I have only had a few encounters with Mormons. In those encounters I asked them some of the questions below. We pray for Holy Spirit to work with those questions and hopefully that encounters with other Christians will bring them to repentance and faith and a knowledge of the truth (2 Tim 2:24-25). I am not an expert on Mormonism but I like to be as prepared as possible for encountering any world view. I have outlined some basic questions to ask them. Hopefully this can be of some assistance to you if you encounter them.
Mormonism (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is one of the easier pseudo Christian cults to deal with as Mormonism is rife with logical inconsistencies and impossibilities. Mormonism was founded by a man named Joseph Smith (1805-1844). Joseph Smith claimed to be a prophet of God who experienced an appearance of the Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith claimed that all churches had apostatized and that he was restoring the true Church. Mormonism is the most polytheistic religion on the planet. It purports that there are an infinite number of gods in the Universe and that we ourselves have the possibility of becoming gods some day. They teach that “God” (Heavenly Father, Elohim) lives on the planet Kolab, has a body of flesh and bone and was once a man himself who worshiped the God of his planet till he was exalted to godhood. This is in stark contrast to the monotheism of Biblical Christianity and the Biblical God who is immutable, transcendent, eternal and infinite. Mormonism teaches that Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers and are the offspring of Elohim and one of his goddess wives. They would teach that we can be exalted one day to the position of godhood and have our own planet. Their doctrine of salvation is the typical non-Christian treadmill system of works with God’s Grace covering what we do not accomplish ourselves. It is a doctrine of despair.
One of the things to be aware of when you are speaking to Mormons is that they use a lot of Christian terms but as all cults do they have redefined those terms. Christians and Mormons have a tendency to talk past one another sometimes due to these different definitions. Make sure to ask them to define words like grace, salvation, atonement, unchanging, etc. instead of assuming they mean the same thing by them as we Christians do. I pray God blesses your attempts to reach out to these deceived people.
Joseph Smith claims to have had a vision when he was 14 (1820) where he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Ask a Mormon how this claim works with 1 Tim 6:15-16 and John 6:46 which say that no man can see the Father.
1 Timothy 6:15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. ESV
John 6:46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. ESV
“As man now is, God once was; as God is now man may be” -Lorenzo Snow (5th President of the LDS Church)
“We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see.” -Joseph Smith (The King Follett Sermon)
The quote from Lorenzo Snow and the excerpt from Joseph Smith’s Sermon are well-known to most LDS members (Mormons) and they will acknowledge and affirm them.
Ask them how these quotes comport with Isaiah 43:10, Isaiah 44:6-8, Psalm 90:2 and Malachi 3:6.
God says in Isa 43:10 that their was no god formed before Him nor shall there be any after Him. How can we become gods like God, if God himself says that there will be no gods formed after him?
God says in Isa 44:8 that he knows of no other God. How is it possible for Joseph Smith and Lorenzo Snow to know that God was once a man who worshiped his own God but God himself says that he knows of no other God?
In Psalm 90:2 it says that God has been God from everlasting to everlasting. God has eternally been God. How does this comport with the statement that God was once a man and that God has not been God from all eternity?
Malachi 3:6 says that God does not change. Isn’t going from a man to a god a change?
Isaiah 43:10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. ESV
Isaiah 44:6 Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. 8 Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” ESV
Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. ESV
Malachi 3:6 “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” ESV
This next section is asking them to resolve the Mormon vs the Biblical doctrine of Salvation by Grace.
Ask them to read or read to them the following verse from the Book of Mormon. (2 Nephi 25:23)
For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. 2 Nephi 25:23
Ask them how they resolve the contradiction of this verse with Ephesians 2:8. The verse above says that we are saved after all we can do, but Paul says in Ephesians that our salvation is not our own doing?
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, ESV
Ask them to read or read to them the following two verses from the Book of Mormon. (Alma 11:37 and Moroni 10:32)
And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins. Alma 11:37
Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. Moroni 10:32
Ask how they resolve Alma 11:37 with Paul in Romans 4:5 and Romans 3:8? Alma 11:37 says that God cannot save them in their sins but Paul says that God justifies the ungodly by faith apart from works.
