Let’s cut to the chase. Evangelical Christianity and the Mormon Church are both very much interested in winning others to their way of thinking. On this there is no argument. The Mormon Church sends out tens of thousands of full-time missionaries to try and convince potential converts that Christianity experienced a “Great Apostasy” and that this was remedied by what they call the “restored gospel” given through their prophet Joseph Smith. Of course, the only way you can experience this “restored gospel” is through the LDS Church.Clearly the goal of the Mormon missionary is to baptize the potential convert into the LDS Church, which necessitates them abandoning their current church and much of what they currently believe theologically. I actually appreciated Mormon Apostle Dallin Oaks’ candidness when he said,
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has many beliefs in common with other Christian churches. But we have differences, and those differences explain why we send missionaries to other Christians…” (“Apostasy and Restoration,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1995, p.84).
Fair enough. But here’s the rub, Mr. Oaks. When Christians respond in kind they are automatically labeled “anti-Mormons” and demonized. It is assumed that they are motivated only by bigotry. Oh my.
Recently several Christian ministries and churches joined together to distribute hundreds of thousands of DVDs that clearly and lovingly explained the differences between Mormonism and Christianity. The DVD carefully explained what LDS leaders have taught in order to give the viewer a more informed opportunity to properly evaluate LDS truth claims. In fact, much of the DVD contained statements taken directly from LDS sources. Under normal conditions I would think this is how the Mormon doctrine of “free agency” should be practiced, but that is not at all the case.
While Article 11 in the LDS “Articles of Faith” states that Mormons believe that all men should be allowed to worship how, where, or what they may, this is not how things are in reality. Proclaiming the gospel and offering people clarity is a part of Christian worship. Our devotion to God includes proclaiming His message of forgiveness and to expound on what is true as opposed to what is error. However, when we do this, the Mormons react like we just set their foot on fire. I guess the right to proclaim what you believe to be true (which automatically assumes something must be false) is reserved only for those who are members of the LDS Church. It sure seems that way.
The Mormon Church put out an official statement which said in part,
“When Latter-day Saint missionaries visit homes or engage others in conversation, they studiously avoid criticism of other faiths.”
If that is true then the missionaries are not doing their job. Page seven of Preach My Gospel (the new missionary manual, 2004) states that missionaries are to “help investigators see the patterns of apostasy and restoration” and “help people recognize that the Church is not just another religion.” Helping a person conclude that his church is apostate is not a criticism?
Missionaries aside, what about all those kind comments from LDS leaders over the years?
News pieces in Salt Lake City decried the efforts of these horrible “anti-Mormons.” One news cast accused some Christian participants in Arizona of being part of a “hate group”! How dare these “mean-spirited” Christians even hint that Mormons should leave their church! My friend, greater hypocrisy cannot be found in all of Zion, for what Mormon missionary does not want to lead a person out of their present church and into the Mormon Church? If they deny it, they are lying, pure and simple.
Over the years I have had several Mormon missionaries come to my home and I have always treated them with respect and dignity. I have also had pieces of paper taped to my door announcing upcoming functions at the local ward building. I’ve even had a couple of 12-year-old Mormon deacons come up to me asking for my “fast offering.” At two different movie theaters I’ve been approached by Mormon missionaries and never once have I fired off an angry email to a mission president or stake president demanding that they “leave me alone!” because “I already have my religion!” I fully recognize that they have their right in this wonderful country to believe whatever they want, even though that belief pegs me as a part of an apostate Christendom that adheres to abominable creeds and abases itself before the “mythical throne of a mythical Christ” (as one late Mormon apostle said).
Pardon me, I forgot that Mormons don’t criticize other faiths.
If Mormons can’t seem to understand that all of us have a worldview that we’d like others to share, and that this passion for truth causes us to tell others, then I have to really wonder what motivates Mormon missionaries. Perhaps I’ve been wrong to assume that they are motivated by love and concern. Maybe they are just “doing their time” to please their parents or church. If Mormons can’t even consider that our motivation is based in love for them as people, then why do they feel we are obligated to assume the same for them?
Nah, to hear the many complaints from Mormons over this DVD, I guess my role as a Christian is to just silently sit back and let only the Mormons do the talking because in their mind it is “unchristlike” to do anything else.
Funny, I don’t recall Jesus doing that.