Ten Lies I Told as a Mormon Missionary [Excerpt]
The Bible predicts a dreadful fate for liars. For instance, while banished on the island of Patmos, the Apostle John saw that "all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Revelation:21:8). Similarly, the beloved disciple writes, liars are doomed to an eternity outside of God's presence (Revelation:22:15). Because Satan is the father of lies (John:8:44), lying is extremely serious sin.
As a full-time Mormon missionary from 1975 to 1977, I lied for the church countless times. I spoke truthfully about my background, but touted many Mormon teachings that contradict the Bible. I can't remember all of my missionary lies. Some were small, others grandiose, but all were false and misleading. Here are ten I'll never forget.
1. We're Not Trying to Convert You: Of all my lies, this was the most frequent. A standard door-to-door proselyting pitch began with, "We represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Interrupting, many people said they had their own religion. "Oh, we're not trying to convert you," I responded. "We're sharing a message for all faiths."
2. The Bible is Insufficient: According to their eighth Article of Faith, Mormons accept the Bible as the word of God only when it's translated correctly. How convenient for a missionary. When a non-Mormon's interpretation of scripture differed from mine, I frequently blamed faulty Bible translation. And since I believed the Bible was missing "many plain and precious things," as the Book of Mormon claims in 1 Nephi 13:28-29, I urged prospective converts not to trust it completely.
3. We're the Only True Christians: For decades, the Mormon Church has tried to blend with mainstream Christianity. Accordingly, during my mission a quarter-century ago, I worked hard to convince prospects that Mormons believe in the biblical Jesus. So which Jesus and gospel do Mormons preach? While a missionary, I taught that Christ was the firstborn spirit child of the Father in a premortal life. (The remainder of humanity was born as spirits later in this "pre-existence.") But I didn't tell prospects this was a literal birth, the result of literal fathering, as Mormon prophets and apostles have claimed. If asked, I taught that the devil was born as one of God's noble spirit sons during the pre-existence, but had rebelled and started a war in heaven.
4. We're the Only True Church: According to our script, Smith prayed in 1820 about which church to join. He claimed the Father and Son appeared and told him that all Christian churches of the day were wrong. Smith said he was forbidden to join any of them, that their creeds were abominable and their professors all corrupt.
5. We Have a Living Prophet: I criticized Christians because their church lacked a living prophet. Mormons claim the true church must have one. My favorite Bible proof text to back this claim was Amos:3:7, which reads, "Surely, the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."
6. The Book of Mormon is Scripture: Joseph Smith claimed that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on earth, adding that man would become closer to God by following its precepts than by obeying any other book ("History of the Church," Vol. 4, p. 461). Replace "Book of Mormon" with "the Bible" and Smith would have told the truth.
7. You're Saved By Works: More than any other Mormon lie, this undermines Christ's atonement, which is the most sacred doctrine of the Bible. Mormons usually equate salvation with resurrection. Likewise, they refer to eternal life as "exaltation." I did both while teaching prospective converts. I relished the church's third Article of Faith, which claims, "through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel."
8. People Can Become Gods: Given its explosive nature, this tenet was rarely shared with prospective converts. Missionaries try to entice people into Mormonism gradually, and presenting the doctrine of plural gods is seldom the best way. When discussing plural gods on my mission, I sidestepped Isaiah:44:8 whenever possible. "Is there a God beside me?" the passage reads. "Yea, there is no God; I know not any." Other verses amply testify that only one God exists in the universe (Deuteronomy:4:35, 39; 6:4; Isaiah:43:10-11; 45:21-23).
9. You're Born Again By Becoming a Mormon: One of my favorite missionary scriptures was John:3:5. "Verily, verily I say unto you," the Savior explains, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." To Mormon missionaries everywhere, being born of water means baptism into the Mormon Church. Birth of the Spirit refers to the gift of the Holy Ghost, allegedly bestowed after baptism. Unfortunately, during my mission, I didn't know what it means to be born again. Membership in a church organization might foster social activity and fellowship, but it's not spiritual rebirth.
10. Temple Marriage is Required for Eternal Life: I participated in well over 100 Mormon temple ceremonies from 1975 to 1982, including my own marriage in 1977. Based heavily on freemasonry, temple rites are the church's most carefully guarded secrets. And "celestial marriage," which supposedly weds men and women eternally, is probably the most important temple ordinance. While a missionary, I frequently told prospects they needed temple marriage to gain eternal life.