October 1, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

Last month I edited and posted a new testimony on MormonInfo.org. Please take a minute to read Robert Clark’s story.

My buddy Aaron Shafovaloff filmed and posted another video of me on our MormonInfoDotOrg YouTube site. It’s about most LDS claiming that Jesus created all things when in fact they actually hold that Jesus only created some things. It’s also about how LDS devalue the God of the Bible in making Him less than the Creator of literally all things outside Himself. Some LDS claim that this isn’t a biblical teaching, and the earliest reference to a creation out of nothing is Tatian in 170 AD. That’s pretty early compared to the systematic formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity in the fourth century, for example, and LDS are quick to dismiss the doctrine on that basis. For LDS, it’s never early enough unless the specific terms are found in the Bible. But this is just silly. LDS hold to moral objective truth, for example, but those specific terms—moral objective—are not found in the Bible. Nonetheless, one may rightly infer from what the Bible teaches that moral objective truth exists. Thus, even though the Bible teaches God formed various things from preexisting matter (e.g., Gen. 1:1-2
Rob Sivulka with Matt Vessey
with 2 Pet. 3:5), it’s also reasonable to infer from other scriptures that God is the one responsible for that preexisting matter (e.g., Rom. 9:5, 11:36, and Col. 1:13-18). Further, there are other references outside the Bible that support creation out of nothing, and they are much earlier than 170 AD: 2 Maccabees 7:28, the Essenes of Qumran in Community Rule (1QS 3.15), and The Shepherd of Hermas, Mandate 1:1.

Our CFO Matt Vessey has been living with us this past month, and is looking into going into the mortgage business. Please pray that God will open doors up for him. Matt’s been a big help to us, and it’s also great to have another witnessing partner. We’ve witnessed together at Temple Square, the Utah State Fair at the Utah Gospel Mission booth, as well as to LDS missionaries right outside our home.

Brad with Rob
Witnessing at the state fair was great. We got out a ton of Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith DVDs with a Utah Gospel Mission newspaper. But the best part for me was running into an old friend of mine that I used to work with from 1996 to 1998 in Murray, UT. His name is Brad, and he came to help out at the booth that night. I remember praying for Brad way back when since he was spiritually a mess. He was agnostic, but is now really living for the Lord.

Kurt Van Gorden, UT Gospel Mission director with Rob
I also had my story run in the bulletin of our old mega-church in Dallas. It is now up on their blog, which may be read here.

I’m very proud of my daughter Maddy for telling the truth at her school. She let her LDS friend know Joseph Smith is a false prophet and had many wives. This friend is a typical young uninformed Mormon. She wrote Maddy, “[B]ut he [Smith] wasn’t a polygamist. [H]e had one wife. [H]er name was [E]mma.” Maddy told her it was a lie, and her friend responded, “It[‘]s not a lie and you don[‘]t go & tell people that.” As a result, this girl no longer wants to be friends with Maddy.

Would you please take some time to seek the Lord on how you can best invest in this ministry? We really need your help now that Tara no longer has an income. For those of you led to financially partner with us, please send in a tax-deductible investment today. The standard way is by writing a check to Courageous Christians United. But we also have secure electronic funds transfers programs available if you are interested in the simplicity of monthly withdrawals without the stamp. Finally, if you are interested in taking advantage of tax-free stock donations (e.g., an IRA rollover to CCU), we can also help you with that. This will help lessen your capital gains taxes. Please read our "Invest" page for more information.

Keep praying!,

Rob Sivulka
President, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374
West Jordan, UT 84084
(801) 708-4865 (Note the new address and phone number!)
Rob@CourageousChristiansUnited.org
MormonInfo.org
JWInfo.org

****ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS****

1. For a continued healthy pregnancy and baby (due November 9th)
2. For the upcoming General Conference and the display of Joseph Smith’s wives
3. For Tara and Maddy’s family

****MAILBAG****

…I stumbled upon your website today. I am an evangelical Christian, and I have been for about 7 years now. I received Christ at age 10, which tells you how old I am now. About 4 years ago, I met a young man who changed my life drastically. He became my closest friend, and he is devoutly Mormon. Once I realized that Mormonism was a false religion, I longed to save him and show him who Christ really was. I am beginning to discuss with him and many other LDS friends the importance of accepting Christ. God has laid it on my heart heavily in the past few years that one of my main purposes while on earth is to reach out to the LDS community.

It was pleasant reading your site, though nothing new to me. I search for sites like yours almost every day, in the hopes that I will find new information that will help me to better share the Gospel with my Mormon friends. What stood out to me about your site was your personal background. The first thing that caught my attention was your mention of spending summers in Utah. I travel led to Utah last summer with my mom and my best friend, though not due to the longing in my heart to reach the LDS community. It was a trip to Salt Lake City, meant only for the purpose of auditioning for American Idol. Even though I came home to California with no "golden ticket", I came home with so much more. It was a renewed sense of longing and love for the Mormon community. It was then that I decided that I wanted to spend as much time there as I could. I hope that next summer, I can return, and work with a ministry like yours.

…Thank you so much for your website, and for the work you do in the LDS community. I have been inspired by you and people like you, as well as your wife, and her testimony. I hope to be like you in that I hope to one day be as courageous and bold as you are. I hope also to spend time in Utah, doing what you are doing. If there is anything I can do to help your ministry from where I am, please, never hesitate to ask.

I am praying for you and your family, as well as your ministry and the people you minister to. God is doing wonderful things through you and I am thankful for people like you who not only love others in amazing ways, but inspire people like me to do the same. God bless you.
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As you know I'm a Catholic who married a mormon divorce and widow. My wife and I have been having discussions about Joseph Smith. She just read Deborah Lakes book "SECRET CEREMONIES". She recognized some of the double-standards and hypocrisy that Ms Laake lived.

I point out evidence on how Joseph Smith married his 16-year old adopted daughter, and then married women already married to other men. Her Bishop stated Smith only was sealed to women (already married), so that they could be in the Celestial Kingdom or something like that. Basically that Joseph Smith never had sex with any married women or his step-daughter, Fanny Alger.

My wife once made the statement [if Joseph Smith committed adultery, by marrying women already married to other men at the same time, or fornicating, then he could not have been a prophet]. I point out all this info. Is there conclusive and indisputable proof anywhere that Smith not only lived in polygamy but committed adultery and or fornication?

[I responded:] You and I both know as guys that Smith had sex with these women. Ya, and I guess Michael Jackson really was sexually pure with kids too! Come on! Smith was a sexual pervert/predator. Why would Emma throw Fanny out of the house if Smith wasn't hitting on her? Emma knew Smith was still a guy! Also watch this. So now it's OK for your wife that Smith had these wives so long as he didn't have sex with them? Why did Smith for the great majority go after fertile young women? Oh ya, just a command of the Lord?? If your wife now says it's all right that Smith had wives so long as he didn't have sex w/ them, then she'll probably be OK if she does find out that Smith did have sex with them and blame it on him still being a fallible man! Now read #3 here.
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I went to that [JosephLied.com] expecting to see the web site that was put up by a former Mormon that told the truth about the LDS church which was done using only Mormon church material. I was just wondering how you came to now own the domain name. I've talked to the guy several years ago. I had been in the so called church, a very long time ago. It's just that I never really got involved like so many do. I always had a feeling something wasn't right about it, except I just couldn't put my fingers on it. Then the internet came along and proved all the things I didn't know that weren't true about it, just that it wasn't true. I never was able to actually prove it one way or another, and now I can. I guess the web site of www.josephlied.com was too controversial maybe? Anyway, keep up the good work.

