August 31, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

August Meetup
Our Ex-Mormon Meetup group is going well. My folks and my nephew were up visiting for a little over a week, so I had my dad share his testimony to our group. My dad has never been LDS, but his testimony of God changing him from the inside-out still ministered to all who attended. You can watch all 3 parts of it on YouTube. It went so well that I thought it would be good if we can usually continue having someone each month share how they came to Christ (primarily out of Mormonism). We've even had an active LDS attending for the last couple times, and we've really enjoyed her. I'm please to announce that Sandra Tanner of Utah Lighthouse Ministry will be coming to our next Meetup on Sunday September 12th. She will be sharing her testimony after our feast. So if you're in the Salt Lake area, please consider RSVP'ing to our next "Feast & Testimony Sunday" (this is a play off the LDS "Fast & Testimony Sunday"). We'll also be having Doris Hanson of A Shield and Refuge Ministry come on Saturday October 9th.

Ken, Aaron, and Connie at Temple Square
I talked to an LDS friend at Temple Square named Bryce for the third time just a few days ago. Last March he told me how interesting it was to find out from the Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith DVD that there are no confirmed archeological sites in the Book of Mormon mentioned outside the Bible. This time we talked quite a bit about the nature of God. As usual for most LDS, at the end of our discussion, he played the feelings card. That's all that really mattered to him, since he got his revelation directly from God. I tried to keep pulling him back to what the Bible taught, but he claimed that there were too many interpretations to sort through there. Read: the Bible is not a more sure word of prophecy as 2 Peter 1:19-21 say, and it is not really a light unto our path as Psalm 119:105 says. As another LDS guy told me last month, "The written word is to bring you to the living word." I later thought that among all the problems with trusting one's own heart as being indicative of the word of God is the fact that there are all sorts of interpretations one and others have of this supposedly more exalted living word of God. An individual like Bryce still must interpret his heart whether this revelation is really of God, the devil, or his own flesh. And even if it is of God, Bryce still must interpret that God is not giving him a strong delusion as 2 Thessalonians 2:11 says occasionally happens. Further, this living word is being interpreted by others in all sorts of contradictory ways (e.g., Fundamentalist Mormonism in all of its various branches). So it doesn't seem this living word is a more sure word of prophecy. I challenged Bryce to follow Jesus' example. He never said, "Simply pray about it and follow your heart to determine truth." Instead, He continually said, "It is written!" Unfortunately, Bryce and other LDS are addicted to their feeling, and there's nothing living about it.

News finally broke this month concerning the likely sale of a section of street in Manti, UT to the LDS Church. Those of us who annually do ministry at the Manti Pageant suspected this was coming for quite a while now. It's the Main Street Plaza fiasco all over again (the LDS Church bought Main Street in between North and South Temple in Salt Lake a while ago and it cause quite an uproar, but the law ruled in favor of the Church), and the ACLU is again taking up the cause to protect free speech in UT. (Yes, I know most of you cannot believe the ACLU actually is on the side of traditional Christianity in UT!) Although it is obvious to us involved in ministry why the LDS Church is doing this (they hate us evangelizing on that street prior to the evening pageant each year), I really don't think it's going to negatively affect our evangelism much. Most of the evangelism action seemed to be in the intersection south of this proposed property anyway. Even though it seems to me that the law has already spoken on this issue given what happened with the Main Street Plaza in Salt Lake City, I still think it is good for the ACLU to make a stink of this. I think it is always good to draw attention to the shifty ways Mormon power structures work, particularly here in UT where they highly influence basically all other power structures.

Rob lecturing on "Mormonism and the Trinity"
The video of me lecturing on Mormonism and the Trinity in Manti is finally up on YouTube. If you'd like a DVD version, please let me know when you send in your investment.

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 transfer programs available if you are interested in the simplicity of monthly withdrawals without the stamp. This also helps us with our monthly budgeting. Please see our "Invest" page for more information. 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. Many thanks to those of you who hold us up in prayer and in your financial giving!

Love is the greatest (1 Cor. 13:13),

Rob Sivulka
President, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374
West Jordan, UT 84084
(801) 708-4865
Rob@CourageousChristiansUnited.org
MormonInfo.org (Check out our new design!)
JWInfo.org
MuslimInfo.org

****ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS****

1. To get more speaking engagements.
2. To get more partners who will faithfully invest in this ministry
3. To get more people to join our Ex-Mormon Meetup
4. To get people to sign up for Divorce Care

****MAILBAG****

Thanks Rob- Thank you for your ministry!

