Sunday, May 18, 2008

How can I talk my Mormon friend out of talking to my college class?
It's a class on Mormonism, but the history of it. Certainly there is a discussion of theology, but we try to remain impartial as possible. My friend, however, is a new convert--and seems easily crushed if people don't agree with her. I am afraid my classmates will ask her skeptical questions, and she will be upset. She already knows I love her and my Mormon friends, but I don't believe in their theology, so I will be no real help. I'll of course tell anyone off if they are being mean to her; what I worry about is that she'll be wounded by genuine intellectual interest. I have other Mormon friends...former missionaries...who would be great if they could come to my class, because nothing bothers them! And they are very wise about things, but this too, I worry about. She's so new to the faith, she won't be able to answer even softball questions.

If I can't talk her out of coming to my class, how can I make the whole thing easier for her? —Nipivy

If she's a new convert, just tell the class that. She's not going to be a great resource on historical subjects, but it's still a great chance to see the religion from a sociological perspective, i.e. why did you join? what needs did it fill for you? and so on. If they want to ask about stuff she's never heard of, tell her to get comfortable saying "I don't know." The worst she could do is try to defend or deny things she knows nothing about, only to find out later she was wrong.

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