Friday, April 1, 2011

Warning: The Danger of Casual Friendships Outside of the Church

To assist my readers as they prayerfully prepare for General Conference this weekend I would like to highlight a story from the current April Ensign that a member of my stake submitted last year.  I am very proud to see this story published and know that members can learn much from it as they interact with those who are not of our faith.  The link is below: http://lds.org/ensign/2011/04/listening-at-last?lang=eng
I would encourage you all to read my article alongside the Ensign article for clarification.

In this story we learn of a young single man (almost in his mid twenties I might add) who had developed a casual friendship with someone of the opposite gender even though they didn’t share the same faith.  

The story then goes on to warn us of the dangers of such friendships.  While it is important to have acquaintances outside of the church (in order for effective missionary work to occur) when these develop into friendships many problems can arise.

In the article the young man arranges to meet up with his non member friend and justifies to himself that this is not a date.  He explains though that as he got closer to the place where they would meet, a voice inside his head said, “You’re supposed to date only people who have high standards.” “This isn’t a date,” he thought. “I’m just getting together with an old friend.” The Spirit repeated the warning, pushing until he realized it was indeed a date and he then began to wonder about his friend’s current lifestyle. 

He rationalized that the woman knew he was LDS and justified himself that because of this there wouldn’t be any problems.  I would just like to add here that this is exactly how Satan traps us.  He makes us think that seeing a non member friend is not harmful….and thus it is that Satan lures many into traps from whence he hopes they will never return.

The young man however followed the promptings of the Spirit and called his friend to cancel.  When he got on the phone though he became afraid of offending her (I should note that this yet another of Satan’s lies.  He whispers to us that we had better not offend another in order to keep the standards our father in heaven has set for us).  The young man doubted how he would be able to explain spiritual impressions to a friend who doesn’t appreciate the mission of the Holy Ghost (are you seeing the hold that Satan is gaining on this young man at this moment? To a stake president it is crystal clear). 

Whilst talking on the phone to his friend the young man was not bold enough to tell her that the spirit had whispered to him to stay away from her due to her low moral standards, so he simply made an excuse that he wasn’t comfortable with one of the activities they had planned on.  She however slyly offered to meet anyway and do something different.  The young man seeing no other option agreed to this.  This is why I always advocate being up front with non members from the start.  If they want to be friends with us then they can come to a sacrament meeting or church activity.  This is the way of safety that the Lord intends for the dual purpose of not only protecting us, but of bringing non members unto Him.   

The young man kept feeling intense anxiousness as the spirit continued to warn him of the upcoming danger.

After they met though they ended up having a fun time together (can you see Satan trying to lull him into a false sense of security?).  The spirit who is always there to warn us against the forces of Satan would from time to time, tell him that the earlier warning was still important.  At first nothing seemed concerning, but as the evening progressed, it became clearer that they were headed in completely different directions. This became undeniably obvious when she ordered a glass of wine!  Acting under the influence of the spirit the young man quickly and without hesitation explained that he would not pay for alcohol and that she would have to pay for it herself.  As a stake president I commend such action. 

As dinner wrapped up, the young man was on the edge of his chair, eager to go.  Not only was the young woman likely intoxicated from her glass of wine, but also the evening’s last train was leaving soon and he knew he had to get away from this dangerous situation. 

Now, pay close attention to how Satan used this glass of wine to influence the young woman.  I will quote from the article; “Aware of my worry, my friend said I could sleep at her place”!!!! 

The Spirit knowing that his eternal salvation was at stake would not leave the young man alone and he knew that staying was not an option.  But instead of racing to get the last train back the young man walked her to her home where she again had the opportunity to tempt him as she asked “Are you sure you don’t want to stay?”.  We know that she wasn’t forward or offensive, but was subtle and discreet.  The Spirit quietly spoke more clearly to the young man than even the sound of thunder.  The young man knew he could under no circumstances miss that train.

As soon as the young woman was in her house and out of sight he ran as fast as he could to the train station all the while thinking of Joseph in Egypt when he ran from a similar temptation.

