Rob sharing with Fishkill Baptist
At the beginning of the month, our board member and Stand to Reason lecturer Brett Kunkle brought a small team over for a barbecue and to hear Tara and me share with them. This team was all the way out from Fishkill, NY Baptist Church.
The first day at the Philadelphia LDS temple opening was awesome! I met Eric Johnson outside to pick up Mormonism Research Ministry's Temple Opening paper to hand out. I also handed out lots of IRR's "Are LDS Temples Christian?" and "Is Mormonism Christian?" as well as the Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith DVD. Over the week, I distributed right around 600 items!
Before I started working outside, I went through the temple tour. This was unusual in that they encouraged questions during the tour. In the bridal room, one lady asked about the bridal dress. The tour guide there misrepresented what brides wear implying that it was the same dress, but it was up to the bride to determine how long the sleeves would be so long as it did have sleeves. I privately told the lady that the bride actually has a different dress she is sealed in than the one she wears publicly for pictures. When I
Rob outside the Philly templesaw that tour guide outside later, I told her that she misrepresented what the bride actually wears and she knows she wasn't telling the truth. You can watch a hidden video of an LDS temple marriage ceremony here.
In another room, I asked the tour guide if we were going to see the veil and the washing and anointing rooms. She said, "No," but then that got another lady to ask, "What's the veil?" The guide brushed her off with finding out more at the end of the tour with the missionaries in the reception area.
In the sealing room, I asked, "Isn't it the case that a man may be sealed to more than one wife so long as only one is living or he's divorced, and isn't it the case that a woman may only be sealed to one husband?" The tour guide tried brushing that off for the reception area as well, but when I pressed him again, he admitted it was the case. One other Christian in the touring group said, "You should be an attorney!" I responded, "I already am... for Jesus!" (I later found out from Eric Johnson that the LDS Church Handbook has recently stated that women can now be sealed to more than one husband, but God will work it all out in the afterlife who she gets to be with throughout eternity. Notwithstanding, there is no polyandry in the afterlife; there’s only the type of polygamy where a husband has more than one wife.)
When I got to the reception area, I was immediately met by a sister missionary. I told her how much I appreciated them encouraging questions on the tour. I repeated the question I asked in the sealing room, and of course she couldn't answer how messy this whole "families are forever" business gets. Then I told her what Jesus taught about marriage in the afterlife, and she again didn't know what to say. (Jesus taught in Mat. 22 that there is no marriage in the afterlife, but are instead like the angels. When I challenged her on asking how does she know the LDS Church is true, she gave the standard response... she read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it. I responded that I did the same thing, but had a totally different answer than she did. I told her what the Bible said about trusting your own heart and how God Himself could give her a strong delusion to believe a lie. Well after about 20 minutes, she removed herself from the conversation. Later that day, I saw her outside greeting people. Throughout the week, I would see her, but she wouldn't talk to me again and certainly didn't want my literature.
With Eric Johnson and John Kauer sitting next to 3 LDS missionaries that we witnessed to over lunch at the world famous Reading Terminal The following day, I went to put my sign back in my car and went walking around looking for a bathroom. I couldn't find one, so I went to the LDS temple. As I was walking out, Dante, the security guy, stops me and asks me to come with him to a room to read me something. I said, "Sure," and kiddingly asked if it was the Book of Mormon. I get in the room and he tells me I'm not welcome on Church property and there's a poster board with my picture from the board members page! I was on the top of the board, then there was also a picture of Mike Norton, Aaron Shafovaloff, Robert Verdin, and Chip Thompson on it! I asked if I could take a picture of it, but he said, "No," and turned it over.
Another security guy (actually the head of the volunteers) named Ed came in to talk to me. I told them the Church typically let's me on their sites to use the bathroom so long as I don't have my sign or literature. Ed said someone notified them about me going on and were concerned, but said it was a misunderstanding. We all agreed that I could use the head if I notify one of them beforehand.
Ed told me that he appreciates how respectful I've been, and I later heard the same thing from a new LDS friend, Chris, who volunteered there. He added that everyone had been saying how gracious I've been!
