What Do Mormon Missionaries Teach?

In the FAQ section at Mormon.org is found the question, “What will the [LDS] missionaries talk about when they visit my home?” The answer, as provided by the Mormon Church:

“Missionaries share a message about Jesus Christ and His Atonement for all people. They teach about our Heavenly Father’s great plan of salvation, which allows all people the opportunity to return to Him.”

MissionaryAtDoorThis would probably come as no surprise to anyone sincerely asking the question, and, of course, it’s true – as far as it goes. But the answer really does not go very far at all. If you are thinking about inviting strangers into your home, you want to know what to expect from these strangers in order to determine whether (or not) it’s a good idea to extend the invitation. The Mormon.org reply doesn’t really provide enough information to help you make that decision. Therefore, a more detailed overview of what the Mormon missionaries will talk about if/when they visit your home is provided here.

According to the Mormon Church’s Guide to Missionary Service, Preach My Gospel, the first lesson missionaries teach is called “The Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” The stated purpose of the lesson is for missionaries to

“prepare your investigators to meet the qualifications for baptism taught in Doctrine and Covenants 20:37 and in the baptismal interview questions. This is best accomplished by inviting your investigators to make and keep the commitments listed below.” (Preach My Gospel, 31)

The questions that investigators are to be prepared to answer correctly relate to: belief in God as Father; Christ as the Son, Savior and Redeemer; that the gospel has been restored through Joseph Smith; and that Thomas Monson is a prophet of God. The commitments listed are: read and pray about the Book of Mormon; pray to know Joseph Smith was a prophet; attend the Mormon church the following Sunday; make an appointment for the missionaries’ next visit; and others as the missionaries may deem appropriate for each individual investigator (e.g., quit smoking or stop working on Sundays).

It might be important for you to know up front that the primary purpose of Mormon missionaries visiting your home is not to talk about Jesus and His atonement, but rather to extract commitments that will qualify you for Mormon baptism.

Of course, these commitments are not all there is to the missionary visit. The missionaries will talk about Jesus, His atonement, and the plan of salvation (according to Preach My Gospel). The bullet points of the first missionary lesson are these:

  • God is our loving Heavenly Father (with a body of flesh and bone)
  • The gospel blesses families
  • Heavenly Father reveals His gospel in every dispensation (the gospel is here defined as “Our Father’s plan for us to be successful in this life and to return to live with Him”)
  • The Savior’s earthly ministry
  • The great apostasy [of the Christian church]
  • The restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith
  • The Book of Mormon
  • Pray to Know the Truth [of the message of the Restoration] through the Holy Ghost

Additionally, at the end of this, the very first lesson, missionaries are instructed, “do not hesitate to invite people to be baptized and confirmed” (Preach My Gospel, 40).

This is what you can expect the Mormon missionaries to talk about the first time they visit your home (or the first time they teach you a lesson). They will mention Jesus and His atonement but, as instructed, their principle focus will be talking about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and LDS Church membership (in short, “The Restoration”). This is in sharp contrast to the message Christian missionaries are called to proclaim:

“But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” (Romans 10:8-15)

When Mormon missionaries visit your home for the first time they will bring you a message about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and talk to you about setting a date to be baptized and confirmed as a member of that church. Christian missionaries, on the other hand, do not point to a church; they point to Christ. As Paul said above, they preach “the good news.” This isn’t good news about a church or a modern prophet or a new religious book; this is very specific good news. As Luke explained elsewhere in the Bible, Christians preach “the good news about Jesus” (Acts 8:35). Christian theologian John Piper explained,

“…what makes the gospel ‘good news’ is that it connects a person with the ‘unsearchable riches of Christ.’…

“This is why the New Testament often defines the gospel as, simply, Christ. The gospel is the ‘gospel of Christ’ (Romans 15:19; 1 Corinthians 9:12; 2 Corinthians 2:12; 9:13; 10:14; Galatians 1:7; Philippians 1:27; etc.). Or, more specifically, the gospel is ‘the gospel of the glory of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). And even more wonderfully, perhaps, Paul says that the preaching of the gospel is the preaching of ‘the unsearchable riches of Christ’ (Ephesians 3:8).

“Therefore to believe the gospel is not only to accept the awesome truths that 1) God is holy, 2) we are hopeless sinners, 3) Christ died and rose again for sinners, and 4) this great salvation is enjoyed by faith in Christ — but believing the gospel is also to treasure Jesus Christ as your unsearchable riches…

“The gospel is the good news that the everlasting and ever-increasing joy of the never-boring, ever-satisfying Christ is ours freely and eternally by faith in the sin-forgiving death and hope-giving resurrection of Jesus Christ.”  (John Piper, “What is the Christian Gospel”)

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach this good news — the good news of Jesus!

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
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34 Responses to What Do Mormon Missionaries Teach?

  1. canuck54 says:

    My friend and I just met twice with the missionaries and I was astounded that almost the first thing out of their mouths was baptism. Why the rush? Isn’t that like buying a car without taking it for a test drive? Nice guys but of course they weren’t going to get anywhere with us. We are firm in our (biblical) faith, thank you.


  2. MJP says:

    Canuck– interesting to hear you compare to buying a car. My first thought was this sounds precisely like a sales job.

  3. Mike R says:

    MJP, it is a ” sales job ” , a clever one designed to appeal to one’s emotions . It might be more
    accurate to call the m. o. the Mormon Missionaries use as a ” snow job” . Full disclosure
    on some vital issues is not exactly the forte of these missionaries . I experienced this on numerous
    accounts many years ago when I began examining this religion . Asking the right questions is
    vital to those who are listening to the Missionaries sales pitch , and then seeing what type of
    ” answer” they give .
    It’s sad to see these young people with so much zeal out there spreading a imitation gospel .
    We need to love them and ( even invite them over for dinner ) , get to know them personally .
    They can see Jesus in our lives and a genuine concern for them .

