I got a free book. Should I become a Mormon?

Some Mormon missionaries found me and gave me a FREE(!) book to read, and said I should read it and see if I feel the spirit. I felt flashes of spirit but otherwise it’s just a book so far, and I just finished 1 Nephi.

I’ve been trying to find a church although I am more intellectual than spiritual, I want to be part of a spiritual community because of its lifestyle and instant friends.

I don’t really have much religious passion but everyone has a spiritual side and I am attracted to the idea of joining what seems to be to be a special secret co-ed fraternity. I want to develop my spiritual side. Also they are the only ones who seem to care (enough to actively recruit me).

Give me some STRAIGHT DOPE free for all advice on whether to keep reading brother Nephi, or to run for my life to the nearest mainstream protestant church (or skip religion altogether and go devil/agnostic/atheist/doper)

A friend gave me a free book, too. On the way to see a Mormon Gladys Knight show. Did your Mormon take you to see Gladys Knight? I didn’t think so.

I vote “go devil” (whatever that means).

Hi again!

Go to church with the missionaries. See what the congregation (“ward”) is like. Think about it more then.

I utterly adore my ward (and the last ward I was in was very similar, possibly better) and I can’t even tell you what a great community it has been, with instant friends for me and my baby daughter (and my husband, although being Lutheran he is a little less interested in Mormon friends)… they helped us move, they brought us dinner when my daughter was born, I’ve traded babysitting with some people, we’ve exchanged conversations and friendships and insights and advice and favors and clothes and music and books and recipes and know-how and all sorts of things… advice about doctors and schools and car repair shops and so on. I just got into a long conversation with a friend’s husband about LaTeX a couple of days ago – it was fun to find someone outside of work to bash Microsoft Word with :slight_smile: Before I was active in this ward and the last one, I sometimes felt lonely and isolated, but I never do now.

Plus which (I know this should be the primary consideration, but hey, I’m a heretic) I think I am a better person when I attend church. It helps me deal with things like my propensity towards judgmentalism and the anger I sometimes feel towards people, and it helps me to get my priorities straight and to be a more loving person. And it helps me a lot in dealing with my family, both my parents and my husband/child, and trying not to get frustrated or angry when dealing with (particularly) my parents.

My husband’s Lutheran community is nice, and there are a couple of people we are good friends with, and I like the intellectual atmosphere very much more, but as an overall community and for internalizing important spiritual lessons it is just not at the same level of awesomeness, or even same order of magnitude, as my ward.

Now, be aware that there are a host of intellectual problems it is possible to have with Mormonism. Rhodes and TokyoPlayer touched on a number of them in your other thread. Of course, any church will have its share, I suspect – Mormonism is a little easier to pick on because we’re talking about things that happened 200 years ago as opposed to (e.g. for mainstream Christianity) 2000. That’s something you will have to figure out yourself if you want to deal with it (for example, see some of the links they posted in your other thread). I made the decision that the things I mentioned above were more important; others have made different decisions; and others still have come to different conclusions.

But again, I’d go to church a couple of times with the missionaries first anyway – if you get a terrible vibe and hate it (the ward I grew up in, well, they were nice people, but I never did click with them) and/or decide Mormonism is not for you, well, then, there’s no more to say, and if you absolutely love it, then we can start talking about the rest of it.

I don’t recommend it.

Sure, read the book and learn what all the hype is about. Pray about it like it says in Moroni 10. If the Holy Ghost tells you the book is true, then you’d better join a church that agrees that the book is true. Preferably one with the same doctrines and organizational structure as the one that Jesus sets up in 3rd Nephi, except as far as I know there is no such church. Certainly not the Mormons, ironically.

Or perhaps the Holy Ghost will tell you that the teachings in the book itself are less important than the teachings of the “Author and Proprietor” of the book, Joseph Smith. In that case, you’d better join a church with the same doctrines and organizational structure as the one Joseph Smith set up in Doctrine and Covenants. There are a few organizations like this. Not the mainstream Mormons, ironically.

But I think the best advice I can give is to think long and hard about whether your feelings are really supernatural manifestations of the Holy Ghost, or simply your own warm fuzzy thoughts. And if you don’t get any warm fuzzies, then clearly the book has zero credibility since in it God promises that you will.

sassyfras, as a place to meet great people, I fully endorse the LDS Church. They have also helped me load and unload moving vans, clean up hurricane debris, babysit my kids, and bring a casserole when someone is hospitalized. You will also have plenty of opportunites to return the favors, and you will likely meet great friends in the process.

The Mormons try sincerely to accept people with no strings attached. But if you find yourself unable to believe their doctrines and obey their rules, then they may lose interest in you or you may feel judged. Obviously it’s your own personal decision whether the benefits outweigh the costs.

Don’t waste your time reading the book. I wish I could have every second back that I spent reading it. I wish I could have all the brain space back that’s dedicated to remembering all those stupid stories and ridiculous scriptures. Not to mention the hours that were wasted in church, seminary, and all those silly conversations with over-eager baby-faced missionaries. You could literally do anything else with your time and benefit more.

If you want a spiritual home, don’t look to the Mormons. They’re a corporation with the structure of a cult. You’d probably find more spiritual enlightenment selling Amway.

If you read the free book they gave you, then don’t end up joining their church for life, that’s pretty much like stealing from them. Just like getting up to go to the bathroom when the commercials come on.

