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1 Very Useful Tactic When Dialoging with Mormons

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November 22, 2013 by mattfradd


Missionaries-elders-mormon

I’ve never met a Mormon I didn’t like. My next door neighbors are (temple) card-carrying, alcohol avoiding, special underwear wearing Mormons. We’re very close and I love them dearly. They’re kind, generous, and committed.

They’re also wrong.

Mormonism, though it contains elements of truth, is a severe perversion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I don’t intend to rehash those perversions in this post, instead I’d like to help you prepare for a first encounter with a Mormon.

This is a technique I consistently use. It works every time, I think for two reasons. 1. They don’t expect it. It’s different to what they usually hear: What about polygamy! or Why did Mormons deny blacks the priesthood! and 2. It helps them understand why you’re not interested in hearing what they have to say, without being a jerk.

Obviously after your first encounter with a Mormon, if you agree to continue the discussion, you’ll owe it to him to study his religion (and your own) in order to share at greater depth why it is you disagree with him and why he should join the Catholic Church.

Thought Experiment

I begin by assuring the missionaries (who I never call elder. They’re not my elders, neither in age (usually) nor in the faith) that I’m not trying to be rude and that I in no way mean to come across as condescending or insulting.

I then ask if I could try out a thought experiment on them. They agree because they’re Mormons and therefore seemingly incapable of being impolite.

[For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mormonism, the thought experiment is a parody of the Joseph Smith story].

Here’s what I say:

Suppose I said to you that there was a man by the name of John Smith, who in 1920, 100 years after Joseph Smith received his “revelation,” began wondering which of the many christian churches to join. After much prayer he received a revelation from God who told him that all the religious denominations (including Mormonism) were believing in incorrect doctrines and that he was to await further instructions from on high.

I then tell the missionaries that In a later revelation John Smith received, emblazoned on metal slabs, further inspired works from the Heavenly messenger Doroni that would, essentially, add to the Bible. This religion is called Dormonism and John Smith is the prophet which restored the purity of the Gospel.

I then proceed to take three thick books off of the shelf and say, here is the book of Dormon, and two other books (that stand for pearl of great price and doctrine and covenants).

I tell them that the book of Dormon (like the book of Mormon) contains a promise that whoever reads it sincerely, ponders its contents and asks God if it is true will receive that knowledge by the power of the Holy Ghost.

The conversation usually follows like this:

You: “Now, as I said, this was just a thought experiment, but suppose I was serious, tell me, would you take this book and read it prayerfully?”

Mormon: “no.”

You: “Why not?”

Mormon: “Well, this is obviously made up and the Mormonism isn’t.

You: Okay, yes it’s made up, but that’s the nature of a thought experiment; pretend I’m serious. Why wouldn’t you take these books home and read them?

Mormon: Because I think it’s false. Because, I know that Mormonism is true and therefore this has to be false.

You: Terrific! And now you understand the exact position I am in. You see, I’m not interested in reading the book of Mormon because I have already accepted the truth of the Catholic faith, therefore I know that Mormonism, since it conflicts with Catholicism, cannot be true. So unless you can give me a really good reason to abandon my faith, I’m not interested in hearing you out. You see, Jesus Christ established a Church. He said of that Church that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it (Mt 16:18). He said to the leaders of that Church, “he who hears you hears me” (Lk 10:16). Since I believe that Jesus Christ is sinless I know that he was not lying and I know that the gates of Hell have not prevailed against the Church he founded—the Catholic Church.

Now (I’m talking to you now), I’m not pretending that the Mormon won’t have a rejoinder to this. He’ll likely go into what they call the great apostasy, which, he’ll say, can be demonstrated from Scripture (it can’t).

A Caveat

I want to reiterate my high esteem for those within the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints (their official title). Their efforts to evangelize; their strong family values, and the support they offer one another as a community is commendable. We as Catholics can and should learn a lot from them.

If you have Mormon friends or family, love them. Don’t take cheap shots. Don’t misrepresent their views. Study what it is they believe and then be gentle in sharing the fullness of what they may have caught a glimmer of in their own faith; Jesus Christ.

