Equal pay for LDS bishops!

One of my neighbors is an LDS bishop. I have not talked to him about the topic at hand, but I have an inkling of how much time and effort he must devote to his local congregation of about 200 people. I know that he gets plenty of respect from the local community—most of our neighbors are a part of his flock—and when the missionaries in white shirts walk by his home on our neighborhood street and he’s standing outside, they make a special effort to say, “Good evening, bishop.” I’ve seen it.

But while the many bishops work very hard managing their flock by (among other things) managing the church services, applying church discipline, interviewing members for temple recommends, visiting the sick and elderly, preparing an occasional message, and who knows what else (besides the bishops themselves), these men are not financially compensated for their efforts. In effect, they are volunteers in what must be a full-time job.

PaycheckI realize that many Latter-day Saints would shudder at the thought of “paying” the bishops. For some reason, these folks have romanticized the idea that someone who serves with no compensation must be more dedicated and pure than a person who receives income from his or her labors. The words “paid hireling” are often associated with Christian pastors. This is especially true for those older Mormons who experienced the pre-1990 temple ceremony and remember the part when Lucifer made a financial offer to the Protestant minister for doing Satan’s work, saying “I will pay you well.” Paying the bishop a salary would be nothing less than heretical for these members.

We must understand, though, that the bishops are given a HUGE responsibility. Check out what former President Gordon B. Hinckley said at a general conference from a decade ago:

“We have more than 18,000 bishops in the Church. Every one is a man who has been called by the spirit of prophecy and revelation and set apart and ordained by the laying on of hands. Every one of them holds the keys of the presidency of his ward. Each is a high priest, the presiding high priest of his ward. Each carries tremendous responsibilities of stewardship. Each stands as a father to his people” (“The Shepherds of Israel,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 2003, p. 60).

Because of the “tremendous responsibilities” it takes to run this organization at the local levels, it seems that “the father(s) to (their) people” have every right to receive financial compensation for their dedicated efforts. Consider what Doctrine and Covenants 42:70-73 says:

“The priests and teachers shall have their stewardships, even as the members. And the elders or high priests who are appointed to assist the bishop as counselors in all things, are to have their families supported out of the property which is consecrated to the bishop, for the good of the poor, and for other purposes, as before mentioned; Or they are to receive a just remuneration for all their services, either a stewardship or otherwise, as may be thought best or decided by the counselors and bishop. And the bishop, also, shall receive his support, or a just remuneration for all his services in the church.”

What exactly does “just remuneration” mean? I suppose this is open to interpretation. As I wrote in an article earlier this year, apparently “just remuneration” for mission presidents in Utah begins at about $100,000 (or more)—and that’s a conservative figure. The number could be more or less depending on the location. We can quibble all day long about whether their compensation should be called a “salary” or just “living expenses.” The wording doesn’t matter. The point is that mission presidents are paid for their work. Of this, there is no doubt. (For more information on this issue that many Mormons have never thought about, see What does “unpaid ministry” look like? at mrm.org)

I recently came upon the following quote in a church teacher’s manual discussing D&C 70:

Doctrine and Covenants 70:12–16. Church leaders who are called to serve the Lord full-time are to have their needs supplied by the Church. (5–10 minutes). Ask students who among them has a Church calling. Ask:

• How much time do you spend each week fulfilling your calling?

• How much time do you think the Relief Society president and bishop spend on their callings?

• How much time do you think the prophet spends on his calling? Divide the following questions among the students. Have them read Doctrine and Covenants 24:3, 7; 70:12–16 and look for answers.

• How much time did the Lord expect these servants to work? (see D&C 24:7).

• How did the Lord provide for these servants’ material needs? (see D&C 24:3).

• What does it mean that ‘he who is appointed to administer spiritual things . . . is worthy of his hire’? (D&C 70:12). (Church leaders who are called to serve the Lord full-time should have their needs supplied by the Church.)

• According to Doctrine and Covenants 70:16, what should be provided for these Church leaders?” (Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, pp. 120-121. Emphasis in original.).

BrighamYoungStatueSLCNotice these words once more: “Church leaders who are called to serve the Lord full-time should have their needs supplied by the Church.” I can’t say for sure how much time my neighbor spends on his calling, but I guarantee you it’s not “part-time” hours. And I’m sure he feels that he could spend much more time—if he had it—on issues involving both his congregation as well as his family.

