| April 30, 2010
Dear Family and Friends,
This past month Aaron Shafovaloff and I have had a couple other guys help us down at Temple Square--our CFO Matt Vessey and Ken (a former Mormon). I have been getting in many good conversations with people as they are waiting to cross the street (thank God it’s a long wait!). I simply ask them if they are LDS and why they think it’s true. Most of the time they tell me that they know it’s true because they read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it, and God told them it was true by speaking to their hearts. I then tell them that I’ve done the exact same thing except I know it’s not true since God’s revealed it to me. I then ask them if they still think they are sure about Mormonism. I then ask them if it’s possible that God Himself could give them a strong delusion so that they would believe a lie as 2 Thessalonians 2:11 says. Many times this opens people up to talking in more depth with me. Let’s pray that God will use something we say to really get these people to at least begin to question their faith.
|Matt Vessey and Aaron Shafovaloff witnessing at the North Gate of Temple Square
One day as I was getting out of my car with my big sign, I was approached by Keith (Catholic), Brandon (didn’t get his religious views), and Amy (Buddhist and former LDS). They wanted to know what I was doing, so I shared the gospel with all of them. I also got to attack Buddhism. Since it’s basically atheistic (Nirvana is nothingness and it’s what is ultimately real), I attacked Buddhism’s contradictoriness in claiming a truth that really there is no truth. I also attacked its relative moral outlook. They let me all pray for them, so I prayed that God would draw them all to Himself.
Here’s a conversation Aaron and I had with a very committed LDS guy. As for other videos, we recently posted 4 other parts of Racism and Mormonism. The black couple I interviewed was Christian and visiting from outside the state.
A couple weeks ago, a film student at the University of Utah named Simeon interviewed me on camera for a film project he’s working on. The project is different religious perspectives on hell, but the questions turned out to be more about Christian doctrine in general. I spent about an hour and a half with him. He’s a former LDS, but rather agnostic now. So I spent some time also talking about reasons to believe and contrasted Christianity with other beliefs like Mormonism. Sandra Tanner referred him to me.
Last Sunday I talked to a Jr. High and High School Sunday school class at our old church—Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church. I played the part of a Mormon missionary, even dressed up like one, and then asked them if I should stay LDS. The students all said that I shouldn’t, but were unable to give any reasons why. So I got rid of the LDS garb, pulled out the big cross around my neck, and began attacking Mormonism from the Bible. Tara was also able to share her testimony of how she came out of Mormonism and came to Christ.
|Rob playing an LDS missionary at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church
We’ve been getting a number of hits on MormonInfo.org in Canada this past month. This is due to our friends from Washington advertising our site in front of the Vancouver, B.C. LDS temple. The LDS Church has been conducting a temple open house for the public. Many thanks to Bob Pilch, Brain Buchanan, and the rest of the crew!
Please remember our financial needs and send in your investment today. Your investment is not simply for us, but for the lives of others we reach with the gospel. The standard way to invest is by writing a check to Courageous Christians United. But we also have secure electronic funds transfers programs available if you are interested in the simplicity of monthly withdrawals without the stamp. For more detailed information, please see our “Invest” page on any of our sites. Many thanks to those of you who hold us up in prayer and in your financial giving!
Contending earnestly for the faith (Jude 3),
President, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374
West Jordan, UT 84084
****ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS****
1. To get more speaking engagements
2. For me to do a good job in teaching a couple weeks at Sovereign Grace, Santaquin, UT next month
3. To get more partners who will faithfully invest in this ministry
4. For our Ex-Mormon Meetup members to show up for our events and that we would have more members join
Hey Rob! I just wanted to let you know that I admire what you do. Your site has taught me alot! Back in January, I met a Mormon from Utah who's leaving on a mission soon. We've both been trying to show each other truth, which has not been working out so well. It's been frustrating and I'm still not sure how to reach this kid. God has definitely put me on a huge journey of ups-and-downs and lessons, which I am so thankful for. I will never stop praying for this lost sheep and I will never give up! Your story has been an inspiration and I almost feel as though God's calling me somewhere to speak to these Mormons.
However, I'll go anywhere He takes me. Anyway, I'm praying for you and your awesome ministry! God bless!
I am curious about what happend to the webiste JosephLied.com? I haven't visited it for a long time and this afternoon I was reminded of it and thought to check in on it to see if there was anything new and was instead redirected to your site. Perhaps you bought the domain?
