Open Letter to Mormon Bishops and to Nonmormons about Mormon Missionaries
by Pat Goltz
This writing is about my experiences talking to Mormon missionaries. I want to try to give you my perspective, and to make suggestions of how I would like to see things change. Most writings about Mormons are either in support of the Mormon church, or they are attacks on doctrines or practices. In this writing, I plan to take a different look at the situation. I plan to look at the way in which the Mormon church wins converts, at the process of discussing with them in the early stages, before they are baptized. I cannot talk about what happens after baptism, because I have not agreed to be baptized. I will discuss the reasons for that later. My purpose here is to try to build bridges between Mormons and the rest of the world. I am very upset by the isolationism that occurs between tight-knit groups such as the Mormon church and outsiders. I believe that there is such a thing as absolute truth, and that there are many ways to avoid confronting the truth. One of the ways is isolation. A group that isolates itself from the ideas of others is suggesting to the world that it knows it does not have the truth, and that it must depend on subterfuge. I am sure that the Mormon church would not like the world to believe this about itself, so for this reason, I hope Mormon leaders will pay attention. Knowing how you come across to the general public can be very helpful, don't you think?
Several years ago, I decided to agree to talk to some Mormon missionaries. I did this for several reasons. The first is that I wanted to learn more about how Mormons look at things. The second is that I wanted to try to build some bridges between Mormons and the rest of us. You call us Gentiles, but I consider the use of that term to be antisemitic, because it implies that they are the true Jews. So I will not use the term.
I have talked to a total of sixteen different individuals. Most of them were missionaries, and were addressed as "elders." A few were other people. One was an elderly man who is part Irish and part Cherokee, and he was providing transportation. Another was a man in his thirties, I guess, who just wanted to be there. Maybe. Mormon missionaries go on what they call "splits." Ordinarily, two Mormon missionaries live together, but sometimes they do not talk to a potential convert together. The church orders them to take other partners for the night. Thus, each missionary teams up with someone else, to make two teams. This is one reason why I talked to so many people. Evidently, they do this only on certain nights. Maybe. The whole structure is quite fuzzy. But it is very efficient from their point of view. There are a lot of reasons why I believe this is so. The primary reason is that I believe the leadership does not want any one individual exposed to any particular person too much. This way, if that person raises too many objections to Mormonism, it will not affect the young man too much, because he does not have too much contact with that one person.
Please note that there is a hidden assumption here that seems to be common to several tight-knit groups. It is that they cannot count on the truth to hold people. They have to resort to tricks. I will describe several other tricks as well.
Before I get into that, I want to comment more generally. I want to make it clear that I do not question anyone's sincerity. I am not in a position to speculate on this. The fact that the missionaries answered all my questions readily enough, even giving answers that I would have expected they would hold back, is a tribute to their apparent sincerity. There is only one question that seemed to give them pause, and I never asked it directly. It has to do with what goes on in the temple ceremonies. I realize that they won't answer the question, and I don't want to put them on the spot on this issue right now. But I must point out that I am not used to such secrecy.
There is a fundamental issue in regard to secrecy. I consider truth to be of paramount importance. It is interesting that the Mormon church does not appear to share that perspective, because people kept telling me that I can believe whatever I want. It seems that there is no real penalty for believing a lie. I disagree, but that is another topic. Since I believe that the truth is of paramount importance, then it follows that it is important to make everyone aware of the truth. You don't do this by keeping it secret. If it is vital for people to have information, then you make it public. The Bible is full of references to the importance of this. "In secret have I done nothing." "Do not hide it under a bushel basket." The Pearl of Great Price, likewise, speaks of secret combinations, and condemns them. Secret ceremonies which are not revealed to people until after they have committed themselves are thus condemned. The Mormon church considers those temple ceremonies to be very, very important for reaching the pinnacle of the Mormon faith. Yet, a person is being asked to join the Mormon church without knowing what he is getting into.
It is fundamental that anytime major teachings are concealed, and as a result, a person has a false picture of what is being taught by the religion as a whole, this is fraud. Soon, there will be court cases on this. No person should be asked to commit to something without being told what he is committing to. This is like asking a person to sign a contract without reading it. A contract only commits a person's money. Money is expendable. Religious fraud commits a person's eternal future. It is unconscionable to defraud a person in the area of spiritual concerns! Mormon church, you are guilty of fraud for practicing secrecy. You present yourself to the world as holding beliefs which are fundamentally Protestant Christian, when in fact, you teach a very different set of doctrines. This is concealed by changing the definitions of words, and by mirroring back a Christian's testimony.