Well the next day Ed came out and told me that unfortunately I wouldn't be able to use their bathrooms at all. However, LDS volunteers were great at continually coming by to pass cold water bottles out. Perhaps that was to keep me from dying of heat stroke (it was around 100 degrees with about 100% humidity), but perhaps it was to keep me going to the bathroom more and thereby allowing more people to get past me without seeing my sign or being bothered about taking my literature!
Typically, I would tell the crowds passing by me as I held up the temple paper, "Temples from a Christian perspective. You're getting a Mormon perspective. Please get a Christian perspective!" Every once in a while, someone would respond, "Mormons are Christians." When they said that, I'd quickly say, "Mormons are false Christians, since they have a false Christ who wasn't big enough to create everything... like Lucifer or our spirits, since we're all younger brothers and sisters in a pre-earth life."
With Joe Bei who hasn't seen or worked with Rob in about 30 years!During the week, I got in way too many doctrinal conversations to remember. I remember talking to one returned LDS missionary named Chris about the doctrine of the Trinity. He at first said his understanding of the doctrine was that the members of the Trinity were all one person. I told him that wasn't the case. He said, "Yeah, because they are all separate." I told him that wasn't the case either. So I explained to him how the members are inseparably distinct from eternity, and that this is completely different from the LDS doctrine in which each person had to become a god. He understood the point even though he disagree with it, but then had to go.
Another nice LDS gal named Alesha came up to me to give me a granola bar, and then asked me if I consider Mormons Christians, and if not, why not? She was really open to what I had to say, even though she disagreed with my position.
I got in 2 very lengthy conversations with LDS volunteers. These conversations stayed clear of the gospel and doctrinal matters, because I was focusing on establishing a friendship with these guys I was working with. I mentioned Chris above claiming how gracious I was. One night we spent well over an hour sharing our lives with each other. I found out he runs a business to prevent internet porn. We talked about how devastating it is to families. We exchanged cards, and I told him that I'd like to take him out to my former LDS buddy's gelato shop next time he's in Utah. Chris was excited about this, since he did his mission in Italy. I usually don't do this, but I felt such a connection with this guy that I hugged him!
The next day, I talked to Handon on and off for almost a whole afternoon! I could tell security Ed was getting bothered that Handon wasn't doing his job, and pulled him aside to basically tell as much. We talked a lot of politics and of our families. He has family in Utah, so we exchanged phone numbers and I also told him I'd take him out to my buddy's gelato place when he comes out.
As for hostile conversations, there were only about 3 that I recall. The first night, an apparent non-LDS guy came by on a bike and asked, "Why don't you leave these nice Mormons alone?" After I told him, "Because they need to repent in order to have life," he said, "You're just a Christian version of the Taliban!" As he was biking away from his "drive-by," I yelled, "I'm not sticking a gun to anyone's head. That's ridiculous!"
Rob shares at Independent Bible FellowshipOne afternoon, a young vet came by with a cane. He was hot from the get-go. Ed and another volunteer as well as this vet's apparent wife were trying to get him to move on. I thought he may end up taking a swing at me with his cane. I tried calming him down by asking if I could pray about why he needs the cane, but he didn't care. He asked me why God kept him alive when mortars were going off all around him. I told him, "Because God loves you and wanted to protect you, but that doesn't authenticate your religion." They finally got him to move on.
The last hostile conversation was with a non-LDS young couple. They were typical hypocritical and confused post-moderns, who were attacking me for simply warning others of a false religion. They have a cultural false Jesus, who isn't in keeping with what the New Testament teaches about Christ. As I pointed these scriptures out, the more hostile they became.
There were a number of Christians that went through the tours. A number of them were wearing crosses. I would call out to them as they were walking by and told them that I liked their cross and that they must not be LDS.
A lot of black people went through as well. I enjoyed pointing out how racist the Book of Mormon was in cursing people with dark skin (e.g., Alma 3:6) and as they repented, their curse was taken from them and they got white skin (2 Ne. 2:14-16). One white volunteer shot himself in the foot when he publicly said, "Well what do you think God did in the Bible?" I responded that He obviously never cursed people with dark skin.
I was able to preach to crowds that were backed up outside the gates on occasion. A number of people were really listening to what I had to say. Here's a video of one such event.
