Following are some of the accusations Mormons have made against us and our responses to them.
“You only talk to inactive or excommunicated people. You need to talk to active LDS Church members so you know what we believe.”
I was a devout Mormon for 26 years, fully active in the Church. I believed it with all my heart and took the gospel (as taught by the LDS Church) very seriously. One reason I had a large family was because I wanted very much to honor heavenly father by being a vessel through which he could send his spirit children to a loving, strong LDS home. I was a Primary teacher for seven years, taught Relief Society for six years, and was Relief Society President my last year in the Church. In addition, I attended Education week every other year, was a local fireside youth speaker, and guest vocalist for several local LDS conferences and events. The summer before leaving the Church, I was filling out paperwork to be a speaker at Education Week, with the endorsement and encouragement of a well-known LDS author/speaker who was a dear friend of mine from Provo High School. In addition, almost all of my extended family are temple-recommend-holding LDS, in whose company I have spent the greater part of the last 35 years.
One friend who left the Church was a member for over ten years, serving as Sunday School President, Elders Quorum Secretary, Ward Mission Leader, Scout Master, and Gospel Doctrine Teacher. Living in Utah, most of his neighbors and co-workers are LDS. I personally know others who grew up in the church, and had Mormon ancestry or pioneer heritage.
When we were LDS, all of our friends were active members of the Church, and were almost exclusively the only ones we associated with on an intimate level. We are fully aware of what LDS people believe in from years of personal experience. We are also extremely familiar with the Church’s teachings, doctrines, and methods from years lived as True Believing Mormons.
“There isn’t any church besides the Mormon Church doing so much good, nor do Christians produce as much good fruit as LDS people do.”
When I was LDS, I, too, was very provincial in my views. I did not look for the good among Christians any harder than Al Gore would look for an iceberg or Rosie O’Donnell would look for a husband. My vision rose and set with the sun of Mormonism and I believed that Mormons had the corner of the market on goodness, kindness, generosity, service, high standards, and truth. I really thought that all the modern inventions from radio, to television, to vaccines, to the space shuttle were invented by Mormons! I wasn’t sure about the internet, as Al Gore seemed to have some claim on that, but everything else of value and worth I was sure came about because Mormonism was on the earth in these “Latter days.”
After coming out of the bubble I had lived in as a Mormon, I was astounded by the selfless acts of service done by millions of Christians from all denominations around the world and the contributions they have made for the benefit of society. Christians give generously of their time and money. Churches across the country are responsible for the establishment of women’s shelters, homeless shelters, adoption agencies, soup kitchens, drug rehabilitation centers, prison ministries, ad infinitum. In the Kansas City area alone, over 6,000 men gathered a few summers ago to build pre-fab homes for the poor and needy—without pay.
When Hurricane Katrina left thousands of people homeless, thousands of Christians flew in, drove in, and came by busloads to help. Several people from my church drove to New Orleans on weekends and even took their personal vacation time to minister to the needs of the people in those devastated areas. I don’t know many Latter-day Saints who would give up their family vacation to go help non-members, although there may be a few. The Christians who help in disaster areas and in community service come from a variety of denominations as volunteers, freely giving of themselves because of their love for Jesus and for people.
The Gideons International (Bible Society) started distributing the Word of God in 1908:
Today, [they] have more than 290,000 members—and an untold number of supporters—in more than 190 countries across the globe. These dedicated individuals give their time and money to make it possible for others to learn about the love of God by giving them access to His Word. In fact, we have placed or distributed more than 1.6 billion Bibles and New Testaments around the world . . . and counting. (Gideons changing lives).
Hundreds of thousands of Christians over the last century alone have gone on missions; anywhere from a few days to a few months to a few years, with many committing their whole lives to missionary work. They do not receive pay for this. Tens of thousands of Christians of all ages all over the country and all over the world are engaged in missionary work and service bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost. They don’t just give a brief message and then cut off communication when a person or family doesn’t commit to baptism or joining their church. Instead, they love and serve and build lasting relationships with the people they minister to. There are an inexhaustible number of incredible stories of angelic protection, miraculous healing, and amazing conversions experienced and witnessed by Christian missionaries.
When I was LDS I, too, would have been surprised to realize all that was going on within the Christian community, and that the LDS Church was not the alpha and omega of service. As a Mormon, my limited understanding of Christian churches caused me to be very patronizing. On the rare occasion I heard of some small church doing something wonderful in a community, I would think, “Oh, how precious,” in the same way an adult might observe a small child trying to sweep the kitchen floor with a broom twice his or her size. My attitude was like, “Oh, how sweet; some people not belonging to ‘the true church’ are trying to do something nice for society. Well, bless their little heathen hearts!” How pathetic of me to think like that. Praise God He delivered me from such obnoxious pride.
I encourage you to do some investigation and see for yourself all the good that Christians and Christian churches do across the world. Naturally, you will not hear about the selfless service of Christians within the wards and stakes of the LDS Church. You probably won’t read about it in the newspapers either, because the various Christian churches don’t hire publicists to put their good works on public display. You see, they are not doing these things for recognition or to promote their denominations. They do it for the glory of God, to honor Him and bring others to the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
“You will be judged for spreading false doctrine and propaganda about Mormonism.”
May I respectfully ask what false doctrines you think we are spreading and give us official Church references? If we have posted any doctrines that have not been taught at one time or another by LDS leaders, please be so kind as to point them out so we can make corrections. Show us; if there is falsehood, please provide credible documentation and we will remove it. The only propaganda concerning Mormonism is what is being put out by the LDS Church’s public relations department, BYU spin doctors, and leaders who are unwilling to tell the truth about the Church’s history and doctrines.
You are absolutely right that spreading false doctrines is sin. This is why we speak out so strongly against many doctrines taught by the LDS Church, because they are un-biblical and lead people into spiritual darkness. The Bible warns against false teachings, and those who promote them will be judged. Consequently, it is imperative that people examine all teachings (in any church) in light of biblical truth. The veracity of the Bible is supported by an enormous amount of objective evidence.