On the Obligation of Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Be Receptive to the Overtures Made by Proselytizers of Other Faiths
By Ken K. Gourdin
Another poster at Mormon Dialogue and Discussion asked why members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints don’t have a duty to listen to proselytizers of other faiths who call on them when going door-to-door—and, perhaps, to evaluate their truth claims the same way we have evaluated our own: by going to the purported Source. Some responses, in essence, questioned why a listener is obligated to listen to a Ford salesperson when he’s already satisfied with the Ferrari he’s driving.
I understand the merit of that point of view from the vantage point of those who hold it—as far as it goes. (As I note below, to an extent, I am among them.) Nonetheless, as I point out in various way in the links included below, it’s not as simple as deciding who is right and who is wrong, so I wanted to provide a more nuanced view.
I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because I think that’s the best thing going, faith-wise and belief-wise and paradigm-wise. I assume that the same is true of the devout who adhere to other faith traditions. The short answer to your question is that if a person feels there is something wanting in his current paradigm or belief system, obviously, he’s more likely to be receptive when an alternative is presented. If, however, he is content to remain as he is (and, while others’ mileage might vary, in my mind, that includes former, lapsed, or disaffected members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) then my advice to him would be to do the absolute best he can to adhere to whatever belief system he espouses.
Would I listen—would I be more receptive—if I felt there were something wanting in my current belief system? Quite likely. And, as I say, I think that’s probably true as a general rule for most anyone in the same situation.
I then posted links to several other things I’ve written on the Blog, which I believe provide valuable context to the discussion: