I love the story in Luke 6 of the Lord standing before his critics on the Sabbath day as they watch his every move, looking for some way to accuse him of breaking Jewish law. A man with a withered hand is there, and his critics are watching to see if Jesus might heal him on the Sabbath day so they can condemn him. He knows what is going on, and fearlessly asks the withered man to stand. Jesus speaks to his critics: “I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the sabbath says to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?” And after looking around at them, he simply says to the afflicted man, “Stretch forth thy hand.” It is now healed. Are the critics impressed by this evidence of Christ’s divinity? Do they fall to their knees to worship, or at least show a little respect? No. In fact, “they were filled with madness” and began plotting what they could do to destroy Christ.
We need to realize that there are religious leaders in these days who likewise are filled with madness and seek only to destroy. This certainly includes clerics who stir up terrorism, but I’ve also seen similar madness in nominal Christians dedicated to the “countercult” movement, the ones who will look for any excuse to condemn, say, the Mormons, and who produce deceptive and sensational videos and books aimed st stirring up anger and fear. These few-but-noisy true-blue anti-Mormons (T-BAMs) are beyond reason and logic. When speaking with them, it is a waste of time to respond to their haranguing arguments, for they are not operating in a plane where logic makes a difference – they are literally filled with madness. I suggest that we not engage in debates with them, but ask them to stretch forth their hand, shake it, and leave. But watch your back as you go.
On the other hand, there are many people who have been infected with T-BAM propaganda, but may listen sincerely when you explain the refutation to one or more of the arguments they might throw out. Such folks may initially show a hostile “anti-Mormon” attitude, but if there is any sign of sincerity or willingness to hear the other side, there may be hope. Directing them to some useful sources of LDS information and showing them some of the wonderful evidences of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, for example, might help them make a paradigm shift and move ahead spiritually. The part of their soul that was spiritually withered may be made whole through the power of the Lord. Conversion may not be the result, but if you can help someone move from irrational fear of the Restored Gospel to some level of tolerance and respect, you’ve helped them significantly.