My Question: Have you had an encounter with an LDS missionary?

I think it’s important to realize that this isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing. Encounters with those trying to get you into their group can be as different as the colors in a box of crayons. So if you have had such encounters, please share them.

Thank you.

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I remember my first encounter did not actually involve them trying to recruit anybody .
As a child my parents brought us children to the Hill Commorah Pageant in upstate New York which
is an outdoor play that recreates Joseph Smith’s supposed encounter with an angel .
I had no idea of any religious significance of the play being a child at the time . My parents had no interest at all in becoming LDS.
They have the play at night and it has a pretty extravagant light show, I think the attraction for my parents was mainly historical & entertainment .
As far as I know they do not use they event as a means to attract members .
The only other contact I have had since then is before the internet came around I was doing family history research and someone told me that the local LDS had an extensive genealogical collection , which they do . I visited their archives several times but there was no attempt to recruit me by any of the members.

When I went to the Philippines I was asked quite often if I was an LDS missionary because appearnantly the only other westerners that had been to some of those areas were the LDS missionaries. :smile:
I did see a few of them there but never had a chance to engage in conversation with them. From what I gathered, was that they study from early high school for the field they want to go to i.e. learn the language, culture, etc. they seemed to be very dedicated to their “calling”.

@LCWalker, have you worked much with them?

Hi Charity. I’m XLDS and have had many experiences with them- from both sides! lol I was just curious to see what other people have experienced.

I have not had an encounter and am looking forward to it. I have read that they travel in pairs and the first one to speak is the trainee and the experienced one waits in the background to speak up if the new one gets in trouble.

Hey all! I’ve had several. The one most memorable was a pair of them came to my front door. I invited them in and wanted to discuss the scriptures with them, as well as the church history. The “experienced” one did most of the talking because I was certainly asking a lot of pointed questions and backing them with scripture. We chatted for about 3 hours and they asked if I would take their book, which is just a man made addition to the bible in my opinion. Which felt more valuable to them than the actual bible. I said I would read it. I did, waited for them to return a week later and had a barrel full of questions for them. Their answers were unsatisfactory to say the least when compared with Gods word and simply couldn’t withstand the scrutiny of historical, biblical or logical reasoning. We parted as friends and they never came back. Interestingly, I did see them at my neighbors house after that, but never at mine again. I learned a great deal about Mormonism during that encounter.

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LOL Hi JJ well, that’s not exactly the case. The Senior missionary- the one who has been out the longest, is usually the one who does most of the talking until the newbie gets comfortable. Some do sooner than others.

What would be the first thing you would say?

Garrett I am glad to hear you took the time! If you would like some pointers in dealing with missionaries, let me know. Of course personalities differ but there are some things anyone can do! :slight_smile:

What’s the diffrernce between a LDS member and a missionary?

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That’s wonderful! I’d love to hear your testimony!!
I always loved listening to my dad talk with LDS missionaries! The sad thing is that after they’d talk with him they’d never come back to our house. We’d see them walking down the street and skip our house. My dad always talked to them with love and passion when discussing the scriptures that I think their elders told them not to come back. I think it was because they would find out that he’s a pastor. :unamused:

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I once worked next to one. We had many discussions. One specific topic I recall was his claim that he was married in a temple and he and his wife would be married forever (oddly, though, he did admit that they could be divorced). That prompted me to ask about Jesus’ statement that in the resurrection we’re neither married nor give in marriage - where does the Bible say we’ll be married forever. He admitted that wasn’t in the Bible, but it was in the Mormon scriptures. And he conceded that if the Bible ever said one thing and the Mormon scriptures said the opposite, the Mormon scriptures outranked the Bible.

I think that once people make up their minds to believe a certain theology, they can become as creative as they must in order to concoct answers to their own satisfaction. All they really need is an excuse to justify their pet views - and it doesn’t even have to be a very good excuse. A straw to grasp at will do.

For that reason, I think it’s generally best to start by sharing your testimony with people in false religions. No one can really argue with your testimony. What are they going to say? “No, that really didn’t happen in your life!”

I have read about people who were saved out of cults later admitting that whenever a Christian shared their testimony, the cultist knew in his heart that he had never really experienced what that Christian was describing.

You are the word’s greatest expert on your own story - so you don’t need any special training. And people are usually far more interested in hearing a story than hearing a theology lesson. But a story that illustrates a theology lesson - now that’s priceless!

Having said that, though, I would be interested in hearing some of @LCWalker’s pointers!

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I think it best that i tell them what my world view is, Christianity and what Christians believe who Jesus was and is. I will not be argumentative but kind. They are God’s children also.

Hello @LCWalker I have had many encounters with those going door to door as well as an ongoing relationship with a former neighbor. She and her family lived up the street and our children used to play together as they were of similar age. We had multiple discussions about multiple topics - archeology, baptism for the dead, outer darkness, 2-year mission assignment, celestial marriage, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrines and Covenants, Book of Mormon. Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood, temple membership, hearing the “bearing her testimony”, etc., Her parents were hard core, long-time members and were high up in the governing body.

I have thought of her often. We became good friends despite the obvious differences in our beliefs. She was a lovely person and I would welcome the chance to see her again.

I would be interested, along with @jlyons, in whatever you would like to contribute in the way of helping us to be more effective in communicating the love and truth of Christ to them. This also includes pitfalls and common mistakes you see Christians making in trying to reach out.

