Monday, April 7, 2008


Several years ago, when we were newlyweds, my lover and I attended a conference session at the newly built Conference Center. I took these pictures while we stood in line, waiting to get in.

Anti-mormon evangelical protesters outside the Conference Center. Waving bibles, shouting through bull horns, holding sign-boards that displayed, at best, aggressively condemnatory biblical verses, at worse, tacky hand-painted images of early church leaders burning in hell. And waving garments. They had fistfuls of old garments and they were waving them in the faces of the people lined up to attend conference.

Honestly, I am not sure why I took these pictures. I happened to have my camera on me and felt compelled to record the events of that day. We were their captive audience, maybe I was just making the most of it by making them my captive subjects. Frequently I have pulled out these pictures, looking at the faces, trying to re-read the signs and trying to remember the things that happened in between the instant of the photo; exactly what this person or that was saying, if any members were engaging with the protesters, the various different ways both members and protesters had of dealing with the charged close proximity.

I find myself almost as fascinated with these protesters as I am repelled by them. Even as one who no longer believes much in the claims of the church I find the accusations of anti-mormon Christians ludicrous and hypocritical. Do they really think that their clapboards and their shouting are going to bring someone to Jesus? I mean seriously, has any market research been done to determine the efficacy of these types of protests in de-converting someone from Mormonism to "Christianity"?

Mentally, I try to find where these anti-mormon protesters fit in amongst other various groups who protest other various government and corporate actions. Is there any similarity between a person protesting the American presence in Iraq and a person waving special underwear at a group of religious people?

anyways... just some of my thoughts coming out of this weekend's general conference. Wonder if it was any of the same people and signs cropped up this year.


angryyoungwoman said...

A few months back we had some protesters (sp?) at our church. My dad was driving my to his house to have dinner and we drove right past them. Dad got all worked up, very angry, but I just couldn't stop laughing. I think it's because it seemed so counterproductive--you don't convince people of your message by protesting against them and telling them they're going to hell, you convince them by talking to them.

My dad was seriously upset at me that I would laugh at something so serious as these people "attacking the church," but I really couldn't help myself. I really wanted a camera at the time, too, so I could post pics on my blog.

G said...

I think my favorite pic was one that a mission companion took- her and her comp were shopping on P-day and this guy wearing a clap-board sign (similar to the REPENT or PERISH one in my pics) saw them and began to charge full speed screaming all sorts of anti-mormon crap. she snapped this great pic of him running, arms waving, clap-board swinging, mouth wide open, face contorted. then they got in their car and drove away.

AYW, ya, I don't know what getting upset will accomplish, these guys are a pretty fringe element. Might as well laugh. I wish you had your camera too, would love to have seen those pics.

bones said...

So, a few years ago I was emailing an old high school friend and we got on the subject of religion. She is an envagelical Christian. She tried all her "witnessing" stuff on me. If you haven't heard about that, you can look it up online, but basically, she was just trying to get me to see the error of my ways. Didn't work. Eventually it came out that she has read or heard research that suggests that mormons, in fact, very rarely convert to mainstream Christianity. Generally, when LDS people fall away they become agnostic or atheist. I don't know if that's true, but I do think it's an interesting thought.

G said...

I've heard that too... or that they at least rarely join another religion.

kinda my feelings at the moment. I've attended other churches, but they are unfamiliar, and if I still only believe some of what they say, why join?

though I am impressed with Jana's involvement in The Society of Friends. That seems to have been a very positive thing for her

"Nana" said...

"True spirituality is a mental attitude you can practice at any time." -- Dalai Lama
It would be very interesting to see how spiritual they felt while trying to aggravate and intimidate people who were just trying to get their spiritual glow on.