Mormonism has grown to be a massive religion worldwide. According to an article by CNN, there are 15 million members of the church globally with 88,000 Mormon missionaries and 144 Mormon temples. This is a religion and a cult that cannot be ignored. Millions of souls are enslaved to this false form of Christianity and must hear the true Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, I fear many conversations with Mormons result in division. Take it from me that countering Mormonism is not about having a theological debate. This is not a time to be hot-headed to people who are blinded to the truth. Instead, confronting Mormons with the truth is a time to show them who Christ really is. This is about worshipping the true God and being delivered from sin and eternal condemnation (Gal. 1:6-9).
With that said, there are several points to consider when giving the Gospel to Mormons. The next time a Mormon missionary comes to your door, keep these in mind as you seek to preach the truth to these precious souls.
Remember that God’s word is sufficient.
To start, understand that it is not required for you to know the intricacies of Mormon doctrine to share the Gospel with a Mormon. Second Peter 1:2-4 states,
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
Likewise, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:20-21 indicate that God’s word is written by men, but also inspired and breathed out by God. Because God’s word is inspired, that means it is also inerrant, authoritative, and sufficient to save and sanctify mankind. If you don’t know the right words to say, don’t fear sharing the Gospel to Mormons. Bring them back to God’s word to let God’s Spirit convict them of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).
Have the right attitude.
It is tempting to turn a conversation with a Mormon into a passionate debate. Consider the words of 1 Peter 3:13-15. Peter is emphasizing how even if you are to suffer for the sake of righteousness, then you are considered blessed. Rather than fearing the opponent’s intimidation or being troubled, verse 15 states, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”
Notice that Christians always need to be ready to defend their faith with gentleness and reverence. After preaching the Gospel to a Mormon, they should see hope. They should see Christ sanctified as Lord in your heart. Ultimately they should see this because of the attitude and overall demeanor you have had with them, which is gentle and reverent. Win lost souls by making God’s word evident to them and making God’s word evident to them within you.
Know who you are speaking to.
Most likely, the Mormons who come to your door are Mormon missionaries that are young people in their late teens and maybe early 20’s. These are young people, families, and souls that unfortunately have been blinded by Satan and been convinced of a false system.
In fact, if Mormons end up rejecting their Mormon faith, they are banished from their church and community. Families and friends will reject their own if Mormonism is rejected. The stakes are high for those leaving the church. Therefore, instead of talking to Mormons as trained scholars, understand them in the context of being ordinary people who are enslaved to a false religion. Listen to them, ask them questions, and seek to build a relationship that extends beyond the conversation on your front step.
Understand their language.
We have to identify Mormonism for what it is: a cult and false religion. It identifies with Christianity but preaches a different Christ. The LDS church is a global, work-based religion that changes form depending on its cultural context. The Mormonism in Utah may look different than the Mormonism in California, New York, or Ireland. In some ways it is amebic, which in part has allowed its massive growth globally. Because of the form it takes, Mormonism uses language very similar to Christianity in hopes to identify itself with Christianity. Below is just a sampling of the of the language they use:
- LDS: Typically, Mormons do not prefer to use the words “Mormon” or “Mormonism.” They would like to think of themselves as the Church of Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ (LDS). In their view, the word “Mormon” is slang and has negative connotations, so “LDS” is the preferred reference to “Mormons.”
- Burning in the Bosom: When you ask a Mormon how they came to faith, they say how they prayed through the Book of Mormon, received a burning of the bosom, and now they know the church is true. This is very important in the Mormon faith because it is their confirmation and self-assurance that the Mormon faith is true. The difficulty for the Christian with this phrase is that even when logic is presented to show how Mormonism can’t be true, they refer back to how they received a burning in the bosom, which then leads to crying or some emotional state that concludes in their confirmation that the church cannot be false.
- Heaven: It is important to understand that Mormons don’t believe in one heaven that people go to when they die. Mormons believe in three levels of heaven, and attempt to use 1 Corinthians 15:39,ff as their base passage. Many Mormons hold that most people will go to heaven, but will have differing degrees of glory. Only those who have committed horrible evils will be cast into “outer darkness” including those who have left the Mormon church. With that in mind, the Christian should ask, “What will it take for me to live with heavenly Father forever?” Asking the question in this light assumes their misguided theological position, but probes what they really believe about salvation.
