October 7, 2008

Dear Family and Friends,

Chester, Maddy, Tara, and Allison celebrating Tara's birthday last month
My family and I started serving last month as Divorce Care leaders at our church. Tara and I serve as discussion leaders for a small group, and Maddy works with the kids whose parents are separated or divorced. Once we move back to Utah, we are excited to lead a Divorce Care group through a church. We believe this will be an important ministry in a state that is typically at or above the national average in divorce. Tara has a Mormon friend in Utah who is currently going through a divorce. When Tara asked about going to church for help, her friend said that is the last place she would go. See, in the LDS Church, it is not a recovery center; it is a place to show others how "worthy" one is.

Why does Utah have such a high rate of divorce? Here are a few ideas: 1) Utah has the youngest age for first marriages. These kids are not mature enough for marriage, especially in this day and age. 2) Although divorce is discouraged in the LDS Church, it is not as taboo as in Catholic and Evangelical churches. 3) Given that one's exaltation is of ultimate importance as the Manti, UT Mormon Miracle Pageant states, it should surprise no one that if one of the spouses leaves the LDS Church, then that spouse is holding the other back from godhood. I have heard a number of stories of even LDS bishops encouraging divorce in such circumstances, so that the worthy one may pursue another worthy one.

Tara invited the LDS missionaries over last month. Tara started out by asking them if they had time to talk, and they said they had a while. That was important to lock them in. We had about an hour and a half with them. One was from Utah and one was from San Diego, CA. Not surprisingly, the latter was much more open to dialoguing than the former. They started out asking us what we thought about God, and Tara told them that we wanted to hear what they believed. Afterwards, we spent quite a while sorting through the differences between our faiths. Tara gave them Isaiah 43:10: "Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me." They said that the next verse makes it clear that it was simply referring to there being no other savior. After we explained that the two concepts of savior and God are different, and how both are true in the ultimate sense, then they claimed that that was only one verse. By then, we didn't have time to go into more verses to prove the Bible consistently teaches the same thing here, since they wanted to leave. One of the missionaries bore his testimony, and guaranteed us that it was true. They claimed they knew it was true due to the good feelings they had, and that God only gives good feelings. At that point I bore my testimony, telling them that I had read through the Book of Mormon and prayed about it, and I could guarantee them it was false. I also gave them two verses: Isa. 45:7 says that God creates evil, and 2 Thes. 2:11 says that God gives a strong delusion so that some would believe a lie. Then I asked them how they knew they were not deceived. They got frustrated, so they wrote their phone number on a card for us to call them when we really wanted to "know the truth."

Tara was interviewed for our church news, which should come out sometime this fall. She was able to share her testimony of how God saved her out of Mormonism, and how God is drawing us to move back to Utah to minister to her family and the rest of the state.

Last month a friend of mine, Roger Overton of www.AteamBlog.com, came out with a book entitled The New Media Frontier: Blogging, Vlogging, and Podcasting for Christ (Crossway). He edited this book with John Mark Reynolds of Biola University, but Roger wrote a chapter called "Evangelism and Apologetics in the New Media" in which he talked positively about our ministry. I was also quoted at length.

Finally, I wrote a blog last month just in time for our upcoming election. It's called Obama on Abortion and Infanticide. Check it out on our "Blog" page, and please add comments at the end of this blog.

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. We are hoping to get back to Utah next summer. If you believe in this mission, then we need your help! Please 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. Please see our "Invest" page for more details.

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
Rob@CourageousChristiansUnited.org
MormonInfo.org
JWInfo.org

****PRAYER REQUESTS****

1. For more speaking venues
2. For our meeting with a Mormon gal and her boyfriend later this month. She used to go to our church!
3. For more members to join our Ex-Mormon Meetup recovery group
4. For money to put down on a big enough home in Utah
5. For my book

****MAILBAG****

[The following is an email response from one of our pastors to someone in our church who is dealing with Mormon missionaries:] Excited about your heart to love on folks who are involved in the Mormon Faith. Rob is a great resource and should be of great help…I have cc'd him so you guys can carry on from here…Praying for your effectiveness.

[I responded to this individual:] Tara and I run a ministry primarily to Mormons. Our site is www.MormonInfo.org. We also run an Ex-Mormon Meetup where we get together monthly to discuss Mormonism and Christianity. It's open to anyone. Tara used to be Mormon. You can read her testimony here. We're open to coming over and meeting with you and the LDS missionaries.

[The individual responded:] That sounds great. I gave the missionairies my address and they said they are at the Village every Tuesday and Thursday. Let me speak with them again and pray about something getting scheduled. Thank you and I will email you with an update!
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[Not too long after this, I got another email from a friend from church:] Rob! Just wanted you to know I have a friend at WM [our church] that had mormons come to his door on Sunday and they are coming back tomorrow, I am passing along that awesome cd you gave me regarding the differences and why it is not true so that he will be prepared. I also met a guy last night at a group dinner that is moving to Utah this November to be a ski instructor and one of his passions is converting mormons! When he emails me, I will forward him your email so you guys can maybe connect. Hope you are doing well. P.s. my roommate is already a jack mormon 8 months into her faith… things are looking up! well, she is in the closet about it, nobody at the church knows, but still, she is not following their strict rules, this is good news. Talk to you soon! [This was referring to another guy who was visited by the missionaries!]
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In the stuff you sent there's this green strip of paper entitled "Beware of False Prophets", and on the back side there's a section, under The True Christ, which you've labeled Christ has Two Natures: "Not only was Jesus a weak and dependent human, but He was also the all powerful God (Philippians 2:5-11). Christians keep these two natures distinct, whereas the cults only have room for the human nature of Christ."

Is this exactly right about Mormons? Maybe they don't keep the two natures distinct, but it would also be mistaken to say they only have room for the human nature of Christ. Wouldn't - or at least couldn't - they say he's both God and man, since gods just are exalted men in their view?

[I responded:] Ya, they do say that He's the God of the Old Testament. The title page of the BOM even calls Jesus "the eternal God." They only call Him "God," only after you point out to them these things. Until then, they only speak of the Father as "God." But what they mean by "God" is an office or function term. It's not a nature, since Jesus hasn't literally always been God like none of us have always been God, even though we may become one. That's why there's not a God anywhere in Mormonism that's God by nature.
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Keep up the good work! You guys are in my prayers.

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