Regardless, that website was instrumental in helping me come to a realization that Mormonism is not what I had thought it was and after 26 years of faithful dedication to the Mormon faith, I finally left and have never been happier. Using the same logic and reasoning I relied on to leave Mormonims, I also gave up Christianity because there just isn't enough evidence to support it. I am also adamantly opposed to the concept of war, eternal suffering, and blind faith - all of which are key components of Christianity.
I've always found it ironic how people such as yourself can use logic and facts to denounce Mormonism but are unable to do the same with Christianity, which is arguably one of the world's largest "cults". Out of fairness, you ought to apply the same rules of logic that you have regarding Mormonism to Christianity. The only reason I point this out is due to the website you maintain...you are simply encouraging people to leave one cult for another.
I am sure that I am not the first to point this out to you and I mean no disrepsect by it, just a simple observation and one I am sure we will not see eye to eye on.
The true purpose of this e-mail was to inquire about the original website. If you are the one who was responsible for the creation of JospehLied.com, I truly thank you for your efforts; it changed my life in a very positive way.
All the best,
[I replied:] I don't know why the owner of JosephLied.com gave up the site, but MRM.org bought it and is temporarily redirecting it to my site.
I disagree with you on the reasonableness of the historic Christian Faith. It's because of the reasons for it that I'm confident in it, and because I'm confident in it, I can oppose counterfeits to it. I'm a Christian philosopher and teach philosophy for a community college. You've bought the lie given since the Enlightenment that the Christian faith isn't reasonable. For starters, I'd suggest you look at William Lane Craig's "Reasonable Faith" and J. P. Moreland's "Scaling the Secular City," and I'd also suggest Dallas Willard's critique of Dawkins.
I'd also claim that you aren't that familiar with Christianity, since the key components you listed for it aren't key or essential. You find good Christian representation without those components. I don't hold to blind faith, but I'm not a pacifist and hold to the eternal suffering of those who reject God. I think there are good reasons for my position, but that's not my point here.
I agree Christianity is a cult. It's a cult of Judaism, but it's the true cult. It's truth that matters, and the evidence has persuaded many to Christ.
[He replied:] Thanks for your reply; I appreciate it.
If that domain name simply expired, I am happy to know you picked it up rather than someone affiliated with Mormonism. There is a lot of deception going on within that religion and it really is unfortunate. I am thankful that there are people willing to invest their time to help expose the church of their fraud so people like me can finally see the light and get out. I've never been happier!
As for my original comments, I should have also mentioned that I do certainly recognize that there is much good within Christianity. I didn't mean to come across completely negative, I was simply trying to make a quick point. Some of what Christianity stands for is very positive, but there is also a very negative side to it as well. I've actually read the entire Bible from cover to cover, something few Christians can actually claim to have done. The Old Testament is a disaster, especially the first few books. I simply can not accept it on a moral ground. The New Testament also has many problems that I struggle with morally and logically.
I do not beileve in the "a la carte" approach many people ascribe to when they encounter difficult stories in the Bible. Either it is all true, or none of it is true. Otherwise, it all turns into a very slipper slope quite quickly. Perhaps those stories that are simply allegoric in nature are simply there to make a point. The challenge is knowing then what stories are actually true vs. those that are simply symbolic. For example, I do not believe the earth is 5000 years old, I do not believe the story of Adam and Eve or that Eve was simply created by one of Adam's ribs. I do not believe that all of the animals on the earth just appeared and Adam was able to name them all...I do not believe that Moses was able to part the Red Sea; or that the entire world was flooded after Noah built an ark and saved two of every kind of animal (this is impossible for many reasons); I do not believe that animal or human sacrifice is moral, for any reason. If all of these stories were simply symbolic, then maybe the entire story of Jesus was too. Perhaps there was not even such a person who actually performed all the miracles. It is simply too difficult to try to make sense of it all, and this only begins to scratch the surface.
Again, I recognize much good within Christianity but most of it is common within other religions too. In fact, there is a lot of evidence to suggest many of the Christian stories and morals were very similar to ancient Greek mythology. There is simply too much evidence to suggest the entire religious system was created by men over thousands of years. The Bible that we have today is an outcome of what the Catholic church felt important to include. It has been revised and translated numerous times so it is now a very unreliable source of information. I am unwilling to dedicate my entire life to a book that is surrounded by so much doubt.
