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Title: The Mormon Missionaries
Author: Janis Hutchinson
Publisher: Kregel Resources
Copyright: 1995
ISBN: 0-8254-2886-6
Genre: Counseling/Cults
Reviewer: Deborah Porter

Available Through: The Author's Website

With her previous book, Out of the Cults and Into the Church, Janis Hutchinson provided a compassionate and intelligent resource for every church. The following year, with the release of Ms. Hutchinson's second book, The Mormon Missionaries, the focus moves from caring for ex-members of cults and pseudo-Christian organizations generally, to very specifically targeting the message and methods of the Mormon Church.

There would be very few people who have never opened their front door to find two clean-cut young men on the doorstep. The first reaction for most of us is to groan inwardly, give a polite smile, and say, "Sorry, I'm a Christian," as we close the door in their faces. Although we know that what they are "selling" is different to our own beliefs, how many of us have enough knowledge to be able to carry on a discussion with one of these doorstep missionaries, without getting ourselves tied up in knots?

This is where Ms. Hutchinson once again comes to the rescue. Using a similar format to her previous book, the author sets the action for The Mormon Missionaries in a Christian Bible College, where the students and teacher are surprised one day by the arrival of two Mormon elders on campus.

Ms. Hutchinson paints the scene through the teacher's eyes, as she writes, "There they were! Two Mormon missionaries! And--of all places--at a Bible college! Like two rabbits cornered by hounds, they had been backed onto the porch of the administration building by eight zealous students eager to try out their third-year polemics. I almost felt sorry for the missionaries."

And so it begins.

The story moves on from there in an often entertaining and always enlightening way, particularly as one of the Bible College students becomes drawn to one of the Mormon Missionaries. This opens the door for ongoing classroom discussions as the young lady explores the missionaries' message, and eventually leads to a visit by the Mormon elders to discuss their beliefs with the class.

Throughout it all, Ms. Hutchinson delves into her own history as a one time member of the Mormon Church and her quite in-depth research into their teaching and methods.

Even so, this is really not a book to be given to a member of the Mormon Church in the hope that it would be effective as an evangelistic tool. The author did not write it for that purpose. As was the case with her previous book, this was written as a resource for Christians generally, and the church as a whole.

Apart from the excellently presented information found in The Mormon Missionaries and the very "reader-friendly" style of writing, one of the most impressive aspects of this book is the respect that Ms. Hutchinson shows toward members of the Mormon Church. This attitude flows on from her previous book, and is shown very clearly in The Mormon Missionaries on the day when the two elders are invited to come and have a face-to-face discussion with the Bible College class.

In preparing her students for the arrival of the young men, the teacher says, "Remember to show respect ... and at least let them present their lesson. Please don't give them too bad a time. To come to a Mormon with both barrels shooting from the hip isn't the right approach. Admittedly there are Christians who believe such conflict proves their zeal for God. However, I don't advocate it. If you've studied the facts and know your subject, you can present your case calmly and maturely without being insulting."

And that is the essence of Ms. Hutchinson's message. As Christians, we are to know what we believe, know what others believe, and then respectfully use those differences to share the Gospel truth.

All I can say in conclusion is that Janis Hutchinson has done it again. This is another "must have" resource for every church library.