THEY NEED A CHURCH!
Life After Ministries is a para-church evangelical organization. We do not sanction one denomination over another, nor do we endorse sole propriety of salvation within one denomination. However, we strongly encourage the ex-Mormon to get involved in the body of Christ through the means of a local church in their own neighborhood, city or town. The following small list of questions is merely our suggestions when looking for a good church.
Does this church believe that Jesus is God incarnate?
Does this church believe the Holy Spirit indwells each believer?
Does this church believe that Jesus was born of a virgin through the miracle of God?
Does this church believe that Jesus was fully God and fully man?
Does this church believe in salvation by grace through faith and not by works?
Does this church believe that Jesus was crucified for man’s sin and raised on the third day?
Does this church believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven?
Does this church believe the Bible to be the inerrant word of God?
Can this church provide a financial statement for the year?
Can this church provide a concise constitution of beliefs?
If the answer is “no” to any of these questions then it’s time to move on and look for another church. We ask our mentors to encourage the ex-Mormon to try attending a good Bible based church. If they are not comfortable with the style of worship at the church you attend, perhaps you could accompany them to a service at a different church if they’re scared. While that may seem a bit odd to the non-Mormon, it is a real experience for the ex-Mormon or soon to be ex-Mormon. We’re not asking you to change churches, just accompany them for one service!
Share your personal experiences with them of what your church life has been like. They will soon realize that what goes on in the Christian world is much the same even while being drastically different. Seeing children run around inside the church building and women wearing pants in church can be quite alarming to the new Christian; but if they are encouraged along the way you’ll soon find out there is a highly dedicated new member amongst the ranks! Now with all this being said let me also state that belonging to a man made religion does not bring you salvation. Acts 4:12 says;
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
It is not uncommon at all for the ex-Mormon to be “gun shy” about joining any church. I wandered around from the age of 18 to 30 before accepting the Lord into my life while being an inactive Mormon. When I did get saved and began attending a church I refused to join on the day I was baptized. Now this particular church usually had the members officially join at the time of baptism, but for me they made this exception which was very kind of them. I realize now the circumstances were different from that of the LDS Church, but at that time what I needed was to be baptized without “having” to join as a member. The unfortunate thing about what I did is that it was prideful sin. To ease the mind of the new ex-Mormon explain why the Christian church does both of these things at the same time.
If you are an ex-Mormon the reason we encourage church membership is so that you can have a safe place for fellowshipping with others who love the Lord. They can serve as mentors for you, while you in turn help them to understand Mormonism. God will use you wherever you are and no matter what “stage” you’re in with Him! However, church membership is not necessary for salvation. The thief on the cross is proof of that! Luke 23:39-43 says;
“And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
This simply means that if you accept Jesus into your heart right this moment and something happened that you died in the next minute, you would go to heaven my friend! No good works are necessary, no church membership, no tithe, nothing but your heart. The other topic in this department is the subject of denominations.
As mentioned earlier we do not advocate one denomination over another, but it is important to keep in mind that most Mormons do not understand the concept of how they work; why there are different denominations; and sometimes they’ve never been taught the differences between Catholics and Protestants. Most of the Mormons I’ve mentored had never heard of Martin Luther or what happened in the sixteenth century. This would be a good time for a short history lesson!
Many times this subject is going to be a tough one for the new ex-Mormon. You may encounter a sense of uneasiness on their part created by distrust they’ve been taught to harbor in their hearts. They’ve been taught the different denominations are living proof that a restoration was needed and that the Christian church was no longer in existence on the earth. Joseph Smith said this in his personal testimony: Joseph Smith 1:18-9;
“My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak… then I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt…” –
Now compare that with what Jesus said in Matthew 16:18;
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
In the book of Acts we are given an historical account of the beginnings of the works of the Church. We see the martyrdom of Stephen, James, and a few other apostles; the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at the first Pentecost; the conversion of Paul on the road to Damascus, the miracles performed, and the missions of the new Church.
The Good News spread rapidly and even the Gentiles were being grafted in to the people of God, just as Jesus had promised His disciples. Why would these things all go to waste and not continue? Have the ex-Mormon think about this for some time.
1. What were some of Joseph Smith’s excuses as to why the “Restoration” was needed? (Give your understanding, not necessarily exact documentation of this). __________________________________________________
The apostle Paul traveled more than 3,600 miles in his missionary journeys while proclaiming the word of God to the Gentiles. Some of the apostles stayed behind in Jerusalem while still others went with Paul or spread out in other areas. There were many trade routes opened at this time because of the expansion of the Roman Empire.
Jerusalem was totally destroyed circa 70 AD by the Roman Empire in retaliation of the Jewish uprising and the Jews were scattered all over the earth as they fled for cover. With the fall of Jerusalem another historical even took place. Can you name it?
Gently explain to the ex-Mormon how these things are not just a coincidence; using scripture of course! Why was it that Jerusalem fell, the Jews were scattered, there were no more temple sacrifices and the Redeemer had prepared His children for all of it. He went with them (believers) as they scattered and spread the gospel throughout the world. In Luke 4:18 it says;
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.”
If the theory of a restoration in 1830 is correct, then Jesus’ deliverance of the captives was a lie as is 1 John 3:8b;
“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”
These are just some of the basic things that need to be shown to the ex-Mormon. Of course there is no way to teach them everything there is in the Bible, thus a solid Bible believing church is needed. These few examples show the ex-Mormon how God did sustain His church and His people.
Teaching them that scriptures are meant to be used as personal promises to them from God is a blessing they’ve not yet encountered in life. For example Philippians 1:6 is an assurance from God to us that the body of Christ will never perish.
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Now that you know what they need, it’d probably be helpful to understand why. As we’ve mentioned before, Joseph Smith claimed in his vision that God appeared to him and said that all Christian denominations were wrong, thus the need for a restoration. Throughout the history of the LDS Church the members have been taught to hate, mistrust and fear anyone who is not LDS and who claims to be a Christian. The leadership of the LDS Church has toned down their abhorrence towards us in the past twenty or so years, but the damage has been done. Incidentally, their “Standard Works” still contain the position of division. The following are some examples of the true feelings they harbor towards the body of Christ.
D&C 1:30; “And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually”
For more examples see the end of this chapter.
One of the most important things to remember is again the mindset of the former Mormon. From the examples we’ve given of the LDS doctrines it’s easy to see why they might have to work on their dispositions towards the Christians or attending a new church. Pray with them asking God to reveal what may be hidden deep in their hearts in this matter.
HC 5:389; “Compare this principle once with Christendom at the present day, and where are they, with all their boasted religion, piety and sacredness while at the same time they are crying out against prophets… Why, they are just ripening for the damnation of hell. They will be damned, for they reject the most glorious principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and treat with disdain and trample under foot the key that unlocks the heavens and puts in our possession the glories of the celestial world.”
Messenger & Advocate Vol. 1, Oct. 1834 No. 19; “Messenger & Advocate Vol. 1, Oct. 1834 No. 19; “That principle which actuates the children of men to revile, ridicule, calumniate and destroy the peace of one another, because they take the liberty to think for themselves in matters of religion, is certainly from beneath, and not from above…They are of their father, the devil, and his works they will do; and unless they repent, they must inevitably perish in some of the calamities that shall be poured out upon the ungodly.”
Elder Orson Pratt, JD 18:172; “But as there has been no Christian Church on the earth for a great many centuries past, until the present century, the people have lost sight of the pattern that God has given according to which the Christian Church should be established…”
Elder John Taylor 6:167; “There is not nation now that acknowledges that hand of God; there is not a king, potentate, nor ruler that acknowledges his jurisdiction. We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense. Men talk about civilization; but I do not want to say much about that, for I have seen enough of it…It is a sounding brass and a tinkling symbol; it is as corrupt as hell; and the Devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work that the Christianity of the nineteenth century.”
Brigham Young, JD 6:176; “Brother Taylor has just said that the religions of the day were hatched in hell. The eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and then kicked on to the earth. They may be called cockatrices, for they sting wherever they go. Go to their meetings in the Christian world, and you will hear them remark, “Our ministers dictate our souls’ salvation;” and they are perfectly composed and resigned to trust their whole future destiny to their priests…”
Orson Pratt, JD 14:346; “How long is it since Zion ceased? For everybody will admit, among all Christian denominations, that there has been no revelation for some seventeen hundred years,—among all the Protestants of the present day, among all the Catholics that lived before them and that now live, and among all the different peoples and nations and tongues that have received the doctrines…They all admit that, they all testify and acknowledge that God has had no inspired men on the earth since the days of the Apostles…”
EM, pg. 470; “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not see itself as one Christian denomination among many, but rather as God’s latter-day restoration of the fulness of Christian faith and practice. Thus, from its earliest days LDS Christians sought to distinguish themselves from Christians of other traditions. Other forms of Christianity, while bearing much truth and doing much good under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are viewed as incomplete, lacking the authority of the priesthood of God…”
George Q. Cannon, JD 24:185-186; “…no thinking man can admit that Christianity so-called—I call it a false Christianity, untrue to its name—…You look in vain for those features that distinguished it, and that gave it power in the earth, and that made it the foe of Paganism and false religions existing in those days, and which gave it the wonderful success it achieved. It is destitute of these features… it nevertheless is destined to tumble with Babylon the great…”
© 2010 Life After Ministries, Inc.