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MORMON STRATEGY FOR PROSELYTIZING NEW MEMBERS AND HOW TO DEFUSE THEM AND WITNESS EFFECTIVELY
The Mormons have over ten million adherents around the world and 50 thousand missionaries. Even though they are not growing at the pace they had in the past, they are still winning converts. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has a very aggressive goal and a strategy to accomplish that goal. Most people are not aware of this and have thus fallen pray to these unbiblical teachings.
In this article I want to make you aware of this strategy and how to counter it when you witness to them. Mormons can be won to Christ, but it takes some knowledge of what they believe, and this is obtained by studying. Then it will also take time, patience, and a lot of love and prayer.
I have in front of me a book published by the LDS Church titled “The Uniform System For Teaching Families” which is given to all the Mormon missionaries as a guide as to how to go about their proselytizing. I will be using material found from this book that clearly shows their strategy. There are nine elements in this: (1) Neatness. (2) Politeness. (3) Feeling. (4) Testify. (5) Prayer. (6) Trick questions. (7) The Book of Mormon. (8) Christianity plus. And (9) Baptism.
Most people have noticed these neatly dressed Mormon missionaries who are wearing a suit, a white shirt and tie walking around or riding on their bicycles. Quite impressive! They are very easy to identify. The Mormon places of gathering, which are called “wards,” are usually very well kept. This is done to get attention and have people respect them because they are so dedicated to their cause. (Going on a mission tour for 2 years is not the personal choice of many of these young men, but pressure from the family so that they will have more prestige among the other Mormons in their congregation. I have been told this by Mormon missionaries so I know it is true.)
Besides being well dressed, the missionaries will be very polite and have a big smile. If you ever are in any kind of need they will be very willing to help. If you move into a neighborhood and have a Mormon family living close by they will usually be the first to offer help.
Most people do not choose a religion because of the doctrines and teachings, but because of the people. People will often say, “These Mormons are such nice and polite people so surely they can’t be wrong in what they are telling us! There is a saying; “People are won to people, not dogma.”
Here is an example of what they will say when they come to your door.
“Good afternoon. We are representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We would like to share a successful family program with you and your family, without any obligation on your part, and with nothing to buy. May we come in for a moment?” (If you are familiar with salesmanship, you will recognize the “slick” tactics used in this approach.)
After the missionaries meet with you for a while, they will very strongly urge you to attend their meetings. If you do go, the missionaries will make sure that you are properly introduced to a number of Mormons in the congregation and all of them will be polite. This is another important step in drawing you into their grip. If the missionaries are not there and you just go in and sit down, someone will come up to you, introduce him or herself, and then start conversing with you. We have had people come and sit with us and then guide us to the next meeting. Thus newcomers are impressed with the politeness.
Since Mormonism is not based on true facts, then they have to appeal to “feelings.” It is one of their most effective tactics. Here are some examples from the above-mentioned book.
“Mr. & Mrs. Brown (the sample name they used for the person they are talking to), what you are FEELING right now is the Spirit of the Lord TESTIFYING to you that we are teaching you the truth. You are beginning to receive your own testimony of the truthfulness of this message.”
“I’m sure you have a reason for FEELING that way, Mr. Brown. Would you mind sharing it (FEELING) with us?”
“Do you FEEL we do not need divine guidance today?”
When the missionaries give their testimony as to why they became Mormons, feeling will be the most important ingredient.
I want to quote another paragraph is this booklet because it is pertinent to the subject. The missionaries are instructed: “At first memorize the discussions exactly as they appear.” This is very important because cultists are taught not to think for themselves. This was very difficult for me to understand when I first started witnessing to the Mormons. I just couldn’t understand how any educated human being could not think! When I would come home after dealing with the Mormons, I would often say to my wife: “They just can’t think! They just can’t think!”
They memorize what they are to say and thus after a while are not able to think for themselves. When you start to “reason” with them, you soon find out that they are not able to even think, let alone logically. Therefore, before you can witness to them effectively you will have to teach them how to think. This is something that takes time. Since most of the questions put forth to Mormons are standardized, the Mormons have a memorized answer. Thus you have to ask questions that are off the “beaten path” and keep them off.
In the LDS Church you are just to obey orders. The Mormons are taught that when the LDS apostles give out a decree the thinking is done and the Mormons are to do just what they are told without ever questioning what it decreed. Even to question anything the President puts forth is a sin. I had one missionary tell me if he was ordered to jump out of a third story window his reply would be “When?”