[I responded:] For whatever reason, Mike Norton, who used to be a friend of mine (haven't talked with him for about 4 years now), put JosephLied.com on the GoDaddy.com auction. MRM.org picked it up, and is temporarily routing it to our site--MormonInfo.org. We have a tract that Norton wrote, as well as his testimony that used to be on his site.

Glad to hear about your journey out of Mormonism. I pray that you don't go the typical route and throw the baby out with the bathwater and take it out on Jesus. Norton was an atypical example here. Thanks for your encouraging words!

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It is great to see a report FROM UTAH!!! We are soooo glad to have you back, welcome home. …So, is Nick a Christian or is he just fed up with Mormonism?

[I responded:] Nick is LDS, who thinks God spoke to him to do what he's doing. Watch the link to McCraney's show w/ Nick on it.
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Well if I tried the Weegie board and came in contact with a spirit, wouldn't that testify that there is a God? because right now I don't believe in spirits.

[I responded:] Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. It depends on the person. Nonetheless, God tells us to stay away from the occult.

Do you believe in free will or is everything simply matter bumping into more matter producing determinate outcomes? If you hold to the former, then you need something like spirits who are agents to interrupt the natural determinate order. If you believe in agents, then the best explanation for them is a Super-agent.


[He responded:] Free will? hmm. A friend of mine and I had this talk a while back. I don't know. Explain the Christian view of free will. I know its the right to make a choice, but its bigger than that.

[I responded:] The majority Christian view is that there must be some libertarian freedom somewhere among God's creatures otherwise God would be running a puppet show. If determinism holds on a grand scale, then sin would be doing something that God doesn't like, but it's actually God who does it.

Libertarian freedom is given a choice between A and B, it is literally up to an agent, not an event, to choose A or B. The agent is the ultimate cause of the choice, and no other event is sufficient for producing the choice. If there's no genuine libertarian free will, then it doesn't make much sense to praise or blame for any action. If it's the case that everything is determined, then we're wasting our time trying to convince each other of any position. As such, determinism would seem self-defeating, since you'd be assuming I'd have a libertarian choice to accept determinism.

Again, accepting libertarian free will makes the best sense by accepting God's existence. And then again, here's another metaphysical issue that must be accepted by rational intuition, and not by our 5 senses.

The problem with your hard core empiricism is how self-contradictory it is. What sense experience will tell you that it is true that knowledge only comes from sense experience? There is none. Tasting something won't tell you that you can only know via the 5 senses. Seeing something won't tell you that knowledge only comes via the 5 senses. You make a silly rational judgment that sense experience is the only way to know something. My advice... make better rational judgments and continue to use sense experience to get around in the world, but don't hold the juvenile view that the 5 senses are the only way to know something.


[He responded:] I have a question about Adam and Eve. They were the very first two in the world. I'm curious how they were able to reproduce. Their children would have had to reproduce with each other? Do you know what happens today when brother and sister reproduce together?

[I responded:] Adam and Eve reproduced using their sex organs. As for their kids, there are 2 theories. 1) Since the gene pool was pure and people lived hundreds of years near the beginning of humanity, there was no prohibition against incest until Moses when the pool was corrupted. Thus, there was no problem for brother and sister to marry each other at the beginning of humanity, especially when the more important value takes precedence (viz., perpetuating the human race). 2) God could have miraculously created a wife for Cain as He miraculously created a wife for Adam. We don't know for sure which theory is true, but absence of evidence doesn't entail an evidence of absence of the whole Adam and Eve story.
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Hello, A friend of mine gave me a link to your site. For the most part the comparison page is accurate. The central question has been, continues to be and always will be this

Was Joseph Smith really visited by God the Father and HIS SON Jesus Christ and as a result of that Did THEY make Joseph a Modern Day Prophet?

Ok that is really two but I’m sure you get my drift. You believe or you don’t it is really that simple. Thank For Your Time

[I responded:] Perhaps Smith was visited by them, but that still doesn't entail He's a prophet of God. Smith could of had simply a personal message that was directed only to him, but He still could have screwed it up. If God wanted to show up somehow and tell you to go to Burger King tomorrow night, you can be so overwhelmed by the event that you could end up going to Wal-Mart two weeks from now and in the morning.

