My JW friend Mark has been meeting with two young ladies that represent the Mormon church. That’s an interesting, if not bizarre, colliding of two worlds. They are encouraging him to ask God whether what they’re telling him is the truth. (They have a very subjective criterion of truth-finding.) He wants to try to refute their teachings, using what he has learned about Mormonism from Watchtower literature. He points out that the Book of Mormon teaches that Jesus was born in Jerusalem, while the Bible teaches that he was born in Bethlehem. A secondary issue, in my opinion, but one with which I agree. If we evaluate the Book of Mormon on the basis of its historical accuracy, it comes up short. I don’t think his argument will fly with the Mormon ladies, since they have based their faith-conclusions on a subjective experience.
The interesting part of all this is that he is asking me for help in talking with them. He is using me as a resource. Not his elders or other church members! I wonder what his elders would do if they found out that he’s (1) meeting with Mormon missionaries, and (2) using a non-JW as his primary resource for dealing with the Mormons.
My strategy in advising him was to encourage him to use the same strategy I use on him and other JW’s. (I find this quite humorous.) I encourage him to ask them questions rather than beat them with his views, using a “phantom third party” approach in the questioning. Example: “I read online that the Book of Mormon teaches that Jesus was born in Jerusalem, when the Bible and all other historical data indicate that he was born in Bethlehem. How do you answer that?” Or better yet, one that I have used myself with Mormons: “I read online that the Mormon church teaches that God was once a man, and that we as humans can become gods. Is that what you believe?”
Using the same strategy with JW’s goes like this: “I read online that the Watchtower organization teaches that only the 144,000 are members of the new covenant. Is that true, and if so, what about the rest of the believers? Are they still in the old covenant, or some other covenant, or no covenant at all?”
Have fun with that. I sure do. But of course I take it quite seriously too, listening for their answers and using it as a springboard to talk with them about my experience of being a member of God’s new covenant, with all its blessings.