Friend Became a Mormon

A friend of mine, who was a lifelong Catholic and went to Catholic school his entire life (and currently at a Catholic college), converted to Mormonism a little over a month ago.

He had been gong through a really tough depression and had a really hard time finding God or going to Mass. Then one day after watching a YouTube video on Mormonism (after contemplating suicide) he decided to go to a Mormon church service. He says that going to church, meeting with the missionaries, and reading the Book of Mormon helped him immensely. He says it was as if he was a new person, so he converted.

For the most part, everyone he has told (all Catholics) has been very supportive. In fact, his best friend, who has seen him through the deepest points of his depression and has seen him at his lowest (and she’s Catholic) flew down for his baptism this summer because of the change in his life that occurred from investigating the LDS church.

I personally don’t get into it theologically with him. But I was wondering, have you ever had a friend or family member convert to Mormonism? How did you react?

How would you react if a friend or family member either converted to Mormonism or said they were thinking of it?

Sounds like your friend was emotionally needy, and the Mormons loved him into their fold.

When that wears off and he begins to think again, he is going to discover the serious historical and theological problems which are unavoidable for all but the most gullible and self-deluded of Mormons.

At that point, you can help him to find his way back home again. But right now, it’s all honeymoon, and his new love has no warts.

Obviously, then, the decision was the result, in large part, of the personal relationships he ‘felt’ were developing, and the Book of Mormon and baptism were more of a seal to bind those relationships, as opposed to letting them end through non-involvement with the Mormon Church. Your friend was in need of relationships that he felt he was getting with the Mormons more than he was getting from Catholics.

As a still new member, he may be open to reasonable productive theological discussion.

I would ask their core reasons for believing - not for converting, but for believing in the first place. Their answers are not, or are in only the most exceptional cases, because they liked the people. Even when that is the answer, they have to back it up with something to do with the teachings. When they discuss the teachings, it is easy to provide them with superior understanding. If necessary, or later as they get more grounded in the truth, I might refer them to one of the sites where Mormonism is discussed - one of the ones where it is discussed dispassionately - such as MormonismResearchMinistry, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry, perhaps Mormonthink, and so on. (You need to be careful with others as they can be too accusatorial, and some have a distinctly atheist or atheist-tolerant tone, such as some of the forums of ex-Mormons.) It can be overwhelming, so the best course of action might be for yourself to privately reference one or more of these in order to later discuss some doctrinal or historical topic your Friend has raised. The critiques available on the first few sites I’ve given are even-spirited, logical, and irrefutable. However, a drop of compassionate knowledge is better than an ocean of overwhelming condemnatory facts.

Really, if it makes him happy, you should be happy. Some people don’t find truth in the Catholic Church and go somewhere else - I have some relatives that became Jehovah’s Witnesses, so I can attest.

Go Check Out HOTM.TV where Mormonism meets Biblical Christianity, at least
to arm yourself with knowledge, don’t use it immediately towards your friend, be
gentle, don’t give him more than he can handle, these are just my thoughts with-
out much of my own experience, keep in mind.

I also recommend “Joseph Smith Begins His Work” Volumes I & II, where you’ll
find the original versions of the Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants from
the 1800s, which are very different the modern edited BoM/D&C.

[RIGHT]UTLM.org helps too.

[LEFT]One More Helpful Tool:[INDENT][INDENT]http://www.utlm.org/images/pdfsmall.pngIntroduction to 3,913 Changes in the Book of Mormon[size=4] (PDF Version)[/size]
[/INDENT][/INDENT][/LEFT]
[/RIGHT]

Personally, I know this is something he needs right now and he has really changed. So I’m happy he has finally found joy and peace. And that’s something everyone he has told sees, so while we don’t agree with Mormonism, we are happy for him.

I was just wondering, because there have been a few threads that heavily criticize the LDS church, so I was wondering how people here would react to someone close to them converting.

I came to a point where I never pointed out the falsehood in a religion to a person, unless I was certain I had something better to offer. Sometimes, also, they are very closed minded, so attempts to “change their minds” was not a possibility. When I am speaking personally to a person, as opposed to “arguing in a forum,” I “treat them with kid gloves.” But when they get into specifics and argue their points, I do respond with stronger speech.

Elsely, how people talk in a public forum to one another, is so different from how I see them speaking to people in person. It’s like two different people - Mr. Smiley-Face and Mr. Death-Stare. Recognizing our two personae is a step towards harmonizing our two personae into one consistent Person.

I have a different perspective as I was LDS up until the end of January this year. I was born and raised in the LDS church. I am in my mid-30’s. When I finally got through all the brainwashing and learned the truth, I ran away as fast as I could. It pains me to no end to see my family still heavily entrenched in Mormonism and so blinded that they refuse to listen to the truth. In order to maintain a good relationship with my family, we just don’t talk religion. I told my parents and siblings that I was leaving but did not get into the details of why. Only my parents have asked why and I told them, but we have not discussed it since then. I hope that my mother is at least thinking about what I told her, but I don’t know. The majority of LDS are good people. It is the organization that is corrupt and taking advantage of good people. I can only hope that my family will see how happy I am and start to ask questions. I cannot force the issue because they will hold on ever more tightly to Mormonism.