Just know that you get to say “No” to the Episcopalians only once.

Naw, I’m jus’ playin’. But still…keep it in mind.

I know what you mean here and experienced it in a backwards way. I used to belong to the Methodist chuch, really liked the pastor, etc. I got mad about something a higher-up in church organization on the other side of the country said about a political matter, left the church in a huff. The pastor called me but didn’t do much to try to convince me to come back. Geez, nice to know you care.

So, if your post is serious, just make sure the support department is as good as the sales department, so to speak. I’ve known some wonderful LDS people.

Check to see if your free book has any information on: Seeing Stones, The Mountain Meadows Massacre, Blood Atonement, Sister Wives and Warren Jeffs. You can google any of that or ask your missionary friends. Many Mormons are great people, not all are; fight your ignorance.

There is a lot more to being Mormon than reading their book and showing up for temple. They demand you tithe 10%. You can’t drink alcohol or engage in premarital sex (or admit to doing those things) around other Mormons, PERIOD.

Now of course, in the vein of typical humanity, you can pick and choose the things you do and don’t do in the privacy of your own home. But I think if you’re just spitballing any random religion that you could find something a lot less restrictive and more fun than the church of LDS. At least with catholicism, you can get drunk off your ass around friends from the congregation and not worry about receiving any disapproving glares, or being excommunicated.

Scientologist will give you a free book too. So will the Gideons.

I suggest you not choose a religion based off the price of the religious literature.

If you are really searching for a spiritual religious experience, I’d start by reading something like the Joy of Sects or some other “comparative religion for Dummies.” Or even do one of the online religious selector quizzes (http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Quizzes/BeliefOMatic.aspx). Nothing wrong with mainstream Mormons - lifestyle is a little strict for my taste.

You mean the SDMB community isn’t good enough for you? At least we’re cheap.

In my experience, spending a lot of time trying to convince someone is always counterproductive. Are you sure you wouldn’t have just been upset that the guy was trying to “manipulate” you into coming back?

If so, I may need to reevaluate my position.

Here’s a cite for the bolded part. I have no love for Mormonism as it is, since it’s just a cult started by a con man who wanted all the underage pussy he could get. Be sure to ask the missionaries about temple sealing, holy undergarments, Kolob, and why there’s all those Freemason symbols all over the temples. Also that’s 10% tithing of your GROSS income, not your NET income. I can think of at least two families offhand I knew that lived in Utah that were struggling financially, but to suggest they stop paying $289 a month in tithing for awhile was inconceivable.

The social aspect can be very seductive, but this isn’t a social club. It’s a very restrictive religion that is recruiting you. They’re going to put their best foot forward but you need to remember that salesmen are salesmen first, and your friends second.

My only advice is to take things slow. There will be a lot of pressure to get baptized immediately. I should know, I applied that pressure many a time. Take your time and actually learn something about the religion (from outside sources!) first. The church will still be there in a couple months. Don’t feel rushed to convert just because a missionary is getting moved out of the area.

As a rule, if someone is giving you the all-out charm offensive, it makes sense to be a little wary.

If you are really wanting to find a church to go to for the support system that comes with meeting regularly once a week with a group of people, I would first try to find one that matches your belief system. I found my current church through this site:

I’ll throw in a plug for my own denomination: Unitarian Universalists are not dogmatic about what you have to believe to join.

Was this the ‘main’ LDS church or one of the spinoffs?

You might want to check out some of the churches that have broken away. Depending on when they schismed, you generally will be experiencing a more ‘pure’ form of Joseph Smith’s religion the further back in time the split occurred.

(note, several of them have become defunct, however, bringing one of them back is a possibility if you feel you have ascertained that particular one is the ‘one true’ Mormom church)

Wiki shows, IIRC, around 80 sects of Mormonism. I would suggest you research ALL of them carefully, and then carefully pick the one that seems best to you.
I would give a slight nod to a few of them that strike me as being ‘closer’;

  • Perfected Church of Jesus Christ of Immaculate Latter Day Saints

  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Gibsonites)

  • Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Most High

  • Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

  • Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

  • Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Most High

Best wishes on your quest.

Upon reflection, give these closer scrutiny too, they encompass quite a range of interpretation of Joseph Smiths church:

  • Restoration Church of Jesus Christ (the Gay Mormon Church)

  • True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days

  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Kingdom of God

  • Righteous Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints

  • True Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

  • Church of Jesus Christ, the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife

  • United Order Family of Christ

  • Confederate Nations of Israel
    I will review my materials, there might be a few more on the ‘recommend’ list.

Rhodes says it very well. I will also add that I’ve never felt judged by my current ward, but I felt plenty judged growing up, even though I was arguably a much better Mormon as a kid than I am now, so it depends a lot on the people and how well they understand how to accept others.

While I am not disagreeing with your post as a whole, I should say here that I have always been told that it’s 10% of “your income” where you get to define what your income is based on your own conscience. Of course, many people do define it as gross. In fact I’ve talked to people who define it as gross “just to be safe.” (Let’s not get into the theological problems of that statement… I think that’s one of the top things that turns my husband off on Mormonism, way more than e.g. the coffee/tea, which he doesn’t drink anyway.) My family always defined it as net, and so do I; if the government taxed at 90% I don’t think anyone would say you were expected to live off nothing.