My problem is not with the Mormons. It’s with us.
In light of the skyrocketing popularity of Mormonism in the United States helped along by the Broadway Musical, “The Book of Mormon”, Mitt Romney and your nice Mormon neighbors I thought it would be good to recycle this five year old article I wrote. The thesis? Mormons do better youth ministry than the average Protestant church! Read on and see if you agree with me…
“Let’s face it. Most of us look at the clean cut Mormon missionaries that peddle the streets of our city and knock on the doors of our houses as somewhat out of date. Although they are kind and well spoken young men, when they knock on our doors we either don’t answer or tell them we are already Christians who reject Mormonism and bid them good day. We think to ourselves how “behind the times” these young people are forced to be when they are required to do door-to-door evangelism for their religion. We reflect on how grateful we are that we have the truth once and for all delivered to the saints. We may even think about how much more superior our youth ministry strategies are compared to theirs.
Or are they?
-Mormons expect a lot out of their teenagers. We don’t.
-Mormons ordain their young men into the ministry at the age of twelve. We don’t.
-Mormons require their teens to attend seminary every day of high school. We don’t.
-Mormons ask for two years in the field of every graduating senior. We don’t.
Maybe that’s why we don’t meet a lot of ex-Mormons, while there are hundreds of thousands of former church attendees in the true church of Jesus Christ (of everyday saints) who flee the church after graduating from high school.
Maybe that’s why Mormons give more, work harder and are exploding as a religion. In 1985 there were 4.5 million Mormons and now there are over 12 million.
When many of our teens graduate from high school, they grab their books and a beer and go off to the college dorm (A.K.A. “The Party Zone”). When Mormon teens graduate from high school they grab a backpack and a bike pump and go off on a mission.
They know what they believe and why they believe it. They’ve hammered out their theology on our doorsteps. Their souls and minds have been steeled and sealed into Mormon orthodoxy through their fanatical commitment to the accomplishment of their version of the Great Commission.
Meanwhile we compress most of our mission work into one week in Mexico once every year or two. And even that is comprised mostly of building houses, not necessarily advancing the kingdom of God and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There’s a great line in the movie Braveheart where Robert the Bruce is commenting on William Wallace to his father. He says, “He believes. I want to believe like he believes.”