Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Apologetic Frustration

"In order to know truth, you must pray that God will reveal it to you. In order to know truth, you must read God's word. If you do these two things, sincerely, then God will show you that what I am saying is true. Why don't you pray that God will reveal to you that the Book of Mormon is true, he did for me."

Sounds pretty good right up to the last point, doesn't it? I have faithfully kept my appointments with the LDS missionaries each time they come by since I have been here. I'm on the list, and so each new crew comes by for a visit. Tonight's appointment was the most frustrating yet.

The girls were sweet and gracious. They were not argumentative, nor were they easily ruffled. Though they were certainly not Scripturally knowledgeable, they knew their Mormon theology quite well. After a certain number of visits, I know, generally where to steer the conversation, but tonight that didn't help.

Did you know that the authority to baptize was lost from the death of the apostles until the apostles appeared to Joseph Smith? When I argued the point, I was told that this was the fulfillment of the great "falling away" that Paul predicted to Timothy. Amos had foreseen it as well.

So I turned to the essence and being of God Himself. This proved totally fruitless. They simply insisted that we were the same essence as him, that we were eternal like him, that we had chosen to come here from before the foundation of the world so that we might become more like him, and that the Scripture never contradicted this. Nothing I could muster would satisfy.

Besides, they knew that the Book of Mormon was true because God had told them it was true. And that, in the end, is how we know truth. God tells us through our feelings, and when that happens, no amount of persuasion would change our minds.

We touched on the glory of God, I countered with every Scripture I could think of, but each was cleverly warped to fit into their thinking. The fact that I refused to pray about God revealing to me whether or not the Book of Mormon was true was simply evidence of my hard-heart. I said plainly that the Bible was the source of authority and that it contradicted Joseph Smith. That was met with incredulous looks.

I seriously prefer debate with the Jehovah's Witnesses. Seriously.

So where would you go, dear reader, to demonstrate that we are not of the same essence as God? (It's not enough to say, "There's nothing like God!" They simply respond, "Of course there's nothing like God. He's way ahead of us!") And where would you go to prove that the church never ceased to exist outside of Ephesians 3?


Anonymous said...

It's hard to debate subjective feelings. I've had experiences where mormons have discussed this burning in their hearts that tell them that mormonism is true. I've refered them to Jeremiah 17:9

Isaiah 44: 6,8 "no other gods"

Anonymous said...

Hey brother,
It's been a couple of years since we have been in this same scenario you depicted. Elizabeth and I spent many hours in discussions with the "missionaries."
When two seminary students get together, they can rightly discuss/engag in argumentation over the issues of ecclesiology, pneumatology, etc because they speak the same language. However, trying to communicate doctrine to an LDS devotee is like a mechanic trying to explain fixing a transmission to a vacuum cleaner salesperson....not impossible, but most improbable that clear understanding will be achieved.
Having said that, you know as well as I do that LDS/Mormonism rise and falls with ol' Joe himself. Did you know that he took many wives, several of whom were already married at the time!!?? Did you know he advocated polygamy as the only means to attaining godhood? This was a new and everlasting covenant (i.e. polygamy leading to godhood)that he received only to be done away with when the US Govt opposed it, and it was rescinded...so much for everlasting.
After bringing up these, and several other, amjor deviations/contradictions that have occurred in LDS doctrine over the years, I focus on the clear differences between what the Bible says about soteriology and eternal security, since they can never really know for sure, because their slavation(a typo, but accurate nonetheless) is based on keeping the whole of the law. I feel it is our job to present the truth anbd the Holy Spirit will do the rest.
Let me recommend a video that was sent to us called "Lifting the veil of polygamy" produced by former Mormons. - website is www.lhvm.org
Very good stuff. Hope you and the fam are all doing great...KA

Sojourner said...

Thanks Kevin. That was sort of the thought I had as they left. Next time, I'll concentrate on the "prophet" himself.

St.Lee said...

I too have had the opportunity to have conversations with Mormons on several occasions. If there are winners and losers in such conversations, then I have won, lost and tied. The loss was by a wide margin and the most memorable. I have had zero luck with pointing out failed prophesy and such. I think (but don't know) that it is because the Mormon "church" has erased or hidden those from the history they teach. My guess is that "concentrating on the prophet himself" would meet with much the same response.

I beleive the best I have done in such a conversation was by concentrating on the law, the sinfulness of each of us, and how all of our acts of righteousness are as filthy rags. Along with that I gave my own salvation testimony.

I think it may be worth pursuing the fact that our God's name means self existant one, which I think would clearly show him to be a different God than they worship. Just a thought. I have not found time to prepare for that. Even that may be fruitless, since they will likely claim it as a mis-translation.

I am fairly serious about being able to witness to these people when they come to my door, to the point that I am reading the book of Mormon in my spare "spare time." Much of it so far is just paraphrasing of the KJV (in JKV era english), but out of context, mixing old and new testament verses, and of course attributing them to other "prophets"

Its a tough one.