A Seventh Day Adventist Response to a Mormon Missionary
I recently had a Facebook interchange with a Mormon Missionary and she was willing to share her thinking with me and in God’s grace I was able to respond to her in a way I would not have imagined on my own. I wanted to share these thoughts with you in the hope that it may help in future conversations with Mormon Missionaries.
The following is a word for word copy of my interchanges with this lady. We have never formally met, and she had posted a few comments on a discussion and I responded with the following information. In the dialogue I will identify the missionary by MM and myself by GG.
MM- Hey Greg, I really appreciated your comment on my post. Why do you think there are thousands of churches in the first place?
GG- Because of the perversity of man. Many churches follow the pope and accept the decrees of the pope over what the Bible says. For example, in the Bible the 7th day of the weeks is God’s day of worship. The pope decreed that because of the resurrection of Jesus on Sunday that the day of worship should be changed from the seventh day to the first day on the authority of the Catholic Church rather than the Bible. The various churches of today look to many different authorities to establish church doctrine, or church policy. So if you study church history you can see where and why they started. Those churches that use the Bible as their authority are fairly united in church doctrine.
MM- That is a good point. The main problems arise when we go off of man’s interpretation of the Bible, because everyone has different ideas. I think that revelation from God along with the Bible is needed. Do you believe there is only one true church?
GG- Yes, I believe that Jesus has His church that He will call all people into because this church is most in harmony with Scripture.
MM- Yes, you’re right! In fact, God restores His church in the 1800s through a modern-ay prophet named Joseph Smith. Have you heard of Joseph Smith?
GG- I have heard of Joseph Smith. Why do you believe he is in harmony with the Bible since the Bible is what every prophet is to be tested by?
MM- Good question, the Bible talks about a need for prophets. I’m a missionary, and I would love to answer that question and tell you more about Joseph Smith. Could me and some other missionaries have a video call with you sometime?
GG- I am comfortable with this format. I am sure you know all about Joseph Smith, why not share with me how you used the Bible to convince yourself that he is a prophet sent by God?
MM- I don’t know everything about him, but I know he’s a prophet of God because I asked God in prayer. As missionaries we invite others to do the same. I’m interested in having a discussion rather than having an argument about the Bible. Would you like to hear our message?
GG- I would be happy to hear your message if you would like to hear my responses to your testimony.
MM- Of course! I’ll type it out and send it soon, you can decide if you want to hear more or not we can go from there. I’m happy to have a discussion.
MM- Hey GG! Sorry this took a little while, we missionaries aren’t used to typing out our message. Haha! Our message is centered on Jesus Christ and His gospel. Our purpose as missionaries is simply to invite others to come unto Christ, and to help people find truth. We tell people what we believe and ask them to consider if it is true and ask God.
The first thing we like to share is that God loves us. He loves us with such an infinite love because we are quite literally His spirit children. In Romans 8:16-17, it says that we are “heirs of God.” He want us to receive everything that He has. Our relationship to Him is much like the relationship between a loving father and child here on earth. The father wants his child to be their best, he wants to guide them, he wants them to be happy, because of his love. It is the same for God and us.
Because of this love, God sends us the Gospel to guide and bless His children. In Amos 3:7, it says that God will “do nothing except He revealeth His secrets unto His servants the prophets.” If God is going to do something, He’s going to do it through His prophets. Prophets are chosen servants of God who are given His power and authority to guide God’s children. Prophets like Moses, and Abraham and Noah are some fantastic examples. Prophets are much like a pen in God’s hand. He uses them to “write His essay” if you will. Prophets are necessary, and God has a pattern of continually calling prophets. Now, you can’t just wake up and say “I’m going to be a prophet today!” You need to have God’s power and authority, which is known as the priesthood. The priesthood is the way that we can know a prophet is truly called of God, as well as their fruits. Moses used the priesthood (God’s power) to part the Red Sea. God calls prophets and gives them His power and authority to guide His children.