Mormon leadership, listen up. You are defrauding potential converts. You are asking people to commit to something they don't even understand. When a person submits to your spiritual authority without knowing everything you teach, he is betraying his own integrity. He acquiesces. Any person who joins the Mormon Church is asked to give it a blank check drawn on his integrity, and he responds by signing this check. The consequences are paid in his eternal future.
How can Mormon leadership claim to be sincere under the circumstances? Isn't it a case of getting young, idealistic men to present the picture of sincerity, to cover up the attitudes of the leadership, which is in it strictly for the exploitation? Why cannot we confront you directly? Why is the only face presented that of young, inexperienced and untutored men?
In our discussions, it became necessary for me to spend the bulk of my time informing the newcomer of what had happened in our previous discussions. This meant that we never had time to cover much new territory. I don't mind repeating myself, but I have been there to ask questions, and this means I get fewer questions asked.
I will give you a synopsis of what happened in our discussions. This portion of this writing will be given to each new person who comes to talk to me, to save me time.
In the first discussion I had, I asked the missionary where the universe came from. I was pointed to a passage in the Book of Abraham, where it says, "And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;" Abraham 3:24. I then asked, where did the materials come from? I never got an answer to this question, not even to this day.
Unless an eternal God creates the materials out of nothing, there is no answer.
Next time, I asked a question regarding evidence of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. This question is rather complex, and requires an explanation first. Here is what I always explain: literary historians examine the authenticity of historical documents. They have devised three tests. The first is called the bibliographic test. In this test, literary historians examine the copies of the work. For each work, the originals have never been found. They want to know how many copies exist, and when the earliest copy was made, which is to say, the number of years after the original was written. For example, they examine Caesar's Gallic Wars in this manner. For each historical document which is contemporary with the New Testament, with the exception of the New Testament, they found at most 700 copies of the document. The earliest copy was made no less than 1100 years later. For the New Testament, on the other hand, we have 25,000 copies, and the earliest copy was made only 50 years after the original. In addition, we have 1000 copies of the Old Testament. The accuracy of the Old Testament copies was guaranteed by an error-checking process known as Gematriya. In this process, each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a numeric value. Each word in the original, and each word in the copy, is given the numeric value of its letters, and then the values are added. If the sum of the word in the original does not equal the sum in the copy, the copy is thrown out, and the process is started over. After many pages are thus produced, they are glued together to make a scroll. The Old Testament mandated that copies that were worn out must be buried. We can now find these copies. The Bible has, by far, the best authority according to the first test. The second test of literary historians is called the external test. By means of this test, an external authority comments on the authenticity of the document. The Bible, for example, was authenticated by the Jewish historian Josephus, who was an enemy of Christianity. He documents that both Jesus and the Christians existed. Early church fathers told us who wrote some of the books of the New Testament. These authors actually existed. The third test is called the internal test, and it has to do with what the document says about its own authenticity. The Bible has passages that say things like, "we were eyewitnesses to his majesty," "This thing was not done in a corner [i,e, it was done openly]." Speaking to Agrippa, Paul said, "as you yourself know." There was plenty of opportunity for outsiders to challenge the truthfulness of the apostles' claims. There was no successful challenge.
The question, then, was, is there similar evidence for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon? Everyone I asked said, "No." This is not strictly speaking true. There are statements that meet the criteria of the external and internal tests. However, there is no bibliographic authority for the Book of Mormon. The golden plates are missing. We do not even have a copy of the original. We have only a translation. As for the external test, I have been offered two documents. The first is one signed by three witnesses. The second was signed by eight witnesses. "Since I have a background in law," I protested, "but I cannot cross-examine these witnesses, please tell me who they were, and what happened to them." Since they could not provide me with information, I researched this question on my own. I learned that several of them either left the Mormon church or were excommunicated. This is not a very good record. Some of the sites that critique Mormonism can give you more information. I have seen the documentation, but do not have it ready at hand. What about the internal test? The Book of Mormon includes a number of verses that state that the authors were writing their own ideas. Nowhere did they attribute these ideas to God. In a couple of other places, it is stated that the writings are an abridgement. In other words, the text was tampered with. In a couple of places, it claims that these are the words of God. But the Book of Mormon lacks the repeated statements that riddle the Bible, of "Thus saith the Lord."