Regardless, I actually don't think any of this really matters when it all comes down to it. I believe that people should find something in life that offers them peace and comfort while motivating them to live a good, honest life. Your version of Christianity might make you very happy, which seems to be the case. I think this is fantastic. I know many Mormons who love their religion, it makes them happy and helps them strive to become a better person. I've also met Muslims, Jews and others who are very happy with their religion. I think this is very positive. I've also met many people who do not belive in God and are still very happy and at peace and still try to be the best they can be personally. One size does not fit all when it comes to religion. Jesus is not for everyone.
I read through most of the articles you suggested and while they are interesting, I do not totally agree with what is said. As it specifically relates to evolution and how the universe and our world began, I do not think the answer is simply one or the other. The proponents of Intelligent Design seem to think that if evolution can not fully explain how life began then surely there must be a God. This is false logic. There could be any number of alternative explanations besides god, evolution is simply the one that seems to make the most sense but in the end, it may not provide all of the answers. But just because science is not yet able to prove exactly how it all began does not automatically provide proof of god. Creationists insist on facts when it comes to evolution, yet they are unable to produce any facts regarding the existence of God. This is a double standard, is it not? Simply stating that there must be a god because we can't explain it any other way is not proof of evidence.
Anyway, enough said.
Thanks again for getting back in touch with me and for the invitation to attend your church. I will think about it and perhaps I will stop by. In the meantime, I wish you and your family all the best!
[I replied:] Yes, there's much good to Mormonism, even though we both know it's false. If Christianity is false, then I'm living a delusion even if it works well for me. One can be happy and still headed for hell. I have tons of reasons that Christianity's true even if I have anomalies I have a difficult time answering. Keep this in mind: scientists have anomalies to their well-established theories, and they don't overthrow the theories just because of the existence of anomalies.
As for the OT and morality, of course there are immoral stories, but they are descriptions largely, not prescriptions. I'm open to debating the questionable prescriptions if you'd like. Four come to mind: 1) slavery, 2) God authorizing the killing of others, particularly of innocent children, 3) war, and 4) human/animal sacrifices. 1) Slavery in the OT was a regulation of what was normative in the ancient world, and the biblical prescriptions were humane given the conditions of the time. It was never man-stealing as our modern world is familiar with. The Bible offered slavery generally for indentured servitude (voluntary and not necessarily for life) and for POWs.
2) God's killing of the innocents is admittedly a difficult issue. But ethicists are sharply divided on whether it was legitimate to bomb the Japanese and Germans civilians in WWII. So if it's at least possible here to be a legitimate action, then it should be at least possible for God. If God is real, then He is the one that controls every life. There isn't ever a baby who dies that God hasn't at least allowed. Could there be some unseen situation in which putting to death a child would be an overall moral good? I'm at least open to it since I know that God is good and that He's in control of life.
3) Given that I am an ethicist, I'd say that most ethicists would claim there is such a thing as a just war. So if God exists, then He'd be just and He'd justly exercise war. The onus would be on others to demonstrate that God ever acted unjustly.
4) You probably hold that a self sacrifice to protect family or others is a moral good. Like someone who throws themselves on a bomb to protect others. So you can’t say that there’s never a moral reason for it. Perhaps you mean that the all-Holy can’t ever command this, but why not? He knows all the reasons even if we don’t.
I think the Bible is all true (i.e., the word of God), but I don't know why you’d have to hold to the all or nothing view. I mean it’s possible for me that some well-meaning scribe stuck something into the word of God that doesn’t belong there (e.g., quite possibly the end of Acts). I think we can find that out, but we have to use our heads like any other area of life. The all or nothing approach you advocate seems rather extreme. For example, just because I find 1 problem in the Bible, I can’t believe that the crucifixion of took place in Jerusalem in the 1st century?
Where does the Bible ever say the earth is 5,000 years old? This is simply a result of your assumption that the days of Genesis refer to 24-hour days. Perhaps they do, and you’d need to ask Young Earth creationists why they would hold this. But perhaps the days don’t refer to 24-hour periods, but geological days, since the Bible does say after all that a day is as a 1,000 years to the Lord. Perhaps you need to give the language that people used in that time a break. It would be like someone 5,000 years from now claiming that we actually believed the sun literally rose and set since we use the terms “sunset” and “sunrise.” Now perhaps Moses didn’t have this geological-days language in mind when he wrote, but the language still allows for a reality quite different from what may have been intended by Moses. The important to keep in mind is that there are many believers who don’t think the Bible does teach a 5,000 year old earth. For a prominent believing astronomer who holds to the geological days of Genesis, see Hugh Ross from Reasons to Believe.
