Mormon Inquiry

Mormon Inquiry


Mormon convert … kidnapped?

posted by Dave Banack

You read the story and decide for yourself. From the Deseret News, “Missing Mormon convert found in Texas.”

A 19-year-old girl allegedly abducted from her Holladay [near Salt Lake City] home by her Texas parents because she recently converted to the LDS Church has been found at her parents’ house in Texas.

The young lady was aware there might be a problem after informing her parents a week earlier that she had joined the LDS Church. She was so worried she called the police — who gave her good advice: “Detectives told her to lock the door and call 911 if [her father] showed up.” But when her father later knocked on her door, she just let him in. Next thing you know, she’s back in Texas.

The easy observations: Sometimes the cops give good advice. You don’t always have to open your door. Some parents have a hard time letting go. The tougher questions: How does someone joining a different church or denomination (whether the LDS Church or some other one) handle touchy family issues? If you can’t defuse the issue, do you boldly go where no one in your family has presumably gone? Or do you wait and try to bring them around to tolerating (if not supporting) your decision to change your religious affiliation?

Update: Here’s the Salt Lake Tribune story, with additional details: “Detective wants to know: Was Mormon convert kidnapped by miffed parents?

Second update: The wire services have now picked up the story. From UPI: “Did parents kidnap Mormon convert?



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Melissa

posted May 13, 2009 at 9:46 pm


Why would you not to everything in your power to save your child from a cult?



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Dave

posted May 13, 2009 at 10:03 pm


So Melissa, the context of your comment suggests that you are a Christian and that you believe it is okay to commit felonies against Mormons (and against members of other denominations you subjectively define as a cult). Has your minister told members of your congregation that it is okay to commit felonies against Mormons? Or is it just your personal opinion that it is okay to commit felonies against Mormons? Is it just kidnapping that you think is permitted, or are other felonies permitted as well? How about battery? Homicide? (Sort of a Christian form of honor killing, I suppose, to cleanse the family of the dishonor of having a Mormon in the family.) What particular Christian denomination do you belong to, by the way? I would really like to know.
Honestly, it is “Christians” like you that give Christianity a bad name.



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Karen Brown

posted May 13, 2009 at 11:52 pm


I’m not a Mormon, and don’t agree with the theology. But.. she’s 19, so she’s above age, and unless they can prove coercion or something, perfectly free (and legal) to choose her own faith, or lack thereof.
And I would only ‘do anything to save my kid from a cult’ if said cult were either doing bad things to her, or leading her to do bad things (as in illegal, not including ‘not believing what I do’), which, unless its a particularly weird sect of Mormon (and there are some in every group), doesn’t seem to fit them.



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Chino Blanco

posted May 14, 2009 at 6:30 am


Hmmm …
Danielle is LDS.
Her parents are Roman Catholic.
And the crowd cheering on Danielle’s folks for “rescuing” their daughter from the Mormons is presumably Christian.
Golly, if only there were some way to bring these three groups together in the pursuit of a shared objective, surely some progress might be made toward reducing their persistent and disheartening mutual distrust. A coalition maybe?
Oh, right. Nevermind.
Great story, in any case, especially for any reader looking to score another dose of post-8 schadenfreude. Talk about hitting the trifecta …



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Your Name

posted May 14, 2009 at 12:13 pm


Dave,
No,I don’t think its ok to “commit felonies” against anyone. However as parent I understand the desire to protect your children. Mormonism is a poison. It can only lead people down a path of misery.
Brigham Young had no problem teaching his followers that it’s ok to be dishonest to or cheat non-Mormons. He even taught that it’s ok to kill someone who has committed a crime, aka Blood Atonement. He wasn’t a Christian by any stretch of the imagination. Before you start throwing stones at people, saying they give Christians a bad name, maybe you should take a closer look at the men your religion as put on a pedestal, men they call Christians.
Melissa



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Dave

posted May 14, 2009 at 1:14 pm


Melissa, I think you are just repeating things you have heard others say. There were plenty of people in the 19th century who had an axe to grind with the Mormons and who blamed every crime within a hundred miles of Utah on Mormons. The same way they blamed every crime on the plains on Native Americans, every shady crime in the South on enslaved or freed African Americans, etc.
If you want to start throwing stones, look into the role of Protestant clergy in 19th-century group violence perpetrated against religious and ethnic minorities. Yes, they killed people, lots of ‘em. If you think 21st-century Mormons should feel some responsibility for what 19th-century Mormons did, then I assume you, also, accept responsibility for what 19th-century Christians did. Defending the enslavement of African-Americans on biblical grounds, for example, and thereby enabling all the attendant atrocities that went with that institution. You really ought to be ashamed of that.
[LDS history note: It was the suspicion by Missouri locals in the 1830s that Mormons were opposed to slavery that gave rise to much of the group violence directed at Mormons in that state during that period.]
But it is nice to hear that you have changed your tone and now oppose the alleged kidnapping of an LDS convert by her Christian parents.
Say, I notice you didn’t identify the denomination or congregation you are affiliated with. That seems like an important part of the conversation.



