Because Mormons are Arminians: Ten Suggestions for Evangelism
Mormon missionaries are a joy for me. Their visits present an obvious opportunity for me to learn their heretical doctrines, but invariably they will listen if you preach the Gospel to them. Over the years, and after many visits from them, I have some suggestions for Christians to consider when conversing with them.
First, do not call them, “Mormons” because they wish to be called, “Latter Day Saints (LDS),” and they are fine with the abbreviation “LDS” when referring to their organization. There is no need to add offense to your encounter. Just be respectful toward them.
Second, they present themselves very gently, so I never use confrontation evangelism with them, in the speaking sense. In other words, I have learned not to debate them point for point, as they utter one false teaching after another. This can turn combative, and your ultimate objective is to present a clear Gospel message to them (see more below).
Third, I play ignorant with them at the start. This lowers their defenses. Most of them have been verbally abused many times, so taking an inquirer’s position is best. In this way, I gain valuable data that helps me find their flawed doctrinal points. It also presents me as an interested party. This is very refreshing for them. Remember, they do door-to-door visitation for two years of their lives.
Fourth, give them very little information about your beliefs. They have been trained to ask people lots of questions. Set a goal to be a dedicated, inquisitive, learner for the first 30 minutes of the encounter (most of my engagements with them are between 2 and 3 hours long). Believe me, they are not going anywhere if you follow my suggestions so far. They will ask some personal questions, and I give that freely to help them to get comfortable with me. They will use that information to use you as an object lesson, as they try to teach you something of what they believe about God.
Fifth, make your central focal point to gain a clear message from them. They are scatter-brained with what they are trying to say because they really do not have a coherent message. They have lots of vocabulary words, but they do not know what most of them mean, nor do they know how to put cogent thoughts together. It is almost like their objective rationale is, “Hey, we are nice people, and you seem like a nice person, so we would like to invite you to our church.”
Sixth, I always revert to the question, “Tell me again what your message is for me, today?” Each time this inquiry is employed (I asked it no less than 5 times the other day), a bit of their belief system will come out. For example, on this recent visit, one of them stated, “God loves everyone.” That is Universalism, but it is also employed by Arminians. One of the things I have learned about the Mormons is that they are totally Arminians, which is simply summarized as, “God loves everyone. Jesus died for everyone. Everyone must choose Jesus to be saved.” All Christian cults are man-centered. The core belief of false Christianity is always Arminianism. From there, each cult will have its own distinctives.
Knowing that Mormons are Arminians is very important. In this way, you can focus on sound doctrine and the points of dispute centered there. Bizarre teachings of cults are rarely part of their front door message. Remember, just as they are trying to win you, you are trying to help them secure as much sound doctrine as possible. The strategy might sound like this, “Poke as many holes in what they believe, and fill those holes with the seed of sound doctrine.”
Seventh, the best tool in your conversation is the Bible itself. When the Mormon repeats the Universalist and Arminian heresy, “God loves everyone,” you can either tell or show them Psalm 5:5; 7:11; 11:5; Rom 1:18–32; 9:13; etc. God’s hatred of those who do iniquity will flip the field because you are using the Bible to counter their heretical points. This will surprise them. They are supposed to believe the Bible, and of course, they have their book, too, which they would argue is also, “Scripture.”
Mormons use the King James Version, so recognize their receptivity for you to use the Bible, but their knowledge of the Scriptures will vary with each duo or trio visiting, and some of their interpretations will be borderline ludicrous, more often than you can imagine. Remember not to engage for at least 30 minutes. Play ignorant. Ask questions. Collect data. Connect data and repeat what they have said to you, over and over again. This will help you remember what they said, what they believe, and it will be the very content of your forthcoming refutation of their position.
