HOW CAN I SHARE MY FAITH WITH MORMONS WITHOUT GETTING INTO AN ARGUMENT?
“Something funny happened today. Two young Mormon missionaries walked by our street for the second time asking to share their unique ‘message of salvation.’ I told them that I have known Jesus as my personal Savior since I was eight. They asked me a bunch of questions and said that they want to come back at a more convenient time. I said I would be willing to talk with them. However, I am not a confrontational person and I don’t particularly like debating, but since I keep seeing them and I knew your ministry could help, I agreed to talk with them again. What do you suggest I share that will not turn into an argument?”
Dear Christian friend,
Thank you for sharing your heart to see these young Mormon missionaries come to know the truth about the real Jesus. We understand your concern over wanting to share your faith without the discussion turning into a confrontational debate or argument. However, the Bible does command us to “contend earnestly for the faith.” –Jude 3 ** While it is admirable to seek to keep contentious debate to a minimum, there are times when it is unavoidable when standing up for the truth. In such cases, it is helpful to remember that the dog that yelps the most is the one that got hit. In other words, if your Mormon missionary friend goes away angry from any point of truth you presented, this is a good sign that the Holy Spirit is convicting this individual. So, we strongly encourage you not to comprise sharing truth just to avoid a negative response on the part of your Mormon contact.
Since Mormons tend to be driven more by their feelings about the Mormon Church than by logic and reasonable arguments, it is easy to get frustrated when presenting facts against Mormonism. Your Mormon acquaintance may seem unconcerned, but you never know what is really happening in their hearts. Some of the most unlikely, angry Mormon people who have contacted our ministry, have turned out to be just on the verge of accepting Christ. So, you never know what is going on deep down inside.
It is important to remember that it is not your job to change their minds. Your job is just to plant seeds of truth that the Holy Spirit can use to convict them and drive truth home into their hearts. If they get angry and respond by personally attacking your character or questioning your “motives” for talking them, always go back to the admonition at 1 Peter 3:15 to give an answer with “gentleness and reverence.” Do not give in to the temptation to attack their character in response, but emphasis the love you have for them. In this case, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
Given the fact that you have limited time to prepare for the return visit of these LDS missionaries, we recommend that you ask them to watch one of the following films with you. These films present many problems with the foundation of Mormonism along with a loving appeal to stop trusting their “dead works” in order to serve the true Jesus of the Bible (Hebrews 9:14). We recommend that you watch the film that you decide to present to the missionaries, first before showing it to them, and take notes on specific points raised in the film that you would like to discuss with them.
The best scenario would be for you to have them watch the film “with you” at your home, rather than to give them a copy of the film. There are several reasons we recommend this:
- The LDS Church warns its members to avoid literature critical of the Mormon faith and calls it “anti-Mormon” and “deceptive.” LDS missionaries are especially under tight surveillance by their leaders.
- Loyal LDS members avoid “anti-Mormon” literature and view those who would give them the literature as “persecutors.”
- If lay LDS apologetic organizations like FAIR or FARMS (Neil A Maxwell Institute) have developed a “response” to the claims in a particular film or document critical of the Church, loyal LDS members will typically not question the weak rebuttals provided by their colleagues, but will choose blind “faith” over reason nearly every time.
One word of caution: Do not present all the films above and ask them which one they want to watch as that will make them feel like you have an agenda to undermine their faith. Just choose one film and ask them to watch that one film with you. We recommend that you present the film to them by saying something similar to this:
“Somebody sent/gave me a copy of this film on Mormonism. As I was watching it, I began to question if all these things are true that the film presents about Mormonism. Since I don’t want to believe anything about Mormonism that is not true, would you be willing to watch it with me and help me see if there are any lies in this film, so that I can know the truth about the Church?”
Since they’ll be “helping” you see the so-called “lies” in the film, they will be able to watch the film with you and not feel like they are arguing with you. They are just trying to “help” you and in the process of helping you they will learn the problems that their Church tries to hide from them.
IF THEY INSIST ON DOING THEIR “MISSIONARY LESSONS”…
Do not agree to go through their “missionary lessons” first. If this comes up, say something like:
“The film brought up things about Mormonism that I need answers to before I can make a commitment to do your regular lessons.”
It is important that they agree to watch the film with you before they do their lessons, because their lessons are designed with specific responses required of you to perform or believe before they will go onto the next lesson. If you refuse to do the response assignments, like “pray about the Book of Mormon” or refuse to agree with them that apostles and prophets or Aaronic and Melchizedek “priesthood authority” has been “restored” through their Church, they will refuse to go on to the next lesson. They may break off their meetings with you and never follow through with their commitment to watch the film.
Remember, the goal of an LDS missionary is to try to convince you to become a member of their Church. They are generally not interested in your arguments against the Church, unless they see you as a potential convert and your concerns as something they can help you overcome. So, it is important that you maintain control by insisting that they watch the film with you first before you agree to go through their lessons. This will also have the added advantage of forcing them to seriously consider the criticism leveled against Mormonism; as the fact that FARMS or FAIR has a rebuttal to the film is insufficient to address the specific concerns you have.
OTHER RESOURCES YOU CAN USE:
If you prefer not to use a film to reach Mormons or you find that they refuse to watch your film with you (a common response from LDS missionaries), you will find the following resources helpful:
** All Scriptures are quoted from the King James Bible Version.
This post is also available in: Spanish