How do you reach out to those who are members of a cult, specifically Mormons?

Hi Abdu,
Thankyou so much to yourself and the whole RZIM team - this ministry is very much needed in todays society.

My wife and I have been trying to share the Gospel with Mormon missionaries that come to the door. We are now on our third set, two young ladies, previously having two sets of young men, within the last year. It does feel a little discouraging that they get cycled out by their leadership before you have chance to get much traction.

I’ve watched and read some of Jeff Durbin’s material on youtube (Questions for mormon missionaries), and have been trying to do as he suggested and stick to ‘Who is God’, ‘Who is Jesus’, and ‘What is the Gospel’ using the KJV (as they read this also).

I think there is a logical flaw in their understanding of Origins; because they believe that ‘God’ - they refer to him as Heavenly Father, is a man that has achieved godhood and also had a father. The logical flaw is we know that the universe also had a beginning. The question of ‘How did the universe come into existence’ cannot be answered by a series of gods in the past that had fathers etc (the two young ladies yesterday were not aware that Mormon doctrine teaches that God is an elevated man)

I already was aware their doctrine of Jesus and Satan being spiritual brothers, but yesterday learnt a little more.
They believe that everyone exists in a pre-mortal state (including Jesus and Satan) and are spiritual decendants of God the Father. They then make a choice (in the pre-mortal state) as to whether they want to come to earth and be born. They then pass through this ‘veil of forgetfulness’ - which is why they can’t remember any of this ‘pre-mortal’ state.

I asked them ‘What would be the motivation in the premortal state to choose to come to earth, given the risks of the possibility of not reaching one of their three heavens?’ (celestial kingdom, terrestrial kingdom, and telestial kingdoms and outer darkness is the 4 eternal states of Mormon doctrine).

Their response was ‘in the pre-mortal state, their choices were not one of right and wrong but they were in some sort of formless or not yet completed state and it was not a choice of right and wrong’. Having thought about it today a little more; it appears that (according to them) Jesus & Satan was also in this so called ‘pre-mortal state’ and made the choice to come to earth (or not in Satan’s case).

It does feel as if there is just much wrong doctrine, it’s a case of where do you start. They are very caring people, and the young missionaries generally have all grown up in the church and know nothing else (are generally in their 20s). It’s very hard sometimes to hold back and be gentle and ask questions and not throw the kitchen sink at them (so to speak). I do remember Ravi saying that a cult basically is a compromise of Who Jesus is or what he has done.

I plan to trying to just show them the ‘Romans Road’ verses on our next visit, to gently show that a works based salvation is not Biblical. The other thing I say is ‘what do you do with the apparent contradictions between the King James Version and the Book of Mormon’ - which takes authority.

I watched Ravi speak at the Mormon tabernacle on youtube a year or so ago when we had the first two young men visiting us (I wasn’t looking for answers then on how to reach Mormons, I was just interested in what Ravi had to say; I sent a link of this video to the first set of Mormon missionaries and they are not allowed to watch any youtube whilst on mission service. The young Mormon missionary thanked me for the resource and said he would give it to his field leader for looking at). I generally try and text message them the Gospel (with Bible references) towards the end of their time to move on - as they communicate via text message.

Have you had much dealing with cults in your ministry - or more specifically what is the key to reaching Mormons? Are reaching out to cults more difficult because it’s truth mixed with error?

Sorry this is a little long - it’s still fresh in my mind from yesterday. A bit of a debrief I guess. thanks for reading - and thanks to all the RZIM team for this ministry. :slight_smile:

Kind regards
Matt

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Hi Matthew!

Before I answer, let me just say that I love the fact that your last name is also an adjective!

I do have some experience dealing with Christian cults like LDS and JWs, among others. I think that the approach on sticking to the person and work of Christ as sufficient is the best approach becuase it goes right to the heart of the issues. But there is something more that needs to be addressed…

For these kinds of cults, there is an element of isolation and control that is very tough to break through. What I mean is that cults often have a doctrine of unquestionable authority and questions or doubts have very serious consequences. With the LDS church or the Watchtower (JWs), there is the sense that the centralized authority is trustworthy and has a person’s best interest at heart. They are the one, true voice for God and so speak with godlike authority. Like most religious entitities, a community is formed. In and of itself, that’s a good and natural thing. But with the cults, the community will shun anyone who questions the centralized authority. The Watchtower teaches a practice callled “disfellowshiping” in which the friends and family of a person who leaves the Kingdom Hall is treated as if they had died. No one can talk to them or even act as if they exist. For Mormons, hell is the incentive to stay within the LDS church. In Mormonism, everyone goes to a heaven of some kind…except those who leave the Mormon church. Families are encouraged to ostracize apostates. So you can see that there is not only a sense of loyalty and trust built into the organization, but also a fear. Both of those things act as strong barriers to someone seeing the true gospel.

What I have done is gently show someone some of the suspicious teachings and actions of the centralized authority and then asked the person this question: “You’re asking me to trust this organization, but I’ve just shown you some things that make me quite suspicious. So my question is this: why should I trust them? Why should you?” That may not do the trick, but it does put the proverbial stone in their shoes, making them think about what you’ve just offered.

Something else I’ve done is point out that the consequences of embracing a teaching different than the authority has taught them can often close the mind and the heart. So I’ve asked folks: Let’s assume that you were convinced that Jesus is God incarnate, that we will never be gods of our own and that we need his saving work and nothing more to be with the Father. What would happen next if you left the LDS church or the Watchtower?” Let them fill in the blanks and then follow it up: “aren’t those consequences powerful reasons to not have an open mind that they could be wrong?”

My point in all this is that it’s important to not only point out the errors in cultic teachings, but also to point out that there are social factors that close someone off from seeing those errors and seeing the true gospel.

May God guide as you expose truth’s cost and share truth’s worth!

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