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Jonathan

posted May 14, 2009 at 2:44 pm


Melissa, I find your comments troubling, yet sadly common. Your distrust of Mormons, which, based on your statements about Brigham Young, appears to be fueled by frivolous claims originating from so-called “countercult” ministries, many of whom make decent coin stirring up fear and distrust of Mormons. As someone who has studied quite a bit about Mormon history from a broad range of sources, including “countercult” interpretations, may I suggest to you that there are better, more reliable sources out there?
First of all, if you want to see what this 19-year-old girl was taught by missionaries during her conversion, you can see it all on http://www.mormon.org. If you want to see what she would be taught on a weekly basis at a Mormon church, you can access the lesson manuals on the church’s own website, http://www.lds.org. It is all accessible for the public to see. If you want to see what a typical LDS worship service is like, you can go to any Mormon chapel on Sunday. Again, it is all open to the public, and visitors are welcome. You will find noticeably absent any teachings on “blood atonement” or cheating non-Mormons. You may, however, be surprised to find quite a bit on living a Christ-like life, loving one’s enemies, and treating others with kindness and respect (especially those not of the faith).
In addition, there has been a fair amount of scholarship that has been published in the last 20-30 years by reputable academic presses (Oxford, Yale, Columbia, U of Illinois, Knopf, etc.) on Mormonism and Mormon history. These professional, peer-reviewed publications will be a much better source of information than what one finds in the so-called “countercult” ministries, which is unfortunately what some ministers and pastors turn to for information on Mormonism. May I suggest starting with Columbia University historian Richard Bushman’s _Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction_ (Oxford University Press, 2008)? It is a concise introduction that is meant for college and graduate courses, and provides a springboard for learning more. It should be available at your local library or bookstore, or online.
I am simply trying to encourage understanding. While differences may remain, I think it will clear up the fear and mistrust that seems to persist, as evidenced by your comment.



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Andres (mormon)

posted May 14, 2009 at 4:30 pm


As a mormon and having Catholic family I understand why they would feel a bit troubled. She is an adult and has all the right to have joined the church ,but i guess being supported by her parents to go to school i guess she has to back down. I am not saying do not just drop mormonism and forget everything that was taught to you continue readin,but i know people in Texas because i live in Texas they are a bit tougher when it comes to religion. She just needs to hold true to what believes and sooner than later something will happen. Now for people like you Mellisa you are just a stereo anti-mormon. You have no truth to your words you just watch you tube anit-mormon videos and just believe it. I suggest you do the searching and finding and you will see that what others say is incorrect.



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Melissa

posted May 15, 2009 at 9:58 pm


Andres,
Thanks for the name calling; it makes you sound real mature. I know more about the LDS religion than you think. I’ve done a lot of research on Mormonism using LDS resources, and I have spoken to the LDS Missionaries. I’m not so dumb as to believe everything someone says in a YouTube video about Mormonism or anything else for that matter. It’s when someone says something in a video, and I research it using LDS resources, that I take notice.
Thanks again for calling me anti-Mormon, it helps me to know I doing something right. I know it wouldn’t do any good to tell you that I’m anti-Mormonism, and anti-Mormon. You act like it’s a personal attack on you when someone speaks out against your religion. That is the biggest difference between you and me, I have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and you have a relationship to a religion.



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dmt

posted May 16, 2009 at 12:55 am


“You act like it’s a personal attack on you when someone speaks out against your religion. That is the biggest difference between you and me, I have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and you have a relationship to a religion.”
Andres’s reaction couldn’t possibly be because his relationship with Christ is inextricably linked with his religious perspective, which you called “poison”, now could it? And that’s not personal because…?
“I know it wouldn’t do any good to tell you that I’m anti-Mormonism, and anti-Mormon.”
Gee, couldn’t tell.
Notwithstanding the distracting fruits of Melissa’s anti-Mormonism 101 self-study course, the young woman in the story appears to be claiming that she wasn’t forcibly abducted: http://www.sltrib.com/ci_12371520?source=most_viewed



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scarlet

posted May 16, 2009 at 12:32 pm


I think this story is a reflection of the poor way that the church deals with this issue. I am a convert, having waited until I was 18 to join the church because my parents didn’t want me to. Thirty years later, I am still dealing with the pain of marrying in the temple with none of my family members there, and the strain in relationships that this has caused through the years. I am tired of the way members of the church revere people who sacrifice their familial relationships to join the church. Recently at our stake conference, a new convert told of how her parents didn’t want her to join the church, but she joined anyway and didn’t tell them until three weeks before her temple wedding that she was a member. Needless to say, they were devastated. What a sad way for her to deal with it. After the meeting, I was chatting with our former stake president who commented on her remarks and how great they were.
I am really upset at the way we turn these ‘family sacrificing’ converts into martyrs and put them up on a pedestal. I guarantee you if the tables were reversed and a member’s child was joining another church against their will, the family would be appalled. In a church that worships the family, it’s time that church policies reflect this by getting rid of rules that exclude non-member family members from marriage ceremonies. Couples of part member families should have the option of a civil ceremony without the one year waiting period, to follow up with a temple sealing that is attended by those for whom it has meaning. This would go a long way to help create better feelings toward the church by non-members who often feel that they are second class citizens by church members. Our church leaders need to wake up and see that these policies and attitudes are a huge reason why people have negative feelings are suspicious of us.



