Monday, September 24, 2012
Are You A Nun?
We enjoy walking along the beach each morning in Goubie, East London. A long board walk fronting the Indian Ocean takes us to the Boating Club and then we walk beyond, along a wide river which flows into the lagoon. If we continue on up river, we feel as if we are walking along into the jungle. We usually walk the Board Walk. However, if we go in the opposite direction we will arrive at the place where two tides meet and an undertow throws up high waves. This is the beginning of Shell Beach where we spent a morning last week collecting sea shells. We went to breakfast at “Heavenly Pancake,” a beech front café were the “sweet pancakes” are more like our American crepes.
As we finished eating, a woman at the next table asked if we had enjoyed our breakfast? Then she engaged us in conversation. Noticing my badge she asked, “Are you a Nun?”
“No, I said. I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In our church “Sister” is a title given to a female missionary. Male missionaries are called “Elders.” We are missionaries--volunteers here in South Africa. We are here to promote higher education for our youth. The woman said she is a member of the Anglican Church and that she and her daughter had just been discussing religion. They had decided that all Christian churches are pretty much the same.
I disagreed. I said that while all church believe in giving service and doing good, only our church has the authority to act in the name of Jesus Christ. That the Catholic church lost it’s authority during the dark ages. And since all the protestant churches are dissenters from the Catholic church, none of them can claim the divine authority needed to act in the holy name of Jesus Christ. Our church was restored by a prophet in 1830, and has the same authority as the church Christ established on the earth. She was interested. So I opened my purse and gave her a “pass along” card. I told her to call the number on the back to get a free DVD and some more information.
Understanding finally dawned. Her face lit up, “Why you are the Mormons!” she said as she gave her daughter a high five. “But are you Mormons really Christians?”
I pointed to the picture of Christ emerging from the tomb on the front of the card and then to my missionary badge. “Of course we are,” I said. Mitt Romney, one of our members, is a candidate for President of the United States. Our church believes in service and it’s love and service that can make a difference in the world.”