To many Evangelical’s surprise, I enjoy and have a lot of respect for these young men; Mormon missionaries. They apply themselves to two years of service to go door-to-door. Everywhere you go there they are, although I see fewer bicycles.
I have found them amiable and easy to talk to. But I didn’t always see it this way.
I was properly indoctrinated. Because of my proper theological training, watching “The God Makers,” and reading Walter Martin’s book “Kingdom of the Cults.” I knew they were wrong and going to Hell.
I learned their history and theology. It is truly an unbelievable man made set of doctrines. I learned their version of the Gospel. Since I knew we were saved by grace, I was eager to argue our point of view…”by grace through faith.”
I worked as an engineer with a BYU graduate who had been on his mission. He was a good member of a ward. I invited him to ride with me to work since he was on the way. It was a plot to convert him to the Evangelical religion. I moved in slowly asking him questions. But I couldn’t wait any longer, I had to crush him. So I did!
We argued over grace and works and salvation. I reminded him of their history and strange theologies and the like. I won and he lost! Well, that’s how I looked at it at the time.
My brother and a friend-less schooled on the matter of Mormonism-tried their hand at slaying Mormons. They addressed a couple of missionaries. My brother said they “got their butts kicked!” After that beating they left those boys alone.
I used to say “I hate dealing with Mormons.” I was frustrated at arguing their dogma versus ours. It was a quagmire. I eventually just avoided them feeling it was a waste of time and energy.
Since then I’ve learned a lot. But it wasn’t through study of Mormonism but by re-learning the gospel. It took years to wade out of swamp of dogma to the Biblical version of the gospel. Indoctrination into a half truth is hard to get out of.
First you have to challenge the assumptions and relook at the Bible and the words of Jesus. It is only complex after being taught a certain take on salvation. If no one would have messed with me, I think I would have understood it more quickly.
I discovered that Mormons have rejected the “I believe in Jesus Gospel” which allowed for unclean living. They saw the misuse of the grace of God and rejected the modern version of the gospel. Many Christians they speak to give them the same vociferous view This only helps reassert their sense of rightness and that the popular evangelical gospel is a crock.
These days, I have a great time with them. No argument or abuse necessary. They are respected and listen. I point them past the doctrines derived by Joseph Smith’s imagination to the main character in his teaching, Jesus! I remind them that the only judge is Jesus and we need to abide in His words.
Jesus shows us all we need; to know God and rest in Heaven. I point them to obey Jesus, like in the Sermon on the Mount and Matt 25 – “when you have done it to the least of these you have done it unto me.”
For fun, I recently showed my friend how to do it. We parked our car and went to introduce ourselves. We said “Hi” and told them we were friends to them. I told them we appreciated their work. Then I asked them how long they have been in town and where they were from. I asked where they went to school and how their mission had been going. “Do you get a lot of grumpy people?” I joked.
Then I let them know that I often find less argument with them than the Protestant Denominations. They wondered why. It is over the gospel I explained. I elucidated the gospel of the Bible. It says if you believe Jesus, you’ll do what He said: have forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life. They agreed.
Then I said we need to carefully adhere to Jesus’ words. They had no problem with this notion. We must live a life style of loving our neighbor.
I explained that neither our theological dogma, Joseph Smith, Martin Luther nor our church will get us to Heaven. Only submission to the will of Jesus-and its requisite faith-will suffice.
They could accept this and had no argument…but they still have a dilemma…one of faith…they are in the same quandary of the overwhelming majority of Evangelicals and Pentecostals. It is all religion and show. Without repentance that leads to sacrificial love as demonstrated in Christ’s life there is no saving faith.
On this occasion I took a friend to show him how easy and effective it was. He was happily surprised at the ease of communication and the friendly conversation.
We parted happily from our new friends.
Next time you see a couple of boys in white, pull over and try this approach. It is very worthwhile and a great pleasure. And by the way we win! …and so do they!