So long as the claims of the gospel are being discussed, even negatively, there are openings for teaching. When people are apathetic, there are no openings at all.
So says Dan Peterson in "Anti-Mormon mockery can actually lead to teaching moments" in Mormon Times. He gives two examples:
In the mid-1850s, a young German schoolteacher read a new book about an industrious and even heroic people with absurdly stupid beliefs. Unable, however, to believe that such good fruits could come from so bad a tree, he determined to investigate the Mormons for himself. In October 1855, Dr. Karl G. Maeser was baptized in the Elbe River, near Dresden. He later became a pivotal early leader of the church's educational system in Utah and, effectively, the founder of Brigham Young University.An elderly missionary at Temple Square one remarked to Peterson concerning the protesters:
". . . truthfully, our visitors tend to be much more receptive when the protesters are outside. Normally, people on our tours are a bit on their guard. But these protests are so offensive to them that they're on our side. The difference is very noticeable."I hadn't viewed things in this manner, but Peterson may be right. He sees all of this as teaching possibilities. Peterson's perspective is well worth considering and he suggests we prepare ourselves to make use of these opportunities.
I still can't force myself to comment on the issue that seems to have prompted Peterson's article though. I've been following it in the news but decided to ignore it in this column -- not wanting to dignify something thoroughly undignified with commentary. So, if you want to know what it is, you will have to read Peterson's comments. Better yet, why not just visit the links below:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)
The Book of Mormon