Since the LDS Church doesn’t want people to think, it has to get them to believe that you can determine truth, not by reasoning and investigating, but by this un-described “feeling.” If you buy into this idea of determining things by “feeling,” then you have bought into Mormons!
When conversing with the Mormons, they will continually and very emphatically “testify” that such and such is true and the way they know this is because of the “feeling” they have received.
Here are three examples taken from their book.
“We TESTIFY that God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and spoke to him. In fact, the purpose of our visit is to deliver to you this wonderful message and explain how you can know that it is true. (Companion adds his testimony. Then continue.)”
“We TESTIFY that the Lord did send diving messengers to give his priesthood authority to Joseph Smith, and that you and your family can receive all the blessings of that authority.’
“We TESTIFY that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is directed today by a living prophet and apostles as it was in ancient times. This means that there is a church on the earth today that is directed as the Lord wants it to be.”
When I first started witnessing to the Mormons, the fact that they so strongly testified to so many things and so often really puzzled me. I couldn’t understand how this could be possible if they really didn’t know that what they were saying was true! But as I continued dealing with them, I came to realize that this was something important in their propagandizing process.
One of the first things the missionaries want to do when they come into your home is to pray. If you let them pray, they will pray a very pious prayer and they seem to be genuine and deceive many. (I don’t know why it is but some Christians feel if anyone can pray and uses Jesus’ name, then that person is a true Christian) The Mormons will never ask you to go and check out the facts, but ask you to pray about what they are telling you to see if you don’t get a FEELING (un-described) that is supposed to prove what they are telling you the truth.
The biggest thing along this line is to ask you the pray about the Book of Mormon. Almost always after the first meeting they will give you the Book of Mormon and turn to Moroni 10:3-5 or mark it in the front of the Book of Mormon they will give you, like it is in the one I am quoting from. These verses read:
“Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things (found in the Book of Mormon), if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts (feeling). And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask (pray) God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you (by a feeling), by the power of the Holy ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things (by praying about it and getting a supposed un-described good feeling).”
The implication of these verses is that if you “sincerely” “pray” then you will get a feeling (never described), supposedly a good one, which is to come from the Holy Spirit and thus proving that the Book of Mormon is really the word of God! But if you don’t get any kind of feeling, then you are not “sincere.”
After the missionaries have asked you to pray about the Book of Mormon, when they come back the next time they will ask if you prayed about it and if you didn’t (suggesting) get a “feeling”? If you answer in the negative, they will say: “Mr. Brown I though you were really sincere! All who sincerely pray will get this ‘feeling.’ Will you pray about it again this week?” Since most people really do not know what you are looking for and you don’t want to be thought of as “insincere,” many people will say they received a feeling just to please the missionaries. Once you have done this you have bought into Mormonism.
6. TRICK QUESTIONS
Usually, very early in your meeting with the Mormon missionaries, they will ask: “If God was going to restore His church, wouldn’t it only be reasonable for the one who restored it to have the proper authority?” Most people will think for a few seconds and then answer, “Yes.” When anyone replies like this he or she has swallowed Mormonism lock, stock, and barrel.
Joseph Smith taught that the original New Testament church, early in its history, went into apostasy and needed to be restored to its originality at a later date and that God choose him to restore the church. Thus the LDS Church is the only true church upon the earth now since it had been restored through Joseph Smith. So if you answer, “Yes” then you are agreeing with the Mormons that the church was lost and needed to be restored.
The only problem with the question, presented by the missionaries, is that it is a trick question because the church never completely went into apostasy so there was no need for the church to be restored! But when asked this question, if you would say “No,” then the Mormons would reply, “You mean that just anyone can go out and start a church and that person doesn’t need any authority?” But it is like the question, “When did you stop beating your wife?” I trust that husbands never do this. Thus the questions the missionaries ask are a hypothetical question that doesn’t need an answer.
In the proselytizing process by the Mormon missionaries, they have to ask certain questions and need to get the proper answer in order to proceed with their presentation. If they don’t get the answer they desire, on the back page of the page in their book there are additional questions that they supposed to ask to try to get the desired answer.
Here are some examples of what I mean. (According to Joseph Smith, he had gone to several churches and he felt that they preached conflicting things and he became confused. Then he went out into the woods and prayed as to which church to join and supposedly, [it depends upon which of the five versions of this supposed visit you accept], God told him not to join any of them because they were all wrong. Here is how the missionaries present their question.
