I just caught word that Ancient Faith Radio will be having an upcoming segment on Mormonism, featuring two former Mormons who converted to Orthodoxy. One is a “cradle Mormon” (a term that Mormons wouldn’t use – they would likely say “born under the covenant”) named Andrew Gusty, who is a doctor, and the other is an Evangelical-turned-Mormon-turned-Orthodox Christian named Chris Ionna Holland. I don’t know anything about these people, whether they are nice, mean, bitter, angry, thoughtful, emotional, logical, etc.
I am unsure whether I want to listen to it. I have found that packaged sound-bytes from apologetic-type sources tend to serve only to Otherize people. In other words, people listen to shows like this in lieu of doing actual research and are mainly looking for ways to treat people they disagree with like they are strange. I am willing to be convinced that Ancient Faith Radio is a better source than this, but I doubt it.
Ultimately, my point is in asking what the purpose of this show is? Is it to share the honest experiences of former Mormon, Orthodox converts? Is it to convince Mormons that they are wrong? Is it to show Orthodox Christians how crazy Mormons are? Is it a neutral, journalistic-type exercise? Is it to show how to “minister” to Mormons? Is it to prevent Orthodox Christians from converting to Mormonism?
Now they do have some former Mormons on this episode, so perhaps it will be a bit more humanizing than I expect. But I don’t know. I want the testimonies of people who weighed a lot of evidence, made a decision, but hold no grudges and feel no need to burn bridges or bad-mouth the place they came from. That’s so rare that I just doubt this show will provide that.
Maybe I’m just approaching this quite cynically, but I really do think that churches ought to re-think evangelism. I think that many attempts to “minister” to Mormons have the opposite effect than the one intended because they attack without understanding, and dehumanize rather than build up.