How not to invite Mormons to your church, part 2

Recall we learned in part 1 that discrediting Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham is a dangerous tactic since the Mormons who are swayed by such evidence have an annoying tendency to continue this same line of reasoning and ask hard questions about Jesus.

The next obvious tactic — to avoid general skepticism — is to disprove Mormonism through quotes from the Bible. Mormons believe the Bible to be the word of God, so naturally they’d be interested to know that the Bible contradicts their beliefs, right?

There’s one glaring problem with this tactic, though: The Bible contradicts itself. It doesn’t need Mormonism’s help. (Here are some funny ones I found recently; it doesn’t take much work to find tons of others.)

To be impressed by a proof based on Bible quotes, you essentially have to believe that the Bible text points to one set of beliefs and not another. If it weren’t obvious that this is false, it can be seen by the plethora of different Christian sects that believe different things yet all hold the Bible to be the only source of authority for determining God’s word. Even interpretations many Protestants seem to agree on (like salvation not being dependent on one’s good works) don’t necessarily agree with what the Bible says (see this article, for example). Really the Mormon belief that God would provide additional direction and clarification seems pretty logical compared to the belief that God would leave people to their own devices to try to tease the meaning out of this book.

In extreme cases, Christians will merely point out how their own church’s interpretation of a given Bible story is different from the Mormon interpretation and imagine that that is damning evidence against Mormonism. A good example of this is a recent post on “Mormon Coffee” here (not trying to start a cross-blog war, just providing some constructive criticism). Keep in mind that if you’ve been immersed in one religion your whole life, your own beliefs seem perfectly reasonable and every other religion’s beliefs look completely insane. So you might get the idea that holding the two up side-by-side would convince anyone that your beliefs are the ones that are right — including people from the religion you’re comparing yourself to. But if you step back a little and try to see this type of exchange in perspective, you’ll understand why it doesn’t work.

In short, if you’ve whipped out your Bible to point to your favorite anti-Mormon zinger verse and your Mormon friend is left scratching his head in bewilderment, it’s likely that you’ve stumped him on a meta-level: He’s trying to figure out why you think that’s a convincing argument.

Part 3 of “How not to invite Mormons to your church” will cover waving garmies in their faces and dressing up as Satan: stay tuned!!! 😀

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chanson

C. L. Hanson is the friendly American ExMormon atheist mom living in Switzerland! See "letters from a broad" and the novel ExMormon for further adventures!!

13 thoughts on “How not to invite Mormons to your church, part 2

  1. I choke when I recall the phrase ‘plain & precious truths of Christ’s gospel’ being twisted or otherwise lost to – from the Bible.

    Christ’s gospel is LOVE, as exampled by the Golden Rule, parables He taught (Good Samaritan, Prodigal Son); Honesty, Charity, Kindness, Repentance & Forgiveness. They’re ALL RIGHT THERE.

  2. Re: Christ’s gospel is LOVE, as exampled by the Golden Rule, parables He taught (Good Samaritan, Prodigal Son); Honesty, Charity, Kindness, Repentance & Forgiveness. They’re ALL RIGHT THERE.

    True, it’s all there, but unfortunately so is a lot of other stuff. Other teachers have taught love and the golden rule without it being linked to complete obedience to a genocidal God.

    I don’t think it’s the ‘plain & precious truths’ that are missing so much as the decoder ring that makes the book make sense…

  3. Your last sentence is a hoot, Carol.

    I would love to see some stats. I don’t think that there are that many Mormons leaving for the greener pastures of Evangelism. Mormon culture seems to be such a bad fit for Evangelical fundamentalism.

  4. I think so too, but the Evangelicals have their examples. You’re right it would be interesting to see some stats on how common this is, particularly among people raised LDS or who self-identify as LDS for an extended length of time.

  5. Chanson: (Sorry in Advance; I don’t mean to offend). (IMHO) the Golden Rule doesn’t need any decoding or explanation. I agree that there is a lot of ‘other’ in Bible, esp. in the O.T. (Again, IMHO) the value of the truths that Jesus taught ring out ‘above & Beyond’ the ‘other’, just as clearly (more?) as-like those of HH Dalai Lama, etc.
    We would expect that a modern speaker (HHDL) would speak to us in current terms which are more understandable/meaningful to us than any from 2K yrs ago; and he (HHDL) does.

    H: I now consider myself evangelical… Even though a certain amount of doubt/contempt for authority is plainly present within my psyche…

  6. If the golden rule were the only thing in the Bible (plus perhaps some of the other nice quotables like “turn the other cheek”) then I would not find the Bible objectionable. Those are obviously not the parts that require interpretation.

    My objections to the Bible are spelled out in my post here, and for more clarification on any point that is unclear, I’ve provided links to articles that provide more detail on the problems with the Bible (such as contradictions and frequently evil behavior on the part of the God character).

  7. Further:

    I think GAs snag a lot of folks with the BoM because there isn’t a Straight Up ‘other’ explanation for it. Until/unless that happens (?), some % will believe on just that basis.
    Overall, the BoM is a Giant Snore; but GAs/mishs d/won’t talk abt the actual contents/significance of What’s IN THE BoM, because it is found Lacking.

  8. The grand irony of what’s in the Book of Mormon is that it supports some Protestant-not-Mormon doctrines (like the trinity) better than the Bible does.

  9. O.T. = Yes, at least a ‘Maybe’.

    I find the N.T. (except Revelation)
    “Marvelous, Wonderful” to coin a phrase…

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