Letters to the Editor
Payson Arizona “Round-up” July 23 1980
I commend your newspaper for inviting public comment through letters to the editor.
My curiosity was quickened by an ad in the Rim County News inviting the public to attend a seminar at the First Southern Baptist, to learn about the Mormons.
The meeting was conducted by Mr. Jim Robertson, an excommunicated Mormon.
I was appalled as I sat there for three hours and listened to so-called Christian people, competing with each other, to see who could make the ugliest and most sarcastic remarks about their Mormon neighbors. These remarks always brought laughter from the audience, as if each remark was a victory for those in attendance.
As a career army man, I have travelled around the world, where I seek worship with the Presbyterian faith wherever possible. Life has taught me to have a great deal of respect for all religious faiths.
I especially respect the Mormon officers with whom I have been associated. I have watched them remain on base and write letters to their wives and families and study the Bible, rather than frequent the bars, the nude attractions, and the sinful enticements of a far off land.
One year ago, I attended a meeting at the West Minster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. This college is owned by the Presbyterian Church, however on this occasion a group of Mormon were invited to attend. The business at hand was to create a better feeling between the two faiths, through mutual understanding and trust. Also to discuss the financial distress the college was suffering at that time. The Mormons volunteered the services of N. Eldon Tanner, a member [apostle] of the Mormon hierarchy to head the finance committee. About sixty days later, word reached Phoenix that the
Mormons had contributed some $50,000 to save our Presbyterian College.
Here was an excommunicated Mormon mixing half truths with sacred scripture, to deceive the younger generation. He was challenged by a young Mormon dentist who suggested that he was misquoting the scripture and only telling half the story. Mr Heap asked for a few moments to make corrections. Mr Robertson refused the request and said in an audible whisper, “This is Baptist night.”
Yes, I enjoy my summer cabin in Payson, and have some wonderful, gracious neighbors. But this display of foul play on the name of Christianity was nauseating to me.
As I witnessed this slaughter of Christian principles, certain thoughts kept running through my mind, “Love thy neighbor as thyself. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Col. Joseph P. O’Reilly