This is a “Norma Rae” moment if I’ve ever seen one! (If you haven’t seen the 1979 movie with Sally Field, rent it.) Bishops, unite! If you are expected to fully “administer spiritual things” to your congregation, the church manual I’ve cited says that you are “worthy of (your) hire.” Your needs—in context, this refers to physical needs and not just spiritual—ought to then be “supplied by the Church.” If mission presidents are getting six figures—a number from which they are not required to tithe—shouldn’t you get at least half?

Perhaps it is time for the thousands of bishops to request their church leaders to follow through on the teaching of this LDS scripture. At the same time, my advice is for them not to hold their breath.

For more information on this topic, see chapter 10 (“Why are your clergy members paid?”) in our book Answering Mormons’ Questions (McKeever and Johnson, Kregel, 2013).

This entry was posted in LDS Church, Mormon Culture and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Equal pay for LDS bishops!

  1. johnsepistle says:

    The other year, I directly asked an LDS bishop I know how many hours per week he devoted to the duties of his calling. As he assessed it all, he estimated around 20 hours during a busier week. A decent amount of work, on top of a full-time job in other employment – but not comparable to the service of a full-time Christian pastor.

    That’s the thing. If a church wants to have someone in a clergy-type role and not pay them, and if they find someone willing to fill that role without pay, then fine, good for them – so long as they’re honest about the tradeoffs. The bishop does not and cannot do for them everything that a Christian pastor does for his or her congregation. The bishop lacks training, whereas the Christian pastor has training in numerous relevant fields. The Mormon church can get away with this somewhat because of the uniformity imposed by correlated centralization out of Salt Lake City. But let’s not pretend that the Mormon model has some obvious superiority. Given two scenarios – on the one hand, an arrangement where a small cadre of upper-echelon leaders are sustained lavishly as they and other denominational employees rigidly prepare talks and curricula while local leaders give part-time volunteer labor for which they aren’t trained and while local talks are typically rambling and minimally edifying at best; or, on the other hand, an arrangement where local leadership teams receive modest pay in exchange for full-time labor for which they have training in order to give better-quality messages, pastoral counseling, individual care, etc., etc… I rather prefer the latter. If the cost of unpaid part-time volunteer bishops is the excesses of correlation and the corporatized model of service and the lack of training and time, it doesn’t seem worth it to me.

  2. Bloom says:

    Never having been LDS, could someone explain briefly what a mission president does? Do any members of the LDS hierarchy receive additional training, along the lines of an M.Div. etc.?

  3. grindael says:

    Johnsepistle,

    My brother is a Pastor, and he had had more part time jobs than I can count as he worked FULL TIME for the Church, even in off hours. He put all of his kids through college doing this, and never took any more than he needed from any church that he pastored (there were many over the course of 30+ years, even his current church). He has lived in modest homes (sometimes apartments and duplexes) HIS ENTIRE LIFE. He is the most honest, decent, joyful person I know. All of his three children have graduated or are in college. I’ve never seen better children. He taught them to be thrifty and give back, and they always had time and money to go to movies, trips, etc and enjoy life. This is how it is supposed to work, he is accessible, and there to help. I’ve never called him and gotten a voice mail, unless he was on vacation or something. He always picks up the phone. I’m proud of my brother, whose shoes I’m not fit to untie, to use John’s phrase. There are thousands of Pastors just like him in America, who believe and teach the Bible and Jesus as Savior. Those local leaders are what makes America great and Christianity work.

  4. MistakenTestimony says:

    On a related side note, I bet the quality of a religions clergy decreases drastically the less theologically educated it is. Clergy who who only respond to troubling theological history with “that is a lie” must be the norm, so sad.