  4. Ralph says:


    I think you are mistaking the primary purpose of a missionary with the purpose of the first lesson.

    You said –

    It might be important for you to know up front that the primary purpose of Mormon missionaries visiting your home is not to talk about Jesus and His atonement, but rather to extract commitments that will qualify you for Mormon baptism.

    You got this idea from the very first paragraph from the first lesson which you quoted as –

    prepare your investigators to meet the qualifications for baptism taught in Doctrine and Covenants 20:37 and in the baptismal interview questions. This is best accomplished by inviting your investigators to make and keep the commitments listed below.” (Preach My Gospel, 31)

    This is the purpose of the first lesson, NOT the primary purpose of a missionary. This gives the person teaching something to focus on rather than fumbling around during the lesson.

    The primary purpose of a missionary is found in the first chapter of ‘Preach My Gospel’ entitled ‘What is My Purpose as a Missionary’, and states –

    Your Purpose

    Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. (Preach My Gospel, Chapter 1, p1)

    (emphasis mine)

    So the primary purpose is to invite all to come unto Christ, and since we believe that we have the whole truth and none can be saved outside of our church we need to teach them about it as well as Heavenly Father and Jesus. This is all covered in the quote you gave from the Mormon.org website where it states we have a message about Heavenly Father and His plan for us. The plan is the Gospel and is found in its truth and entirety in the LDS church.

    So what you have written in the OP is the primary purpose of the first lesson, NOT the primary purpose of a missionary.

    MJP and MikeR,

    I do have to agree with you that when I was on my mission trying to proselytise, it did feel like a ‘sales job’ and sadly it still seems that way to me. I have also found that there are some sales companies that like to hire returned missionaries because they have experience that is very similar to a ‘sales job’. In saying the, the other aspect of the work, the service work, was not sales related at all. If we saw someone needing help we did it for nothing, not even a promise to allow us in their door. We did what was needed and went on our way.

  5. MJP says:


    The training and emphasis put on how to conduct meetings as a missionary is very much sales. I happen to believe the ‘milk before meat’ line is in that same spirit. Its all designed to get people to buy into the program before they know it all. It can actually become a high pressure sales job at that, given how many follow ups occur and who can become involved.

    I know you view your service work as service work. I won’t question that, but I can’t help but think it all a part of the scheme to get people in. Maybe I am too distorted on my idea of Mormonism, but given the previous paragraph, its not hard to reach the conclusion I do in this.

    I will also admit I find some aspects of Christian evangelism training as following too much a sales script. However, these do not go to the same level or put the same pressure that Mormons do. I don’t know if you have experienced Christian evangelists or proselytization, but we do not approach the conversion aspect in the same way– at all.

    Not only do we not require missions wherein the primary purpose is to invite others to Christ by joining the LDS church and be baptized in that church, we don’t involve our elders or avoid questions. We are free to answer any question given us, and if we don’t know the answer, we merely say we don’t know. Further, our expectation is merely that they give their life to Christ and put no expectation that they come to our particular church.

    We are thrilled when someone does that, even if they go to a different church. See, its not about which church is the most correct, which is supposedly what Smith based his exploration of churches on. Its about Jesus. Its about what Jesus can do for us apart from any specific organization.

    You disagree, I know, because the very premise of the LDS church is that it is the only correct church in the world. Thus, being baptized into that church and doing what that church says is the only way to ‘salvation’. All other churches are at best misled, and are certainly wrong. This leads to an emphasis on getting someone in the organization where salvation is possible, and if that someone believes in Jesus goes to another church, that person may not be damned per se but will never see the fullness of LDS salvation.

    The organization is as much a part of your belief system as is Jesus, whether you admit it or not. You cannot separate the organization from Jesus in your church. This leads to the hard sales job to get someone in before they turn away. Its not about being joyful when they accept Christ– its about bringing someone into the organization.

    Yes, this is a very different approach.

  6. cattyjane says:

    Its an odd feeling that I have now when I look back on my baptism. It used to be very special to me, so much that I couldn’t wait to witness my daughter baptised under priesthood authority. I dont have that feeling anymore. The more that I learn and understand about scripture and the meaning behind certain rituals, the more I am able to see the depth of darkness in the lds church.
    Before I left the lds church I spent 4 months with the missionaries twice a week. Their job was to help me regain my testimony of the church. I was told it wasnt their job to answer the difficult questions. They were very nice but did not know much about scripture, NT and Old. I remember saying things to them or showing them things in scripture and they would say that they had not seen that before and quickly change the subject. It was hard when I decided to finally let go of the church. I wanted the missionaries to tell me something that would help me to believe the church was true, but when I looked at the information honestly and prayed for God to reveal truth to me, I kept finding problems with the doctrine. I could not turn my back on truth, so I had to turn my back on the LDS church. I dont regret it one bit.

  7. Rick B says:

    The LDS sure pushes getting baptized, in the article it says

    “prepare your investigators to meet the qualifications for baptism taught in Doctrine and Covenants 20:37 and in the baptismal interview questions. This is best accomplished by inviting your investigators to make and keep the commitments listed below.” (Preach My Gospel, 31)

    Compare that false gospel to what the Bible teaches.

    Act 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

    Act 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

    Act 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

    Was Philip a Mormon Missionary? Did he first read the D and C and prepare this eunuch for his baptism? I’ll stick to the simple truth of the gosepl aqnd not some false gospel with a false prophet.