- Faith: Many Mormons will say that their salvation is by grace through faith and that Jesus is their Savior. The Christian shouldn’t give up the conversation at that point. Ask further questions to define their faith such as, “If I don’t go to the temple, will I be able to live with heavenly Father? If I don’t wear my garments, will I be able to live with heavenly Father? If I don’t get baptized will I be able to live with heavenly Father?” Any answer to those questions that differs from salvation being by grace through faith alone is a different Gospel.
- Jesus Christ: If you go on the Mormon website, the God of the Bible can be easily identified with Mormonism. However, although Mormons would say that Jesus is their Savior, Redeemer, and the Son of God, they also believe that the Trinity is three separate gods. Rather than God being three-in-one, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate gods. The Jesus of Mormonism also was created in the “pre-existence” and is the spirit brother of Satan. Although Mormons say this is the same Jesus of the Old and New Testaments, He undoubtedly is not!
Read their material.
When most people think about Mormonism, they think about the Book of Mormon. However, Mormons have several scriptures including the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Be familiar with what you can from these books.
Overall, Mormons will focus on the Book of Mormon. In describing their conversion, they will say how they “prayed through the book of Mormon.” If you can read through the Book of Mormon, they may be surprised that you have read it all together, but especially that you have read it and not converted to Mormonism. My only caution, here, is that you if you do read through the Book of Mormon, pray through it as well; pray that God shields you from the lies that Satan has used to convince millions of a false christ!
In the past, Mormons have shared that the summary of their doctrine is found in 2 Nephi 31. Take note of some of these passages.
- 2 Nephi 31 Title: “Nephi tells why Christ was baptized—Men must follow Christ, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end to be saved—Repentance and baptism are the gate to the strait and narrow path—Eternal life comes to those who keep the commandments after baptism. About 559–545 B.C.”
- 2 Nephi 31:13: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.”
- 2 Nephi 31:15-16: “And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.”
These passages are staggering, and as clearly summarized in Nephi 31, present a different Gospel.
Give them the Gospel
Because Mormonism teaches a different Gospel, it is our responsibility to provide them with the true Gospel of Christ as found in the Old and New Testaments. Share with them the true, holy, creating, and Triune God of Scripture. Share with them that mankind disobeyed God, rebelled, fell into sin, and now we subsequently are all born into sin. As a result, we need to be saved from our sin, death, and eternal condemnation and saved unto righteousness and eternal life so that we will dwell with God forever. This was accomplished through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. Most importantly, we don’t do anything to gain this salvation. It is a free gift that we need to accept. The way to accept that free gift is to turn from sin in repentance and turn to Christ in faith. It is by what He has accomplished alone that makes us right before the judgment seat of God and to live with Him forever.
One particular “zinger” that Mormon missionaries will try to bring out is the passage in James that says how “faith without works is dead.” They use this to say that we need works to be saved. However, what I describe is that faith without works is certainly dead. Works are meant to show what our faith looks like but are not the requirement to have faith. Doing good work is evidence that we have saving faith but is not saving faith itself. In addition to this distinction, here are some important passages to distinguish the Mormon faith from true biblical Christianity.
- Ephesians 2:8-10: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
- Titus 3:4-7: “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
- Romans 3:23-24: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.”
- Romans 5:1: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Where Can I Learn More?
There are many resources in print and online that will help you learn more about Mormonism. Below are just a few, but feel free to share more in the comment feed!
- Utah Lighthouse Ministries – http://utlm.org/
- Christian Apologetics & Research Ministries – https://carm.org/
- Kingdom of the Cults by Walter Martin – https://www.amazon.com/Kingdom-Cults-Walter-Martin/dp/0764228218
- Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Mormons by Ron Rhodes – https://www.amazon.com/Reasoning-Scriptures-Mormons-Ron-Rhodes/dp/1565073282/
Ultimately we need to remember that Mormons are sinners in need for the Savior. Pray for these millions of souls who have been captivated in this cult and false religion. The next time they come to your door, be ready to defend the truth of the hope that lies within you and preach the true Christ of the true Word!
Masters of Divinity, The Master’s Seminary
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Harris Connection: I met Dr. Harris in 2010 while attending The Master’s College. His influence and teaching has shaped the way I understand Scripture and how that applies to the way I live my life. After having Dr. Harris as a professor at The Master’s Seminary in 2014, he invited me to be a Pastoral Intern at Lake Hills Community Church. Because of his impact, I consider him my professor, my pastor, and my friend.