SHARING THE TRUTH IN LOVE PRINCIPLES
LOVE Means Seeing Their Dire Straits
See Mormons more as victims than as enemies. As our perspective changes, so does our attitude. It is easy for Christians to view Mormons as enemies seeing how they espouse so much false teaching. That perspective then often results in Christians either focusing on attacking Mormonism or defending the truth. That is what you do with enemies. But when we see Mormons as victims of Mormonism, instead of attacking them or defending the truth, we are much more inclined to focus all our attention on rescuing them. Mormons are typically so caught up in the activities and the culture of their Church, that most have not really given any thought to what they believe to be true. They are like sheep that have gone astray. Christians are given the privilege of bringing them back to the True Shepherd.
Be convinced that Mormonism is leading people to hell (outer darkness). Even though Mormonism can sound so Christian, it gives a radically different understanding of biblical teaching. The teachings of the LDS Church are so different, that we must come to the conclusion that Mormons are in grave danger of outer darkness (Mormon version of hell). It is difficult to witness with any sense of urgency without being totally convinced of this sobering fact.
LOVE Means Taking the Next Step
Verbalizing our Concern. The most loving thing you can do for Mormons is tell them of your concerns for their spiritual welfare.
Even when we are convinced of the eternal danger Mormons are in, it is often difficult to verbalize that concern with our LDS friend or family member. We realize that by doing so, we are putting our relationship with them at great risk. But, by not doing so, we are putting their eternal destiny at great risk. One of the most loving things we can do is to share with them our concern.
Put yourself in the position of a doctor who has to tell his patient that he has cancer. The most unloving thing to do would be for him to tell him nothing was wrong! His only course of action is to break the bad news and then work on the cure. We, however, are in a much better position than the doctor. We also have to break the bad news, but we can follow that up immediately with the message of a sure, complete, painless and free cure – created and given by God himself.
LOVE Means Doing All You Can To Reach Them
“Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone. …I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” (1 Cor. 9:19, 22-23)
St. Paul never gave an inch when it came to biblical teaching. But in everything else, as he says in the above passage, he was very flexible. Likewise, we don’t want to give an inch when it comes to biblical teaching. But in all other matters, love moves us to remove all unnecessary obstacles to reaching Mormons. That means being sensitive to their culture and not ridiculing it (i.e. calling Mormon sacred undergarments holy underwear). This striving to be flexible whenever we can lies behind the points that follow. In love, we will want to try as much as possible to meet Mormons where they are at.
LOVE Means Speaking Their Language
One very important way that we can follow St. Paul’s example is by speaking their language.
Know and define key terms. The brilliance of Mormonism is that it hides its teachings under the guise of Christianity. For this reason, take the time to carefully define key terms, so there is a mutual understanding of individual words. If this is not done, both you and your Mormon friend can easily get frustrated as you go around and around discussing a particular topic.
Use the King James Version (KJV). The King James Bible is the only version the Mormon Church uses. Most Mormons are suspect of other translations – many not even knowing that there are other translations. Though the KJV is difficult to read, using this translation would be the loving way to go.
LOVE Means Understanding and Addressing Their Stresses
Mormons need to be worthy for everything. The culture and the teachings of Mormonism strongly emphasize the need for people to be worthy in their efforts to follow Jesus and the LDS Plan of Happiness. This is true not only for this life, but also eternally. Every work or act of obedience is prompted by the desire to progress in this life and attain maximum rewards in the heavenly realms. One of the largest stress points for a Mormon is the cultural and theological need to present themselves as wholesome and happy to the outside world and to each other. This appearance tells people that they are eternally progressing in the right direction. This gives us the opportunity to talk about how we are worthy in Christ.
The painful process of repentance in order to receive the forgiveness of sins. Jesus Christ suffered the penalty for your sins so you can be forgiven if you sincerely repent. As you repent and rely on His saving grace, you will be cleansed from sin.” (True to the Faith p.132) Repentance is an ongoing process that includes exercising your faith, godly sorrow over your sin, full confession of sins, abandoning the sin with a permanent resolve to never repeat it, provide restitution if needed, and righteous living that includes full obedience of the law and commands of the Church. Addressing this process opens the door for teaching God’s law and the impossibility of abandoning all sin.
The Standard of Perfection. Mormonism teaches that it is possible for a human to progress and become perfect. Most Mormons, however, stress the importance of striving to become perfect, rather than actually attaining it. They believe that a person will be rewarded eternally for their sincere efforts. Faithful Mormons will constantly be nagged by their conscience that they are not doing enough to work on improving themselves. The door is often already open to present the absoluteness of God’s standard of perfection and the perfection Jesus credits to our account through faith.
LOVE Means Not Letting Them Off the Hook
Do not let them deny the teachings of the LDS Church. Mormons often tell Christians that they don’t understand Mormonism when their own beliefs differ from that of official LDS teachings. We don’t let them off the hook. Instead we show them official LDS references and remind them of the importance of upholding the teachings of their highest authorities.
Holding them accountable to their words and actions as a member of the LDS Church. If they say things or do something that is contrary to what the LDS Church teaches, point them out. Be their conscience by holding them to their standards. Not letting Mormons off the hook is a loving thing to do. It is a way to begin sharing the true messages of God’s law.