The bottom line was that the real evidence for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon is a feeling. Feelings are experienced whenever a person prays to God to ask if the Book of Mormon is not true. (Notice the negative here: we are to pray to see if the Book of Mormon is not true. Do we have an experience if it is true, or do we have one if it is not true?) This is according to Moroni 10:4, "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."
What happens when a person prays this way? He gets a feeling. "But behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me." D&C 9:8-9.
I have always told my children never to make a decision based on feelings. Feelings are unreliable. Decisions must always be based on logic and evidence. Even in affairs of the heart, like the issue of whom to marry, one must use logic. Of course, one must love the person, but if it is not logical to marry him or her, then the feelings must be subjected to the logic. I have had disasters in my family because they have made decisions based on feelings.
I asked each missionary to describe the feeling. None of them could give me a clear picture of it.
Let us talk about another problem with feelings. That is the source of the feelings. There are three possible sources. The first is God. The second is an evil spirit. The third is oneself. For example, if I have a bout of indigestion, I experience a feeling. I can induce feelings by taking herbs. A positive feeling can also be induced. We call that a peak experience. I have a peak experience whenever I play a Toccata and Fugue by Bach on the organ. Abraham Maslow, a third force psychologist, wrote a book called Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences. In this book, Maslow points out that when people have ecstatic experiences in the context of a religion, they decide the religion is true. People have ecstatic experiences in all religious contexts. Are all religions true? No. They contradict each other. For this reason, ecstatic experiences do not address the question of whether the religion is true, and this makes this test for the truth of a religion unacceptable.
Let us look at one of the sources of a possible feeling. That is evil spirits. I will present this one by example. Some years ago, a friend of mine who was Catholic used to ask me to read books about a series of events at Fatima, Portugal. Three young children said they saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary. She appeared to them a number of times, and each time she came, she told them when to expect her next. Each time, there were more people present. The other witnesses would see the sun wheeling in the sky and things like that, but only the three children saw the Virgin Mary. The Virgin asked the children to tell people to pray the Rosary for the conversion of Russia. The Rosary is an idolatrous prayer, because it prays to someone other than God. It is repetitious, and violates the biblical principle, "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." Matthew 6:7. Do I question whether or not the children saw something? No. Do I question whether or not the other people saw the sun wheeling in the sky? No. I accept that these things happened. What do I question? I want to know WHO the Virgin Mary was. Was it actually Mary, or was it a demon impersonating Mary? If I give a Mormon this example, he can clearly see what I am getting at. But can the Mormon apply it to his own situation? If he gets a feeling in response to his prayer as to whether the Book of Mormon is true, where does the feeling come from? Does it come from God, or from a demon? How can he tell? The answer is, one cannot tell. This makes the test worthless.
Here we have a strange anomaly. This is a church that encourages a person to get as much education as possible. But when it comes to measuring the validity of its teachings, this church demands that a person ignore his brains and rely on feelings. Go figure.
