Sunday, December 19, 2010

Word Travels Fast

Word travels fast, or so it seemed to me when the second pair of Latter-day Saint missionaries I met "had heard of me." I suppose I should take that as a compliment? =). I did.

They came knocking on my door after I requested a new copy of the Book of Mormon after my brother-in-law told me there were recently some minor grammatical changes. Of course, I invited them inside so that we might have a beneficial conversation. It has been my custom for some time to be very up front with Mormons so that they know my agenda right away. I'd rather be up front about my intentions so that there is no confusion on their part as to whether I am seeking to convert or not. Most often this is received well and will allow for at least a lengthy discussion or two.

Our time together began with brief introductions followed by an explanation of what I hoped to accomplish by our meeting. Right off the bat I find it important to set some ground rules: (1) They know I am not interested in becoming a Latter-day Saint, (2) I put myself on the same level with them by explaining that I am likewise a missionary for my gospel, (3) I explain that though we use similar terminology we mean completely different things by them, (4) It is my intention to use persuasive arguments while not becoming argumentative - a polite but passionate discussion is what I'm after.

Setting the stage helps immensely in avoiding LDS-taught tactics to avoid conversations with people not ready and willing to convert immediately.

So I began by suggesting the Trinity as a starting point because it would force us to focus on many of our essential differences. It was at this point that these missionaries asked me if I recently met with another pair of missionaries. I told them I had, to which they informed me they had heard of me. Apparently, what they were told is that I was passionate but a lost cause. The missionaries sitting before me couldn't understand why they were told that because I was "such a nice guy." There was some nervous laughter as they realized the awkwardness of my hearing that I was a lost cause ... =).

In any case, we moved on from there to discuss the first tenet of the doctrine of the Trinity: absolute monotheism. I stuck to one passage throughout our dialogue: Isaiah 45:18-21,

"18For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), "I am the LORD, and there is none else. 19"I have not spoken in secret, In some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, 'Seek Me in a waste place'; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, Declaring things that are upright. 20"Gather yourselves and come; Draw near together, you fugitives of the nations; They have no knowledge, Who carry about their wooden idol And pray to a god who cannot save. 21"Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior, There is none except Me."

Many familiar with discussions with the Latter-day Saints would wonder how they continue to believe in polytheism in light of passages like this. The truth is that it takes a great deal of effort to suppress the truth contained in this passage. Comparing the Mormon doctrine of the Eternal Law of Progression ("As man is God once was; as God is man may become") with the Bible demonstrates the utter falsehood of this Mormon doctrine.

Rather than interacting with the text of Scripture, these missionaries accused the Bible of being corrupt, and it is only because of latter-day revelation through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that the gospel has been recovered. I quickly took them to Matthew 24:35, "35"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." And asked them if Jesus' prophecy contained in the New Testament passed away? Not wanting to accuse Christ of being a false prophet (for which I am thankful), we were able to agree for the moment that the Bible is reliable.

I brought them back to the text of Isaiah 45 and asked them how the Eternal Law of Progression could be true in light of Scripture?

The senior of the two admitted they did not have an answer, but agreed to prepare a response for our next meeting, which I will blog about in my next entry.

Thanks for reading,


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