For our next meeting, the task was to move them away from blind faith and to accept Biblical faith. A person guided by blind faith doesn’t need or want evidence for belief. In contrast Biblical faith is belief supported by evidence. This was our goal for the meeting. If we could get them to admit evidence is important, then we could test the truth of the Mormon beliefs.
Week 4: Dylan and I met with our two Mormon missionaries. After a few minutes of casual conversation I told them I had read the passages they gave me and I had some questions about faith. I said last week you spoke about a blind or a leap of faith and I wanted to discuss that. You said faith is something we don’t know for sure. If we had 100% knowledge then we wouldn’t need faith to believe it. It seems your faith decreases with knowledge; the more you know the less faith you have. If this is true then for you ignorance is highly valued. Let me share an example. If we have faith in the bodily resurrection of Jesus and his bones were found, what happens to your faith? According to you it would increase. It would take an incredible amount of faith to believe something we know is false. Is this the faith you are talking about? They struggled a bit with this definition of faith and finally said faith has to have some sort of foundation in evidence and truth. They finally figured out blind faith is useless. Only faith supported by truth is worthy of belief.
They then launched into a presentation on how Joseph Smith met God and was told all churches are wrong. They asked if we could tell them what the book of Acts is about. I said it gives the historical record of the early church beginning at Pentecost. They said yes but after the Apostles died the church became apostate and fell away. It wasn’t until God raised up Joseph Smith, that the church was restored. Then we heard about the golden plates and how Smith translated the Book of Mormon. If we were willing to pray to God in faith, that the book of Mormon is true, God would answer in the affirmative.
Dylan asked, what if someone prayed earnestly and God told that person it was false? One of the elders said something must be missing in the prayer for him to get a negative answer. Dylan said but what if he did everything right and the answer still was no? The missionary said he shouldn’t follow the Mormon Church. If that is true, Dylan said, praying over a book doesn’t seem to be a good way to test truth.
I supported Dylan by paraphrasing 1 Thessalonians 5 when Paul writes, test all things, hold to the good. I said we should test the Book of Mormon just like we should test the Bible. Dylan said he was going to put the Book of Mormon to the test. He was going to check online and look for contradictions, just like he’d previously done for the Bible. He had researched and found answers to the so called contradictions in the Bible and wanted to know if they could answer the contradictions to the Book of Mormon. One of the elders said he had been doing missionary work for 13 months and had been confronted with materials like this and confessed how it tore him up. Yet he still followed Joseph Smith, even after being confronted by strong evidence against Mormonism. They said they’d answer the best they could. So we set another day to meet the following week.