June 11, 2008

Dear Family and Friends,

We had a great time in Utah. Thanks for your prayers! We drove all the way up, and when we got to my in-laws’ neighborhood, we got a flat! Thank God that it wasn’t out in the middle of nowhere. Being with the family for that week gave us a little taste of what it is going to be like when we are living there.

Tara’s grandpa gave us a tape by Brenton Yorgason called Little Known Evidences of the Book of Mormon (for the book, click here). We told him that we’d love to listen to it, but we’d also love for him to watch the Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith DVD. He thought that was a fair trade, so he took one. Tara’s mom told her that she wouldn’t be able to convert Grandpa, but Tara responded that she didn’t plan to. She’d let God take care of it.

Tara and Rob with Bill and Tammy McKeever of Mormonism Research Ministry
Yorgason’s tape was quite a disappointment. He spent most of his talk explaining how the Book of Mormon (BOM) came into being. When he finally did give the “real” evidence, he talked about an Arabic scholar named Sami Hanna who converted after reading it. He thought it translated nicely back into Arabic given certain Semitic constructions, and how could the uneducated Joseph Smith come up with something like that? As I listened, I thought the basic problem here is that Semitic is more than just Arabic; it is also Hebrew. As such, it’s totally plausible that someone very familiar with the Old Testament could incorporate these constructions into the BOM. When we got back home, we got on the internet, and to our surprise we found how even Mormon scholars spoke critically of Yorgason. Further, evidently Yorgason’s argument wasn’t that convincing to Hanna at the end of the day, since he later converted to fundamentalist Christianity! For more on this, see here and here.

Tara with her sisters
As for other family interactions, Tara’s sister who got married also readily took the Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith DVD. Another sister told Tara that she’s been occasionally going back to the Christian church Tara took her to, since her co-worker has been going there and wanting her to come. Another sister told Tara that she and her husband saw a TV commercial for a local Christian church, and wanted to go visit it. One of the brother-in-laws opened up to me and told me how he is really looking forward to us moving back to Utah soon! Tara noticed that her mom was reading a book on how to respond to “anti-Mormon” questions, so I thought that it would be great to write a book critiquing it. Hopefully this will open a door one day to dialogue over these issues. This was all very encouraging to us.

It was also very refreshing to get back to Temple Square, do some ministry there, and have people give us the middle finger, yell at us, and even physically assault us! I’ve really missed being persecuted for our faith living in the “Bible belt.” The sign I used made LDS Burt lose his cool. He thought if I could be rude just advertising my websites, then he could be rude by swearing at me. I simply set the hook by telling him that he needs Jesus to come into his heart and clean his mouth up. After talking to me for a bit, he could see that my intentions were not to be rude after all, but to engage people in honest dialogue. We had a great conversation. He apologized, and ended up taking my Beware of False Prophets tract.

On another occasion, Tara was physically assaulted by a South Pacific woman who was on her way to do temple work. The woman was following behind her husband, who was yelling at us to repent and leave as he walked past us. Tara decided to walk with him a little and try to share Isaiah 43:10 with him (that God’s the only God, and this man wouldn’t become one). The woman came right between them and pushed Tara in the face! Tara was shocked for a minute. I yelled to the lady as she walked off not to push my wife and how would she like it if I did that to her. Then I told Tara, “Welcome to the club Honey!” She took it really well, and was actually excited that she was persecuted for the Lord.

Rob and Tara at her old ward in Provo
Currently, we are 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 visit our "Invest" page and join our team. 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

****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 as he ministers at the Manti, UT pageant

****MAILBAG****

Tara, I have been looking at the web site you and your husband have mormoninfo.org. I am a Mormon who has recently stopped attending church. I served a mission, and was married in the temple. I am divorced now. I started to question the church about two years ago. It has been a long. hard road. All my friends are mormon. I recently left Salt Lake City, and moved to _____.

I noticed that you are a former mormon. I was wondering if you would help me with a few things. I am having a hard time understanding Jesus, This might sound strange, I honestly can't make much sense out of it myself. I feel that I was lead out of the church, I joined when I was 18 years old. However, I don't know who Jesus is... I don't understand how he could love me unconditionally. I have felt such conditional love with my association with Mormonism.