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Your Name

posted May 16, 2009 at 5:30 pm


Scarlet,
I agree with your position that the Church might want to reconsider its firm persistence on temple weddings. It’s certainly not even an issue for members in many other countries that require a civil wedding (with whatever personal/religious ceremony one wants to be tacked on later). However, I don’t know that the allegations here revolved around the girl’s wedding plans. The initial reports suggested it was a general animosity to her conversion. That’s a much broader issue.
As to ‘martyrdom’ of those who put temple ahead of family, I think it stems from a well-intentioned desire to show solidarity and support for converts who, in their eyes, have forsaken even family for the sake of Christ.



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scarlet

posted May 17, 2009 at 12:32 pm


(However, I don’t know that the allegations here revolved around the girl’s wedding plans.)
I understand that, however, I think that the way we treat non-member family members could be one of the reasons why a lot of people have animosity towards us. When I got married in the temple, my parents were devastated and told many of their friends. Word gets around. My husband’s brother was in high school at the time and a girl he hardly knew (not a member) came up to him and said “I hear your brother is getting married and the bride’s parents can’t come.” This is just one of the many reasons people have animosity towards the church, but I think it is an important one that is often overlooked. Because of the trauma of my wedding day, the temple to me and my family, unfortunately, is a symbol of divisiveness. I saw it over and over again when we served in a YSA ward. My husband, who was the bishop at the time, bent over backwards to try and make the non-member family feel included, but unfortunately not all bishops are as sensitive.
(As to ‘martyrdom’ of those who put temple ahead of family, I think it stems from a well-intentioned desire to show solidarity and support for converts who, in their eyes, have forsaken even family for the sake of Christ.)
I understand this as well, but I think we have to ask ourselves how this kind of thinking is viewed by people outside the church. In my opinion, it is somewhat misguided and totally ignores the commandment to honor father and mother. Thirty years after our marriage, my father still reminds me of how I broke my mother’s heart. We should be helping converts to mend their family relationships, not pull them away from them. Perhaps then, people wouldn’t be so worried when their children join the church and might even be interested in joining themselves. I just think there are ways to do things so that both family and principles can be satisfied.



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dmt

posted May 18, 2009 at 8:09 pm


Scarlet,
I think we’re actually on the same page. I agree entirely with your sentiments that we should strive to mend family relations rather than create tension. I just think that in this particular instance it’s unclear whether the specific issue you raise was involved, so I’m a little unclear as to why you’re putting it front and center. Based on the allegations (and I concede that the facts at this point are still murky at best), it seems that the parents have a general hostility to their daughter’s beliefs. The issues around a convert’s temple marriage are incredibly delicate and we should be less dismissive of the concerns of non-member families than we often are. However, that’s a far cry from allegedly kidnapping a family member out of hysteria over that person’s conversion to those “poisonous” (sorry, Melissa) Mormons.



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Your Name

posted May 25, 2009 at 4:37 am


Scarlett,
In my opinion you have made some great points.A religion that worships the family should do more to preserve it. However I believe that the Mormon view is that unless you are Mormon you are not really family. Mormons believing they are the one true religion leaves no room for outsiders of the church even of it is your fathers mothers and sibblings, extended family friends whoever. It was meant to be a divisive policy and it works it is very divisive.Your mormon and you cannot even deny this as being wrong. If you pushed for policy change on this matter would it be pointed out to you by somone with priesthood that questioning the church policy is not in the place of a mormon and that they should repent and question no more? As for temple weddings according to your own data temples are only being utilized on a regular basis by only 5 percent of mormons. Those who are in good standing and recieve temple recomends are between five to fifteen percent. That also excludes the great majority of mormons as well. Very divisive



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dmt

posted May 25, 2009 at 10:09 am


“However I believe that the Mormon view is that unless you are Mormon you are not really family. Mormons believing they are the one true religion leaves no room for outsiders of the church even of it is your fathers mothers and sibblings, extended family friends whoever.”
Bollocks.
“It was meant to be a divisive policy and it works it is very divisive.”
Bollocks.
“If you pushed for policy change on this matter would it be pointed out to you by somone with priesthood that questioning the church policy is not in the place of a mormon and that they should repent and question no more?”
Bollocks.
“As for temple weddings according to your own data temples are only being utilized on a regular basis by only 5 percent of mormons. Those who are in good standing and recieve temple recomends are between five to fifteen percent. That also excludes the great majority of mormons as well. Very divisive”
You’re mingling statistical data on vicarious temple work with temple work for the living, such as weddings. Bollocks again to your accusation of intentional divisiveness.



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