Facing Frustrations in Mormon Evangelism


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If someone asked me to describe the emotional state of most born-again Christians living in Utah, I would begin with the word “frustrated.”

Recent arrivals to our state are frustrated that Utah cannot offer the size, variety, or type of Bible-teaching churches their previous states possessed. Veteran Utah residents are frustrated by the LDS Church’s maddening slipperiness on all things doctrinal.

Former Mormons who’ve become born-again Christians are frustrated by a general refusal from their LDS loved ones to consider legitimate faith questions. Pastors are frustrated by slow growth, and Christian young adults are frustrated by a short supply of marriageable prospects.

What’s the Bible’s answer to frustrations like these? If we are in Utah under the good and sovereign will of God (and we are!), how does He want us to think about these types of frustrations? Let’s consider three Biblical convictions.

God Uses Frustrated Longings to Highlight His Provision

In Genesis 2:18, God observes His creative efforts and concludes something surprising, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” We might expect God to hop to it and get to work immediately.

Instead, God takes a seeming detour – He wants the man to name all the animals first! In doing so, God instills a sinless frustration in the man to create a longing, “there was not a helper fit for him.” God waited to meet the man’s need until the man realized it was even there. You may have some God-given longings that remain unfulfilled. And your sense of that frustration could very well be the harbinger of God’s provision.

God Commands Impossible Tasks to Highlight His Power

In Matthew 14, a huge mass of people pursued Jesus into the sparsely populated hills surrounding the Sea of Galilee. Jesus took great compassion on these 5,000 men plus women and children – he healed their sick (14:14) and taught them many things (Mark 6:34).

But when evening came, the crowd was hungry and Jesus, ever compassionate, commanded the disciples to perform an impossible task: “you give them something to eat” (14:16).

Here was an order so audacious that it left the disciples gobsmacked (John 6:9). But Jesus already knew what he was going to do (John 6:6), so He commanded the impossible simply to highlight His power. His miracle was the vehicle of their obedience (Matthew 14:19). The task of faithful evangelism to LDS people is an impossible one. Fortunately for us, our God’s power may be the means of our obedience.

God Harnesses Trials to Produce Hope

In Romans 5:1–5, Paul offers a gospel-centered perspective on trials. Because we have peace with God (5:1) and access to Him (5:2), trials take on a whole new character – “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (5:3–5).

All too often, we allow trials to breed passivity and self-pity. Paul would have us to rejoice, for God is using these trials to produce the transcendent virtues listed above. According to Romans 5, LDS people are not the main point of our evangelistic efforts — we are. Through our efforts to deliver the gospel, God is shaping something profound in us.


Our Lord, who does all things well (Mark 7:37), is actively using whatever frustrations you might feel to work in you an “eternal weight of glory beyond comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Christ puts a premium on “the tested genuineness of your faith — more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire (1 Peter 1:7).

To say that there is a purpose in your frustrations sells the Lord short, for He intends to produce something of cosmic significance in your heart and mind.