Ask them how Moroni 10:32 is reconciled with these two verses (Romans 4:5 and Romans 3:8). This verse says that God’s grace is not sufficient unless we have denied ourselves from all ungodliness. Ask them if they have denied themselves from all ungodliness? If they actually have the pride to say that they have ask them if they ever repent? If they say they do then they must not have denied themselves of all ungodliness or there would not be a need to ever repent.
Romans 4:5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, ESV
Romans 3:28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. ESV
Ask them to read or read to them the following verse from the Doctrine and Covenants. (D&C 82:7)
And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God. D&C 82:7
Ask them how they resolve the Doctrine and Covenants 82:7 that says that if we sin all the former sins return to us with Hebrews 10:16-17 and Psalms 103:12 that says that God remembers our sin no more and He removes then from us as far as the East is from the West.
Hebrews 10:16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” 17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” ESV
Psalm 103:12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. ESV
Ask them of Heavenly Father has a body of flesh and bones? Ask them to read or read to then Doctrine and Covenants 130:22.
The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us. D&C 130:22
Ask them how they resolve this contradiction with John 4:24 which say that God is spirit and Jesus in Luke 24:39 that says spirit does not have flesh and bones? If they object saying that we say Jesus is God and Jesus had flesh and bone, respond by saying that the Son of God in his Eternal existence did not have a body of flesh and bones but he humbled himself (Phil 2:7) and took on the likeness of man for the salvation of his people. Jesus however has not eternally existed with a body of flesh and bones.
John 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” ESV
Luke 24:39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” ESV
The Bible establishes the standard for a prophet in Deuteronomy 18:20-22.
Deuteronomy 18:20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ 21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. ESV
The standard for a prophet according to the Bible is if he prophecy’s anything that does not come true he is not a prophet of God and we should not fear anything that he says. Joseph Smith prophesied in Doctrine and Covenants 84:1-4 (see below) that in his generation the city of the New Jerusalem would begin to be established in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri beginning with the temple. This has not happened even to this day. According to the Biblical standard Joseph Smith is a false prophet and should not be feared or followed.
D&C 84:1 A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high. 2 Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem. 3 Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.4 Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.
Mormons will almost always ask you if you have prayed about the truth of the Book of Mormon. They will then quote James 1:5 and Moroni 10:4 and say that we need to pray about the Book of Mormon to God and if we ask with sincerity he will reveal to us that it is true.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. ESV
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. Moroni 10:4
The way to respond to this is to ask them if there are false spirits out in the world. If they say yes, then ask them how we are to test to see if Mormonism comes from a false spirit? Quote 1 John 4:1. If Mormonism comes from a false spirit and we pray to that false spirit could that false spirit not gives us a burning in our bosom (Mormon belief) so that we will be deceived. We are to test the spirits with the unchanging eternal Word of God.
1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. ESV
At this point the Mormon will probably say that the Bible has been corrupted and that it has not been translated correctly. They may quote Articles of Faith 1:8.
We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. Articles of Faith 1:8
The way to respond to this is to quote the words of Jesus in Luke 21:33. Jesus said that his word would be preserved. If the God of the Bible is the sovereign Creator of all things as the Bible claims then would he not be able to preserve his word as he said he would? Does He not accomplish all He purposes to (Isaiah 46:10)?
Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. ESV
Conclusion and Credits
I hope these questions and defensive options are helpful to you in your endeavors to obey the Great Commission and reaching out to Mormons. I cannot take credit for most of the questions as I have not had that many encounters with Mormons and done as much research and study on Mormonism as I have done with other world views. I want to credit Matt Slick at CARM for some of the material (CARM Mormonism page), Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries and Jeff Durbin from Apologia Church (Apologia YouTube Mormonism playlist) as the sources for many of these arguments. Thanks for reading and may God bless.