  5. falcon says:

    The Bible addresses this topic. On the one hand the apostle Paul was a tent maker and made his living this way while preaching. However he did talk about not “muzzling the ox as he treads” and about support he was provided while preaching. So while this is a big bragging point for Mormons, that their bishops etc. are supposedly not receiving remuneration for their services, it’s really not Biblical.
    I would agree with the sentiment that the more training a person has the better the chance that they can do their job at a high level. But there is the idea that someone has to be called to the position of a pastor. If we’d task analyze the various duties and what it takes to do a job like this, it would be obvious that not all pastors have all of the gifts in the same proportion.
    Actually it’s like anything, some people are really good at it, some are fair, and still others need to seek another way to serve the Lord. I’ve been in a church where if I saw this one associate was going to preach, as happened occasionally, I would groan internally and consider skipping out. The guy just couldn’t preach. However he fullfilled other duties within the church. Preaching was not his thing. I kept thinking about how he could improve his delivery and finally came to the conclusion that he just didn’t have it.

  6. Mike R says:

    Eric,

    Thank the Lord for raising up a ministry like MRM that provides people with information
    which dismantles the half truths and diversions the Mormon church has utilized for so many
    years in using the issue of a ” no paid ministry” to be a sign that it has the true officers in
    Jesus’ church today . The Mormon Bishop aside, why is it that Mormons are’nt asking the
    hard questions like , how come Mormon apostles won’t disclose their financial benefits to their
    sheep ? That’s a good place to start .

  7. MJP says:

    I was shocked to read that some LDS leaders who are paid are not required to tithe from that pay. Seems to undercut the precise purpose of a tithe: 10% of the first fruits, wherever from. And the idea behind a tithe is to honor God by recognizing that nothing we own is actually ours. Being allowed not to tithe on a portion of income ignores this very idea.

  8. erusselljohnson says:

    As far as the bishops not being trained, I agree that they don’t go to (the Christian version 0f) seminary, which is post-graduate study. Many pastors get an M.Div. degree, whereas generally the qualifications for a bishop are that he is breathing, married, served a mission, with temple recommend, and generally worthy. But think about this. While Johnsepistle’s friend who is a bishop puts in 20 hours a week, is that really enough? No, it’s way short. A good sermon, for example, takes 16-20 hours in time of study. I realize the bishop doesn’t always preach, but how much time does he put into any talk? I doubt more than a couple hours, based on the “sermons” I’ve heard from some bishops. In addition, they are guiding a flock of up to 200. I know churches of 200 that have 2-3 full-time pastors! Besides tending the flock, there are a number of other responsibilities they have. Granted, volunteers can do much of this. But here we come into the qualification department. Somebody not schooled will have a much more difficult time handling church responsibilities than a trained pastor can do. As for me, I want my pastor to be paid so he can focus on his flock and help us reach our potential as Christians. I want to be challenged each Sunday in a sermon and not swallow milktoast. Etc. So, if a man is going to pretend to be a shephered of 200 people and only put 20 hours into it, I guarantee you there will be a lacking somewhere in that body. Honestly, I wonder how much harder it would be to be a mission president than a bishop. Both are in charge people, but if one can focus his complete attention on his duties will be that much better. At the same time, I realize a man working 50 hours a week with a family can only afford 20 hours a week or his family suffers. What a precarious position for any person to be in! All in all, maybe it’s just as well they force these men to volunteer. Can you imagine how much faster the church could grow with stronger local leadership?

  9. MistakenTestimony says:

    “All in all, maybe it’s just as well they force these men to volunteer. Can you imagine how much faster the church could grow with stronger local leadership?”

    Good point. Also correlation has helped to kill many congregations outside the corridor by placing them all into this authoritarian cookie-cutter mold and axing any sense of indivuality with regards to actions in the community and worship. I guess when a religion is focused on works then correlation becomes its natural conclusion, yet another reason why Mormons reach dispare in their failure to be perfect no matter how hard they try. Very anti-Christian and very sad.

  10. falcon says:

    Actually, when you think about it, doesn’t the Mormon system sort of run itself? The system is sort of a turn key operation not unlike a franchise in the business world. The one major difference is that all of the “stores” in the LDS chain are company owned. Perhaps that’s the case in the denominational Christian churches also, however these “franchises” have more local control, I think.
    The one major difference in the LDS system is that the faithful are all hooked into the main office in Salt Lake City. Then there’s the case of the temples; lately known as the McTemples. There was a big move on to build a bunch of these mini-marts in the last couple of decades.
    If the LDS church can get Mike and Molly Mormon tied into the temple, then there’s deeper commitment to the organization. That would make a bishop’s job easier I would think. Really, is any temple Mormon going to complain about those in charge and the job they’re doing?
    So my point is, maybe these bishops don’t have to be all that competent. If a Mormon couple are focused on becoming gods, they’re going to be very compliant. The other thing with Mormons, the emphasis is on happy faces and happy talk.

