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Tips for presenting The Gospel to Your Mormon Friends

Tips for presenting The Gospel to Your Mormon Friends

For  Christians

 

 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church) teaches that the Book of Mormon contains “the fullness of the gospel” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants 20:9).  Mormons think that they have nothing to learn from Evangelical Christians (D.& C. 1:30). How would you share the Gospel with your Mormon friends?

 

 

Presenting the gospel to Mormons needs a great deal of commitment on our part. The more we know about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, the more we are tempted to challenge Mormons with human argumentation.  If we attack Joseph Smith, Mormons may close their mental shutters. People, who are on the defensive, cannot think clearly.1 We must not focus on the negatives of Mormonism, but on presenting the gospel. However, classic presentation of the gospel and popular usage of biblical passages may not convey what we intend.2   Mormonism is a subculture as well as a religion.   Mormons speak a unique language and have distinctive religious practices and life styles. How would you share the Gospel with your Mormon friends?

 

 

Our Mission Model is 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

 

Our mission model is 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.  Paul was adamant about not compromising doctrine, while he was flexible in areas of culture and methodology.  ”I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some” (v.22). When witnessing to Mormons we need to become like Mormons to win them for Christ. We need to avoid unnecessary obstacles and adapt to Mormon culture. We need to know that certain things (tea, coffee and alcohol) are stumbling blocks to Mormon people.

 

Secondly, the greatest obstacles are differences in terminology. The Mormon Church redefines Christian terminology.

 

Salvation in Mormonism is twofold. Unconditional salvation - which merely means resurrection, and the greater one, called Conditional or Individual salvation - that comes from grace and obedience.3 At the Final Judgement people will be sent to one of four places: the celestial, terrestrial or telestial kingdom or outer darkness. Eternal life is living as a god in the highest level of the celestial kingdom.4 Scripture means the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price and the Bible.

 

So we should avoid terms and expressions that are confusing for them.  We should also use terms like “living with (the) Heavenly Father,” instead of going to heaven.  The expression “living with (the) Heavenly Father is close to the concept of Biblical heaven. Instead of hell we should use outer darkness.

 

Thirdly, we should use the LDS edition of the Bible, which is the KJV with footnotes.  Why do we use the KJV?   Because the Mormon Church only recognises the KJV.  By using the KJV  we can remove at least one stumbling block before presenting the gospel.   Moreover, some Mormons may not be familiar with the Bible.  By telling them page numbers, we may save them from some embarrassment.5  Furthermore, The LDS Bible has portion of Joseph Smith’s translation (JST) in the footnotes and appendix.  We could anticipate how they will answer us.6  JST renders Romans 4:5,  “God justifieth not the ungodly.”  Therefore we should avoid using Romans 4:5.

 

Fourthly, we should familiarise ourselves with their teachings from their scriptures and teaching manuals published by the Mormon Church.  The better we know Mormon teachings, the more likely Mormons will listen to us, as they see that we have made conscious effort to study their teachings.7

 

 

Witnessing Points:

 

1. It is helpful to witness to Mormons in pairs, and to do it with an older Christian friend.  One should lead and the other follows and helps.  Know what we believe and why we believe it. We should be able to support our argument from the Bible.

2. Get to know a Mormon on a personal level.  We could ask, “How long have you been in Australia?” “ Have you tried vegemite? Did you enjoy it?”  “How far back does your family membership go?”

3. At first, stick to the main and essential doctrines of the gospel, the Person and Work of Christ and salvation by grace.8 Our talk should centre on Christ and what he did for us.

4. Ask for definitions of words. Otherwise, we can talk for a whole day but not communicate with one another.“What do you mean by repentance/forgiveness?” These questions help them understand the difference between Mormonism and Christianity.10   Please remember that Mormons think that what Christians believe is the same as what they believe.11

5. Do not throw lots of information at one time.  Stick to one major point.  Nothing is more important than talking about how to live with (the) Heavenly Father.  We should be ready to spend time dealing with points they struggle with, like perfection and forgiveness, which are related to “the salvation by grace” message.  We should deal with these points thoroughly.  Repeat the same idea again and again. Only after the groundwork has been laid, should we share Ephesians 2:8-9.12 

  

Telling narrative stories from four Gospels can be effective (Luke18: 9-14, Matthew 18:21-35) when dealing with how to become right with God and how to be forgiven.

