OUR DAUGHTER IS DATING A MORMON — What is the best way for a Christian parent to respond to this situation?
“We raised our children in a Christian home, but our 18 year old daughter is dating a Mormon who has convinced her to start meeting with Mormon missionaries. We are concerned she is thinking about becoming a Mormon, and we need information on how best to handle this situation.”
We often receive inquiries from concerned parents whose son or daughter is dating a Mormon. What makes these situations more difficult than others is the emotional element that physical attraction and teenage/young adult insecurity plays into the equation. When the emotions get involved as they do in a dating relationship, it is difficult for anyone to make objective decisions. Thus, the Bible warns, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” —Proverbs 4:23
Another factor that contributes to the complexity of this situation is the parental and teenage/young adult relationship. When parents see their children heading in a direction that could have devastating affects, it is easy for the protective parental instinct to engage with a desire to “rescue” the child—regardless of whether the child is of age and capable of making life-choices. A young adult approached with an authoritative parental attitude, may react with defiant rejection of all parental input (common in strong-willed children) or resentful compliance in which your daughter may give lip-service to your desires, without heart commitment. Neither response yields the desired affect that would bring a child to maturity in her decision making capacity.
Thus, we recommend an approach that incorporates an attitude of mutual respect between parent and young adult, with the goal of stimulating and sharpening the young adult’s critical thinking and decision making skills that will help solicit a positive response in the teenage/young adult child. This approach is outlined in the following steps discussed below:
- Maintain a healthy relationship with your daughter.
- Establish common ground and address her objections.
- Discuss the differences between Mormonism and Christianity.
- Discuss the consequences of compromise.
- Promote an open mind.
We have found that the strength of the emotional bond between the teenage/young adult and parents has a significant bearing on how responsive the young person is to parental input. If your daughter feels emotionally close to you and is confident in your respect of her decisions as a young adult, it will be much more difficult for her to discount your views against what she is being told by her LDS (Mormon) boyfriend and his collogues in Mormonism. However, if your daughter feels like you do not trust her ability to run her life and make her own decisions, she may view your opposition to her dating relationship as a challenge to her autonomy and may rebel further by reacting negatively to everything you suggest.
Thus, we recommend that the best way to approach your daughter in this situation is to emphasize that while you have “concerns” about her choice to date this Mormon man, you will always love her as your daughter, no matter what choice she makes in regard to this relationship. Let her know that you recognize that she is “of age” to make her own decisions for life and that she is responsible to embrace the life-long consequences of her actions. Then, explain that because you love her, you feel a responsibility as her parents to share the concerns you have over this relationship, but this in no way reflects a desire to “run” or “control” her life.
At this point, it would be good to ask if she would be willing to engage in an open and honest dialogue with you over her reasons for dating this LDS young man and what interests her about Mormonism. Ask her for a couple hours of uninterrupted time where you and she can sit down and discuss these matters, apart from the presence of her LDS boyfriend or Mormon friends. Let her know that at this meeting, you desire to hear her side of the issue, not what her boyfriend thinks, but what she thinks. You could say that this is the reason you would prefer that her LDS boyfriend not be present at this meeting.
Let her know that your hope is that this meeting would be a time for honest communication, where you and she can discuss the implications of her choices in an atmosphere of mutual respect. If she agrees to this meeting, you are well on your way to being able to have a heart-to-heart discussion with her.
A good way to start your meeting with your daughter is to ask her what she sees in this young man that has captured her interest in him and his religion. Listen carefully for any doubts she may express about her own faith and why she may feel Mormonism has the answers. If she has been meeting with Mormon missionaries very long, she may be impressed with Mormonism’s youth and family activities and its emphasis on “marriage for time and eternity” in heaven. She may have questions about the distinction of persons in the Trinity, three heavens mentioned in the Bible, baptism for the dead and Mormon priesthood authority. Because of the way LDS (Mormon) missionaries twist Biblical Scripture to make the false doctrines of Mormonism appear true, you will need to be prepared to defend your faith and accurately explain the Scripture verses that Mormonism abuses in support of its doctrines. A few resources we recommend to help you prepare to answer these questions are:
- HIDDEN DOCTRINES OF MORMONISM – What the Mormon Church Does Not Tell Prospective Converts
- FACTS THE MORMON CHURCH DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW
- HOW TO WITNESS EFFECTIVELY TO MORMONS— Breaking the LDS Authority Barrier Step-by-Step
After she has been persuaded to see the falsehood of Mormon beliefs on the issues she raised, you may want to ask her what she believes God’s Word has to say about dating/marrying a non-Christian. You might present the following verses with questions to help her see what God has to say about this issue:
DEUTERONOMY 7:3-4: “Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and He will quickly destroy you.”
2 CORINTHIANS 6:14: “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?”
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Why did God command the Israelites not to “intermarry” with the people of the nations around them? How would marrying someone who has a different view of “God” affect your ability to worship and serve the true God? How would it affect your ability to teach your children about God? Why does God warn against being “bound together” with an unbeliever? In what way would intimacy and “fellowship” be compromised if your mate is unsaved? Will God bless you if you place a person in front of your relationship with Him?
