A Non-Mormon Religion Professor’s Impressions of Mormon Missionaries

Most students at our small state university in rural New England have had little exposure to the variety of religious faiths. Mormon missionaries knock at their door very few admit having ever invited them into their homes or apartments. I my classes for a visit by the missionaries by focusing on two topics: continuity and commitment. The first topic leads us to a discussion of religious tradition, and I attempt to draw attention to the natural resistance that develops against any new religious movement, particularly a faith that claims to have a living prophet and new books of scripture as does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Students can better understand the persecution endured by the early Mormons if they are aware of the human tendency to cling to traditional beliefs and to view new beliefs with suspicion or even fear.

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