Mormon Missionaries at the Door

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I were walking down the street, and there were a couple of Mormon missionaries walking towards us. I asked them if they’re Mormons. The guy said they were, and asked if I knew much about their church. I told him I knew a little bit, and he asked if they could come to our house to have a discussion.  I agreed, and we scheduled it for a couple days later.  They never showed up, and I thought that would be the last I would hear from them.

Eight days later, the doorbell rings unexpectedly, and they apologize for missing the appointment.  They offer to make another appointment, but I asked if they have time to do it now. Matthew asked what I believe, and I considered saying I’m a member of the church of Jesus Christ of former day saints, but I refrained.  I just said that I believe in the trinity, and that we’re all going to stand before the Creator on Judgment Day.

They started a little spiel about how important family is to them. It was nice, but I just wanted to hear what they thought they needed to do to get to heaven, so I politely interrupted them.

He responded that in order to get to heaven, they have to keep the commandments, and I couldn’t help but stop him right there, and ask if he had done that.  He said he had kept them, so I went through a few of them.  He admitted to lying stealing, blasphemy, and lust.  They assured me that that was okay, because Jesus died for my sins. 

So I asked if there’s anything else I need to do to get to heaven.  They mentioned that you must be baptized.  I couldn’t let that go either.  If we’re trusting in our own good religious works to get to heaven, even as just an addition to trusting in Jesus, we can’t be saved.  Salvation is a gift, not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). God wants all the credit for saving us, and He’s not interested in sharing the glory. They said that this is one of the verses that has been corrupted.  I mentioned that there must be a lot of verses on this subject that have been corrupted, including John 1:12, John 3:16, Romans 10:9, Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5 among others.

Then, I explained that the other problem is that they have the wrong Jesus. If I believed that Jesus was a 3’ tall green Martian, how will that work out on Judgment Day?  Obviously, it’s not going to work.  The 3’ tall green Martian can’t pay the penalty for my sins.

I told them the Mormon Jesus is completely different from who Jesus truly is. I had them look up Exodus 3:14, where God the Father calls Himself “I AM”, then John 8:58 where Jesus called Himself “I AM”.  Then we went to Isaiah 44:6 where it says there is only one God, and He calls Himself “The First and the Last”. Then, Revelation 22:13 where Jesus calls Himself “The First and the Last.” I’m not sure how on point these particular Scriptures were; I think they may be more beneficial for Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Certainly where Isaiah 44:6 says there is only one God would help correct a Mormon’s polytheistic beliefs.

So, I left them with the understanding that if the Bible is correct, they’re guilty of breaking God’s law, and they don’t have a savior. In addition, they’re trusting in their own good works, rather than Christ alone. And they will spend eternity in outer darkness/hell. Your eternity is an enormous bet to place on the reliability of Joseph Smith (who I think even they might admit was unreliable).

The law is a schoolmaster that brings people to Christ (Galatians 3:24). The Bible is a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12) that will cut regardless of whether they believe it’s corrupted. I went over the law and several verses. I’m incapable of convincing anyone, and I’m sure I could have done so much better. All we can do is pray for them, and leave it up to God to convince them. Please pray for Matthew and his friend.


21 Responses to Mormon Missionaries at the Door

  1. Jay says:

    Unfortunately, the bible is not clear on the doctrine of the Trinity. That is why there are people that don’t believe it. There are many scriptures supporting the idea of a Godhead made up of three separate beings that are one in purpose. The scriptures you point out can be explained away by saying that God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are one in purpose. In that way they are the same. You cannot prove the idea of the Trinity using the bible because it simply doesn’t support it. If it were spelled out that clear in the bible everyone would be a Trinitarian.

    I am constantly confused at the notion that LDS members believe in a “different” Jesus. The Jesus LDS believe in is the one in the New Testament. It is not the one that is living next door, it’s not the one on planet mars and it’s not the one on the street corner. If I believe in a Jesus with red hair or black skin, is that going to matter on judgment day, No it won’t. What matters is that we follow him, have faith in him, live his teachings, and serve our neighbors.