  8. falcon says:

    The LDS church is a bad buy and it can’t be disguised, in this day and age, as the Mormon authorities seek to do through the missionaries. Let’s be straight on something. Joseph Smith was not a prophet, the BoM is not an actual history, the LDS church is not the one true church, Thomas Monson is not a prophet and finally there is no restored gospel.
    So what the MM have to try and do is try to stir up some emotions in the prospect and get them baptized as quickly as possible. They have to do that because when the prospect begins to do some internet research, they will find out the truth about the program and the history of the LDS church. At that point turn out the lights the party is over.
    About the only thing the LDS church can do at this point is try and have the membership have as many children as possible and indoctrinate them. Then try and hold on to the current membership.

  9. falcon says:

    My guess is that the closing rate for the average MM is pretty low. In addition to that, I’d bet the convert retention rate is also pretty miserable. If we look at the figures that two-thirds of those on the LDS rolls are inactive, the picture is not pretty. Then of those who are active, the temple Mormon label is, my guess, not all that hot. I think that was the idea behind building the McTemples as they were called.
    I heard Grant Palmer claim that it’s been estimated that 50% of returning MM end up going inactive, I believe it’s within five years.
    The LDS church is famous for cooking the books. As less people become dependent on being in the Mormon culture, the numbers will continue to shrink. Time to re-do the sales pitch.

  10. grindael says:


    This does not identify the PRIMARY PURPOSE of a Mormon Missionary. It is simply one of many Missionary “purposes” outlined in the manual. It says,

    Your Purpose

    Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. (Preach My Gospel, Chapter 1, p1)

    As it says in that introductory chapter, “Baptizing and confirming the people you teach is CENTRAL to your purpose.” That is how you “invite others”, by “helping them receive the RESTORED gospel”. One cannot “receive the restored gospel”, if they are not baptized because as your Church teaches, “Baptism in water is an ordinance essential to our salvation.”

    In Mormonism, believing in Jesus is not enough. You must also do required “works”. I was told by my Mission President when I went on my mission that my primary purpose was to baptize people.

    In Chapter ONE, it states,

    Your Purpose

    As you teach, prepare your investigators to meet the qualifications for baptism taught in Doctrine and Covenants 20:37 and in the baptismal interview questions. This is best accomplished by inviting your investigators to make and keep the commitments listed below.

    Qualifications for Baptism is in the FIRST Chapter, because that it what the purpose of a Missionary is all about, to baptize people. And what does it say a “successful missionary” is?

    Your success as a missionary is measured primarily by your commitment to find, teach, baptize, and confirm people and to help them become faithful members of the Church who enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost.

    That is “primary purpose”, “commitment to find, teach, BAPTIZE…” Not “invite”. They define Missionary “success” as actually baptizing people and making them “faithful members of the Church”. This is exactly what I was taught on my mission.

  11. grindael says:

    If your God told you to get a gun and go to a certain area and kill everyone there, would you do it?

    Jesus is our GOD, and he told us to love everyone, even our enemies. Therefore, this question is a big fat red herring. The problem that Mormons have, is that they think that the Old Covenant is still in force. It is not. There is a New Covenant of the Holy Spirit, which tells us to love God and our neighbor, and that upon this “hangs all the law and the prophets.”

    False Prophets have people swear revenge oaths. False prophets preach blood atonement. That’s what Mormon “prophets” taught people, which is the opposite of what Jesus taught us to do. To even pose that as a serious question makes me wonder if the person doing so, is psychotic, or mentally unstable. That is how you get Mountain Meadow’s Massacre’s, Waco’s, etc.

    One thing that is never mentioned is that we never lose our free agency. When asked to do something we still pray about it before carrying it out.

    The problem with that, is that according to Mormon “prophets” it doesn’t matter if you do, and they have taught that you shouldn’t even do that, because YOU will ALWAYS be “out of harmony”..

    “What we get out of general conference is a build-up of our spirits as we listen to those particular principles and practices of the gospel which the Lord inspires the present leadership of the Church to bring to our attention at the time. He knows why he inspired Brother Joseph F. Merrill to give the talk he just gave. He knows why he inspired the other brethren who have talked in this conference to say what they have said. It is our high privilege to hear, through these men, what the Lord would say if he were here. If we do not agree with what they say, it is because we are out of harmony with the Spirit of the Lord.” (Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, October 1950, p.126)

    Ask no questions of your “file leader”,

    In the evening I met with the quorum. Br Joseph was not present. B Young was Called to the Chair who addressed the meeting in a vary feeling manner & interesting to our minds. He reasoned Clearly that we should follow our file leader & our savior in all his law & commandments without asking any questions why they were so. He was followed by P. P. Pratt & others who expressed their minds freely. Several sick were Prayed for. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 2, 1841–1845, p.331, July, 1843)

    Their is no other way for men to get an exhaltation but to follow their file Leader. The Twelve have no right to ask the Presidency why they do this or that or why they tell the Twelve to do this or that ownly go & do as they are told & this same principle should go through evry quorum in the Church & kingdom of God on Earth & when this rule is observed then the kingdom will be ours. (Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 4, p.382, Jan. 6, 1856)

    A couple of months before Mountain Meadows, Heber C. Kimball unloaded this speech on the “Saints”. Notice the rhetoric. Notice how he prepares them:

    Are we going to be preserved? Bless your souls! I have no more fears, if this people will live their religion, and learn to be passive like clay in the hands of the potter, than as though I was in heaven; for if I was there and rebelled, as Lucifer did, I should expect to be chastised and cast out with all those connected with me.

