Good Shamans, Atheists, and Mormons

The Mormons down the street are lovely people. If you met them and chatted with them in their home, as I have, you’d probably come away thinking that they were a genuine, sweet, close and caring family. The girls are modest, my sisters and I found that we shared some experiences in common through homeschooling, and they talk openly about the Bible. The other day, a couple of Mormon teens washed Mom’s car for her, free of charge; she’d mentioned being so busy that she didn’t even have time to clean it, and they jumped on the opportunity to serve.

When I went to China this summer to teach English, I lived among some of the most generous people I’ve ever met. My students, who are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, gave me so many presents that I had to purchase more luggage to take it all back home. The Chinese teachers at our middle school regularly blew me away with their thoughtfulness. They spared no expense or convenience to treat me with the greatest respect and kindness. They are atheists.

A few years ago, a man I know turned his marriage around from the brink of divorce with the help of New Age philosophy. I was a witness to the change that took place in him. I shared the gospel with him, and he hated the gospel.

A few months ago, I met a shaman while I was taking a walk in a park. He works for the county, helping to rehabilitate hundreds of violent, depressed, angry teens that were placed in juvenile detention centers. His success rate is astonishing, and as a result of his "spiritual mentorship" his kids go on to lead peaceful lives. He’s been doing this for decades, and the county finds him indispensable. When I met him, he was looking for a rattlesnake; he catches snakes, keeps them in his house, and uses them for demonic "spiritual healing" practices.

Are you starting to feel uncomfortable?

I hope so. These events are not isolated—I could supply more examples easily.

People who do not know or love Jesus are leading moral lives. They are doing good, washing cars for free, and influencing other people to quit their destructive lifestyles. They are devoting themselves to promoting kindness and peace. It isn’t a sham. These things are really happening. Change is happening.

First Peter 3:15 exhorts us, "but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect" (emphasis added).

So let’s talk about this.

  • What do we have, as disciples of Jesus, to offer the world that is different and separate and more?
  • If a shaman in your county asked you what makes Christianity unique, what would you tell him?
  • You volunteer to help people out in church, and you try to do kind things for your family and friends. What makes your actions distinctly Christ-like rather than merely moral?
  • If other people are getting results from pagan sources and atheist worldviews, why shouldn’t we embrace tolerance? Why not say, "I have faith in Jesus, but I support whatever works for you personally"?
  • First Peter 3:15 seems to imply that people ask about the "hope that is in us." Can the moral unbelievers in your life see that you have a hope they do not have? If so, what is the hope that they see?

We’re going to return to the four cases I mentioned above in a later post, so stay tuned. I look forward to hearing your brainstorming as we hash this out together in the comments!

About Author

Lindsey Lee

Lindsey Wagstaffe's greatest passion is to see the glory of Christ, cherish Him unreservedly, and assist others in doing the same. She makes her home in Toronto.

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

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  • jesusfreak17

    Where is the later post? The link just brings me back here…

  • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts
  • David Cassidy

    To say that Mormons don’t know/love Jesus shows complete ignorance of their beliefs. May I recommend that you learn more about a religion before write about it. Sun-tzu said “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. Great words to live by. This is why, as an atheist, I have studies religion extensively 😉

  • Grace Call

    Hi I’m grace and I’m Christian and also Mormon. We have the nickname Mormon but our real name is: the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We also believe in a book called the Book of Mormon which we believe is scripture in addition to the bible. In the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 25:26 it says:

    26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

    We also have 13 articles of faith that state our basic beliefs and the first article of faith is:

    1 We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

    I am a Mormon and because of this I have a testimony of Jesus Christ as my savior and I am learning of him, how to be like him, and love him. I really like this website and I just wanted to clarify that we believe in Christ and are Christian

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      So glad you’re here with us on the LYWB Blog, GraceCall.

      We appreciate your desire for Mormons to be seen as those who are followers of Christ.

      May I share with you what we believe, from the Word of God, are the essentials of what it defines a follower of Jesus? I’m praying it will be helpful to you, friend.

      As followers of Christ, we believe there is only one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6–8). He always has existed and always will exist (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 90:2; 1 Timothy 1:17). He was not created but is the Creator (Genesis 1; Psalm 24:1; Isaiah 37:16). He is perfect, and no one else is equal to Him (Psalm 86:8; Isaiah 40:25). God the Father is not a man, nor was He ever (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Hosea 11:9). He is Spirit (John 4:24), and Spirit is not made of flesh and bone (Luke 24:39).

      We believe that only God is holy (1 Samuel 2:2). We can only be made holy in God’s sight through faith in Him (1 Corinthians 1:2). Jesus is the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16), is the only one ever to have lived a sinless life, and now has the highest place of honor in heaven (Hebrews 7:26). Jesus and God are one in essence, Jesus being the only man who existed before physical birth (John 1:1–8; 8:56). Jesus gave Himself to us as a sacrifice, God raised Him from the dead, and one day everyone will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:6–11). Jesus tells us it is impossible to get to heaven by our own works and that only by faith in Him is it possible (Matthew 19:26). We all deserve eternal punishment for our sins, but God’s infinite love and grace have allowed us a way out. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

      Scripture teaches clearly there is only one way to receive salvation and that is to know God and His Son, Jesus (John 17:3). Receiving salvation is not done by works but by faith (Romans 1:17; 3:28). We can receive this gift no matter who we are or what we have done (Romans 3:22). “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment, GraceCall. We pray the Lord’s blessings upon you.

      Grace and peace,