    The bible illustrates the importance of “works”. We can believe in Christ all we want, but if murder someone we’re not going to be saved, if we intentionally rebel against God we will not be saved. Nobody is perfect, that’s why we have grace, but we are capable of so much improvement in this life. If we rely on grace only, why not just accept Christ and then do whatever we want? You see we have to do good works to be saved. We have to do our part, which is infinitely small compared to Christ, but it is required of us.

    Yes, grace is the most important thing. Works such as baptism are an important part of showing our obedience to God (John 14:12). It shows that we are humble enough to do what he asks. If Christ had to be baptized to “fulfill all righteousness” so much more the need for us. Christ even said to his disciples, “he that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16).

    You are right, “Salvation is a gift, not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is not attained through baptism or any other work it is attained through grace. We could be the best person in the history of the planet (next to Jesus) and still would receive no salvation without grace. So you see the LDS faith doesn’t boast that its members are saved through works. However, we must follow God’s commands to the best of our ability. This is what we should want to do if we have truely accepted Christ as our Savior.

  2. billphillips says:


    You (or at least mainstream Mormons) believe Jesus is one of many gods. They say He is Satan’s brother and your brother and mine. That is an idolotrous Jesus, and a figment of Joseph Smith’s imagination. Mormons worship an idol. There may not be a little carving of their Jesus in the building that everyone bows down to, but it is an idol in their mind.

    If faith is a fire, good deeds are the smoke. The fire (faith) is a gift from God, and the evidence of the fire is smoke. Without smoke there is no fire. Without good deeds there is no faith. I can’t do anything to earn the fire. I can’t provide smoke and hope God gives me fire if I’m someday found worthy.

    If Joseph Smith says baptism is required for salvation that is a works righteous religion, and you’ve officially tried to buy salvation from God. If someone gave me a brand new BMW, and I felt unworthy of such a nice gift, and tried to pay him ten cents for the BMW, it would be an insult to the giver. If he accepted my ten cents, it would no longer be a gift, it would be mine by right.

    We’re commanded to be baptized. We do this not to be saved, but like you said, out of obedience. Mark 16:16 is the only verse that comes close to hinting that we must be baptized to be saved. If we must be baptized to be saved, that would contradict the rest of the Bible.

    In explaining this, I would say first of all there are two kinds of baptism. Water baptism, and Holy Spirit/fire baptism (Matt 3:11). Baptism by fire is being born again, and every believer is baptized by fire. Second, it says that those who don’t believe will be condemned, and it doesn’t say anything about not being baptized causing condemnation. Third, the thief on the cross was saved, and he was never baptized. Also, Cornelius and his family were saved while Peter was still speaking (Acts 10:44-48). Then, they were baptized, after they were saved.

    So, Mormonism says you have to be baptized and do good works to be saved (Articles of faith #3 and #4). The Bible says we get baptized and do good works out of gratitude for being saved. You have to choose whether you believe the Book of Mormon or the Bible, becuase they’re completely contradictory. Keep in mind, the consequences are eternal.


  3. skubalon says:

    A lot of people point to Mark 16:16 but I never use it as a verse to die on b/c verse 9 and on is supposed to be added later.

    I will say and hope we don’t have to duke it out over it that I see baptism as not just another work to be thrown in with any deed. Remember in Matt 28 Jesus seperates Baptism from teaching them to do all that I have commanded you (works). Plus there are too many instances of it being an immediate and important part of someone coming to salvation. Does that mean I am a baptismal regenerists. No.

    Now that being said I don’t think baptism alone will save. No matter how many times I dunk them or how long I hold them under if they are not faithfully believing and repentant then I am just getting both us wet for nothing.

    But alas Christ commanded it and Roman 6:1-4 gives it a connection to Christs death and resurrection that is nice to see take place whether someone sees it as symbolism or something more.

  4. Jay says:

    Actually Jesus does say that those “that believeth, and [are] baptized, shall be saved”. If you don’t believe you won’t follow Christ’s example and be baptized. Thus you (not you personally) will not be obidient and of course will not be saved. Therefore Christ ends his statement with “he that believeth not shall be damned”.

