Darkness to Light Home Page
Books and eBooks by the Director
Lets Really Love the Mormons
By Gregory C. Vettel
"The spirit that I have seen may have been a devil, oh, but the Devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape" - is as true and profound a statement today, as when uttered by Shakespeare's Hamlet centuries ago.
The sentiment of such a line is that the Devil is the master deceiver, and such a thought certainly accords with Scripture. The Bible tells us that Satan, "transforms himself into an angel of light," whose works are evil and whose ends are disastrous (2Cor 11:14).
Jesus' own words were that the Devil was a, "murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth" (John 8:44). Therefore, it should not surprise us that Satan comes to us with temptations, philosophies, and even theologies, that are pleasing and attractive. Even the Devil realizes that one is able to catch a fly easier with honey than with vinegar.
However, while many of you may be quick to agree that Satan is the master painter, who paints the cruel illusions of power, wealth, and lust in order to trap the souls of men, few of you will have the courage of making specific application of such truth.
In a world where tolerance is demanded, we Christians are often placed in the uncomfortable position of prophet, to declare the evils of our own generation. We must, however, if we truly love those who are lost in Satans wicked web, cry out the warning that the apple is poison regardless of how tempting and inviting it appears to be.
Forgive me for not respecting the tolerance of our time, but one clear example of Satan's work of deception can be seen in the case of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or as they are more commonly know, the Mormons.
Writing as an ex-Mormon, I can certainly affirm the many positive qualities for which Mormons are often recognized as possessing. Mormons are known as good neighbors, folks with good conservative values, and as people who are strongly committed to family.
Certainly, not all Mormons are shining lights of morality, but neither are all Baptist, Lutherans, or Charismatics. Granting room for improvements by members of all faiths, it can be generally stated that the Mormons are successfully portraying themselves as fine Christians who are seeking to serve God. But is this the case? Is Mormonism Christian?
Should we concern ourselves, as believers in Jesus Christ, with the task of exposing Mormonism as a deception which is not Christian at all, but rather a fine example of Satan's creative abilities? The purpose of this article will not be to contend the orthodoxy of Mormonism; but instead, assuming its deficiencies, shall zero in on how to share the love of Christ with those who are its victims.
The following suggestions are those which I have personally found helpful in sharing with Mormon people. I left the Mormon Church just about ten years ago, at the ripe old age of fourteen. I guess that is one thing that I still hold in common with Joseph Smith. I left Mormonism at the same age that he discovered it!
Over the past ten years I have shared the Christian message with many Mormons in many different arenas. Some have been my own family members who have remained Latter-day Saints (LDS), some have been young Mormon Missionaries who wanted to reconvert an old stray, and others have been angry enough by my concerns over Mormonism that they wanted to hit me.
Regardless of whether on the streets of Salt Lake City, at the Manti Miracle Pageant, or through friend-shipping with Mormons in a work environment, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with Mormon people has become the burden of my life. Having been where they are now, and being now where they are not, I know that my life's goal shall be to help other Mormons discover the true and authentic Christ of the Bible.
What joy my heart knows in understanding that Jesus saved me by His grace, and that I am not dependant upon an ecclesiastical organization, but rather upon a personal and living relationship with Jesus Christ, my Savior. It is my contention that genuine love does not hide behind platitudes and tolerance. No, real love warns those in eternal danger that they are standing in the shadows of the enemy.
An enemy so cruel and so evil, that he would use a perverted form of Christianity to deceive sincere people into a Christ-less eternity. If we Christians really loved our Mormon neighbors, friends, and family members, then we would speak to them the truth in love. May the following suggestion lead to that end in greater and greater ways.
1. Christians must again become students of the Bible.
Before the reader considers such an opening suggestion to ring with sarcasm, allow me to propose that Biblical ignorance appears to be at an all time high, both in and outside of the church. We Christians simply are not disciplined to a regular and committed study of God's Word. It is not uncommon to have only one or two at the most in an average Sunday school class who can honestly report that they have completely read the entire Bible. As James has written, "Brethren, these things ought not to be so!"
The Scripture is God's treasure chest to those who are called His children, and, "it is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword" (Heb 4:12). How can we hope to have victory in sharing spiritual truth with those who are lost in darkness if we have not the Scriptures to share with them or to refer to? It is a tragedy that so many Christians are kept from being an effective witness for Christ because they are unprepared solders who have not the slightest idea of how to use their weapon.
However, an even greater tragedy would be to remain in ignorance. Might I suggest that each of you make a commitment to completely read the Bible during this next year, and as you do ask God to make His Word become dear to you. There are some to whom memorization of God's Word comes naturally, sadly I am not one of those people. What fluency I do have with the Scripture has come over time and regularity with God.
Just imagine, if you were to commit to regular time with God's Word for the next five years, there is a good possibility that your knowledge of where it says what, would be improved. I believe we Christians need to see our commitment to reading and knowing God's Word as a sacrifice for others that we might be prepared at all times to give an answer for the hope that lies within us (1Peter 3:15).
2. Christians must learn to respect and act graciously towards Mormons.
There is no quicker way to offend a person, and in turn lose the right to share Christ with them, than to insult what they consider sacred. Proverbs 18:19 tells us, that "a brother offended is harder to win than a strong city." We must, like the Apostle Paul of old, walk into the Areopagus of Mormonism and compliment the religious sincerity of the Mormon people (Acts 17).
Respect is not equivalent to agreement, but it is the right starting point for Christians to take when granted the privilege of sharing with a Mormon.
3. Christians must learn to grieve for those lost in Mormonism.
Bill Bright, president and founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, states in his book, Witnessing Without Fear; that the shedding of tears for those who are lost and without Christ is a necessary part of the witnessing process.
