August 3, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Rob at the Utah JW convention
At the beginning of last month, Eric Johnson (of Mormonism Research Ministry), his family, and I hit the English Jehovah’s Witness Convention in Ogden. The parking lot at the Dee Events Center was basically full with cars mostly from Utah, but also from Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. We would hold signs with our web sites on them. Eric has FollowtheChrist.com and mine is JWInfo.org. This is the best way I know to reach out to Jehovah’s Witnesses on a large scale. They are much more closed-minded than Mormons and the former will not come out to dialogue with us at all. So I needed to challenge them to look at my site. I did this in two ways. First, when the car windows were rolled down, I would tell them, “Don’t be afraid to get a different point of view. God gave you a mind, and He expects you to use it. 1 Thes. 5:21 says, ‘Test all things and hold fast to that which is good.’ So here’s your test,” and I’d point to my sign. Second, for those with the windows rolled up, I’d point up to the sky, point to them, point to my head, and then point to my sign.

Rob outside the Bees' stadium
I also worked with Eric and others to distribute literature out in front of the Salt Lake City Bees baseball stadium (minor league). We distributed baseball-like cards that had Bees trivia questions on one side with the answers and a gospel presentation on the other side. We got out tons of these cards. I’d simply tell people, “Bees trivia and Jesus,” and probably 95% of the people took them! Too bad we can’t get tracts like that out in front of Temple Square!

Rob outside Temple Square
The ministry out in front of Temple Square continues on a weekly basis. We regularly have a small handful that share the gospel there. People have been coming up to me and honestly asking me what I believe. It’s great to get into conversations of this sort when LDS are not defensive at all. It’s also great to play impromptu tour guide while people are waiting to cross at the light. And it’s a long light! In fact, one guy asked if I was controlling it in order to preach longer!

We had a couple ministry get-togethers at our place. The first was our Ex-Mormon Meetup. We had around 70 people here! Half of that was a mission team from Greg Laurie’s church in Riverside, CA. It was led by Brett Kunkle of Stand to Reason, and who is also one of our board members. Tim and Suzie Oliver of Think About Eternity Ministries graciously provided the food as well as the tables and chairs. Kay Brown shared her testimony, and you may view it here and see the pictures of the Meetup here. The second get-together was our non-traditional family dinner. We had a couple gals here who are friends of Tara’s sister, and they are planning on being part of our DivorceCare meetings next month. Please pray for their peace and salvation.

There was a video interview of me posted on YouTube last month. The topic was “The Biggest Difference Between Mormonism Compared To Christianity,” and you may watch it here.

Finally, after hearing that Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt was in trouble for claiming that Mitt Romney wasn’t a Christian on the 17th, I rallied the troops on her Facebook page. I spent the better part of a couple days responding to LDS on there. LDS are still giving her flack over it, and Christians are still sticking up for her. At last count, there are 880 comments on her July 17th entry!

We really value your partnership with this ministry. We not only need your prayers, but we need your financial assistance as well. 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. 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. For more information, please see our “Invest” page. At this point, we would like to raise at least $500 each month to cover costs. If you’re not a partner, please consider joining our team and let us know soon. Many thanks to those of you who hold us up in prayer and in your financial giving!

Contending earnestly for the faith (Jude 3),

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

****ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS****

1. To get more speaking engagements.
2. Health for our whole family
3. Protection
4. Tara’s and Maddi’s families to be saved
5. Wisdom in all our dealings

****MAILBAG****

I have watched your videos on YouTube. They are truely a blessing and they are also encouraging and informative. I came out of mormonism 20 years ago, but have several relatives that still remain. I am the "black sheep" of the family, so to speak. I am desiring fellowship with other Christians here on Facebook.
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Hi Rob, I found one of your You Tube videos and then your FB page asking to support Ainsley Earhardt's Wall post. Boy, did that stir up the mormons. I had a ministry to the cults up in Fairbanks back in the 70's. I still have a burden for all the people locked into these organizations and dialogue with them as The Lord provides them. You encourage me, thanks!
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thanks for the great talk in Manti at the training I learned alot and it was really encouraging. I am going to be re watching the video on You Tube probably several times when I need to be encouraged.
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Rob, Just wanted to send a quick note to say th[a]nk you for doing what you did all day on the Ainsley facebook page. I was LDS for 30 years and have been a Christian for 2.5 years now. I'm not as fast as I want to be in drafting responses so I appreciate you jumping on the thread I started. I hope you have a good night and that we will be able to interact more in the near future. Blessings

