Sharing the Gospel in Mormon country
Blogging from Salt Lake City
On the list of places I didn’t really expect to visit as managing editor of The Christian Chronicle: Temple Square, world headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
But my three children and I did just that this week, joining a youth group from the Sunset Church of Christ in Lubbock, Texas.
The Sunset group — from a West Texas congregation with more Church of Christ members than the entire state of Utah — was familiarizing itself with the region’s predominant religion before starting a weeklong mission trip here.
The Texas teens were joined by parent sponsors, youth minister Justin Cardwell and four Adventures in Missions missionaries to Salt Lake City: Beth Horn, her brother Dustin Horn, Jacob Norwood and Glenna Schultz.
“Mormonism is in my roots, so I really wanted to come be a part of it (the mission trip),” said Sunset member and parent sponsor Laura Collier, who grew up in a Mormon household in Wyoming.
Leading the group was Mike Wiist, minister of the Murray Park Church of Christ in Murray, the congregation south of Salt Lake City that is hosting the Texas campaigners.
After touring the Mormon headquarters, the young people sorted canned goods, painted and cleaned at a Volunteers of America homeless outreach center downtown. They’ll spend the rest of the week focused on evangelistic outreach, service projects and a Vacation Bible School for the Murray Park neighborhood.
In my two days here, I enjoyed visiting with local church leaders at Murray Park and elsewhere, including the Southside Church of Christ and the Mid Valley Church of Christ as well as a home church minister.
I’m planning a story on the challenges and opportunities of ministry in a state with 2.8 million residents but less than 1,200 total members in 19 Churches of Christ.
FeedbackSadly, most members do not realize what a mission field the Southeast Idaho/Utah area is. I have lived in Southeast Idaho for 24 years and there is no doubt that my sons were raised in a mission field. In fact Southeast Idaho has a higher percentage of LDS people than Utah. It would be my prayer that more resources would be devoted to evangelism in this area.Diana RappJune, 24 2011My heart is heavy for those being sucked into Mormonism because I almost became a full-fledged victim myself. But, When I broke away from Mormonism’s influence I became keenly aware of the legalism in Church’s of Christ because the LDS church is extremely legalistic. That experience alone stripped my faith down to Christ and His work on the cross. God is so good and gracious and he is mighty to save. The message of Jesus alone could really free up Mormons. His extreme grace alone will free them up from a works mentality.Taylor BoxJune, 24 2011