After 30 years in the Mormon Church, I left my job, my home, my community, and my church—all because of an amazing encounter with the Jesus of the Bible. Coming to know the biblical Jesus changed my life in profound ways I feel inadequate to articulate. Going from a gospel of works in Mormonism to resting in the Jesus who did it all on the cross for me—a free gift available because I have faith in and confess him—transformed me. With profuse gratitude for salvation, I see my former neighbors and dear friends struggling under the weight of earning their righteousness before God. How could I allow these good people to sit in non-biblical theology? How many of us feel we don't have the know-how or the courage or have any idea of where to begin to tell the good news to our Mormon friends? They may seem so sure of themselves, so secure in their own faith. For those leading in the church, how should we lead others in reaching out to Mormons? What can we do to share the gospel of grace?
How Everyone Should Relate
Christians must relate to Mormons with the love of Jesus. When we love others, we will want to share the truth so they too can know the freedom we know in Jesus. The Bible encourages us to present the truth in love (Ephesians 4:12), but we must present it. And we must make it clear to those we have stewardship in ministry that Mormonism and biblical Christianity are not synonymous. Mormons may believe they know the biblical Jesus. They may not be aware that the Mormon Jesus teaches a different way to salvation than the biblical One. So when sharing the good news, we need to make the differences between the teachings of the Mormon Jesus and the biblical Jesus—especially on salvation—crystal clear. This is not as daunting a task as you might think.
Yes, the Mormon gospel is very different from biblical Christianity. It took me nearly five years to get enough of God's truth from the Bible in my head to leave all the previous teachings behind and to feel less confused. It's a process. I was angry when I first read the Bible in context and felt convicted that it conflicted with Mormon doctrine. Christians need to stick near Mormons who are learning truth, be available to answer questions, and point them where to read in the Word. Be patient and loving, provide sincere friendship, social activities, and Bible study with other Christians. They will need biblical knowledge and emotional support in transition.
The Role Relationships Play
The Mormon culture is tight. When Mormons begin to question faith and investigate biblical Christianity, they may lose former friends or even family. I know I did. The cost can be high. If you have Mormon friends, you may know that church members are like family and help each other. These sweet relationships helped take my husband and me into Mormonism. Christians will need to supplant these relationships until the former Mormon becomes dependent on Jesus. This loss is sometimes more than they can bear and something Christians may not understand. It's a whole new way to live. Love them for the long haul.