It began for me with a trip our family took to Salt Lake City, and I was talking about the paintings of *Roman soldiers* that I had seen at the Visitor's Center. No one could tell me anything about them, and frankly, a lot of people were alarmed that I was interested in becoming a Mormon. But I love learning about lots of things, and I had the ability then, as now, to learn about things to allow them to enhance my world, not bias it. I would like this journey of discover to continue all of my life.
Anyway, no, I'm in no position to explain Mormons to you. But I can help you take the same path of learning that I have been on since I was 12. It started with getting a copy of The Book of Mormon. The pictures of the *Roman soldiers* are in there, but they're actually images of the story of a group of people in ancient America. In the painting, the man with his arm outstretched is Mormon, and he holds the golden tablets which is where the history of his people were written. That's his son, Moroni, next to him.
The next step in my journey of learning was given to me by a student of mine at the college where I taught many years ago who was about to get married. I had just started working on my genealogy, and I knew how important that was to the LDS church, and I asked her if she would help me understand more about Mormonism. She was kind enough to lend me some material that had been written for children, which was wonderful, and easy for me to understand.
Another thing that I do is talk to the missionaries when they visit. I want to learn how to pronounce things, and I want to see if I have the basic information correct. I think it makes them a little nervous, as if I were giving them a test, or something. But once they realize that I am not challenging, I am just learning, they relax, and share. You have to remember that most people are very defensive about this kind of stuff.
Good luck on your journey of discovery! You will find many other people on the same path. But be warned that this type of information very often brings out people who have *all of the convictions of the uninformed*. If someone starts getting upset, and giving short, simplistic, answers, just change the subject, slowly back away, or run. But don't let those idiots discourage you! The more you learn, the more you will respect the beliefs of other people, and ultimately, other people themselves.
Posted by Brad Hall