[I replied:] Thanks for the encouragement

[He replied:] I meant every word and enjoy your outreach to the LDS. Not every conversation or approach will work with every person trapped in a cult. We need to listen to the LORD and be obedient to share what he gives us. Thank YOU!
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Until I read your letter today I had not seen any long clips of your street preaching after the pageant each night. WOW - PRAISE GOD - What an incredible opportunity. I bet your comments rang all night long in the ears of every Mormon who crossed the street and I can't imagine how your message must have been burned into the minds of the police who were directing traffic. Truly God has blessed the Manti Pageant Outreach and each year God opens new venues for us to proclaim His message to the people. We serve a great God. Keep on keeping on for the Lord.
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I love reading your reports....I praise God for your bold witness… Thanks for all you do to reach the lds for the One, true, sinless Jesus who died for our sins and intercedes on our behalf.
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Just wanted you to know our group was so grateful for your time, training + hospitality. The kids were impacted and have had opportunities to minister to Mormons have in Nebraska this summer. Sure hope + pray we can bring a group out again in the future.
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I read the newsletter. I'm so proud (maybe that's the wrong word)-of you for all the work you do. It will be interesting if Glen Beck looks up that info. Love to all
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YOU ARE IN MY PRAYERS ROB

NEVER FORGET HOW MUCH SOME OF US LOOK UP TO YOU AND CONSIDER YOU A HERO IN THE FAITH

GOD BLESS YOU
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Friday I took two of my grandchildren to temple square, actually to the museum. Previously that day we took a tour of the Conference Center. We were having a wonderful day and then on our way back from the museum I was handed a paper. My ten year old grand daughter wanted to know what the paper was. I said we'll look at it in the car. I looked at it in the car. I told her that It was a bunch of negative information about our church. She asked why would people say bad things about the church, then she said "my best friend is Catholic and she doesn't say anything bad about the Mormons." Then I began to drive home and I had about thirty minutes to think about what she said. I began to think yes WHY. One of my best friends is a Christian Scientist. Another is a Luthern. I serve a mission over at the Church Office Building doing tours one day a week. We meet people from all over the world. When they sign our register we see that they are Hindu, Athiest, and every other religion you can think of, and some that you have never ever heard of. They are all wonderful people, they are all Gods children, they are all Christs brothers and sisters. We love meeting them and showing them our city. God does't care, he loves us all. We are not to judge them or their beliefs we are here to embrace those things that we have in common, and the most important thing is that Christ gave his life for us and if we can't praise him for that and quit picking religions apart we sort of miss the whole reason for his sacrifice. I pray that we can all live our lives the way we feel is right, and let others live their lives they way they feel is right. I also pray that we can love our neighbors and help those around us, not because they believe as we do, but because they are Gods Children.

[I replied:] Thanks for your note. From my point of view, I say negative things about the LDS Church, since I take it to evil in turning people away from the true God/Christ. If Jesus spoke negatively of others (e.g., Mat. 23), then as His disciple, I'm supposed to do what He did. I love LDS, and I want to warn them. It's really that simple. If others don't do that, then that's their problem that you'll need to ask them about.

Also, according to the Bible, we aren't all children of God. Perhaps that fits in terms of us all being creations of God, but this isn't as significant a sense that the Bible advocates. It advocates that we *become* children of God by faith (e.g., Jn. 1:12). Jesus also calls certain people children of the devil (Jn. 8:44).

Finally, if you can draw my attention to a problem you perceive with me, then I also can do that with you and others. Love,


[She replied:] Thanks for your reply, I can plainly see that you need to do what you need to do and I need to do what I need to do. The only difference is I won't be standing on a corner handing out negative literature about your cause, I will be helping my non LDS friends, by being there to water their plants when out of town, or inviting them over for dinner, or simply loving them for who they are. I hope that you can find time to do some of that also, because I believe that you really believe that you are doing a good thing. May God bless you in all that you do because God Moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.

[I replied:] Thanks…! I assure you that I'm very involved in ministering to others in various ways. Typically, I'm only out at Temple Square on Thursday nights.
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Hey I was SOOOOO pumped about the question that Brian suggested you ask Glenn Beck about the United Order and socialism! Very insightful and very appropriate given Beck's conservatism. I am actively praying for Glenn Beck and this gives me yet another point to bring before the King.

Brian is a good friend of ours through our TV20 show on Thursday night, Polygamy:What Love Is This? Speaking of which, would you have any interest in being a guest some Thursday night? Since our target audience is the hidden fundamentalist community (and the LDS curious), you would need to agree on a topic of discussion with Doris that would meet them at their need. Pray about it.

Thinking of Beck again, there is much about Glenn that I admire. I actually like him as a person and while his innate passion makes him highly susceptible to the emotional substantiations of Mormonism, he could be a powerful witness for the true Jesus of the Bible if he aimed his investigative drive at the LDS church and the Bible. So I pray that God meets him on another road to Damascus.

Thanks for all you do brother. I continue to be thrilled that God has brought you here into the state and that He is working through you mightily. Keep on keeping on!
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Again, you and you new family are such an inspiration!