For other tactics and techniques, see  Mormon Stumpers

52 thoughts on “1 Very Useful Tactic When Dialoging with Mormons

  1. Garrett G. says:

    Very insightful comments…one of the hardest things to reconcile is the fact that Mormons make such good witnesses… They are some of the best examples of what Christians should be in how they reach out the oppressed the poor and the needy. I just wish the theology was a little more justified…

    • Julie says:

      Please, I don’t know your own beliefs, but why would you wish their theology was ” a little more justified”? They believe “cleverly invented fables” and those with itching ears are happy to listen, and that is a crying shame as this can only lead them down the road to destruction of their souls! We do need to follow the example of the Lord and His Apostles and Saints more closely, and then we won’t have to admire the followers of a false sect such as Mormonism! I think, as a Catholic, I need to keep striving to be all that God intends me to be , but that I don’t need to find encouragement in a group who believes in a false teacher such as Joseph Smith, there are plenty of excellent witnesses to the faith in Jesus Christ who are within the fold of the Catholic Church! You and I don’t need to look far to find them, and they are waiting to help us to follow and love Jesus Christ and our neighbor more each day!

  2. Russell Weber III says:

    Ask a Mormon if there has ever been a verified miracle in their cult, there hasn’t. Ask one why Joey P. Smith who made all the nonsense, couldn’t convince his wife at the time of any of the nonsense. I have watched the BYU channel on television, and it is very sad to see decent looking, seemly educated white people talking nonsense about that cult. There are some good looking women, who I would date, sadly yapping nonsense about the book of bs. It is also sad that these cult members fish, hunt, camp and hike, but buy into that nonsense. Not drinking beer or wine, is a control component of the cult. Not drinking soda or coffee is another, but a lot of real Christians don’t drink coffee, tea, soda or those vile so-called energy drinks, caffeine is an addictive alkaloid, and those drinks contain alot of nasty chemicals. Also I have never met one who is a member of the NRA, yet they hunt and own guns. They need to be with a firm hand be led from that cult, and that cult dismantled, they are not Christians by some very simple facts, and one is that Jesus Christ and satan, were never brothers.

    • mattfradd says:

      I appreciate your passion, Russell, but calling their prophet, “joey,” and using the word “cult” to describe them—a word, I’m convinced amounts to not much more than a slur—is exactly what I’m suggesting we don’t do.

      I think we ought to give them the same respect we expect from those who disagree with us.

      • Donatella Maffin says:

        I agree that everyone should be treated with love and respect, but it is a cult and if you look in any book that lists cults you will find them there. They are never listed as a christian religion. As important as it is to love one another it is just as important to not fool ourselves and others by sugar coating truth. My priest always said that truth needs to be spoken but it must be spoken with love.

      • Carol says:

        Matt:
        You are so correct. The sad truth is that most Catholics take the same stance that Muslims do in treating people as as infidels!
        Would you listen to another person if they insult you for YOUR beliefs?
        We can believe that the ‘Catholic Church is the Only, Universal Church Of Jesus Christ’ but – the Mormons believe that the LDS Church is the ‘Only, Universal Church Of Jesus Christ’ too!

        How do we open the dialog so they will listen when we both believe the same thing about our different faiths?
        We can’t be so prideful that we are offensive to Mormons (or anyone else who isn’t Catholic) by using nasty phrases that they find offensive.
        How many times as Catholics do we hear others state the Catholic Church is a cult – or that the Pope is the Anti-Christ, etc….
        How do you react when people insult you as a Catholic like that?
        I always find that it usually gets into a yelling/fight match with NO ONE really listening to each other.
        Being offensive puts people on the defense and only causes them to close their ears even more and it prevents people from hearing the truth.
        We have to stop treating ‘evangelizing’ as if it is like being part of a debate team.

        So many Catholics love to point fingers at Rev Billy Graham’s success at leading THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS to the Protestant faiths but people should instead study ‘how’ & ‘why’ he has been so successful.

        ONE MAJOR REASON: Rev Bill Graham was NEVER offensive so people – LISTENED!

        People need to read & study the Gospel account of our Lord Jesus Meeting The Woman At The Well.
        – He never offended her by calling her a whore.
        – Instead of insulting her, He ignored her questions about her race/religion views.

        Our Lord Jesus gently guided her through his treatment of RESPECT for her to see that only HE could set her free from her sins and then she was able to hear ALL the truths of God.

        We have to reach people through our compassion of His Divine Mercy – not in our carnal pride of being obnoxiously ‘right’.

    • Roger Lee says:

      You are sadly misinformed, even ignorant.There are thousands of N.R.A. member mormons who passionatley support the 2nd amendment.