I was also able to preach at my dad's cousins' small church in Chester, PA called "Independent Bible Fellowship." Here's most of the video of that event. It was great getting reconnected with this side of the family I haven't seen in close to 20 years! They were such a great example of giving and were very supportive of my trip.
So guess what state hit MormonInfo.org more than any other this week that I was out in PA. With the exception of Sunday, everyday had PA in the #1 position! Typically, I get about 2-3 hits a day from PA. However, I averaged about 10 times that amount this past week! The day after I arrived home, hits on MormonInfo.org from PA were double the second place state (CA)! Advertising works again!
Well after 7 years of living here in West Jordan, UT, a Jehovah's Witness came to our door! We were just pulling up from the gym. His name was Timothy. Really nice guy, but as usual, once he found out I knew what I was talking about, he started to walk away. (This is why I never really had a passion about reaching out to JWs, and instead focused on Mormons. The latter are so much more willing to dialogue generally speaking.) I kept throwing things at him as politely as I could to get him to bite, but nothing worked.
He, unlike LDS though generally speaking, readily admitted he could be wrong. So I told him I could be wrong as well and that's why as "iron sharpens iron," we should sharpen each other and learn from each other. He kept backing down the driveway.
I told him JWs have a false God and have devalued Jesus. Again, he kept backing down the driveway.
I said, "Why would you believe the Watchtower anyway when they have a history of making false prophecies of Jesus' return?" I told him that Jesus was quite clear that everyone would see Him as "lightening flashing from the east to the west" when He returned, yet JWs hold Christ came back invisibly to work through the Watchtower headquarters in 1914 and not everyone even knows that.
When he didn't bite on that, I told him, "Why would you believe what the Watchtower did with their translation of the Bible when it doesn't have one Hebrew or Greek scholar to back it?" Again, nothing.
So I simply pointed to my JWinfo.org bumper sticker on back of my car and asked him to look it over sometime and send me an email to tell me what he thought of it. I pray something I said might bug him enough to think critically about his faith.
Rob sharing at Christ FellowshipFt. Collins, CO
We made a family mission trip to CO. We began by speaking at Christ Fellowship Church in Ft. Collins. The congregation was very supportive of our mission there. Here’s the video of Tara and me sharing.
The next day, we went through the temple as a family. They allowed questions on the tour, but they didn’t encourage them and we felt like we were simply being pushed along to get out as quickly as possible. We did get a chance to talk to a few LDS women in the reception area afterwards though.
Eric Johnson was there at this outreach too, and he encouraged me to advertise at the busy intersection outside the temple while he passed out the temple newspapers and the LDS late prophet Spencer W. Kimball’s Miracle of Forgiveness (the latter is used to show LDS how impossible it is to ever get into the celestial kingdom). So even though I did get in some conversations, the primary point of this trip was to introduce people driving by in cars to my web site.
Sivulkas at Ft. Collins templeHere are just a few examples of conversations I had. An LDS guy comes by and asks what I hope to accomplish. I simply respond by saying, "To covert you." He says, "To what?" I tell him, "To Christianity." He says, "Do you know the name of our church?" I simply tell him he's got a false Christ and is a false Christian. He says, "Well if I'm wrong, I'll want to die being wrong." As he walks away, I tell him, "That's the problem. You're too closed-minded."
I had about 10 minutes with a young LDS guy named Austin, who was on his way to lead a tour. He didn't find any contradictions between the Bible and his LDS scriptures, so I asked him to explain Isa. 44:24 with Abraham 4-5. The former said God created everything alone whereas the latter has Him having help with other Gods. Austin, as usual, explained it by the Godhead members must be separate. I said, "Does the Bible ever say specifically that the are separate Gods?" He answered, "No." Then I explained to him how just because the Persons are different doesn't entail they are separate as LDS believe each of them had to become a God. The God of the Bible is inseparably united from eternity as the Creator who doesn't know of any other gods (Isa. 44:8), because all the gods are simply idols (Ps. 96:5).
LDS Pat and Mike waited for hours for me to show up one day. I met their son Curtis out in front of the Philly temple. He was serving as an usher. Super nice guy and super nice LDS folks! Curtis had such a good time talking to me that he wanted his folks to make sure and meet me.
