Ground Rules for Talking to Mormons
by Gregory Koukl
Driving to the studio today I passed two young men in white shirts and bicycle helmets pedaling down the road, going from community to community LDS, Mormons on their missionary rounds. It triggered a thought I want to pass on to you because there are times when young men like that will be knocking at your door.
Much could be said about how to respond to them. One thing I have noticed is frequently they are glad to share with you their point of view, but they’re very quick to take offense if you actually offer up a challenge to their ideas. They’ll object if you want to have a principled discussion about what is true using your information from your Bible or other lines of evidence to challenge their ideas. This doesn’t always happen, but I’ve seen it enough to see a pattern.
When LDS missionaries knocked on my brother Dave’s door while he was working, he took off his tool belt and sat down to talk with them. When he began to press them on their case, though, they took offense. "We just came here to share our point of view and now you are trying to have an argument with us," they said. "We’re not here to argue with people. We just want to talk about our view and our experience." Dave pointed out that they knocked on his door for the purpose of changing his point of view. They weren’t just "sharing."
Sometimes they’ll take another tack. When you try to offer evidence counter to their view they’ll say, "You’re persecuting us." I have heard that as well. I’m not sure if LDS missionaries are actually taught to take that approach when challenged. Maybe they just see it modeled by their mentors, or maybe they have a persecution complex, but this is ready on their lips the minute you offer an objection to their point of view.
How do you get around that? If those young men I saw pedaled up to my house and knocked on my door, I’d want to politely set some ground rules…
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