Forget the Planet, Mormons are Taking over the Universe: Rethinking and Becoming a Missional People

   

Space. The final frontier. Stretching beyond their local gathering places, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is about to embark on their greatest missional journey. Their door-to-door mission on Schwinn bicycles with ties flapping to-and-fro as they spread their message with incredible vigor is a thing of the past. Their future: no, not world domination. That’s small potatoes. Galactic and planetary missions—now that is the goal of coming centuries. In that day, those white button-shirt wearing, thrift-store tie sporting Mormons will be trading their cycles for space ferrying vessels taking them to untouched missionary grounds. Forget the world, Mormons are taking over the universe.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is growing at an unbelievable rate, the fastest growing religious expression in the United States. In the last few decades they have pushed into numerous countries and it would seem that no place is too far or too exotic for them to minister and spread their gospel. To many evangelicals the growth of the Mormon church has been an alarming and disturbing event—seeing the wiles of the Devil as the fuel for their missionary zeal.

Their growth is alarming

But not so much as a sign of the eminent power and influence of the Devil. Their zeal is alarming. And convicting.

Why are they growing so quickly and effectively? How do they get youth to be so engaged and willing to sacrifice two years of their young lives to missionary work—often going so far as to learn another language and travel to a foreign land far from what is comfortable and familiar?

They are true evangelicals.

One particular friend suggested, to my chagrin, that they evangelize and spread their gospel door-to-door because it’s easy.

They are a faith-based on works, he suggested, so if they just go on mission they’re set for an eternity of bliss. They’re get-into-heaven checklist is finished. Now time to go have fun.

No. That is too simplistic.

While no doubt there are many Mormons who hit the missionary road for questionable reasons, the margin of such people is probably not so dissimilar to those in the Evangelical community.

I dare say, Mormons are more dedicated to their gospel than most Evangelical youths are to their own.

A minimal amount of Evangelical youths hit the streets preaching the gospel. And their two weeks vacation-like missional adventures are characterized by trips to the exotic

or taken on by the weekend-warrior to build something in Mexico and pick-up some churros on the way home.

By no means is this universal. There are many who give of themselves incredibly and in radical sacrificial ways. But unfortunately this sort of missional approach is far to familiar to those of us in the Evangelical community.

No such “trips” existed for Christ and the Apostles. Their lives were missional—and to such a degree that they dwarf even the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints. That being said, these Mormons take their missionary work as a serious affair. A near two-year commitment of door-to-door relationship building and service—often requiring a long stint of learning languages and customs.

There is no doubt about it, LDS takes their missionary work quit seriously. And this zeal is the wellspring of their phenomenal growth.

And this zeal is alarming.

The evangelical church would do well to catch some of this zeal and passion. A generation of Christians is now emerging, ready to claim their place as the sons of light and become the revolutionaries they are called to be. A people the likes of Paul and the other apostles are ready to emerge.

But until that day comes, it would behoove us to take a look at our coming destiny. The universe will melt away at the coming of God’s judgement thrown. All humanity will stand before Him and our efforts for the gospel, both your’s and mine, will be made transparent and clear—displayed for all to see.

God forbid that on that day the Church might be outdone in spreading her gospel by Mormons, Muslims, or any other manner of faith.

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  • In actuality, I am not being mean to the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS but rather charging the evangelical and “protestant” churches to live with a greater missional mentality the likes of which “Mormons” display. I, of course, use a funny image but I think it works. Thanks for reading!

  • While evangelicals should care for Mormons and seek to engage them in the best ways possible, additional thoughts need to be kept in mind.  First, the official name of the church is misspelled in this piece, seemingly a minor point, but serious to those in the group. If we can’t spell “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (vs. “Latter Day” in this essay) correctly, some may wonder how accurate is our understanding of their doctrine and praxis.  Second, the best demographic studies and statistics indicates that Mormonism is not one of the fastest growing religions. In fact, they have a serious retention problem and may lose up to half of their converts. We must be concerned by alarmist statistics regarding the growth of those we perceive of as religious competitors. Third, studies also indicate that while Mormonism has a large volunteer missionary force that this actually accomplishes little by way of church growth. Most comes by way of reproduction in church members, and by friendship. The Mormon missionary program functions more as a rite of passage for Mormon young men rather than as an effective missionary force. But the basic call of this article is commendable. We must adopt missional lifestyles that seeks to incarnate the message and way of Jesus among the religious cultures and subcultures of the world, including Mormonism with whom we should share the gospel without compromise, but also in civility.

  • Well put @facebook-716096870:disqus  ! While you are quite right, LDS’ proper name has Jesus Christ in the title, this is of course tangential to the true purpose of the article (as you point out). I actually was commending their church for their growth! But in all things, you rightly point out that it must be done in civility and love. I have MANY friends who have become members of the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” and I will continue to love on them—despite the fact that I think they have erred from the true Gospel. 

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