I believe we Christians must seek to genuinely understand what it would be like to stand before Christ, believing we had done all manner of good in His name, and then hear Him say, "depart from Me, I never knew you."
Mormons are not scoundrels to be theologically tarred and feathered, they are usually convinced individuals who have been deceived. They are men and women created by God for His good pleasure, but Satan has captured their loyalties through trickery. We must not seek to capture Mormon scalps; but rather, we must learn to be burdened, yes, to the point of tears at times, for these fine people who desperately need Jesus Christ.
4. Christians must get off the ropes and be offensive with Mormons.
I cannot emphasis this particular point enough. So often I hear the complaint from Christians that it is just too difficult to talk to members of the cults. Talking to Mormons seems to make many Christians nervous, because they are afraid that they will not have the right answer with which to respond.
We must wise up in our witnessing strategy and realize that it is not the Christian's job to simply answer all the problems and critiques that Mormons have against Christianity. Too terribly often Mormons win the witnessing contest because they have controlled the conversation, asked all the questions, and have consumed all the time. Do we not realize that in most cases Mormons win by default, because we are either too afraid to talk with them or we fail to be aggressive enough in asking our own questions?
We are so busy attempting to defend the whole of Christianity in desperate fashion within a twenty-minute conversation that Mormons never have to defend their position at all. Why can't the Christian seek to have answers as well? We Christians need to stay off the ropes, and tactfully seek to direct conversations to the crucial theological questions.
5. Christians must learn to stay focused on one or two issues at a time when talking with Mormons.
Jim Spencer, author of several books regarding Mormonism and an ex-Mormon himself, speaks often of, "running around spiritual mulberry bushes." What he means by such a phrase is that far too often when Christians are sharing with Mormons it ends up being an endless chase from one doctrine to the next without resolving any one particular issue.
Again, this is simply a matter of being strategic in our witnessing. Does it not make sense to define the perimeters of ones conversations? The next opportunity you come across in sharing Christ with a Mormon, simply suggest that you talk about one thing at a time. It is quite common that the reason for running around the mulberry bush is because you have asked a question that the Mormon does not have an answer for, and so they respond by simply referring to another problem that they have with Christianity.
In my witnessing opportunities, I have chosen to address the nature of God (specifically is there just one or are there many), and/or how does a person receive salvation from God?
These are two concrete and specific areas where Mormon theology is totally contrary to orthodoxy; and therefore, I speak confidently to these matters. Christianity affirms a triune God who is one being (Deut 6:4, Isa 43:10, John 8:58-59), and not a glorified, resurrected, exalted, human being, who is only one god in a long line of existent gods with millions more to follow.
Christianity teaches that mankind is saved completely because of Jesus' divine work on the cross of Calvary and that we are saved only by God's great grace (Eph 2:8-9, Rom 4:4-5, Gal 3). Mormonism, however, teaches a works salvation which requires numerous additions to Christ's work in order to be truly saved.
The Bible tells us that Christ's final words on the cross were, "it is finished," and finished means that salvation has been purchased completely by Christ's atoning sacrifice. I will not talk with a Mormon, unless previously arranged, about any other topic until we have first settled the nature of who God is, and how a person is saved.
I will gently remind the Mormon, who often gets frustrated by such confinements, that we have not yet settled our first concern. We Christians need to stay focused in our conversations with Mormons, otherwise we will endlessly chase after the winds.
I have suggested five steps or helpful hints in witnessing to Mormons, and I have done so with the hope that you will be encouraged to go and make disciples out of these wonderful people (Matt 28:18-20). However, what I have shared with you, I admit is by no means profound. In fact, there may be some readers who are disappointed that this article lacked creative new concepts that would be guaranteed to defeat all Mormons at all times.
Well, if there are such concepts I certainly do not know of them and frankly I do not believe that they exist. The reason that I sought to be most basic in my suggestions is simply because they are foundational concepts of witnessing, without which we can never progress further into dialogues with Mormon people. How can we hope to deal with the details of Mormon theology when we are not prepared for the most basic ideals of sharing Christ with others?
I prefer the title of realist over pessimist, but if we are doing such a great job in our witnessing, then why are many former Christian church members now sitting in Mormon ward houses? The fact is, we Christians need to individually ask God to help us improve our abilities and our desires for sharing the good news of Jesus with lost souls.
We have Jesus' promise that He would be with us until the end (Matt 28:18-20). We know that our job is simply to water or plant but God is responsible for the growth in people's lives (1Cor 3:5-7).
If we truly loved the Mormons we would read and know our Bibles. If we truly loved the Mormons we would show them kindness and respect. If we truly loved the Mormons we would grieve over their lost condition. If we truly loved the Mormons we would be courageous in our witnessing with them, and ask them to defend their beliefs instead of living on the ropes.
If we truly loved the Mormons we would keep them focused and challenge them to deal with the Biblical evidence regarding significant doctrinal contentions. If we really loved the Mormons we would see beyond their spiritual facade and realize that these nice people are in horrendous spiritual danger. My question is do you really love the Mormons?The links below are direct links to where the book can be purchased from Books-A-Million.
Suggested Reading List:
Witnessing Without Fear ; by Bill Bright.
Ex-Mormons, Why We Left, by Latayne C. Scott.
Have you Witnessed to a Mormon Lately?, by Jim Spencer.
Mormonism , by Ed Decker.
Kingdom of the Cults , by Dr. Walter Martin.
The Mormon Corporate Empire, by Dr. John Heinerman and Anson Shupe.
Mormonism, Mama, and Me , by Granny Thelma Geer.
The above article originally appeared in The
Shield newsletter in 1991.
It was posted on this Web site February 1998.
Mormonism Cults and Aberrant Groups
Text Search Alphabetical List of
Pages Subject Index
General Information on Articles Contact Information
to Light Home Page
Click Here for Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla