July 8, 2008

Dear Family and Friends,

Singing and prayer in preparation for the battle
Thank you for your prayers for me last month as I went to the annual Manti, UT Mormon Miracle Pageant. According to my sources, we had 12 commitments to the Lord during the whole pageant! In addition, there were thousands of seeds planted, not just through our signs, dialogues, and preaching, but also through to 2 new items. The first was the display of Joseph Smith's 34 wives. Most LDS have no idea that Smith had 34 wives-especially that he took 2 fourteen-year-old girls, 2 sixteen-year-old girls, and about a dozen other women who were already married to other men! This really opened up the doors for a lot of dialogue concerning Smith's character.
Smith's wives walking outside the pageant lawn


This angered the LDS Church so much that on the evening of June 20th, the LDS security had the cops prevent the Christian women portraying the wives from using the bathroom! One of the women had to go so badly that she wet her pants. They told the women that they could walk about 1/4 of a mile to some other port-a-potties. I couldn't believe it, and then again, I could. I told the cops and security that they were acting like a bunch of babies. This was reminiscent of the LDS security behavior toward me when I was barred from using the Salt Lake City Main Street "public" plaza. The LDS Church bought it from the city. Instead of walking the shortest distance through the plaza to get to the other side, I was now discriminated against due to my signs and had to walk all the way around the square. It wasn't really a public thoroughfare after all. Now it looks like the LDS Church is maneuvering to buy the public street we use to evangelize on every year in Manti.

How Smith translated the gold plates
The second new item was the portrayal of how Smith primarily translated the Book of Mormon. One guy played Smith sticking his head into a hat to read a seer stone while the other guy played Oliver Cowdery translating what was dictated. Most LDS also have no idea this is what occurred, and the pageant presentation never shows this during the scenes of translating. The LDS audience was totally incredulous at our display. For more pictures and video, see here and here.

Rob Sivulka and Aaron Shafovaloff street preaching
Many more seeds will be planted as a result of a video I took of the pageant itself that is now up on the internet. I have waited a whole year to get this on film and get it up on the internet! This is what I take to be the clearest public display of the blasphemy of Mormonism. It is narrated by our board member and web master, Aaron Shafovaloff. Here's what renowned Evangelical expert on Mormonism, Sandra Tanner, told us concerning this video and the 2 displays at the pageant: "Hey, saw the various photos, videos etc on Manti. Amazed to hear the pageant so clearly talk about becoming gods, "divine parentage" etc. In Aaron's video I would have emphasized the "goal of eternal godhood" quote more. Loved the innovative ideas, wives, translation demonstration, plates, etc. Didn't look like it was done for mocking but for illustration.
Rob speaking at the Ephraim Church of the Bible
That's great. Great visual effect. I realize this doesn't fit in with the kindler, gentler, love your neighbor program but I can see a lot of seeds being planted and people sent home with something to think about. Keep up the 'compassionate boldness' outreach."

I also gave my "pep rally" talk on Suffering and Joy in Evangelizing Mormons June 19th at the Ephraim Church of the Bible. An older version of the talk can be seen here. Even though I had a lot of technical problems, I was still able to encourage a group of around 80 to persevere and trust the Lord to make them into better, more creative evangelists to the Mormons.

The church group in attendance
I was also able to tract every home on the west side of Manti with my Beware of False Prophets tract in a couple days. While going door to door, I had a great conversation with an elderly widow named Regina. Her dogs were on the loose when I dropped by. She kindly corralled them even though I told her I could just leave the tract at the gate. She told me that she had recently become legally blind, so I asked if I could pray for her. She responded well to that and invited me to sit down and chat in her front yard. She allowed me to read the whole tract to her, and we proceeded to talk about it and pleasantly shared our lives together for the next hour and a half. Though she was a temple going LDS, she had grown up Catholic, and enjoyed thinking critically about her faith. She told me at first that she knew she was going to be with her departed LDS family when she died. So
With our ministry partners, the Arnoldsons
I asked her if she love Jesus more than her family. She affirmed she did. Then I asked her if she'd still want to be with Jesus even if she found out that her family would never be with Him. She thought for a moment, and also affirmed that she would. So we proceeded to talk about the difference between the LDS god and the Originator of literally everything outside Himself. Then we talked about the 2 natures of Christ, and finally talked about the impossible gospel of Mormonism.

She hoped she would be good enough to make it into the celestial kingdom, but I told her that Jesus taught that no one was good except God (Mk. 10:18). Then she said, "What's the problem if you confess all the particular sins you had committed?"
Aaron working a crowd
I shared with her that we'd still worry about committing something in the future that would keep us outside of God's grace and we might forget to confess it. There's probably a lot I haven't individually confessed, but I've already given all my past to Christ as well as all that I would do in the future. If I confessed all my sin (past, present, and future), then "what's the problem?" The payment has already been paid and received. There should now be no longer merely hope, but knowledge that one has eternal life simply because of having the Son (1 Jn. 5:10-14). She thought and said, "That's a good question. I'll have to ask my friend about these questions." I trust God to water these seeds until she gets saved.