This was a record-setting trip! One day, I had 10 people flip me off and 1 just verbally told me as much! One of the flippers was a nice lady in the passenger seat of a minivan with Utah license plates that pull into the LDS church parking lot. I maybe had a total of 3 to 5 flippers the whole time I was in Philly!
Rob with LDS Pat and MikeThe Saturday and Sunday before I began witnessing out front of the CO temple, I got around 60 hits all over the world each day. However, Monday I got 181 and 328 Tuesday!!! As for Colorado itself, Saturday I got 2 hits, Sunday 5, but Monday I got 84 and Tuesday I got 165!!! And yes, CO continued to blow every other state away. One day, I got 183 hits! That was a new record for the state! I have been home for several days now, and CO is still far and above every other state coming to my site! But of course I’m just wasting my time!
More Mission Trips
I got my ticket for flying to Hartford, CT on October 12th, but I still need about $200 more to cover hotel accommodations. If I can find a local Christian(s) to house me, then that would certainly save on costs. Given the location, this will also be an outreach to many atheists and skeptics. I am also looking to speak at a church somewhere in the vicinity on the 16th.
Another temple opening is going to occur in Afton, WY September 23rd – October 8th. Afton is 3 and ½ hours away from where we live, but there are hardly any hotels. This means they’ll be taken up during that time and they’re quite expensive. I’ve talked to a few local pastors about simply having some place to stay, but all seem hesitant about me coming and rocking their small LDS community too much. So if you know of any Christians in the area that would simply house me for several days, please let me know soon. Or perhaps you have a camper you’d let me borrow! They expect around 70 thousand in just over 2 weeks, so it seems to me like a great opportunity to get the word out to a lot of LDS in a particular area!
Here’s a video I made explaining “Why You Should Support My Mission Work at LDS Temple Openings.”
Rob at the Ft. Collins templeWe 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). For more information on various ways to invest in this ministry, including online giving, please see our “Invest” page on any of our sites. Please keep in mind we have no financial guarantees each month. Ministry partners come and go. 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!
In order to gain greater stability over our monthly budget, we need 50 people to give $10 a month. We also need 45 people to give $25. 24 people that can give $50. 13 people that can give $100. I'm asking you to commit to at least either 12 or 24 months. Check back in this section every month to see how we’re doing!
We expect God to provide for our needs through you. Why? Because the Bible is clear: “the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14).
Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6)!
President, Courageous Christians United
****ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS****
1. Health and protection for our whole family
2. Tara’s family to be saved
3. Wisdom in all our dealings
4. Strength to keep going
Today, I saw a sign "Josephlied.com" in front of a new Mormon church here in Colorado. I went ahead and check out your website. Your teachings and speculations do not have anything to do with the word of God which can be found in the Bible. It is just another religion. God does not have anything to do with religion. Who killed Jesus? The religious leaders at the time. Why? Because they did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, God. What does the Bible say? "God was manifested in the flash." through Jesus. God is Spirit, nobody can see Him at anytime. What did Jesus say? "Before Abraham was, I am". Religion is what men came up with. There is One God, One Spirit , One Father of all , and how many religions are out there? How did Jesus pray? "Keep them from the evil" - that meant the religion, the untruth. What did Paul say? "You will know the truth and the truth will make you free" Free of what? Free of all these religions that people came up with along the way.. The church is not a building, the church is people, human beings who read and follow the word of God without making any false interpretations. Religion = business . If you take the money out of churches there wouldn't be 10.000 religions anymore there would be just the Bible.
"I'll pour my Spirit upon all flash" God said. Everybody has access to the word of God, to salvation through baptism and keeping God's commandments , it is whosoever will. God is not forcing anybody to follow him, and the word of God is free.
When reading the Bible compare spiritual things with spiritual things and material things with material things. All that Jesus had in His Name was spiritual things.We should always pray for spiritual things and do not treat God as a vending machine.
"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling"
Best wishes in finding the truth,
[Tara replied:] The website is a comparison of Mormonism and traditional Christianity. I myself am a former Mormon, now biblical Christian. Our hope is to warn others of the false teachings of Mormonism and win them to the true Christ of the Bible.
[He replied:] The name of the website and the website itself is confusing. Trying to "win people" to believe in Christ and make them read the Bible does not work. It is "whosoever will". That is the reason God poured His Spirit, His Word upon all flash.
