When Mormon missionaries appear at your door consider it a golden opportunity to share the real gospel message. In talking with numerous former missionaries, Christians can have a tremendous impact when they remember the 4 R’s of sharing God’s Word with them. I truly believe that Mormon missionaries are reachable! The Holy Spirit can use you to plant the seed of God’s Word in their hearts. In fact, ex-Mormons who became Christian cite the simple witness of a Christian while they were on their missions as an important component of their coming to the true faith. Here are the 4 R’s:
#1 REMEMBER their circumstances
Most missionaries are young men between the ages of 19 and 21. Many became missionaries because that is what is expected of them from their family and church, not out of missionary zeal. Most importantly, they only receive three weeks of training before being placed on a mission field. That means that many are not well-versed in the Bible or even Mormonism.
Despite their confident demeanor, many are stressed-out and lonely. While serving on their two-year mission, they are not allowed to go home and have very limited contact with their family. In addition, their companions regularly change thus hindering them from becoming comfortable working together. Further, they adhere to a strictly controlled daily schedule. These factors combine to make some lonely and stressed. But some remain invigorated because they sincerely feel they are immersed in doing the Lord’s will.
It may be surprising to learn that a large number of LDS missionaries become inactive in the church after they return home. With this in mind, we feel safe in saying that a good percentage are already struggling with their faith when they come to your door. (This could often be the quieter of the two.) Now that the LDS Church has recently lowered the age of men and women who can serve as missionaries, they will be even younger at the door.
# 2 REFLECT Christian love
Mormon missionaries are accustomed to people being rude to them. What they are not used to is people being kind and friendly. We have walked in their shoes while going door to door in Provo and Orem, Utah. We quickly came to appreciate being politely received. We were grateful for even small gestures like the offer of a glass of cold water.
We encourage you to show the same kindness to them. Be polite. Don’t brush them off by saying that you are not interested. If you have the time, offer them a glass of water. Let your love for all people and your joy in the Lord shine brightly. It will make an impact on them.
#3 RELY on the power of God’s Word
Be sure that you share God’s powerful Word with them! Don’t send them away by saying that you aren’t interested because you have your own church. Rather witness Christ to them and what He has already done for us. Since Mormonism stresses perfection and worthiness it is good to utilize those terms when you witness.
I often use this phrase, “I’m already perfect in Christ, are you?” to define my Christian faith to a Mormon. Mormons are especially impressed and intrigued when we speak joyfully and confidently about our own perfection and worthiness in Christ. They can’t have that confidence because they believe that their worthiness and perfection depends on doing all they can do – with the result that they can never be sure if they have done enough.
Beware of getting into discussions about Mormon doctrine or history. Don’t focus on winning the argument; focus on winning the soul. Do that by sticking to the message of our perfection in Christ. Even getting into discussions on other biblical doctrines is usually counter-productive at this time. Make Paul’s motto your own: “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Cor. 2:2)
#4 RESPECT the process
You are not responsible for converting them. That is the business of the Holy Spirit. Our responsibility is to testify to and reflect Christ’s love. Many ex-Mormons relate how a Christian’s love and simple gospel witness started having an effect on them years after they first heard it. This illustrates the fact that God often uses a process for bringing people to the faith. The Bible uses the imagery of a growing seed to describe this process. “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:6)
One way to respect the process is by inviting them to come back. We have found that when we treat them kindly, they are often eager to return and continue the conversation. You can do this with honesty by saying that you have no interest in converting to Mormonism, but because of the publicity the LDS Church receives, you want to hear about it from an official representative. They will often respond positively. Their coming back will give you more opportunities to share the gospel with them.
For more information, go to www.pleaseopenthedoor.com.