    A great many suppose that when they get there they will be perfectly safe. You will, if you keep the commandments of God; but if you cannot learn to keep the commandments of God in Great Salt Lake City, how can you learn to keep them when you have to flee to the mountains? And if you cannot keep them here, how do you expect to keep them in Jackson County?—for we are as sure to go back there as we exist.

    This Church and kingdom will reign triumphant; and when the United States take a course to bring us into collision, they will strive to take away everything from us that they have given us. What of it? We will make them the aggressors: they shall be the first men that shall rebel against God and against this people; and if we are not the aggressors, and we stand on the defensive, and they come upon us, and they fall into our hands, the Lord says, if they repent and we forgive them, our blessings shall be doubled unto us; so also for the second time: but if he comes upon you the third time, thine enemy is in thine hands; thou mayest do with him as seemeth thee good: but if he repent, and you forgive him the third time, then I will reward unto you a hundredfold. But don’t you forgive, unless brother Brigham does. If he says, Give them justice and righteousness, then it will be right.

    Now, you need not sit here as judges, and judge brother Brigham. Good heaven! How does anyone without any priesthood look when judging him and his brethren? He is capable of judging all things pertaining to this kingdom; for he has the keys of light and revelation, and God is with him. I cannot comprehend him, only in proportion to the measure of the Spirit bestowed upon me. Can brother Wells comprehend me? No, he cannot, nor never can, only as he has the same measure of the Spirit; and no man can comprehend his file leader, except he has the same measure of the Spirit.

    But let me walk in my place, and the sap that is in brother Brigham is in me; and the sap that is in me is in him: but can I measure any further than my capacity? No. Then what do you judge me for? God will lead brother Brigham; don’t you be scared. He will give him revelation upon revelation; and when he says, Do this or that, God will sanction it, and he will bless all men and women that walk up to it, and curse every one that backs out.

    Suppose I am partaking of the same spirit and nourishment that brother Brigham partakes of, and he is resting himself while brother Heber speaks, don’t you see he speaks the mind of brother Brigham? You may see it has been so all the time, and it will be so forever.

    You have come to me, and I have given you counsel, and then you have gone to brother Brigham, and he has given you the same counsel; and when you have asked counsel of him, and then come to me, you say, “That is just as brother Brigham said to me.” Do you suppose I could give any counsel contrary to his mind?

    Well, then, let that Spirit and power be in our families, and I want to know what difference there will be? Brother Hyde, don’t you never give counsel from this time henceforth but what would be the counsel of brother Brigham. Just so with the Seventies.

    There is brother Pratt, in England, and the brethren that preside there: let those men do as the Spirit of God dictates them, without being carried off by some other spirit, and they will never go astray—no, never, although they are nine thousand miles from here. By taking this course, would you ever see a wife trying to pervert the way of her husband? I am talking about good men and good women. Would she do it? No: she would be one with him, even as I am one with brother Brigham.

    Listen to the counsel of God and those men that are placed here; and if you will do that, I can promise you, in the name of Israel’s God, and by virtue of my calling, that you never shall be swerved aside, and our enemies shall be overcome every time before they cross that Big Mountain, if we have to do it ourselves.

    If I did not say that, you would be calculating that we were going to make a perfect servant and drudge of our God, just as a great many of you wish to make of us. If you want a pound of coffee, or tea, or a pair of shoes, it is, “Come, brother Heber, go quick, and get me what I want; if you don’t, I will go and tell brother Brigham.” Go, and be damned.

    I wish that all such characters were in hell, where they belong. [Voice: “They are there.”] I know it; and it is that which makes them wiggle so—the poor, miserable devils. They would make our Father and God a drudge—make him do the dirty work, kill those poor devils, and every poor, rotten-hearted curse in our midst. With them it is, “O Lord, kill them, kill them, damn them, kill them, Lord.” It is just like that, and their course has just as much nonsense in it. We intend to kill the poor curses ourselves, before they get to the Big Mountain. And we are going to dig a cache, or take some natural one, and put all the whining men and women into it, and let them whine. We want to be released from such poor hellions, and we will be; we won’t have a murmurer or complainer in the House of Israel. If we go out to war, let them stay here, and let the Devil handle them.

    How long is it, brother Brigham, since we first went to Kirtland? [Brother Brigham: Twenty-four years, this fall.] In September, 1833, we went to Kirtland and gathered with Joseph and the Saints. We had to go and buy guns, and stand in his defense, in that early day; and we did it for months and months, to keep the hellions from him in Kirtland, twenty-four years ago; and so it continued from that day to the day of his death; and it is just so now. They are trying to take the lives of brother Brigham and your leaders. It is their design, and the design of the President of the United States, with his cabinet, and of Congress; and all the priests there are in the world back them up. That is the truth.

    Get the Spirit of the Lord, and stop your whining, every one of you. “Oh,” says one, “I will leave you, if you don’t wait on me as you have hitherto, and get me all the things I ask for.” I wish you would: you could not please me better. Does that show such whiners have got integrity in them? A man or woman that has got integrity should have it, if there is nothing but a potato to eat. And if you have not a stocking to your feet, nor a gown, nor a petticoat, nor a short gown, you should be as true as the sun to the servants of the living God; and if you are not so under such circumstances, you would not be if you were loaded down with treasures.

    It is true, I will tell you, the day of your being petted is past; and you have got to come to the crisis when the gate will be shut down between us and the United States, and that very soon, ladies and gentlemen; and if you don’t get your test, you may say I am false. [President Young, in a crying tone, said, “There are no more ribbons coming here: what shall I do?”]