Everybody can get a Bible and read it, find the truth, get save and stick to the word of God. What do we find in the Bible about the Jews? They were supposed to be a nation of kings and priests, spread the word of God to all nations. Did it happen? No. Why? Because the religion took over. Paul was not even dead and the Jewish people were divided as far as the scriptures. Not long after the Romans took over, Constantine came up with Catholicism and forced people to believe things that were not true. Moreover, millions of people were killed throughout the history in the name of God. Remember the Crusades? Just to give you an example. That did not have anything to do with God. It was man! Three hundred something years later after Catholicism, what came along? A new religion; Islamism which was developed by a man. I am pretty sure you can figure out the rest… Interesting how well the Bible explains about Islamism.
…The word of God is pretty simple if you keep it simple, and do not interpret it. Best wishes in finding the truth.
[I replied:] The name of the site is only confusing if you don't take time to actually read the site. You just assumed your interpretation.
Your claim that we don't need to follow the command and example of our Lord and His example to call people to repent and teach them everything our Lord taught is unbiblical (Mat.28:19) and goes against the experience of billions of people who converted to Christianity over the centuries. We are called to give answers and defend the faith (1 Pt. 3:15 and Jude 3). Just because God pours out His Spirit on all flesh and draw[s] all men to Himself doesn't excuse our responsibility to fulfill His commands.
Further, I find you hypocritical in trying to teach us when you claim no teaching needs to be done.
I would first like to say thanks for the kicks and giggles of your ridiculous webpage. I would like to point out that the LDS Church is founded on the principles that Christ himself taught to His 12 Apostles. We are not a perfect people by far, however Christ is perfect and His True Church that was organized from the beginning is perfect.
[I replied:] Well by all means, please forward my site around to spread abroad more "kicks and giggles."
[In reference to my support letter for the Hartford, CT mission:] Boy that was a great email!!!!
In my prayers Rob and your family, I pray one day you wake up to find that golden missonary donation, I hope and pray it is soon for you all, every comendation to you, be safe and sober and praying for much fruit and the Lords every blessing.
… Thanks Rob, I appreciatte what you do as much as I can and I appreciatte all your support you've given me bro, Godbless you and all your familys, hope the Lord opens the door in those family avenues your pray for and all your ministry avenues to.
Greetings in the matchless name of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ! We met in Philadelphia at the new Mormon Temple. My ministry is Fishers of Men, Evangelism. Enjoyed our talk and as we pray for each others Ministries may the Lord give us favor, wisdom and knowledge to witness the truth and beauty of the Word of God. May the Lord Jesus richly bless you, your ministry, your partners and family.
We met at the LDS temple in Philly a couple of days ago. Just wanted to reach out and thank you and the others for the love and concern you are showing to the LDSers.
Also, wanted to give you our contact info, so if you are ever in Philly again, you are more than welcome to stop by.
We are Living Word Community. Our website is: www.lwcphilly.org. …May the Lord Jesus Christ richly bless you for all that you are doing for Him.
Always Yours in Christ,
Tired of being lied to. Tired of untrained, uneducated, lay leadership. Just tired. I am in search of happiness and peace. Take care of the poor and suffering and real estate and shopping malls don't matter.
…[T]he days are drawing near[.] I hope for His coming! Keep on witnessing!
We appreciate you & your family
Just wanted to say a thank you from England for all the outreach work you do to the LDS. It's amazing how patient and composed you remain, especially at the Manti pageant in the face of occasional provocation!
Anyway, your videos have really encouraged me to stand boldly for the Gospel in the face of counterfeits. Here in Carlisle we have a lot of LDS and Jehovah's Witnesses and I've had lots of conversations with both kinds. May the Lord raise up people like you here!
Every blessing to you and yours,
Rob, I wish I could hug you !! Being out there, on the hot sidewalk preaching the word. You have a very special place in my heart and I'm betting a very special place in Gods heart too.
Watching some of your videos has renewed my spirit to stand strong against the false doctrine that is taught by the Mormon church, and the ones who break off from main stream church. Please, Lord, help us to spread the word of truth to those who are seeking You, in Jesus name, I pray, Amen.