Chapter 46 – Mormon Recruiters in a Muslim Country
While I was visiting the travertines of Pamukkale, Turkey, I met a Canadian man and his wife with whom I began chatting that ended up inviting me to meet them out for dinner. They were in their fifties and Mormon. Over kebab meat and pide, they asked me how I felt about religion. I told them I’d gone to Catholic school my entire life but how I’m not religious at all because I think religion is the cause of all the world’s worst problems and how I felt my Catholic upbringing is at least partially responsible for my neurotic way of handling my emotions but also how I respect and would never infringe on other people’s individual right to decide what they believe in. They nodded at what I had to say and weren’t especially pushy about their stance over dinner but, from them, I soon thereafter received the following email.
It’s Daren from Canada. We met in Pamukkale and had dinner together. I hope you are doing well and enjoying your travels! I was reflecting on our time together and some of the things that were said. We really enjoyed the discussion about religion, God, and love/relationships with you and our Muslim host.
You seemed to be turned off from God and religion by your previous life experience. I am sorry for that. Because to me, God and religion are the source of our PEACE, HAPPINESS and PURPOSE. Do you lack these qualities in your life? To the extent that you said you do, I would invite you to give God and religion another try. You have travelled enough to know that there are many different religions and conceptualizations of God. Why throw out the whole idea of God just because your upbringing or exposure to the Catholic religion was negative? I invite you to reconsider your relationship with GOD and promise you that you can find the PEACE, HAPPINESS, and PURPOSE you are looking for by coming to know HIM and his Gospel. As you know, I am a Mormon. I do believe in the reality of a loving Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I do believe that through Jesus Christ, we can be redeemed from our sins, find happiness and peace in this mortal journey, and be raised in the next life to live with God in His kingdom (you will not be a lonely traveler in the next life but will dwell in the presence of God, your family, and others who keep His commandments).
I hope this message is not offensive to you and you will consider what I am trying to communicate to you. Let me know if you have any questions I can help you with.
Daren, your Canadian, Mormon friend in Pamukkale”