Drinking Deeply

Saturday, June 18, 2005 at 1:30 AM

Mormonism Day 2

So the two Mormon elders stopped by today and we sat and talked (though, at first I was a little hesitant about inviting them in because of 2 John 10-11, more on that and an ensuing conversation in a future post). One of my friends from CCMC was there too, but he was working on something else, so was more of a passive listener.

I began by asking them to explain the idea of "good feeling" since it seemed so clearly indefensible. How is someone supposed to know when a feeling was good or not? They quote Scripture to tell them that this is true, but Scripture itself says to test the spirits, and points to itself as the mechanism to test them. Basically I felt like they ran around in circles: Pray about it and you will find peace and you will know it is true... ok.

I also asked them to explain their perceptions of Scripture, how it fits in with the Book of Mormon, if they were infallible or not and that sort of stuff. Pretty interesting. It seems like they view the BoM as another testament, of same authority as Old and New Testaments. They also have modern day prophets to give infallible interpretations. Sounds very similar to the RC position!

I had read over the pamphlet they had given me, so I asked them about who God was, who Christ was. What atonement, what baptism, the likes. It's really weird hearing them talk because they use many of the same terms as Christians do, but the meaning is entirely different.

They call God "the father" to mean that he is the father of people, I don't think they say that He is the father and creator of all. (I think I'll bring up Gen. 1:1 with them next time). They call Christ the only begotten Son, who ... was somehow exalted by the father and raised to godhood. I asked if God was the only god and they said he was one of the godhead (sounds so much like the trinity!) but then they proceeded to say that God was exalted to his present status. God was formerly "man" (and point to us being made in God's image for support of that) and somehow was exalted to godhood.

Of course this leads to the interesting question that I brought up: So who exalted God? Another God of course. But then who exalted him? ... and so on. Eventually they were like "well, you see it's like a tree and it's roots and branches. Your questions are the branches, they aren't entirely necessary and can be trimmed off. What's necessary is that you have faith in God and in Christ and believe the book of Mormon."

I decided to let that issue slide, for it seemed like they were begging the question: All that's needed is faith in God and in Christ, but how are we to have faith in someone we don't know or understand? Why are we to believe in the book of Mormon which are the words of something or someone we don't understand?

They moved on to hand me the book of Mormon and to reiterate the fact that I must pray about it and read it and then God will give me faith. Ok then...

I asked them about atonement. "now that's a good issue... in fact I don't understand it that well" What a response! If atonement is what we ultimately need but we don't understand it how do we know when we have it? They basically said stuff about Christ living a perfect life and suffering for our sins, so now we have to repent when we sin because we're not perfect. So far so good, but nothing about imputation of Christ's righteousness, something I feel won't be coming.

After a little bit more, they wrapped up and asked me to read the book (which I will) and feel free to come to them with questions.

I guess right now I'm thinking about how to best go about witnessing and sharing the true gospel with them. I do know for a certainty that much of what they said was either misquoted from Scripture out of context (their support for prophecy of Joseph Smith in the OT is quite interesting to say the least) or directly against Scripture. I feel like Scripture adequately defends itself against such false teachings and given enough time I can tear down most every single point they make. Their definitions and ideas about everything ultimately rest upon this "feeling," but when this "feeling" is not supported by Scripture itself... well then there isn't really a leg to stand upon.

At the same time I realize that they will not listen to me unless I give the appearance of listening to them. I did make it a point at the beginning of today to say that I was a Christian and from what I had heard much of Mormonism was in direct contradiction with Scripture, but I wanted to dialogue about it with them directly. I think they took this to mean that I was questioning my faith (far from it!). Am I misleading them and should I make it clearer that I want to challenge their faith and preach the gospel to them? Tough question.

Another difficulty I have discovered is the fact that they use much of the same terminology, but completely different meanings for much of what they say. Who is God the father? Who is Christ? What is atonement? What is baptism? What is faith? All words they use, but all with differing definitions. It's hard to make sense of what they're saying because I feel like I want to challenge them on every point, but yet I want to give them enough proverbial rope to hang themselves with. They also pray in a very Trinitarian way! Kind of creepy, but when one realizes that they deny the trinity it's even weirder.

I plan to ask them a lot of questions about what they believe and ultimately present the Gospel. I'm not entirely sure where to move on from challenging their views to presenting the biblical view. They will come back on Tuesday. Continued prayers still appreciated.

One thing that I thought about as I was talking with them was: They deny the Trinity. But can I defend the Trinity? God the Father and God the Christ are fairly easy, but how about God the Holy Spirit? Can I defend the concept that God is 3 in person, but 1 in essence? Can I point to Scripture to back up my claims and be able to walk people through verses? Sadly enough I don't believe at this moment I am adequately prepared to do all of that. Time to get cracking!

I owe you guys a post on 2 John 10-11 and why I ended up inviting them in anyways. I'm not entirely sure if my judgement on that was correct, but I will give a reason for it sometime tomorrow. (And there's another post that leads from that as well because of an interesting discussion I had with a friend about it... dang it's like a 3 part series!)


My first post the first day they stopped by


Scroll down a bit, there's an excellent Mormonism section in there.


Had it last time, still probably one of the best imo.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Use your Hebrew, Mickey. =)
Not sure if this flies entirely, but it's an interesting point. El = God. Elohim = God (plural). God in the dual form might be different.


Blogger Joe L. said...

Hey Mickey,

Thanks for posting about what happened. I have invited LDS into my home on many occasions, to witness to them after they knock on my door, or I invite them back. I tend to think 2 John 10-11 applies to a church setting, like a home church in the first century, and applies to teaching. Like allowing those LDS missionaries to teach at your church, or home church. I may be wrong on that, so I am open to correction. I would assert, though, that 2 John 10-11 does not prohibit having LDS enter your physical home to dialog with them about God’s Word. God is sovereign, this is His world, what’s the difference between the doorstep and the couch? Again, I would argue that passage has to do with teaching in a home church and not about where the actual apologetic conversation takes place.

On Alpha & Omega, there is a 100 Verse Witness system that James White put together years ago that has been invaluable to me in my witnessing to LDS. I highly suggest reading through that brushing up on the points made therein. In fact, I have it printed out with my bible, so when there is an apologetic encounter, I have that as a reference point to dive in Scripture.

May God bless your efforts!


Blogger Frank Martens said...

Here's an interesting thought... :)

See if they think scripture is inerrant. If they answer yes, then ask why they need BoM :)

If they answer no, maybe you need to look up passages on scripture to show them that scripture is all we need.

Interesting post, none the less.



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