      • Russell Weber III says:

        I’m hardly ignorant nor misinformed, I know what I am talking about. I used to work for a print advertising company that printed weekly church bulletins, directories, calenders, etc., with ads on them. I travelled around a good part of this country selling ads, mainly for Catholic churches, I later became the building manager and the trade sales manager of LPI of St. Louis.

  3. Mary-Lou Vella says:

    I like this. Now can you come up with something for me to refute what jehovahn witnesses say. I have to admit one of my best friends is one and she certainly knows her bible…..her thinking is so skewed it baffles me,

    • Donatella Maffin says:

      There is a book (or a set of books) called beginning apologetics published by San Jaun Catholic Seminars one is dedicated to just answer Jehovah’s Witnesses. It’s an excellent set.

  4. genefadness says:

    As a former Mormon missionary — now Catholic — I couldn’t agree more! Stick to essentials — the Trinity, no need for the Book of Mormon and no need for men to become gods. Don’t venture off into side issues like polygamy and past issues with blacks. And remember, one plants, another waters, but only God gives the growth. Witnessing to our Mormon friends (or anyone, for that matter) is NEVER wasted effort, no matter the response. It took several Christians in Australia, mostly evangelicals to get me to start thinking, but it was three later before the seed sprouted! Wish there was a way, this side of heaven, to find those who took the time to share.

  5. Cristina says:

    My parents and step brothers and sister are Mormon (converts for my parents, raised Mormon for my step brothers and sister) My step brothers are coming back from mission, one from Mexico and the other from California (he learned Khmer and spent time preaching or as he called it “investigating) the Cambodian people there. They really are super nice. We sent emails back and forth the whole time.

    I’ve read first hand just how hard it is on their mission (washing their own clothes by hand, riding bikes in super hot Mexico, to name a couple). I haven’t been shy in my communication of what a GINORMOUS Catholic I am. I didn’t do it to be holier-than-thou…but because I love my faith. I’ve seen other Mormons (I had neighbors in a previous apartment who were Mormons) and the visiting missionaries who would look at me like they wanted to chat. I think it’s because they would catch me smiling at them – I couldn’t help but think of my little step brothers.

    One time, a missionary asked me why I was so happy all the time. I told him because I was Catholic and I respect all the hard work they’re doing. I mentioned my step-brothers and they had this slight expression change. It wasn’t bad, or negative. More like, quizzical. They never asked me anything after that.

    So I guess, for me, pulling my “I’ve got Mormon family” card works.

    🙂 If ever it stops working, I’ll pull this card!

  6. Russell Weber III says:

    Mary Lou about 20 years ago a friend of mine and his ex-wife, who were raised Catholic, got into the jehovah witness nonsense. I didn’t no basically anything about that cult, so I went to the public library and got several books written by former members. It took me over a month to read because I thought this is just crap, who but who would buy into this nonsense. What I did was write three letters to my friend, not using my name, because he wouldn’t of listened to a word I said. I deconstructed all that wonk-wonk nut job Jehovah witness stuff, and one of the standard tactics these cults use as a control component, is no drinking alcoholic beverages. Which means no going to Communion, no having beers at a bbq, no Budweiser and fishing, or what ever beer you like. Also in a book ” Hostage to the Devil”, which is a case study of 5 demonic possessions, I noticed that a common characteristic of the demon possessed is a hatred of alcohol. Which again is no going to communion, one of the key components of the Catholic Mass.

    • Bob says:

      Well, considering you’re terminology in this statement, you have clearly been greatly misinformed about much of this “cult”.
      To name a few: the religions name, their beliefs about alcohol, and lack of definition of cult. Research that word before using it! 🙂

    • Donatella Maffin says:

      Actually, just for your information in most countries they only serve the bread at communion. And there is really nothing wrong with not DRINKING alcohol if you so choose. I noticed that that was a big deal in your post about Mormons as well. I would actually think that alcohol in it’s abuse is a tool of the devil. I am by no means supporting Jehovah’s Witness’s I feel very sorry for them actually as they are some of the most unhappy people I have ever met. Again like above I must state that they are actually considered a cult, But we must be careful to use that word as a fact not a curse when speaking about others. Remember in all things we should strive to be Christ like that if nothing else by our example we bring people back to/to Christ. Remember the words of St. Francis “Preach the Gospel always and if necessary use words.”