  11. spartacus says:

    To all the LDS readers out there: I would really like to hear about this.

    “And the bishop, also, shall receive his support, or a just remuneration for all his services in the church.” DnC 42:73

    If this is LDS Official Scripture, then why are bishops not “remunerated” and given “support”, which in the context of the passage is obviously his monetary and living needs? If I recall correctly, there is other historical evidence that bishops used to be compensated in actaul practice.

    So how can this be Scripture and the LDS Church leadership obeying God?
    Is this Scripture out of date? Otherwise known as “currently false”?
    Is the LDS Church leadership in rebellion to God’s Will? For money?
    So which is the fall guy here? LDS Scripture or LDS leadership?

  12. jayjay says:

    So sorry to hijack this thread but I need everyone’s help please. I’ve been lurking here since May and have posted only a few times. I spent 8 months attending/investigating the Mormon church and decided after a few unsatisfying meetings with the missionaries (and my own independent investigation) that I would no longer meet with the missionaries nor would I join their church.

    Recently a new pair of missionaries showed up at my door saying they were referred by one of the couples at whose home I’d met with the previous missionaries. The new missionaries have called twice and asked to meet with me even though I have been quite clear that they will not convert me from Christianity to Mormonism. I have no idea why, against my better judgment, that when they called tonight I agreed to meet with them. Actually, I do have an idea why this is happening. I have been praying and asking how to serve. This, Lord? Really? I am willing and woefully unprepared for this meeting. My knowledge is paltry and I cannot quote scripture to back up what I know in my heart to be true. I get the feeling that this young man wants to match wits with me because nothing I said to him would dissuade him. I am not by nature a debater…until as a 60 year-old divorced woman I read what Kate or Jaxi (sorry, don’t remember which) wrote about unmarried people being given as ministering angels from D&C 132. That one got my back up. However, I want to do this meeting from a position of quiet strength backed up by scripture from the Bible or I don’t want to do it at all.

    Although I read here every day, I have neither memorized nor bookmarked what I’ve read. Once I decided to be done with Mormonism, I never thought I would be called upon to talk with a missionary.

    I have a week to prepare. Can you all help me? Rick, I know this is your specialty…..ever been to Oregon? :)

    Thanks!
    Joyce

  13. Mike R says:

    Joyce,

    Golly, in reading what you’ve just said it sounds like meeting with Mormon Missionaries may
    not be the best course for you to pursue at this time . There’s other areas for you to consider
    in reaching the Mormon people for Jesus that are just as important . If you choose to meet
    with them in a week then it’s imperative that you have a person with you who is very
    knowledgeable in Mormonism and can use the scriptures to refute their faulty reasonings .
    If no one is available then prepare a short ( 1 minute) typed presentation of how you have come
    realize that Mormonism is not the answer , followed by describing the true salvation message
    which the New Testament records . After you’ve finished don’t allow them to give their
    testimony , be polite and bid them a good day and tell them you’ll be praying for their salvation .
    Let God take it from there .
    That’s my opinion , hope it helps .

  14. Old man says:

    Joyce
    At this stage & like Mike R, I would advise you not to get involved in debating scripture, the missionaries, as I’m sure you’re aware, will lead you along a well-rehearsed path. My advice for what it’s worth, would be to cancel this meeting if at all possible. If, for whatever reason you feel it’s not possible & you need some ammunition then it’s best to discuss things that are provable or at least those things where there is ample evidence to show you are right. So here’s a few pointers for you.

    Most missionaries don’t know a lot about the history of the corporation so that might be a good place to start. Before anyone accepts what salesmen, & make no mistake, Mormon missionaries are salesmen, have to offer they should be required to prove that what they are selling is the real thing. So, challenge them with historical facts that are beyond dispute, e.g. would a genuine prophet of God be tried & convicted of fraud? That’s exactly what happened to Smith in 1826 years after God supposedly called him. There can be no disputing this, as the Bainbridge court records are there to prove it.