In my most recent encounter, I focused in on the five points of the Remonstrants (Arminianism). My visitors were thoroughly Arminian, with the exception that they had a real problem with the doctrine of hell. They gave blessed assurance to everyone (Universalism), even Adolf Hitler (my suggested example), who was, according to them, in a “happy place designed for him by his heavenly father.” This showed that their approach was to preach a false gospel that caused no offense. I asked them if they knew who the most prolific preacher of hell was in the Bible. They did not know it was Jesus. They do now.
Mormon missionaries never leave my presence without hearing 2 Corinthians 11:3–4, which I tell them Paul wrote about them. I say, “Hey, I think I may have found Mormonism in the Bible,” and they want to hear more, so I read this to them, “But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit, which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully (2 Cor 11:3–4).” The allusion to “another Jesus” is the one they say came to America post-resurrection (Book of Mormon).
Eighth, Mormons will surely ask, “Have you read our Book of Mormon?” I always reply with, “Yes, a long time ago, and I have a question for you…” Again, this excites them, and it puts them in an authoritative position as elder/teacher. I then reference the Book of Nephi, where some humans will become gods of their own planets (yes, they teach that). I ask them to explain that, and when they finish, I reiterate the concept, “’Hmmm, you, too, shall be as gods.’ …Doesn’t it say that somewhere in the Bible?” They will not know the reference, so I help them, “Oh, I remember now, that was what Satan promised Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden…so I guess that means you are preaching the same gospel as Satan himself…that is fascinating.” This is what I mean by poking holes in their belief system. They cannot deny the Book of Mormon, and they cannot deny the Bible, and the allusion to someone preaching that men will become gods is in both. The point is too obvious to state, “Satan is the doctrinal source of Mormonism.”
Satan’s lies are always, “You decide. You choose.” Whereas his message to Adam and Eve was insinuating that God was holding back something good from them. They could be like a god and “decide” otherwise (Satan’s temptation). Today’s deception is that you, man, are holding yourself back…go ahead…God wants you to be all you can be, and all you have to do is let him help you, by “choosing” him (which is your first act of deity). It is twisted, whenever man is promised to be the powerful determiner of his status now and in the future.
Ninth, there is a crucial point in the conversation, when they have splattered a plethora of unconnected ideas, and you are now ready to tell them the Gospel message ( I have written a number of articles on Gospel presentation, both content and delivery, which I am happy to share with you). Again, a humble, gentle sort of approach is best. I sometimes just ask their permission, “May I explain the Gospel to you, as I have been taught it, and as I understand it, today?” No Mormon missionary has ever said, “No.”
Our conversation typically ends after I have clearly told them the Genesis to Revelation, big story, abbreviated version, which is typically a five-to-ten-minute sermon to them. At that point, my mission is complete. I have refuted all of the false claims they have made, having weaved them into my Gospel presentation. They may wish to object, but about that point, we have been standing on my porch two to three hours. They are done. I am done (my objective having been achieved). We verbally agree to disagree and end our time together. There is one last ministry.
Finally, I ask permission to pray for them. I am already armed with, “Don’t be afraid,” as they always look at one another, trying to non-verbally confirm if this is “ok” according to the rules they are to follow. After I gently say, “Don’t be afraid,” I just start praying audibly, anyway. No one has ever stopped me.
The content of my prayer begins with thanksgiving, for God sending them to my door, in His sovereign providence. I position myself with them, in asking God to grant each of us the truth, as it is in Jesus and to purge any false doctrine any of us is holding onto in ignorance. I pray that if it is God’s will for us all to meet up once again in glory that He would grant that meeting, even as He granted this one. I finish by asking the Spirit of truth to increase the Word of truth, and that His guidance would prevail in their spiritual and physical journeys.
I do not ask for God to bless them because they are false teachers, posing as angels of light. My presupposition for spending this much time with them is that some of God’s elect may be lost in the Church of the Latter-Day Saints, and He may be sending them to me, specifically, to help the captives be free from the false teaching of Mormonism and Arminianism.
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 28, 2020