The ethics of prostylizing as it relates to LDS methodologies

This topic is born from a side discussion on another thread, below you will find the full context of the conversation.

Thanks for opening this up XuDan!

I’m going to divide my reply up into two parts: addressing your specific story and then general guidelines for sharing the gospel with others.

Addressing XuDan’s story—

XuDan, LDS folks do not remove your name from the rolls unless you ask them to (hoping that people will come back). Your children are on the class rolls because you have not had them removed. The lady who has been asked to teach the class (let’s call her “Sue”), does not know what your history/belief with the Mormon church, only that XuDan Jr is in her class. Sue happens across XuDan Jr when Jr’s playing on the sidewalk (or something like that, I don’t know specifics).

Is it unethical for Sue to ask Jr if she’d like to come to class? Obviously to actually come to class she’d need XuDan Sr’s permission. I don’t think such is unethical because 1) if Jr doesn’t want to come to class a simple “no” answers it, 2) regardless of what Jr wants, Sr’s got to be okay with it and what Sr says goes, 3) if this is something truly terrible Sr probably has educated Jr to say “no” regardless.

XuDan, I’m guessing you’d have a different opinion on this matter. How would you have handled the situation in the teacher’s shoes? Would you prefer no adult talk to a minor about anything? Or specifically about religious matters?

Side note: XuDan, I really would recommend getting your name taken off the rolls. It’s easily done with a letter and would really help you out with unwanted visits.

General guidelines for discussing God with others—

  1. Be respectful of everyone’s belief’s, even if you think they’re complete bunk.

  2. Listen to others and try to understand how they think/believe/feel.

  3. Sharing the Gospel is done best with a conversation: share in a conversation, not from a soapbox.

  4. If all you’re after for is winning an argument, then you’re never going to win anything important.

  5. Always be genuine in your dealings with people.

  6. Sometimes you’ll get someone to adopt the view you see as being correct. That can be a great feeling, but don’t grow frustrated if that doesn’t happen. People are entitled to their own views. And sometimes God has unexpected paths to lead someone to Him.

  7. “No thank you” means No.

  8. Look to a person’s heart: if they mean well, try not to take offense.

  9. For minors, nothing is done without parental permission.

More suggestions?

Except that I have submitted a letter for a name removal and was told that it was done, that was 7 years ago. Is it ethical to pursue me and my family with such doggedness even after I have made my position clear via letter and verbally? I tell the same missionaries every week not to come back, that I’m not interested. But every Saturday they are knocking on my door. I get new ones rotating in, and I keep telling them they aren’t welcome. Yet they won’t discontinue. I won’t be mean and rude to them because I don’t believe that is a Christian means of dealing with it, but they have obviously not respected me, my requests, or my resolve that I will not return to the LDS Church.

I’m sure that once I move next year, the problems will cease to exist, but I feel sorry for whoever buys the house as they may get weekly knocks and calls from people looking to “save” me. :rolleyes:


Your name was removed and you’re still getting so many visits? That is very odd. Like the teacher shouldn’t even know you were members of the church. They shouldn’t be doing that… And I am sorry you’re being bothered so much (people can be such numbskulls sometime).

Ways to possibly help the situation:

  1. The missionaries. Tell them “Thank you for your time, but I do not wish to be contacted ever again. Please cross my address out of your area book right now”, and physically watch them delete your information from their area book. (The area book is the book in which they keep track of people’s names and addresses).

You could also put up a sign explicitly saying “No Mormon Church Visit”, and if they continue to visit, say that you’ll have to call the cops if they keep coming. Be firm and explicit (you can do both while being polite).

  1. As to the local congregation: I don’t know how they even know you used to be a member. Maybe somehow your name didn’t actually get removed? There are occasionally paperwork slip ups…

Next time you get a visitor from the ward, tell them you are not a member and ask how they got your address. Find out how, and stop that flow of information. That’ll be more effective than telling every individual member to bug off.

The proper thing for the teacher to do would be ask if she could talk to mom or dad.

An adult who is basically nothing more than a stranger should not be asking children to attend anything. And implying with “we miss you at church” that they are actually known to the children is deceptive.

Not once has any parent of my children’s friends ever asked my kids to attend their churches classes for children, and certainly not someone they’ve never met. Honestly if a person they’d never met said something like that to my kids they’d be back in the house quick as a wink, and the person would be given the title “creeper”. My kids have attended social events at the Baptist, Lutheran and Pentecostal churches over the years and in every case the parents contacted me before presenting it to my kids. Even fellow Catholics have let me know ahead of time if my children would be attending any church event when my kids would be at their house. So in my experience both as a parent and a child the kind of interaction described by the teacher is viewed as inappropriate. And no I don’t think adults should be talking to kids about religion unless invited to do so by the parents.

