Ongoing Conversations with Mormon Missionaries Part 9

Dylan and I were happy both missionaries had agreed to look at evidence for or against their faith.  This was a giant victory to move them away from their subjective testimonies and looking at objective truth.

Week 9: We met with the two Mormon missionaries, Elders Baker and Davidson.  As usual we spent time talking and laughing.  We continued our discussion on the 6 evidences.  Dylan wanted to review the Jerusalem problem from last week. They said they did some reading but their answer was still the same; the writer was speaking in general terms and Jerusalem includes Bethlehem.  I reminded them that Micah 5:2, written before Nephi, got the location right and Matthew confirmed it.  Dylan said there are only two possibilities; either God made a mistake or the Nephi did.  They said God couldn’t error but the writer didn’t error either, because it was the general location.  I said when King Herod asked, where the Messiah would be born, his prophets said the location would be Bethlehem.  Everyone knew the correct location except for Nephi.

Elder Davidson was a little uncomfortable with the direction we were going and asked to move away from historical accuracy because they didn’t have access to the resources we had.  I said I had printed out Elder Holland’s speech at General Conference entitled, “The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent.”  This was taken from the General Conference speech, October 2007.  In this presentation Elder Holland defended Mormonism’s stance against the Trinity.  I suggested maybe we could have a theological discussion rather than a historical one.  Elder Davidson said that would be great and that he too had a copy of Elder Holland’s presentation.  As we were about to leave, Elder Baker asked me if I could pick him up a set of Discs from Sports Authority, since the store was outside his boundaries (we share a love for disc golf).  I said I would do that this week.  We said goodbye and set a date for our next meeting.

Week 10: Dylan and I met with the same two elders.  I gave elder Baker two discs for disc golf.  He offered to pay but I said it was a gift, if he could accept.  He said he couldn’t accept money but a gift was okay.  He thanked me for the discs.  We began talking about the article by elder Holland.  I made a copy for elder Baker so he could follow along.  In the first few paragraphs not much was said.  Holland used the word “apologist” and I helped define the word for them.  It means to be a case maker. They thought it was cool they could be called Mormon apologists (case makers).

Holland then defined the Trinity and quoted from Harper’s Bible Dictionary.  I gave them a history lesson on the doctrine of the Trinity and how the early church fathers tried to make sense with words to describe who God is.  I told them the scriptures teach 3 truths: 1) only 1 God (we looked at various verses in Isaiah 43-48), 2) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are separate and distinct persons, and 3) each person is God.  I said the only issue we differ is the only 1 God.  I said the Jews of the Old Testament were monotheists and that polytheism, the belief in many gods, was the primary issue why God punished the nation of Israel.  The great monotheistic religions of the world are Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.  I asked them if they believe in many gods.  Elder Davidson said all we know is we believe in 3 gods and are not sure about others.  I pointed out how Alma, in the Book of Mormon, clearly says in Alma 11:27-29 there is only 1 God.  They said they didn’t know how to answer those verse.  I also pointed out that in Alma 11:44 and in Mormon 7:7, the authors taught the doctrine of the Trinity.  We looked at the passages and again they didn’t know how to answer.  The said the current prophets speak the word of God.  Dylan asked if what they teach and the Mormon scriptures could be in conflict.  They said no.

As we were ending elder Davidson said we need to talk about Jesus.  He is a separate being, indicating there is more than one god.  I said our gathering is similar to the early church.  As they were working out the details of describing God, they must have had disagreements along the way.  I said just like the early church, we have to make sense of all the scriptures, to determine how to describe God.  They agreed and we set the next date to meet.

Go to part 10

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