The Secret to Evangelizing Mormons
Guest Author: Latayne C. Scott I’m going to share with you a way to make a real impact on your Latter-day Saint (Mormon) friends and neighbors—even those missionaries at your door. It is the most simple—and perhaps most difficult—effective evangelistic technique ever.
The Great Attractions of Mormonism
I’ve never known anyone who was as happy being a Mormon as I was. As my first book, The Mormon Mirage, puts it, “I lived it, I loved it and I left it.”
In a soul-wrenching process, I left it with deep regret for the many good things about it, good things that continue to attract people to this uniquely-American religion.
Sometimes when a conversation about Mormonism is right at your door—literally—Christians don’t know what to say. Most feel totally unequipped to debate with young men who’ve been systematically trained not only in their doctrine but also in sales techniques. When missionaries come, some people just don’t answer the doorbell. Some are apologetic but firm in a refusal to “study.” Others are rude and abrupt. Almost all are very uncomfortable.
As Christians, we have confidence that we know the best Way—that the Jesus Christ we know, the Jesus of the Bible, is the only access to heaven. Mormons have the same impression about their religion.
But there is a large, significant difference. Mormons see themselves as happy people, and many Christians have the same impression about them. However, while Christians are typically satisfied with their religion, especially as compared to other religions including Mormonism, Mormons don’t see us that way.
Did you catch that? Mormons and Christians generally characterize Mormons as happy, fulfilled people. Most Mormons, and some Christians, see Christians as dissatisfied with their religion and sometimes with their lives, often to the point of being unhappy people.
Why would they have gotten that impression? Could it be our online and other public squabbles? Could it be the “fall from grace” of so many of our prominent people? Could it be that we can’t claim a solid line against troubling social issues where the Bible speaks clearly? Could it be that we often don’t give the same united, public emphasis to church attendance, Scripture study, and dedicated family time as Mormons claim to do?
I think it could possibly boil down to a much more simple answer. Could it be our facial expressions? Do our reactions to stress show our faith, or our disconnect from what we say we believe? Do our demeanors say something to Mormons that is not in our hearts?
I say that because, when I was a Mormon, I believed that all non-Mormons were unhappy. (How could they be truly happy if they didn’t have the potential of becoming gods and goddesses? How could they be happy and secure without a living prophet at the head of their church? How could they bear the thought of death ending their marriages? How uncertain their lack of priesthood must make their decisions! How merciless a God who wouldn’t allow proxy baptisms for the unfortunate dead! How impoverished their single, unreliable book of Scripture!)
And because Christians didn’t have what I had, I believed they were deprived of things that could make them truly happy, of privileges and information and status that were in fact essential to the true, abiding joy that only Mormonism could offer.
(Of course one truth stops this logic in its tracks: Being happy does not equate with being right. There are millions of serene Buddhists and self-denying Hindus who claim great peace. The most primitive savage may be utterly content with his crude idols and his simple worldview.)
How to Impress a Mormon
Do you need to know all about Mormon doctrine to converse with a Mormon about faith? Should you sit through their missionary lessons to impress them with your sense of fairness and your ability to dispute their claims? Do you have to get involved in theology at all?
The truth is that most of us can’t or won’t educate ourselves fully enough to verbally spar with highly-trained LDS missionaries. But a true Christian has the one tool that will impress a Mormon.
Remember, I said it’s simple.
When Mormon missionaries come to your door and ask you if you’d like to strengthen your family life or know more about eternity or any of the other questions they are trained to ask, you must pro-actively counter the mistaken impression they have about Christians—people they believe to be unhappy and spiritually unfulfilled. People they can “help.”
With a big, gracious smile, you say:
“I’m so glad you came today! I’m sorry I can’t invite you in, but can I just tell you how completely satisfied I am with my relationship with Jesus Christ? I love Him so much! I have a Bible full of His promises, and there’s nothing you can offer me that is better than the abundant life I have right now, and will have in eternity with Him. I love my church, I love my family, and I am so blessed!”
I guarantee you that if every Christian who opens the door that day answers with this kind of answer, those young men will go back to their apartments and think about it. It may not provoke a change today, or tomorrow. But the cumulative effect will surely bear fruit. Nobody will ever convince them again that all Christians are unhappy.
But so difficult. You see, to be able to say those things to the missionary at your door, you have to know they’re true.
You have to love Jesus Christ.
You have to love your family.
You have to love your church.
You have to believe God’s teachings and His promises in the Bible and trust in them even though your circumstances may contradict them right now.
You have to claim and practice the peace and rejoicing Jesus promised those who were sold-out lovers of Him.
For most of us, we’ve our own lives to work on first.
That’s not just our missionary training, it’s our primary mission, after all.
Dr. Latayne C. Scott is the author of over 17 books. Her two latest include Mountains of Mercy: One Family's Story of Hope in Crisis (Credo House), co-written with Lavone Genzink and Discovering the City of Sodom: The Fascinating, True Account of the Discovery of the Old Testament's Most Infamous City (Howard/Simon&Schuster), co-written with Dr. Steven Collins. Her website is Latayne.com. She has worshipped with the Mountainside Church of Christ in Albuquerque for over 40 years.
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