If you’d have asked me five years ago whether or not I would be regularly meeting and sharing the gospel with LDS missionaries I would have laughed at the idea. And yet, by the grace of God, I now not only have regular meetings with the missionaries, I find myself seeking other opportunities to be with them as well!
And even though my interest in Mormonism began as the result of losing a friend into the sad and burdensome legalistic doctrine of the LDS Church, God used that difficult experience to show me the fundamental differences between the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ and the gospel that Mormonism espouses. I’d grown up going to church every Sunday, and yet I truly never knew the gospel until it was contrasted with Mormonism. God literally used Mormon doctrine to teach me the gospel of grace!
Then in God’s infinite wisdom, He took my newly transformed heart and placed within it a deep love for the Mormon people. Since you are reading this, God has probably done the same for you. I won’t lie to you; I am scared every time I have an interaction with a missionary or a member of the LDS Church. They seem so confident and assured; so nice and focused on God. And yet, as I have spent time with them, I have found them to be scared, lonely and mostly unaware of what Mormonism teaches. They may love God, but they have little or no understanding of how infinitely He loves them. These young men and women are miles from home, interacting with strangers who are usually less than welcoming, and without any regular source of love or emotional support. And even though they don’t always seem to be, they are hungry for people to listen to their problems, empathize with their situation and offer them a good meal. As a mother, I find myself filled with compassion for these young people. I long to offer them love and kindness and to help them to know the truth about all that God offers us through Christ.
It’s difficult to believe that offering these young people a warm meal and an honest conversation can make a difference after the countless hours they’ve spent being indoctrinated into Mormonism. But as Christians filled with God’s love for us, we have a chance to love them fully and honestly. As one of our young friends said when he left to return home a few weeks ago, “I never considered the idea that there aren’t any limits to how big we can love one another.” The fact that we were able to love him without any hope of reciprocation was unfathomable to him. It also opened the door for us to have difficult discussions about the differences between the gospel of Mormonism and the gospel of grace.
When I began having these conversations I tried to arm myself by knowing everything about Mormonism. But inevitably I would get caught up in a discussion about some LDS doctrine I didn’t understand, and our conversation would grind to a halt. As I have matured and trusted God more and more, I have found that the best preparation for our discussions has been for me to learn more about God and the gospel of grace through Jesus Christ. While it is helpful to know something about Mormon doctrine, it is far better to be well prepared with God’s word instead. By keeping my focus on all God offers me through Christ I am able to clearly see the contrasts between our beliefs and ask better questions as well.
So if you are feeling led to interact with your local missionaries, I would encourage you to give it a try. Remembering that God uses all things for good helps me to have faith that even the seemingly most unproductive conversations with my LDS friends and acquaintances have the potential to help them come closer to our loving God. I am a prideful and a sometimes thoughtless person, and yet I have seen the hearts of missionaries softened and readied for God’s deep grace. So if God can use a wretch like me, He can surely use you as well!