During the month of August, a number of Christians took turns standing in 100-degree heat in order to offer a “temple newspaper” to anyone willing to open his or her car window. In addition, these Christians held simple signs advertising the website address (www.sacredorsecret.com), which proved to be an effective tactic helping allure 50-100 daily visitors to the site that offers a PDF file of the newspaper along with articles showing why Mormonism is not the same as “Christianity.”
Many Mormons feel that our approach is synonymous with a “protest.” For instance, the LDS temple leadership always referred to us as “protestors” to the media. Yesterday I was talking to several Christians about this recent outreach. One of them sided with the Mormons, saying that he too felt our outreach was a “protest.” Our conversation went like this:
Joe: “How was what you were doing not a protest?”Me: “If we were protestors, then what were we ‘protesting’?”
Joe: “The Mormon Church.”
Me: “You need to understand that we did not have bullhorns or giant signs calling Mormons evil people. Our handheld signs merely listed a web site address. We said nothing unless we were spoken to first, and we spent most of the time out there merely smiling while watching for car windows being rolled down because the occupants wanted one of our newspapers.”
Joe: “But you were still in opposition to the Mormon Church.”
Me: “The main purpose for our being there was to communicate to the nonMormons that there was another side of the story that they were not being told inside. We didn’t use web site signs until last year because the temple visitors were transported in buses, meaning we couldn’t even offer newspapers to them. Our goal is to merely provide information to those who might be interested. If you don’t want the information, then don’t take the newspaper and don’t go to the web site. This approach has proved to be successful.”
Joe: “But isn’t your very presence a protest?”
Me: “Would you say that the Dominoes pizza guy holding up a sign that says ‘We have $5 pizzas’ is ‘protesting’ Papa Johns?”
Joe: “But what if the Dominoes guy stands in front of Papa Johns with the sign? Would this not be a protest?”
Me: “The Dominoes guy can stand outside Papa Johns with this sign and hope that people might go to his pizza store rather than the competitor’s. But if the sign he holds is merely advertising his product, I’m not sure how this can be classified as a ‘protest.’ Surely you wouldn’t say he was ‘protesting’ Papa Johns despite his position right outside the Papa Johns store. Our outreach is merely informational and is not meant to be a ‘protest,’ as it is defined in today’s usage.”
I then went on to explain that we had a presence at the Sacramento temple only during the open house. Once the temple was closed to visitors, we too would leave. We purposely don’t go to LDS chapels or temples and hold signs at these places because, quite frankly, this really wouldn’t be an effective way to evangelize.
So why are we at the temple open houses? It is because Mormon Church leaders are very clever to make their temples look as Christian as they possibly can. For instance, they post pictures of Jesus throughout the building while very clearly calling themselves “Christian” in the promotional video shown to all guests. Unfortunately they just don’t provide honest information as they deny the fact that Mormonism denies or distorts every fundamental teaching of the historic Christian church.
I believe that these outreaches are too important for the Christian church to close its proverbial eyes and not provide information that will better help an interested individual make an informed decision. No, it’s not a protest. It’s what we call evangelism. When the Christian church loses its ability to stand for truth, it will have lost its salt and light. I hope to never see that day arrive.