(If this post starts out boring fear not, there is a good laugh at the end.)
One of my favorite mission experiences were the times a companion and I used to sit and discuss the Gospel. Elder Rona wasn't actually my companion, but he was in my district and we ended up doing companion switches pretty frequently because of how much we both enjoyed discussing the Gospel and scriptures. I miss that experience. I miss the attitude and environment which allowed for those discussions. I didn't appreciate it at the time, but I do now since such a thing has been almost completely absent from my religious life ever since.
There's a trend I've noticed in the Mormon culture that is almost anti discussion. The only consistent discussion I've been able to have about any gospel topic for a few years now has been with the 12 year old's in Sunday School. And you can imagine how infrequent that is when they have their smart phones to look at during class. Yet even then they are fun to talk to and will discuss a topic fairly openly. No one claims to know it all, no one quotes an authority with a "trump" card ending the discussion. None of them become dogmatic. It's makes for an enjoyable time. They think, and ponder a minute and seem to inherently "know" when the discussion has arrived at the truth. They don't mind allowing different views or opinions in the process. I like hearing and considering what they have to say.
Their minds are unhindered by academic credentials and other idols. I walked into the adult Sunday School class the other week after being with the youth and I thought I had entered a different church. Whether family, friends, ward members, home teachers the overwhelming trend in my experience has been fewer and fewer discussions about scripture and Gospel topics. Whatever leftover remnants of a discussion that can be found are more about conference talks, one liners, or how much we like the current leaders/speakers. The attitude seems to be that by asking questions, thinking more about it, or discussing a topic you must not understand it, you clearly must have missed so and so's conference talk, and therefore need to be educated. I hope that attitude is confined to my small circle of the world, because it's sad. Some go so far as to say the thinking has already been done.
I'm grateful for the blog world for introducing me to folks and websites who enjoy discussing such topics. Ya there's some weird stuff out there, and the discussions are a lot of times in small time delayed fragments with someone named anonymous. But there are some sincere folks who want to discuss the truths of the Gospel.
Oddly one other category besides the youth that seems welcome to discussion are my acquaintances who no longer consider themselves members. I don't always agree with their conclusions but it's interesting none the less that they are by and large far more open to discussion.
I miss those days as a missionary. There was no teacher other than the scriptures and the Spirit which attended our discussions. I only have similar things on rare occasion now. The Spirit of discussion can create lasting friendships.
In other news, there's someone in Utah selling a chair from the celestial room of a temple for $250. Check out the hook at the beginning of the description. "Why yes, as a matter of fact I would like to make my home more spiritual for 1 easy payment of $250." I guess you CAN buy that kind of thing for money.
If only they seller could acquire a picture of a renowned Church leader in the chair. They may have been able to get full retail price.