[I replied:] That means a lot to me. It's a lot of work, but I really believe we have a national platform here to get the word out, so it was all worth it! I'm also sick of LDS taking over the media in these matters, so thanks for coming along on this project! Keep contending earnestly for the faith!
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I have new, wonderful Christian friends thanks to you and your wife opening your home and sharing the TRUE Gospel of Jesus Christ! God bless you and praise Jesus!
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Hey, I didn't get a chance to thank you for a fabulous meeting on Saturday! It was great and I look forward to many others! God bless the work you and Tara are courageously doing!
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I really enjoyed reading your newsletter.
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Keep preaching brother. I am encouraged by your witness!
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Thanks Rob for your hospitality and insights regarding witnessing to Mormons. It was a pleasure to get acquainted with you. May the Lord bless you in all your ministry endeavors.
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Your hospitality was unexpected and unsurpassed. The team was still very blessed. I hope we can work together again sometime!
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Wow...there were some good conversations you had [from the last newsletter]. I learned alot myself. Thanks...praise God.
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Thanks for the interesting report - God is Good; All the Time. This year we have some interesting things happening following the [Manti] pageant outreach. First, we have heard zero backlash from our nightly evangelism. Secondly, we have had visitors from the community in church every Sunday. And finally and most importantly, there are several contacts from the pageant outreach that we are having continued opportunity to witness too and to direct them to Christian Churches up north. Thanks for all you do in your service for the Lord.

God Bless, Chip
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Hello. I've been watching a bunch of your YouTubevideos tonight and I must say I like the way you preach the gospel to them really much! Be blessed in your ministry, it helps me out here really much!
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Rob, I wanted to let you know man, that you gave me a whole new and bigger perspective on my outreach to the LDS people. God really spoke through you to me. Especially as I am a big picture person, you definitively hit home with me

[I replied:] thx much for the encouraging words
was it something specific?

[He replied:] the idea of actually looking at evangelism and spreading seeds as a much bigger idea than just friendship evangelism alone. I had battled back and forth about how my approach should look, and your teaching allowed me to see outside the box. As a matter of fact, on Saturday last week, I was praying for Aaron Shaf and he had asked me to do some preaching. That was something totally outside my box. However, God really moved through fasting and praying that day and through the words you gave the day before. Thank you brother, you really are an example of what a disciple looks like
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Rob I appreciated you[r] talk in Manti.
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I checked out your video comparing Mormonism with Christianity. Great work. I'm reminded of the summer servant program we went on in HS when we went door-to-door sharing with Mormons. Praise God for your ministry. We will be praying for you and your ministry. …It's great to be in touch with you again & to see how you are serving the Lord. Love your video clips and ministry updates. Keep them coming.
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Right now less than 2% of the world’s population are “Saved Evangelicals.” If you consider all of the people that have ever been born the number of “saved” individuals drops dramatically; 99.99% of everyone ever born goes to an everlasting Hell. That doesn’t sound like the arithmetic of a loving Father. Are you sure you have it all figured out? I challenge you to question Evangelicalism.

[I replied:] No, I don't have it all figured out. I never claimed that. But I do know some things. One of the things I know is what my Lord taught, viz., Mat. 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

Now if you're coming at this from an LDS perspective, most people do end up going to a hell of sorts. Potentially billions of God's spirit children are going to Outer Darkness, and most will probably end up in the lower 2 degrees of glory. Only a handful will end up in God's presence in the Celestial Kingdom.

Perhaps you're not LDS. Regardless, you shouldn't let your feelings dictate what you want to believe. You should listen to Jesus, who alone has the words of life (Jn. 6:68). He's more reliable than our feelings. Since I've made Him my Lord, my feelings, as well as my family and friends must be damned if they stand in the way of following Him.

I also know that God's not willing that any perish, but all come to a knowledge of the truth (2 Pt. 3:9). He's given to everyone a measure of faith (Rom. 12:3). So if any one goes to hell, you can't blame God for it. People have to blame themselves for loving themselves more than God and wanting to do things their way.

[He replied:] I am LDS, I except Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, I have felt my sins forgiven and I have no fear of Judgment day, I read the Bible, understand it and see that it absolutely confirms my faith. If I left my faith for yours I can’t imagine that my personal relationship with the savior would be improved, I just feel that your belief system saves statistically no one except you, that is great for you but it doesn’t jive with my sense of kindness, justice, truth, charity, etc… If a Murdering rapist and the 7 year old girl he kills both go to the same Hell in the next life, that seems unjust, un-charitable, un-virtuous, un-lovely, etc… to me that is not the God of the Bible. That to me is the most glaring injustice embraced by the evangelical faith.

[I replied:] That's why I find you inconsistent in claiming you have nothing to fear on Judgment day and then implying that our works (e.g., not murdering) have something to do with our salvation. As a Christian, I know I have eternal life, not because I'm worthy, but because the Worthy one lives in me through faith (the just live by faith as Romans claims). You're too focused on an individual's worthiness to make them right before God, but in so doing, no one will be able to make it, since all our own righteous is as filthy rags in His sight (Isa. 64:6). You need to repent of your own damnable good works and thinking you've really done all you could do (cf. 2 Ne. 25:23).