  7. AJ says:

    Matt:

    As what I would hope to describe myself as an orthodox and devout Catholic currently playing football at a mostly Mormon school, I took great interest in your post, and I think it’s very insightful. The only time I’ve ever actually engaged some Mormons on issues of faith, a very interesting situation occurred. The Mormons asked me if I believed Jesus was married, to which I responded such a thing is blasphemous to say or believe. One of them then responded “So you’re saying it’s blasphemous to say that Jesus, who is our ultimate role model and example and one were supposed to imitate, was married?” I responded that if celibacy was more righteous than marriage (which it is), then one would have to conclude, using that formula, that He was in fact celibate. They all initially began arguing against this, citing Genesis where God tells Adam and Eve to multiply, but when I showed them 1 Corinthians 7, Matthew 19:12, and Revelation 14:4, they all were left with confused and troubled looks on their faces. It was clearly a stumbling block for them, and I could tell they were a little bit flustered. So they finally responded “That’s a good point, we’ll have to read up more on it.” And the conversation ended there.

    Maybe that’s a useful strategy as well!

    • Donatella Maffin says:

      Anything that makes them need to research is always to my way of thinking excellent and since you responded in a Christ like manner they were actually willing to listen. That is the way we should be responding to anyone who attacks our faith and beliefs. When we get angry and start to argue (in the bad way) we get nowhere because really do you listen to people who yell and attack you?

  8. renatalk says:

    Thomas Smith is an LDS Missionary to Catholic convert who writes and speaks really well on this subject as well. Not that this isn’t great, Matt – just offering another resource 🙂

  9. theresa says:

    do you find that the mormons come back after that to keep talking?

  10. Laura Savage says:

    So great Matt, and I totally agree with your esteem and approach. But I will be watching for your similar take on Jehovah’s witnesses, there are much more of them in my area and I struggle with how to engage, or disengage them 😉

  11. There is a huge mission going on in my home town (Newark, NJ) right now, to the point that they’re recently built a large meeting place here. They are constantly coming around and wanting to talk. I invite them in (when my husband is home, b/c they wouldn’t come otherwise, as is only proper), and we talk. I think we may have “gotten” to several of them through out discussions. Either way, as others have said, I have a great respect for their dedication to witnessing and am always happy to offer them a cold drink on a hot day or a place to rest their feet. I figure the best way to preach the Gospel is through actions, right? They are always happy to have a place to stop by during their long walks, and they’ve told us that we remind them of home, because we have six kids, and are happy. Sometimes, the only thing to do is be kind and honest. You never know what will happen as a result.

  12. EJCM says:

    Or you could do what my wife did. She politely told them to wait at the door and ran to get a couple of Miraculous Medals. She told them all about it and offered the medals to them. They didn’t even get a chance to speak. My wife is one of the best one on one evangelizers I have ever seen, she’s passionate.

  13. Courtney Ripoll says:

    Wow, I came to your website looking for how a “how to talk to Mormons” article because I just had my first encounter with them, and this was the first article on your home page. Thank you Holy Spirit!

  14. ben2chu2 says:

    Interesting article 🙂

  15. I am a Catholic who wrote about my experience with Mormon missionaries and decided to remain Catholic. My book is available on Amazon: “Who’s at the Door? A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries.” Please check it out.

    http://www.amazon.com/Whos-Door-Memoir-Me-Missionaries/dp/1599554216/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1383218600&sr=1-1#reader_1599554216

    I believe that most people do not investigate Mormon beliefs very much, rather they are friend-shipped into the church. I think we should follow their example of fellowship.

  16. Seminarian says:

    This reminds me of a story that happened to me a few years back. Walking to the store from my apartment I saw a guy having problems with his car so I offered him help and I called AAA. Waiting for the tow truck he asked me why I was nice to him to which I said: I would love others to have done the same for me. He then said he was a Mormon and that I would make a good Mormon. I responded that I was Catholic and that he too would make a good Catholic. He was shocked I was a Catholic. He told me all the Catholics he met were very rude to him. Sad to hear. We became somehow good friends and we decided to spend one day on each other’s religion. IT WAS an INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE that’s all I have to say :). There is a point made in one comment above: they too believe that they are in the truth and that is a hard idea to break but it is really good to be able to have good friends who share other beliefs. I have some Mormon friends as well as from many other religions and as I prepare for the priesthood I see the value in knowing what others truly believe to be their truth. One thing I know for sure: I would never insult, force, disrespect, intimidate, etc (fill in the blank with any kind of “mean” action) any of those who believe so deeply that they have the true religion. The problems come when: 1. we are not open to learn and listen. 2. when we are not informed of both their religion and ours so we become so defensive that we don’t know what to answer and we result into “you don’t know, you are wrong” kind of argument. My friend the Mormon taught me something really valuable: how to listen, learn, and not judge… it is hard but can be done. I never ever tried to convince any of my friends to be Catholic… am I a bad Catholic because of that? I don’t think so… well there is my 2 cents.