    O dear, I want to know if we ain’t going to have any more ribbons? A great many of your hearts are on nothing else but ribbons, and fine dresses, and bustles, and fineries: you don’t think of anything else. What is your religion good for, or your integrity? Did brother Brigham and Heber turn away from Joseph, because the Kirtland Bank broke, and the stores all run out, until there was nothing but an old dried-up johnnycake? (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 5, pp. 134-36)

    Yup, Smith scammed all of those people, but it didn’t matter to Young and Kimball. And, Of course the “design” of the U.S. Government was never to kill the Mormon leaders. Another falsehood from a Mormon “prophet”. And, Jesus did not say anything about penalties for “second” or “third” times. He said,

    21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18)

    Don’t forgive unless “Brother Brigham” does? Are you kidding me? And we are to believe that these are true prophets of God?

  12. falcon says:

    Thank you for the post regarding following false prophets because that’s exactly what members of the LDS church are expected to do. Now, do the MM teach this to the prospects? Are they taught, as Ralph has confessed he would, kill if directed to by the LDS prophet?
    What troubles me is that Ralph doesn’t see the absolute fanaticism of this.
    Do the prospects being preached to by the MM receive this as part of the expected commitment to the LDS church and it’s prophet? Is there some where in the presentation where the prospect is told, “You will follow all of the directives of the prophet to the point of murder if called upon.”
    This idea of praying and receiving affirmation is one huge joke. When’s Ralph ever confessed to us that he has prayed about something in the LDS church and been told by the Mormon god that it’s not true or the task is not necessary as described by the GAs?

    I think it’s also important to ask, because I don’t know, do the MM teach that there are two levels to LDS salvation. That’s sort of important to know, I think. Are the prospects told that the goal of membership in the LDS church is to do the works necessary to become a god? Which lesson is that?

  13. cattyjane says:

    I was never told by the MMs that I would be a god or that I had to follow the prophet to the point of death. I remember a lot of focus was on temple works being done for so that those who had passed had an opportunity to receive as well. Also a lot of focus on the many different denominations that exist and all the different ideas about truth and how the truth had to be restored. Thats what I remember. I was 19 when I joined.

  14. Ralph,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. In the context of the article, I thought that it was clear that I was specifically discussing the question, “What will the missionaries talk about when they visit my home?” Thus, my remark (“It might be important for you to know up front that the primary purpose of Mormon missionaries visiting your home is not to talk about Jesus and His atonement, but rather to extract commitments that will qualify you for Mormon baptism.”) was rooted in the first missionary lesson (as you noted) that missionaries would talk about when visiting a non-member’s home (as I defined a few paragraphs later). Sorry for the confusion.

    That said, I think others here have demonstrated pretty well that the first missionary lesson with its focus on baptism and church membership does indeed represent the primary purpose of a Mormon missionary, for according to Mormonism, these are essential components people must have in order to “come unto Christ.”

  15. falcon says:

    It’s a curious thing isn’t it?
    The main point of the LDS church is that they are the one true church that can provide the system where by a person can become a god. That’s really the point of the sect. They have all of the temple hocus pocus. And supposedly, all of this was practiced by the first century church, was lost and then, what do you know, a man with a magic rock restored it all. It just doesn’t pass the smell test!

    That’s why the MM presentation has to puff this deal up and at the same time hide the salient features of the religion. Perhaps one of our former Mormons can reveal to us where in the MM presentation do they ask the questions that are to lead the prospect to conclude that a church with a living prophet is the one true church. It’s really bogus because any religious group can claim to have a prophet and a restoration of the real deal. Many have done it.

    So the point of the presentation really is to engage the prospect emotionally. Those emotions are then sold as a message from the Mormon god bearing testimony to the “truth” of the claims. It’s all a scam and unfortunately most Mormons don’t know it.

  16. falcon says:

    The LDS church really maxes out on that idea of “milk before meat”. It’s a good way of excusing what they do to get people to make a commitment. It’s also a way of rationalizing what is actually a lie by omission.
    What the LDS church is hoping is to get people in the door with a low level commitment and then flip their thinking so they won’t leave. It all goes from sunshine, lollypops and rainbows to “you’re going to outer darkness if you leave”. Not a subtle threat by any estimate.
    LDS folks go into a major panic mode if someone leaves the LDS church. I’m sure there are ways of slowly sliding away from the fold thus the large number of “inactives” in the church. Do the MM target the inactives? It sounds like they do from what those who have left the church report.
    I wonder what the success rate is on turning the inactives or those who have left? It has to be a pretty low closing rate. But they have to have something for the MM to do when they run out of prospects.

  17. MJP says:


    My parents once were close to joining the LDS church. They were visited for quite sometime by missionaries. I was either an infant or not yet here, but my oldest sister remembers really enjoying their visits and going to various Mormon outings. Evidently they were very welcoming and pleasant. My parents have told me they came close but backed out when pressured to acknowledge Smith as a prophet. They couldn’t do that, and broke off their relationship with the Mormons.

    I share this to show that some things apparently were not thrust upon them from the beginnning, and only came to light as things moved on with the courting process. Now, the LDS may well have said you have to believe in Smith as a prophet from the beginning– I was not there and have not asked my parents about that particular detail. However, its importance was clearly not emphasized for sometime, or my parents would not have continued the relationship.

    This was some time ago, so I don’t know how they approach the requirement of accepting Smith as prophet today. This is anecdotal, certainly, but it appears to be in line with other anecdotal stories and is certainly reasonable to expect as a norm.

    Ultimately, I agree that the milk before meat line is a good way of avoiding issues to get people to make a commitment. Its a way to avoid answering questions that might otherwise turn people away. This tactic suggests the very real possibility that the goal is not truth but sales. Getting people in the door before they turn away is the goal. Its really close to a bait and switch situation, really.

