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Tuesday, November 24, 2009 

What Would You Discuss Over Lunch With The Mormons?

A few weeks ago I ordered the free Finding Happiness dvd produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I did so because I had seen the commercial for the dvd advertised on an insane number of websites that I visit during the week. I had seen the trailer pop up on every kind of website ranging from comic book news, pop culture and even to some technology sites I frequently visit. The advertising campaign is clearly a broad one and they are really getting big bang for their bucks.

I’d had seen the trailer before last week and even heard a snippit or two on Chris Rosebrough’s program Fighting for the Faith. Seeing the video being advertised over such a broad range of websites definitely piqued my curiosity and I went ahead and ordered it through the online form. That was two weeks ago.

About a week after I placed my order I got a call from two missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or Mormons, asking me if they could drop off my copy of Finding Happiness. Then they asked, like all good missionaries do, “can we talk with you about Jesus?”

Here’s a question for readers of POTF; if you were having lunch with two youthful Mormon missionaries, what would you ask them? How would you handle talking to two kids whose mission it is to deliver a message and record the response? What would you do?

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"So, are you fans of Battlestar Galactica?" :)

Or, did Ron Moore’s last scene make sense to you guys?


For what it’s worth, I’m not going to in any way soft-pedal my confession of the faith but I was planning on asking them a lot of questions to see how much they know about key LDS doctrinal positions. I know what their leadership teaches but I’m curious to see what their missionaries know before they are sent out.

Dude, what's with the ties and short sleeve shirts?

Why do you use water for Communion? That's weird.

"Does the LDS offer anger counseling?"

Two things come to mind. While on their mission work, they are supposed to be reading their Bibles daily. Bring along your KJV and ask them what they have been reading. Go over the section that they just read, and look ahead at what will come. Although they are SOAKED in the law, you must apply the law lawfully and drive them to know that their efforts to do the law cannot save them. You have to counteract the moralizing law they have received. Pour out the Gospel on them from the books of the Bible they have been reading, especially emphasizing the divinity of Christ and his substitutionary atonement.

For a parting shot, you may ask them a geographical question, cuing them to open up the maps pages in their Bibles. Talk about archeology. Finally, ask them why the Book of Mormon has no maps and bears out no archaeological discoveries.

Pray to Jesus with them when they leave.

Then pray for them by name fervently before the throne of God's mercy, for they are prisoners of Satan, shackled in darkness.

BTW, they probably don't know the weirder doctrines of the LDS, so If you want to bring those up, I would have the sources in front of you.

Pastor Palm's first paragraph is what I'd emphasize as well. Since we use the same terms that they use, but they have different definitions, I point this out to them, and then tell them what I believe while defining the meanings as I go along. It's a good way to give them the Gospel. Lot's of different ways to attack it though. One thing they're fond of talking about is authority. Where do you receive your authority, which ties in with their different priesthoods. You could use it to speak of the priesthood of all believers, etc. Or you can talk about their "prophet," and why we no longer need a prophet. I personally don't pray with them, because you and they aren't praying to the same God. Ours is listening, theirs isn't, although I certainly pray for them.

Hi Pastor Palm!

Pr. Palm, thanks for the suggestions. I’m a little more equiped to deal with Mormons who are a bit more steeped in the theology and doctrine received at the temple level. I doubt the two guys I’m meeting are Aaronic much less Melchizedek priests so this will be something of a challenge for me. I do hope I get the chance to bring up the sciences like archeology and DNA testing with ‘em. Asking about maps in the BoM is a neat way of seguing into those areas, thanks.

Scott, dealing with folks that use the same words but with different meanings is something that I’ve learned to deal with, especially with my more charasmatic evangelical friends. Good point though that we always need to define (or clarify) what the words mean with folks we are carrying on conversations with.

Ghp, I sure they do ;-)

Frank,

I've had numerous conversations with JW's at my door, but not Mormons. But with the JW's I have tried a variety of approaches - ranging from "buzz off" to a line of socratic questioning, to a rather firm challenge "this is why you people get branded as a cult!"