I found out the doctrines of the church to be false, but, I am still struggling to break the hold it has on me. I was in the church over 20 years. A faithful TBM member. I went to the temple ever week, and I
did not have any problems with the temple ceremony, until I found out that Joseph Smith lied, and took it from the masons. I read everything any anything that I can on mormonism. I have been reading the bible. That has been a great comfort to me. However, I guess I am still afraid, that I am going to Outer Darkness if Mormonism is true. Anyway, I am not sure what is going on with me. lol It is quite bothersome at times. Do you have any ideas on what I can do to get over these thoughts?

…P.S. I feel odd asking someone I do not know for some guidance. My friends are all TBM Members or people who don't know anything about mormonism and its affects. Also, do you know of a ex mormon support group in _______? I am also struggling with writing my letter of resignation. I have written it, but, I have not gotten the courage to send it.
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[Returned on the tract “Beware of False Prophets” left on my car in Utah was:] Follow Christ and do good instead of putting others down You’ll feel better. Get Satan out of your heart
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I am very happy to have been getting your letters on the ministry and hear what's happening with that. I pray that God will bless you and the minstry you are providing for those who are so lost and without a clue when it comes to the untruths in mormonism and other cult followings. Keep up the hard and great work.
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I stumbled across your web page tonight, I really needed your insight. I am a mormon in transition living in Dallas. I'd like to learn more about your Dallas group for recovering mormon's. Thanks again.

…Long story but, shortly after my mission I matured to the point where I thought mormon teachings where really "out there" and more importantly, "wrong". However, still entrenched in the culture, I attended BYU, married in the church, and four kids later here I am. I don't like what the church is teaching my children. I feel it's time for me to get my family away from the mormon cult. Being sixth generation Mormon, makes it rather difficult breaking the ties (hoping to wait till my father passes) and my wife's would rather take the easy way out and put on our game faces.

I think there are many in the church that know the teachings are funny,(if you look at the teachings, they are rather funny) but most would rather let someone else be the first to be cast out of the group. We moved here..., and that's who we associate with, the ______ stake members. Over the last few years, we've tried our hardest to skip "fast and testimony meeting", they always push me over the top. We ended up attending last week(forgot what week it was), as the members bore testimony, I couldn't help to think of their mental conditions. Not sure if you're aware of this, but mormon teachings can get in your head and make you weird. Many of the fine members to stand and bare testimony last sunday need professional help.

I've tried to state my opinion over the last few years, didn't take me long to understand that no one cares to hear your thoughts unless they agree with the church's teachings. I've only questioned a couple of times, enough to get me put in the corner. As a result, I'm not very popular in my ward. Most active ward members won't associate with me.

Not sure the best way out, thought I would attend your meetings and maybe get some ideas from others.

Last night I read a story, "out of Polygamy" and I want to become a christian. For many of us, the LDS church turns us off from believing anything. And I can understand, after being taught those things in my youth. I want to invite God back into my life.
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...[M]y new neighbor is a Mormon. She has been outright & sneeky in her attempts to convert me.  I didn't know much about Mormonism, so I started investigating and found you guys on YouTube.com. I found out so many things that I just want to explode! I am a Christian (my husband does what your husband does except he goes to many places where people are gathered and shares the gospel with them...). So far I'm letting my neighbor say things to me & I'm just being loving & nicely answering her with scripture. Do you have any advice on how to respond/share with a Mormon. She is very interested in all religions, but thinks that her church is the only "true church" and we get along very well.

Thank you,
I appreciate what you guys are doing out there !!!!!!!!!!!
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Oh, how brilliant -- My, My!

You said, "They are taught to parrot back the indoctrination of the establishment"

Maybe like evangelicals are taught to "parrot back" some lip-service LOSER prayer at a heretical UN-biblical "alter-call?" Well, No thanks for stealing my words -- You Filthy-Thieving Bigoted Anti-Mormon --"Thou shalt not Steal!"

Incidentally, tell that jaded apostate wife of yours to comb her hair. She looks like an un-made bed standing up and ready to go down with the devil. I testify that Jesus is Not the LOSER you think he is -- "His Mercy Endures Forever!"

May God bless and keep your faithful active Latter-day Saint in-laws,

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