Monday, August 6, 2012

Mormons at the Chinese table

What happens when your religion comes up during dinner conversation and by law you're restricted on what you can say?

It gets pretty awkward.

I have come to a decision though. The Church is not allowed to PROSELYTE in China. I understand this and am doing my best to follow it. However, when it comes to defending my Church and clarifying its stances as an organization, I am all up for sharing my true opinion. I'm not teaching Gospel truths or inviting people to come to Church, I'm just clarifying things they've heard about the Mormon Church.

Example #1:

(remember that these conversations take place in Chinese, so my answers aren't as good as they could be otherwise)

Auntie: "I read an article on your church and it said your church has A LOT of money."

Me (flustered to death.  PLEASE DON'T KILL ME COMMUNIST PARTY! PLEASE DON'T DISOWN ME CHURCH!): "If the Mormon Church has a lot of money, they use it to help people. The leaders of my church don't get paid for what they do. They have their own jobs, and then after work they give time to help the Church. They don't get money. The church gives lots of money to help other people. For example, when there was the huge earthquake in China, my Church sent a lot of money and help to China." (I thought about explaining tithing, but thought it'd be too much like proselyting)

Example #2: 

Chinese dad pulls out "7 Habits for Highly Effective Families" by Stephen L. Covey in Chinese.

Chinese dad: "This guy used to be the president of BYU, right? He just died"

Me: "I don't know who the past BYU presidents were. I only know the present one. I know he just died, though, because my friends posted quotes from him on Facebook. He was very smart."

Chinese dad: "Well I heard that he was. He's in your Church, right?"

Me: "Yeah, he's very well known in my Church. He wasn't a prophet or anything though."

Chinese dad reads through the chapters with me. (Be Proactive; Begin with the End in Mind; Put First Things First; Think "Win-Win"; Seek First to Understand . . . Then to Be Understood; Synergize; and Sharpen the Saw)

Chinese dad: "I was wondering which of these chapters is most like what your Church teaches."

Me (After looking over the chapters and their intros): I think they are all very similar to my Church's teachings, but Put First Things First (or in other words, put FAMILIES first) and Think "Win-Win" (working together for a common goal) are the most important.


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So, what do you think? Did I screw up? Did I accidentally proselyte? Please don't kick me out of the Church. And please don't arrest me, I don't want to go to Communist jail.

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