I don’t know what your problem is with the Adam and Eve story. The first humans had to come from somewhere, so perhaps you just don’t like God as the explanation. OK, but that needs an argument. If you simply claim… “evolution,” then why couldn’t God be in charge of that process to bring about Adam and Eve? Why would this keep you from believing the Bible? Now I don’t hold that God used that process since I don’t see good evidence that macro-evolution actually occurs in nature rather than micro-evolution. The latter is obviously accounted for (e.g., the variances of fruitflies), but I don’t see the actual evidence of fish turning into birds, for example. And it’s not just creationists that have problems here, since there are all sorts of skeptical scientists that have problems as well (e.g., Michael Denton).
What’s the problem with God creating woman out of a rib? Couldn’t God create her out of whatever He wanted? It seems like you simply assume anti-supernaturalism here as well as the rest of examples you give. I mean if God really is the First Cause of the 1st event, then what’s the big deal if He does miracles with His creation? Parting the Red Sea would be child’s play for Him. If the Jurassic Park thesis is very real for clones, then why can’t God form a woman from a rib?
Ross is one of many believers that hold to a localized flood, not a literal global flood, so that shouldn’t keep you from believing the Bible is God’s word. The flood covering the world would be relative to one’s viewpoint. Further, given micro-evolution, I don’t know why it would be impossible for God to draw 2 of every kind of animal into the ark (this obviously assumes land animals).
Scholars of the Bible, whether liberal or conservative, recognize various genres that were used in writing it. It should be obvious that the Psalms are quite a different type of literature than the gospel accounts, for example. So, again, you don’t want to claim that if you find an historical problem in one genre that all genres have nothing historically trustworthy to say. That would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
When it comes to Christianity and myth stories, here’s something I wrote in response to Maher’s film Religulous: “there is good primary source documentation for Jesus of Nazareth, but not for these ancient pagan religions. We have good reasons to accept Jesus as an historical figure described with these features, but we do not have good reasons to accept these pagan gods as historical characters even if they had these same features ascribed to Jesus. As such, it makes sense to regard the pagan stories as myths.
As for the date December 25th, no thinking Christian claims that Jesus was actually born on that date. It was simply a popular date for the Western Church (Catholic and Protestant) to use in celebrating the birth of the true Messiah. (The Eastern Orthodox Churches celebrate the birth on January 7th.)
As for Krishna, he was allegedly the eighth son of his mom, so her virginity is doubtful.
As for Horus, he was not born of a virgin, but was allegedly born of Osiris and Isis. Horus never dies, so how could he be resurrected? It is only through his union with Rah, the sun God, that Horus dies and rises every morning and night.
As for Mithras, there is no source evidence that indicates his death, so there is no reason to suppose his resurrection.
What do myths prior to Christ have to do with whether Christ was an historical character or not? The myths have something to do with Christ in that they have similar features, but these myths tell us nothing as to whether Christ was an historical character with these features. If one first determines that Christ was fictitious by finding fault with the primary source documentation, then and only then is one entitled to speculate as to the origination of the story. Getting the cart before the horse here simply begs the question against the historicity of Jesus. First telling us how the Jesus story came about through myths simply assumes that the Jesus story is a myth.
Greg Koukl provides an excellent example of the problem here:
‘Did you know there’s a book [by Morgan Robertson called Futility] that was written [in 1898] about a ship that was an unsinkable ship, which hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage and sank? The name of the ship was the Titan. This is remarkable because some 15 years later the Titanic sunk on its maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg. Now what if you had read the novel and then later heard that a ship called the Titanic had actually sunk? I’m sure you can see that rejecting the story of the Titanic on its face would be foolish only because you’d read a novel similar to the actual event. Whether or not the Titanic sank is determined by the evidence for its sinking, unrelated to any other fictional stories that were like it.’”
We have thousands of manuscripts of the NT, so that we can go and check them with each other. As Dr. Christopher Rico recently said in the film The Bible vs. Joseph Smith, the substance of the New Testament is easily ascertained from all the manuscript evidence. The disciples of the apostles testified to what they wrote, and thus, anything contrary to what they taught was to be damned as Paul said in Gal. 1:6-9.