6 Ways Christians can Speak the TRUTH in Love
What is our goal in sharing God’s Word with Mormons? This is an important question to answer, for it will dictate our strategy. If we want Mormons to leave Mormonism, then our strategy will be to prove Mormonism wrong. This approach has led many souls out of the LDS Church, but a large majority are now agnostic or atheists. If our goal is to bring as many Mormons to heaven, then we must focus on the only way that can be possible — by sharing God’s Word. This is the TRUTH that can set a Mormon free.
TRUTH means relying on God’s Word rather than human wisdom
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
The Word of God is powerful and like a sword cuts through pride and human arrogance. It is living and active. It’s a force beyond ourselves that pierces hearts. It’s a means God provides to His ambassadors to use at their disposal. Why rely on human argument when there is something far greater? For this reason, we focus on sharing God’s Word to accomplish our goal of winning a soul.
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” (1 Corinthians 1:19)
The best thing we can do as being God’s witnesses is to let God speak for Himself. It’s almost impossible to reason with a Mormon because the teachings of Mormonism have too many loose ends. Instead, focus on sharing the all-important messages of sin and salvation in a way that a Mormon can understand.
TRUTH means using the scalpel of God’s Law to uncover their sin
Share that God demands obedience. God demands perfect obedience and condemns all who are not perfectly obedient. There are several parables Jesus taught that gives examples of what it means to be obedient and the eternal consequences of not being worthy.
Remember the purpose of the law,
“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather through the law we become conscious of sin.” (Romans 3:20)
Mormons view God’s commandments in the law as steps on a ladder enabling them to get to heaven. But, as the above passage states, the law doesn’t bring us closer to God. Rather it reveals to us how far away we are from God. It accomplishes that by showing just how impossibly high God’s standard is. In the law God gave us commandments that are impossible for sinful people to keep. In order to have Mormons see their sinfulness and their inability to please God, we need to have them feel the full force of God’s commands. Too often, Christians try to water them down and weaken them. Don’t do that. Let the law convict them of their sinfulness.
Example: One Way to Use God’s Law:
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Mt. 5:48)
Emphasize the standard is to be like our “Father which is in heaven.” God doesn’t compare us to each other, he compares us to himself.
Emphasize the command to “be” perfect and not “become” perfect. It’s commanding perfection right now.
Example: Another Way to use God’s Law:
“For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)
Reinforce God’s demand and expectation of total perfection to be worthy.
Each and every sin is a capital crime because it is a sin against God.
The consequences of one sin means capital punishment (spiritual death) and an eternity in hell (outer darkness).
The only way to be prepared for the message of Christ’s redemption is to recognize and acknowledge our dire need to be rescued. That is what the law does.
TRUTH means knowing when to apply the healing balm of God’s gospel
In comparison to the Mormon gospel of works they have to accomplish (link to comparisons), God’s gospel centers on the work that has already been accomplished through Jesus Christ. His work becomes our work. His perfect life becomes our perfect life. By his death and resurrection, we are saved from spiritual death. The message of the gospel declares that by believing in this promise we receive the full benefits of Christ’s work which means the full forgiveness of sins, the declaration of being 100% worthy.
Example: One way to share the Gospel
“For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14)
- This verse refers to the completed work of Christ’s sacrifice in “hath perfected” (especially note the past tense).
- Refer to this verse in its entire context (vs. 10-18).
- These passages teach about forgiveness while also providing rich sources for gospel promises for which we can place our trust.
TRUTH means trusting in the power of the Gospel
“I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16)
Alfred Noble patented an explosive material in the 19th century and coined the word “dynamite” from the Greek word for “dynamis” which means power. The “dynamis” of God’s Word works like dynamite in tearing apart human reason and pride. Speaking the truth in love means trusting in the power of the gospel to do its work in creating faith in the hearts of unbelievers. For that reason, our focus must be on sharing God’s Word as the primary means to bring a Mormon to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
TRUTH means making our testimony personal
A Mormon’s testimony is very important to them. In many ways, their testimony provides the foundation of their LDS faith. Christians have a testimony as well, and they should not be afraid to share it with a Mormon. Our testimony centers on Jesus Christ and what he has already done for us on the cross. As a result, we have joy, confidence, and assurance that we are completely worthy and freely forgiven right now. Since Mormons place a high emphasis on personal testimonies, sharing our own personal testimony is a powerful way to share the gospel.
TRUTH means always focusing on the gospel
“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Cor. 2:1)
It is so easy to be distracted when sharing God’s Word with Mormons. There is a strong tendency to break off on tangents that have nothing to do with sin or salvation. There is also a strong temptation to talk about spiritual topics that are important to us, but not necessarily important to a Mormon. We have to recognize that we live in two different church cultures and belief systems. For these reasons, beware of these twin dangers:
Majoring on minors. Avoid discussions that are non-essential to our salvation. For example, trying to understand and teach difficult topics (e.g. the Triune God) are best left alone. It has been our experience that once Mormons know Jesus as their Savior, they experience little difficulty in believing in other biblical teachings like the Triune God.
Debating Mormonism rather than witnessing Christ. This is really challenging. Many teachings of Mormonism can cause an array of emotions (anger, hurt, frustration) that can prompt us to stand up and defend our faith by proving them wrong. But that isn’t our goal. There is certainly a place for apologetics and defending Christianity, but not when it distracts us from being evangelists and sharing the simple truths of the gospel.
When speaking the truth in love to Mormons, we are sharing with them God’s wrath over disobedience and the healing balm of the gospel. By trusting in the power of God’s message, we can be used by God as effective messengers and bring as many people as possible to heaven — even Mormons.