Ever since leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (better known as Mormons) banned the earthly practice of polygamy in 1890, their religion has come to resemble classic Christianity more and more. Now, Mormons appear to be very much like evangelical Christians. They read the Bible, attend church regularly, and work to build strong families.


But Mormons believe in a very different God. And, unlike faithful followers of classic Christianity, Mormons hope to become gods themselves. If you break through the confusion surrounding Mormonism, you can shine the clear light of the Gospel into Mormons' lives.


Here's how you can witness to Mormons:


Check your motives before starting discussions. Make sure that your motivation for discussing spiritual matters with Mormons is real concern for their spiritual well-being and eternal destiny. Don't view Mormons as foes or approach them with hostility. Never mock them, demean their beliefs, or try to manipulate them.  Realize that even though you may disagree with Mormons, you can do so with respect and civility. Ask God to give you a genuine love for them as people and a willingness to genuinely listen to what they say - even to the point of learning something from them - as you discuss each other's beliefs.  Try to speak words of life to them, as Christ would speak.


Get to know the life of Mormon founder Joseph Smith. Seek to understand the person on whose claims Mormonism rests. Smith, whom Mormons view as a prophet divinely ordained to restore Christ's church on Earth, spent his life immersed in the occult beliefs and practices. His life was also rife with behavior that impugns his character. And historical data suggests that today's official version of his "First Vision," upon which the doctrines of the Mormon church are based, is fraudulent.


Understand challenges to Mormon scripture. Realize that DNA research has revealed that the Book of Mormon's claims that Israelites are the principal ancestors of Native Americans is wrong. In fact, Native Americans are of Asiatic origin. Know that Mormons have not been able to verify other claims in their scriptures (such as the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine and Covenants), and that scholars have pointed out inaccurate information, mistranslated text, and erroneously interpreted drawings in Mormon scriptures.


Recognize revisions to the Mormon faith. Understand that Mormons have changed their accounts of some of what they claim to be revelations from God over the years. They haven't been consistent with the details of what they say is true. Tactfully point out some of these consistencies to open up dialogue on the issues they raise.