Missionary Pamphlets

I have been thinking a lot about missionary work this past year. I truly believe that it would be good if I did more. The church is such a positive influence on my life even though my belief in the doctrines is often weak. I’d love for some of my good friends to try it. Trouble is, I find our typical missionary approaches to be less than interesting to my friends. They are certainly of no interest to me. I’ve often wondered what it would be like if we had the following missionary pamphlets:

1. The Finite God: He’s your age and has to keep in line like you do
2. Heavenly Mother: The goddess is not wicca
3. Your Own World: Why it’s not just for space colonists

I worry that we spend too much time trying to be acceptable to born-again Christians. From my limited contact with those folks, I just don’t think they are going to like us no matter how we typeset our logo. What missionary pamphlets would you like to see?


  1. Kristine says:

    A pamphlet I wish I had for my friends: “The Mormon Tradition of Humanist Feminism” : )

  2. AARON B
    SEX in heaven…yes, emphasize to the ladies that
    If you are really good, and get to the celestial kingdom, you get to be a plural wife!

  3. Aaron, regarding your point #3:

    Do you really think that the Church has been de-emphasizing its theological differences in order to get along with evangelicals? What have we done, really, besides increase the font for Jesus’s name on our name tags? I’m being facetious (who, me?), but I guess I haven’t really noticed in what way we have been toning down the deep doctrine.

    I guess there are the public interviews with the Prophet, but I’m not sure those amount to doctrinal retractions or anything…. and as for not knowing where we’re going theologically, what’s new about that? Our church has been a crazy ride since day one! 10 years ago – 1994 – could anyone have foreseen the paths the Church would have taken, say, in Africa, or mass-production of temples, or the public persona of Pres. Hinckley, etc.? That uncertainty is what makes the church so great.

    I’m still thinking of another pamphlet.

  4. As for pamphlet ideas…

    (1) You can have SEX in heaven!!!

    Aaron B

    We have hidden this message to the point that some of our less than diligent seminary students are surprised to learn we believe we have the potential to become Gods ourselves. I know we get bashed for that belief but to me that’s what is strongest about our doctrine. WHAT’S LIFE ABOUT? IT’S ABOUT BECOMING A GOD. You would want there to be a rigid test for any candidates to God School! Well this is the test!

    I went to a Baptist Easter pageant this weekend. Great show but what a weak message. Be good so you can live with him again? Why didn’t He just let me live with him in the clouds in the first place? What’s the point of all this evil and sadness, if he had any real power he’d stop it.
    We’re not protestants, we’re Gods in Embryo!!!!

  6. Fun topic! I’ll provide my missionary pamphlet compositions later. For now, just a few thoughts:

    (1) There’s no doubt that a major approach of missionary work is to stress our common Christianity with other sects. I suspect that given where the bulk of our converts are, statistically speaking, it makes sense to focus there.

    (2) Having said that, I have often felt as you do. I find the more unique, quixotic LDS doctrines to be most interesting, useful, and certainly under-advertised part of the Mormon package. Robinson’s _How Wide the Divide_, much as I liked it, exemplifies in some ways the tendency to bend over backwards a little too much to convince the non-Mormon Christians that we’re really just like them (almost).

    (3) There’s the larger issue, though, of whether much of the renewed focus on “Born-Again Christian-friendly” Mormonism is actually a product of the slow but sure jettisoning of various funky LDS beliefs. It is so in vogue nowadays to “not know” anything about God once being a man, etc., that it isn’t clear to me where we’re going theologically, or where we’ll be in, say, 10 years.

  7. Steve asks:
    “Do you really think that the Church has been de-emphasizing its theological differences in order to get along with evangelicals?”

    I think there is some evolution going on. Is it an intentional movement to please evangelicals? Well, that’s probably putting it way too strong. I think if you look at the resurgence of “grace” talk in LDS thought and discourse, the popularity of Stephen Robinson’s various books, and everybody’s (including Hinkley’s) downplaying of our “God was once a man” talk, there’s definitely movement taking place.

    What does it all mean? Are we “toning down the deep doctrine” (as you put it)? Or are we reconsidering whether some of our “deep doctrines” are really “doctrines” at all? To the extent the evolution I’m seeing is real, does it represent a “change in theology,” or merely a “change in emphasis”? Is LDS rapprochement with others in the Christian world a conscious strategy to make friends and score converts, or is it just an effect of our inevitable theological maturity (and regret that 19th Century Mormonism was so freewheeling)?

    I don’t know. Some of these questions are interesting to me. Others are much ado about nothing, in my opinion.

    Aaron B

    P.S. No, I don’t see Hinkley’s television comments as “doctrinal retractions,” per se. I think it is interesting, however, to ask what they might mean…

  8. The Prophet’s T.V. declarations are particularly interesting. Isn’t the 60 Minutes interview a modern equivalent of say, the Wentworth Letter? I mean, a T.V. interview from Joseph Smith would rank right behind the D&C as authoritative…

  9. Tithing: 10% payments for 100% fun!

    Caffeine, Tannic Acid, and You: Crazy justifications for the Word of Wisdom