“Mr. & Mrs. Brown, suppose you put yourselves (feeling) in the position of this young man, Joseph Smith. Picture yourselves as Joseph smith, struggling to know the truth about religion. As you are reading the Bible, you read the promise in James 1:5. Never has any scripture touched your heart so deeply (feeling). Having faith, you do as James directs and go to a grove of trees near your father’s farm. Kneeling in PRAYER, you plead for guidance from your Father in Heaven (since he was not saved, God was not his Father). This is your first uttered PRAYER. With all your heart you want to know the truth. Visualize the FEELING when, in answer to your prayers a light descends from heaven, and within this light you see two glorious personages, the Father and the Son. Mr. Brown, could you ever be the same after that experience?”
The Mormons will be very emotional when they tell you this story and for the unsuspecting person, he or she would usually answer their question by saying, “No.” But if that is not your response, not the desired one, in their book on the back of the page there are other questions to ask to try and get the desired answer. For this question, there are three additional questions.
“(If, negative, try to understand his FEELINGS. You might use some of these questions.)”
“—Do you FEEL, Mr. Brown, that it would have been wise for Joseph Smith to join a church that did not teach the truth doctrines of Christ?” (Strange, but Joseph Smith did try to join the Methodist church after this supposed incident, but the church would not accept him because of his character.)
“—Do you FEEL that all churches can be teaching only the truth, even when they teach conflicting ideas?”
“—What is it that you don’t fully understand about what we’ve said, Mr. Brown?”
In order for the Mormons to be successful with those to whom they are talking to, they have certain questions that they have to ask and have to get the correct answer or else they can’t properly proceed. That is why with just about all the questions they ask there are additional questions on the back of the page that can keep asking until they get the right response.
I have an interesting story along this line. One time when I was talking with the missionaries, I had been asking a lot of questions so they were not able to proceed along their memorized presentation as fast as they wanted. After a while, one of them said, “You ask too many questions.” I then replied that I would just sit and listen to what they had to say. But then they would ask me these memorized questions and I would reply, “You said I ask too many questions so I am not going to answer you but just listen to what you have to say.” Then they would go along and ask me another question and then I gave them the same answer. After this happened four or five times they really got frustrated and said, “We demand that you answer our questions.”
7. THE BOOK OF MORMON.
Joseph Smith did not write the Book of Mormon as a religious book or to be a guide for a religion, but he wrote it to make money. The Book of Mormon is one of the most anti-Mormon books that exist! None of the major tenets of the LDS Church are found in it. Actually just he opposite of what it teaches and believes is written in it. For instance, the LDS Church teaches that God has a human physical body. The Book of Mormon states a number of times that God is “a personage of spirit.” (I have a list of 38 of the major teachings of the LDS Church that are not found in the Book of Mormon listed in my book Approaching Mormons in Love—How to Witness Effectively Without Arguing on pages 132-3.) The Book of Mormon is used as bridge to get people from the usual Christian teachings into Mormonism.
The main premise of the Book of Mormon is that the American Indians are decedents from the ten lost tribes of Israel. It starts in Jerusalem in 600 B.C. with a Jewish family coming to America by boat and became the American Indians and it goes to about 421 A.D. The teaching that the American Indians were descendants of the ten lost tribe of Israel was a common belief, even among evangelical Christian, in the day of Joseph Smith. In fact, there is a book written during the childhood of Joseph Smith (some of it was published in the newspaper that the Smiths subscribed to) titled The View of the Hebrews that held to this belief. The whole plot of this book and many of the same facts are found in the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith possessed a copy of this book because he mentioned it by name in the LDS newspaper Times and Seasons, of which he was the editor, in the Wednesday, June 1, 1842 issue on page 814.
Then are many verses in the Book of Mormon taken from the 1769 seventh edition of the King James Bible of which Joseph Smith possessed. (The version that Joseph Smith had of the KJV contained the Apocrypha and some of the facts written in it found their way into the Book of Mormon.) The gold plates that Joseph Smith supposedly translated the Book of Mormon from were claimed to have been written in Egyptian hieroglyphics. If you are translating from two different languages you can come out with the same meaning but not exactly the same words. It is very obvious that Joseph Smith copied from the 1769 edition of the King James Bible that he had. In fact, whole chapters are copied almost word for word from the King James Version of 1769. In I Nephi chapters 20 & 21 Isaiah 48 & 49 are copied. In 2 Nephi 12 to 24 Isaiah 2-14 is copied and in 2 Nephi 27 Isaiah 29 is copied. There are many other verses copied word for word or just slightly changed. Strange as it may seem, there are verses from the New Testament that are quoted in the Book of Mormon in what is dated as B.C. in the Book of Mormon.
