JOEL - Your non-member friend claims there is "nothing written or said that demeans Jesus Christ"? Jesus had only a few people who demeaned and disrespected Him while He was in Jeruselem, compared to the way so many people treat Him now. There must be millions of people on the earth today that take His name in vain many times every day. There are many others who call themselves Christian but, as Jesus put it, "draw near unto me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their hearts far from me, "(2 Ne 27:25) And there are so many others who disreapect Him by breaking His commandments and do not thank Him for what they have.
It is even easier for people to demean Joseph Smith because, unlike Jesus, Joseph was not perfect. He was a mortal man with mortal weaknesses, trying to perform an immortal mission. Any man who claims to be a prophet of God is setting himself up to the ridicule of every skeptic who will put him under a microscope and pick on every little fault they can find or invent. But this is to be expected.
I agree with your response to the non-member. Satan is doing all he can to influence people to contend against the truth. But I'm not so sure that Satan is the only reason for it. I think a lot of people are just doing it because of their own pride, and the fear that what they have always believed in might be wrong. A man called Obert Tanner once said, "Only the confident can afford to be calm and kindly; only the fearful must defame and exclude."
There will always be people who will do these things when confronted with something they don't fully understand or that is different from what they have always been taught. In fact one of the signs of the true church is rejection and persecution from the people that are of the world. If we aren't making somebody mad, we aren't living the Gospel right.
And we know there is opposition in all things(2 Ne 2:11). If we were just a mediocre religion that tried to please everyone and taught only what was easy on the ears, noone would pay much attention to us or persecute us. But when we boldly and without shame proclaim the truth with the power of God behind us, we should expect to receive an equally strong response from the opposite side. I guess that is why it is so important that when we do talk to people about the Gospel, that we avoid contention and do it with love and patience, so they don't perceive us as an enemy. We need to heed the counsel of Alma when he said, "And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?" (Alma 5:14)
When we have received His image in our countenance, others will see it when we talk to them about the Gospel and they will recognize it as something that they want as well. They will begin to question all the rumors and falsehoods others have told them and try to find out what the truth really is.
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