January 9, 2013

 

So You Want Results From Last Year?

 


Happy New Year!
Last year, MormonInfo.org had 78,797 visits from 161 countries. These visits were up 19,017 from the year before, and two years ago, we only had 45,242 visits for the year! That’s a pretty sizable world outreach for last year! Of course we got a lot of attention last year due to 1) Mitt Romney’s run for the US presidency and 2) the world news of our former board member and founder of our ministry’s involvement in the making of that dopey video that set the Muslim world on fire (his involvement was unbeknownst to us and we ended up removing him from our board as a result). Please pray that we will continue to reach even more next year!

 

As for salvations that we know of, I was able to pray with 2 guys outside the Brigham City, UT temple opening back in August. In addition (and this was not reported back in the October newsletter), but a couple preacher friends told me that they met a guy at the October General Conference, who saw our “JosephLied.com” sign sometime earlier, went to check it out, and ended up getting saved and leaving Mormonism! Think how many other stories like this we’ll hear of when we get to heaven!

 

 

As for our Ex-Mormon Meetups, every month we have people joining. At this point, we have 137 members. Many have recently been finding out all the problems of Mormonism, and need moral support as they transition out and into a relationship with Christ. We usually have around 15 to 20 that come each month. We share a dinner together, and then someone shares their story of leaving the cult and finding Christ. Here are the reviews of our Meetup and here is the Message Board where we post all the testimonies of the speakers we’ve had.

 

I was able to do 19 radio shows on Mormonism and Christianity on a weekly basis for KUTR’s 820 AM, which reaches all over Utah and somewhat into surrounding states. The management of the radio station increased our monthly fees if we were to continue this year, so we decided to stop doing our weekly radio spots. The past shows are still posted online, though. You may listen to them here. The management told us that we could continue for $100 per month for 14 minute spots, and then they told us we could do 27 minute spots for $200 per month.  So if you would like to fund this, then we need to hear from you.

 

 

Other Witnessing for Last Month

 

Given the great weather for mid-December, I went out one evening in front of Temple Square with a friend named Greg, and we got out probably around 100 Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith DVDs in about an hour and 1/2! Lots of people were out looking at the Christmas lights. Good preaching and good conversations. One older lady walked by me and said, "Drop dead!" Then not long after that some kid asked us why we have to come out and bring the hate! Lord have mercy on all these blind people! I was having a good conversation with 2 middle age guys about the basis for their belief... a feeling. I told them you can have a good feeling about committing adultery and some prophet may come by with a scripture that justifies it, and he asks you to pray to see it's true. One guy said, "Yes, but Joseph Smith never committed adultery!" Boy, were they surprised when I told them Smith took 11 women out of the 34 that he had, who were currently married to other men, and this can be verified by the LDS run www.familysearch.org. (Yes, I realize that Smith never advocated adultery.)

 

 

I was also able to witness in front of West Jordan High School as the students were leaving for the day. Lots of fingers again with some very upset parents! One parent kept saying how sad it was that I was at a high school. Had a few say, "Get a job!" Talked to the school cop again. Really nice guy. One gal said I shouldn't spread negativity. I told her she sounded pretty negative about me being there. She admitted she was, so I told her she was being hypocritical. Praise the Lord… I got out 23 DVDs!

 

We Need Your Partnership!

We not only need your prayers, but we need your financial assistance as well. Keep in mind that your investment is not simply for us, but for the lives of others we reach with the gospel. The standard way to financially invest is by writing a check to Courageous Christians United (CCU). 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. For more information, please see our “Invest” page. 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. If you’re not a partner, please consider joining our team and let us know soon. We’d love to be your missionaries here in Utah. Many thanks to those of you who hold us up in prayer and in your financial giving!

Happy New Year!