So what reasons do we have to believe that Smith is a false prophet? I grant that it's by doing what the Apostle of our Lord wanted us to do in Gal. 1:6-9: if we or an angel give anything other than that already received, it's to be damned. Further, look at the character of Smith. He looks more like a con man and a sexual predator who scored other men's wives, and young teen girls, than a genuine prophet of the Lord who would repent when he or she sins. Smith seems like the typical cult leader out for power and women (e.g., Jim Jones, David Moses Berg, David Koresh, etc.).

And if that's the case, then it seems more likely to me that as 2 Cor. 11 says, Satan and his helpers masqueraded as angels of light to Smith. Now you can keep believing Smith, but to do so would be to simply say... "Don't confuse me with the facts!"

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&^%$ You

You stupid &^%$. If you think mormons are going to hell, then you aren't Christian at all. Any effort to reach Jesus Christ--even if it's a corrupted one in the case of the mormons and catholics--saves. Even the Buddhists know that, and they're not even &^%$ Christian! &^%$ you, you hating &^%$.

[I responded:] Sorry, but it seems to me that saving people from hell is loving and your potty-mouth email demonstrates to me that you're the one who hates. Buddhists are going to hell too. They don't even believe in God. You need Jesus to come into your heart so He can clean your mouth up and save you from hell. I'm following Jesus who says that most of the world goes to hell (Mat. 7:13-14), so we need to give them the good news that Jesus can save them if they repent. Love ya,

[He responded:] If most the world is going to hell, then what is the point in even trying to save a minuscule amount of lucky people. It just doesn't make sense. Sorry for my potty mouth. I get out of control sometimes. I don't understand religion. It seems to damn more than it enlightens.

[I responded:] Apology accepted. Theoretical physics or modal logic damns more than it enlightens, but that's no reason to think that no one can get truth out of these subjects. I find it worthwhile and loving to save as many as I can from a burning building.
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…I have a huge heart for the LDS community. My father's family has been Mormon, from the way it's been told to me, back to the first immigrants to Utah. God has placed my family and Mormons in general on my heart and I'd really like information on mission trips. I've heard what you do for the pageant in Manti and I really want to go. If there's a church group I could hook up with that would be awesome since I don't have a ministry like this at my church. I'd love to hear back from you.

Add Comment
Brandon says... (Reply)
"I agree with the guy who wrote the email about why even put in the effort to save anyone. Its obvious you believe your God made a creation that he will damn most of to hell. Thus, another reason why I think Christianity (along with other religions) are man made ways to control people. It would be as if I invented and manufactured a product, shipped it out to stores and then on the evening news, damn my product so no one would buy it. Christianity makes no sense. - Brandon, bnmyers82@gmail.com" (10/6/09)
Brandon says... (Reply)
"Rob says "Smith seems like the typical cult leader out for power and women." - My respsonse - That would define every preacher of every religion n the world, including yourself. You may not be out for women, but fame yes, power yes. You cannot deny that your minisitry has not gained you followers, who look up to you, who look forward to what you have to say on your next website posting or newsletter. I bet there are even people out there that will believe what you say without looking it up for themselves. So, even evangelical preachers have some motive to preach and do what they do." (10/6/09)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"The problem with your analogy of God making products that He damns is that humans aren't inanimate objects. Humans are in God's image and have freedom that makes them different from robots. It's the faith of a little child that pleases God, and it's worth it for Him if He can get just a relatively small amount of them to trust and love Him. It's obvious you hate Him and want nothing to do with Him, and because He's loving, He'll let you spend eternity where you really want to go.

As for cult leaders, I didn't start a religion; I'm simply trying to promote the true one. If I live like a jerk and pervert, my life gives no good reason why religion is true enough to make my life a good example to others. " (10/7/09)