The Mormon Puzzle

The Mormon Puzzle is a great video that seems to be aimed at the average layperson within the Christian Church. This video remains very credible as it seeks to expose true LDS teachings in light of the Truth found in Scripture and the person of Jesus Christ. The Southern Baptist Church, an organization that has over 15 million members, put out the video to prepare themselves for their 1998 national convention in Salt Lake City. Its subtitle tells the story as the video is aimed at "understanding and witnessing to Latter-day Saints".

The Mormon Puzzle can be broken up into four areas. It begins with "The Mormon Church Today" and goes on to explain how the LDS Church is currently viewed. Although the video was done in 1997, it is still very applicable to the LDS Church today. The video is careful to note an interesting and yet obvious change in the LDS public relations. With great clarity, The Mormon Puzzle shows how the LDS are no longer seeking to remain distinct but are now trying to fit in with true Christianity. Reviews of LDS commercials, interviews with LDS missionaries, and a review of Utah politics exposes and shows the viewer the truth of this claim.

The next segment moves on to "The History of the Mormon Church." Here the viewer is given a brief history from Joseph Smith and the golden plates to Brigham Young and his Westward trek. This section begins the common interaction of two BYU professors: Stephen Robinson and Robert Millet. Throughout the rest of this section the two professors explain from an LDS perspective why they are Christian and why the accounts of Joseph Smith are reliable. Chiming in on the other side of things are the famed Sandra Tanner, and the Director of Interfaith Witnessing from NAMB (North American Mission Board), Phil Roberts, among others. They begin to explain why LDS are not Christian, and this moves us into our next section, "What Mormons Believe."

In this section, the BYU professors, Tanner, Roberts, and others touch on Scripture, Authority, God, Christ, Salvation, and Life after Death. The LDS are fairly represented as Millet and Robinson are given ample time to explain each doctrine, while Tanner, Roberts, and others are given time to make their reply and case for why the LDS view doesn't add up. A nice touch at the end of this is a recap, giving the viewer a reminder and summary of all that was just touched on.

Lastly, The Mormon Puzzle explains "How to Witness to Mormons" and gives the viewer many different options. Evangelists and ex-Mormons are given time to encourage and challenge the viewer in simply praying and knowing the Bible. The viewer is also, through a recorded Family Home Evening, allowed into an LDS home to see a more realistic picture of those in need of Christian witness.

This video does a good job in explaining LDS doctrines, but I must admit that it leaves the viewer hanging when it replies to LDS claims. Tanner does an amazing job in showing the loopholes in LDS theology, but the viewer is given little Scripture and evidence for what one should believe as a Christian. Instead, one is left with mere statements and only told to "know your Bible." On the flip side, The Mormon Puzzle well equips the viewer with a greater knowledge of LDS beliefs--fairly represented by LDS theologians--and helps one get a better grasp on the LDS culture in Utah.

To see clips of this video (or to purchase it) visit here.

Jordan Barrett
[email protected]
February 28, 2005

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