Rob Sivulka
President, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374
West Jordan, UT 84084
(801) 738-0539
Rob@CourageousChristiansUnited.org
www.CourageousChristiansUnited.org
www.MormonInfo.org
www.JWinfo.org
www.MuslimInfo.org

****ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS****

1. Health and protection for our whole family
2. Tara’s and Maddi’s families to be saved
3. Wisdom in all our dealings
4. Strength to keep going
5. To reap the harvest

 

 

 

****MAILBAG****

 

We thank God for your faithfulness and boldness in sharing the Gospel! May His grace and peace abound to your family in the year ahead.  Merry Christmas!
_________________

 

 

I am glad that people respond about God. Even if they are hostile. He is stirring something up in them and possibly getting them ready to save them; turn them into spiritual warriors as he did Saul who became Paul.
__________________

 

Praying for you and your family and all the work you are doing!!  Also, I gave my story of grace at Watermark on Oct. 1st, at Re:generation (previously Celebrate Recovery).  I talk about how Christ softened my heart and helped me see His love and brought me out of my Mormon background!!

 

 

Also, quick question, what are a few questions that I can use when witnessing to Mormons?? I guess my question is how do I begin the conversation.  How do I start the dialogue.  Keep in mind, most of these conversations would be with friends and family who are Mormon.

 

 

Thanks so much!!  Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

 

[I replied:] Just finished listening to your testimony.  Excellent!  Crazy how many similarities there are to Tara's testimony. I posted your testimony on my FB page as well as my Testimonies page on www.MormonInfo.org. 

As for family conversation starters, I'm still trying to figure that out.  I'm letting the Lord open up things up.  He has with our wedding, baby dedication, and going after them via email in reaction to crap one of them posted obliquely about me.  However, when I'm on the street, I primarily do a couple things.  1) I invite them to check out my site.  I tell them I've read all their scriptures, and I want them to be open-minded enough to check out a little of what I believe.  2) I ask people simply why they are LDS.  Usually, it's, "Because I believe it's true!"  Like, "No duh!"  (Of course I don't tell them that.)  Then I ask, "We'll, why do you think it's true?"  And there, we're off to the races with challenging their pathetic testimonies.  This works with anyone.  "Why do you believe X is true?"  You put them on the defensive, and you force the wheels to get turning.  If they're really engaged, they will inevitably ask you why you believe what you do, so be ready (1 Pet. 3:15)!

 

Hope that helps somewhat!
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Question: I was reading your article on Daniel C. Peterson and you mention Joseph Smith's adultery and whatnot. What about Biblical figures that practiced polygamy and/or commutes adultery. What are we to think of them?

 

[I replied:] 1. I'm not evaluating any of them to give me a supposed restored truth. Given we're evaluating someone for such a weighty issue, I need some criteria why I should trust this individual. If he or she looks like a typical cult leader after PMS (power, $, and sex), then chances are pretty good someone's trying to sell a "bill of goods."
 

 

2. As for adultery itself, someone led of God, like David, repented when called out on it. Smith certainly wasn't when William Law and probably others called Smith out on it.
 

3. Polygamy was an Old Testament practice similar to slavery... never ideal (since it goes against the creation in the early chapters of Genesis), but allowed and worked with to promote a best situation as one could given the circumstances. However, the New Testament, which we're living in since Christ, is clear that the Church leaders are to be the husband of only 1 wife (1 Tim. 3:2, 12; and Titus 1:5-6).

 

[She replied:] Was David not unrepentant of his wives?

 

[I replied:] Another good question. 1) It's debatable whether there's a specific biblical command against polygamy in the Old Testament. There certainly is with the king not multiplying wives unto himself, but how much multiplying is relative and undefined since the passage right before said not multiplying horses (Deut. 17:16). Obviously the king could have more than 1 horse, so perhaps he could have more than 1 wife.

 

 

2) Nonetheless, the evil of polygamy still should have been inferred from the order of creation when God made them male and female, the man was to leave and cleave to his wife, they were to be "one flesh," and then by simply observing nature to see how one's actions would affect his spouse (I mean, it shouldn't be rocket science what results would be).

 

3) Who among us doesn't struggle with sin and have to continue dealing with the consequences of bad decisions?

 

 

4) I'm not trusting David with a restored gospel. Thus, I'm not looking for criteria as to whether I should trust him or whether I should regard him as a con-man who is trying to sell me a bill of goods.

