By Guest Blogger David
Last week I attended a lesson with the full-time Mormon missionaries—the suit-and-tie, black nametag-wearing young men—who are assigned to preach in my neighborhood. They were teaching a lesson to a wonderful man they met on the street a couple weeks ago. This man, a devout Protestant, asked a question that, although phrased somewhat differently, is very important: Why do Mormons evangelize to other Christians? For me, there are at least three reasons why Mormons preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to other Christians:
(1) We want to share additional witnesses of Christ. Mormons believe in and follow the teachings of both the Old Testament and the New Testament. We also believe in and follow the teachings of Another Testament of Jesus Christ—better known as the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon complements the writings of the Bible. Book of Mormon writers testify that that same Jehovah of the Old Testament, who is Jesus Christ in the New Testament, is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and the Redeemer of mankind.
The biblical promise that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established,” (2 Corinthians 13:1) is fulfilled by the Book of Mormon, which serves as a second witness of Christ. As I work to develop my own relationship with the Savior, better understand his teachings, and strive to emulate his charity for others, I am profoundly grateful for each of the testaments of Jesus Christ and know that all men and women—including faithful, Bible-reading Christians—can strengthen their relationships with Jesus Christ by including the Book of Mormon in their studies. This is one of the reasons that Mormons preach to other Christians.
(2) We want to share our belief of living prophets. We believe that a man with a prophetic calling no different from that given to Moses, Noah, and Abraham walks the earth today. In short, we believe that there is a living prophet of God on the earth right now. This is a bold declaration and, if it is true, clearly has significant implications. If there is a prophet on the earth right now, then God speaks to man in AD 2012 just as he did in the millennia before Christ’s birth. If there is a prophet on the earth right now, then there is a continuing canon of scripture that we ought to study and ponder. If there is a prophet on the earth right now, then that is a message that should be shouted from the rooftops. Mormons believe that there is indeed a prophet on the earth right now, and that is a message we wish to share with all.
(3) We are unique regarding priesthood authority. At a recent “Mormonism 101” seminar at Harvard Law School, a leader of the Mormon Church said the following:
We are unique in the modern Christian world regarding . . . divine priesthood authority. . . . The holy priesthood which has been restored to the earth by those who held it anciently signals the return of divine authorization. It is different from all other man-made powers and authorities on the face of the earth. Without it there could be a church in name only, and it would be a church lacking in authority to administer in the things of God. This restoration of priesthood authority eases centuries of questions and anguish among those who knew certain ordinances and sacraments were essential, but lived with the doubt as to who had the right to administer them.
In the New Testament, we read that Jesus traveled from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus made this journey so He could be baptized by one who possessed the proper authority to perform baptism. As we follow the Bible’s command to be baptized and participate in other ordinances, we too must seek out one who has proper authority. A foundational principle of Mormonism is that this authority was lost from the earth in the centuries following the crucifixion of the Savior, but it was restored to the earth in the nineteenth century. We invite all humankind, including our fellow Christians of other sects, to learn about the restoration of this authority and to be baptized by one with proper authority.