Since many people used to be familiar with the King James Version of the Bible, when they read the Book of Mormon they presumed that it was along the line of Christianity and many people are deceived.
The real teachings of the LDS Church are found in the Mormon book Doctrine and Covenants. Yet I have never met a person who became a Mormon who ever read this book before he or she joined! In fact, the Mormons don’t want you to get your hands on this book.
I have an interesting experience along this line. The Mormon missionaries had approached me when I was a missionary in Japan. They wanted me to read the Book of Mormon and listen to their presentation. I explained that I was very busy and it would take me two to three months to read the Book of Mormon, but if they would come back each week and answer my questions I would meet with them. To this they gave me a firm commitment.
I soon learned that we were both using the same terms but had entirely different meanings to them. But I thought we were making progress. But after just two times they refused to come back. I asked them about their promise but it didn’t seem to bother them to break it. Since I had started reading the Book of Mormon I continued reading to the end. I didn’t know much about the LDS Church at that time but I realized that none of the major doctrines were found in it. (Later on I did correspond for quite a long time with one of the 12 apostles of the LDS Church who at that time was third in line to become president. Then later, I had a long correspondence with one of the 23 assistants to the 12 apostles.)
I had heard about the Doctrine and Covenants and called up the office that the missionaries worked out of in our area in Japan and ordered this book. I waited a couple of months and never received it. I then went to the office personally and once again ordered this book. I watched one Mormon missionary type out the order while I was there. Again, I waited but never received it. Then I realized that they didn’t want me to have the book. They want you to become baptized and a part of the LDS Church before they let you know what it really teaches. Later on I was able to get a copy from a source outside of the LDS Church.
8. CHRISTIANITY PLUS
When first being approached by Mormons, they work hard at trying to get people to think that most of their teachings are just like other Christian groups, only they have more of a complete Gospel and try to present it as “Christianity plus.” They will tell you that all groups have “some” truth, but that the LDS Church has “all the truth and this is found in the fact that it has: (1) The authority of the priesthood, which comes from God through Joseph Smith and is passed on to most of the male members of the Church, and this gives them authority to act for God (giving them a superior attitude). (2) Living apostles and a prophet, and (3) Modern day revelations that are supposedly found in the Book of Mormon. The Mormons feel this is a very powerful tool for bringing people into their fold.
The Mormon missionaries try to get people to be committed to the LDS Church in a hurry. They are in one place only for 8 to 12 weeks so they have to act fact. They have a series of eight presentations, one a week, that they want to take you through. (1) The restoration. (2) Eternal progression. (3) Continuing revelation and individual responsibility. (4) Truth verses error. (5) Baptism challenge. (6) Obedience to the Lord’s commandments bringing His blessing. (7) Our relationship to Christ. And, (8) Membership in the kingdom.
The LDS Church states: “Baptism is the only gate through which they can enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” However, baptism itself does not get you into heaven, but just gets you into the LDS Church so that you can start down the long road of ordinances and works that eventually MIGHT get you into the Celestial Kingdom. (Since the Mormons teach that there are three degrees of heaven, (1) The Celestial, (2) Terrestrial, and (3) Telestial Kingdom and that just about everyone will enter one of these heavens, it doesn’t mean much to a Mormon when you tell them that you have the absolute assurance of going to heaven.)
The missionaries will put a lot of pressure on people to be baptized. Once this happens, you are enslaved to the LDS Church.
Being aware of the strategy of the LDS Church should help you not to fall into a trap and be able to witness to them more effectively.
THE TYPICAL APPORACH TO MORMONS
Most Christians are not aware of the strategy of the LDS Church and do not have one of their own. They do not realize that most of the approaches and questions that people use when witnessing to Mormons are standardized and that the missionaries are acquainted with these questions and approaches and have a ready answer. I have two books in my library written by Mormons. One is One Minute Answers to Anti-Mormon Questions by Stephen R. Gibson. The other is Answering Challenging Mormons Questions by Michael W. Hickenbotham. Therefore, you are going to have to get off the “beaten path” if you want to make headway with the Mormon missionaries. (This I will explain how to do in the next section.)
Here is what many Christians do when they start witnessing to the Mormons.
1. Attack Joseph Smith. They will start out by telling all the things that were wrong with him. (Of course, there were many.) But just as soon as you begin to “attack,” the Mormons begin defending and you are engaged in a war.
2. Attaching the Book of Mormon. Of course we know that this book did not come from God but was written by Joseph Smith. But the Book of Mormon is a wonderful tool in which to witness to Mormons. I have a whole chapter on how to do this in my book Approaching Mormons in Love.