I am sorry your friend was having such a difficult time and ended up being taken advantage of by the Mormon missionaries. I have a Catholic friend who was having a similar difficult time during college. She was very depressed and was having a very difficult time with her family. I don’t know that she was suicidal but she was in pretty bad shape. She moved out of her house and moved in with my family for a couple of months. I was never one to try to convert anyone. I just wanted to help my friend have a safe place while she was getting the medical help she needed as she really needed a separation from her family for a time. My mom started inviting the missionaries over and they started teaching my friend. Fortunately, she did not convert. She got help from her doctor and much needed counseling. She was able to get to a good place with her meds while she stayed with us. She was then able to reconcile with her parents and move back home. She is now extraordinarily happy and accomplished. I was so angry that my mother and the missionaries were taking advantage of my friend when she was vulnerable (and I was very LDS at the time too). She held strong to her Catholic faith and had the determination to focus on what she needed to get better. I thank God every day that she never converted to Mormonism.

Please study up on Mormonism so that when you discern the time is right, you can ask questions or say the right thing that can get your friend thinking and asking questions. The resources suggested by Tarquin are very good. For me, MormonThink is the website that helped me the most. I find it to be quite objective. I also have a special place in my heart for the Utah Lighthouse Ministry founded by Jerald and Sandra Tanner. The Tanners did a lot of research into Mormonism and “got the word out” when it was not as easy to find the truth unless someone was specifically looking for it.

I’m glad your friend is happy and in a good place right now. However, my heart aches when I hear that someone joins the LDS church. I hope and pray that he finds his way out. You can always give him a copy of the Journal of Discourses. I cannot tell you how many people this book has helped to escape from Mormonism.

The entire reason I even came to CAF was because of this very thing. In my case it was a person who I had taught in our youth ministry. She came to our youth group as a Protestant and converted to the Catholic faith after two years. She was pretty much the star of the class and it seemed her faith was unshakeable.

Then she started dating a Mormon boy. Her parents were in the middle of a nasty divorce. I was then told, by a friend of hers, that she was scheduled to be baptized into the Mormon faith. I about fell out of my chair. I gave her a call and she agreed to meet with me. After our conversation she said she felt confused and needed some time. I asked her if she would be willing to sit down with me and anyone she wanted to bring along from her local ward. I wanted them to have to answer questions in her presence. The Mormon bishop showed up with two missionaries. I asked them where my young friend was and they told me that it was not necessary that she be there. I told them that it was the entire reason that I wanted to meet with them and the bishop basically told me that it wasn’t going to happen and so did I have any questions for them.

We stayed in touch and I presented her with all of the theological arguments I could muster. After awhile, it dawned on me that she had not converted because of any theological reasons (she knew almost nothing of the Mormon faith) but rather because of her emotional needs. Her family was breaking up and she was in love. Her boy friend’s family took her under their wing and was providing what she was lacking.

I have not had contact with her now for about three years. She just stopped responding and so I backed off. It still breaks my heart. At first I felt responsible for not adequately catechizing her. Now I know the real reason and there is really no defense against falling in love and having the need to heal wounds inflicted by a broken family.

i have know a number of mormon’s ( and good people) and as they are a "works based " system proving that they can choose right- in their “free agency” which will determine their level of Glory (there are 3 levels)

i wonder why your friend could’nt find “peace” within the catholic church, or with the Holy Spirit and the sacrements… because it is the H.S. that leads us into all truth of the gospel

Hi there! I’m SalesianSDB’s friend. I just started an account here to join in on this discussion.

But as SalesianSDB said, everyone I know has been very supportive and has seen a change in me and recognize that right now, this is what I need.

Why are we happy about heretics?

John 12:25

Wow! First of all welcome to CAF. It will be really helpful for you to be here.

May I ask what it was that most attracted you to the LDS faith?

Thanks and God bless.

Wow. I am so sorry to hear this. The bishop’s behavior is not unusual. Mormon leaders do not wany any members or “investigators” to question their beliefs or teachings. They did not want her to hear that they have no answer to the many legitimate criticisms. Also, “flirt to convert” is a method of converting others to Mormonism that is encouraged. There are many hormonal conversions. I hope that she discovers the truth and comes home.

On a positive note, the LDS church bleeds converts. Very few last longer than a year. They are also losing lots of young people. Google is killing them. One of the primary purposes of the mission is to convert the missionary and to keep them strong in the faith. Because of the issue with young people leaving the Mormon church, the LDS church recently lowered the age for women from 21 to 19 and now allows 18 year old boys to go so long as they have graduated from high school. In my last ward, most of the youth fall away from the LDS church after they graduate from high school if they don’t go to an LDS university or on a mission.

Thanks for the welcome.

