Last week as I was finishing my yard work I got into a conversation with my neighbor. After a few minutes of talking I turned around to be greeted by two young men with ties and badges; obviously, Mormon missionaries.They asked me if I was interested in an ongoing study. I told them I’d have to think about it but would they like to come into the house to talk; they said they’d love to.
These young men were the typical missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; white, college age, short haircuts, very well dressed, and extremely polite.After offering water, I asked questions about where they were from and what they would do after their missionary commitment ended.Both were from Utah and would return to Utah to finish their college degrees.They then asked me if I had any questions about their beliefs.I told them I have strong religious beliefs but if they could show me I was wrong, I’d be willing to change them.I suggested they should be willing to do the same and they said they would.
I asked them about their beliefs concerning the Book of Mormon and the Bible; do you believe they are both revelations of God? And if there is a contradiction between them, which one takes precedent?They said both books are Testaments from God and that according to their study and beliefs there are no contradictions.I told them I had done some reading on their religion and had a question about God the Father; does He have physical body according to their beliefs?They said they believe He does.They read from Doctrine and Covenants where Joseph Smith says God the Father has a body.I asked them, where in the Bible do you support that belief?First they took me to Genesis where it says we were made in the image of God.Since we are physical beings, to be in God’s image, He must be physical.I asked if the word “image” could have a non-physical definition such as the statement, “I am going to change my image.”In this statement the person is talking about a change in character and not altering his or her physical image.They both agreed image could be non-physical.They then had me go to Acts 7 where Stephen looks up to heaven and sees Jesus sitting at the right hand of God.If God has a right hand then he must have a physical body.I then asked if “right hand” could be an expression of power, such as my foreman is my right hand man.They both acknowledged that was possible.
My next challenge was to take them to a few verses that indicate God the Father is not a physical being.First I went to John 4:24 where he writes that God is spirit.They thought possibly John was talking about the Holy Spirit being referred to in v24 as a spirit.I had them read the passages in context and it became obvious John was talking about God the Father.We then went to Luke 24:38-40 “And He [Jesus speaking after the resurrection] said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 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.’ 40 And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.”Jesus was saying touch me because I am physical, I am not a ghost, a spirit cannot be touched because it is not physical. God the Father is a spirit and therefore, does not have a physical body.I also took them to Colossians 1:15 where it says Jesus is the image of the invisible God.God the Father cannot have a physical body if He is invisible.
They did not have an answer for these passages and said they’d have to read these passages in context to make sure I was accurate.I commended them for making sure everything I said was accurate and in context.
They said in the Godhead there are three beings the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and each was a separate God.I asked them do you believe there are three Gods and they said yes but they worship only one.I stated here is another problem; this goes against the Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity. I said as you go door to door you must hear about the Trinity from Christians.They said they do but that no one they visited was able to explain the Trinity.I asked if they would like me to give them a clear definition of the Trinity. They said yes they’d love to hear what I had to say.
First I defined the Trinity as one God subsisting in three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.All three are co-eternal, co-equal, and share the same substance, hence only one God.I then went through the Scriptures to show them three criteria in the Bible for the Doctrine of the Trinity; 1) the Bible teaches there is only one God, 2) the Bible teaches the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct persons (non-physical characteristics such as each has a will, ability to communicate, and ability to love), 3) the Bible teaches each is God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are God but there is only one God).I restated my earlier definition: One God subsisting in three persons Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.I asked does my definition make sense and they said it did.I told them there is nothing contradictory in my definition and in my explanation.
If I understand your beliefs correctly, you have no problem with all three in the Godhead being distinct persons and all three being God; your problem is with the passages stating there is only one God.I then had them write down various passages that taught there is only one God: Deuteronomy 6:4“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” And in Isaiah chapters 43-48, multiple verses which over and over again say there is only one God and there is no other.I went through the chapters and pointed out some highlights such as Isaiah 43:10 “‘You are My witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.’”This passage and other Biblical verses clearly teach there cannot be more than one God.The Mormon teaching there are three Gods is clearly false.They said they’d look these passages up and get back to me.
Our conversation was extremely relaxed and pleasant, but they left with a rock in their shoe.I had given them plenty to think about.You never know how God can use working in the yard as an opportunity to be His ambassador.
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