January 7, 2008

Dear Family and Friends,

Rob, Tara, and Maddy
The exciting news from last month is that I'm now married to a college graduate. No, I didn't become polygamous since I plan on moving back to Utah. After 13 years in the making, Tara has finally graduated, and with honors! She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in business and psychology. Before I married, I prayed for a smart wife who would be skilled in business and psychology, since I'm basically brain-dead in these fields. So I'm very thankful and proud of my better half.

I edited and posted a very interesting testimony from another ex-Mormon who is now living for the Lord. His name is Sean Murphy, and his story may be read HERE.

With the Shafovaloffs (Mormonism Research Ministry) at the DFW airport (long lay-over on their way back home to UT)
Our board also met last month, and motioned that Tara, Maddy, and I move to Utah by the end of June. Since Tara has graduated, this has taken away a major reason why we have continued living in Dallas. At this point there are only two significant reasons why we remain here: 1) we must sell our townhome, and 2) we need to increase our average monthly income to this ministry about 66% more. (We would like Tara to be able to work full time for this ministry as well.) For these two items to be fulfilled, we need 1) to trust that God really intends for us to be ministering full time in Utah, 2) pray that God will bring it about, and 3) recruit more ministry partners. Would you please take some time to seek the Lord on how you can best invest in this ministry? For those of you led to financially partner with us, please see our "Invest" page on any of our web sites, and send in a tax-deductible investment today. If everyone reading this simply gave $25 per month, we would have no problem being at 100% of what we need.

Thank you so much for your concern, financial investments, and prayers for this ministry, and for those trapped by false religions and philosophies.

Happy New Year!

Rob Sivulka
President, Courageous Christians United
Rob@CourageousChristiansUnited.org
MormonInfo.org
JWInfo.org

****PRAYER REQUESTS****

1. For my book I'm writing (I'm done with a first draft of 47 out of 63 chapters)
2. For more members to join our Ex-Mormon Meetup recovery group
3. For God to use a recent dialogue I had with a Mormon guy named Austin

****MAILBAG****

Hey Rob,

great to hear from you. Laurie was out cleaning a house the other day and the client saw the Mormoninfo bumper sticker, went to the site, and then had some comments. He asked Laurie if they could talk 'theology' and she complied. They had a good conversation about the impossible gospel using BOM text, but the man insisted that he was not relying on his own efforts, but God's grace would help him do all he must do to get the grace. Laurie goes back in three weeks and she gave him her email address, so pray for another encounter.

Excited to hear you are planning to move back. Let me know if we can go by any places and take additional photos or check out the neighborhood, or whatever. We would love to help. We would even pretend we are looking at the home as potential buyers. Did your mother-in-law's place sell? It was already priced well for a finished basement and it was in pretty good condition, needed carpet upstairs.

Love you three

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Hi Tara,

I read your story on your church news that Rob passed along in your monthly newsletter. Its not the first time I have heard it but I just wanted to say that every time I hear about it I am inspired by the work that the Lord has done in your life. Its hard to not feel overwhelmed when I think of my family trapped in Mormonism. Your story reminds me that God is in control and has the power to pull anybody out of it. So thanks again for sharing your story- I'm sure those in your church were blessed to read in.

Take care- and congrats on your graduation!
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I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed the Wednesday night classes [Divorce Care]. It feels so good to know I was not out there all alone. I have grown so close to the Lord in the past 13 weeks. You and Rob are a true blessing to this ministry and I wish you the best of luck in Utah. You guys have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Hope to stay in touch!
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I came across your site after viewing a Walter Martin video on Mormonism that was on YouTube. It was Walter Martin speaking at Brigham City in 1985. The clip had your ministry name at the bottom. …I really found this video to be helpful when dealing with Mormons. …I appreciate you standing for truth and reaching out to Mormons with the true gospel.
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We left the LDS Church about two years ago. We were married in the Lubbock, TX temple and held a number of callings in our small West Texas Branch and also and in a Branch we attended in Orlando, Florida. My wife grew up Mormon and I converted while I was dating her in High School. I grew up Church of Christ.

We decided to leave the LDS Church in light of the DNA research concerning Native American origins. Since my degree is Anthropology and Archaeology, and I'm since quite familiar with the theories concerning early migration, we eventually eliminated all possibilities of a Book of Mormon setting in the Americas. The dilemma we face now is restoring faith in religion, and also dealing with the rift this has caused on her side of the family. We both believe in God... we both believe in Christ... and we both believe the message of Love and Forgiveness taught in the New Testament.