    Ask the salesmen about Smiths record as a prophet & they will no doubt tell you about his civil war prophecy, which wasn’t really a prophecy at all, more a rehashing of newspaper reports. A prophet has to be 100% accurate or he is NOT a prophet according to Scripture. Deuteronomy 18:21-22
    Of the 65 or thereabouts, prophecies made by Smith 5 actually came to pass & those 5 were more guesswork than inspiration, that’s a success rate of around 7%, not really the kind of success rate that a salesman would like to take on a recruitment drive.

    I could fill several pages with examples to show that far from being a prophet Smith was rather a liar, an adulterer, a womaniser & a paedophile. All the evidence you need to back up your argument can be found here at:
    http://mormonthink.com/

    In my opinion one of the most important questions that can be asked of them simply why was a restoration needed? You will be told of course (without the salesmen offering any proof whatsoever) that the Christian church fell into apostasy after the death of the Apostles. Your answer to that is once again very simple, ask them to prove it. If it was necessary for God to raise up a man like Smith then it must inevitably mean that Christ who is God incarnate, was unable to keep His body (the Church) together & that of course would mean that He lied, read Matthew 16:17-18

    Make copious notes & don’t be afraid to refer to them when these people call, don’t depend on memory & should they come up with answers DO NOT accept what they say. Come back here & people more knowledgeable than myself will very quickly answer any queries you may have.

    Finally, A desire to serve is to be admired but there are many ways to do this, for now just be content to study, to pray & to learn. Don’t strive Joyce; allowing God to work in his own way & in his own time is very important & when the time is right all will become clear. J

  15. falcon says:

    Joyce,
    I don’t understand why they’d want to meet with you either if you’ve made your intentions clear. This, for me, speaks to the attitude of the LDS missionaries. I’ve heard that these LDS folks in general have problems with personal boundaries.
    I’ve studied Mormonism for years but have never encountered any missionaries. I guess if they were to call on me I’d probably listen and then ask them a series of questions, but I wouldn’t debate them. My guess is that they groove on the resistance. My goal would be to raise some questions that might send them out the door thinking.
    My number one question would be, “Could you please describe for me the difference between the Mormon god and the God that I, as a Christian, worship?”

    You have to understand rick. He’s a battler. I’m not saying he’s mean and nasty but there’s a reason I nicknamed him “the hammer”. There are people like rick who I believe God has called to do battle on the Christian apologetic front. It’s a combination of knowledge of the topic and the ability to debate. However we can all be a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ regardless of our knowledge and debating ability.
    I guess in your case I’d “bear my testimony” in Jesus. Don’t forget this is a spiritual battle and what the apostle Paul advises in Ephesians about putting on the full armor of God is mandatory (when doing battle). Notice that all of the weapons are defensive in nature with the exception of one which is the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.
    But in the end you’ll have to decide if you really want to meet with them. Their goal will be to wear you down and get you into the baptismal tank.

  16. Rick B says:

    Hello joyce,
    I’m writing from my cell phone at work. Send me an email at [email protected]
    I will send you some info via email and will send you my cell phone number, if you want to call me, we can discuss some stuff. I really wish I could come and meet you and talk with them, but I am going back to Israel the day after thanksgiving for 16 days. Rick

  17. spartacus says:

    jayjay,

    You have a pretty good sampling of your options here. Obviously pray about it and determine what God is leading you to do. In reality, I don’t think the missionaries will leave you alone – certainly not easily. In my experience they will keep calling and even show up unannounced. It will take many cancellations or ignoring them for them to stop. But it’s not difficult to represent the love of Christ to these kids and to give them the Gospel, even as they are trying to convert you. There’s nothing to fear, as long as you are in Christ. And that is what we are called to do – love and witness in the Name of Jesus.

    I would tend toward falcon’s recommendation by advising you to keep it simple. I would actually tend to advise you to ask the missionaries for their testimony – how they came to believe in Christ. Missionaries are generally pretty bad at this for reasons we don’t have to get into now. I would then recommend that you give your witness – how you came to Christ. Make sure you present the Gospel – how you realized you were a sinner, how you realized you couldn’t stop sinning/how you realized that Jesus was the Savior you needed, how your fully restored relationship with God through Jesus has changed your life and given you assurance of full forgiveness now and return to the Father in the future.