This is where the story ends, but as I mentioned earlier this man is a member of my stake so I will take the liberty of giving you the rest of the story.  Ensign readers might leave with the impression that the young man caught the train and made his way home, but this was not the case.  On the contrary a concerned policeman seeing him running at top speed stopped him.  By the time the young man was able to catch his breath and convince the officer that no crime had taken place he had missed his train.  He admitted to me that on several occasions as he lay in the cold cheap motel room that night he thought of the warm bed and company that could have been his had he not been a faithful church member and priesthood holder.

This young man is still single, but I know that the Lord blesses him as he continues to follow the promptings of the spirit in his daily endeavors.

38 comments:

April said...

Flirting with temptation is a real problem, especially for men! I find it difficult to find a descent man to date & often it can be traced to poor decisions he made as a young man. Once they cross over to the devil's lair they seldom know how to get back.

- April, a single woman

Dave said...

Wow, I'm not sure he did the right thing even by staying at the dinner. If members of the church are around anyone who is ordering a glass of wine I think we should just leave immediately. If you are in a place where alcohol is present Satan is going to be there too!

That is why I am very distressed that our Church is permitting restaurants in the Church-owned City Creek Center in Salt Lake to serve alcohol!! That means the rent payments made to the church by these restaurants will be funded by alcohol sales. Its the devil's money!

April said...

Dave,

Where can I find facts to support what you say? I can't imagine our church GA's would EVER do such a thing!!! How do I know your aren't just making this up to speak evil of the Lord's annointed?

Dave said...

Here is a recent article on it:
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/51045323-79/creek-center-salt-lake.html.csp

I work in one of the buildings next to City Creek so this has been a topic of discussion around here.

April said...

This brings up concerns & questions, like since when did it become ok to serve God & alcohol at the same time? Isn't that like serving 2 masters? What about avoiding the very appearance of evil? What about hypocrisy? This is really wrong; I thought the true church put God first & He was to be served, not the world. And since when did the church have a "real estate arm" (per he link dave included). What other church arms are there? I thought it was about eternal life & salvation, not making money with the world.

Roger said...

Thank you for pointing out this article. It behooves priesthood holders to realize the true the source of feminine wiles. Their uncanny ability to read our minds is not of this earth. This is especially true with seemingly friendly women who do not share our standards and beliefs.

Here's a good rule of thumb. I've found that when members of the opposite sex presume to initiate social contact with a priesthood holder the Spirit is offended and quickly withdraws. We don't always make a big deal about this in church, but setting up dates is strictly a priesthood responsibility. (Not very PC I know, but we don't care about the world's standards.) Lack of respect for priesthood authority is one of the easiest ways to detect when things are not in accordance with Gospel principles.

Thanks so much for your post. Do you think being Facebook friends with single members of the opposite sex who are not LDS fails to "avoid the appearance of evil"? Am I sending the wrong message about my lack of approval of their standards?

Daniel said...

I am thankful for your words this day about the corrupting presence of non-Members. It's a shame we can't all live in Utah (although there are many Gentiles there these days). I often find that just casual contact with their women has a tendency to inflame desire.

Strangely, just when I find myself losing the resolve to resist their advances, they claim they never made any advances in the first place.

Clearly biding their time. O they are wily temptresses.

Anonymous said...

I get the sense that some of the comments are tongue in cheek, but the fact of the matter is that the Ensign article illustrates a common real-world situation: how do we stand up for our beliefs while living in the secular world? All joking aside, I think the gist of the article is spot on, even though it's something that not everyone wants to hear. You should always cut off contact with that which pollutes you. If that's unwholesome people (even family), so be it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous -- whatever establishes a negative, polluting influence in our lives needs to be "plucked out" and removed. I started doing this with several of my friends from high school and college, and it seemed very refreshing and helpful. Then I realized that many members of my ward also had negative influences on me, so I started shying away from them. Recently, I've noticed that I think bad thoughts even without external stimulus. I'm wondering if it is possible to physically isolate and surgically remove the brain matter within me that generates this negativity. In any case, I'm glad that we are given this guidance -- it has provided a nice focus for me, and has given me a very good intellectual challenge as finding ways to extract all of the negative influences from around me is often challenging.

Matt said...

@12:05: meta-Poe? It's so hard to tell...

Lynn said...

Anon #1 and 2, my family cut off contact with my gay brother 7 years ago when he was 21 (I was 13 then). Although hes one of the more sane members of the family he and his partner are not invited to family functions. Hes actually super nice and I miss him but am kinda afraid to go against my parents on this. I guess it doesnt matter cuz hes not going to be sealed with to the rest of us in the CK.

