When you have the opportunity to mention something about the Church, make your friend an observer, not a defendant.

Examples of third parties to bounce contrast against:

Some people say …
A recent poll found …
I read somewhere that xx% believe that …
I know someone who claims …

And then …

But I’ve heard others say …
My take on that issue is …
We on the other hand …
The way I see it is …

Here’s an example of using third parties regarding our name:

One could also use comparisons as a third-party approach when discussing doctrines.

If speaking to a Catholic, compare our teachings to Protestants:

Protestants believe that if you feel yourself called to preach Christ’s gospel, you automatically have authority to act in God’s name.

We on the other hand believe a man must be called of God through a traceable line of authority to preach the gospel and administer ordinances such as baptism.

If speaking to a Protestant, compare our teachings to Catholics:

Catholics believe a person should be baptized as soon after birth as possible.

We on the other hand believe a person should not be baptized until he or she has reached the age of accountability and understands the commitment being made.

Statistics are also a comfortable third party.  Many polls, such as Pew Research and others, provide religious findings that are easy to bring up in a conversation.

And in the process always look for an opportunity to casually state our claim to be the reestablished original Christian church.

On one occasion, I used a parenthetical mention to signal my religious affiliation to a medical technician and she replied, “Oh, I used to date a Mormon in high school.”

We talked about her experience, which was positive, and then I asked, “Did he ever tell you our main claim?  She said she had heard something about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, but asked what I meant.  I said we make a simple 12-word claim:

Christ organized a church.
Men changed it.
It has been brought back.

She’s now part of those who know our claim and that’s where I left it.

In short, using a third person, or party, or concept, or statistics … makes the conversation more comfortable.  No debates, no me-versus-you.

Persuasive contrast without tension.

Gary Lawrence is a public opinion researcher and author, most recently, of Millions Believe As We Do But Haven’t Yet Found the Church.