 

5) Smith wasn't a king who God used to give consistent and further revelation. He gave contrary revelation. So this is foundational. Now as a *secondary* issue, does he give other indications that he was in it just for himself? I think we'd all agree that he does. So while a pattern of sin is not sufficient to rule someone out as being from God, it certainly should send red flags up with we're trying to determine his legitimacy or not.

 

 

[She replied:] I'm more questioning what the difference is between he and Joseph Smith. If the Bible is supposed to be the Word of God and David was one of the authors of said word.

 

[I replied:] Well I thought I answered that. David gave a consistent and further revelation of God, including prophecies of Christ. Smith gave contradictory revelation, which must ultimately come from Satan, the father of lies, and Smith claimed to "restore" the truth that had been corrupted or lost. As for their character, I see David spending a lot of time grieving over his own wretched soul. David repented of adultery when confronted with it, and Smith didn't. David was never called on his polygamy as being sin... at least that we know of. David never said as Smith did, "God is in the still small voice. In all these affidavits, indictments, it is all of the devil--all corruption. Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet. You know my daily walk and conversation. I am in the bosom of a virtuous and good people. How I do love to hear the wolves howl! When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go. For the last three years I have a record of all my acts and proceedings, for I have kept several good, faithful, and efficient clerks in constant employ: they have accompanied me everywhere, and carefully kept my history, and they have written down what I have done, where I have been, and what I have said; therefore my enemies cannot charge me with any day, time, or place, but what I have written testimony to prove my actions; and my enemies cannot prove anything against me" (History of the Church 6:408-9).

 

 

So I don't question whether I think David was a prophet of the Lord, used by Him to bring about Scripture consistent with all that went before. If you're asking me to chuck all that I've known to believe Smith bringing about a restored gospel, then his character does come into play only as a secondary consideration. And that consideration begins to look more like Jim Jones, David Koresh, etc. than genuine prophets of the Lord.

______________________

 

Rob thank you so much for posting the interview with the Erskines.. It was really helpful.  One thing Earl said [that stuck in my head] was "We didn't know we needed a Savior...."  this so powerful, when I think of the lost state of a huge bunch of religious people, for whom Jesus died.

 

Thank you for all you do to make Jesus known.  I know your generous service to believers and the lost... brings joy to God's heart.

 

your sister in Jesus,
____________

 

Always inspired and humbled by your faith. Your actions help proclaim your love for Christ. Stay hardcore for the most high God brother. You give courage to many of us that you reach.
_____________________

 

 

Thanks for your excellent contrast chart on your web page. This past Tues over lunch I gave it to my friend, Rory. He was pleased to get it. He glanced over all of it right away. Interestingly, he was most interested in the contrast with respect to the Cross. That's a great place to start. I continue to pray for Rory's salvation. The Spirit is drawing Him to the Savior. Thanks again for your help. God continue to bless your ministry, Rob. PS Your little baby is adorable...James 1:17
______________________

 

Thanks for these links.  I have watched at least 6 testimonies.  They are incredible!  What a great ministry.  I look forward to meeting you, and many others!

 

God bless you!
______________________

 

Really enjoyed Saturday night. Awesome to see God's work. Been studying some stuff on your website. I have much to learn!
___________________

 

 

Thank you Rob!  I appreciated the invitation [to come to the Ex-Mormon Meetup] and the chance to meet others with their own amazing stories.  God is awesome!  … I look forward to future meetings and a chance to get to know you better.  I support several ministries right now, but will do what I can in the future to help your amazing message in your work for our God.  God Bless,
___________________

 

Someone asked why God changed the laws in the Bible if he is unchanging. For example: Old Testament- eye for an eye... New Testament- turn the other cheek. How would you answer?

 

 

[I replied:] Just because God is always perfect, eternally God, omnipotent, omniscient, doesn't entail that He always has to do things the same way.  Is this person who asked this Mormon?  If so, he or she should know this, since they no longer practice polygamy and let the blacks have the priesthood.  For us, there's an Old Covenant and a New Covenant. 

