How do you help someone who is coming out of Mormonism, which they had been raised in and they now have many questions?

Hey Jill,

Thank you for giving of your time and knowledge.

How do you help someone who is coming out of Mormonism, which they had been raised in and they now have many questions? It is not a topic I have much knowledge in.

Thanks again!

Hi Roseann,

Thanks for your question. I have had to take some time to think this one through in more ways than one. We all approach questions and the people who ask them with a great deal of who we are coming to the table, right? In many ways, this is humbling. I confess that I don’t know a great deal about Mormonism in particular–and I think it is important to admit these things! But I also think it is important to see that the Spirit goes with us in unique ways–sometimes even through our weaknesses. You come to your friend’s questions in a way that is so important and cannot be undermined–as a friend, as a fellow person in community with this person, as a fellow soul able to stand with him or her as they struggle to leave one religion, worldview, and community and are called by the Spirit of God into another. You are vital here in a way that in many ways is larger than verbal answers. You are an embodied answer.

All this to say, I come to questions and the people who ask them pastorally and I probably err more on the side of thinking through questions from this pastoral lens than many of my colleagues who would be better equipped to answer specific questions about Mormonism. So I am going to collaboratively give you two responses–the first is more a pastoral and theological response and the second is a more practical (no less theological) response from a friend and colleague, Derek Caldwell, who knows more than I do on this one!

So first, I would spend time thinking about what it means to be in community with your friend. I vividly remember a colleague of mine, L.T. Jeyachandran, saying that Christians cannot fail to remember that when they call their Muslim friends out of Islam, they are calling them out of community and if there is no real community on the other side of that call, then they need to realize that what they are asking this person to do is a very lonely and difficult thing. This is all very true for Mormonism as well; it is a family and their whole life is wrapped up into it. Your friend needs a supportive and loving community. The other thing I would spend time considering with your friend is the person of Jesus. Jesus is presented quite differently in these two worldviews and it is so very worth looking at the differences together. Speak with them specifically about the divinity of Christ. I highly recommend a book by T. F. Torrence called “The Mediation of Christ.” It’s little but dense, but Torrence lays out a devotional christology that potently sets forth the atoning work of Christ as our mediator. Again, dense, but powerful and possibly worth unpacking with a friend emerging from a religion where Christ’s divinity is inferior in some key ways that have a major impact on our faith and the kingdom into which Christ calls us.

In terms of some of the other key differences and questions that may well be arising, my colleague Derek suggests talking to them about monotheism and how the desire to be a god is the root of sin. This was the serpent’s temptation; it is not the gift of enduring faith and good works. This is another major difference of thought with wide ranging implications. Derek also suggested talking to people from ex-Mormon ministries, like Lynn Wilder, who wrote “Unveiling Grace: The Story of How We Found Our Way Out of the Mormon Church,” or Mormon Research Ministry, which specializes in helping Mormons with doubts about Mormonism and gives counseling to those wishing to live the faith.

Thanks for your question and thank you so much for your care and concern for your friend. I will be praying that the Spirit continues to use you in the life and heart of your friend.

The Lord bless you and keep you.