3. Attacking polygamy. Yes, Joseph Smith had many wives sealed to him, maybe as many as 37, but you won’t make much progress along this line.
4. Others start by immediately using the Bible to show them that they are sinners, need to repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior. This is all well and good, but the Mormons do not believe that the Bible is accurate and thus cannot be trusted. They will counter by showing that you are saved by “works.” Then they don’t believe that they are sinners in need of a Savior.
I was talking to one pastor about the Mormons and the first thing he asks them when they came to his house is: “Do you have on your holy underwear?” (Mormons wear specially made underwear that is supposed to give them protection from many evils. In fact, some Mormons will not take them off to bathe. They will take off one half and wash that half of the body, then put it on that side and then wash the other half.) But this is not a good way to start off witnessing.
AN EFFECTIVE STRATEGY WHEN APROACHING MORMON
I will go through the list of the strategies that the Mormons have and explain how you can use them for your own end. But first I want to give you three necessary ingredients in successful witnessing to any cultist.
(1). YOU MUST BUILD A FRIENDLY RELATIONSHIP. This is done is by showing an interest in them as a person. Remember their names. In your conversation with them try to have them tell you as much about themselves and their family as they possibly can and remember these facts. It might be good to write them down so you don’t forget. This is what I usually do. If I can deal with a cultist ten times we will usually end up being friends.
Socializing is not a waste of time! It is necessary. Try to have some light refreshments. Mormons do not drink coffee, tea or anything with caffeine so don’t offer them any of these, but you can offer cold water or orange juice with a few cookies or cake.
It is also good to try to end about five minutes early and spend a few minutes joking around. At times, there might be some tension, but try to have the meetings end on a good note so they want to come back.
(2). YOU HAVE TO TEACH THEM HOW TO THINK. One of the most puzzling things to me when I first started witnessing to Mormons was the fact that they just couldn’t think, let alone logically. Just about everything the missionaries know is what they have memorized. They are supposed to go down the list of things they have memorized and are not prepared to answer other questions. Things that seem so plain and logical to you, for some reason they just don’t get it. Actually, the LDS Church does not want its followers to think for themselves. If they started thinking they would no longer be Mormons!
(3). GET A FIRM COMMITMENT OUT OF THEM TO COME OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME. TEN TIMES AT LEAST. This is very important because you need time to build up a friendship and to get them to think. If you do not, they will often leave after just a few sessions. I can remember one time when we (a Christian had opened her home for us to deal with them) got this commitment out of two missionaries. After five times when they realized they were not going to win us to the LDS Church, but the one missionary said, “We have committed ourselves to ten times and we will keep our promise.” The last five times we were talking very freely explaining the way of salvation that comes through Jesus Christ. We would not have had this opportunity if we had not have gotten this commitment out of them at the very beginning.
The LDS Church teaches it adherents that when the officials do the thinking then the thinking is done. You just accept it and never question it. In fact, to a Mormon, just to question anything that comes from the headquarters is a sin.
There are two ways to teach them how to think. (1) You have to ask questions that are off the “beaten path” that they have no memorized answer for. In this way, even though they might not be thinking logically, they have to do some thinking of their own. (2) Take large questions and break them down into very small simple questions and go very slow. In my booklet: 25 Important Questions for Mormons there are questions that you can use.
When you know the Mormon missionaries are coming you don’t have to put on a suit and a tie or your best dress, but it is good to be dressed in nice casual clothes and be well groomed. Also, try to have the inside of you house neat and clean. You are not just out to make a “good impression,” but you also don’t want to drive them away. Since these things are important to the Mormons, it will be a plus if you show some consideration.
It is all too sad, but often the Christians are the rudest to those in the cults. You get absolutely nowhere by being rude! If we as Christians are not willing to learn how to witness to them effectively, and in a polite way, then how are they going to hear the truth as found in Christ?
I realize that what they teach is false, but it does not help to be rude. Often the things the Mormons will say will be very upsetting but try to restrain yourself. Blowing up and telling them off will not help your cause! You are going to have to use a lot of patience with them, but it is worth it.
When the Mormons come to us, the head is tightly closed, but the heart is open because they are still carrying the heavy burden of sin and do not have the wonderful peace that comes in knowing Christ in a personal way. We will say much more by our actions than by our words! We want to go for the heart, and this is done by being polite and building a friendship.
I have had the Mormons say to me: “I don’t care what the facts are, it is the feeling that is most important.” Since Mormonism is not based on reason and facts, then the only other way to get people involved is through their “feelings.”
