Discussing Atheism with Mormons
Rob’s Mission Trip to Utah – Witnessing to Mormons During the Spring LDS General Conference
Yes, it was LDS Spring Conference time on April 5th and 6th, and along with Spring Conference came April showers. Fortunately, it was only April sprinkles with mild weather, which didn’t keep the LDS from stopping and talking. Doug, Jeff and I gathered at the corner of South Temple Square and the Plaza Strip so that we could reach out to the LDS that exit the Conference on South Temple. Most of the Christians gather at North Temple and in front of the Conference Center where they can reach out to the majority of the LDS that come to Conference.
Doug and I have been standing at the corner of South Temple and Plaza Strip during Spring and Fall conference for the past 9 years so it is not unusual for people that we have spoken to in the past to stop and talk again. A couple of years ago, I witnessed to two LDS guys, one of them being a LDS photographer/reporter. I spoke about the blasphemy of embracing the idea that God was once a man like us and that we can gain exaltation, becoming Gods ourselves. Every conference since then, this same LDS reporter has stopped to briefly talk and take whatever tracts I happen to be handing out each time. Doug got to talk briefly with an LDS guy from our home town of Winnemucca. He is a physical therapist who Doug had visited for a work injury several years ago. It is amazing to see how God is at work spreading His gospel with these “divine appointments”.
I have noticed that there is a common topic that comes out of my conversations with LDS every year. This time, the topic seemed to gravitate towards the subject of atheism. Maybe this had something to do with the atheist who decided to plan a march around Temple Square, scheduled for Sunday during the conference. But, I had a long conversation with a young ex-LDS man (Josh) who had left the Church and was embracing atheism, which is a common result when Mormons find out the LDS Church is false.
Josh was trying to defend the idea of Darwinism and argued that I could not prove the existence of God. So, I responded by briefly explaining that there is no scientific evidence in the fossil record nor in current living species that evolution had taken place nor is currently taking place. Then I turned to the subject of creation and discussed the evidence that showed that through the complexity and wonder of creation, we can know that there is a Creator. I explained to Josh that the Apostle Paul addressed this issue in Romans 1:18-21, saying that through creation, all men can clearly see that there is a God and will therefore stand before God without an excuse.
I explained that another proof that God exists is the fact that all cultures present and throughout history have had a moral law in their culture. Everyone knows that it is wrong to murder, lie, steal, commit adultery, swear, etc and to worship a god of one form or another. I asked how everyone throughout history has had this moral law in their heart without having to be taught to everyone. Josh had no explanation for this yet insisted that did not prove God’s existence. I told Josh that the Apostle Paul also addressed this issue in Romans 2:12-16 by saying that even those who do not know the law of God, still by nature try and keep the law and will also be judged by the law of God because this law was written in their conscious that God had given them. I asked Josh is he was a good person and he answered that he was. I asked him by what measurement he used to declare himself good. Josh stumbled on this question by stating that he hasn’t murdered anyone nor does he go around hurting others.
I asked Josh if he had ever lied and he said yes but then tried to make the excuse that this did not make him a bad person. I stated that lying was a sin and that when someone lies, they become a liar. He said that he didn’t believe in sin but he did agreed that lying was wrong. So, I pointed out that if lying was wrong, that meant he wasn’t a good person after all. I did the same with lust, theft and swearing, which again, I pointed out by his behavior, was not socially acceptable. I then explained that by social standards, which he accepted were good standards, his behavior proved that he was not a good person like he claimed. Josh did not like the direction this conversation was going so he changed it back to Darwinism in defense.
At this point, Bob, a Christian from Washington who had been listening in on our conversation, entered into the conversation to explain Biblical archeology and the lack of evidence for Darwinism. Bob has very good knowledge in this area and it was great to see him answering Josh’s questions and shedding light on the false aspects of Darwinism.
Then Bob asked Josh if he was a good person, which Josh replied that he was! I pointed out to Josh that just 30 minutes earlier he had confessed that he was not a good person according to the moral law. By the look on Josh’s face, he knew he was guilty of breaking God’s law, knowing he had just lied to Bob. Josh’s uneasiness to continue our conversation led to him thanking us for our conversation and heading down South Temple.
Then, during one of the two hour conference sessions, when it was slow due to a lack of LDS people walking around, I decided to take a walk around to the North Temple side to see what was going on. I ran into a LDS guy named Skylar that was holding a big sign that said, mormon.org. I gave him one of my business card tracts entitled, “Why Don’t Mormons Believe the Book of Mormon?” and was pointed out that the Book of Mormon taught that the nature of God held a Biblical view of God and not the same view taught in the Mormon church. Skylar asked why we Christians come to conference to point out the errors of Mormonism just to get people to leave the church, but whenthey leave they atheists. He simply couldn’t understand why we would come and encourage people to leave a church that believed in God and family values, but then they become atheists. At this point, Jeff, a Christian friend from California, joined in our conversation stating that we were not here to turn Mormons into atheist but rather to share the true God and His saving Gospel with the LDS so that they too can be saved and have eternal life. I explained that the LDS doctrines actually turn people away from the true and living God instead of towards the true and living God.
Jeff and I talked about temple ordinances like tithing being mandatory to enter the temple and gain eternal life in the Kingdom of God. We explained that Jesus condemned temple marriage for time and all eternity by saying that no one who obtains to the resurrection of life will be married or given in marriage. Skylar admitted that there were LDS doctrines that he questioned, although he didn’t share the ones we questioned, but he was holding on to the LDS Church because he thought it was good for him and his family. Our conversation soon ended because Skylar said his wife was waiting for him and he was already late. Doug, Jeff and I had a lot of other conversations as well and handed out many tracts, along with hundreds of LDS seeing our website on Doug’s signs. As Chip always says, God is good all the time!
In His Grace and Mercy,