 

[She replied:] I was pondering that last night and what you wrote about God entered my mind. Also, I think Jesus said: it has been said... probably indicating that God never taught the eye for an eye thing. I think that was what people believed ought to be done because of the pain we feel when someone hurts us. Yes, the person asking is in Mormonism. Thank you, that helps.
_____________________

 

 

Rob, you are one person who always ministers to my heart and who I look up to! You truly live your life for Jesus. I feel honored to have been given the opportunity by the Lord to know you and hope to meet you in person soon and give you a big hug!
_____________________

 

You know, I'm going to be very direct with you Rob. I've been reading your posts in the last 2 or 3 days and you really sound crazy. I wish you could see yourself from the outside. Your supreme confidence in your opinions and prophecies is neither Christian nor 'correct theology'. It looks much more like arrogance verging on madness. It's just sort of a human maxim: when you think you've got all the answers, you definitely don't. For what it's worth.

 

 

[I replied:] Well you give me a perspective from the outside as well as everyone else. So thanks for your opinion. Of course I realize I don't have all the answers. I know I do have some of them, though, just like you think you do by trying to convey something to me you take as knowledge.
Your bro,R

__________________

 

Rob, isn't it ironic that if you yell to warn someone of an on-coming speeding car, you're a hero... but when you try to warn someone about hell, you're a nut case? FYI, I always enjoy reading your comments because you're right on the mark and speaking the truth... and it comes across as being spoken with a great deal of love. So don't sweat it if you get some negative reactions. You're doing exactly what God wants you to do, and you're doing it well.

 

 

[I replied:] Wow! That's exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks so much! As I told one of my pastors yesterday, it never bothers me what unbelievers say about me, but it still gets to me when my own Christian brothers and sisters, who do know better, get on my case. Sometimes, of course, that's appropriate, and I do appreciate comments that tell me when I need to be more sensitive in certain matters (honestly, I'm trying my best here!), but I just don't get how Christians can be so upset at the content of what I am saying here!

 

[She replied:] Rob, I get the same kind of thing - often in reaction to the devotionals I write and send out every day! When I inadvertently step on someone's toes, they can't wait to call me every deleted expletive they can come up with... some - and this is weird, since I worked in the film industry where you hear everything! - some that I've never heard and have to look up! LOL Another issue is that - even though we've slid into communication on a screen - many people cannot "read between the lines" and see the body language and facial expression that we're used to seeing associated with comments when talking face to face. And then there is the eternal problem of... well, you just can't fix stupid.  So those of us who tend to be more outspoken have to grow thicker skin and - when the comments are appropriate - more humility (my biggiie!) and apologize. But when the comments aren't appropriate, adopt Paul's attitude and defend ourselves with scripture. In the mean time, like I said, you hang in there... you're doing great!
_____________________

 

 

Just curious if you think your approach is the way Jesus would handled things? I know we aren't FB friends but I have many friends who are also yours and so I often see your stuff. And I have to say your approach grieves me.

 

[I replied:] Then the Jesus of the Bible should grieve you.

 

 

[She replied:] Jesus stood on street corners and shouted at people that what the believed was wrong? Really? You show me where!

 

[I replied:] Ever read Mat. 22:23-30 (Jesus said, "you don't know the scriptures"), or how about when He told the Pharisees they were children of the devil (Jn. 8:44), a bunch of hypocrites (Mat. 23), or what He did at least couple times in turning the temple upside down? Have you ever done anything remotely close to this? Or how about His apostles being put in prison for preaching? Or how about them getting stoned for preaching? My guess is that none of this is going to happen to you, since you suffer from what the late Walter Martin called, "non-rock-a-boat-us."

 

 

 

And how about how hypocritical you are in telling me that what I'm doing is wrong? If you can do it, then why can't I? Because you don't like how public I am about it? Do you have a verse that says I'm only supposed to do ministry privately?

 

[She replied:] You are saying stuff I never even said

 

 

[I replied:] What do you think Jesus was crucified for anyway? Because He simply kissed lambs and patted children on the heads?

 

Do you really think that Jesus simply did private ministry so as not to offend anyone publicly?

