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Christian Research Institute, P.O. Box 500-TC, San Juan Capistrano,
“Witnessing to Mormons – Some First Principles” (an article from
the Witnessing Tips column of the Christian Research Journal, Fall
1987, page 7) by Marian Bodine.
The Editor-in-Chief of the Christian Research Journal is Elliot
When witnessing to the Mormon it is vital to select and
concentrate on an isolated topic for discussion. Otherwise you will
likely find yourself being taken down “rabbit trails” which rarely
lead to anything productive. You will find that you cannot
satisfactorily respond to one statement before another is made.
Make every effort to avoid this pitfall as the discussion can
become meaningless unless you can stay “on track” long enough to
make your point.
Not infrequently the Mormon will interrupt your presentation
with a questions prefaced with, “Well, what about…?” Usually this
leads to an entire change of subject. Calmly remind the Mormon that
for clarity’s sake it is important that he or she allow you to
finish your point. Likewise, be courteous and allow him or her to
respond without interruption.
Sometimes the Mormon will interrupt you with his/her testimony,
which is: “I testify to you that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God,
the Mormon church is true, Jesus is the Christ, Ezra Taft Benson is
a prophet on the earth today, and I say this in the name of Jesus
Christ, amen.” You might reply: “Your personal testimony is
actually invalid because _I_ testify to you that Joseph Smith was
a false prophet, the Mormon church is not true, Jesus Christ is my
Lord and Savior, and Ezra Taft Benson is not a prophet on the earth
today, and I say this is the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” With the
force of the Mormon’s testimony effectively neutralized, chances
are that you will not be interrupted with that tactic again.
Mormon missionaries urge the non-Mormon to pray about the Book
of Mormon and ask God if it is true. When the Christian refuses to
do this, the missionaries can become insistent, even trying to lay
a “guilt trip” on those who are reluctant to agree to their
It is important to give some reasons why you will not pray
about the Book of Mormon. The following illustrates how such a
dialogue might proceed:
*Mormon:* I’d like you to read and pray about the Book of
Mormon, asking God if it’s true.
*Christian:* Can you show me in the Bible where we are told to
pray about a book or a prophet to find out the truth?
*Mormon:* James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him
ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and
it shall be given him.”
*Christian:* That passage is not speaking about praying about
a book, or a prophet. The context is testings and trials and
temptations. (vv. 2,3, 12).
*Mormon:* That is your interpretation!
*Christian:* That is what the passage says in context. It is up
to you to demonstrate that the passage applies to praying about a
book in order to discover whether it is true or not.
*Mormon:* I _know_ the Book of Mormon is true because I prayed
*Christian:* Acts 17:11-12 gives us an example of how to test
a teaching or a doctrine, which would include a religious book.
Paul and Silas went to the synagogue of the Jews in Berea and
preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. The passage states that the
Bereans received the word with all readiness of mind, which means
that they were open to accept the word which was preached to them,
but they first searched the Scriptures daily to determine if what
they were being told was scriptural and therefore true. The
Scripture calls them noble for responding in this way. You will
notice that it wasn’t through prayer that the new teaching was
proven but by putting it to the test of Scripture. When they saw
that the teaching accorded with Scripture, then many of them
*Mormon:* But I prayed and I have a burning in my bosom that
confirms my belief in the Book of Mormon. Don’t you believe in
prayer? Do you think our Heavenly Father would allow me to be
deceived when I prayed to Him?
*Christian:* Let me ask you a question: Where did you get the
idea to pray about the Book of Mormon?
*Mormon:* Well, we are exhorted to pray with a sincere heart
and receive a testimony from the Holy Ghost in Moroni 10:4-5.
*Christian:* So the idea to pray about the Book of Mormon came
from the Book of Mormon itself, right? Suppose for a moment that
the Book of Mormon is not true. Now, I know that you believe that
it is, but just for the sake of argument suppose that it is not an
historical document, but rather a counterfeit not inspired by the
God who inspired the Bible. Who then would be the real inspiration
behind a counterfeit book that claims to be from God?
*Christian:* Right! Now, since the admonition to read and pray
about the Book of Mormon comes from the Book of Mormon itself, if
its author is in reality Satan, who do you think would give the
answer that the Book of Mormon is true?
*Mormon:* Well, if Satan were the author, which he isn’t, he
would have to be the one who gives you the answer that the Book of
Mormon is true.
*Christian:* That is correct, and that is why it is a
spiritually dangerous thing to pray about whether the Book of
Mormon is true. The Bible makes it clear that the Book of Mormon is
false (e.g., Gal. 1:8-9). To pray for an answer about it is to
ignore what God has already said, which is to dishonor Him. We have
only ourselves to blame, then, if Satan comes and answers such an
irresponsible prayer instead. You must rely on the authority of the
Bible to prove all things.
End of document, CRJ0017A.TXT (original CRI file name),
“Witnessing to Mormons – Some First Principles”
release A, February 7, 1994
R. Poll, CRI
(A special note of thanks to Bob and Pat Hunter for their help
in the preparation of this ASCII file for BBS circulation.)
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