Amid all the theological discussions, the latest news, and the speculation about what the Mormon Church is up to, it all boils down to one thing: We want to help members of the Mormon Church to see the error and come out, and more importantly to come into the truth. You do not have to know anything about their faith to witness to them when they knock on your door, but there are a few basic guidelines, which will make us more effective.
What Not To Do
Don’t assume all Mormons have the same beliefs.
Although Mormon beliefs are quite strict, not all Mormons know all the doctrine of the church, and not all of them agree with it all. Just like Christians, there are those who joined for the fellowship, there are those who do not take the time to study, and there are those who have never understood it all. Give them time and space to explain what they believe and deal only with that.
Don’t tell them what they believe.
Because of the confusion from the previous point, you can find yourself having to tell them what they are supposed to believe before you can tell them it is wrong. Sometimes we can misunderstand the details of a particular doctrine, and cause offence. Ask them to explain their beliefs to you, so you can establish where they actually stand, and ask questions.
Don’t be poised with a juicy topic to attack with as soon as you answer the door.
When we attend a seminar or read an article or a book, we often find a topic, which we are particularly struck by. “You wait until the next Missionary knocks on my door, I’ll tell him!” Reachout Trust encourages us to build bridges to reach people. Aggressive tactics only build walls.
Don’t attempt to demolish their faith.
How would you like it if someone came along and started ripping your faith to pieces? Well, do not do it to them!
Don’t keep them in your house until you have raised every point you know against their faith.
It reminds me of the Ken Dodd line “Ooh Missus, I’ve got so much to give and you’re going to get all of it!” There is a lot to say, but we need to give them time to think about it, and keep the lines of communication open.
Don’t tell them they are in a cult, going to hell, or other such negative statements.
Once again, remember to build bridges, not walls.
Don’t slam the door in their faces.
“How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14)
Because it builds walls, not bridges.
Because it portrays Christians in a bad light. We want to get them into the truth, as well as out of the error. If they realise they are in error, where will they go if the Christians are not welcoming and loving?
Because you wound them deeply. We do not seek to break their hearts, but to take the sincere desire of their hearts to serve God, and direct that into the true path. They will take your attitude as persecution and a vindication of the rightness of their cause.
Because you will never get them to listen to the truth that way. Keep in the front of your mind all the time you are with them, that we must keep the communication lines open. Give them every opportunity to agree to think about what you have said and return to discuss it further. Make them feel loved and welcomed.
What To Do
Do invite them in – now, or later.
Be welcoming, friendly and kind. They get so little good reception; you will have them on your side straight away.
Do listen to what they have to say.
They have a prepared speech or presentation. You do not want to let them set the agenda, but it is only polite to be prepared to listen. You can then ask questions when they get to something you feel confident about discussing and lead them to reconsider their views.
Do look for similarities and common ground.
This may sound strange, to suggest that truth has anything in common with error. You must remember that they are deceived by the error, but their motives are probably the same as yours. E.g. Love of God, desire to serve Him and be right with Him, desire to search the scriptures for truth, high moral standards.
Do understand their jargon.
Clarifying what they mean. Many of the words they use will be Christian, but they often have a different meaning. Do not accept them at face value, but get them to explain exactly who their God is, what they mean by salvation, etc. There will also be words unfamiliar to you: Apostasy, Restoration, Free Agency, Pre-existence, Celestial/Telestial/Terrestrial Kingdoms.
Do ask gentle questions instead of making accusations.
For example instaed of saying “Joseph Smith was a false prophet!”- Try saying “That is very interesting that you believe in prophets for today. In Deut.18:22 the Bible tells us how to test a prophet. Did all of Joseph Smith’s prophecies come true?”
You can’t earn a place in heaven – Try saying “If you believe that you have to work to be worthy of your place in heaven, how do you reconcile that with the verse in Eph.2:9 that says it is not by works, lest any man should boast?”
Restoration of the true church is rubbish – Try saying “Can you explain to me why the church needed restoring if it was never lost? Didn’t Jesus say that the gates of hell would not prevail against his church? (Matt.16:18). Was Jesus wrong?”
Do only cover one or two topics each session.
Let them have time to think about what you have raised, and leave an opportunity to meet again.
Do know how to “bear your testimony.”
Mormons believe their testimony is spiritually powerful, and will bear their testimony when they are in a corner or when they feel it is an appropriate moment. They expect it to have an effect on you. Be polite, and listen to what they say. Then ask if you can share your testimony – they cannot refuse! But are you prepared? Can you share the essentials of your testimony in just a few sentences, and do you know which are the most important points to mention? Think about it!
Do know how to share the basic truths of the gospel.
If the Mormon gospel is wrong, can you explain what is right? More importantly, if someone should ask you to explain the gospel, can you do it? Would you let them down and miss the opportunity of leading them to salvation? Think about it!