Witnessing To Mormons

Why Witness
All Christians are commanded to witness for Christ (Mark 16:15), and they are now "ambassadors" for Him (11 Corinthians 5:20). Some are poor ambassadors, nevertheless they represent Christ! Many professing Christians claim that God has never called them to witness verbally about Christ so they "just live their religion." Does God enable Mormons and other cultists to talk about their religion while not helping Christians speak up for Christ? A person does not even have to know how to read and write in order to tell someone what Christ has done in his or her life. If you can talk, you can witness for Christ! If the message of salvation is for you, so is the rest of God's Word! Multitudes are dying without Christ on every hand. Do you care?

Reasons for Not Witnessing

There are two basic reasons why we do not witness: 1) we do not know how, and 2) we are afraid to try. Both reasons are the result of not knowing God's Word. If we knew and believed it, we would be "ready always to give an answer to every man that asks a reason of the hope that is in us" (I Peter 3:15). We would also know that the greatest "power" in the universe is at our disposal. I Corinthians 1:24 declares that "Christ is the Power and Wisdom of God," and we "are complete in Him" (Colossians 2:10). Again, Acts 1:8 says, "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you and ye shall be witnesses unto me." Romans 1: 16 further teaches that "the Gospel is the Power of God unto salvation." Therefore, we have no excuse for fear in witnessing!

Many Christians use II John 10-11 as an excuse not to witness to cultists. But this does not tell Christians not to witness to cultists. Wishing them well or helping them propagate false teaching is clearly wrong. But mature Christians can invite cultists into their homes in order to give them the gospel, the same as anyone else. Christians who are not mature in the faith should not attempt to deal with cultists alone.

Basic Witnessing Preparation

Following are some suggestions to help you be more effective when witnessing to Mormons.

1. Be a strong "know so" Christian. You must "know that ye have eternal life" (I John 5:11-13) in order to offer it to anyone else.

2. Know the Word of God. There is no substitute for study of the Bible (II Timothy 2:15). The "scriptures are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (I Timothy 3:15). To be effective soul-winners we must know what we believe and why we believe it. Too many people are looking for "a verse" that will lead everyone to Christ. While you do not need to memorize thousands of verses to witness, you do need to know where to find some key verses which clearly present the gospel.

3. Familiarize yourself with a good soul-winning method. There is no "one and only method" of winning souls, so do not feel you must use a certain program just because someone else likes it.

4. Pray much for the soul you seek to win (Philippians 4:6, I Timothy 2:1). The account of the importune friend shows us the way God wants us to pray for those we seek to win to Christ (Luke 11:5-10).

5. Know as much as you can about Mormon doctrine. One big problem in witnessing to LDS (Latter-day Saints) is the definition of terms. When they use words like "God," "Christ," and so on, you should know that God is a resurrected, glorified man; Christ, Satan, and all of us are spirit brothers in the pre-mortal world, and so on, in LDS theology. Otherwise you can talk all day and not really communicate. Many false ideas about Mormonism have been circulated, so document what you say about it. A good LDS dictionary of Mormon terms is Mormon Doctrine by Bruce McConkie (available in paperback). Anti-Mormon material can help prepare you to witness but it can also be a stumbling block if used with Mormons. The better informed you are about Mormonism, the more likely they will listen to your presentation of the gospel because they will see you took the time to study.

6. Go to the LDS (and all other unsaved) as the great commission commands in Matthew 28:19. We have no command to wait for the cults to call on us! They are not going out knocking on doors in order to listen to you. Nor will most of them visit your church. But if you go to their homes, some of them may listen to what you have to say.

7. Think through exactly what you are going to say when you go to a Mormon home. Practice your message with another Christian who can offer suggestions to make you more effective.

Some Things To "Do" When Witnessing

1. Do teach and preach Jesus Christ first and foremost. By beginning with the gospel, it will help them understand you are not just "anti-Mormon." In Acts 8:5 we read, "Phillip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ unto them." Acts 5:42 says that the apostles "ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." If we spend most of our time discussing Mormonism or anything other than Christ and the Gospel, we are poor ambassadors. We need to answer questions on LDS doctrines, but we must always proclaim the Christian message.