    When Christ talks to the thief he says he will see him today in paradise. I don’t believe this means he was saved. The Cornelius account says nothing about being saved, but does record how he was influenced by the Holy Ghost to accept Christ after which he was baptized.

    The LDS faith teaches that you have to have faith in Jesus Christ as your savior, repent of your sins, be baptized, and recieve the Holy Ghost. This is in complete harmony with the Bible.

    What is your definition of saved?

    Is it a one time event?

    Do you not believe in doing good works?

    Can I be saved and then do bad things?

    I agree baptism alone can not save anyone.

  5. billphillips says:


    Saved means the same thing as being Christian/born again/going to heaven/forgiven of sins/not perishing. You get this by repenting (a one-time turning from sin) and putting your faith in Jesus. Both repentance and faith are granted by God. You can’t repent of your own power, and you can’t understand who God is without Him granting that knowledge.

    Salvation is a one-time thing, that lasts forever. In John 6:39, Jesus said, “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.”

    We’re commanded to do good works such as feeding the poor, visiting people in jail, in general loving our neighbor as ourself, and doing unto them as we would have them do unto us. In no way thinking that this is to earn God’s favor or forgiveness, but out of gratitude for the gift of eternal life given to us. Like I said, smoke comes from fire. We don’t produce smoke in order for God to give us fire.

    As a Christian, you can slip into sin, but you can’t dive into sin. When I say can’t dive, I mean you hate the idea, because God has changed your mind, and you hate sin. 1 John 3:8 says if you go on sinning you’re of the devil. This means you can claim to be a Christian all day, but if you’re living like the world, you aren’t a Christian. If you look at one of my previous posts about the ABC atheist debate you’ll have a more thourough explanation.

    Most people end up in hell. Matthew 7:13-14 says, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

    There is only heaven (aka paradise aka the kingdom aka eternal life) or hell–2 choices. When Jesus told the thief that he will be with him in paradise, He’s saying that he’s saved. With Cornelius, he was saved when the Holy Spirit came upon him. He was baptized with the Holy Spirit indwelled by the Holy Spirit and born again at that moment. The Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost is God. God can’t dwell in someone who still has sin in them. They must be forgiven/saved before they can have the Holy Spirit.

    I think you’re leaving off the part about good works being required when you list LDS doctrine of salvation. Are you leaving it off because you personally disagree or because it’s really not there? Also, you believe that Jesus is a created being, and brother of the devil. Obviously, one of us is way off in our understanding of Jesus. What happens to me if I’m wrong? What happens if you’re wrong?

    “not by works of righteousness [such as baptism] which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5

    “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6. If you’re doing whatever righteous act, whether it’s walking little old ladies accross the street, or getting baptized in order to be saved, it’s a sin, and God views it as filthy rags.


  6. Jay says:

    In no way thinking that this is to earn God’s favor or forgiveness, but out of gratitude for the gift of eternal life given to us.

    I’m not so sure this is always the case. We do find favor in God’s eyes when we do good works. See James 5:20 “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins“.

    I guess we’ll have to just disagree on your interpretation of paradise and Cornelius’ experience. I can see how you would interpret paradise as heaven from Jesus’ conversation with the thief, but I see no justification for your interpretation of the story of Cornelius.

    I can’t see how you can leave off good works. You must do good works. I think I have already shown that the Bible is emphatic on this point. However, you do good works because you love God, the simple act isn’t going to save you, nor does LDS theology teach this. You do it out of obedience to his command. I don’t know how to make it any clearer.

    If Jesus, Satan, you and I are brothers or not, what does it matter? I don’t really see how that will determine my salvation. If I stand before God and he tells me they are not then I’ll say ok and move on. I don’t think God will send me to Hell because of that. What happens to us if we’re wrong? Well, I guess that’s up to God. I feel perfectly comfortable with that.

    “not by works of righteousness [such as baptism] which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5

    “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6.