  17. Paula H says:

    I have always had great success with telling them when they ask if I am familiar with the Book of Mormon. “I have actually looked into the Church of Latter Day Saints, but I have always hit a stumbling block that no one has ever been able to remove.” They *always* as what it is, because they sense an opening that they are convinced they will likely be able to address having all their training.

    “How can I be assured that the angel Moroni is not a fallen angel sent to sway people away from the Truth?”

    I always have gotten a shock look from this question, obviously unexpected.
    And then I continue along the lines of below. I’ve done it quite often over the years, and varies from time to time, but the essence is always the same.

    I then continue “Joseph Smith was one person. The eternity of my soul is too important to me to put all my faith in the testimony of one fallible human person. We were not there when he tested the spirit of Moroni…did he even test the spirit?” I ask,

    If I get a response, it is in regard to testing the spirit of Joseph Smith as prophet, I listen to them a bit as they quote scripture about testing the spirits. Then I add, “That’s exactly what I’m asking about, but not about Joseph Smith, for I believe he was sincere, but about the spirit of the angel Moroni, how was Moroni’s spirit tested, how can we not be assured that he was not a fallen angel? And how about the spirit which appeared to him claiming to be Jesus, how can we be assured that the spirit that claimed to be Jesus was not the Great Deceiver, that this was not one of the attacks against Jesus’ Church which Jesus foretold of in Matt 16?

    I mean that spirit counters the words of Jesus in the Bible in Matt 16:18 in which Jesus tells us that He was establishing His Church right then, with Peter, and that the Gates of Hell will not prevail against it, which we can take as assurance that the Great Deceiver will indeed try to prevail against it. Yet the faith of the Mormons is, and correct me if I am wrong, that the Church Jesus started in Matt 16 went into apostasy after the apostles died” (Here I always get a nod of agreement) So what happened? Did the Gates of Hell prevail? Isn’t that what “apostate” means? To abandon?”

    I’ve not had anyone ever think of a quick enough response for me to not continue, this does take them by surprise.

    “so I am understandably cautious of turning away from the Church which The Word of God, which is also the same in your version in Matt 16 tells us that Jesus Himself told His apostles, several men, as a vow, that “the Gates of Hell shall not prevail” against. Leave that Church that had that promise from Jesus Himself, for a new Church based on not the words of Jesus Himself, but the testimony of a man who had apparitions of Jesus almost 2000 years later, claiming essentially that the Gates of Hell prevailed against that Church and He, Jesus, needs Joseph to start afresh. You can understand my stumbling block?”

    At this point most will be saying goodbye to me, with pleasantries acknowledging my concern but telling me they are on a time schedule (really, it is always a time schedule), but once one lingered and so I was inspired to add:
    Oh, and I think I have another stumbling block :why does the Mormon Church still hold that the traditional bible, granted it is your own translation, is the Word of God if you believe it was compiled by an apostate church?”
    One of the two answered with “We believe that sometimes God uses even evil people to do His Will.”
    I pondered that for a moment and and said I believe that also in a manner, that God uses that which evil people do and *turns* it to do His will using others persons and things. But I would not trust evil people to do God’s Will, or that God would have them do His Will because that would be in violation of our own free will – God using those who have rejected Him to do His Will. This took the young man back quite visibly which was noted by his less experienced counterpart.
    I then continued with stating that the Bible was not compiled for well over 300 years after the last apostle John died. 300 years, the Revolutionary War wasn’t that long in our own past, the United States is just barely over 220 years old. So I am puzzled why the Mormon Church would hold as “The Word of God” a book which was compiled, culling and collecting from thousands of writings from over hundreds of years, by an apostate Church. That really seems like a very shaky foundation to me, to base as the Word of God a compilation from a church which has been apostate for hundreds of years, and to have it declared so thousands of years later.

    They politely nodded at my concerns, accepted the bottled water I offered them on that very hot day, and left.

    I wish I knew someone strong in their Mormon belief who would have an earnest conversation with me about this, because I really do want to know why they hold these things as truth without considering these really basic questions. Why are they not stumbling blocks to them? They would – they were actually – for me, when I looked into the Mormon faith.
    Like the author of this article, I too hold them in great respect for many things.

