Hi Mary Beth! I am very glad that you took the time to reach out to Mormons. It’s always good to see someone care enough to do so.
When you said “high up in the governing body” did you mean Utah or the local area?
I plan to post my testimony on here (the long version, not the 3 minute “Baptist quickie” for use on buses, subways and short flights lol).
I suppose if I were to give tips on witnessing to Mormons who are not actual missionaries, it would be the following.
- Everything begins with prayer. I never had anyone praying for my salvation until I met my husband. His parents, when they found out that their son was marrying a Mormon, began praying immediately. Not for me to “leave Mormonism” as much as for me to “be saved” in the Biblical sense. In other words, they prayed the “end goal”.
More people leave Mormonism to become atheist or, at least, nothing, than come to Christ. Did you know that? This is because they leave what they were taught is “the one true church” and, if that’s not true, then nothing must be true. Mormons look at truth as a “church thing” rather than a Jesus thing. So your first pointer is pray the end goal, not the exit.
Get others praying with you. When my husband became Mormon, the in-laws got others involved (like an entire church) praying the end goal. Now bear in mind, they didn’t see the end goal happening before them. But getting others praying helped them to not feel so alone in the matter. And it seemed to “coincide” with our going to the Temple which, by the way, was the beginning of our leaving Mormonism.
Earn trust, exude love. Mormons are loving people. But like all people, they want to know you truly care about them as a person. For the Mormon this is shown in offering respect and kindness.
Keep in mind that the LDS idea of “every member a missionary” is quite real to them. They’re looking at you as a potential Mormon.
Be prepared to witness well. Try not to overload. When I was LDS I had someone dump the entire “Mormonism Shadow or Reality” (Gerald and Sandra Tanner) at me. I walked away thinking: that person can’t even stay on their own topic, how can they possibly discuss truth?
Stick to one topic at a time. “Tacking” is not uncommon with the missionaries. Its a nautical term for taking your boat in a zig-zag motion on the sea to navigate through choppy waters. With both missionaries and regular members, this is not a conscious approach but an unconscious one. They feel lost on one discussion (say the trinity) and so they jump to the number of churches in the world and why that proves that only the LDS church is the true church.
Always bring the person back to the ultimate source for truth: the Bible. Yes, you can use the BOM to witness, but ultimately you have to go back to the Bible. And don’t be offended when one says “that’s your interpretation.” Counter it with, well let’s see what this passage says in context. And use it as an opportunity to share a Bible study moment.
Realize any change is not going to happen overnight. If it does, there have likely been many before you sharing with that person. But YOUR duty is to plant or water. God does the saving.
Be there for them. The Mormon church “takes care of it’s own” and that’s so- to a point. Illustration: when a friends’ son was a teen and getting rebellious, his LDS parents were beside themselves. Bebe, the mother’s name, needed ears and shoulders. She couldn’t get them from the Ward because, well, it was a matter of family embarrassment. Hours of listening to her, holding her as she cried, and reassuring her that she’s a good mother, were what she needed. What she did not need…NOT NOT NOT NEED… was someone saying “well if you would just leave that cult and come to Christ it would all be better.” And yes, there are some people who do that kind of thing. I know. I met them.
The Mormon church isn’t always the “safe place” for some families and people. We need to be the safe-place- they can go to.
- When doubts creep in, be prepared for resistance. You’ll know when the witnessing is going well because he person will have doubts and, about that time, bearing their testimony will become the response. When all else fails, they will reinforce the feeling because the logic and reasoning flew out the window.
The LDS Testimony is repeated over and over in practically the same way:
I know this church is true
that Joseph Smith was a prophet of god
that the Book of Mormon is true…
While I personally think it rude to interrupt any testimony, I think this was the point where someone who was savvy snapped me out of my self-imposed hypnotic mantra by asking this question:
“How do you know its (whatever it was) is true?”
This was the first time any Christian took the time to open the Bible to me. The woman’s name was Cheryl and we had been talking for over a year when I felt the pangs of doubt and told her the above “testimony” for the umpteenth time. Finally she asked me:
“How do you know Joseph Smith was a prophet?”
“I prayed, and I felt it right here” (pointing to chest).
“What if that feeling goes away though?”
“Well, I know it because history records it and the current prophet says so.”
“The Bible says that there’s a way to test prophets, to know if they’re from God. Did you know that?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Look here…” opening her Bible and showing me passage after passage. A very good discussion ensued.
Of course every Mormon is different and you can only gauge that yourself with the help of Christ. But this should give you some idea on dealing with the Mormon you will meet.