    I would do these things first. Take your time and the hour might be up. If this is all you get done, you’ve done the most important thing.

    If there is enough time, you can let them give a presentation. All you have to do is ask “How do you know… there was an apostasy, that the Bible was corrupted?,” “What do you mean by … repentance, forsaking all sin, keeping the commandments?,” “Why would Jesus let His Church/Body/Bride die?”, etc.

    In this way you get them to review their own (probably) flimsy conversion and see what a real conversion is like. You also get the Gospel message in there for them to hear in a non-threatening way. And through the presentation you simply challenge their reasons for believing by asking “How do you know?” or “What do you mean by…?” The only risk here is if they get defensively offensive and turn the question on you and ask “How do you know?” The key here is to let them know gently that they are the ones making the claims, not you, so they should be able to give an answer as to why they make their claims.

    So to review:

    -Ask them to tell you why they believe in Christ? the LDS Church?
    -Give them the Gospel as you tell them your witness of Christ.
    -If there is still time, allow them to present and just ask them for the reason they believe their claims.

    All of that should be pretty easy. The last is the most difficult but it can go something like this:

    Missionaries: Something about the Apostasy (usually quickly mentioned as part of Joseph Smith Story)
    You: What do you mean by – a Great Apostasy?
    How do you know that happened? (Another good question is – Where is the revelation for that? Have you read the revelation that says that?, etc.)
    How could the Bible be corrupted without anyone knowing about it?
    How could some priests manage to change all the manuscripts copied and spread throughout North Africa, East Asia, and Europe or destroy them all and replace them with corrupted copies without a trace?

    (If they answer something you can’t think of a question for, just say “ok, continue”)

    Missionaries: Pray about it to know it is true.
    You: What do you mean by “ponder” and then pray?
    How did you ponder about the BoM before you prayed?
    Did you study the archeaological evidence?
    Did you study the manuscript evidence?
    Did you study the internal consistency?
    What if the claim that the Bible is corrupt is offensive to God?
    What if, in asking if the BoM is true, and just allowing the possibility that God failed to preserve the Bible, that God would be angry enough at your lack of faith in Him for Him to decide not to answer?

    Missionaries: But I got an answer?
    You: But if you offended God with your prayer’s assumption of His failure and He didn’t answer, couldn’t the answer you got come from somewhere else? Even just yourself? Were you really prepared to hear from God that the religion you and your family and friends believed in all their lives was false?

    Ok, so I am getting carried away here. The point is that if you just ask “Why” and “What do you mean” and “How do you know” you can get them to really think about what they are trying to get you to believe, and maybe they will consider the weakness of their answers, their search for truth, their motives, etc. Just say “ok, continue” until you get to something else you can ask about. It’s just that easy.

  18. MistakenTestimony says:

    Keep in mind that nobody was ever converted by clever argumentation, debating prowess, or intellectual assent, but only by God who saves. The truth does not rest on who can argue the best.

  19. spartacus says:

    One important piece of advise I forgot:

    During your witness of Christ, ask them questions to make sure they are still listening. Missionaries are sure to be only half-listening, either to find something they can use to relate to you or not at all while they try to think of a segue to their presentation.

    While talking about you being a sinner you can ask “We all sin right?” Wait for them to answer – use that uncomfortable silence! If you can get them to admit that they sin now, too, that’s good! If you mention a particular sin you’ve struggled with, you can ask them what sins they have struggled with – touchy but gets them to reality quick, or at least gets them thinking about something other than their presentation.

    With questions you can keep them listening and relating to your own story – how they are sinners, how they can’t stop sinning (even if you just get them to admit they still sin, often), how they need a Savior, how much they want to be forgiven, if they know that they have been forgiven, if they died on their mission would they go to live with God the Father? Whatever their answer to those last ones you don’t have to argue with them to realize they ought to know they can be forgiven now, just say, “that’s so sad. (pause) I’m so glad to know I am forgiven now…” Or if they claim they are forgiven, just ask about dying and going to live with the Father forever/Celestial kingdom. Then, “Oh, that must be scary. (pause) I’m so glad that I am…”

  20. johnsepistle says:

    Joyce, I second the encouragement and advice that Spartacus is giving. His approach is gentle and leads the missionaries to have to confront hard questions, and it turns attention over to Jesus and the realities of the salvation that he offers. I agree with Spartacus that there’s nothing to fear. The missionaries might be pushy at times, but they aren’t trained debaters (they’re trained to avoid it, generally), and there’s a lot they don’t know and haven’t thought through.

