Last night thirteen people, including Grayson, Bryant, Hannah, and myself, gathered together for prayer, singing, and Bible study during our first monthly worship service at Trinity Mission Health & Rehab.
I stood upfront on a small stage and had been speaking maybe ten minutes when a man raised his hand. When I am speaking and someone indicates that they have a question, I typically ask them to wait until I’m finished. I don’t know what caused me to break my own protocol, but what happened next is a perfect example of why I have one in place.
“Since you brought it up…” I had mentioned the Dead Sea Scrolls and what followed was a series of questions obviously meant to derail the service. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise and each attempt seemed to cause him to get louder until he reached his crescendo—”Do you even believe there is a modern prophet on the earth today?!”
“No, sir, I do not.”
“You’re heading down a dangerous path and I don’t think any of you need to come back here!” Then, turning to everyone else in the room, he said, “Raise your hand if you want to keep listening to this guy knowing he isn’t LDS?!”
There was split second when I thought that he was going to lead everyone out of the room. However, everyone else raised their hands. As I looked over to Grayson and Bryant, I couldn’t help but laugh to myself. Their hands in the air, the expression on their faces was not one of surprise or dread or disbelief, but calmness. This was not a unique situation for any of us. This is part of ministering in Utah.
At this point, a staff member politely asked him to leave and we continued unimpeded. When I finished the lesson, Bryant led us in another song and Grayson prayed.
Before leaving, we all went around and spoke to everyone, gauging their interest and thanking them for attending. One ninety-three year old woman told us that she had been looking forward to our being there and that she thoroughly enjoyed it. She explained that her sons keep trying to convert her to Mormonism but that God has told her not to. Our being there was an encouragement to her. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she said.