In the end, I don't know if there's any one best approach. Inevitably I end up wishing I had said or done something different while I had their ear. I simply pray that somehow, somewhere the Gospel gets through to them. God grant it!

Pr. Chryst, I agree 100% that there really isn't any one approach. As Pr. Palm said; these kids probably don’t know all the really bizarre stuff yet so my first instinct if to tackle the opportunity in a really low-key manner.

The last time I had a Saturday visit from the JW's I broke out my Greek New Testament and gave ‘em a language lesson from the John’s gospel. I don’t suspect I’ll seem them again for a while.

Appreciate the input!

en archay ain ho logos

"Kai ho logos ain pros ton theon, kai theon ain ho logos"...

G(r)eeking out. Yes, just one of the many reasons people hate us.

;o)

But speaking of geeking out... "I doubt the two guys I’m meeting are Aaronic much less Melchizedek priests..." For me, who retains few details of what the Mormons are on about, this statement looks COMPLETELY bizarre. What are they thinking?? Please do keep us updated on how things go; sounds fascinating.

Oh, and to answer your original question, I'd probably start out by asking them if they could hook me up with a good discount on scrapbooking supplies. You know, before I antagonized them too badly.

::falls of chair laughing:: Very good, Kelly. Very good!

Kelly, The scrap-booking supplies question is now first in line.

"For me, who retains few details of what the Mormons are on about, this statement looks COMPLETELY bizarre."

Are you asking about the different level of priests? The structure of the LDS organization mirrors that of the Masonic lodge system as does many of the ceremonies performed at the temple level. As soon as work lightens up and I get a couple week break from my Sunday school prep, I'll work I'll try and work on a post that shows and explains the similarities as well as why I'm so familiar with both.

Yeah, priest levels... weird...

Oh, I forgot-- as soon as your missionary friends try to present some serious aspect of their belief system, immediately reply with some asinine questions and comments about the Twilight series.

If you are actually interested in their message then talk. If you just want to bash and tear them down then that's silly and a waste of your and their time. If you aren't really interested in their message then just take the DVD and tell them "Thanks, but I'm really not interested in the rest of your message" Otherwise you are just being mean to people and tearing down their faith. Try to be Christ-like and civil.

Would it really be Christlike to not engage them and winsomely challenge their error? To allow them to continue along their devilish path thoughtlessly & unimpeded? Really?

Civility & politeness, to be sure, but unchallenged? Nope, I don't see how that's Christlike at all.

Anonymous, did I at anytime say I was going to be mean to them or bash them? No, I didn’t so go back and try to reread the post. Maybe this is your first visit to POTF but I’ve said on numerous occasions that we need to deal with individuals individually and sometimes that means a certain sternness and other times we tread more delicately depending on the circumstance. This does not mean we compromise or water down the Gospel (as so many consultants tell us to do) but rather engage those whose theology is in direct conflict with Scripture to show them their errors and point them to Christ and His cross.

I am interested in their message as I, depending on who I get to talk with, will know a great deal more about their theology than they do. Remember, there are numerous levels to the LDS structure, both organizationally as well as theologically, and I can assure you I’m familiar most of the nuances of all.

Lastly, before you accuse me of not wanting to be Christ-like, read and then reread Matthew 23.

I'd discuss the sermon on the mount and ask them how they are doing.

Then I'd really pour it on 'em (the law, that is).

I take a strange approach. I've made friends with a couple of gals who come to my door habitually. I love their love for Jehova. It's pure and innocent. And as passionate as my own love for Christ. Granted they have stopped coming and I now receive the older, and I perceive deeper qualified, persons. I'm not really sure why they won't let my friends come anymore. ;-D would love to hear what you talk about.

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deanaohara, I used to have some JWs visit me on the weekends and like it is with you they stopped coming. My guess is that they brought back WAY too many questions after our talks. Also, I encouraged them to read their Bibles all by their happy self which is not allowed (their altered scriptures are to be read and interpreted in a group and not by individuals)
I'm probably not going to have a very in-depth discussion but rather ask a lot of questions. As soon as I bring up the fact that the Bible doesn't teach that God was an elevated being and just one of many gods of many worlds, I think we'll hit a wall.

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  • From The Haut South
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