    • Donatella Maffin says:

      My experience is you find any missionaries that will have an earnest dialogue with you..I have found that if they do not find you easily influenced they don’t waste their time. Their purpose is not really to prove you wrong them right but to find those who do not know the difference.

      • Donatella Maffin says:

        I love your response. I won’t read the book of Mormon I have found it listed in too many places as something evil. Can you reccomend other books that can tell me more about what they believe. I live in Wyoming we have lots of Mormons.

    • D. N. says:

      They hold these things as truths, because it is a club, a really special club, that if you are lonely or forlorn or always wanted a big happy family, it’s a club you really, really, really want to be a part of, and if you were born and raised in that club you are majorly brainwashed to want to stay in that club. They have sub divisions of the club (Relief Society for the gals, priesthood for the guys) You get little rewards “callings” that boost your ego and standing in the club, it feels good to be a Bishop, a priest a President or a Stake President. Your ego is stroked daily, weekly, sometimes hourly. Your whole life is enveloped in the club, meetings, sacrament, temple work, callings , visiting teaching, home teachers, being taught by the visiting teachers or home teachers ,preparing lessons, seminary for the high school crowd….you haven’t a lot of time to think out of the box, or to question, because other members of the club do not like “questioners” they like ‘listeners” like not listen like I hear you, but listen like I obey you. It is exhausting, it breaks you down, it wears you out, and you are so busy doing that you forget about being, being real, being you and being in Christ. It is a process and it is long and arduous, and it is a hell of a hard thing to pull away from. I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

  18. JD says:

    I think that anyone who judges others based on their religion is in the wrong. Let them be. After all, we’re not the ones to judge. God is.
    I was raised Catholic. For 22 years I was part of the Catholic Church. I didn’t learn anything from it. And it sure didn’t change me in any way.
    I’m 26 now, and for the past 8 months have been attending a non-denominational church. And in those 8 months, I’ve learned more than I ever have in the 22 years that I’ve been with the Catholic Church.
    With that said, I believe that it doesn’t matter what religion all of our brothers and sisters are. The only thing that is going to save us is what we do to serve our Lord with the time we have on earth. It’s how much we love Him and give Him our thanks and praise. He doesn’t care which church you attend, as long as you are doing YOUR part to serve HIM.

    • mattfradd says:

      Lovely to hear from you, JD. Thanks for sharing. I’m so sorry to hear that you left the Catholic Church.

      I want to preface my remarks, which, I’m gonna warn you may appear harsh, by saying that none of what I’m about to write is a personal attack on you. What I wish to criticize is some of the arguments you’ve raised. I’m sure you’re a good person with a good heart.

      You say, “I think that anyone who judges others based on their religion is wrong.” I haven’t done that. What I’ve done—without much argumentations, granted—is condemned Mormonism as being a perversion of the Gospel of Christ.

      You tell us not to judge another religion because God alone is the judge. Two points. Firstly, under your warped view of charity (I guess you’d call it?), Christianity would never have gotten off the ground! Our Lord did not say, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, unless, of course, they’re already apart of a religion, in which place you’re wrong to judge that religion is wrong . . . Let them be.”

      Secondly, this view you hold is a view called religious indifferentism’, and here’s the snag, JD; it condemn as wrong all views which oppose it. You said it yourself, “I think that anyone who judges others based on their religion is in the wrong.” JD, that’s rather judgmental don’t you think? Who are you to judge me when God alone is the judge?

      JD, with all Christian affection, this stuff that you’re spouting sounds enlightened, but really isn’t. It’s silly; outdated; and unchristian.

      Bless you JD, follow the Scriptures; follow your intellect, and I’m convinced you’ll return to the faith of your youth.

