Pillar # 1: See Mormons as victims, not enemies
Our attitude towards people greatly affects our actions towards them. Most Christians – at least, those who correctly see Mormonism as a non-Christian religion – view Mormons as the enemy. They do it with good reason. Mormons espouse many non-biblical beliefs and zealously work at converting others to their beliefs. Most Christians know of a family who has been torn apart by a family member becoming Mormon.
What we need to remember is that every unbeliever is an enemy of Jesus. Jesus reminded us of this when he said: “Whoever is not with me is against me’” (Matthew 12:30). But this shouldn’t stop us from loving them or trying to reach them. It doesn’t give us an excuse not to adopt Paul’s strategy of becoming all things to all people in order to win some (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).
Seeing Mormons as Victims
The more one studies Mormonism and talks with Mormons the more sympathetic we become, because we see how much Mormonism victimizes its members. Imagine being told repeatedly that you can’t be saved in your sins but from your sins (True to the Faith, p. 151f). In other words, repeating the sin you have repented of reveals you were not truly repentant because repentance includes abandoning the sin! “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins – behold, he will confess them and forsake them” (D&C 58:43).
Or how would you like to hear this: “It depends upon you whether or not you are forgiven, and when. It could be weeks, it could be years, it could be centuries before that happy day when you have the positive assurance that the Lord has forgiven you. That depends on your humility, your sincerity, your works, your attitudes.” This was written by Spencer W. Kimball, a man they considered a living prophet.
Speaking the Truth
Such examples could be multiplied many times over. (Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons has many other examples.) Hopefully, these begin to reveal for you the burden many Mormons are under. Many struggle to be worthy before God. Many have no confidence they are forgiven or will live with God for all eternity. Many have just given up.
This doesn’t mean they will readily talk about their struggles. One of the main characteristics of Mormonism is that most Mormons appear happy and content even when they aren’t. Mormonism encourages success and strength. It discourages people from showing or sharing their struggles. When we have taken the time, however, to establish a relationship with them and show we care for them, many have opened up.
It all begins here with your attitude. Until you view Mormons as victims, you won’t be able to sincerely build a bridge to them.