The next topic of discussion was my investigations to attempt to demonstrate the truth or falsity of the many historical statements in the Book of Mormon. It is full of claims about the history of people who were allegedly descended from Lehi and his four sons, or from Jared and his brother. I investigated this by studying external evidence. I studied precolumbian Mesoamerican art history. I started from this perspective. I also have access to the library at the University of Arizona. There are thousands of dictionaries, grammars, and other information about precolumbian American languages. I have access to the Summer Institute of Linguistics. I can use their library, and their staff has spoken to me freely. The emphasis at this center is on native American languages, and there are many Bibles, dictionaries, and grammars of these languages in their possession. I have access to a book called the Ethnologue, which contains a short paragraph describing each and every language of the world. I have been able to speak to its editors on several occasions; they are currently residing in Hawaii. I watched the video entitled "Ancient America Speaks," which was produced by the Mormon church. I also studied the book Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon by Joseph L. Allen, Ph.D. Dr. Allen is a Mormon with ties to Brigham Young University, which is a Mormon university. I made a list of the languages he lists on page 36. I was able to obtain dictionaries or other books in each of these languages except two. In addition, I obtained dictionaries of other Mesoamerican languages. From these dictionaries, I made charts. One of the charts was made of four Pacific island languages, because of the claim that eventually Lehi's descendants crossed the Pacific and settled on the islands. From these charts, I was able to draw some conclusions. Each chart contains approximately 120 basic words. The charts contain columns. The first column is the English. Second is Hebrew. Third is Egyptian. The remaining columns are the languages I am investigating. The correlation among the Pacific island languages in particular was striking. I spoke to my informant in Hawaii, who indicated that most likely these languages diverged a couple of millenia ago. We would then expect to see some of the same correlation between Hebrew and Egyptian, which resemble each other, on the one hand, and either Mesoamerican or Pacific island languages on the other. There is no correlation. For this reason, it is true that Lehi and his sons did NOT bring either Hebrew or Egyptian with them, and pass it down to their descendants, provided any of their descendants are still alive. I examined the possibility that there were borrowed words. I could not find any.
Not long after that, I had the opportunity to read The Puzzle of Ancient Man by Donald E. Chittick. Dr. Chittick did not write with the Book of Mormon in mind. He studied books produced by authors affiliated with the Institute for Creation Research and other creationists. He also studied other books. His thesis is that there was regular trade going on between the Americas and the countries near the Indian Ocean. His thesis differs from the claim of the Book of Mormon in that the Book of Mormon and the Mormon church claim that Lehi's migration was a one-time event. There is a vast difference between trade on a regular basis and a group settling in a new land and propagating itself. I found no support for the Mormon thesis of Lehi and his sons in this book, and when I talked to the author, he told me he does not either.
In addition to examining the languages, I examined other aspects. One aspect mentioned in "Ancient America Speaks" is the music of the precolumbian peoples. The statement is made that the musical scale resembles that of Europe. This is a curious statement because the Hebrew scale and the European scale are somewhat different. At first, I said that I believe that the reason for the resemblance is that there are certain mathematical relationships between the notes of the scales. I said that all the scales with which I was familiar except one all had notes that fit into this mathematical framework. In India, they use quarter tones, but the structure is the same. Other scales simply use fewer of the notes. In Japan and China, they use a pentatonic scale that is based on the same mathematical framework. Scales in Asia Minor, which includes Israel and the Arab countries, are based on the same mathematical framework. I decided that the reason for the resemblance was because the American inhabitants used the same mathematics and arrived at the same scales. I was wrong. I spoke to a woman who has been studying Mexican precolumbian music. She is affiliated with the Summer Institute of Linguistics. She said that the real reason why the scales were the same is because the Europeans imposed their scales on the natives. She said the native music is almost totally gone in Mexico. However, she gave me two contacts who have recorded music that has been unaffected. She said that this music was very different. Even though I was wrong, the evidence still does not support the thesis that Lehi and his sons came to the Americas.
I also examined the art. I compared Mayan hieroglyphics with Egyptian. They are a totally different style. I compared mesoamerican sculpture of human figures to that of the Pacific islands. I could not compare it to that of the Hebrews because they were forbidden to make images of humans, and when they disobeyed, ultimately most of that work was destroyed. The fact that Hebrews were forbidden would indicate that Lehi would most likely not be making such art in the first place. The existence of the art argues against the Mormon thesis, but weakly, because of Hebrew disobedience of God's command to make no images of humans. For this reason, the comparison between Mesoamerican and Pacific island human figures was more interesting to me. I noticed that aquiline noses were prominent in Mesoamerican art, but absent from the Pacific island art I have. I also noticed that Pacific island art sometimes included double lips, which are totally absent from the Mesoamerican examples I have.
I examined the mythology. I have books on Mesoamerican mythology and on Pacific island mythology. There is no resemblance between this mythology and the Book of Mormon or the Bible. Mention of Quetzalcoatl in "Ancient America Speaks" prompted me to pay special attention to him in the Mesoamerican mythology. He does not appear throughout the region, and he does not appear in the Pacific island mythology at all. The myth of Quetzalcoatl does not give weight to the idea that he is Jesus. In fact, Quetzalcoatl is a plumed serpent. The serpent is a symbol of Satan, and the Mormon religion holds that Satan is Jesus' brother, whom God did not allow to enact his plan for mankind. In Christianity, the serpent, being the symbol of Satan, is evil. To equate Quetzalcoatl to Jesus, therefore, is blasphemy.