  18. falcon says:

    Great story. Thanks for sharing it. That’s the thing that bugs me is the idea that “full disclosure” is not part of the recruitment process. We have “truth in lending” laws and “Miranda Rights” for a reason. The one theme that comes out of the narrative of former Mormons is the idea that they were deceived. The LDS church likes to claim that all of the information is out there and they aren’t trying to hide it. Fact of the matter is that if someone doesn’t know what to ask, how are they even going to access the information. If someone is shown a picture of Joseph Smith “translating” the golden plates, do they know that the guy actual put his magic rock in his hat as a supposed means of translation? How would someone know to ask that? Would someone know to ask that the BoM was changed to suit Smith’s changing theology?

    Here’s a video showing how the MM is to avoid answering a question. Notice how the speaker sets up the scenario in a way that makes the question appear to be antagonistic and therefore implying that it’s OK to evade the question.


  19. Mike R says:

    Sometimes it just hits me how different the true gospel of salvation is compared to the Mormon
    gospel . Mormon missionaries go around the world with a imitation of the true gospel which
    Jesus’ apostles preached in their travels . In fact it’s close to a bait and switch type of sales job
    which Mormonism has created and trains their missionaries to proselytize with , as MJP has
    mentioned . Young men and women have to be specially trained in how to convince people
    that their ” restored ” gospel is the very same one that the original apostles preached 2000
    years ago . The claim by Mormon authorities that Jesus’ church died off , was exterminated ,
    and that after 1700 years it was restored to earth in exactly the same form as it existed when
    Christ established it through His apostles , and as a result of this restoration salvation was again
    available to mankind on earth because of Joseph Smith . That claim is so patently false , and yet
    people listening to the Mormon message can be fooled into believing that claim . Now that’s
    some kind of salesmanship !

    Let’s reach out to these young men and women with the love they deserve and help them see
    that the product they are ” selling ” has been tested and found defective .
    The true gospel is not about a prophet , restoration , or secret temple rituals , or a religious
    organization . It’s about a person — Jesus , and what He did for us . The true gospel is not a
    elaborate system of rules , laws, regulations as in Mormonism , rather it is simple because to
    receive salvation and pardon from God is not through joining a religious organization.

    The true gospel that saves : Rom 3:23 ; 5:8-10 ; 6:23 ; 10:9-13 .

  20. MJP says:

    For those who might be wondering what I mean when I compare Mormon missionary strategy with that of a bait and switch sales technique, let me explain in further detail. Bait and switch is, as you likely know, when you are sold a specific product but are given another.

    Mormonism is sold as being a gospel of Jesus. Jesus is of course presented as much as possible as the traditional Jesus. Jesus is presented as being one with the Father just as it is in Christianity. The Trinity is even upheld in that all three are sold as being the same in spirit, and that there is only one God. Further, virtually terms are identical, or only slightly different from what Christians use. Temple rituals are downplayed, if mentioned at all.

    As has been expressed above, Mormon seekers are told “milk before meat”, as are newer members who don’t have sufficient understanding of Mormon doctrine and practice. The ‘meat’ is only revealed as they progress in their faith, which is not just in understanding, but in the accomplishment of various tasks ordained by the Mormon faith. So, not only do you have to understand things, but you have to do specific things to have more and more revealed.

    As the layers are peeled, one finds that the Mormon Jesus is not the same as the traditional Jesus. One finds that there are significant differences in the Trinity. One finds that there are in fact many gods– even that each person can become one. Though the words are the same, one discovers they have vastly different meanings. Salvation, for example, is not spending an eternity with God, but is split into at least two levels, with the ultimate salvation being godhood itself– everyone else, of course, is left looking jealously at those who made it further.

    Beyond even doctrine as it relates to the fundamentals of God, details emerge as to the history of the church and what was meant and by whom that were not available at the beginning of courtship. This has happened enough so that the LDS authority has had to continually alter course and write essays to clarify these issues.

    The LDS apparently make the courting process quite pleasant, even avoiding challenges on the basis that God does not like confrontation and leaves the room when things become too contentious. They provide only very basic and positive attributes of their faith. They seem happy and well mannered, and often extend invitations to meet them in social situations. You see them out in the community, helping people in various ways. Always dressed modestly and professionally, on a bike and in a pair, its hard not to be impressed at first. Nonetheless, you will hardly ever get specific and detailed responses as to what they believe.

    And this is the bait and switch. Their happy, nice, positive and very broad and vague presentation does have nitty-gritty details that demonstrate a very different view than what is presented up front. Jesus it turns out is not God in the flesh, but merely a god among many, a literal brother of Satan who was conceived by literal and physical copulation with the separate god the Father with Mary. This is but one example, there are countless more regarding God and their history.

    I’ll let readers decide on whether they believe the story presented by Mormon Missionaries. All I ask is that they consider that the presentation is not just about truth, but about getting people in the door. It is a sales job, and there is more to the story than what is being told. Whether readers believe and are OK with what is presented is up to them.

  21. johnnyboy says:


    My very first mission interview with my mission president in south america went like this:

    MP – Elder, why are you here?

    me – To serve the people of Chile?

    MP – No Elder. Why are you here?

    me – To bring souls unto Christ?

    MP – No Elder. Why are you here?

    me – To share the Gospel?

    MP – No Elder. You are here to Baptize. Why are you here, Elder?

    me – Baptize?

    MP – Correct. Now go do it.