      • D. N. says:

        Well JD I have returned to the Catholic faith after a thirty year absence (in the Mormon Church) and I marvel at all I have learned across those years and seemingly did not learn a thing in my Catholic school days??? I picked up a Catholic bible and almost flipped at the chart in the beginning where it traces todays Pope all the way back to Saint Peter. How did I miss that in my Catholic school days, how did I miss that, well “I” did, it was the lenses with which I was or was not seeing things. Now I can’t learn enough about my Catholic faith, and I am learning, because again, it is my desire to learn. Return to your Catholic faith, the one that Christ started (from St.Peter on down) and seek the knowledge of that faith with a burning heart and you will learn all you need to know and it will be the truth, the Lord be with you…

  19. genefadness says:

    Seminarian, you will make a wonderful priest! I cannot emphasize enough the importance of sharing your faith in simple ways with Mormon missionaries and friends. I served my mission in Australia. Most of the Anglicans and Catholics either shut their door in our faces or politely told us, “We have our religion,” and then shut the door. (One doused me with his sprinker hose and said, “There, matey, now you’re baptized!) But the people I remember and the ones who led me to the Jesus of the Bible, were the evangelicals who either let us in or spent some time on their doorstep sharing their love for Jesus and their faith. (You don’t have to Bible bash!) Remember, many Mormons are of the impression that Christians, ESPECIALLY Catholics, know little of their faith, aren’t excited about it and don’t have a prayer life. We can show them otherwise. Talk to them. Share your faith journey. Pray with them! You will plant the seeds and God will give the growth. Tell them that Jesus is God and read John 1-14 with them. Tell them there is only one God and share Isaiah 42:8, 43:10-11 and 44:8 with them. Tell them Jesus is the same, yesterday and forever (Heb 13:8) Show them where Jesus is our only HIgh Priest and we don’t need temples, veils and Holy of Holies any more by reading Hebrews 10: 11-14 and 10:19-21. I didn’t admit it at the door, but these passages shook me to the core! Now I am Catholic and studying for the diaconate! All due to people who took time to share their love and faith with me and never got to see the results. Their crown awaits them along with hugs and tears from me when we get to heaven!!!

  20. I tell Mormon missionaries the same thing that I tell the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Baptists who come knocking on my door trying to “save” me: If you pray a full rosary with me, from start to finish, I will listen to what you have to say. So far, no one has taken me up on my offer.

    • Donatella Maffin says:

      I have heard others use the same thing and the results are the same. “i’ll pray with you if you’ll pray with me” most don’t take you up on that.

  21. Bryan says:

    I still find the Joseph Smith story to be a true way to stop them in their tracts. I have asked several of them to explain to me how god would allow paper copies of the bible to be around for centuries. Yet the Book of Mormon was written on gold tablets in a language unknown only to one man (who was not able to read and write english as it was), and best of all after he read it the gold tablets disappeared.

  22. keith says:

    My challenge to jehovah’s witnesses and Mormons is to tell me why I shouldn’t commit suicide tomorrow because I have no hope. They are speechless every time. Nothing about God’s personal love and purpose. Never.

  23. Donatella Maffin says:

    So my daughter is currently TRYING to have a discussion with an atheist. She is on the receiving end of that very non-christian attitude of attack and snarling. She is trying to discuss the existence of God. Any one have any simple arguments to use for someone who is of course demanding proof.

  24. D. N. says:

    I have an interesting perspective, I was born and raised Catholic, Catholic school etc., and converted to Mormonism for thirty years, (yes I wore the underwear blah blah), but I have come home to the religion of my childhood and I love the Catholic church more than ever! Yes it is a cult, and no, one should not treat the missionaries in any unkind way. They are kids for heaven’s sake and could be doing lots worse in todays society. By not being unkind: That means by not challenging their beliefs, do you have any idea what those kids go through? How they have to live when on the mission? They account for every second of every day to the mission president. The amount of service that is demanded of them is close to slavery, and they do this from six AM til nine PM every bloody day. Just bless them and offer them a coke, oh no wait, ice tea oops, ok so water or hot cocoa if it is cold outside, but don’t test them or their faith, keep it to yourself, tell them of the wonderfulness of Catholicism, and of the eucharist, bear testimony to your faith without testing theirs. I was so frickin’ angry at the Mormon church when I first left to come home, and I thought to myself “what are you mad at them for, you stayed for thirty years” now I’ve mellowed, the eucharist and the presence of Christ therein has softened me, let it do the same for you…

    • genefadness says:

      Amen, D.N.! Thanks so much for your comments. I know when I was on my mission I truly believed I was doing God’s work and I wanted people to have the same happiness and joy I did. You are right, these are kids. I knew so little about the world and other religions back then. As I stated earlier, just share your love for Jesus and your faith journey with them. Share a warm smile, a Word of Wisdom applicable beverage and send them off with a prayer. If you’re interested in my personal testimony, write me at huskerid@yahoo.com.