As to what attracted me to the LDS faith…
I was very depressed one night and even suicidal. I remembered a speaker I had heard a couple times five years ago, Dieter Uchtdorf (he is a LDS apostle). He always had inspiring talks and videos.
Instead, I somehow ran into a video on the plan of salvation. Watching it made me feel a lot betterand a sense of peace. I was able to calm down. After that I went on mormon.org to talk to missionaries to ask about the plan of salvation as I had never heard of it. During t he discussion, they encouraged me to go to church and meet with the missionaries, and considering I hadn’t (for some reason) been able to sit through a Mass without feeling anxiety, rage or worse depression for months, I decided to give them a try.

And the more I met with the missionaries, went to church, and read the scriptures, the better my depression got and the more peace I was able to feel/

I would suggest, at the outset, that you skim through some of the Mormon threads on this forum so that you can get some idea of the objections to the Mormon faith that you will be faced with by Christians of all stripes. We also have a good number of very knowledgeable ex-Mormons on this forum. Unfortunately, we have very few Mormons who post here any longer.

My first question concerns the role that one’s emotional state can play in making decisions and whether or not that is a valid measure of the truth contained in a certain faith traditions.

My point is this. Should we seek a religion that makes us feel better, or should we seek truth even if it is uncomfortable and not real easy to live out? I have known Catholics who have converted to Buddhism because it is “non-judgmental”. No heaven, but most importantly, no hell. I have known Catholics who have chosen the “Bible Church” on the corner because all they had to do was repeat the “sinner’s prayer” and they were saved. Much easier than having to be accountable for one’s actions their entire life.

Anyway, I think you see my point and I am just wondering if you believe that your emotional state played a larger part in your decision than did the theology?

Thanks and God bless.

Steve

I hope you prepare yourself for the emotional deflate. :smiley: The emotional high is common with converts, including converts to Catholicism. Then comes the hard part, the day to day, and whatever caused your depression is still there. You will have to face it.

Is that ever true. I’ve become more aware of this in my parish as the years pass. You begin with someone busting at the seams, completely on fire for Christ and his Church with everyone giving them encouragement. And then, three months after they have officially entered the Church, they are just one of the familiar faces in the congregation.

It is much like building a fire. Initially we light the paper which blazes immediately, but soon fades and can be put out with a squirt gun. We have to lay branches of truth on top of the paper, and then larger pieces of wood until we have a fire that is very difficult to put out. It is a fire with a steady glow, rather than a temporary blaze. That is mature faith.

The Mormon people are as a whole great folks. Their theology, not so great.

VanSensei, Concerning Mormonism you said:

Really, if it makes him happy, you should be happy.

But is being “happy” the highest good here?

If someone thinks 2+2 = 3 and they are “happy” about that result, should I be “happy” about their happy feelings, even when they have the wrong answer? How about when their are “consequences” to that error? What if he wants to be an architect? Would you want to live in a building he/she designed with that laissez faire attitude toward absolute truth?

Would it not be better to help the person be “happy” within the fullness of truth, would it not be better to help the person be “happy” within Catholicism?

I see no exclusive dichotomy between being “happy” and staying within Catholicism.

There is a deep yearning for truth in mankind. Yes some people reject it, but many don’t understand it either and helping them to understand Catholic truths would be a higher goal.

VanSensei, how would you answer the following questions:

[LIST]
*]Does objective truth exist?
[/LIST]
[LIST]
*]If it did exist, can we know truth?
[/LIST]
[LIST]
*]If we can know objective truth can we share objective truth to others?
[/LIST]

SalesianSDB, I’d keep the ministry of friendship going for many reasons. One of the main reasons is he will need a good friend in the future. As Randy Carson said regarding getting past the feelings:

When that wears off and he begins to think again, he is going to discover the serious historical and theological problems which are unavoidable for all but the most gullible and self-deluded of Mormons.

At that point, you can help him to find his way back home again. But right now, it’s all honeymoon, and his new love has no warts.

Read some of the ex-Mormons items here on Catholic Answers Forums. If your friend begins to question too much, he will be shunned by the other Mormons.

If Mormonism is his whole social structure, than the dis-fellowship process can get pretty painful. Your friend will need you in such times. Keep your ministry of friendship going and teach yourself about Mormonism so when he DOES ask you the theological questions, you will be prepared and you can give him true and persuasive answers.

May I suggest for starters:

Tom Smith’s Testimony (here). He also has a Catholic Answers interview here.

Mr. Smith used to have a 5 audio series (that I still have) but I don’t see it on St. Joseph Communications anymore. It can probably be found with a little bit of work or you could probably just ask him.

Paul Dupre has an excellent series that I have heard and I would also suggest listening to this (can be obtained here).
%between%

Pat Madrid does one of the best one-talk series on Mormonism within this series I’ve ever heard too (here in MP3 format if you want it today, or here in CD format).

Any one of these series would be a “home run”; all three of them would be better in preparing you for when your friend wants to talk with you about all of this.

I didn’t even know you could attend a Mormon church service if you were not Mormon. :o

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