I also examined the pyramids of Egypt and the pyramids of Mesoamerica. The architecture is totally different. The pyramids of Egypt appear to have smooth sides from a distance, although close up you can see the individual blocks form a stairstep appearance, but the overall effect is of geometric smoothness of four sides on a square base. The ones in Mesoamerica are what I would call Step Pyramids. I found a Spanish text which states that there is no connection between the two. I present my own translation of this text elsewhere. I also compared other features. Mesoamerican pyramids have a stone staircase; Egyptian pyramids do not. Mesoamerican pyramids have temples on their summit, which is in the form of a rectangle. Egyptian pyramids end in a point. In addition, Egyptian pyramids were the tombs of pharaohs. Dr. Chittick said that some pyramid tombs were found in Mesoamerica, but the fact is that none of these pyramids resemble Egyptian pyramids in their architecture.
Dr. Chittick said that rafts of the same design as those used along the Nile are also in use around Lake Titicaca in Peru. He said this is evidence of trade. He did not believe this is evidence that Lehi and his sons settled in the Americas.
I also examined the geography. I made a list of the place names in the Book of Mormon. I asked the missionaries to supply me with a map of these sites. They said they could not. The reason given was that not enough exploration had been done. I then found a map of precolumbian sites in the same book containing the Spanish essay on pyramids. There are hundreds in the area covered by Dr. Allen's book alone. This argument that there is not enough exploration is false. I have found no correspondence between any place name on this map and any place name in the Book of Mormon.
The conclusion I have had to reach is that I have personally found no evidence to support the authenticity of the historical material in the Book of Mormon. I explained this to the missionaries, and their response was to urge me to be baptized. They said I could continue to study this and if I decided later it was false, I could leave. I responded by saying that to be baptized was an act of submission to the spiritual authority of the Mormon church, and that I cannot submit to its authority until I have determined that the Book of Mormon is genuine and that the Mormon church is based on something real.
The missionaries were quite honest about the fact that they believe only in the Bible insofar as it is correctly translated. I have pointed out that this is not a problem for me, because I can read the Bible in the original Hebrew and Greek. Sometimes in our discussions, I refer back to the original text in the Bible.
One time we got into a discussion of the Trinity. I pointed out that the Hebrew grammar substantiates the idea that God is a composite unity. That is that God is one in substance, not merely in purpose. Throughout the Old Testament, God is referred to with a singular noun used with a plural verb, or a plural noun used with a singular verb. When God visited Abraham, He appeared as three men. I presented in particular, Deuteronomy 6:4. In the Hebrew, this reads, "shma, Yisrael, adonai eloheinu adonai echad." Literally, this means, "hear, Israel, lords our god lords one." Adonai is plural. The singular is "adon." The word "echad" is especially interesting. It has the connotation of being composite. Absolute unity is indicated by the Hebrew word "yachid." "Echad" is used in the Bible to describe one group of something, such as a bunch of grapes, or two people being united as one flesh in marriage. I gave an analogy. Consider an apple. Every cell of the apple contains the same genetic code for this apple. So it is one apple. At the same time, it has seeds, flesh, and skin. The seeds are not the flesh, the flesh is not the skin, and the skin is not the seeds. Yet, it is one apple. In the same way, Christians believe that God is one God, completely unified. But God the Father is not God the Son, God the Son is not God the Holy Spirit, and God the Holy Spirit is not God the Father. Three persons, one substance. After finishing this explanation, one missionary said that my explanation of the Hebrew grammar had strengthened his testimony that there are three gods and that they have a relationship like a marriage. There is none so blind as he who will not see. Do not ever think, O Christian, that the Mormon church is Christian. In this point alone, the Mormon church contradicts historic Christianity.
The Book of Mormon is monotheistic. That is, it teaches only one God. The Pearl of Great Price and the Mormon church are polytheistic. That is, they teach that there are many gods, and that someday men can become gods. The Mormon church is not based on the Book of Mormon. It is based on the Pearl of Great Price. I present more information on this in my essay "The Trinity in the Book of Mormon."
