By Eric Johnson
Whether you are on the streets in Utah, on the job, or answering e-mails, there seems to be certain questions that are most often asked of Christians who challenge Mormon beliefs. The following list, though hardly exhaustive and in no particular order, gives the most common questions, and several quick responses that could be given. These are obviously short starter responses, but hopefully one or more of these might help you to better formulate your own answer.
1. Isn’t it unchristian to question someone else’s claim to Christianity?
- Didn’t Joseph Smith do this very thing when he claimed that God told him that the churches were “all wrong,” that their creeds “were an abomination,” and that their professors “were all corrupt”?
- Didn’t Brigham Young also do that very thing when he said, “Should you ask why we differ from other Christians, as they are called, it is simply because they are not Christians as the New Testament defines Christianity” (Journal of Discourses 10:230).
- The Book of Mormon claims that my church is the church of the devil (1 Nephi 14:10). Would a Christian willingly attend the church of the devil?
2. You must obviously be motivated by hate.
- Based on this reasoning, should we then conclude that the tens of thousands of Mormon missionaries who knock on the doors of professing Christians are also motivated by hate? If not, why can’t I be given the same benefit of the doubt? If the missionaries are motivated by a desire to share what they obviously believe to be true, why will you not give me the same courtesy?
- Can you specifically point out what I have said that you consider hateful? If not, is that a fair accusation?
- If disagreement is equal to hate, does that mean Jesus hated the Pharisees (Matthew 23)? Does that mean Paul hated Athenians (Acts 17)?
- If your house is on fire and I walked by without doing anything, would you consider this loving? (If a Christian truly believes in an eternal hell, which is eternal separation from God, then in effect not telling the Mormons in truth that they are wrong is not loving but rather hateful.)
3. We’re Christians, so why don’t you do something positive for your own faith?
- To help people avoid error is part of the Christian faith. It’s called evangelism.
- There’s a lot to lose if you are wrong.
- What could be more positive than to encourage people to correctly interpret the Bible? (Paul spoke in the synagogue of Ephesus for three months, “disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God”—Acts 19:8.)
4. With which church are you affiliated?
- My church affiliation is not really that important. It is one’s view of God, Jesus, and the Bible that is crucial.
- The Greek ekklesia, which means “church” in the Bible, refers to individuals, not an organization. These individuals are those who have placed their trust in the Jesus of the Bible and are relying on His mercy for their salvation.
- Just because our church does not have Jesus’ name in it does not make it false. After all, the LDS Church didn’t always have the name of Jesus in it.
5. What about all of the fruit of the LDS Church, especially since there is no faster growing church?
- Numbers have never determined truth. If so, perhaps there is a lot of truth to Islam since there are over one billion professing Muslims in the world.
- Actually, the Mormon Church is not the fastest growing. In fact, the rates have dramatically dropped percentage wise over the past several years.
- Are you really suggesting that the Christian churches have no fruit? (Consider the many philanthropic organizations, colleges, world relief, community support, etc. To say the evangelical Christian churches are not “fruitful” would be very naïve.)
6. Have you read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it?
- Where in the Bible does it say to pray about the Book of Mormon?
- I’ve read the Book of Mormon but have not prayed about it because the Bible tells me not to. The Bible says to test all things (1 Thess. 5:21; 1 John 4:1). God has given us a mind, and if a religion disagrees with God’s Word as found in the Bible, then it is to be rejected (Gal. 1:8; 2 Cor. 11:4).
- If I were to pray about the Book of Mormon and felt that God told me that it and your church were both wrong, would you leave? If not, what makes you think that your answer from the “Holy Ghost” is any better than mine?
- If praying about a religious book is the way to determine truth, then have you prayed about the religious books of other religions such as Islam, Hinduism, and Jehovah’s Witnesses? If the answer is yes, then ask them if they can tell you the scriptures of these religions i.e. Islam (Koran); Hinduism (Bhagavad-Gita and the Vedas); Jehovah’s Witnesses (beside their New World Translation of the Bible, inspired writings as found in the Watchtower magazine). (If they say they have indeed prayed over these other religions but can’t name the scriptures, then how seriously did they really consider these other faiths?)
- What does the Book of Mormon have to say that I need to know but can’t already find in my Bible?
7. Don’t you want to be with your family in the hereafter?
- If my family members are believers, we will be together in the afterlife. Heaven is a place made for all believers to have eternal fellowship with God.
- What guarantees do you have that you will exist with your family if your other family members are not as equally righteous as you are?
8. Don’t you believe we need prophets today?
- We do have a living prophet today. His name is Jesus. (Deuteronomy 18:15 along with John 5:46; 6:14; 7:40; Acts 3:22-23; 7:37; Hebrews 1:1-2.)
- When was the last time your current prophet “prophesied”? What has he actually said since becoming president that, had he not said it, would make exaltation unreachable?
- If LDS prophets are to be believed, what about all of the contradictions between them?
9. What about the many errors of the Bible?
- Which “errors”? Are you sure that what you perceive to be an error is not just a lack of knowledge on your part?. (For additional information, see When Critics Ask by Norman Geisler/Thomas Howe or Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties by Gleason Archer.)
- The Bible is translated accurately.
- Are you bothered by the many errors of the 1830 Book of Mormon edition when compared to the current edition?
- Why does your church spend so much time, effort, and money distributing the King James Version Bible to potential converts if it cannot be trusted?
- If errors are really a concern, why doesn’t your church use the Joseph Smith Translation?
10. How can you believe in a God who’s not fair and would send people to hell?
- It isn’t a case of what you may think is “fair,” but it is a matter of what the Bible actually teaches. A person who is truly concerned about the destiny of others will want to do all he/she can do to share with them (Rom. 10:15).
- If God was to be totally “fair,” all people would be deserving of hell based on the fact that all are sinners (Romans 3:23, 6:23).
- Didn’t the Mormon God condemn to hell (outer darkness) all of his spirit children who joined with Lucifer in the war in heaven? If he would send those “children” of his to hell, what makes you think He could not send others there as well?
- God is loving, but He is also just. But thankfully He is also merciful to those who place their total trust in Him for their salvation. Should hell be a reality, what have you done to escape it?