Again, you haven't solved the problem with your feelings as an LDS, since only a handful go to live in God's presence. On my view simply being outside God's presence after death is hell. Further, you also seem to indicate that you're your own God, since you're not interested in dealing, rather submitting to what Christ said about the matter. Your own feeling[s] are sufficient for what you'll believe.

[He replied:] Sorry for the slow response – Thursday is Golf day

My feelings are not inconsistent, either I fear Judgment day or I don’t. – I know I have a relationship with God and I trust in his goodness and grace and Judgment. The idea that Mormons believe “works alone” get you to heaven is a fictitious evangelical red herring and I suspect you have had enough contact with Mormons to know that. Nevertheless, like you, I continue to “…work out my salvation with fear and trembling” (Pil. 2:12) but like Nephi I have a “perfect brightness of Hope.”

Consistency may demand you shout “faith alone” to every Mormon you see enjoying a family outing, but evangelical churches are all over the map where grace and works are concerned; most teach that you can “fall from grace” or they use terms like “easy grace” or “cheap grace” to describe dead faith that is not backed up with actions. Lip service salvation may sell tickets in the big tent, but serious Christians who have an ounce of credibility recognize that Paul and James were both apostles and both have an important point to make.

As to the point of salvation numbers, if you want to belabor it: Evangelical Christianity saves nobody 99.99999% of gods children burn in the worst kind of fiery Hell. A fair hearing of Christianity is not: “Some half crazy, evangelical with a personality disorder shouted at me from the street corner once.” True Christianity offers a better opportunity for learning and saves way, way, way more people.
P.S. Super long doctrinal e-mils with cut and paste scriptures get boring really fast, from me or from you – Refute my assertions if you wish but really my simple point is this: Whether it is "God Hates Fags" or "God hates Mormons" attack oriented ministries like yours give evangelicals a bad name; when I run into one on the net I feel it is my good Christian duty to point it out.
[I replied:] I never said "works alone," so the quote is coming from some other source. Nonetheless, any works makes Christ's gift insufficient. LDS scripture is clear that we still need to do all we can do and that includes works. You're hope is based not only on what Christ's done, but on you doing "all you can do" (2 Ne. 25:23). Since none of us can do all you can do, there's ultimately no hope, especially since God cannot save us in our sins according to Alma 11:37.

Since God saved me in my sins (Rom. 5:8), and I’m trusting in His pardon alone, then of course I'm going to work out my salvation. It's a natural outcome of receiving such a great gift. But I don't have to worry about all my sins coming back on me again if I mess up as D&C 87:5-7 teach. I also don't have the burden of forsaking all my sin after my confession in order to be forgiven as D&C 58:42-43 teach. I don't have to repent and keep the commands in order to be forgiven as D&C 1:32 teaches. I am forgiven of all sin--past, present, and future--simply because I've repented and accepted His pardon. That's the peace I have with God that LDS don't, since they never know if they've done enough to make it to the celestial kingdom. Keep in mind that if you say you don't have any sin, then you deceive yourself and make Him out to be a liar (1 Jn. 1:8-10). Note that this latter passage doesn't teach with the D&C teaches about how one is granted forgiveness. The Bible teaches it's about confession to get the forgiveness. The Bible teaches it's about confession to get the forgiveness and the works are a natural outcome to show that a life has been forgiven. That's quite different from saying, “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” as the 3rd Article of Faith says.

I also never claimed that God hates fags or Mormons, so again, you’re confusing me with someone else. You may assume that I do, but that’s because you have a difficult time seeing how Christian missionaries actually love people enough to warn them of hell. If you think that’s still hate, then you’re just blind. All I have tried to do is warn people of the error of their ways. If that’s hate, then you really ought to look in the mirror. It’s what you’ve been hypocritically doing to me this whole conversation.

You still won’t deal with Christ’s words concerning how the vast majority will go to hell in Mat. 7. Instead, you’d rather just submit to your own feelings on the matter. It’s your feelings that distort your view of reality, and until you bend the knee, you’ll continue to go where you want, viz., your own hell of a kingdom.

