Whether or not it was my family’s version of mormonism, or I was actually taught it as being part of mormonism – I somehow got the message that I could influence people’s choices and decisions. If I said “if you just thought about it this way…” someone would rethink their stance and agree with me. I remember one particularly poignant episode in fifth grade where I mentioned the book of mormon to my teacher as “another version of how the native americans” got to this continent. She let me down gently.
I’m not sure what I was expecting. I knew that it was important that (even as a 10/11 year old) I share the good news about the LDS gospel. How people responded was their business. And, if they decided not to talk with me about it, it was their loss.
Yet I found myself oddly disappointed that she brushed me off. And oddly responsible for her reaction. Maybe I didn’t have the spirit.
Now, of course, I look back on that conversation thinking – I was incredibly arrogant. Did I really think I could change my teacher’s mind? The assumption I made was that she had never heard or mormonism or studied it herself. And that she wasn’t currently satisfied with her own spiritual beliefs.
In my own defense, I was only reacting to constant messages I was getting to mention mormonism to a friend – to share the good news a.k.a “the gospel”.
I’m not sure now that I agree that these are good or healthy messages to send to children. Not the message that they are important and can make a difference. The message that their beliefs are right and that they (even as children) have a responsibility to influence others (even adults).
As an adult, I’m working on the process of unlearning this. I have no control over another adult’s actions or reactions. I have no control over what decisions they make.
I can share my opinions and engage in a discussion. But in the end, the only control I have is what I choose to do and how I choose to respond. And is it really good/fair to encourage children to try and convert adults?