Early in your meeting with the Mormons you will have to gain the victory over this tactic. This is how I do it.
In the early stage of meeting with the Mormons I will say, “I like people and I think it would be good if we got to know where each other is coming from spiritually. Will you please tell me how you became a Mormon and then I will tell you how I became what I am.” (At this stage I do not use the word Christian. If you do, they have a false impression of what Christians believe and will categorize you and not listen to you. But if they don’t know where you are coming from then they will have to listen.) Most of the missionaries were born and raised in the LDS Church so their testimony will be: “I was born and raised in a Mormon family. At the age of eight I was baptized. (The Mormons teach that humans are all born pure and innocent and that children can’t sin, or be tempted by Satan, until the age of eight.) Then when I was seventeen I prayed about the Book of Mormon or the LDS Church and received this “feeling,” (sometimes called a ‘burning in the bosom,’) that proved that Mormonism is the true religion. Even if they are converts this praying and feeling will be a part of their testimony. After this I give my complete testimony as to how I came to know Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior at the age of fourteen. I take between twenty to thirty minutes. Usually the missionaries are sitting on the edge of their seat as they listen with interest. This is a good way to explain the Gospel.
After I am finished, I explain that I have a few questions for them about this “feeling” that they mentioned.
Wilbur. “Would you please be more definite about this ‘feeling’ since it is so very important to you and you base your whole eternal destiny on it?”
Mormon: “It is really hard to describe! You just have to feel it to know what it is like.”
W. “This is very confusing. There are a many different kinds of feelings. Can’t you give me some idea of what it is like?”
M. “As I said, you just have to feel it yourself!”
W. “There are many different types of feelings. Would it be like going out on your first date or getting the best grade in your class in school?”
M. “It can’t be explained! You just have to feel it! I can’t tell you what chocolate cake is like. You have to taste it!”
W. “I can tell you what chocolate cake tastes like. It is very good, especially the ones my wife makes. But this is very confusing. I would say that most people have some kind of a ‘feeling’ when they get married, but it turns out that this ‘feeling’ was not effective in keeping them together because about half of them get divorced! Please help me out and give me some idea of what this ‘feeling’ is like.”
M. “You just have to experience it to know what it is like!”
W. “I am really, really confused! When you pray to get this feeling, do you pray one time, two times, three times, short prayers, or long prayer? Just how do you go about it?”
M. “Well, it just depends upon the person.”
W. “Now you really got me! But YOU said that YOU prayed about it. When YOU prayed did you pray one prayer, two prayers, short prayers or long prayers?”
After this kind of a discussion I think the Mormons will be glad to leave this talk about “feeling” alone and without being able to do this you can make a lot more progress.
The Mormons will continually be saying that they “testify” that the things they are saying are true
After using this word “testify” several times, I will stop them and say: “I notice that you have used the word ‘testify’ a number of times. I really want to understand where you are coming from! When you use the word ‘testify’ is it something that you PERSONALLY have studied out all the detail and there is sufficient evidence that you could present in a court of law and you know that you would win, or is this something that you have been TAUGHT and you are just repeating what you have been taught and believe it is true?”
If the Mormon is honest with you, and often he will not be, he will have to tell you that this is something that he has been told and not something he personally studied out. He might give you a vague answer, but if he uses the word “testify” again then use the same question again. Keep asking until he stops using the word “testify.”
Beat the Mormons to their guns. Most often at the very beginning of your conversation with the Mormons and each time they come, they will want to pray. But you be the first one to say that YOU will to pray and ask them if they will follow along. When I pray, I do not preach a sermon, but I ask the Lord to guide us into “the truth” and that we will have a congenial meeting together. Even if they do suggest it first, I say: “I do the praying in my house, so let’s bow our heads and I will pray.”
As mentioned above, the Mormons will ask you to pray about the Book of Mormon after the very first meeting. When they do this, I ask them what praying has to do with the Book of Mormon? They might read the passage in the Book of Mormon and tell you that you will get this “feeling” and that will mean that it is true.
I then ask them if you can pray about more things than just the Book of Mormon to know if something is true or not. At this juncture, they will assure you that you can pray about things to know if something is true or not. I then drop the subject for that week.
Then when they come the next week, I say: “Last week you asked me to pray about the Book of Mormon and said that I would get a feeling so that I knew it was true or not if I was sincere! Then I asked you if I could pray about other things and get a feeling to know if they are true or not and you said, ‘Yes.’”