  22. johnnyboy says:

    I could literally share endless mission stories on here about how messed up my mission was and how it was ALL about numbers. Whooping, screaming and clapping in the sacrament room as numbers were read off. Chastising and shaming at those who’s numbers weren’t up to par. It was horrible. This was just one of the things that hurt my young spirit.

    When people tell me that the mission was the best time of their lives my brain explodes because it tells me that they haven’t really lived.

    I value my experience as a mormon missionary, but I was so heartbroken at how mission life was a complete sales job. Even when I completely believed in the church, I still was very upset at how it was run. I always tell people, I loved serving the people of south america, but I hated the mission.

    My parents flew out to visit me for 2 weeks when my mission ended and I had a long conversation with my father about it all. He had never served a mission and was completely SHOCKED at the stories I told him about.

    Anyhoo, i have some whoppers, but if I get started, I could go on and on and on.

    As a side note, I can inform everyone that its still all about the numbers. I have 2 Elders that keep bothering my family (even though I told the bishop we won’t be returning) and they informed me about how if they reach a certain number of baptisms they get rewarded with some tickets to a baseball game or something… they have different levels of “incentives”.

    When I heard this I literally laughed in their faces and said “HA! So it hasn’t changed one bit! Man it was the same for me almost 20 years ago.”

    Amazing. At least they got rid of the “discussions”, and they are starting to have missionaries do “service” missions.

  23. falcon says:

    Did you do the baseball baptisms? I’ve read about that one. How the kids couldn’t play in the LDS sponsored baseball league unless they got baptized. This was often done without the knowledge of the parents. They did and never stepped foot in the LDS church.
    What a phoney deal it all is!

  24. johnnyboy says:


    that was before my time. I served in the mid 90’s. I think the baseball thing happened in the 80’s.

    But we had plenty of wacky baptisms going on all the time. Lots of late night kid baptisms.

  25. spartacus says:

    Anyone remember a movie or other story where the main character is part of a group or team of less-than-completely ethical people: con-men, politicians, crooked cops, lawyers, that scam other people and then the main character gets betrayed by his own people by the same kind of scam? I can only think of one and for Spoiler Alert purposes I’ve buried my one example in parentheses at the end of this.

    I wonder if, when they learn of their church’s technique and policy of “Milk before Meat” for the first time, members of Mormon churches think and wonder at the possibility of the church doing the same still to them. Then, they brush it off with a mental “nah”.

    I wonder if former Mormons ever realize that, besides just being duped or bringing others into the fold, they have been victimized by the very technique and policy that they, as members, agreed with?

    “Milk before Meat”! If it’s good enough for investigators, its good enough for the members!

    Spoiler alert ((((((((((((((((((((((((((((matchstickmen)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))) If any of you can think of others please post it, discreetly and with warning. No need to ruin any movie for others.

  26. falcon says:

    I would recommend the “Flim Flam Man” with George C. Scott, the “Grifters” with Steve McQueen and there’s one more the title of which slips my mind. Of course there’s also “The Sting” where the bad guy, who’s a hustler becomes the mark and gets hustled.
    Can you think of the incident where the GAs of the LDS church got hustled? Does the name Mark Hofmann ring a bell?
    “Many know that in the Mark Hofmann scandal the Church was caught red handed credulously buying up documents with the sole intent of “burying” them. It took time to get the Church to ‘fess up to all they had acquired (some believe they still haven’t come completely clean). In fact, the Church operated with such precision in the matter and threw around such large amounts of money that one is left to wonder just how often the Church has “disappeared” documents of historical interest that didn’t come to light. The lingering question to this day is “how did the Church get taken in by Hofmann?” Many theories abound.”


  27. falcon says:

    The scam in the MM presentation is two fold. First of all it’s the omission of all of the pertinent information that a prospect might find useful in making a decision as to whether or not to get baptized. Secondly there’s the goal of stirring-up in the prospect positive emotions that might lead them to the critical decision to join the LDS church.
    There’s a real contrast with evangelism within the Christian context. The goal within the Christian context is bring people to Christ in faith. That’s it, period! The MM presentation uses some good terms and vocabulary to seduce the prospect into thinking this is all about Jesus. The fact of the matter it isn’t. It’s about hooking on to a system that’s going to extract your money and your time. The money machine must be fed and the leadership maintained in the manner in which they are accustomed.
    And these poor duped MM think they are actually doing some worthy spiritual work. Will they be held accountable for the lies they promote because they don’t know any better? I wouldn’t want to be brought to account for pushing a false gospel.

  28. Mike R says:

    I was just looking through a little booklet I have entitled : ” Enticing Words of Man’s Wisdom ”
    subtitle : ” A survey of the Mormon Missionary mind manipulating methods ”

    This boolet and another one titled : ” The Mormon Missionary Lessons” , were both published
    by the Utah Christian Tract Society a few decades ago . They are a critique of the Mormon
    Missionary teaching aids ” A Systematic Program for Teaching the Gospel ” also ” The Uniform
    System for Teaching Families ” and also ” A Uniform System for teaching Investigators ” .

    In short these booklets look into how Mormon Missionaries proselytized people by stating :
    ” Mormons working to proselytize members to their church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day
    Saints use proselytizing methods which involve manipulation of their contacts by clever
    sales techniques of the business world . ”

    Now , I don’t know how much has changed since then in how Mormon Missionaries proselytize people but this only underscored the contrast in Mormon system compared to the simple
    presentation of the gospel of salvation that I experienced and which was used by evangelists
    like Billy Graham and multitudes like him in evangelizing the lost for Jesus .

