1. “I can’t _______”
As Latter-day Saints there are some things we shouldn’t eat, or do, or watch. But that’s the thing. We shouldn’t. It’s not that we can’t. We are choosing a higher path. Saying “I can’t drink alcohol but if I weren’t Mormon I totally would” shows little faith in the revelations God has given us. Consider saying “I choose not to _______.” Because in reality, that’s exactly what it is.
2. “The Bible has mistakes”
We believe The Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly, so yes, in a sense we do believe it went through wrong hands. But that doesn’t mean we should vocalize that to our friends and family not of our faith. It could turn them off to the idea of learning additional teachings of the restored gospel. The Bible is a beautiful word of God that has so much truth and so much to teach us. But it’s simply one piece in an even bigger puzzle. Let investigators know that we don’t disparage the Bible that we all love.
3. “Your baptism wasn’t valid”
We believe that lack of priesthood equals lack of authority and validity, but that doesn’t mean that baptism before finding the true church was wrong or a waste of time. We need to remind investigators that prior baptisms were vital steps in their path toward finding the gospel and being prepared to commit yourself to the Lord. We need to show Christ-like love and compassion. Sensitivity needs to be discerned through the Holy Spirit.
4. “I love my church but I don’t agree with _________”
Saying you love the church while disagreeing with the church’s stance on gay marriage or priesthood ordination is a total oxymoron. That’s like saying “I love my wife but I can’t stand her personality”. When you believe in the church you believe in all its teachings. Sure, at times you’ll question things and at times you’ll have unique perspectives. But the vital key in being a member of the Lord’s church is to remember who calls the shots–Him. 5. “You’re not allowed in our temples”
Just because it’s true that you need to be a member and prepare yourself for going through the temple doesn’t mean you need to say it in a way that makes someone feel unworthy or unwanted. There are prerequisites to Temple worship that a person outside our faith would not be ready to accept. You shouldn’t feed a baby meat. Milk always comes first.
6. “You can also find this in the Bible.”
What makes us unique is we have The Book of Mormon. Trying to convince someone of the Restored Gospel by giving them Bible verses is discrediting the need for The Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon, according to Joseph Smith, is the cornerstone of our faith. Without it, there’d be no need for the church we have now. Don’t try to make our church seem more acceptable by taking the value away from The Book of Mormon. Those you are teaching can find those kind of teachings anywhere, so let them know what makes us different and what makes the gospel a restored gospel.
7. “Our Prophet has seen God”
Even though this may be true, it is speculation. It is true, however, that God communicates with the Prophet who then speaks to us at General Conference. You should emphasize that Joseph Smith did see God and Jesus Christ– because of that first vision, the gospel was restored to earth. Stay away from doctrine that has been “created” over the years or simply “speculated”.
8. “You shouldn’t work on Sundays”
Part of the negativity I’ve heard from those not of our faith is that we’re judgmental. Just because we believe we shouldn’t work on Sunday doesn’t mean we should criticize others for doing so. In addition, many members of the church work on Sundays whether for the necessity of the job (nurses, doctors, police officers, military personnel) or those who simply must work Sundays in order to provide for their family. My wife has been working on Sundays for over two years now, and she does so with a joyful heart because she knows that the Lord is pleased when she provides for her family and does what needs to be done. She’s worked hard to eventually get to attend church before heading to work right after, but that wasn’t always the case. And the Lord understands that.
Sharing the gospel is a responsibility–a sacred one. But it’s one that we don’t do alone. The Spirit needs to speak right along with us. Those we’re teaching aren’t under us. They aren’t less educated or less aware. They simply are waiting for truth. So be that mouthpiece. And remember–your words will be remembered for a lifetime.