Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Praise and a big gripe for the LDS Church

VoU1 here. There are two things on my mind tonight about the LDS Church.

1. Ads. Hearing one of them tonight on KSL reminded me that I really like the Church's ads about spending time with family, talking to your kids, etc. I can't quote them, but they usually end with something like, "Isn't it about . . . time?" or "No matter what you say to your kids, they'll hear love," or such. I think they're well done, and have a nice, upbeat, message without being overly preachy.

2. Parking lot harassment. We wrote about LDS missionaries confronting shoppers in parking lots before, and a letter in Sunday's Trib also complained about it, but what happened to me the other day was beyond the pale. I was leaving a south valley ShopKo when two women approached and said they wanted to talk to me about the teachings of the LDS Church. "No thanks," I said with a smile; "I'm kind of in a hurry."

That should have ended it. Instead, one of them launched into an explanation of why I needed to hear about the teachings of the Church. Still smiling politely, I explained that I am very familiar with the teachings of the Church. By now, she was walking beside me. The word is true and I need to hear it, she persisted. "You know, I'm really not interested," I said. She continued to follow me, informing me of the importance of understanding these truths. "Look, I'm not interested," I said firmly. "I just want to walk to my car in peace." She then stepped up next to the car, physically crowding me, and started in again.

That was it. "You know what?" I interrupted. "It's this kind of thing that is going to turn people with positive feelings about the Church into people with negative feelings. Do you really want that?" Well, the word is important, she said, refusing to budge. "Look, I know you're just doing what you've been told," I said, "but I would like you to relay to your supervisor that this is counterproductive, that you are generating hostile feelings toward the Church by someone who did not feel that way before. Do you see what I'm saying?" Apparently not, because she completely ignored it, instead reiterating that it was important to know the truth of the Church's teachings. I finally had to step around her, almost literally shut the car door in her face, and hope that she would move out of the way.

I don't like being approached in parking lots, but I can tolerate it if the person backs off once I have expressed disinterest. This latest recruiting "strategy" is pure harassment, though. Whoever came up with it: Please stop.


Frank Staheli said...

I hope it wasn't really LDS missionaries/members. Could it possibly have been someone who purposefully wanted you to get a bad feeling about the church, or that wanted to preach anti-LDS stuff to you?

Voice of Utah said...

I'm pretty sure these women were LDS, and quite sincere about it, too. This parking lot recruitment scheme -- mostly in the south valley, from what I hear -- has been publicized for several months, but apparently is still continuing. The first time we were approached, the missionaries were polite and friendly, and we didn't consider it harassment (ill-advised, but not harassment). It's just a bad idea overall, we think.

Salt H2O said...

Sadly, every faith has it's kooks.

Frank Staheli said...

Sometimes LDS can misconstrue counsel from church leaders about missionary work to make themselves feel extremely guilty about having not brought someone into the church. I haven't seen the tactics you describe, but maybe these missionary ladies should mix one part of the counsel to spread the gospel with nine parts of the counsel to love one's neighbor.

kremund said...

I had the exact same thing happen to me. My experience was in a neighborhood as I was picking up my daughter from a friends house. I was on the phone talking business and two elders walked up to me and started to talk to me about their message. I was very polite with them and told them that I was busy at the moment. The one elder kept on. I continue to tell him that I am busy and that I cant talk right now. Again he keeps going on and on. I finally climb in my car as he is still talking. It dawns on me how rude this guy is. I tell the person I am talking to to hold for a moment. I get out of the car and yell at this kid to come back and talk to me. I tell him how extremely rude he is being and ask if he could see that I was talking on the phone. "Uh, yes sir but I just wanted to tell you about an important message". I cant believe this kid. I start yelling at him that I have been where he is. I have been on a mission and know what he faces. I tell him that he is horribly hurting the church in his rude manner of contacting people and tell him that if he keeps this up he will make more people leave the church by the time he goes home than he converts to the church. He tells me how rude I am being and as i cant take anymore I walk away from him and leave.

Voice of Utah said...

Yeah, it really is counterproductive.