What You Need to Do
When Mormonism comes knocking at your door, or you find it seated at your dinner table uninvited, it is not The End. Instead of throwing in the towel you can maintain--and even strengthen--your relationships with your loved-ones while still questioning Mormonism. Here are some things to consider as you prepare for encounters with LDS friends and loved-ones or those investigating the LDS Church.
"If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." (1 Corinthians 13:1)
Motivation can have a surprisingly strong impact on how our friends receive what we say. If you want to prove a point or win an argument with your LDS friend, you may well accomplish your desire. However, rather than strengthening your relationship, your win will be a step toward its disintegration. Pride is not a proper motivator. The Bible explains that we are to be motivated by love--the love of Christ and love for one another. The best first step in confronting Mormonism is the difficult and often humbling exercise of introspection. Check and double-check your motives for challenging your friend's religion. Make certain your motivation is love.
Jesus pointed out that we humans are prone to spot the speck in another's eye while failing to notice the log in our own. To guard against being guilty of this, we must have a clear understanding of our own faith before questioning the faith of someone else. Take time to examine yourself and your relationship with Jesus.
The Apostle Paul told us, "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)
If we face such formidable opposition, surely we need strength that is greater than our own. Paul told us these spiritual encounters must be approached with continual prayer. Therefore, you need to pray. Not only must you pray, but you need to ask others to pray as well. For help focusing your prayers, take advantage of our prayer guides: Praying for Your Mormon Friend and Prayer for Truth.
We at Word for the Weary would also like to pray with you. Please visit our Prayer Connection page to request one-time prayer or an ongoing Prayer Partner.
The more you know about Mormonism, the more you will be able to share with your friend. More often than not, investigators and members know very little of the unique doctrines and history of the LDS Church. You should study and be prepared to teach your loved-ones the things you discover. As you research the tenets of Mormonism, it is essential that you compare what Mormonism teaches with what the Bible teaches, for the Bible is our standard of truth. It is God's Word that provides both the challenges and the answers you will need.
Know What You Believe
Paul E. Little (Chariot Victor Publications, 1999)
Know Why You Believe
Paul E. Little (Intervarsity Press, Revised and Updated, 2000)
Examining the Religion of the Latter-day Saints
Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson (Baker Books, 2000)
Zondervan Guide to Cults and Religious Movements
Kurt Van Gordon (Zondervan Publishing House, 1995)
Is The Mormon My Brother?
Discerning the Differences Between Mormonism and Christianity
James R. White (Bethany House Publishers, 1997)
An Alternative Approach to Reaching Mormons
Article by Mark J. Cares (Christian Research Journal, Spring 1995)
It is easy to assume that because someone is a member of the LDS Church, he or she believes everything the Church teaches. This is seldom the case. Each person is an individual with a unique faith. It is important to understand what your loved-ones believe, what they think, and what is important to them. Ask questions and really listen to what they say. Your attentiveness will help you discover the most significant topics to address while also demonstrating your genuine concern for them as individuals.
In addition, when you listen in earnest you show respect for your loved-ones. Later, when you want to speak, they will be more willing to listen and consider what you say as well.
Speak the Truth in Love
There is no getting around the fact that questioning Mormonism with someone who has developed a loyalty to that faith is, by nature, confrontational. Defenses will go up. Yet the Bible makes it clear that we are not to remain silent; instead, we are to speak boldly. Still, there must be a balance between the words we say and the way in which we say them. Approach your loved-ones with compassion, keeping in mind the emotional upheaval your challenges to their faith will bring.
"...we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects to Him, who is the head, even Christ..." (Ephesians 4:14-15)
Be Patient and Persistent
People who have embraced something they believe is truth have invested much of themselves in that belief system. They do not want to find fault with the organization, nor do they want to discover they have been wrong. You must be patient with your friends and loved-ones as you continue to bring information and challenges before them. Recognize that this will be a lengthy process. You need to be committed to them for the long-haul, and they need to know that you will stick with them, no matter what.
Here is how one loving husband has expressed this commitment to his LDS wife: Love One Another
God has made it clear in His Word that the Holy Spirit is responsible for opening people's eyes to the truth. It is our privilege to be His message bearers. Trust fully in God to work in the hearts and minds of your loved-ones.
"...faith comes from hearing by the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17)