Once you’ve established the common ground of what God has to say about a Christian dating and marrying an unbeliever, and she has agreed with the fact that she should not put her LDS boyfriend in front of her relationship with God, you need to be prepared for a couple of common objections she may raise.
OBJECTION #1: YOUR DAUGHTER IS MISSIONARY DATING:
Your daughter may say something like, “I know he doesn’t believe exactly like we do, but he’s open to discussing religion and I’m trying to help him see the truth of my faith.” A few questions in response may help her put this idea in proper perspective.
- Does he realize that you view him as your “spiritual project”? How do you think you would feel if your LDS boyfriend told you that the only reason he is dating you is to try to convert you to his faith? If this is what your relationship is based on, what kind of relationship do you think you would end up with?
- Would your boyfriend be investigating your faith if he were not dating you? If so, would he be willing to meet with a pastor or some other “man” who can reach out to him without the interference his physical attraction to you plays in his interest? If not, could it be that his true motive in showing interest is only to win your affection?
- If his real motive is winning your affection and you are successful in getting him to make the decision to leave Mormonism and embrace your faith, what assurance do you have that his commitment is real and not just a superficial attempt to impress you?
OBJECTION #2: YOUR DAUGHTER THINKS HER LDS BOYFRIEND IS A CHRISTIAN:
Even though in the first part of your conversation with your daughter, you attempted to address any concerns she had about her own faith in comparison to Mormonism, she may still claim that these differences are insignificant and that she believes her Mormon boyfriend is indeed a “Christian” because he “believes in Jesus Christ.” Are you prepared to explain why her LDS boyfriend’s “belief” in “Jesus Christ” is not the same as her belief?
Mormonism uses Christian terminology with completely different meanings. On the surface it sounds Christian, but underneath the pseudo-Christian mask is a doctrine and lifestyle that is completely opposite that of true Christian belief. A person without a good understanding of the terminology differences may get the mistaken impression that Mormonism is another denomination of Christianity, but nothing could be farther from the truth as the following chart illustrates:
|God||The ever-present, all powerful Spirit who has always existed as the Eternal God.||An exalted “man” who has not always existed, but who had a “father” before him and earned godhood through obedience.|
|Jesus Christ||Co-equal and co-eternal with the Father. He stands apart from creation as the Creator who created all things (including Lucifer) and has always existed with the Father as the one true Almighty God.||A second “god” under the Father. He was produced (created) in the heavens through a procreative act between God the Father and one of his eternal “wives” called “Heavenly Mother.” He is the “spirit-brother” of Lucifer who was created in the same way.|
|The Fall||Adam and Eve’s act of disobedience to God’s command not to partake of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. This act of “sin” brought “sin” and “death” into the world and resulted in all of creation falling under the curse of God.||Adam and Eve’s heroic act of “transgression” of one of God’s commands in order to obey the first command to have children. This act of “transgression” is not a “sin” and should be viewed as a positive step toward earning “godhood.”|
|Gospel||Faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ resulting in complete salvation and eternal life in heaven with God.||Faith in Jesus Christ’s atonement in the Garden of Gethsemane and personal works of worthiness, obeying all the laws of the LDS Church.|
|Grace||Unmerited, unearned kindness or favor given to all who freely embrace Christ’s substitutionary payment for sin, apart from works of righteousness.||The enabling power that allows men to obtain eternal life, given only after they have extended their own “best effort” to obey LDS laws and requirements.|
|Born Again||The act of spiritual birth in which the Holy Spirit indwells a believer, given immediately upon that believer’s full trust and acceptance of Christ.||The act of being baptized into the Mormon Church and having the Holy Ghost conferred upon a new convert by someone claiming to hold the Mormon priesthood authority.|
|Salvation||Eternal life in heaven with God, given to those who freely accept Christ without attempting to earn or merit His favor.||Immortality given to all, regardless of one’s personal acceptance of Christ. Ultimate “eternal life” consists in meriting the highest kingdom of heaven through obedience to LDS gospel laws.|
As the previous chart illustrates, there are vast differences in the meanings of the terms used by Mormons and Christians. Because Mormonism uses Christian terminology, your daughter may have been persuaded into thinking that the differences between Mormonism and Christianity are relatively minor. This is especially true if your daughter is listening to Mormon missionaries who have been trained in the art of minimizing the differences in order to present Mormonism to the public as another brand of Christianity.
If your daughter believes there isn’t a lot of difference between the two religions, this is the time to ask her if she would be willing to study what the differences are in order to “help” you to understand why she thinks Mormon doctrine is compatible with true Christian belief. Significant Mormon doctrines to discuss are as follows:
- The Mormon idea of God being an “exalted man” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 1976, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith,pp. 345-346) as opposed to the Biblical God who is not a man (Numbers 23:19; Hosea 11:9).