It seems like now though, every Christian community we've tried to be a part of has their own little "Book of Mormon's" so to speak, to get over. Whether it be water baptism, instrumental music, 5 Pt Calvinism, or the "Literal/Figurative" Old Testament debate... we just feel like we're tired of hearing about these things at church instead of about Christ's message of love and forgiveness. We're hoping this group can give us an avenue to talk to people who truly understand our frustrations and trials concerning Mormonism, but we also hope it can begin filling the void of fellowship we've lacked since
leaving the LDS faith.

Anyway, I hope we can make it to the next get-together and I look forward to meeting you and your wife. My wife and I will check our schedules and RSVP if soon if we can make it.

[I responded:] So good to hear from you. I just sent your email to a friend of mine--Dennis Monokroussos. He wrote the review of DNA vs. the Book of Mormon for our site, and sent me an email he got from an LDS apologist. I told him you've probably been through all the responses LDS apologists give concerning this issue, and that he should write you about it. So you may be hearing from him soon.

Anyway, Tara and I are excited to meet you soon. We're happy to hear that you haven't tossed out religious belief all together as so many ex-LDS do. Tara has an uncle and aunt and sister who are former LDS, but now atheist (sister and uncle) and agnostic (aunt). The rest of her sisters are all simply inactive, but the rest of her extend family are all devout LDS. Tara's testimony can be read HERE.

I appreciate what you had to say about Christian denominations having their own "Book of Mormon's." Funny, but true. We go to Watermark Community Church here in Dallas, and although we think water baptism is important, it's not essential for eternal life. My step-daughter hasn't been baptized yet, but we believe she is still saved.

The rationale for non-instrumental music has never made any sense to me. Simply because there were no instruments mentioned as being used in the New Testament Church is no reason to exclude them, since the N. T. affirms that whatever we do, we are to do it all as unto the Lord. Further, the same rationale the Church of Christ uses would seem to rule out displaying pictures or symbols such as the cross. Finally, the rationale would rule out using modern conveniences such as microphones. I just don't get it.

We aren't 5 Pt. Calvinists, but even if we were (like many friends we have who are), we would never make it an issue necessary for one's right standing before God.

The same goes to the literal vs. figurative understanding of the O.T. I think there are elements of both in the O.T., but I'd never require one hold to my view before I'd count one as saved. The essence of salvation is found in the simplicity of Christ, and the Apostle warned us of Satan drawing us away from that (2 Cor. 11:3-4, 13-15).

Now on the other hand, I do think it's important to explain as much truth as possible according to one's understanding of it. So the bedrock is Christ and our acceptance or right standing before God in Him via genuine faith, but as we continue to grow in our understanding of the God who saved us, we naturally desire to examine different points of view. This is why I'm not bothered when our pastor presents a view that I don't buy. His job is to offer a safe environment to challenge my thinking on all sorts of issues.

Now of course, it's also the local church's job to provide boundaries that are acceptable of one who desires to follow Christ. I think you'd agree, for example, that a local church has a responsibility to correct its member who has fallen into sin. This may certainly be abused, but a church needs to care for its own to at least a certain extent that is evident to the individual, and in some cases, everyone. This is why Paul told the Corinthians to expel the individual who was sleeping with his mother-in-law in 1 Cor. 5. The same apostle who preached the simplicity of Christ and salvation by grace alone through faith also preached that boundaries are appropriate for the Church in the upbringing of its members.

Our ex-Mormon Meetup isn't a church group. You can kind of think of us as a "half-way house." We provide a safe environment for believers and non-believers to share their experiences and insights. We steer the group toward Christ, since that's our outlook, but we aren't providing all the resources for growth that a local church would. We can only do so much, especially meeting just once a month to share a meal together.

Happy New Year!

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Pls help me how to explain regarding about celestial marriage. cuz i dont know how to explain it well to my gf... ok! thanks...

[I responded:] Celestial marriage for LDS means that they get sealed in the temple for time and all eternity, so that they can become gods for their own worlds and receive exclusive worship from their spirit kids.

[He responded:] and this taught is unbiblical right? how can i explain to her that this teaching is wrong....?

[I responded:] You need to take her through the verses that I have listed on the right side of my MormonInfo. org home page chart. The Bible verses will give you a clear picture why celestial marriage is wrong. There's only 1 God who is a completely different being than humans are or ever will be. Further Mt. 22:23-33 and keep in mind that Jesus could have said that she's married to the one she's sealed to in the temple. Also keep in mind that angels according to Mormons are single. Your girlfriend is in a cult. Keep praying for her!

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