Brett’s monthly letter for May 2014
Mormons are the only true Christians. At least, that’s the official position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Shortly after Jesus’ original disciples had passed from the earth, the Christian church lost the Gospel. According to the Mormon scriptures, God restored the true Gospel to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith, and he established the LDS church (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith - History, 1:1-75), “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (Doctrine & Covenants 1:30). Therefore, Mormonism is the restoration of true Christianity. Christians of any other stripe are false Christians. All other Christian churches are false churches.
Interestingly enough, Mormons often take offense at any suggestion they are not Christians. But according to official LDS teaching, this is exactly their view of us. Mormons believe we are part of an “abominable” church founded by Satan (I Nephi 22:13 & I Nephi 13:5-6). So when they take offense, I ask them why. When they respond with some version of, “You think we are wrong,” I gently remind them this is precisely the view they have of me. And I quickly add I am not in the least bit offended. Why not? Because I want the truth. If my views about God and the Gospel are wrong, I want to know.
In fact, a crucial indicator of my friends’ love for me is their willingness to speak the truth to me. Do you know who loves me most? My wife. And do you know who speaks the most truth into my life? My wife. Sometimes, while driving on California’s crazy freeways, my wife will lean over and speak some truth. “Honey, you really shouldn’t yell lethal threats at other drivers.” In doing so, Erin takes a risk because my first response is often offense. “That guy was tailgating me!” But as she continues to speak truth and I slowly remember my goal to pursue truth in all areas of life, I open up to the truth of her words and the error of my ways. My wife’s truth-telling is evidence of her deep love for me.
In the same way, sharing the truth with Mormons should be evidence of our love for them. When you talk to your Mormon friends about the Gospel, assure them you’re not trying to unnecessarily offend them. Make it clear the pursuit of truth, in love, is your motivation. Defuse their defensiveness by suggesting you could possibly be wrong in your views of God. If anyone, Mormon or otherwise, senses you are open and fair-minded, they are more likely to engage in conversation.
Once they’re convinced you care, bring truth front and center. Gently ask, “Would you want to know if you were worshiping the wrong God?” If they answer yes, they’re probably ready to hear more of the truth. Ultimately, if you can help your LDS friends see that love and truth are not mutually exclusive, you can help ensure that a potentially offensive discussion is a productive one.