2. Do be patient. Chances are that most Mormons have been taught their doctrine for a long time. It will take time to straighten out the misconceptions they have learned. If Mormons quickly accept Christ as Savior, probably one of the following things is true:
a) they have not clearly understood salvation and therefore assented to what Mormonism teaches, i.e. that Christ is the Savior of "all men irrespective of a belief (in this life) in Christ";
b) they may just agree with everyone who comes along-if so, they will be "converted" just as quickly to the Jehovah's Witness belief or something else when it comes; or
c) if the conversion is genuine you can be sure that someone else has laid a lot of groundwork before you came along.

3. Do give a strong personal testimony concerning your own salvation. Few things will have a greater impact than your own testimony. Paul frequently did this as we see in Acts 22:1-21 and Galatians 1:1 1-24. LDS missionaries are taught to bear their testimonies about Mormonism, Joseph Smith, and so on. They are even taught what to say and how to say it with lots of "earnestness." If our salvation is genuine, surely we can offer a better testimony than one that is memorized. I Peter 3:15 ought to speak volumes to every true believer.

4. Do stay in control of the conversation. You are the one with the message to share. Often those with LDS missionary experience are so accustomed to manipulating and dominating such discussions that they do it almost automatically.

5. Do ask for definitions of words used by Mormons.

You may have to ask some questions in order to get a clear definition. LDS often use Christian terms with their own definitions. If you ask, "What do you mean by salvation? you may or may not get a clear answer. You might have to ask, "By salvation do you mean resurrection of the body?" Be as specific as possible in your questions.

6. Do be honest when a question comes up that you are not sure how to answer. You can say, "I'll have to look into that more and bring an answer to you later." Some people feel they must have an immediate answer so they muddle themselves into a mess unnecessarily. No one knows everything.

7. Do use the Bible whether the LDS feel it is reliable or not. By using it you will demonstrate you trust it.

Furthermore, whenever the Word of God is used, the Holy Spirit can use it whether your listeners believe it or not.

8. Do follow up every contact with some good literature. No contact will be able to remember everything you tell them. But if you have left some good literature they will be able to study and review when you are not present. If they have questions about any particular doctrine, give them a booklet that will help explain it.

9. Do recommend a good gospel radio or television broadcast in your area. The more they see and hear the gospel, the better chance you will have to see them find Christ as a personal Savior.

Some "Don'ts" When Witnessing

1. Don't wait for the LDS missionaries to come to you. They are not usually very receptive to the gospel anyway. Christians need to go to the Mormons with the gospel. By taking the gospel to Mormons we will be better prepared if a Mormon missionary does come to us.

2. Don't just attack or ridicule Mormonism. That can make an enemy but rarely a convert to Christ. Make them aware of the problems in Mormonism in such a way that you do not alienate them. But try to give them the gospel first so they know you have an alternative to Mormonism.

3. Don't allow the LDS to jump from one subject to another without answering specific questions. Make them stay with a subject until it is answered or they agree to do further study on it.

4. Don't let two or more Mormons talk to you at the same time. If someone with you is qualified to talk to Mormons, have them talk to the one who is interrupting you.

5. Don't allow Mormonism to totally dominate the time. If you are there as a soul-winner, keep the gospel before them. Devout Mormons may need to see that Mormonism has serious flaws before they will listen to anything else. But only the gospel can transform their lives.

6. Don't overwhelm your listener by trying to tell them all you know at your first meeting. You did not learn everything in an hour or two, and neither will they. So set up a schedule to teach them an hour or so per week if they are interested.

7. Don't try to force them into making a decision for Christ. They may not have sufficient information to make a genuine decision yet. But do stress the urgency of trusting Christ (11 Corinthians 6:2).

-Marvin W. Cowan

 
Utah Christian Publications
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© 2000 Marvin W. Cowan