Mormon missionaries have been honest with me about their polytheism. I think that people who are lacking in knowledge who study with them never hear about this. This is because they do not know what questions to ask. They will learn about it after they commit to the church. There appear to be three levels of truth in Mormonism. There is what they tell outsiders voluntarily. There is what they are willing to admit when asked. There is what they will not discuss. This church has what we call "insider doctrines." These are teachings that are taught only to the inner circle. "Insider doctrines" is a cult mind control technique. I challenge the Mormon church to abandon this technique and become completely open. It is fraud to keep information secret that will change the thinking of people, to keep it from them until after they make a commitment.
If you are seeking a religion, please heed my words. Always ask for a statement of the doctrines of the group. If you do not receive one, then run the other direction. If you do receive one, read it carefully. Then ask if it is all the doctrines that are taught. If you sense any hesitation, then run the other direction. Only religions that do not defraud will tell you all of their doctrines up front. Religions that defraud will keep some of them secret. You will not learn of them until you are too involved to turn back.
If you are seeking a religion, please heed my words. Always examine not only what the religion tells you about itself, but also what its critics say. Do not commit to any religion without having studied both sides. If you do not mind being defrauded, then ignore my recommendation. I guarantee you that most religions will defraud you if given the chance. All that you need to do to avoid fraud is to look at both sides. I warn you: if you get involved in a religion and then discover it to be false, you will probably find it impossible to become a Christian, because you will have been inoculated against it. This will leave you with no hope.
The situation reminds me of some experiments that were done with dogs. Dogs must drink water to stay alive. In this experiment, the dogs received an electric shock every time they approached the water to drink. Eventually, the dogs were willing to die of thirst rather than approach the water. It is so with any person who gets involved in a group that distorts the Bible. You will be trained to react in a predicted way to the Bible. Once you leave the group, when you read the Bible, you will react the same way you have been programmed. In this way, you receive a spiritual shock every time you try to drink of the water of life. This is the price you will pay for dabbling in what you have not bothered to verify. Without access to the spiritual water of life, you will experience spiritual death. Only by the grace of God would you be spared this. This is rare. Do not tempt God.
Each time I have presented unanswered questions and reached an impasse, it has been the response of that missionary to refuse to talk to me further. I respond that I would never refuse to talk to anyone who wanted to discuss my beliefs with me. I consider the refusal to talk to me to be an act of cowardice and an admission that my questions cannot be answered. It is an admission that they cannot prove that the Mormon religion is true.
(Since I originally wrote this letter, I have had occasion to stop discussing my beliefs with a couple of people, mostly because I was spending a lot of time on it, and we were making no headway in any direction whatsoever. But except for those cases, I still never refuse to discuss my beliefs with anyone who wants to talk to me.)
Since I originally wrote this letter, I also participated in a discussion in the forum on amazon.com, which consists of 20,000 messages, a substantial number of which I contributed. As time permits, I will use some of those messages to write additional essays for this site.
Why am I being asked to swear allegiance to something that cannot defend itself?
The fact that I keep getting new missionaries to talk to is a sign of weakness. The fact that missionaries will no longer talk to me after a certain point is a sign of weakness. Perhaps the church can protect its missionaries from deciding for themselves whether or not it is the true church, but it cannot prevent them from thinking about what I have said in the long run. Nothing is gained in the long run because more people get exposed to my ideas and thinking. Will the church eventually decide to shun me entirely? This will be an admission of failure. I am much more interested in dialog and in a mutual search for the truth. An honest and courageous man can admit when he has been mistaken. A man who cannot admit this, but continues to present what he now knows to be false, is acting fraudulently.
Beware spiritual fraud.
P.S. At the time, the Mormon church had been advertising free copies of the King James Bible. They got a lot of responses to these ads. Did you know that their King James version contains a lot of editorial comments linking the Bible to the Book of Mormon? This is just another example of subterfuge. They claim they only believe the Bible insofar as it is correctly translated. They lure people with what they believe to be inaccurate. Ultimately, they persuade people to believe things that contradict the Bible, even in its original languages. Beware spiritual fraud.