  21. Old man says:

    I hate to disagree with others in here but I’ll be happy to be proven wrong.

    Joyce said
    “Actually, I do have an idea why this is happening. I have been praying and asking how to serve. This, Lord? Really? I am willing and woefully unprepared for this meeting. My knowledge is paltry and I cannot quote scripture to back up what I know in my heart to be true. I get the feeling that this young man wants to match wits with me because nothing I said to him would dissuade him.”

    Joyce, perhaps you are being called to witness to these young men but in my heart I feel that is not the case. All too often our desire to do something for the Lord leads us in the wrong direction. You say your knowledge is paltry & you cannot quote scripture, well, who knows, perhaps you will be given that knowledge but I would ask you not to debate scripture with them. Unless you are reasonably well versed you will not be able to argue against the ‘proof texts’ offered by missionaries. What worries me is that even though you are secure in your beliefs, you may come out of this meeting feeling that you have failed in some way. I’ve been around a long time my dear & I know how easy it can be to do the wrong things for all the right reasons.

    Remember this, the burden of proof lies with the person selling the goods so let the missionaries prove that latter day prophets are needed, let them show the evidence for ‘a great apostasy’ When they talk about Joe Smiths ‘first vision’ ask them which one they’re talking about as there are at least 9 versions of it. The one currently used by the LDS came into being only after Smiths death & is nothing like the much earlier ones in Smiths own handwriting. Show them a little of the REAL LDS history, it may put doubts in their minds if they are shown they have been lied to. AS I said in my previous post, all this information & much more can be found on the Mormonthink site & if it helps you can print as much as you need for reference material.

    Joyce, you don’t have to show any proof for what you believe, they’re the usurpers who want to change the Gospel so it’s up to them to provide proof for what they say. Trust me, I’ve debated not just with Mormon missionaries but also with my Mormon ex-wife over a period of many years, I’ve given facts, I’ve quoted from Scripture & I’m sure Rick will back me up when I say this, it’s very unlikely that they (the missionaries) will accept anything you say, they probably won’t even listen as they are taught to ignore any ‘[filtered profanity or slur]’ arguments. All you need to be doing, at least for now, is asking them to prove that what they say is true & then to show them that they have been deceived by the very people they look to for guidance. In that way you may get them to examine their own beliefs & LDS history. You will have given them food for thought & who knows, may have put a few doubts in their minds.

    Finally, remember what MistakenTestimoney said.

    “Keep in mind that nobody was ever converted by clever argumentation, debating prowess, or intellectual assent, but only by God who saves. The truth does not rest on who can argue the best.”

    God will be there with you however you handle it. :-)

  22. Rick B says:

    Old man said

    I’m sure Rick will back me up when I say this, it’s very unlikely that they (the missionaries) will accept anything you say,

    I do agree with you oldman.

    It’s funny, many people said on this thread that the Missionary’s wont stop bothering them. I gotta say, I really wish I had that problem. More times than not, when MM come to my house, we sit down and I go through their scriptures, The 4 standard works and show them problems and contradictions with them and among them. I also show them quotes by their past prophets and teachings of what their prophets taught.

    Then they sit their and tell me, I am wrong and dont have a clue, but yet they admit the sources I use are their own printed books and they cannot tell me how or why I am wrong, other than I simply am. So I have told every Mormon that has come to my house, If I am wrong, then here is my cell phone number and my email address, pass it out at your church, give it to every Mormon you know, and tell them to pass it on to others, and make sure apostles, presidents and who ever you want to give it to and I will gladly talk to them. To this day it appears they dont pass it out to anyone since the mormons never call me, email me or come over.

