Many born-again Christians feel pressure to master LDS theology before engaging a friend in gospel conversation. Effective evangelism to Latter-day Saints, however, requires less knowledge about Mormonism than one might think. In fact, deep-dives into LDS theology are not only time-consuming and frustrating, but also delay gospel conversations that should have happened already.
For example, a dear Christian woman gets a burden for her LDS friend and decides to learn a little more about Mormonism before sharing the gospel. So far, so good. But her research drags on. As she tries to make sense of it all, she finds herself increasingly confused and frustrated. There’s a missing component – she just can’t seem to put her finger on it. It’s all well-intentioned, of course, but months have passed, and she still doesn’t feel ready. What is that critical element so conspicuously absent? What is the thing she’s seeking but can’t find? It’s consistency.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). In God “there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). Born-again Christians rightly expect God’s doctrine to reflect His immutability (i.e., his “unchangingness”). And so, they come to Mormonism assuming they’ll find coherence, but the deeper they go, the more elusive it gets. Why?
A lie cannot be consistent. And Mormon theology is a lie of the highest order. Many honorable people believe this lie sincerely, but sincere belief in a lie does not make the lie true.
“Fair enough,” one might say, “I’m not looking for consistency, but something that ties it all together.” Good, but the answer is the same: the only constant in LDS theology, the only key that unlocks the system, is that it’s a lie. And lies can produce neither inherent connectivity nor ultimate consistency.
So where does that leave you? Should you blast away at the lie? Born-again Christians try that approach all the time. And their tone sharpens as their LDS friends blithely accept gaping holes, incredible discrepancies, and downright contradictions. According to Paul, Mormons stand in a long line of people who “exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). According to Peter, they “twist [the Bible] to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:16).
Discovering God Together not only accepts man’s nature as revealed in Romans 1:25 but also affirms the gospel’s capability: “it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:18). Jesus promises, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). That is what our curriculum is designed to do – to bring Latter-day Saints into humble submission to Jesus by the gracious power of His good news. Point your friend to the embodiment of truth, the Lord Jesus Christ, and let Him go to work. As you do that, remember the essential ingredient is love: “If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge… but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2).
So, why study LDS theology at all? First, solid preparation will give you confidence as you teach. Second, an overall structure will help you learn nuances given in later lessons. Third, and most important, you’ll be able to correctly interpret your friend’s questions and concerns.
For these three reasons, we’re providing the following primer. As you read, try to absorb the material while noting Mormonism’s overarching time-line, especially in God’s Plan of Salvation. A basic comprehension will work just fine.