The Mormon at Your Door

 

My wife and I have gone through various stages of response to Mormon missionaries over the years. The scene has repeated itself so much we’ve been able to adjust our responses based on the previous encounter like Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day. In ascending order they include:

  1. Not answering the door
  2. Answering the door with a polite “No. Thanks.” to their Book of Mormon offer
  3. Engaging them after having studied Scripture verses that refute Mormon beliefs
  4. Questioning the life and prophecies of Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  5. Engaging them on all counts and ending with a warning that their souls are in danger

Be assured that the evolution of our responses didn’t happen in a vacuum (save the first two). Along the way we read books about evangelizing to Mormons, consulted with pastors, mentors and friends, and prayed for wisdom. But in the end, no matter how many questions we raised about Smith or inconsistencies we brought up between Scripture and Mormon doctrine, they would inevitably speak of one’s “burning in the bosom” as the supreme determination of truth and dismiss us, and our arguments, altogether.

We see the “burning in the bosom” catch-all as an impediment in our evangelistic engagements with Mormon missionaries. So whenever my wife or I hear of a new resource that might neutralize it, we become very attentive. Such was the case several weeks ago while listening to a Bible Answer Man broadcast on the documentary The Lost Book of Abraham: Investigating a Remarkable Mormon Claim by the Institute for Religious Research. Here’s a portion of the panel description from the DVD:

In 1835 Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), made a remarkable claim: he declared that an ancient Egyptian scroll he purchased from an antiquities dealer was a lost book of the biblical patriarch Abraham…. Joseph Smith claimed the ability to translate this scroll, and his translation, called the book of Abraham, is part of the Mormon scripture today….

The Lost Book of Abraham retells the story of Joseph’s amazing discovery and investigates the veracity of his translation. This compelling documentary visits prominent Egyptologists and scholars — both Mormon and non-Mormon — in an attempt to uncover the truth about this fascinating episode in Mormon history.

[Spoiler Warning] The truth they uncover is that Joseph Smith made the whole thing up. However, don’t let it stop you from buying this DVD and seeing for yourself the proof they present which Hank Hanegraff calls, “a deathblow to Mormonism.” A deathblow? Maybe. But when the standard of truth is something as subjective as a “burning in the bosom” feeling, any dissent against the claims of Joseph Smith can be dismissed; regardless of fact.

 

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