Why does the LDS Church send missionaries across the globe? According to the official LDS web site,
“Currently, some 56,000 Latter-day Saints are participating in proselytizing missions around the world. Approximately 75 percent of the Church’s proselytizing missionaries are young men between the ages of 19 and 26. They are referred to as “Elder” because of their ordination to that priesthood office.”
It should come as no surprise that the purpose of an LDS missionary’s mission is to proselytize. My online dictionary defines “proselytize” as:
convert or attempt to convert someone from one religion, belief or opinion to another
So how come 19-year-old Elder C. J. Wolfgramm, serving an LDS proselytizing mission, was quoted by the University of Oklahoma’s official newspaper saying,
“We’re not here to convert anyone, just to let people know the Heavenly Father loves them.”
The Oklahoma Daily was reporting on an event that took place on Oklahoma University’s campus on Monday evening, 6 February 2006. The article, Mormons extend hands to students, was written by Richard Hall. It describes how “Local missionaries hosted a film and discussion outreach event” which was attended by 50 students. The four LDS missionaries showed two films— “Special Witnesses of Christ” and “The Other Side of Heaven”—and then held a question and answer forum.
But I wonder. If Mr. Wolfgramm was hesitant to disclose the real goal of his proselytizing mission (i.e., to convert people to the LDS Church), then how should the students take any answers the missionaries may have provided during the Q&A session?
Please pass the salt.