Other Worldviews

Why My LDS Friend Isn’t Trying to Convert Me to Mormonism

Author Robby Lashua Published on 07/27/2023

I was shocked. It was the second time my Latter-day Saint friend told me he wasn’t interested in converting me.

Last month, I led a group of high school students on an immersive apologetics mission trip to Salt Lake City, Utah. Part of the trip involves touring Temple Square and interacting with an older LDS couple, John and Sally, who work with non-Mormon groups.

My discussions with John hit me differently this trip than in the past. He kept reiterating that he loves what the evangelical churches are doing in Utah and fully supports them. He told me our students are wonderful and on track with their young lives.

These statements seemed odd to me because John is as faithful as any member of the LDS church can be. Yet, his goal wasn’t to try to convince us Mormonism is true. He was content knowing we were good people doing good things.

Honestly, I shouldn’t have been shocked. Understanding the Mormon view of the afterlife helps us to understand why.

According to Mormonism, there are two different kinds of salvation. The first is called general salvation. This means all human beings get resurrected from the dead and enter one of three kingdoms of glory. The resurrection of all people was secured by Jesus’ atoning death.

The second type of salvation is called exaltation. To receive exaltation, a person must follow the teachings of Mormonism, obeying their commandments and performing specific good works. If this is done perfectly, entrance into the celestial kingdom, the highest kingdom of glory, is possible.

The important point to note here is that most human beings will enter one of the three kingdoms of glory, regardless of what they believe. You don’t have to be a Mormon in order to go to Heaven after death.

You might be wondering what Mormons believe about Hell. According to Joseph Smith in Doctrines and Covenants 76:31–33, “sons of perdition” will be cast into outer darkness with the devil and his demons. Sons of perdition are defined as those who once believed in Mormonism, knowing it to be true, and then abandoned their faith.

The important point to note here is that the only human beings who will be cast into outer darkness are former Mormons.

With this understanding of Mormon doctrine, it makes sense that my friend John has no interest in converting me or our students. On his view, we are all already destined for Heaven. We can’t gain exaltation into the highest level of Heaven (celestial), but we can definitely enter into the middle (terrestrial), or the lowest (telestial). No conversion needed.

In fact, the only way any Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist could be cast into outer darkness would be to convert to Mormonism and then abandon it. It seems like not believing in Mormonism has an advantage.

In John’s mind, I’m destined for a great eternity already. Not the best, but pretty good. This is why he doesn’t care to convert me. This is why he can affirm the goodness of the evangelical churches in Utah. This is why he thinks our students are on the right track.

Mormon doctrine about the afterlife teaches universalism for non-Mormons. We all make it as long as we don’t convert to Mormonism and then deconvert.

The souls in true danger are former Mormons. Reconversion should be the main concern of the LDS faithful since the only people in danger of eternal torment are the sons of perdition.

This is completely backwards from the biblical perspective on salvation. All people are in danger of eternal torment because of their sin. Jesus paid the penalty all people deserved on the cross, and by placing your faith in the true Jesus and his true gospel, you will receive his promised gift of eternal life.

Christian doctrine about the afterlife teaches exclusivism for all non-believers. None of us makes it unless we convert to Christianity.

As ambassadors for Christ, we need to reason with, persuade, and evangelize the lost. No one will go to Heaven unless they put their faith in Jesus and his atoning sacrifice on their behalf. Because we love our neighbor, we seek their conversion.

Pray for my friends John and Sally. I’m hoping that one day I’ll be shocked by the news that they have come to believe in the true gospel.