never once used the language as an excuse for not understanding my position. We talked a lot about repentance which in the LDS view includes a total abandonment of sin. The only way to be forgiven of specific sins is to completely forsake and never repeat the sin.
We kept going back and forth in our conversation and it became very evident that she was trusting in her repentance to make her right with God. Whenever she would admit to a moral failure, she would then just say that she would repent. I asked her if she wanted to keep repenting or just keep the commands of God. She wasn’t quite sure what I was getting at so I asked her, “If you are keeping the commandments, there is nothing to repent of, right.”
So then repentance is there for when you break the commandments, right?
So you need to stop repenting and just keep the commandments.
We kept going over it and I think she was starting to see that if she is in the repentance process, then that means that she has broken a commandment of God. Being in the repentance process is not a good thing.
About 3/4’s of the way through our conversation, one of the security guards came over and interrupted us. Usually that happens when an LDS missionary has pushed a little button on their belt signaling that she is in trouble. They walked just outside of hearing distance from me and began to talk. James, one of our team members, overheard part of their conversation. The security guard asked if she was in trouble and she said that she wasn’t. He told her that he received a report from someone saying that we were talking for a long time and that that usually signals a contentious debate. She said we were having a good conversation so he let us continue.
We finished our conversation while Becky, Rosanne and James were ending their conversation with the other sister missionary. We all had a great time and had our picture taken together afterwards.
After we had finished our time on temple square, we went over to the LDS Church Museum of History and Art. There are all kinds of things there that are interesting. Most Mormons do not know that right before Joseph Smith was killed, he shot three men, two of whom died on the spot. The actual guns that Smith and his brother had is on display at the museum.
After we had already passed the guns and were on the other side of the display, I overheard a tour guide talking to an English couple about the guns. I walked back over there, waited until he was done talking and then asked what he could tell me about the guns. He explained that the Gun Hyrum Smith had was a single shot and that Joseph had a six shot pepper box. The pepper box’s were notorious for misfiring. He also said that Smith shot one person in the shoulder, but that no one died.
I questioned that and mentioned that I had read in the history of the church that Smith shot three people and two died. The tour guide looked caught and tried to deflect my questions. I restated that the report was in the LDS church publication series called History of the church. I did not have the reference memorized. I also mentioned that I saw the movie down the street that was about Smith’s life and that there is a scene of him being killed, but not shooting back into the mob that killed him. I asked why it was not in there. He replied, “Well, you can’t tell everything.”
The big thing about today though was what we are now calling the “pentaplay.”
As I walked into an area that is set up like a children’s play area, there were two large pentagrams on the wall. One was stuck to the wall with Velcro and the other was made of various colors of plexiglass that can be interchanged. I decided to play with the plexiglass one and make it all red. I thought it was appropriate.
Once Becky saw it, she absolutely had a fit. There were a couple of ladies in the room allowing their kids to play in the area so Becky told them about pentagrams and how they are on the cover of the satanic bible. We had to leave shortly after seeing the pentaplays.