November 2, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

At the beginning of last month was the biannual LDS General Conference. The first day was spent mostly doing video interviews with Mormons on the subject of the origination of dark races. I asked about 15 to 20 people whether the pre-earth life had some determining affect with the races here on earth. Basically everyone claimed no knowledge here despite what their past leaders have said.
Rob and Van Hale
But all of them claimed that dark skin was given to Cain, his descendants, and the Lamanites (alleged Native Americans) due to their wickedness. Despite clear statements in the Book of Mormon (e.g., Alma 3:6), some tried to claim that the dark skin wasn’t really a curse, but was simply used to distinguish the righteous from the unrighteous. These Mormons claimed that God doesn’t do this anymore, and this is why they don’t think of themselves as racist. What really surprised me, though, was talking to a 99-year-old LDS man, who claimed, just like the late LDS Prophet Spencer W. Kimball did, that he had known Lamanites whose skin actually became more white as they accepted and continued in the LDS gospel (cf. 3 Nephi 2:14-16)! I ended the day interviewing Van Hale (a very famous LDS apologist), who seemed to deny the actual historicity of the individuals and events in the Book of Mormon. Hopefully the videos will be up soon, so stay tuned!

Now I also did get to witness to a homeless woman named Rita that day. She grew up LDS, but didn’t like religion. I asked her what she’d tell God if she died and wanted to go to heaven. She said, “I hope I get in. I believe in God and Jesus.” I told her, “Satan does as well, so why would you be in and Satan out?” She just wasn’t sure. I went on to explain what it meant to receive Christ into her life. I quoted 1 Jn. 5:10-13, and told her that she could know she has eternal life now by simply having the Son. She became so happy and said, “That’s awesome and so simple!”

Randy Sweet of Mormonism Research Ministry with Rob outside of General Conference
The second day of the conference I wore out my voice preaching. By the end of the day I had a killer headache and was in tears every time I preached. (Electronic voice projectors are not allowed on the public streets of Salt Lake City.) For those coming across the street, I only had a few seconds to point to my sign that has MormonInfo.org and JosephLied.com, and pleaded with the crowd to check out the sites (both go to the same place). For the crowd right in front of me waiting to cross the street, I got to preach about the God of the Bible always being God, and the only true God contrary to what Joseph Smith taught. As usual, the stats on the website were way above average for the next few days.

The following week I went out to Temple Square to witness with our CFO Matt and a friend from Canada named Patricia. She was down for several days to observe Utah and ministry to Mormons. Not long after we started, some guy pulled up with his gray long bed pick-up truck. He got out and opened the back of his truck. Then he walked right up to me and pushed me right in my chest with both hands! He said something like, “The Mormons don’t want you here; why don’t you leave?”
Matt, Rob, and Patricia
I told him that they needed the true Jesus to come in their lives just like he did. He didn’t like that response. He asked why I didn’t drop my sign when he pushed me. I figured later that he was planning on me dropping it, and then he’d steal it. That would explain why he opened the back of his truck. He then asked about the skull I had on my t-shirt. It also has a picture of David with his sling, and it says, “Stand before your demon.” I told him what it says, and then told him that’s exactly what I was doing. He became more agitated at spit tobacco at me as well as Matt. I told Matt to call the cops, and as soon as he started dialing, this disturbed individual jumped into his truck and peeled out of there. I should have got a picture, but his UT license plate said “400 KEP.”

Not long after that an elderly lady named Mamie tripped on the curb while she was going to the temple. She twisted her ankle and couldn’t move. That made me drop my sign. I, along with other LDS, helped her up and waited until Temple Square provided a wheel chair for her. While we were waiting, I asked if I could pray for her. She accepted, so in front of this small group of temple-worthy LDS, I prayed to Jesus for His healing and that she would trust Him. (LDS don’t pray directly to Jesus.)

Doris Hanson on far left sharing at the Salt Lake City Ex-Mormon Meetup
Later that evening Patricia was able to make it to our Ex-Mormon Meetup. We had Doris Hanson come and share her testimony. Doris is out of the Kingston polygamy group, and now runs A Shield and Refuge Ministry. You can watch the video of her testimony that night here. Doris is also featured in the film Lifting the Veil of Polygamy, which I recently reviewed here.

I also took a crack at the divine sovereignty vs. human free will issue in a blog last month after 2 friends asked me for my take on the same day.

