“God has surely promised His grace to the humbled: that is, to those who mourn over and despair of themselves. But a man cannot be thoroughly humbled till he realizes that his salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, counsels, efforts, will and works, and depends absolutely on the will, counsel, pleasure and work of Another — God alone.” -Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will
I sure love how Sharon quoted Martin Luther in an e-mail prior to this interview. God is the only one who can save sinners, even those who are trapped in cults. In this interview, Sharon shares her passion to share the gospel, ministry and blogging to bring the Good News to Mormons.
Delighting Grace: Our readers may not know this, but you used to be in another ministry geared also to Mormons, Word for the Weary. I used to receive your newsletters and I’m thankful for that. What happens to Word for the Weary?
Sharon Lindbloom: Back in the late 1980s God laid the lost condition of Mormons on my heart. I wanted nothing more than to tell Mormons about Christ! But I lived in an area of the United States where very few Mormons lived. So after much prayer and seeking of godly counsel, I founded a little ministry called Word for the Weary. This ministry became a vehicle through which I could tell Mormons about Christ and also share my burden for Mormons with other Christians, equipping and encouraging them to carry the Gospel to the Mormon people. After nearly 20 years of serving God through Word for the Weary, God provided an opportunity for me to become a volunteer staff member for a different ministry to Mormons — Mormonism Research Ministry (MRM). When I went on staff at MRM, Word for the Weary became dormant. Today, my ministry focus is channeled through MRM, but all the information from the old Word for the Weary website (www.answeringlds.org) is still available online.
Delighting Grace: Is there a difference between working with Word for the Weary then and Mormonism Research Ministry (MRM) now? Are their adjustments?
Sharon Lindbloom: Serving God through Word for the Weary was an incredible blessing! I am very thankful for the time I had in that ministry. I am also very thankful for the opportunity to serve with MRM. I love being part of a full staff — something I did not experience as the lone staff member at Word for the Weary. The Bible says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 ESV). It is a true blessing to work with the people of MRM, to learn from them, to benefit from their wisdom, to be encouraged by their support, and to work together toward the common goal to “propagate the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to critically evaluate the differences between Mormonism and biblical Christianity.”
Delighting Grace: What advice can you give to Christians who will leave or start a new ministry?
Sharon Lindbloom: The Bible says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). It is so important to know that it is God who is calling us to begin or join a ministry. When we follow God where He is leading, we know He will strengthen and equip us, and bless our efforts. In addition, I think it is important to have local support from believers. These friends will encourage, pray, and promote the ministry as it grows, enabling its reach to lengthen and touch those in need. Finally, we must be willing to step out in faith and trust that the Lord will supply every need, for if He is building the house, He will see to its completion.
Delighting Grace: I love Mormonism Research Ministry. I was happy when Bill McKeever (director of MRM) announces a few years ago that there will be a blog and you will be writing for it. I really love your works. So how do you come up with the name of the blog “Mormon Coffee” and what does it offer other than the already wealthy contents of MRM’s website (mrm.org)?
Sharon Lindbloom: Thank you for your kind words of encouragement, Nitoy. MRM’s blog, Mormon Coffee, offers readers a very different experience than that of visiting the website. The blog is an interactive venue where readers may choose to become part of a vocal community, expressing their own comments, insights, questions and criticisms in response to the new articles that are written and posted to the blog twice-weekly. The name of the blog, Mormon Coffee, was chosen with two things in mind. One was in an effort to reflect the idea of a friendly atmosphere where friends can gather, like a coffee shop. But in Mormonism, drinking coffee is against a latter-day commandment. So the name Mormon Coffee was chosen as a light-hearted way to let readers know that the content of the blog is not Mormon Church-approved.
Delighting Grace: How do you prepare articles for Mormon Coffee blog?
Sharon Lindbloom: Many Mormon Coffee articles are based on current events. I will read something about Mormonism in the news and an idea will occur to me on how I might use the news article as a jumping off point to teach people about inconsistencies within Mormonism and how that religion differs from Christianity. At other times, someone in the Mormon Coffee online community might bring up a question or an observation that suggests a good topic for a full blog article. Sometimes ideas come to me as I do my personal Bible study or listen to sermons at church. Whatever the source of the idea, the goal is always that outlined in 2 Timothy 2:24-26: “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
Delighting Grace: For apologetics bloggers out there, what topics should matter to them and what should they give to their readers?