All prophets testified of Jesus Christ, the Savior who would come. When Jesus was on the earth, He did many very important things. The most important was that He performed His Atonement. He suffered, died and was resurrected for us. He made it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins and made clean, on condition of our faith and repentance in Him, eventually getting baptized in His name. The other thing He did was He organized His church, the Church of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 10:1 Jesus ordained His 12 apostles and gave them the priesthood. Him and His Apostles taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is how we use that incredible gift of the Atonement mentioned earlier. Jesus’ teachings and gospel, led and taught by Him and His apostles is the church of Jesus Christ. It is founded on and by Him, being the “Chief corner stone.” Ephesians 2:20
After Jesus was resurrected, He came to His Apostles and instructed them, telling them to basically keep the Church up and running while He was gone. He then ascended into Heaven. As we read in the book of Acts, eventually the same people that killed Jesus killed His Apostles. Without someone with the priesthood guiding it, error crept into the church. People started to take the teachings they didn’t agree with and teach their own interpretations. People were teaching the ideas of man, and not the truth of God. As a result, over time many churches began to form. These churches were good, and most testify of Jesus Christ, but many things Christ taught had been lost, and no church had the full truth. Many began to be and are still confused.
This went on for thousands and thousands of years. God however is a God of order, love and wisdom.. He does not want His children to be confused. When the time was right, God called another prophet.
In the 1820s, a 14 year old boy named Joseph Smith was living in upstate New York with his family. There were many many churches in Joseph’s area. Joseph loved His Savior Jesus Christ, and He wanted forgiveness of his sins, but didn’t know how to do it because everyone was saying something different. Joseph was confused, and the main question on his mind was “which church shall I join?” One day Joseph was reading in the Bible, the epistle of James actually. He read the fifth verse of the first chapter which read, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God…” This verse hit Joseph hard. It was exactly what he needed to hear. Joseph decided to do exactly what the verse said. Ask God.
Joseph found a quiet place in a forest behind his home, and began to pray. When Joseph began to pray, what he saw is best described in his own words. He said, “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other – This is my Beloved Son. Hear Him.”
God the Father and His son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph that day. Christ spoke to him, and boldly answered His question. He said, (I’m paraphrasing here) that Joseph should join none of the Churches in his area. None of them were the same church that Jesus Christ had established. When Joseph was older, They called him to be a prophet. Just like Moses, Abraham, and Noah. The resurrect Peter, James, and John appeared to Joseph and gave him the priesthood. The same power that Christ gave to His Apostles. For the first time in thousands of years, God had a prophet on the earth again, and could lead His people again. God the Father and His son Jesus Christ restored that same church that Jesus established anciently, and that church is the church that I and other missionaries represent, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Obviously that sounds like a lot, it sounds crazy, but God knew it would sound crazy and provides us with physical evidence that Joseph is a prophet – The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. This ancient record written by prophets on the Western Hemisphere testifies of Christ and goes right along with the Bible. We believe that Bible and the Book of Mormon are the Word of God. Prophets in the Book of Mormon wrote down what happened to them and passed it down to generations. It was buried and preserved for Joseph to find thousands of years later. He translated it by the gift and power of God, and if that’s true, that means he was a prophet, and if that’s true, that means God is still speaking to us today, and if that’s true that means that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true.
That is our message. I, MM can personally testify that I know this is true. This is what I believe. I am not trying to prove anyone wrong or start any fights or change what they believe. I want to add this knowledge to your already strong faith. I know what I have said is true, and I know because God told me through His Holy Spirit. GG, you can know these things are true as well, and I invite you to ask God in prayer if what I’ve messaged you is true. I know that you can receive and answer if you want to. Will you do that?