Ex-Mormon Jim Dorrough giving Rob a break
Tara also responded to an LDS gal that wrote her a rude email. The picture in our last newsletter shows Tara with her sisters dressed appropriately for any other wedding than a Mormon one, so this LDS gal initially wondered if Tara was exaggerating her family's attachment to the LDS Church in order to keep the cash coming in from our supporters. Tara pointed out how man is always too focused on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. She also explained how her family is primarily LDS in all different categories. After this the LDS gal apologized, and they have been having a great correspondence. She's actually making sure she wants to stay LDS.

Currently, we are still averaging about 30% of the monthly funding needed to get us back to Utah. We have a long way to go. If you believe in this mission, then we need your help! Please see our "Invest" page on how you can partner with us. Thank you so much for your concern, financial investments, and prayers for this ministry, and for those trapped by false religions and philosophies.

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

Back of Pastor Chip's truck
****PRAYER REQUESTS****

1. For more speaking venues
2. For guidance in fundraising
3. For more members to join our Ex-Mormon Meetup recovery group
4. For Rob's new book he's writing

****MAILBAG****

I am grateful to Aaron for sharing this and for the insightful commentary. Being here in the UK, I don't get to see anything like these Mormon pageants (although, of course, we do have our own legitimate Christian events here and across Europe). This got me thinking about how the Mormon Church has never made any effort to make this event more widely available, even within the church, via DVD etc. You would think that such a key representation of Mormon history, theology and practice would make a good missionary tool - unless you would rather the world didn't get to know what you really believe. The missionary discussions are nowhere near as frank and forthright as once they were and the Mormon story is fudged when it is presented to the world. A film of this pageant would be very useful - to the likes of Christian ministries. "The Mormons aren't ready for a close up Mr De Mille".
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Cult, Christian, whatever; I don't care what you classify me. I know that this church is true. It has been revealed to me, and i know Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and i know that Thomas S. Monson is a true Prophet, he is a man of God, and he holds the Keys and authority on this earth to direct the true church on this earth. It isn't by my parents, it isn't by my teachers, it isnt what i've read, or what i've been told, it was the power of God, that told me that it's true. And i will never deny what God showed me. Goodbye
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I am so thankful that someone told me the truth, even though many know and are not ignorant there are many that still are, especially the youth. I feel like there is always someone to evangelize to. Anyways, thank you again for caring for the LDS and loving them enough to tell them the truth. I am so glad that I got to see you at the temple, I felt like the Holy Spirit was with you.
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I was planning to see the Manti pageant this year but ran into some snags. I thought the video was good, but I would only suggest a few changes. I am interested to show this video to other people (maybe even Mormons), but I was wondering if you can re-edit it to remove all references to evil, blasphemy, and the other web links. From my interaction with the Mormons, I dare not call Joseph Smith a false prophet because as soon as I do, I will lose the missionaries. So I think in any video production, we need to be wise as serpents and peaceful as doves.

Don't take offense brother. I just wanted to give you some of my experience as in my zeal, I unfortunately burned some "mormon witnessing bridges" in my day that I cannot cross again. From now on, I try to witness to them without using tough words. We know that Mormonism is evil and blasphemous but we cannot use these words when dealing with them. Another Christian told me that when you get them to think or ask them questions, you need to make them fall on their own sword so to speak. I hope you understand.

And thank you for your production of the video. I had never seen anything like it before. Will I see go to Manti even after seeing your video? Sure. I want to see all the other inaccuracies of the production. If possible, I would suggest for you or someone else to fully capture the Manti pageant on video. I'm not surprised that the LDS Church has never produced a video of it.

[I responded:] My intent in getting this video up was not primarily for LDS. It was to make the Christian Church and, to a lesser extent, anyone else interested aware of how blasphemous Mormonism is. That was the priority, so they don't get snowed by the LDS. Christians are so ignorant, and the false prophets take advantage of it and also like keeping it that way. Jesus and Paul told us to shout evil from the house tops. They called evil what it was even to people who would be angered by it.

As for LDS, my experience has been that even if they are initially repulsed, the word spoken to them continues to haunt them. "God's word doesn't return void." My ex-Mormon wife will attest to this. Also, I have Christian friends in Manti who used to hate me. One of the things they remembered when they started the process of coming out was my sign--not the MormonInfo.org part, but the JosephLied.com. It burns into LDS retinas. When God moves, these things are called to remembrance, and others water, and fruit comes as a result. We've seen it time and time again.

Everyone is different, and my LDS friends and family are each handled on a case by case basis. But the video we stuck up is for the non-LDS world to have the clearest, most stark contrast between Mormonism and traditional Christianity. Joel Kramer from Living Hope already captured the whole video years ago, but they haven't done much of anything with it. We are glad that you enjoyed the video!

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Thanks for the inspiring talk you recently gave @ Chips church in Ephraim. You helped to pump me up for evangelizing at the Manti pageant. God willing, I'll be there every year.

Add Comment
Ben Duarte says...
"I am pleased to see people like Rob and others sharing the gospel with the LDS, and training Christians to give reasons to the LDS people. " (7/9/08)