Sharon Lindbloom: One thing I have learned very well over the years is that God reaches individuals in individually unique ways. That is, He chooses to use many different approaches and topics to prick the hearts and minds of the lost. The nature of a blog is that it offers readers fresh content continually. Because of this, a lot of different topics are raised and discussed in the natural course of blogging. I believe God can (and will) use every blog article that honors Him. As with any writing, the blogger’s goal is to effectively communicate truth to readers. Online readers might more accurately be called online skimmers. Many of them look over content quickly, grabbing onto a few nuggets as they go. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep any blog article concise and focused on one important point. More information can then be provided via the comment thread or in another blog article on another day. I must confess, though, that I am not good at following my own advice.
Delighting Grace: Me too Sharon :-). You’re ministering Mormons or Latter Day Saints (LDS) and you’re not a former Mormon. What are advantages and disadvantages for not being a former Mormon in reaching Mormons with the gospel?
Sharon Lindbloom: I have noticed both advantages and disadvantages in ministering to Mormons while not having ever been a Mormon myself. Some Mormons think very poorly of ex-Mormons and will not talk to them or give their words due consideration; but they will talk with someone like me. Other Mormons hold the position that those who have never been members of the Mormon Church cannot possibly understand what Mormonism is or what it is to be Mormon. As I mentioned earlier, every person is an individual. God, in His mercy, has provided witnesses of all kinds to bring the Good News of the Gospel to those who are lost.
Delighting Grace: Sharon, please ask our readers to check out Mormonism Research Ministry, its website and blog.
Sharon Lindbloom: Gladly! Please visit www.mrm.org to learn more about Mormonism Research Ministry and to find resources that will help you become an effective missionary to Mormons. At the MRM website you can: sign up for our free bi-monthly newsletter, Mormonism Researched; listen to MRM’s daily radio show and podcast, Viewpoint on Mormonism (both current and archived broadcasts); watch MRM.tv which offers many and varied videos for online viewing; browse recommended resources available for purchase; and, of course, access Mormon Coffee (http://blog.mrm.org/) and join in the discussion. We would love to see you there!
Delighting Grace: I wouldn’t end this interview without asking about Mormonism or The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (LDS). What one word best describe Mormonism and why it is NOT a Christian group.
Sharon Lindbloom: I know I said we need to be concise and focused online, but one word is impossible! I would like to make a distinction between Mormons and Mormonism. God has laid the eternal fate of Mormons on my heart. My one-word descriptor for those dear people who are trying to get nearer to God by following the false prophets of Mormonism is “lost.” I plead with you all to lift these lost ones up before God and ask Him to grant them eyes to see, ears to hear, clear minds to understand, and hearts that long to know Him as He is. May God have mercy on their souls and give them abundant and joyful new life in Christ.
Mormonism is most definitely not a Christian religion, as you have said. While so many reasons for the non-Christian status of Mormonism could be listed, for the sake of brevity I offer a bottom-line reason: the god of Mormonism is a false god. You can learn more about the god of Mormonism at the MRM website (see specifically http://www.mrm.org/god-of-mormonism), but briefly summarized, Mormonism promotes a god who was once a mortal man who achieved godhood by conforming to all the laws and ordinances of the Mormon gospel — just as all gods have done before him, and all future gods will do after him. The Bible calls the worship of a false god “idolatry” and makes it crystal clear that only faith in the true God will result in eternal life (see Isaiah 43:10-11; Mark 12:29-34; John 17:3).
It is important to realize and remember that, using the analogy of Ephesians 6:12-20, Mormonism is what we wrestle against; the lost are who we wrestle for, while boldly proclaiming the precious mystery of the Gospel.
Delighting Grace: Thanks Sharon. Christians, we should all reach not only Mormons but people trapped in cults and false religions. Pray for them that they may see the truth in Christ.