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Tips for Witnessing to Mormons

Contender Ministries

 Dear Sir or madam,
You are fools! If you had read the articles of faith on the Mormon Church, it does not say we hold the Bible in lower respect. It's only as far as it is translated correctly, so therefore if the verse is correctly translated it is authoritative. You only tell one side of these religions on your site and not the other, so therefore y’all are liars and liars go to hell. Thank you very much, so please correct your site.

What you have just read is an email we received from a Mormon elder, and a returned missionary for the LDS church.  We have corrected the spelling and some of the grammar, but for the most part have left it as-is.   This elder later wrote back and apologized for his harsh tone.  We will use portions of his emails and our responses, in addition to personal experiences, to illustrate some of the challenges of sharing your faith with Mormons.*

One of the first things you’ll notice about the elder’s email above is the tone.  It is obvious this person is frustrated and angry.  The fact that his email was full of spelling errors and was basically one run-on sentence is further evidence of his state of mind.  I don’t fault him for reacting out of anger.  He looked at our website and found that we had written negative things about his deeply held religious beliefs.  It may be the first time his beliefs have been so blatantly challenged.  It is important to understand that anger is often borne out of fear – in this case, a fear of being wrong.  It is imperative that you not get sucked into an emotionally charged discussion.  Don’t let yourself fall into anger.  Remember, a soft word turneth away wrath (Proverbs 15:1.)  In contending for our faith, we must present the truth.  Sometimes the truth can hurt, so it is imperative that we present the truth with love. 

Another important point to remember is that most Mormons lack a thorough knowledge of LDS doctrine.  Many of the teachings that highlight the heretical nature of Mormonism, and call into question the authenticity of their prophets are not common knowledge among the faithful.  There is an element of blind faith in Mormonism. In the email at the top, this elder stated that “liars go to hell.”  Obviously that was just a shot made in anger, but as a case in point, Mormons do not believe in hell. 

When challenged on matters of doctrine and theology, many Mormons do not have the doctrinal knowledge to make an intelligent argument or rebuttal.  This is often the source of their anger and frustration.  At this point, many Mormons will abandon any pretense of making a logical argument, and fall back on their testimony.  Every Mormon has their “testimony” that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, that the Book of Mormon is true, and that the LDS Church is the only true church today.  This testimony is often the result of the “burning of the bosom” that potential converts to Mormonism are told to await as a sign that the Book of Mormon is true.  Every LDS ward (local church) conducts “Fast and Testimony” meetings on a regular basis to strengthen each person’s reliance on his or her testimony.  This is a purely subjective feeling upon which they can rely when rational thought fails.

Another defense a challenged Mormon will use is the “spirit of contention.”  My wife and I have encountered this when talking with Mormon missionaries.  When the missionaries were unable to provide a logical, rational response to our evidence that Joseph Smith was a false prophet, one or both of them would start to get defensive or angry.  Then one of them would say, “I feel a spirit of contention here,” and use that as an excuse to end the conversation.  You could point out Jude’s instruction to “contend for the faith” (Jude 3), but if tempers are getting hot, it may be necessary to postpone the rest of your discussion. 

If you’ve read through our website much, you can tell we like to use the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible.  The reason for this, quite simply, is that it makes for easy reading and study.  However, take a look at the following excerpt from one of our replies to this elder:

The Bible also warns us to be on guard for false prophets and false teachers. Jesus said in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” He also said in Matthew 24:11 “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” He went to say, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24.) How then, are we to recognize false prophets? Deuteronomy 18:22 says, “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that [is] the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, [but] the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” We are instructed to be diligent about searching out false teachings. 1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

You can see that we used the King James Version of the Bible when quoting scripture passages to this Mormon.  The LDS Church strictly uses KJV.  In actuality, it’s a slightly modified KJV, published by an LDS publishing company.  It is obviously important to use the Bible when sharing your faith.  If you use any version besides the KJV when witnessing to Mormons, they will be prone to question the validity of any scripture you quote.  If I had quoted from my NIV Bible, this elder would have quickly dismissed the verses as “incorrectly translated.”  Therefore, don’t give them that excuse to close their ears and mind to the Word of God.  Using the KJV to make your points will not ensure success, but it will be given more consideration than any other version.

The tenth president and prophet of the LDS Church, Joseph Fielding Smith, said the following:  “Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith.  He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen.  There is no middle ground.” 1  This statement is very true, and goes to the heart of the debate on Mormonism.  The LDS faith lives or dies on the authenticity – not only of Joseph Smith – but of all of the LDS prophets.  If the LDS Church does not have a true, living prophet at its helm, then all of its claims of truth disintegrate.  Deuteronomy 18:22 sets up a test for prophets.  If anything they prophesy in the name of God does not occur, that person has “spoken presumptuously” and is not a true prophet.  Furthermore, Paul says if anyone preaches another gospel than that which he and the apostles preached, that person should be eternally condemned (Galatians 1:8-9.)  If you had to select one area to discuss with a Mormon friend, and only one, it should be the authenticity and validity of the LDS prophets.  To discuss a comprehensive list of false LDS prophecies would take more room than we can afford in this article.  We can, however, name a few. 