When they come to the door, my first question is always, “Is Jesus Christ God?” and then proceed from there. As a Christian, I know we need to remember that they carry a heavy burden as they perceive their salvation to be dependent upon works, performance, and measuring up to church standards, to say nothing of their god’s expectations.

I would love to hear your journey of how you came to know the Lord, but only if you would like to share. Thank you for starting this post. I look forward your contributions.

Grace and peace to you,
Mary Beth

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Yes, as others said I would be interested to know the difference and what made you leave the LDS.

Charity the difference is that the missionaries, both the young men and women, commit a length of their young adulthood to being a full time missionary. The young men commit 2 years and the young women, 1.5 years. Not all young people do that.

There are seniors, retired couples, who go together as husband and wife on a mission as well. Again, not all do this.

And then there’s what they call “splits” where the missionaries split up, and go out with a regular member from time to time. This isn’t done all the time, either. I used to do “splits” as a young mother and go out with the “sister missionaries”.

It’s pushed for boys to go on missions, not so much the girls though.

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Charity they’re told not to waste their time with those who aren’t interested in “the Church”. Chances are, they decided your Dad was a “Bible Basher”, LDS lingo for someone who discusses the real meaning of Biblical passages or who uses them to respond to LDS claims. Once an encounter like that takes place, if they feel at all intimidated by it, they stop going by.

There’s a few things people should know about witnessing to Mormon missionaries.

  1. They never leave the Mormon church while on a mission. At least I have never heard of it happening. The reason is likely more cultural than faith based and, unless you are a convert missionary, you have family to consider. It’s a shameful thing to walk off- or worse get recalled- from your mission for misdeeds during your time serving. This reflects poorly on you, your parents and well, makes life quite miserable afterwards.

  2. They’re sincere little boogers! Sincerely wrong, but sincere nonetheless. That scrubbed and polished look is taught at the MTC for sure, but the naive look you see on those faces? That’s something they have quite naturally. Time at the MTC (and out in the mission field) does something to a young person.

For one thing, life becomes a bubble. They’re not allowed but limited internet access (I once tried to show some sister missionaries the words to Amazing Grace on the internet and the only websites we could call up on her ipad were LDS ones- and guess which song lyrics were NOT there? You got it!)

For another,they’re not encouraged to think for themselves. It’s rules, rules and more rules, right down to the length of your dress or the color of your shirt.

  1. The guy missionaries love to eat. And both guys and gals love desserts. Seriously, they develop a major sweet tooth out there for some reason. I suppose the carb rush is soothing in what is basically a stressful situation. TIP: When you have them over, make sure you have a nice big pitcher of lemonade and some chewy good brownies or cookies to occupy their mouths and satiate the sweet tooth. Then talk about the real Jesus while they’re chewing :wink: Stifles arguments.

  2. Most are not well informed about their own scriptures, let alone, the Bible. Sure, they read. They don’t study. They read manuals. LDS manuals. Interpretation is very guided by what the church wants them to see/believe. Watchman Fellowship, an organization which specializes in reaching out to those in false religions, has a wonderful manual on witnessing to the Mormon using the Book of Mormon. I HIGHLY suggest people get it and use it.

By the way, I tell the missionaries upfront, when they show up that is, that I am XLDS. I smile and joke and say I’m an ExMo. They ask “what’s that” and I tell them I left. Most have never met an ExMo, so I’m that rare phenomenon, kind of like the white tiger in the zoo. So they stick around. But they seldom return after the first visit. Some do, though.

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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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  1. 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.

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Hi jlyons!
I agree, Sharing your testimony is a great way to introduce anyone to Christ, but remember: the Mormon has a “testimony” also and he or she may expect you to listen to theirs as well. But it’s not always the case that a person is touched by the testimony. A seed gets planted through one though so I never discourage it!

I will say this though: many Mormons would more than likely agree 100% with everything you say in a testimony. For example, if you say you were saved through Christ, they’ll agree. Some will even agree if you say through Christ’s shed blood you were saved.

But what you said, and what the Mormon hears, may well be two different things.

Christian: I was saved by the shed blood of Jesus.
Mormon: So was I. The blood he shed at Gethsemane when he sweat great drops. And on the Cross, so the entire world can go to at least one of the three degrees of glory.

See the difference?

There’s a kind of online dictionary that can help you to better understand how this works: https://tilm.org/salvation

So please keep this in mind when witnessing.

Again, sharing your testimony is a good thing- just make sure you define terms. Not merely use them. I know, it makes things a little longer, but its worth the effort. You don’t just believe in “Jesus” you believe in the Jesus of the Bible! :slight_smile:

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I have had some encounters, both with missionaries and regular members. It is critical to determine their definition of terms, such as Son of God, saved by grace though faith,deity, etc. And thoughtful questions, such as, Which is more authoritative, the Bible or the Book of Mormon ? Was God once a mortal man? (They teach yes, which is in direct contradiction with the Bible.) Ask "what is your authority for this belief ? Try to let them do most of the talking, so you can avoid arguments. And as 1 Peter 3:15 says, with gentleness and respect. Complement their dedication and commitment to family values. What they need to know is that the Jesus of Mormonism doesn’t save, but the real Jesus from the Bible does. Mormons will listen to what you say, more so than Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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