It actually goes all the way back to posts 22 and 23 of that thread when zaff stated that we have the right to believe what we want and to not be bothered in our own homes or to have our children targeted for proselytizing. I know she has had many issues with this.

Lots and lots:)

For minors no adult should be proselytizing children period.

Precisely my feelings on the subject. I have been afforded the respect from others to ask if they can talk to my girls about their church activities and events before they ever brought it up with my girls. But bringing it up with them first only serves to cause dissent in the family if it is something they already got exited about and I say “no” for whatever reason. It is manipulative and divisive. It really stuck in my craw.

Unfortunately, Xu’s story is not unique. We hear it many times.

I remember relating the story of my father and the missionaries in a post long ago. They lived in a rural area, with a long lane leading to the house. There were “No Trespassing” and “No Soliciting” signs clearly visible at the entry to the property.

For some reason, a set of missionaries ignored the sign, and approached my father outside the house. He politely told them no, pointed the way out, and asked them not to return. Not long after that, they showed up at the house again (not a good thing to do), and approached my father again.

He walked them all the way down the lane, not saying a word, stopped in front of the signs, pointed to them, and made them read the signs out loud.

He walked away, and they never came back. Lucky for them, because one thing my father did not like was repeating himself. :smiley:

No means no, and no trespassing means no trespassing.

In this example, it is extremely inappropriate for an adult to accost a minor in this manner. Think about it this way, if it was someone from down the street that you don’t know all that well, do you think it would be appropriate for this person to talk to your child behind your back inviting her to an activity?

Given the fact that Sue is an adult and Jr is a minor, puts Sue in a position of power and puts Jr at a disadvantage. Many children are taught to respect adults and have a hard time saying no. This is why it is inappropriate even if Jr wants to go. It is always inappropriate for an adult to talk to a minor behind the backs of the parents.

I guess it does, My apologies for not including them. I can’t edit the OP now and include them. :blush:

No worries! Thanks for starting a new thread as I was out of pocket at Vespers earlier this evening and we do not live close to our parish.:slight_smile:

And is is also why the “we miss you at church” is a deceptive manipulation of the children.

Jane, my treatment upon leaving has been relatively tame compared to others. I purposefully didn’t try to make any waves when I left. My husband and I just wanted to quietly go away and be left alone. Alas, it was not to be.

I didn’t want to resign initially because my family was pretty upset as it was, especially my parents. You see, many ex-Mormons do not want to resign because they are still in the closet with family and they do not want their parents to find out. Bishops are not known for keeping things like this confidential.

When the stake president showed up, which was our first visit btw, we wrote resignation letters as soon as we fed our kids. You see, the stake president knocked on our door just as we were trying to feed our kids and put them down for naps. He thought it was more important that we talk to him than meet our children’s needs.

It was after we resigned that things started to heat up. There was a couple we were friends with from the ward who decided they wanted to keep hanging out with us even though we resigned. We went out on a few double dates. After 6 months, they knew that I was serious about becoming Catholic. That is when I was invited to attend the General Womens meeting with this “friend”. I actually thought a lot about it. I considered doing a church event trade - suffer through to meeting if my friend came to Mass. I decided against it because my parents were in the same stake and I didn’t want to upset them. Funny thing happened after I turned this friend down. She disappeared, well, for over a year. She showed up at my house just before last Christmas to give me something. It was all very strange.

My children were also targeted when they were ages 3 and 4. They were invited to a Primary activity almost a year after we resigned. Because my children were never baptized Mormon, I question whether their names were ever removed even though we included them in the resignation letter.

RebeccaJ has a child who was never baptized and she’s been contacted by the LDS church for years. Hopefully your children won’t be followed the way hers was.

That is what I am worried about. I hope the missionaries don’t show up when my oldest turns 9. I really don’t want to have to visit my husband in jail. And I am only half joking. :frowning:

Reading on NOM about how local leadership is pushing members to “hasten the work” and give names of prospects then add to that the webpage with comprehensive search methods for wayward members I will be very surprised if you don’t see them show up before and surely at 9 and beyond. But that is dependent on your family, from what I understand they are the most likely candidates for narcing you out to the church in in tracking down of members. So if you are a convert to LDS (I can’t remember your story, sorry I should) then your children may be safe otherwise they will be tracked down as long as family members are keen on turning in their location.

On paper, the rules may be written somewhere (I don’t know) but in practice,every ward is different. My daughter is a never-Mormon but the ward treats her as though she is an inactive.

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