Well, it happened, only ten days into the New Year – two Mormon missionaries came to my door. Allow me to begin by saying this – Mormons are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met and known. In general, they are kind, friendly, warm, and simply wonderful human beings. And I count it something of a privilege that on numerous occasions, I’ve had Mormon missionaries who came to my door tell me that their visit with me was one of the nicest they’ve ever had on their mission.
But I do want to highlight serious flaws in their theology to share with you how to dialogue with Mormon missionaries when they come to your door. My goal is to always be kind and gentle, but also reflective, to give them something to think about as they leave my doorstep.
First, right off the bat, I get them to acknowledge that they believe Jesus was created by God the Father and that Jesus and Satan are what they call “spirit brothers.” Of course, the Bible does not teach this at all, but it is what Mormons believe. They (and other groups) often cite Colossians 1:15 that Jesus was “the first born of all creation” as belief that Jesus was created. But I help them understand that this is referring to the Incarnation, God becoming flesh and being born of Mary to usher in the new creation as the “new” Adam. Jesus was indeed born, we celebrate this at Christmas, but He has always been the eternally existent God.
I say to my Mormon missionary friends that it matters which Jesus you believe in. I give them this example – if I gave them a counterfeit one hundred dollar bill, it would be of no value to them and they could actually get in trouble if they tried to use it. Only a legitimate, genuine one hundred bill would help them buy what they need from the store. So it does matter which Jesus you believe in – the Jesus of the New Testament who Jesus Himself and the early church declared to be eternally co existent and co equal with the Father and the Spirit (that’s the other thing, Mormons don’t believe in the Trinity), or the Jesus of the Mormon church who was created by God and is a spirit brother to Lucifer.
Another issue that gets Mormon missionaries to thinking is this – I ask them, “Why did their two founders, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, have multiple wives when Jesus Himself never married and the New Testament teaches that if a man is to marry, he is to be the husband of only one wife (I Timothy 3:2)? If they answer, sometimes they say that these men and others had special revelations from God that they could marry multiple women. But if that’s the true, why does the Bible not allow for this and why would the Mormon church eventually denounce the marrying of multiple wives?
My intent is not to disparage those of the Mormon faith because they tend to be absolutely wonderful people. But when it comes to doctrine, belief, and theology, there are real differences that I at least try to get Mormon missionaries to think about when they come to my door, and I always try to do it with a gentle and friendly spirit.