    Yes, I totally agree with these scriptures. A lifetime of righteous acts could never hold a candle to Christ’s contribution to our salvation. No matter how many times we are baptized, “help an old lady across the street”, serve others etc. We cannot be saved with out the atonement of Christ. This is LDS doctrine, which is why the works/grace critics of the LDS Church continue to confuse me.

  7. billphillips says:


    LDS Article of Faith #3 We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

    Where it says “by obedience to the laws” it contradicts John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, etc. Obviously, Joseph Smith disagreed with the Bible. We all have to choose whether we’re going to agree with Article of Faith #3 or the Bible.

    The Jesus that is your brother doesn’t exist. If you don’t have the Son of God you don’t have life (1 John 5:12).


  8. Jay says:

    I suppose we just interpret things differently. There’s not much that can be done about that. Thanks for having the discussion with me. I wish you the best in your journey with God.

  9. billphillips says:


    Thanks for the discussion.

  10. Hi Bill.

    I find it so frustrating to read what Mormons and other Bible using cults write because of their poor handling of scripture: misquoted, out of context of the original audience, out of context of the passage, etc. It is clear that they are like the Pharisees were in Jesus’ time; so close to the true (having the scriptures) but so very far away. They are blind and darkened to the light that would set them free. (By the way, that is exactly the same condition of every non-Christian.)

    If you want to read another frustrating discussion similar to this one but with a Jehovah’s Witnesses check out:
    Evangelising JWs

    For a link to a really good article about Mormonism check out Carm

  11. Jay says:

    It can be frustrating to talk to anyone who’s theology differs from your own.
    Taking scriptures out of context and misquoting them is not unique to the Mormons or JWs. I have know many orthodox Christians that do the same. It is really a shame, but it seems we all want to be right. We all want our interpretation to be the ultimate answer. Unfortunately, God only gave us the Bible which doesn’t seem to be enough to hold Christianity together (e.g. many sects).

    It is important to have the discussion any way because it helps us nonetheless to understand each other better. In the end God’s truth will win out and all discussions like this will be meaningless anyway.

  12. Gunner says:

    There’s a reason why there are thousands of religons around the world. We all interpet things differently because we think differently. When Jesus was on the earth he explained scriptures and cleared up many of these differences but there were still many who did not believe. That’s why God had always called prophets in the past to dispel confusion and confrontation, and even with that there never has been complete unity since Cain and Abel, I don’t think there ever will be. Not all are bad, not all are good. Even in heaven and hell there are 2 forces with different views. It really goes to show the need for a prophet called of God today in these times. I don’t herd sheep and live in harsh conditions although I can still learn from past experiences, but I think we need guidance just as always for what we face today and to help dispel confusion and divsion. Prayer is our best form of comunication with God and Holy scriptures and prophets, that will never change.

  13. billphillips says:


    There are thousands of religions around the world, because it’s clear that there is a Creator. All men believe this, even though there are a vocal few who do their best to deny the clear evidence. However, humans love sin, and they make up a god that is cool with whatever sin they like, and you end up with Buddhism, Islam, and whatever. If Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” that means that anyone who attempts to get to the Father a different way is wrong. They’re free to do whatever they want, but there will be consequences.

    I agree that our best form of communication is the Bible. If there’s a prophet that disagrees with the Bible, the prophet is wrong. Joseph Smith disagreed with the Bible, so we know he wasn’t a prophet from God. Mormonism is polytheistic, and the Bible is monotheistic. That’s a huge problem for Mormonism.

    Matthew 7:21-23 says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” It’s clear that there will be people who called Jesus Lord, but for whatever reason were never saved.

    Thanks for your comment.


  14. Jay says:

    Whether Joesph Smith disagreed with the Bible or not largely depends on your interpretation of scripture.

    The funny thing is that Mormon’s (and I dare say all Christian religions) quote Matthew 7:21-23 and say it refers to others that don’t believe like they do. I think it is ironic and sad that we all use the same scripture to condemn each other.