When it comes to the OT, the substance has also been faithfully preserved. For example, the differences between the Dead Sea Isaiah scroll (around 250 BC) and the Masoretic text (around 800 AD) are miniscule. This all helps me to believe what the Bible promises about God being big enough to preserve His word throughout history.
I only sent you 1 article, and it wasn’t technically an empirical argument for Intelligent Design. It was a philosophical argument that demonstrated that order doesn’t pop into existence out of nothing. Order is required to get anywhere. To think otherwise is pure mysticism without any empirical argument whatsoever.
Facts may be arrived at empirically (like you assuming these words are written by an intelligence you’ve never met rather than naturally and blindly surviving as the fittest in cyberspace) or philosophically. Christians offer both in support of the Big Bang-er or First Wind-er or Intelligent Designer.
If the evidence is really as clear as I think it is, then Romans 1 is correct. Most of the world is suppressing truth in unrighteousness.
It is amazing how God works and how small our world is! I got a message from a friend of mine of Face Book asking me to post something about the video that you were in talking to the guy about generations of Gods. She told me that the FB page "A heart for mormons" was contentious and does not have intelligent conversation about religion and is not a loving place to go to discuss mormonism. I then looked at thevideo and realized it was you and someone else speking to this man. And good job by the way, he was so typical and actually a well versed mormon I must say, most "average mormons" would not have held up that long. The friend that wrote to me is not just a FB friend, she happens to be a dear friend, i would say one of my best friends from California, she is in St. George now. She is a wonderful person, someone I respect and have been a beneficiary of her true Christ-like love for people. I see her as an example to me. When I got her note it put me in a position that I had to decide, play it safe and tell her "ok" or bear testimony to her that the church is false and risk our firendship. I decided to do the latter. It took awhile and some pondering and writing and rewriting what i wanted to say. In the end I told her that I know you personally and your love for LDS people and that the purpose of videos like that are not to be contentious b ut to get one to think! I told her that it hurt me to see that she can't see beyond what she has been taught in the church and that no one here is "Anti" in the true sense of the word only in the sense that she was taught in the church. I closed with sharing the verse in Isaiah that there are no other Gods. I pray for her. Thank you Rob for spreading the Word so much that it got to mone of my friends, a seed may have been planted only God knows if it will touch her heart! Please give my love to Tara and the girls!
My grandparents were married for 24 years. In August,2009 my grandmother passed away from cancer. She was a baptised Mormon but not practicing and he was not religous. After she passed he re-married in Jan., 2010 to a very active Mormon woman. Since then he has become baptised and recently gained his priesthood. My question is, when they both pass who will he be with in the eternal afterlife? Will grandma not be with them because she was not active or will she get the chance in heaven to make up for not being active on earth?
[I replied:] I think most Mormons will claim that he has an opportunity to be married to both. He has a better chance being married to the LDS woman given that he is sealed to her for time and all eternity in the LDS temple. He still has to live worthy for the Lord to exalt Him into becoming a god for some other world. LDS generally think that God will allow your grandparents to be sealed in the afterlife. Her salvation (i.e., exaltation--the highest form of salvation) is dependent on a worthy priesthood holder. Polygamy is temporarily suspended for living in this life, but LDS still affirm that it will be the order of the day in the afterlife. It's still a part of their Cannon--D&C 132. In fact, there are 3 LDS apostles who are technically polygamists today, since they are widowers and they are also sealed to their present wives.
Hope this helps!
[She replied:] That does help... I am curious though to know what if grandma wasn't a mormon at all or didn't becomes saved in the after life. Will he be with the new wife only? Thank you sooo much for you help I greaty appreciate everything!
[I replied:] LDS think that basically everyone is saved to one of the 3 heavens. My 2nd box on my MormonInfo.org Home page chart, "What happens after death?," talks about this in more detail. Read those links concerning LDS scripture. Right now LDS teach that your gma is in a place called Paradise until the final judgment. She's going teach all the non-LDS the LDS gospel in a place called Spirit Prison.
So if your gma was a non-LDS, that's where she would be. Now comes a great division between LDS, viz., can non-LDS become exalted to godhood? The laity have all sorts of opinions here, but typically the General Authorities say, "No, they cannot." LDS scripture also seems to back that position, but there's a great frustration in Mormonism in nailing down exactly what the truth is on topics like these.
