By Eric Johnson
A few years ago there seemed to be a movement to encourage those leaving Mormonism for Christianity to remain active in the LDS Church. After all, the rationale goes, wouldn’t there be a better chance for one’s friends and relatives to convert to Christianity if someone (a new Christian) was able to stay in the local LDS branch or ward and, though covertly, let everyone know the truth?
There are several problems with this rationale. First, a person who has just left the Mormon Church for Christianity needs all the correct biblical teaching possible. There is so much potential spiritual growth that will remain on hiatus as long as the person stays in the LDS fellowship while not openly associating with a Christian congregation.
Second, this seems to be a dishonest way to do evangelism. While it may sound logical that change in a particular ward could be affected from within, trying to honestly share one’s faith at a service, priesthood meeting, or personal conversation will be impossible. Masquerading as someone still in the Mormon Church while attempting to get people to see that Mormonism is wrong will certainly be troubling to those who discover the tactic.
Third, this tactic doesn’t seem to have a biblical precedent. It is true that Paul—a former Jewish believer—continued to go to the Jewish synagogues to share the truth; however, he always proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, something that caused him to get slandered, beaten up, and stoned. Nowhere do we see the biblical authors telling their converts to remain clandestine. Rather, they always commanded that the believers participate in a public display of faith through water baptism. Now everyone would know that this person pledged a new allegiance.
Instead of remaining in the LDS fellowship, we recommend that former Mormons become committed to local Bible-believing congregations while keeping the lines of communication open with the Mormons with whom they once fellowshipped. Those who leave without bitterness and rancor will have opportunities to share their new-found faith, but patience will be needed.