Over at Mormanity, Jeff Lindsay published a great post about the need for living apostles and prophets. As sometimes happens on Jeff's blog, there were some negative comments from detractors. And that's fine, because the discussion is great.
I took the bait and entered the fray. But I confess, I'm not very good at it. I have a distinctive approach when it comes to gospel argument, and that is I like to state my piece and get out. I am not a fan of "proving" anything with scriptures or quotations from arcane sources. I don't think it's that I am not eloquent (others may judge that for themselves) and I have been a fair debater through the years. But as I age, I just don't have the energy to fight, and I frankly don't think the spirit of contention is such a great thing.
I haven't always been this way, mind you. There was a time I was ready to bash with the best of them, and my hot head would often get me into trouble. In my response to a particular poster who had it out for all the members posting, I tried to be calm and simply express my view.
Well, after my last response, in came what I consider to be a remarkable response from a Rusty Southwick (who has, by the way, a pretty cool, yet offbeat blog, Rusted Ruminations.) His comment (which you can read in full at the Mormanity link above – scroll way down -- it's about the 43rd comment) starts remarkably well:
"I'm really trying to understand the issues you have with LDS doctrine, but the problem is that you're attacking things that are not LDS doctrine. Your characterization is quite off. Mormons don't believe that our works save us. Those are propaganda talking points, and I've seen it all over the Internet. It's used as an attempt to smear the LDS faith, and if you promulgated it unwittingly, you should be aware of the inaccuracies of propaganda. It's like trying to discredit the U.S. Constitution by means of graffiti. Basically, it doesn't wash. If you call us enough bad things that don't represent us, then job done, right?"
He goes on for six more terrific paragraphs with a clarity that is really impressive to me; the sixth and concluding paragraph:
"So if you want to make a better argument, don't attack things that we don't believe in, and look to be consistent in your application of other criticisms, otherwise you throw out much of the Christian community with the bath water."
I say, Three Cheers, Rusty! Thanks for saying it so well, and for setting an example for me.