6. Stay in control in the conversation. Stay with one subject until it is answered or they agree to do further study on it.13   If Mormons try to change the subject, we should say, ”We were talking about…” “You did not answer my question.” 14 Be gentle but firm.

7. Always look up the Bible passages when Mormons produce them even if we remember the passages.15 Then, read the passage together in context.

8. Do not assume that all Mormons know Mormon teachings.16 Some know them very well, some little. Others may pretend not to know some uncomfortable teachings.  It is best to say, “The Mormon Church teaches….”17

9. Be aware that not all new and old Mormon references and authors are of equal authority and some should not be used.18 The May and November issues of the official magazine, “Ensign”, contain the general conference addresses, which are considered scripture.  We should use current official materials which bear the copyright of the “Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” The Mormon Church quotes from Bruce McConkie’s  “Mormon Doctrine”, which is an LDS non-official source. Yet, when a non-Mormon quotes from this book, a Mormon may say to you, “That’s McConkie’s personal opinion!!” 

  

The highest authority is the “Standard works” (the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price and the Bible), and “Living Prophets.  The words of a “Living prophet” supersede those of previous “prophets”, even the founder, Joseph Smith.  Please note that the Book of Mormon  does not contain the distinctive Mormon teachings.

10. Never pray about the Book of MormonWe do not need to pray about the Book of Mormon, as God has already made clear that the Book of Mormon is another gospel (Galatians 1:6-8). There are some doctrinal perversions in the Book of Mormon. 

 

First, the Book of Mormon teaches that baptism is absolutely necessarily for salvation (2 Nephi 9:23-24). 19  By contrast, the Bible teaches that only our faith is needed for our salvation (John 3:16,18,36). It is the blood of Christ (NOT water) that cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

 

Second, the Book of Mormon teaches Modalism (the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are simply three modes of manifestation -Ether 3:14a, Mosiah 15:1-5). 20

 

 By contrast, trinitarianism holds that the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are carefully differentiated as Persons.21 However, we should avoid talking about the doctrine of the Trinity, as it involves a considerable amount of time and we run short of time to talk about the gospel.  Then, what should we do when asked to pray over the Book of Mormon?

 

Tell Mormons about the Bereans who examined the OT scriptures before accepting what Paul and Silas had taught was true (Acts 17:11-12). The Bereans were certainly believers in prayer, but prayer was not the measuring stick for them.22 We also point to 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

11. Pray for Mormons before and after witnessing.  Ask your Christian friends to pray for you while you are witnessing to Mormons.

 

 Please note that ” if Mormons quickly accept Christ as Savior, probably one of the following things is true:

a). they have not clearly understood salvation and therefore assented to what Mormonism teaches, i.e. that Christ is Savior of all men irrespective of a belief (in this life) in Christ”;

b). they may just agree with everyone who comes along-if so, they will be “converted” just as quickly to the Jehovah’s Witness beliefs or something else when it comes; or

c). if the conversion is genuine you can be sure that someone else has laid a lot of groundwork before you came along.”23

 

Conclusion

 

 The gospel of Jesus’ saving work should be the focus of our dialogue with Mormons. If sidetracked, we should make efforts to talk about how to live with (the) Heavenly Father. Mormons need to hear the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. If not, they are eternally lost.  God promised to give growth to some of the seeds we have planted (1 Corinthians 3:7). Remember that evangelism is God’s sovereign work.

 

 

 

Notes: 1.Mark Cares, Speaking the Truth in Love with Mormons (1993,p.208), 2. Ibid, p.186,3. Doctrines & Salvation Vol.1,p.134 4.Gospel Principles (1997,p.302), 5.Mark Cares, p.199, 6.Ibid. 7. Marvin Cowan, “Witnessing to Mormons”(article), 8.Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scripture with the Mormons (1995,p.44), 9.Marvin Cowan, 10.Mark Cares, p.202, 11..Ibid, 12.James White, “Verses Relevant to Sharing the Gospel with Mormons Section VII Salvation” (article) (22/01/2000), 13. Mark Cowan, 14. John Farkas, “Witnessing to Mormons-Key Elements”(article), 15.Ibid. 16.Ibid. 17.Ibid, 18..Ibid, 19. Ron Rhodes, p.106, 20. Ibid. 21. James White, Letters To A Mormon Elder (1993,pp76-77), 22. Ron Rhodes, p.108, 23. Marvin Cowan, Ibid. Marvin Cowan works for Utah Christian Publications

 

Copyrightă2003 Mormon Outreach Ministries, Sydney