    I also have put out the challenge on this blog, If the Mormons think I am wrong and dont know what I’m talking about and I’m just some clueless rube as they would like to think that, then I will give out my personal info and have the Mormons put me in touch with one of the Apostles, or even prophet of the Church, yes the Prophet, I’m no afraid to debate any Mormon no matter how high the rank. But, it will be video taped and it will be aired live even if it is through my Church, or on youtube, and not one Mormon has ever said, I will take Rick up on that challenge, I know how to put him in touch with an apostle or I can pull some strings and make it happen for him to talk with the prophet.

    It has not and never will happen, because Behind the scenes in private the Mormons know I know more than they care to admit, and they know a live video will be a huge problem. Yet they come on this blog and claim, I babble and make no sense and am lucky if I can even speak a proper sentence.

    Well I let the evidence of the Mormon silence speak for it’s self.

  23. Kate says:

    Joyce,
    I agree with Old Man, God may not be calling you to do this. I have missionaries at my door every few months even though I requested no contact in my resignation letter. They’re like the vacuum salesman, they believe in their product and they are bound and determined to sell it to you. This missionary you talk about raises a red flag for me. He believes he can convert you. Nothing you say to them is going to get them questioning their church, doctrine, leaders, etc. Look at the dialog between the Christians here and Shem. This is most likely what you will be facing. You say you are not prepared to debate them and you aren’t comfortable in your knowledge. I say that if you have no intentions of converting to Mormonism, tell them no thank you and don’t meet with them. The fact that you are worried about it tells me it’s stealing your peace. My advice would be for you to become more knowledgeable about Christianity, it’s history and doctrines. Keep your peace. There are plenty of people like Rick ( who are comfortable in their knowledge) to debate LDS missionaries. Hope this helps!

  24. Rick B says:

    Kate, joyce, and everyone.
    If you have problems with mm bothering you, then just tell them you know someone who would love to speak with them, me, and give them my name and email address and tell them this guy would love to talk with every mormon they can bring my way.

    I serious guys, fell free to hand out my email, you can write me and I will give you my cell number and anyone who wants to talk can call me. I have already privately given my cell number out to people on this blog and they called me and we talked. I just won’t list their names, if they want to say who they are that’s up to them.

    But for me, God has called me to Mormons and any way or anyhow, I want to talk with them. Rick

  25. Kate says:

    I was just thinking about how 50% of LDS missionaries go inactive or resign and I was wondering why that is. I think that for most of them, it’s the first time they really study scripture. Sure we all take seminary in high school, but who really ever paid attention? All one really needs to do is get heavily into the New Testament. Could it be that these Missionaries are getting into the New Testament for the first time in their lives? My husband has been LDS his entire life, one day he was listening to the New Testament on his commute from work and he heard Jesus say that there is no marriage in Heaven. He was floored. There’s a reason Joseph Smith had to cast doubt on the Bible. His made religion wouldn’t be believable unless he trashed the credibility of the Biblical translation.

    Rick,
    I think God has called us all to witness to Mormons or we wouldn’t be here on this blog :) I believe he has called us in different ways though. Not everyone is meant to witness to the Missionaries. I have decided that witnessing should not steal peace from us. For some reason, missionaries on my doorstep rob me of my peace so I witness in other ways. I have so many Mormons around me that there is always opportunity to slip in a little witnessing. I’m pretty subtle about it these days, no arguing or debating. I find that just quoting Jesus’s own words does more to get them thinking than anything else. Jesus contradicts Joseph. I don’t know how much of what I say is sticking, I just put it out there.

  26. Rick B says:

    Kate,
    I understand what your saying and agree we all witness in different ways. I’m just saying for me, I will and have talk to anyone, anywhere that wants to talk to me. I have done street witnessing, been in a men’s jail ministry, spoken with coworkers, spoke on raido shows, stopped my car on the side of the road to speak with people, spoken in school, you name it.

    I agree we are all different, I’m just saying for me, I will talk with any mormon, missionaries or otherwise. And if it helps people here to pass my info onto them, then so be it, since it also helps me be able to speak with them.

  27. Old man says:

    Jayjay

    It’s been a couple of weeks since we last heard from you & I’m sure that everyone would love to hear how your meeting with the missionaries went, assuming it took place of course.
    Please let us know how things are going & remember that if you need any help, advice or encouragement or, if you simply want to come in to pass the time of day, we’ll be here. :-)

Leave a Reply