April 23, 2012

Mormon Missionaries Advance Across Uganda

On April 13, the New York Times published a lengthy article entitled “At Age 19, from Utah to Uganda.” It describes the personal background and proselytizing efforts of a Mormon missionary named Jared Dangerfield and several of his colleagues from the United States and Zimbabwe.

Among the article’s claims:

• “Currently, there are only about 5,000 Mormons in Uganda, less than 1 percent of the population. What is noteworthy, however, is that a third of those were converted last year.
• “The number of missionaries stationed in Uganda has also grown, to 120 from 70 two years ago.”
• “The missionaries say they can net a dozen new contacts from the street in a couple of hours, and visit five homes in a day. They estimate each is responsible for around 40 baptisms by the time service is up.”
• “The [worldwide Mormon] church gained nearly 400,000 members in 2010, about 70 percent of them converted by college-age missionaries like Elder Dangerfield…”

And how do the missionaries promote their strange and controversial faith among the largely Christianized Ugandans?

One example, if true, is troubling: “We are not here to move you to another church…We just want to share,” asserts Elder Dangerfield as he pursues one prospect. This is blatantly deceptive, as Mormonism claims that all other churches are apostate, and the missionaries’ intention is to convert followers of any denomination.

Will Ugandan Christians rise to meet the challenge of the growing Mormon missionary thrust?