I had just watched an episode of Glenn Beck this last week. He aggravates the heck out of me because he's always talking in "Mormon Code" as I call it. He'll reference "former Agricultural Secretary, Ezra Taft Benson" quotes and books...which of course to LDS is "PAAAAY ATTENTION...THE PROPHET SPOKE THIS..." and just this week he was talking about the two political parties and made reference to the beginnings of the "war in heaven" and said "Now where have I heard this before?!... WE'LL SAVE ALL OF THEM, just follow MY plan..." he was quite excited. It WAS interesting, though, he referenced a different author. ...here is the link. He credited Saul Allinsky as the author. But it is straight out of the temple version of the creation of the world. Sigh.

Hope you got through! I think that was a great question to ask! Hope it does cause divine discomfort!

I'm glad you're doing divorce care. To be honest, I'm very close to several divorced people, who have been crushed. I have a Christian, Way of the Master evangelist type that is staunchly against remarriage, and thinks her opinion is scripture based. She's quite caustic over it. I'm so relieved to see strong word-oriented believers like yourself who see that God's love is redemptive and healing for ALL the wounds. I hope you are able to be used for many healings in your divorce care group!
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I thot again of your great work there in mormons zion and thought of Wally Tope in heaven who may have asked God to send another like him to Utah. If you knew Wally and watched him work as I did--he had an irresistable urge to witness to any possible mormon.....I was thinking of how you used the time to talk to a few in line to see Beck.Well Wally once-- with another guy and I were touring the Whitmer museum in Fayette NY.Wally had a special camera with high power lens and took pictures of many pictures on the walls but that was not his motive----He told us to get in the car and wait outside for a getaway as it were--well I was last one out the door and there was a line of about 10people listening to the LDS tour guide inside the museum--well u guessed it --Wally went back alone--I watched him start towards this group--and he preached to them till he was ejected and we made our getaway.He was bold as you are too.

As you may know he was banged on the back of the head(dying in a coma later), while preaching to looters in Hollywood in the LA riots of 92.I still use his methods or words in witnessing and tracts.

[I replied:] Wally was an early role model to me as well.
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Dear Sir,

I do not wish to start an argument over whether the Mormons are right or wrong. That was not my purpose in visiting their Temple Square last weekend, nor is it my purpose in writing to you this evening. Instead, I wish to address something else that I find somewhat bothersome.

While passing in front of Temple Square, a young woman offered me a newspaper-style brochure entitled "Free! Temple Square Visitor's Guide: Little known facts about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." She asked me if I wanted some free information about the Square and stated that it was from an evangelical church (or something to that effect). Being in "tourist-mode," so to speak, I was interested and accepted.

After reading it, I came to two conclusions:

1- It was an interesting counter-argument to the LDS church's teachings. It clearly states a general Christian stance against the Mormons and provides some references to back up its claims. It did seem a bit heavy-handed, but I understand that its purpose was to persuade all readers--Mormon and non-Mormon alike--that LDS teachings are not Biblical teachings. In spite of a small number of minor grammatical errors, it was well-written and served its purpose.

2- The approach used to present the material in this brochure does not, in my opinion, fit with Christian teachings. The title of the brochure is misleading. It does provide a little bit of information about various points of interest within Temple Square, but it immediately attempts to explain how each one goes against Biblical teachings. The web address at the bottom is deceptively similar to the LDS church's official website ofwww.mormon.org. Even with the written "Not LDS" disclaimer on the cover and the statement from the girl offering it that it was from a different religious organization, the brochure is clearly meant to appear to be something it is not. I understand the motivations behind printing such a thing, but the method feels much more like a deliberately deceptive corporate sales strategy than an earnest attempt to dissuade those who would be supposedly brainwashed by an allegedly misguided religion. This bothers me because I understand that Christians are taught to be honest in all things, and most claim to practice honesty. From the same Christians, I have also heard that a lie is both a bold-faced falsehood as well as any statement--accurate or not--that is delivered in an attempt to deceive.

Whether the brochure contains truth or lies is not my concern in this message. Its content leads me to believe that those who wrote it are honorable. The method of delivery, however, is questionable, and the easily-perceived deception--intentional or otherwise--greatly detracts from the strength of the argument.

It may be only one man's perspective, but I urge you to consider my statements in your future endeavors, especially if you are involved in subsequent printings of material similar to this brochure I received.

[I replied:] Somehow I get the sense that no Temple Square Guide from our perspective would be upfront enough for you. This guide was handed out during the SLC Olympics, and we still have thousands of them to hand out. We've heard your criticism before (everyone I've heard has been from LDS folks, but relatively few), but respectfully disagree with it. The overwhelming majority do not share your point of view, and are supportive of our Guide. The Guide was printed by www.MRM.org. Although I don't think it's a perfect tract, I think it's good enough to inform people who want to know what LDS believe and want a critique of it.

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