  • Joseph Smith said that tall men dressed as Quakers live on the moon.2
  • Brigham Young said that men live on the sun, as well.3
  • Joseph Smith prophesied that Jesus would return by 1891.4
  • Brigham Young prophesied that the Civil War would not free the slaves.5

One of the biggest difficulties when witnessing to a Mormon is maintaining focus.  I remember many discussions with Mormons where I was all over the map.  I would speak of Joseph Smith’s treasure hunting, the temple ceremony, the fallacy of the Book of Abraham, the contradictions between the Book of Mormon and the Doctrines & Covenants…  I changed directions more than an Etch-a-Sketch.  It didn’t help that the Mormon to whom I would be witnessing was doing the same.  Arming yourself with volumes of information will be of little value if you shotgun the information at your Mormon friend.  It’s like grabbing a handful of M&M candies and tossing them at a Mormon’s face, hoping one of them ends up in his or her mouth.  It is extremely important to pick a topic and stick to it.  I recommend focusing on issues such as the validity of LDS prophets or the plan of salvation.  Whichever issue you pick, try to stay on topic.  You and your friend could get lost in a maze of tangents, forgetting what you originally discussed, and having a thoroughly wasted conversation.

In the course of your apologetics research, you can find a large number of references from Mormon scripture that contradict official LDS doctrine.  Use them sparingly in your discussions.  Here’s an excerpt from our response to the Mormon elder’s email in which we quoted some verses from the Book of Mormon that contradict Mormon doctrine:

“In fact, many LDS doctrines are actually contradicted in the Book of Mormon. Eternal progression is explicitly contradicted in the Book of Mormon, and is just one example. Eternal progression teaches that God was once a man like us, but progressed to godhood. This is contradicted by Moroni 8:18 and Mormon 9:9. LDS Doctrine teaches that there is a plurality of gods, and that righteous men will become gods themselves. Brigham Young was very clear on this doctrine. Yet this is contradicted in Alma 11:27-40!”

It’s okay to use this method briefly to make a point.  The danger in doing this too much is that it could be construed that you give some level of approval or validity to LDS scripture.  This is not a message you want to convey.  Be brief and limited in discussing contradictions between LDS doctrine and scripture, and focus mainly on contrasting LDS doctrine with the true gospel of Jesus Christ – the Bible. 

It is commonly said that the best way to spot counterfeit money, is to become thoroughly familiar with real money.  Likewise, in order to prepare yourself to spot heresy, and to guard your heart against deception, it is vitally important to study the Bible.  In doing so, I do not mean reading the verse listed in your daily devotion book.  Rather, make yourself a student of the Word of God.  Read the Bible voraciously – with a hunger and a thirst that can only be satiated by hearing the omnipotent Creator of the universe speaking directly to your heart!  When putting on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), don’t forget the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  While Plato was not someone whose theological beliefs I admire, he said something almost biblical that is important to remember when dealing with the cults, “Everything that deceives also enchants.”  This goes along with Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians that even Satan can appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).  Study the Word, so you can “test the spirits.” 

Bible study is only half the battle – prayer, being the other half.  Ephesians 6:18 tells us to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions,” right after directing us to put on the full armor of God.  Do not attempt to witness to a Mormon or any other person without a sufficient amount of prayer cover.  Do not be deceived.  While you are having a loving conversation with a decent but deceived individual, there is an ugly spiritual battle taking place.  The devil does not want to release the hold he has on your friend, and you will be subject to spiritual attacks.  Pray, pray, pray!!  I cannot emphasize that enough. 

Ex-Mormon James Spencer wrote, “Those of us who encounter heresy do so not because we enjoy it, but because it is necessary.”6  He goes on to say, “Cults thrive because the Church of Christ allows them to do business without intellectual challenge.  We march with determination toward the Promised Land, ‘while the Devil takes the hindmost.’”7  You have decided to encounter heresy, and not concede to Satan a booty of human souls.  You have chosen to carry the true gospel of Jesus Christ to those who need to hear it.  Strengthen yourself through prayer and study, and may God bless you as you contend for Him.



1Doctrines of Salvation 1:188

2The Young Woman’s Journal, Vol. 3, p. 263.

3Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p. 271.

4History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 182.

5Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, p. 250.

6.  James R. Spencer, Have You Witnessed To A Mormon Lately, (Chosen Books, 1986), p. 47.

7.  Ibid.

 * If you want to read these emails in their entirety, click here.