Interlude – for comment. This MM was a very kind and straightforward person. She has her testimony and she believes it with all of her heart. What I appreciated about her testimony was that it sounds almost like a SDA testimony. A brief review of church history, the coming of Jesus to atone for our sins. His revelation of His prophetic mission, His death, resurrection, His appointing of apostles, His ascension to heaven, and then the falling away of the church to error. I also liked the fact that in the early 1800s Jesus called a humble, young, sin burdened person to be appointed as a prophet. Again, this sounds like a SDA testimony. At this point the narrative begins to shift from a Bible based testimony to a new way of salvation through the book of Mormon rather than the Bible. I believe that Joseph Smith has supernatural visions but not of Jesus. The rest of the testimony is based on personal feelings, and beliefs and not on Scripture.
My response to MM is direct and straight forward. During my response to MM Jesus gave me perceptions that I did not have before this response. I could have made statements but my depth of understanding was not as deep as after this interchange. I think Jesus helped me understand more of the depth of these interchanges and helped me to see how much we need to be grounded on the Bible, and to take advantage of what Jesus’ messenger has warned us about. God is love, and God is good.
It is not my intent to disparage this MM or to say anything negative about her. I think she was honestly trying to serve Jesus to the best of her ability. I did not take offense to her testimony but I did share with her my perspectives of some of the things she had shared with me. I hope my responses will be helpful in any future interchanges with Mormon Missionaries.
GG- MM thank you for your testimony. I am a Seventh Day Adventist. My church has a similar history and a similar prophet.
My concern with Brother Joseph is that he was making statements which do not harmonize with the Bible, like the resurrection of Peter, James, and John who gave Joseph the priesthood which all Christians receive when they receive Jesus as their Savior. Saying Peter, James, and John were resurrected is adding to the Bible. Nowhere in the Bible is it mentioned that any of these men were resurrected. Since they were not recorded in the Bible as resurrected, it did not happen. To say it was revealed to a prophet would mean that it is being added to Scripture as an outside source. Since the Bible is the standard by which all comments and data are tested then for that data to come in after the book of Revelation was written means it is added by another agency and is therefore invalid. By your testimony, and by things I have read about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, testifies that the people Joseph was seeing were fallen angels and not the Father and Jesus. In addition there are only three angels identified by God in the Bible by name – Michael and Gabriel, and Lucifer. Lucifer is the angel we now refer to as Satan - the adversary. Gabriel is the Angel sent by Michael to give prophetic messages to prophets in the Bible. To have any other angel sent from heaven other than Michael or Gabriel is a violation of Scripture. No other angel has the permission of God to give their name. Therefore, Maroni is a fallen angel taking advantage of Joseph’s childhood ignorance of the Bible. It is not pleasant to share these things with you but since I am a Christian I have the responsibility of to be as honest with you as I can be. I pray that Jesus will bring you to the awareness of the Bible being he one and only standard by which truth it to be compared with. Thatn you for allowing me to share with you.
MM- Thanks so much for your response GG. I think we might have to agree to disagree for now! My invitation for you at the end of my message still stands. Pray about Joseph Smith. That is the best way to know if he is a prophet, because you’re going to God Himself. If you do, God will answer you. He will show you how it adds to what you already know. Consider doing that, but you have every right to turn down the invitation. You are very rooted in your faith, and that’s awesome. I am happy with what I believe. Thanks for letting me share my message! If you have any questions or need anything, feel free to contact me anytime. Take care!
GG- Thank you MM. I am settled and I have talked to God about this issue.
GG – This is the end of the interchange with this MM. I foresee many conversations similar to this one with many different people on similar subjects. I was profoundly impressed by how thoroughly God has given us His Word and how detailed it is for us. Any deviation from this Word it is the enemy speaking to us. Jesus has been very through in preparing us for these last encounters. One other thing that I was impressed with in this interchange with the MM. In all of EGWs writings no angel ever identifies themselves by name. The angel that guided EGW did not use his name, so we know that any angel that identifies himself by name is suspect, and we need to immediately talk to Jesus about such an event, just as Eve should have hurried to Adam to discuss with him that a serpent had talked to her. Then they could have discussed this with Jesus and been protected. Now it is our turn. I pray that we will grow in grace and truth for these last events.