- The Mormon teaching that God the Father (“Elohim” or “God” in Mormonism) and Jesus (“Jehovah” or “LORD” in Mormonism) are two separate “Gods” (LDS KJV Bible Dictionary, p. 681) as opposed to the Biblical teaching that God the Father and Jesus are one and the same God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:6, 8).
- The Mormon Jesus who is a “spirit-brother” of Lucifer (Gospel Principles, pp. 17-18) as opposed to the Biblical Jesus who was never created, but has always existed as the one true Almighty God (Hebrews 7:3; John 1:1; 20:28; Isaiah 43:10).
- Mormon “temple marriage” that supposedly prepares couples to be exalted as gods, producing spirit children in heaven (Gospel Principles, 1992ed., p. 243) as opposed to Jesus’ teaching that there will be no “marriage” in heaven (Matthew 22:28-30; Luke 20:33-36).
- The Book of Mormon teaching that the Bible was corrupted (1 Nephi 13:26, 28) as opposed to Jesus’ statements that His Word would never pass away (Matthew 24:35; 1 Peter 1:24-25; Isaiah 40:8) Does the Book of Mormon call Jesus a liar?
Mormonism is more than just a religion; it is a culture. When one marries a Mormon, one marries into a lifestyle that is geared around the false premises of Mormonism. Whether your daughter chooses to become a Mormon or not, if she decides to marry her LDS boyfriend, her decision will affect not only her personal life, but the lives of all who are around her. Is she prepared for the consequences of compromise?
Does your daughter realize the effects that her choice to marry this LDS young man could have on her children? If she decides not to become a Mormon, but marries this LDS man anyway, does she understand what this will mean for children growing up with a Mormon father? What faith will the children be raised in? Will she be able to protect her children from being indoctrinated by false Mormon beliefs? How will she handle a husband who may insist on the children accompanying him to meetings at the LDS Church? Will he allow her to take the children to her church and talk to them about the differences between Christian beliefs and Mormon doctrine? Will he allow her to have “anti” Mormon literature in the home?
The goal of every worthy Mormon is to be married for “time and eternity” in the LDS temple. Since only those who hold a valid temple recommend (granted by the Mormon bishop on the basis of personal worthiness) are allowed to enter, non-Mormon relatives are not permitted to attend these weddings. If your daughter decides to become a Mormon, does she realize that her parents will be excluded from attending her LDS temple wedding?
Not only does the culture of Mormonism interfere in this way with basic non-Mormon family relationships, but its system of church service “callings” and programs tends to keep Mormons so busy that your daughter may find time with her non-Mormon family members very limited. Is your daughter prepared to have limited contact with her non-LDS parents and siblings?
If after your one-on-one discussion with your daughter, she remains unconvinced in her decision to date this LDS young man, you may ask if she would be willing to consider looking into the research of people involved in ministry to Mormons and the testimonies of those who have left Mormonism. You may ask your daughter if she believes it is wise to only listen to her friends in Mormonism without checking into the “other side” of the issue. Proverbs 18:17 warns that we should hear all sides of an issue before making a judgment when it declares, “The first to plead his case seems just, until another comes and examines him.”
If she agrees to hear the other side, you might want to start by viewing films that expose aspects of Mormonism that are difficult for Mormons to excuse away. You might also encourage your daughter to invite her LDS boyfriend to join in viewing and discussing these films. This will serve two purposes. 1) The films will challenge the faith of her LDS boyfriend and allow him the opportunity to investigate a side of his religion that he may have never considered. 2). When your daughter sees that Mormonism does not have answers for the issues raised in the films, she may reevaluate her decision to meet with Mormon missionaries and date this LDS man. We recommend the following films for this purpose:
- Jesus Christ / Joseph Smith
- DNA vs the Book of Mormon
- Bible vs the Book of Mormon
- The Book of Abraham
- Answering Questions Your Mormon Friends Ask
Along with viewing the above films, it would be good to have her meet with an ex-Mormon in your area who will share from personal experience why he or she left the religion. If you do not know of anyone in your area who is available to meet with your daughter, our Witnesses for Jesus Website Ministry Team of ex-Mormons may be a good resource for you as they share their testimonies on our website and they also live in various areas of the United States and may be able to help with referrals. Another option is to contact the ministries we list below for a referral:
Concerned Christians in Mesa, Arizona
Jim and Judy Robertson
(Jim and Judy are involved in starting ex-Mormon support groups throughout the United States. They would be a good contact for ex-Mormon referrals throughout the US.)
Evidence Ministries in San Antonio, Texas
Keith and Becky Walker
Institute For Religious Research in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Phone Toll Free: 877-888-4477
Saints Alive Ex-Mormons in Jesus in Tacoma, Washington
Rich Berghammer or Mark Champneys
Phone Toll Free: 800-680-4537
Challenge Ministries in El Cajon, California
Jerry and Dianna Benson
H.I.S. Ministry in Salt Lake City, Utah
Rauni and Dennis Higley
Mormonism Research Ministry in Salt Lake City, Utah
Bill and Tammy McKeever
Steve Whitcomb Serving in Florida
Email: [email protected]
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible
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