Again, keep in mind that LDS leaders have taught that polygamy is essential for godhood, and LDS generally assume that polygamy will be the program in the afterlife so the gods can produce all the billions of spirit children they'll send to a planet.
So were you ever LDS?
[She replied:] When I was in fourth grade I was baptised by my uncle who is really big in the mormon church. I attended for a couple years and then we moved away and my mom wasn't really into it. Then when I was in middle school we participated again for a few months but I think I had too many questions and I didn't feel very accepted by the church. I am not a LDS member now.
[I replied:] Are you living for Jesus?
[She replied:] I am struggling with my beliefs since my Grandma passed away. After grandpa remarried so soon, it just confused me on what I should believe in. I guess that was why I asked the question. I didn't want to believe that my grandfather was leaving my grandma behind. I am afraid that he will be with this new woman in the afterlife and that grandma will be alone. There is a part of me that thinks that if grandma is going to be in Spirit Prison that that's where I want to be too. I was very very close to her and she was taken so young, I just miss her so much.
[I replied:] If I can encourage you in anyway, please consider not falling for whatever is easy or convenient for you. Hold on to that which you are convinced is truth. Jesus taught very clearly in Matthew 10 that He didn't come to bring peace, but a sword that would divide even family members. He also claimed to be the Truth (Jn. 14:6). I think there are many good reasons to believe and live for Him. So when He says in Mat. 22 that there is no marriage or giving in marriage in heaven, that should put an end to the matter. One has either committed him or herself to Christ and has been born into His family, or one is going to spend eternity away from Him in destruction as He taught in Mat. 7. Our ultimate goal isn't to be with our family; our ultimate goal is to be with Christ. He also claimed to be the Life (Jn. 14:6). My ex-Mo wife had to come to this decision as well when she decided to live for Jesus several years ago. She lost her LDS dad when she was 15. You can read her testimony here.
Think about it this way... if your grandma is really in hell, then don't you think that she's still wanting the best for you and would have you really be with Jesus? Now perhaps in the last moments of her life Jesus revealed Himself to her and she repented of all her sins and trusted Him. If that's the case, then she's with Him today. We don't know for sure. The point is: we should bank on the Truth and not anything less. Live for Him, and let Him take care of the rest.
Please let me know if I can be of any more help to you!
I am watching a video on you tube, but have no Idea who the man is that’s speaking. I have a double ministry in Austin Texas. One is to reach Mormons; the other is Bible/Science and Evolution. They both fit.
I was raised in Salt Lake, and left the Church at 17 back in 1964. I am a Christian and believe deeply in God and his Son.
The video Says Mormons who left, 10 big statements LDS make that trip Christians up. 1:10:36 Minutes. It is an outstanding video and I would like to meet Him. I talk to Churches on how to reach Mormons and about the LDS Church. This video is the best I have seen then any material I have read. If more is out there from him I would like to read it. I’m writing fast because I’m at work. Have a God week.
Awesome story of Mike Tyson...you guys are so full of courage and boldness to teach the gospel... God has brought many people into your presence and he knows you wont be afraid to act. I only have the desire but I hope I can grow to have that much courage... I remember that weird treadmill thing with his daughter....I will join you in prayer for him and his family.
Great report. Very interesting story about Mike. God cares about everyone doesn't he. I bet very few people have access to witness to him. God made a way.
Very cool! Courageous Christians indeed!!
A comment about your response to the first letter on the mormoninfo page: I agree with your reasoning there, but am at least hesitant to engage in talk about a white vs. a black “race”. There are obvious differences between a “typical” black and a “typical” white; the problem is that it’s not so clear what the typical black or white looks like. (Perhaps “race” falls under the heading of a “family resemblance” concept rather than one with necessary and sufficient conditions.) Further, or perhaps really an elaboration of the previous point, there’s more genetic difference within each “race” than between the races. (On the other hand, some have labeled this “Lewontin’s Fallacy”, though whether it is in fact a fallacy has been disputed. The whole topic has been debated for quite a while now – I remember a TIME magazine special on this about a decade ago.)
Whether it’s worth trying to incorporate this into your apologetics with Mormons is unclear, but it might be worth looking into a bit, if only for its intrinsic interest. Still, life is short; all the more so when you witness to a Mike Tyson. J