At this juncture, I take a book; (in my case I have the Inspired Version of the Bible, which Joseph Smith translated, but the LDS Church never printed even though God told him to do so. It was printed by the Reorganized LDS Church), and put it is a brown bag or something that you can’t see through. The missionaries have no idea of what is in the bag. Then I state: “You said that you could pray about things and know if they were true or not by this good feeling you get! I want you to pray about what is in this bag and tell me if it is true or false.”
The missionaries will start doing a lot of “stammering and stuttering” and will usually say, “Well, before you pray you have to read it and be reasonably convinced that it is worth praying about!”
Then I will say, “Thank you boys. I will read the Book of Mormon and then determine if it is worth praying about so please don’t ask me any more to pray about it!”
There is a very inconsistent story that needs to be told about the LDS Church along this line. As just stated, the Mormons are asking you to pray about all different kinds of things to know if they are true or not and assure you that it really works. Back in 1985 there was a Mormon who was writing forged material that exposed contradictions and errors in the LDS Church. Of course, this material was very damaging. But what happened? Instead of praying about it, as they ask other people to do, the LDS Church paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy this forged material to keep it from the public. If what the Mormons tell others to do really works, then why didn’t the LDS leaders pray about this material and they should have gotten the feeling that it was wrong and would have not put out these hundreds of thousands of dollars, plus the fact that two people lost their lives over this incident!
6. TRICK QUESTIONS
Along with most of the other cults, the Mormons will ask you trick or hypothetical questions to get the answer that they want and thus help their cause. For this reason, it is best to NOT answer questions. Explain to them that you feel the purpose of these discussions is for YOU to find out about Mormonism and this you are doing by asking THEM questions. When the Mormon missionaries are guests in your house they do not have any right to ask you trick questions. But they do. You are going to have to take control of the conversation, by refusing to answer questions. As stated above, they need to ask certain questions and get a desired answer in order for them to continue in their propagandizing process. So by refusing to answer questions you can aid your cause.
Sometime you might feel that you have an opportunity to explain some things about Christianity by answering their questions, but they are not asking to find an answer but just to get you sidetracked!
7. THE BOOK OF MORMON
By what I am about to say, I am in no way setting my approval on the Book of Mormon. It is a book that was very clearly written by Joseph Smith. (I know Mormons state that Joseph Smith only had a second grade education and that someone like him could not have written such a book! But Joseph Smith was a very avid reader and he could retain what he read. If he was just an ignorant farm boy, then why did he later become the president of a bank that he found and a regent of an educational institution he founded?) He did not write it as being a guide to a religion, but to make money. However, when he found that people believed what he had written he decided to start his own religion.
But you can use the Book of Mormon to your own advantage. The Mormons will carry the King James Version of the Bible, along with their other three standard works: the Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. But it doesn’t mean that the Mormons believe the Bible. The LDS Church states: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God so far as it is translated correctly.” The only trouble is that the LDS Church does not believe that it is translated correctly and that there are many errors found in it.
In the early days of the LDS Church, Joseph Smith was the editor of a newspaper called the Evening and Morning Star. In the July 1833 issue, Vol. II, No. 14, there is an article titled: “ERRORS OF THE BIBLE.” Then he writes: “As to the errors in the bible, any man possessed of common understanding knows, that both the old and new testaments are filled with errors, obscurities, italics and contradictions, which must be the work of men. As the church of Christ (the name of the LDS church at that time) will soon have the scriptures, in their original purity, it may not be amiss for us to show a few of the gross errors, or, as they might be termed, contradictions.” He then lists some of the supposed errors and then concludes by saying: “Now just at the close of this world, or more properly at the close of this wicked generation, the bible, after a period of hundreds of years, is found to be faulty and indecent. It has been translated and sent to almost all nations, and now, the whole work is full of errors, and unchaste expressions!”
So now you know what the LDS Church really thinks of the Bible as we have it today!
Joseph Smith claimed that God had commissioned him to translate the Bible accurately and then publish it. When you bring this up to the Mormons, they will say that he did not complete the translation work. But this is not true. In another place in the writings of Joseph Smith he wrote that he had completed the translating of the Bible. He also claimed that God commanded him to publish it. But this he never did. (A disobedient prophet!) The manuscript went to his wife and she went with a split off group know as the Reorganized LDS Church after the death of Joseph Smith. Today it is know as the Community of Christ. This group did publish Joseph Smiths Inspired Version and it is available today, but the LDS Church will not use it. I have a copy.