  15. billphillips says:


    I don’t think there’s any doubt that Joseph Smith is a polytheist. While there is no doubt in the Bible that there is only one God. No prophet of the Old Testament differed from previous revelation. If he had, the Israelites would have known to stone him. This continued into the New Testament. We judge Joseph Smith by the Bible. We don’t judge the Bible by Joseph Smith. I don’t know if you noticed the following post (What I Should Have Done Yesterday), but you might want to check it out. I’d love to see whether you agree.


  16. Jay says:

    If by polytheist you mean that Joseph Smith taught there are many Gods and that we can become Gods ourselves, then yes he was a polytheist. If you mean that he taught we worship many Gods, then no he was not a polytheist. Joseph Smith taught that we worship one God only, God the Father. So you must clearify which definition you are using to describe Joseph Smith. Polytheism under the latter definition clearly goes against the Bible, the first does not.

    Polytheist –

    The doctrine of or belief in more than one god or in many gods. Yes

    The worship of or belief in more than one god. No

  17. billphillips says:

    pol·y·the·ism the doctrine of or belief in more than one god or in many gods.

    Isaiah 46:8-9 says, “Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me…”

    Jay, if there is anything in the Bible that is clear, if there’s any doctrine we can all agree the Bible declares, it is that there is only one God who created the universe. You can choose to reject it, but you can’t deny that is what the Bible says.


  18. Jay says:

    I find sufficient evidence for my belief that many gods exist in the Bible. With that said there is also sufficient evidence, like the scriptures you have been quoting, that there is only one God that we have to be concerned with and that is God, our Heavenly Father. There is no God before him. It is a sin to worship any other God. I don’t really focus or care about any other god because they niether determine my exhaltation or damnation. They really have nothing to do with me. For this reason it is not really that important. My focus is on my Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ. If you could show that Mormons worship other gods then you might have something to really critisize them about, but they don’t.

  19. billphillips says:


    The problem is that the Father is God, but you believe Jesus is some other god, and the Holy Ghost is some other god. You are polytheistic even in your worship, and what you believe for your salvation. Only God can convince you whether He is three or one, and He doesn’t convince by a gut feeling or a burning bosom. He convinces from His Word, and through reason.


  20. Jay says:

    I guess the rub is in the reasoning. Only one can be right. I don’t really think that God would make it so confusing. What about people that don’t have good reasoning skills. Are they going to Hell because they can’t understand the scriptures. God requires faith. The scriptures help guide us, but are not clear enough to settle differences in “reasoning”. Therefore reasoning and His word are obviously not enough.

  21. billphillips says:


    You have to figure out for yourself what the Bible means when it talks about “gods.”

    1 Corinthians 8:4-6 says, “As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”

    This passage states twice that there is only one God. When it talks about many gods and lords, it’s talking about demons and idols. There might be times when it uses it in regards to powerful men, like you pointed out in John 10:30-33 and Psalm 82:6, but there is no indication that these men have divine qualities or ever will. I honestly don’t see anywhere that the Bible leaves any ambiguity on this topic. Maybe you can show me some verses that indicate that there are gods other than Elohim, and that men are or can become gods.

    I found these quotes from the Book of Mormon. According to this guy, the Book of Mormon is also clearly monotheistic, and even trinitarian. I really can’t say for sure, and I hope they’re not taken out of context.

    And as I spake concerning the convincing of the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the gentiles be convinced also that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God (II Nephi 26:12).

    And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end, Amen (II Nephi 31:21).

    And because he said unto them that Christ was the God, the Father of all things, and said that he should take upon him the image of man … and that God should come down among the children of men, and take upon him flesh and blood, and go forth upon the face of the earth – (Mosiah 7:27).

    And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people.

    And because he dwelleth in the flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son –

    The Father because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son; because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son –

    And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth (Mosiah 15:1-4).

    Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the Eternal Father (Mosiah 16:15).

    Now Zeezrom saith again unto him: Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father?

    And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth, and all things which in them are; he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last (Alma 11:38-39).

    Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son (Ether 3:14).

    If you have a chance, take a look at this website. He’s certainly done a better job of explaining this than I ever could.


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