Hear a special Viewpoint on Mormonism broadcast titled What’s a Saturday Symposium on Mormonism?, originally broadcast on July 21, 2014.
A Weekend Compassionate Boldness Symposium on Mormonism
Perhaps you have been considering hosting a Weekend Compassionate Boldness Symposium on Mormonism. In fact, Mormonism Research Ministry has put on dozens of these seminars, often tailored to the individual church we visit. We believe this format is the most effective way a church can equip its body to talk to the Latter-day Saint people. In fact, we believe that many Christians would love to speak with their LDS friends and loved ones but aren’t sure of what to say. During this weekend, we will provide practical information along with evangelism tips to help someone better share their faith with LDS friends, neighbors, and even relatives.
We have two different symposiums, each taking up four hours. Team-taught by MRM’s Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson, the symposium moves quickly, with 10-minute breaks inbetween. Each person/couple in attendance will receive a complimentary copy of the notes, making it easy to follow with the PowerPoint presentation. We also offer a book table that is filled with valuable resources.
Symposium I covers four hours on:
* An introduction to Mormonism (Eric)
* The Book of Mormon (Bill)
* The Godhead (Eric)
* Salvation (Bill)
Symposium II covers, in detail, the LDS plan of salvation, from premortality to godhood for faithful Latter-day Saints.
For a typical weekend, our schedule looks like this:
FRIDAY NIGHT: Introduction to the Symposium
Although there are a variety of talks we can give depending on the needs of the church, Bill McKeever generally gives a 75-minute talk in the evening titled “What is Mormon Doctrine?” This usually provides a good background for the following day’s presentations. Most churches like to have this start at 7 p.m. and end by 8:30 p.m.
SATURDAY MORNING: Compassionate Boldness Symposium
Typically runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with breaks at the end of each hour. It is especially nice if the church can supply round tables for the attenders, as folks like to use the surface to take notes and place their snacks. People are free to leave at any time, but we generally field questions until 1:30 p.m. We’ll stay afterward for individual conversations. MRM provides a PDF bulletin insert that the church can use to promote the event for the weeks beforehand. We also ask for the church to provide drinks and snacks for the guests, many of whom might come from other churches. And it is not unusual for a Latter-day Saint to be in the audience. This is OK because we handle the subjects with “gentleness and respect,” whether Mormons are there or not.
Sometimes the church likes to have us meet former or struggling Mormons who might have ties to their church, and we’re happy to do this.
SATURDAY EVENING: Optional teaching
We have a variety of other 60- to 75-minute lessons we can bring. We can also have a short lesson and then allow more time for dialogue and questions. It is even possible for Eric to roleplay the Mormon and allow Bill to provide practical guidance. Sometimes those who were busy during the morning session appreciate having this time made available for them. However, it’s optional, and many churches decide not to do it.
SUNDAY MORNING: Preaching and teaching
Bill McKeever loves to take the pulpit and deliver an apologetics-based message (not specifically aimed at Mormonism). Bill has preached for three decades and brings energy to the pulpit. Eric Johnson is available to address youth or college groups that meet during the morning service. For almost two decades, Eric was a high school teacher as well as college and seminary professor. He was the Bible department head at a large Christian high school in Southern California. Together Bill and Eric have written three books, including Answering Mormons’ Questions (Kregel 2013) and Mormonism 101 Revised (Baker 2015).
We do require an honorarium, which varies depending on the location of your church. We try not to make finances a reason not to have us come. There are several suggestions we offer to help offset the costs:
1) Combine your efforts with another church. This can be quite effective; instead of us coming to your town twice, why not join hands with another body?
2) If you’d like to collect an offering at the services to offset the costs, we are happy to do that.
We have found that fall is the best time for people to come to these events, followed by the late winter/early spring. Please consult our calendar for open dates and comments from pastors for commendation. We also invite you to watch a video that explains the purpose of MRM.
Live in Utah and want us to come just for the Saturday morning? More details here.
If you have any questions, please contact Eric Johnson: eric at mrm dot org.