Daniel said...

Quite right, Lynn. Even though the world would tell us it is cruel to disown someone for being gay, Jesus said that he was sent to bring discord between family members, so you're really just doing what he says.

For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
...
A man's enemies will be the members of his own household.


He also said:

And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

I'm not sure if this refers to literal eyes. I'm going to guess probably not. President, any thoughts?

another anonymous said...

Anonymous 4/2 6:34pm I totally agree with you! I add by concentrating on & focusing on all the things to avoid, shun, remove, my attention to those details keeps me distracted from more important, creative things & after all,isn't this the gist of the counsel given!

Another great message from the post teaches one how to utilize living in fear. Hmmm, who else wants us to live in & with fear? What a subtle, deliberate almost obscure message.

Daniel said...

another anonymous: Satan often tries to mimic the Lord's methods, but those with discernment can easily tell the difference.

diogenes said...

General Conference is wonderful. It is amazing how the spirit works. President P here warns us to separate ourselves from evil people, and then Elder Cook yesterday gives a wonderful story of relief society women going through a lost purse. What a wonderful tool of discernment. Whenever one's friend is not looking, go through their purse or wallet and see what is there. You might find a library card and know that they are a dangerous intellectual or that they have seen an R rated movie. Who knows? The small things in their purse/wallet speaks volumes of their character. What a wonderful source of discernment---that and offering to shake their hands.

Stake Pres. said...
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Heidi's Hodgepodge said...

I love you President P, and all your faithful followers! Thanks for cheering up my day with your narrow minded, condescending, and dogmatic world views. XXOO! :)

diogenes said...

Linda, how funny. You called President P and us, his devoted followers, "narrow minded, condescending and (having) dogmatic world views" I heard sometimes people use satire on the internet. I suppose that your comments mean just the opposite--- that we are truly open minded, humble and enlightened. Is that how satire works? Now I see that It means the opposite of what you said. How clever and thank you for the compliment. This internet game is really interesting, but President P's light shines through all it's subtlety....

TGD said...

This post really hit a home run for me. I was literally lead out of the church and into the sin of the gay lifestyle because I didn't heed those warnings of fear and uneasiness that the spirit was giving me.

It all started when I was to travel to the big city of Washington, DC to attend a gathering of gay ex-Mormons. I had never even met a gay Mormon before. I thought I was the only one. I was scared out of my mind! But I trusted the Lord at the time that he would guide me through this and that I should not fear.

To make a long story short, I did meet with them and had a great time. And continued to meet with them. But even though none of them drank alcohol, I found myself suddenly tempted to start drinking. Pretty soon I was going out on my own meeting other gay people and hooking up in hotel rooms for sex. I was having the time of my life!

However, I lost my testimony of the gospel and I truly feel like I've crossed the point of no return. I can't go back. This life is just so much more gratifying and easy to live.

But I will have no chance of raising a family and getting into the Celestial kingdom. The best I can hope for at this time is that I'll be relegated to a terrestrial kingdom ministering angel. And that depresses me greatly.

Stake Pres. said...
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stacy said...

I like GC where pres monson spoke & said we should keep paying our tithing by attending the temple. We need more temple attendance in our lives!!! Everyone should be paying tithing, esp now when there's so much distress. The Temple makes your problems better. Right??

TGD said...

Thank you president for your encouragement. I will have to get re-baptized before the church will accept my tithing money.

I had stopped paying tithing when I left the church and discovered that I was able to afford to buy food and pay down my student loans. When I get re-baptized I'll need to stop payment on them. They will probably go into default but I guess regaining my spiritual salvation is worth the sacrifice of worldly bad credit.

I'm sure the bishop will be excited to see me when I call. I used to be his ward financial clerk back in the day. I helped him write checks to the worthy tithe paying members in order to help them with their rent and over due power bills they weren't able to afford on their meager wages. I took great satisfaction from that calling in that I was truly helping the poor and needy.

One time a non-member called to ask for food assistance but was turned away. But because I had been working in that calling, I was inspired to help of my own will. Rather then give fast offerings for a few months, I bought that non-member family an entire months worth of groceries. It carried them over until the father was able to recover from his knee surgery so that he could find employment again.