Because the Mormons are taught that there are errors in the Bible, and believe it, you can’t get very far when you witness to them by using the Bible. They do not take things in context and only use the Bible as a “proof text book.” Also, they will counter the verse or verses you use with another verse or verses that seem to say something different. It will be very frustrating. For this reason, this is what I do.
I say to the Mormons that I understand they do not believe that the entire Bible is translated correctly, that it contains errors, so this would mean that many of the verses can’t be trusted! (They might give you a little card with a list of belief of the LDS Church and on this card it will be stated that they believe the Bible so far as it is translated correctly. But of course they don’t believe it is translated correctly.) For this reason, let’s lay the Bible aside and just use the Book of Mormon. In the introduction to the Book of Mormon it states that the Book of Mormon contains “the fullness of the everlasting gospel.” This being true, then everything the Mormons believe and teach should be found in the Book of Mormon! (As stated above, none of the major doctrines of the LDS Church are found in it.) So I think I am being fair with you by requesting that you only use the Book of Mormon to prove your major doctrines!
Since they have praised it so much it is really hard for them to refuse such a request. But as you go along they will try to use the Bible to prove a point since they can’t do it by just using the Book of Mormon. You need to remind them that they agreed to use only the Book of Mormon. After a while they will realize that they made a drastic mistake, but by now they have dug themselves in and can’t get out.
Since the Mormons cannot find their major doctrines and beliefs in the Book of Mormon, I then say to them, “Let me show you some of the things I have found in the Book of Mormon.” Many of the major doctrines and teachings of Christians can be found in it. In my book Approaching Mormons in Love, on pages 141-154, there is a list of material that you can use to show what you believe as a born-again Christian that is found in the Book of Mormon. (As stated before, since Joseph Smith did not write the Book of Mormon as a book to found a new religion, of which he made up as he went along, then Mormon doctrine is not found in it. And since a lot of the Bible was copied there are places that do have the truth. But Mormons ignore these parts.
One example is found in Mosiah 27:24-26 on page 201, where there is a comment on John 3 which reads like this:
“For, say he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit. And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, man and women, all nations, kindreds, tongue and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; and thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.”
I have quoted this to a number of Mormon missionaries and the officials I have corresponded with and asked them what these verses really mean. They really got upset with me because this is just the opposite of what the LDS Church teaches.
By getting the Mormons to commit to just using the Book of Mormon you will highly frustrate them and they will not be able to present their propaganda. At this point, you might have a good opportunity to explain the true way of salvation that is found through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:7 & 9 states: “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin…. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
8. CHRISTIANITY PLUS
As stated above, Mormons will tell you that all the churches have “some truth,” but only the LDS Church has “all the truth” because it has a living prophet who continues to receive revelations from God
When they make such statement, I don’t try to show them where they are wrong, but reply by saying: “That is nothing. In the Church to which I belong to (the universal Church to which all born-again believes belong to) we have a Prophet, Priest, and King”! Of course, this is the Lord Jesus Christ. (See Heb. 9:11 and elsewhere. Rev. 19:16. And Acts 3:22 and 7:37.)
Then I continue by saying, “We also have many apostles.” (The word for missionary and apostle are the same, therefore missionaries are apostles.) You don’t have to get into a long discussion on this subject because the above statements usually stop them.
The Mormons will try and tell you that you need to be baptized by someone with the proper authority, meaning someone holding the Melchizadek priesthood. This is something that is supposedly passed down from generation to generation to the male members of the LDS Church, which comes from the authority given to Joseph Smith.
I explain to them that someone with a greater authority baptized me! As an ordained minister, I was called directly by God into the Gospel ministry and was ordained directly by Him. Most Bible-believing minister also believe that they have been called of God and ordained by Him. Thus when a minister baptizes a believer, he or she is being baptized by someone who has a DIRECT ordination (authority) from God! So the baptism in the Bible-believing evangelical churches has more authority than the LDS Church because their authority (you know this is not true but at this point you don’t have to argue about it) is INDIRECT and ours is by someone who has a DIRECT ordination by God!
I pray that by understanding the strategy of the LDS Church and how to counter it, and thus not fall into a trap, that it will help you to be a better witness to these needy lost souls. They do not possess eternal life, which can only be gained through faith in Jesus Christ, not by good works and following the ordinances of the LDS Church! I put a lot of time into studying Mormonism in detail, many hours in witness to them before I could say that I saw a Mormon come to know Christ as his own personal Savior. But when it did happen, I realized that it was worth all the time, effort and prayer that I had put into it.
May the Lord bless and encourage you as you reach out to the Mormons.