    People need to be alerted to watch out for any Missionaries that in their salvation message talk
    about ” the Church ” and ” the prophet ” , practically as much as they do about Jesus .
    That’s a red flag that something is fishy , and caution is warranted to take time to ask probing
    questions . Why ? answer : Gal 1:8

  29. spartacus says:

    So the main topic here is about what the primary goal is of LDS missionaries, is it glorifying Jesus or is it baptizing members?

    Many of us here have heard of the baseball baptisms. Many of us may already have heard John Dehlin’s first Mormon Stories podcast where he speaks from personal experience during his mission in South America. He talks about how he reported the unethical baptism-focused sales incentivized methods of his mission to his superiors all the way to Dallin H. Oaks, and the response he received from Oaks. He talks about how he had hope that things would get better, but then, afterwards, he learned of other instances in former decades of similar practices. And I’ve heard a more recent return missionary on Out of Mormonism’s podcast indicate that at least some sales incentives and baptism number focus was still used at his mission in the 90’s.

    I don’t know all of Dehlin’s history but he was still a member at the time of this podcast and he hoped it would simply help the human members of the church to avoid temptation of worldly means. I just started listening to these podcasts and this just happened to be the topic of the first podcast, so I thought I should share it on this thread.


  30. falcon says:

    John Dehlin got his toes up to the line of leaving the LDS church and then did a quick back-track. He calls it his “crisis of faith”. Given what he knows it blows my mind that he’s still in the fold. Although I think you get bonus points on your god-maker merit badge if you have a crisis of faith, over come in and now have a strong testimony.
    I can’t read the guy’s heart or motivation. I don’t know how much of it he believes. I think sometimes what happens with these people is sort of like breaking up with a girl friend and then getting back together. Sometimes it works but often times things are just not the same any more.

    OK this is what I found recently:

    “John Dehlin ” I can personally validate one thing you’ve said….which is that it certainly was my home ward’s/stake’s negative response to my earnest attempt to be a middle-way participant that has led to my conclusion that I can’t remain an active, tithe-paying, temple-recommend-holding LDS church member. They simply don’t want me as an (Internet-ly) vocal, unorthodox member.”

    other person “I’m sorry to hear that John , last time I heard you were kind if making it work and talking to your SP. The reason I’m still semi active is a very friendly bishop , not the ward per se.”

    John Dehlin “Yeah. It all crashed and burned, unfortunately.”

    I would suggest clicking on this link. There are some interesting comments.


  31. Ralph says:

    Grindael and anyone else interested,

    Have you ever read D&C 20:37?

    And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.

    What does it say here about baptism requirements? Humble oneself, have a broken heart and contrite spirit, witness they have truly repented of their sins, willing to take upon them the name of Jesus, a determination to serve Him to the end, manifest by their works that they have received the Spirit of Christ and received remission of their sins.

    How is this any different to what you are trying to tell us LDS to do? You are telling us to repent, take upon us the true Jesus and follow Him to the end, and that if we are truly saved our works will manifest it.

    What did Jesus charge His disciples to do after His ascension? To go into the world preaching only repentance and baptism.

    So what are the differences between the LDS missionaries preaching repentance (that is part of the teaching process) and baptism into Jesus’ only true church (according to us) and what He charged His disciples to do?

  32. Rick B says:

    did you read the verses I posted from the bible, in the book of acts?
    it totally contradicted the D and C verses you post. The eunuch said, what stops me from being baptized? Nothing about what you said was said to the eunuch. It was as simple as, hey, there’s water lets do this.

    Read the account of paul in jail, he says to the jailer believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be baptized and you will be saved. No list of all these other requirements first.

  33. grindael says:


    The difference is that Christian’s preach repentance from God’s word only, and don’t focus on Baptism (or Church membership) as the “primary goal”, but rather the message of the risen Christ. (To BELIEVE on Him, repent and be baptized).

    As for what Jesus said, he did not say preach ONLY repentance. He said,

    Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:16-20)

    He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)

    In Luke, it says,

    44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24)

    One account doesn’t even mention baptism.

    Nowhere can I find in the Bible that Jesus said to preach ONLY repentance. Jesus did preach repentance. But he also TAUGHT people the truth (the Gospel), and came with POWER to back it up, something that Mormon “prophets” have none of. I think you are confusing what Joseph Smith later taught as what Jesus taught. Jesus did not teach what you claim.

    D&C 6:9: “Say nothing but repentance unto this generation.” And in the first issue of the Times and Seasons, Smith wrote,

    …advance no principle but what you can prove, for one scriptural proof is worth ten thousand opinions: we would moreover say, abide by that revelation which says, `Preach nothing but repentance to this generation,’ and leave the further mysteries of the kingdom, till God shall tell you to preach them, which is not now.

  34. MJP says:

    Ralph– in the New Testament, what does it say about baptism requirements?

    How is your program different? A) It is a requirement for membership in your church whereas physical baptism is not a requirement in most Christian churches. B) The aim of Mormon missionaries is not merely to bring people to accept Christ as their savior but to bring them into the Mormon church. C) Repentance means something very different to you than it does to us. D) How can one witness a repentance in a brief moment? E) to us nothing physical happens and arguably nothing spiritual at baptism– it is more a public demonstration of our faith in Christ F) Mormons put a lot more emphasis on authority in the realm of baptism than we do, wherein it is not only performed by one with authority but a recognition of the baptized as to existence of that authority (authority is huge in your church, such that you cannot deny submission to that authority exists).

    I could go on about differences in baptism in your faith and ours. As to your question about these differences it comes down to this: who are we preaching about and what does this being tell us to do?

    Once again, you have used the same language to very different effect. Baptism is very, very different in our respective faiths.

    One more point, repeating something Grindael said: show us where Jesus said to only preach repentance and baptism.

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