[He replied:] Now we are finally getting somewhere – The nuances of faith and works are important to both of our faiths and they differ – but If you portray one as simply works oriented and one as simply faith oriented you are making a false point on both accounts and evangelicals have a tendency to do that – even you; I have seen your video clips and that is the message you preach. You never admit that your personal “faith without works is dead.” James 2:20 But it is true, your personal faith in Christ and every other evangelical Christians personal faith in Christ is completely, totally and utterly dead without WORKS just like the Bible says. If the Bible didn’t say it I wouldn’t say it twice.
My question to you is this: What work do I need to perform to qualify for salvation as you know it? I think I have done everything you think I need to do. Are misconceptions about the nature of heaven too great a sin for Christ’s atonement? Are misconceptions about the nature of God’s physical being too large a sin to be covered by His grace? Is adultery covered but not theological inaccuracies? If an evangelical believes in Horoscopes or calls the Psychic Network are they damned too? I accept Christ and I rely on his atonement and His mercy and His grace, I have felt my sins lifted; I have become a new creature in Christ, My wife can say the same and I suspect my Bishop can as well. Why are we all damned when nobody else is?
[I replied:] http://mormoninfo.org/james2:24.

As far as what work you can do, the disciples asked Jesus the same question, and He replied, "This is the work of God that you believe on the one whom He has sent" (Jn. 6:29). 2 problems with LDS: 1) they not simply believe this, but they trust in their own works to make them right before God, which is a damn gospel (Gal. 1:6-9) and more fundamentally, 2) the God/Jesus they believe is a false one. As for the latter, Jesus was clear that unless you believe who He claimed to be, you'd die in your sin (Jn. 8:24) and eternal life is based on knowing God (Jn. 17:3). So if you deny who the Bible clearly teaches about God, then that "work" isn't of God, but you're being led by a false spirit. As Paul said, idolaters won't inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9) and that's why the apostle later warned of those who come and teach a false Jesus, spirit, and gospel (2 Cor. 11:3-4, 13-15). Genuine grace is given by the real God, and LDS have a cheap counterfeit.

[He replied:] Last time I checked the bible said Christ is the son of God. The Catholic Nicene council said differently and if that is your source for true biblical interpretation run with it. One thing I know for sure, evangelical Christianity breeds a host of disfunction. Why wait for Christ's judgement when you can save yourself today, shout it out, fight about it, cary signs, apply bumper stickers, be rude, feign love, whatever, the fact is you can't save yourself or me, you can't even tell if my personal faith in Christ is authentic, the fact that you think you can is amusing. This has been fun but I think it has run it's course.
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I just got done seeing your videos on street witnessing in Manti. Man, I am SO proud. Please PLEASE let me know when you go out so I can pray and fast for your ministry.

[I replied:] …we need fasting and prayer for our ministry every month!
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"Hey brother, I met you at Manti this year, I was open air preaching there. I just wanted to encourage you in your work for the Lord. I just watched your teaching you gave at Manti. It was great! Lord bless you and yours!"
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Tara,
Thank you for sharing your story on mormoninfo.org. I can relate to a lot of it. You and your husband are an inspiration to me. I resigned in July of 2010 and it has been a difficult journey. I visit the website quite often. Thank you again!
In Christ,

Rob,
I want to thank you for your hard work with your website. I resigned in July 2010 and the journey has been very long and difficult. I visit your website very often. I read your wife's story and parts of it sound very familiar to me. You are doing an amazing work and I admire both of you. Thank you for all you are doing!
In Christ,
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You and the many others that are doing everything in your power to proof that the LDS Church is false are wrong in the sight of our Father in Heaven. I don't care if you don't believe in the Church, but you have no reason to be posting such nonsense. You're bashing on religion when you should keep your own opinion to yourself. I'll pray for you and the others.

I want to bear my sincere and profound testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I grew up in an inactive LDS family and decided at the young age of 8 that I would always go to church and be active. There was never pressure or force to be a Latter-day Saint. The strong spirit that God blessed me with led me in the right direction to happiness in my life with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know in my heart and soul that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's Kingdom here on Earth. Our Heaven Father and his son Jesus Christ do live and love us very much and want us to return back to their presence after mortality. Joseph Smith Junior did restore the same foundation of Christ's Church that was set up by the Savior himself when he was here on Earth. The Apostles and the Prophet of our Lord do receive revelation from our Father in Heaven and guide us on how to live a life like Christ did and how to be better prepared for the post-mortal life. I say these things in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

[I replied:] Thanks for writing and your thoughts. You haven't though given me any reason to believe you or the LDS Church. You have merely shared your opinion with me, and thus I find you hypocritical for condemning what I do in sharing my opinion with LDS people whom I love.

Your subject asked if I was emulating the Savior. I know I am, and here's the reason: read Matthew 23. Jesus warned people and that was an act of love in attempting to keep them out of hell.

God has allowed you, as 2 Thes. 2:11 says, to follow a strong delusion so that you would believe a lie. It's obvious to me, since you don't even know how Jesus warned of false Christs and prophets. If you're at all a little open-minded, then please see how Mormons have distorted the God/Jesus/gospel of the Bible on my home page chart of differences between Mormonism and Christianity at www.MormonInfo.org.

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