The bishop, who is an accountant at a large firm, told me that I'd have to pay a little extra each month to make up my for missing fast offerings for those months.

The bishop was truly a blessed man. I used to collect and process his tithing submissions. Every three months he would write a generous $10,000 check to the church. I guess his generosity was why he was blessed to be the bishop.

Stake Pres. said...
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Sunshine said...

Good post Patterdude, but you don't go near far enough. It ain't enough to have a 'mormons only' filter. You also gotta watch out for liberal limp-wrists. My daughters are still a few years away from all that, but dang - have you taken a look at your current crop of deacons?

Good gravy - I was sitting there in the foyer on our youth night, and a bunch of Cub Scouts came by with their leader, polling people "what do you do to save the planet". I was so taken aback, it was all I could do to stammer out "I support our military, and I vote."

Please, patterman, tell us what you plan to do to rail against the evil of liberalizm creeping into our numbers!

Amy said...

President, I tried to post your blog to my facebook wall and I saw that somebody had marked it as abusive. It was probably an apostate. This just goes to show that everything the church says about apostates is true. I found a way to post it anyway.

Amy said...

Lynn, there comes a time to Stand for Something. Just like President Hinckley said. I think that time for you is now. Just my opinion.

Stake Pres. said...
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Frank said...

President, would you share your thoughts about this author's approach to sharing the Gospel with non-members? It has me deeply troubled, as I only make non-member friends for the purpose of referring them to missionaries, as counseled by my leaders.

http://bycommonconsent.com/2011/04/11/outreach-ur-doing-it-wrong/

Stake Pres. said...
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Frank said...

Thank you, President, for you sound counsel. I now understand President Packer's warning about so-called scholars.

Because President Packer is watchman on the tower, I believe he saw Gary Lawrence's research in vision, and saw fit to warn the saints against this kind of sophistry and philosophies of men in 1993.

As you mentioned, this is clearly the path of the adversary, and is most certainly detrimental to building the Kingdom of God on Earth and preaching the Gospel to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people in this the greatest and last dispensation of the fulness of times, where all things in Christ might be gathered together in one, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, which, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ’s.

4 8 15 16 23 42
If the world can find out these numbers, so let it be. Amen.

Stake Pres. said...
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Jill said...

Is this a real blog?? I can't tell. The only reason someone couldn't be friends with a nonmember is if they are weak loser.

Jill said...

Nevermind, I read more and I feel stupid that I thought it was real. Hilarious though!

Stake Pres. said...
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Anonymous said...

Here's how my dear wife and I have met some of these challenges. We have three younger children and occasionally like to spend the night at their friends' homes or have their friends spend the night at our home. There is no way we could trust a non-LDS family to keep our kids safe at night so we only let our kids stay overnight at the friends of LDS families. Whether we know them well or not, if they are Mormon, they are safe.

But, we are comfortable having non-LDS kids stay the night at our home. They get a chance to observe our obedience to the Lord and our godly standards. Some of these parents have caught on that we will host their children but don't trust us with ours. One mother of my son's friend became very upset when I told her our kids could not sleep at her home because her family didn't maintain the necessary Mormon standards. Although they will not speak to us now, I'm sure they will want to meet the missionaries when they come to their senses.

Stake Pres. said...
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Anonymous said...

Wait.. Jesus drank wine.

I'll bet the girl thought she was having a night out with her gay friend.

Anonymous said...

Is this blog FOR REAL???? It's hard to tell because everything I'm reading is so ridiculous.
A. If you live outside of UTAH and refuse to have nonmember friends then you won't have any friends at all. And FYI friendship can lead to really powerful missionary experiences.
B. You should not be cunning and fake and make friends just for the only purpose of sharing the gospel-they are real people, maybe try to be a real friend first.
C. Women are not magicians and hold no magic power over you. Man up and take full responsibility for your own thoughts feelings and actions. Even if a woman is trying to "lure you in" you are in full control, not her.
D. Quit judging people who drink alcohol. And coffee. And who do anything different from you. THEY have not promised to follow the word of wisdom so stop expecting them to.
E. Most of the comments and people here are ludicrous. I'm embarrassed by lds members like this who ruin our reputation.