  25. D. N. says:

    University of California at Berkeley (19 Characteristics)

    Recruitment

    1. Deception – Group identity and/or true motives are not revealed. The group leaders tell members to withhold truth from outsiders.
    2. Emotional Leverage/Love Bombing – Instant friendship, extreme helpfulness, generosity and acceptance…Group recruiters “lovingly” will not take “no” for an answer-invitations impossible to refuse without feeling guilty and/or ungrateful. “Love”, “generosity”, “encouragement” are used to lower defenses and create an ever increasing sense of obligation, debt and guilt.

    3. Exploit Personal Crisis – They use an existing crisis as a means of getting you to participate. They exploit vulnerability arising from:

    Broken relationships
    Death in the family
    Loss of job
    Move to new location
    Loneliness/depression
    Guilt/shame
    Stress/fear
    4. Crisis Creation – They employ tactics designed to create or deepen confusion, fear, guilt or doubt. i.e. “you aren’t serving God the way He intended.” Questions areas of faith never before examined or explored and attack other faiths specifically.
    5. All The Answers – Provide simple answers to the confusion they, themselves, create. Support these answers with material produced or “approved” by the group.

    Programming

    1. Intense Study – Focus is on group doctrine and writings. Bible, if used at all, is referred to one verse at time to “prove” group teachings.
    2. Opposer Warnings – Recruiters are told that “Satan” will cause relatives and friend to say bad things about the group to try to “steal them away from God.” Recruits soon believes group members, alone, are truthful/trustworthy.

    3. Guilt and Fear – Group dwells on members’ “sinful nature” (many use public confession). Guilt and fear arising from “failing God” are magnified to manipulate new member.

    4. Schedule Control & Fatigue – Study and service become mandatory. New member becomes too busy to question. Family, friends, jobs and hobbies are squeezed out, further isolating the new member.

    5. Attack Independent Thought – Critical thinking is discouraged as prideful and sinful, blind acceptance encouraged.

    6. Divine Commission – Leader(s) claim new revelation from God, within past 200 years, in which all but their group are rejected by God. They, alone, speak for God.

    7. Absolutism – They insist on total, unquestioning obedience and submission to the group, both actions AND thoughts. Group “love” and acceptance becomes dependent upon obedience and submission. Unconditional love…isn’t.

    8. Totalism – “Us against them” thinking. Strengthens group identity. Everyone outside of group lumped under one label.

    Retention

    1. Motive Questioning- When sound evidence against the group is presented, members are taught to question the motivation of the presenter. The verifiable (sound documentation) is ignored because of doubts over the unverifiable (presenter’s motives). See Opposer Warnings (#2 above).
    2. Information Control – Group controls what convert may read or hear. They discourage (forbid) contact with ex-members or anything critical of the group. May say it is the same as pornography making it not only sinful and dangerous but shameful as well. Ex-members become feared and avoidance of them becomes a “survival issue.”

    3. Isolation, Separation & Alienation – Group becomes substitute family. Members encouraged to drop worldly (non-members) friends. May be told to change jobs, quit school, give up sports, hobbies, etc.

    4. Coercion – Disobedience, including even minor disagreement with group doctrine, may result in expulsion and shunning.

    5. Phobias – The idea is planted that anyone who leaves goes into a life of depravity and sin, loses their sanity, dies, or will have children die, etc. Constant rumors of bad things happening to people who leave. No one ever leaves for “legitimate reasons.”

    6. Striving for the Unreachable – Group membership and service are essential for salvation…”Work your way into God’s favor.” NO matter what you do, it is never enough.

  26. […] Last week I wrote an article, 1 Very Useful Tactic When Dialoging With Mormons. […]

  27. Donatella Maffin says:

    D.N very clearly wrote out the steps used by just about every type of cult out there. They rarely change. Even the Satanic groups work this way the only difference being they specifically seek out those that are loners, different and don’t fit in. There was a lot of that in the military. The Mormons seem to focus on everybody. Basically cults control and deceive, isolate and use fear tactics. We pray for the Mormons in our community everyday.

  28. Abigail says:

    While I don’t think that we should be calling Mormons a cult to their faces and shunning them, isn’t this church teaching? I thought the church had an official stance that Mormons are technically not Christians as Protestants, Catholics, etc are because they propose a different history of the New Testament. If so, isn’t it inappropriate for a Catholic to write a post like this…dissident of church teaching? I personally consider Mormons and Protestants my misguided brothers and sisters in Christ who we should always be friendly to and love them as Christ does.

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