Rob lecturing to high school groupMission Team
We started out the month having a mission team of 26 students and counselors from Upland, CA Christian High School over. We fed them, Tara shared her testimony to them, and I lectured on statements LDS make that trip Christians up.
Every beginning of April and October, the LDS Church has its General Conference in downtown Salt Lake City. Since this is typically attended by very hardcore LDS, it’s not a great time to get tracts and DVDs out. However, it is a good venue for preaching and advertising my web site. Rain was forecasted for both days, but it never became an issue and the weather was pretty good for preaching.
Rob and JasonA film student named Jason from the University of Utah interviewed me on camera. He sincerely wanted to know why and what I was preaching, and he also wanted to know areas of agreement with Mormonism and if I believed Mormons were my friends. I got to explain to him how different Mormonism is from traditional Christianity, but also shared my love and friendship with individual Mormons… including my own in-laws.
I said hi to former Utah Senator Bob Bennett as he left the conference. I pray that he went to check my site out.
There were two notable time-wasters that I had to pull the plug on. One was a skeptic, who went at me as soon as I got preaching the first day. He specifically said that he was trying to waste my time from preaching, since he thought I was ridiculous. He was a committed naturalist, who wasn’t open to thinking philosophically about the nature of propositions or truth regarding his own worldview. The second time waster happened to be a Christian, who wanted to argue with other Christians about the immorality of George Bush’s war with Iraq of all things! After 30 years of active ministry, I’ve learned to quickly “shake the dust off my feet” when Satan uses others to distract me. Yes, of course Satan uses Christians just as he does non-Christians!
I had another run-in with the cops. They came up to me and said they had a complaint that I was singling out a particular black person in my preaching and told me that I couldn't do that. One cop (Mike) handed me a flyer from the Salt Lake City Attorney's Office and pointed me to the section on "Fighting Words." I told him that when I see different people, it brings the occasion of preaching against Mormonism in various ways. So when I see a black person or groups of black people, I preach that the God of the Book of Mormon is a white-supremacist. When I see women, especially younger girls, I preach that Joseph Smith had 34 wives, 11 of which were currently married to other men, and he married 14 and 16-year-old girls. But my preaching isn't simply for these people, it's for all the people to hear, so they'd stay away from Mormonism and eventually come to Christ.
Rob at General ConferenceLater when I was looking more closely at the "Fighting Words" section, it says they are "defined as personal insults." That's hardly what I was doing. The section also said, "Also, words are not fighting words if they are spoken to a crowd." It seems the cop wrongly inferred from this that I can't direct my preaching to simply 1 person. There's nothing in the section that says that. It’s necessary that fighting words be directed at one person, but it’s obviously not sufficient. It depends on the content. Cop basically just gave me a warning.
LDS, on at least a couple of occasions, came up to me while I was preaching to say that I sounded angry and full of hate. You know, if it takes people perceiving me as angry and hateful when I have to yell so that more people hear the gospel, it's totally worth it! I told one LDS guy who was standing on the corner with me that I could also easily claim that LDS appear angry and hateful when they yell out to the passing crowd, “I need a ticket for General Conference!” So voice inflection really isn’t the issue. It’s the content of what’s said.
Is My Work a Waste of Time?
Mike Norton, who originated and used to run JosephLied.com, sent me a screen shot last month of this email he got: "I understand you're the guy behind Joseph Lied.com. I saw a banner years ago (at the Nauvoo temple open house or Orange County temple??). Anyway I looked it up at the time and put it on my shelf. Recently my shelf finally came tumbling down. Thanks for planting the seeds of truth. :)" Turns out, this gal saw me hold my JosephLied.com/MormonInfo.org sign almost 8 years ago in front of the Newport Beach, CA temple opening! I looked her up on Facebook, and we’ve become friends. Please pray for her! Even though she’s left Mormonism, she’s gone the typical route into atheism/agnosticism. Sometimes that’s where Ex-Mormons land before they come to Christ! Nonetheless, we all need this reminder that coming to Christ is often a lengthy process that is unobservable to most people. “Don’t grow weary in well doing” (Gal. 6:9)! One plants, one waters, but God gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:6-7).
Speaking of Ex-Mormons, we had another great Meetup last month. Kerry and Laura Anderson came to share their story. You can see the pictures here and the video here.
