Butter Rum Cartoon

Butter Rum Cartoon

Search the Butter Rum Cartoon

Monday, December 12, 2011


Two Mormons came to my door in Everett, Washington around 1990. One was in my face, while the other fellow was obviously the trainee, standing back quietly. I had converted to Catholicism in 1989, and had a collection of material from Karl Keating's "Catholic Answers." Unfortunately, the tract I wanted was hiding -- "Problems with the Book of Mormon." I remembered there was something in it, about bees, that impressed me about the falsehood of the Book of Mormon, but I couldn't remember it enough to tell my visitors at the door.

And so I said to them, "I have proof that the Book of Mormon is false, but I don't know where it is right now. Would you come back in a few days? By then I should have it." They agreed to come back the following week, and left.

Before I even had a chance to wonder where to search for the tract, the two Mormons returned and rang the doorbell. The lead fellow said, "We talked it over...and we won't be coming back next week."

I said, "Here I tell you that I have proof that the Book of Mormon is false -- proof -- and you're not willing to listen to it? If you won't listen to the truth, from now on you'll wonder what that proof was. You would rather believe in something that someone might have proof is false?"

"I'm sorry," he said, "we won't be back." And they left.

By the way, I've since found the tract, and the part I wanted to read to them is: "Scientists have demonstrated that honey bees were first brought to the New World by Spanish explorers in the fifteenth century, but the Book of Mormon, in Ether 2:3, claims they were introduced around 2000 B.C. The problem was that Joseph Smith wasn’t a naturalist; he didn’t know anything about bees and where and when they might be found. He saw bees in America and threw them in the Book of Mormon as a little local color. He didn’t realize he’d get stung by them."

Certainly the history of bees is not infallible, and anti-Catholics would not heed a Catholic tract, but this is not the point. The point is that two Mormons came to the door, I told them I had proof that their book is wrong and invited them to return to find out what that proof is, and they were frankly too afraid to hear it.

I'm picking on Mormons here, but I could have, and almost did, choose Jehovah's Witnesses instead, or scores of other religions. I have several good Mormon friends and my own brother is a Jehovah's Witness, so I don't mean to step on toes. I myself have professed religions that make these seem pretty tame, such as Baha'i, Taoism, and Asatru, to name a few. But the above episode is a perfect example of the conflict between truth and will.

Relativism is a natural extension of the primacy of the will. "Whatever I choose to believe is true for me." And for many years I would seek out religions or denominations that agreed with what I chose to believe, then got in with others who were members of these creeds, eventually and inevitably to be disillusioned and leave. Apparently it was hard to live with myself.

The will is powerful. Hypnotism enjoys its influence. The will has even cured diseases. A fun test you can do yourself, demonstrating will's power is with food. Many foods we dislike we actually choose to dislike, convincing ourselves against taste, texture, source, etc. But tell yourself you now like something you've disliked before, say, oysters, and you will savor them with pleasure. As a kid, I hated macaroni and cheese, even though I'd never eaten it. I didn't like its looks. One day my parents forced me to eat it. In rebellion, I kept my mouth almost closed, and shoved the macaroni and cheese in, making a cheesy mess on my lips. It was good! And for a long time after that, I ate this delicacy with my mouth almost closed, messing my lips, because I thought it tasted even better this way.

And many of us treat religion like food. We have a term, "cafeteria Catholics," for those who join, or grow up in, the Church, but have trouble accepting all of its dogma, so pick and choose what suits their taste. Brought to extremes, this is what has also brought about massive schisms and countless breakaway denominations.

I was terribly anti-Catholic, choosing to believe unfounded prejudices learned throughout my youth, and when my wife Micki was being suckered in by Catholic friends in the 1980's -- POW! I did not want my wife to be Catholic! After years of arguments, I came to the point that I felt it necessary to learn enough about Catholicism to argue against it with more than my will. So I explored the truth. A year later, I myself joined the Church. It was all I could do, being a new respecter of truth, with my will tagging along behind me.

The will is powerful and important. But truth is existence itself. And to accept truth, and allow our will to conform to it, is to become whole.

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy the following:
A Letter Telling of My Catholic Conversion
To see the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.

1 comment:

  1. I find this very interesting and gives me much to ponder...