Today my neighbor and I were walking up at the reservoir and our conversation turned a little strange. I was telling her about my brother's blog post about people who have sex change operations. I made the point that just because a person surgically add or subtract a few parts, that doesn't make them the opposite gender. But the United States government officially will recognize them as such. My neighbor made the comment that some people have the change, but then change back. People are so confused today. As we were walking along talking about this, I noticed a young man (in mid 20's) walking nearby. He went to his car and got in. I joked that he probably was thinking, "This is the kind of thing women talk about when they walk?"
As we were getting the dogs in the car, that same young man drove up and rolled down his window. He had something in his hand that looked like money, and reached it out to me. As I looked at it, I could see it was a fake 1,000,000 bill. I jokingly said, "Oh yay! One million dollars!" He said, "Well, what's on the back is worth a million." On the back was written some thoughts about how we need to repent of our sins and take advantage of the atonement of Christ. He went on to say that he had overheard our conversation and that he agreed with what we said, and that those kinds of things are a result of sin in the world. I agreed that sin seems to be increasing in the world. I thanked him for the fake bill and told him I teach seminary. I told him I'm going to fake out my kids with this in class. He was quite interested and asked about tuition for our seminary. I told him it's free, but just for teenagers. He asked what church, and when I told him, he said, "Can I talk with you for a minute?" I told him JUST a minute because the dogs were in the car already. He pulled over and got out of his car.
He told me that he went to a Christian university in Oakland. He said there were all kinds of denominations represented there. He went on to say that he had rejected Mormonism because of how it started, and because he only believes in the Bible. He was very nice, and not rude or aggressive at all. I went on to explain to him that we believe that an apostasy occurred after the death of Jesus Christ and the apostles, and that a restitution of all things needed to happen as described in the scriptures. I told him that in 1830, the original church of Jesus Christ was restored to the Earth and that we have the same organization today, including a living prophet and twelve apostles. I also told him that we look at the Book of Mormon as a second witness of Jesus Christ, that "in the mouth of two or three witnesses" all things could be established. I explained that it was the record of the people in ancient America, just as the Bible was the record from those in the Holy land. I explained that we believe in modern revelation, and that more scripture could come forth. It was a very relaxed peaceful discussion.
I have to say that what I most enjoyed about our discussion was that this was a young man who was willing to testify to a total stranger. He was willing, as the Book of Mormon teaches, to "Stand as a witness of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places." And he did it kindly, and respectfully. I have such respect for people like him that are not afraid to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, and in such a heartfelt way. I think I'm not always as good at this as he was.
I gave him my religion blog address, so I hope that he will drop by and continue our discussion. I really enjoy discussing the gospel with people who are Christlike. I've been very lucky to find those kind of people online. There have been those whose intentions were quite different, but even then, it was a learning experience for me. But it does give me faith to find good religious people in the world. It gives me hope that our nation still have hope for change.