Division in the Body
After being attacked by another ministry to Mormons, I wrote a blog telling everyone, particularly the Church, to avoid Rocky and Helen Hulse. Much work went into the production of this blog. My case is simply symptomatic of a much larger issue that has been going on for years now.
While outside the LDS Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City one day last month, I ran into a young man named Ben. He was just coming from doing his temple work. He was quite unusual to talk with, because he actually pointed to external evidences, and not simply his internal witness of the Spirit, as justification for his belief that Mormonism is true. However, the external evidences he pointed to in support of the Book of Mormon were admittedly weak, even though he claimed to have a number of them that he weighed. He took my literature and DVD, so please pray that God will show Himself to him.
We Need Your Partnership!
We not only need your prayers, but we need your financial assistance as well. Keep in mind that your investment is not simply for us, but for the lives of others we reach with the gospel. The standard way to financially invest is by writing a check to Courageous Christians United (CCU). But we also have secure electronic funds transfer programs available if you are interested in the simplicity of monthly withdrawals without the stamp. This also helps us with our monthly budgeting. For more information, please see our “Invest” page. Please also keep in mind that, particularly in this economy, we have no financial guarantees each month. Ministry partners come and go as jobs do. If you’re not a partner, please consider joining our team and let us know soon. We’d love to be your missionaries here in Utah. Many thanks to those of you who hold us up in prayer and in your financial giving!
“Be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:9)!
President, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374
West Jordan, UT 84081
****ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS****
1. Health and protection for our whole family
2. Tara’s and Maddi’s families to be saved
3. Wisdom in all our dealings
4. Strength to keep going
I know we don't know each other formally, but I've been following some of your stuff online and on YouTube. I'm a brand new Christian (recently left Mormonism after 44 years), and just looking for some fellowship opportunities. I hope to get to know you better. Thanks again. God bless.
read your monthly news letter. Can;t explain it but it so motivating. Just makes me want to do more and learn more. I think it so wonderful the work that you do. It takes courage and just by sharing you make me stronger. thanks.
Thank you for the news update of the Mesa, AZ Mission trip, pleased that it went well and was so fruitful, you have an awesome Ministry brother and your doing awesome things for The Lord Jesus, some in the body say witness and move on, while others are more gracious and patient and long-suffering, bit of a conflict! but I know The Lord has shown me time and time again that's how He works and that's how He patiently worked in my life towards my need in Him, Praise God.
So great to hear Parker Hinckley's testimony which reminded me of the many experiences I have in common to, good and bad,especially the scars and all the damage and difficulties it brings, Yes The Lord is so Awesome to keep us anchored freely through the supposedly impossible and unimaginable circumstances and never fails us, even when we are constantly failing each step, loved the prayer at the end and appreciated the love and humility shown, it was as if I was with you all in the room, my prayers are with him, grateful and I appreciated seeing and experiencing that and thank you for sharing it my brother, I needed the encouragement and comforting.
Every blessing to you and your family's, friends and The Ministry.
Hi, Rob! I just got your newsletter in yesterday’s mail & wrote out a check to you (from the prompting of the Holy Spirit) to be mailed today. I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate the work you & your team are doing in Utah & other areas you go to. You have the kind of boldness that I wish I had (have even prayed for), but God is using me in different ways, I suppose.
I don’t donate on line & as I’ve stated before, I’ll give to your ministry “now & then” as the Lord leads. I have several that I’ve been supporting for years & can’t keep adding more who are just as worthy as those. I probably get 10+ (this is probably conservative guess) letters a month wanting donations for worthy causes, but I simply can’t support them all with monetary help. God will let me know when I’m to help someone that isn’t already on my list of support. You are totally worth it, but I fully believe God will continue to take care of you just as He said He would because you are obedient to Him & His Word. God isn’t going to let you NOT receive the necessary things for your ministry, because if He calls you to do it, then He promises to supply all your needs. I believe you are trusting Him. I know you are faithful in letting folks know your needs & I know God will supply them however & from whomever He chooses to be a part of CCU. Keep up the good work of evangelizing the Mormons. You are a DELIGHT TO THE LORD in what you are doing to further the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I always enjoy seeing the pix of you & your family, as well as those of your ministry. You are so strong in doing what you do, because the LORD has give you that passion & the strength to do it!!! I love the reply you give to those who try to tell you that Mormonism is correct, but God has given you the ability & the brain to give correct answers based on His Word & that Word will not return void. I’m thankful for those who have come from Mormonism to Christianity. What I don’t understand is how the Christian gal went from Christianity to Mormonism! That, for sure, doesn’t make sense. I’m wondering if she ever really accepted Christ as her Savior. The Bible is so clear in the teaching Jesus gave to us.