Rob and Tara sharing their ministry in CA
Finally, we had 3 small venues in California to share our ministry as well as our financial and prayer needs. Many thanks to our family and friends involved with these events.

We really need your partnership with this ministry. 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.
Sivulkas in CA
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! For more information on partnering with us financially, see our “Invest” page.

For God’s glory,

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. To get more partners who will faithfully invest in this ministry
3. To get more people to join our Ex-Mormon Meetup
4. Health for our whole family
5. Protection
6. Wisdom

****MAILBAG****

I saw you out in the hot sun at conference. I admire your drive to help reach the Mormon people. I wish they really understood that you do love them. One of the pictures looks like you were getting a little help pointing out your website. Thank you for using your talents in this much needed area.
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I have to tell you that one of the most impacting sermons I've ever heard was one you gave at the Ephraim church of the Bible where you spoke about being hated because of Christ. It was during one of the seminars during the Manti Pageant. Your words that morning have never left me. I live daily striving to worship and glorify God, even at the cost of earthly admiration
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That 2 Thessalonians passage [2:11] just blew my mind. I'm sure I've read it a couple times before, but I'm not sure I ever considered it in the context of the LDS burning in the bosom. Thanks for sharing that one. I'm sure I'll have opportunity to share it with some LDS friends soon. Cheers!
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Hi Rob - Interesting read! I just came back from a family funeral and was annoyed and distressed to hear my Mormon brother filling my dad's head with talk of "other worlds" etc. As it was not the right time I kept silent but I'm so thankful you're out there doing what you do and I learn a lot from your work and how to talk to those lost in cults. May God richly bless you and your ministry!
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We've had a family dinner on Saturdays for years. Unfortunately, I wont be able to make it to the Saturday gatherings. I hope that everything is well with you and your family. Thanks,… Incidentally, I'm still struggling with two concepts: 1. What is the foundation of my beliefs? 2. Do I have to base my faith on the infallibility of those in (Earthly) authority?

Given that there is no such thing as human perfection in this life, then it seems to me that we may accept the conclusion that LDS leaders, along with everyone else, at times may be sinners, liars, cheats and deluded individuals. So, as far a #2 is concerned, I've decided that I don't need to believe that everything that I read and hear from those in power in the LDS church (or any other religion) is or has always been perfect. Based on this, it's no longer necessary for me to research errors and mistakes made by others.

[I replied:] Most of our dinners are on Sunday nights now. We do make exceptions when the speakers could simply make a Saturday. Perhaps you can come to the November Sunday Meetup.

I'd make an exception for the human perfection of Christ, as well as God's ability to get His perfect word across to us. I do this on the basis of the consistent testimony of what Jesus taught. Since He fulfilled prophecies and rose from the dead, He proved that He was God.

I also believe that God has revealed a clear knowledge of Himself in nature as Romans 1, Proverbs, etc. teach. So in other words, we ought to know from the created order what kind of being God is, and this also serves as a basis for holding to truth and rejecting anything that's contrary to it.

I use both sources (the Bible and nature) not only to get to know God better, but to help others who may be listening to that which is false. So the focus is God. Life is about knowing Him. When this is as it's supposed to be, then there shouldn't be any problem when the false prophets (counterfeits) try and persuade to their point of view.

Hang in there!


[He replied:] Okay Rob, I have come to the point where it is no longer of any value to me to be known as an "ex-Mormon." I have great respect for anyone who can stand back and question what they have been told is "the truth." Doubt, is disturbing, and I have had my doubts about Mormonism all my life. So I guess you could say that I have been disturbed all my life, as far as that religion is concerned. But one cannot deny the safety, charity, and strength found in the culture which has grown out of this religion. I truly believe that they are sincere and mean no harm to anyone.

However, the background of my family is rooted in the religion started by Joseph Smith.

[He continues with a short background of his family history, and says:] The reason that I went into all this is just to let you know why my denial of this religion is so difficult. We all want to know the "truth." I put it in quotes because truth often seems so relative (to me). I understand your point however. God is the source of truth. And I agree. Quoting from the Bible certainly is a traditional and acceptable Christian way of getting at the truth, and the Bible and the teachings of Jesus have been a great comfort to me. But we need to live in the culture that we are born into. And there's the rub.

Anyway, I have great respect for you and your mission. There is no doubt in my mind that you are a disciple of our Lord and are acting out of love for your fellow man. -Peace,

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