God bless you & your family & I’m putting the support check in today’s mail.
Love to you & the family,
I am currently in a Journalism Research Methods class and am writing my final paper for the semester. After recently seeing the musical The Book of Mormon, I have decided to write my paper on how the Mormon community is reacting to the show. Even if you have not seen it, I would still appreciate hearing your thoughts about there being a musical about Mormons. I was hoping I could ask you a few questions through email or over the phone. I promise it won't take long and have only a few questions.
I look forward to hearing from you!
[I replied:] …I haven't seen the musical. I hear it's put out by South Park and is typical of their humor. They curse God with profanity, and I'm obviously not OK with that. Having said that, Mormonism is weird, and people should realize that. Mormons for the most part recognize that, but as the South Park episode concludes, "It really doesn't matter, since we're happy and do a lot of good, and that's really all that matters" (paraphrase). Mormons seem to think that message is more important than the musical, and any attention to Mormonism can be turned into a positive. So they advertise their Church in the flyer everyone receives when they go to see the musical. However, as people research on the internet and elsewhere, the LDS Church is having a huge retention problem. For more on this, see http://mormoninfo.org/newsletters/january-2012.
That's about all I can think of regarding the musical unless you have any further questions.
I recently found your website, mormoninfo.org. I have found it very helpful. I am a life-long Lutheran living in the Midwest. I have begun dating a life-long LDS member who is now living in the same Midwest town. We are soon going to be starting a regular weekly study of our beliefs. Obviously it is his goal to convert me, and my goal is to convert him though Christ's love, Scriptures, prayer, and most of all, through the will and power of God. I want to be judicious in how I approach the various conflicting topics. I know his main focus will be on the power of the LDS priesthood. Can you please give me some advice about what order in which to address the differences in our beliefs? Also, what tips do you have for going about our discussions? Lastly, I am wondering how successful you have been in converting LDS? While the task seems so very daunting, I trust in God that it can happen. I would appreciate any prayer you could offer up for us in this journey, as I am praying for you, your team, and your ministry.
Thank you so very much.
Ps- I would like to remain anonymous, so please do not publish my email address. Thank you!
[I replied:] …I'm glad to hear that you'll be doing a weekly study together. I'm not happy to hear that you're dating a Mormon. I think scripture is clear that we aren't to be unequally yoked, and I've heard too many horror stories from mixed faith couples. So my advice is to remain friends, but break off the dating relationship until he shows a genuine heart for God and you're sure he's not converting just to conquer you and marry you.
As for order of beliefs, I'd just go down my list of differences on my Home page chart at MormonInfo.org.
As for tips, be patient, but keep forcing him to think for himself by asking lots of questions. Keep challenging his "burning in his bosom." For more on that, see [here].
I've seen conversions from Mormonism, but not many. That's not my focus. My focus is to force people to think, and leave the results up to God, knowing that I'll see many people in heaven someday as a result of my work. I just got news from one gal who saw my sign JosephLied.com almost 8 years ago. She just left Mormonism, but hasn't converted to Christianity yet. It's a long process. Some get out, but still end up going to hell. Christ is still sovereign, and He's at work to convert. Ultimately, we have to trust Him with it all.
Thanks for praying for us! I pray that God will protect you and give you discernment, and the strength to follow Him despite your feelings.
Don't worry about [me] publishing your name or email. I never do in my newsletters. I only do on my Discussions page when that is the intent.
I just read your 2010 rebuttal to Bill Maher’s movie. I know that this took a lot of time, sweat and tears but thank you!
It was very well done, intellectual and biblical.
Just read your newsletter, and particularly your account of ministry in Arizona. I smiled when seeing that short video clip of a colleague walking around w/ the lit-up “JosephLied.com” sign while at the night performance of the Easter pageant. It would be hard not to see that sign there… :)