 

[She replied:] Btw, Jesus was talking to his own people in every single one of these circumstances and not to other religions. Paul in the Areopagus would be a better approach.

 

 

[I replied:] His own people He called what I already told you. Do you have a verse that tells me that I can't call those of other religions to repentance? Paul, a Hebrew, did that (to the Gentiles) which is obvious when you read through Acts, and he tells us in 2 Tim. 4:1, "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." So why limit the rebuking to private conversations with only my own people? Because that's what you prefer?

 

So only if I was a former Mormon, then it would be OK to tell Mormons they are children of the devil, blind, hypocrites, etc.?
 

 

As Paul was a Hebrew called to preach to the Gentiles, so I am a Christian called to preach to Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, and other cults, false religions, and philosophies.

 

[She replied:] Ok

 

[I replied:] Paul told them in the Areopagus that they were all wrong and needed to repent, and the Lord told us through him that we were to destroy arguments and everything that raises itself above the knowledge of Christ (2 Cor. 10:4-5). So I aim to do just that.
 

 

2 Cor. 5:14: "For the love of Christ constrains us." That's what it's all about. Christ is in me and loves these people enough to give them the cure. I don't want to see anyone go to hell. I want them to experience all the good that we have in Christ.

 

[She replied:] He didn't go in there and just declare they were wrong. No he went in and explained to them about this unknown God. And he was invited back to tell more.

 

[I replied:] So are you saying that's all I'm doing is telling people they're wrong?
You don't think I preach the unknown God to this pagan fertility cult?

 

 

[She replied:] I don't know? I just see the pictures of you shouting and holding banners and some of your post so I'd assume that is your approach

 

What do you consider preaching?

 

[I replied:] Telling the whole story--who God is, what Christ has done, and to clarify how unbelievers have got it wrong.

 

 

[She replied:] So do you start with who God is? Or you've got it wrong?

 

[I replied:] "correct, rebuke and encourage"
 

 

Depends on the situation... I'm flexible
 

I let the Spirit lead
 

Would you watch a short video of me that I think you'll be please with?
 

I'm dialoguing with 2 LDS missionaries outside the Brigham City temple back in September.

 

[She replied:] Sure, I will watch

 

[I replied:] [Here it is.]

 

 

[She replied:] Cool

 

[I replied:] I really think you'll like it

 

 

[She replied:] I thought it was a good dialog

 

[I replied:] Good
 

Now every situation is different of course

 

[She replied:] Yeah

 

 

[I replied:] But see, I don't want to be limited to this approach simply because most Christians like this. If that were the case, I think I'd be disobedient to our Lord.

 

[She replied:] Well I apologize for assuming your approach is always harsh. I do believe in sharing truth to people and openly. I think the way you asked them questions was good and I find that the most effective way in reaching Mormons or anyone for that matter. I causes them to wrestle and think

 

 

[I replied:] Now I'm all for however you think God wants to use you best. God bless you and passionately serve Him however you really believe God is leading you!

 

[She replied:] Thanks and good night!
__________________

 

 

My friend, I just read this daily devotional of Spurgeon's writing. Thought of you immediately. Keep on keeping on brother!

 

"I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword."
Matthew 10:34

 

"The Christian will be sure to make enemies. It will be one of his objects to make none; but if to do the right, and to believe the I true, should cause him to lose every earthly friend, he will count it but a small loss, since his great Friend in heaven will be yet more friendly, and reveal Himself to him more graciously than ever. O ye who have taken up His cross, know ye not what your Master said? "I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother; and a man's foes shall be they of his own household." Christ is the great Peacemaker; but before peace, He brings war. Where the light cometh, the darkness must retire. Where truth is, the lie must flee; or, if it abideth, there must be a stern conflict, for the truth cannot and will not lower its standard, and the lie must be trodden under foot. If you follow Christ, you shall have all the dogs of the world yelping at your heels. If you would live so as to stand the test of the last tribunal, depend upon it the world will not speak well of you. He who has the friendship of the world is an enemy to God; but if you are true and faithful to the Most High, men will resent your unflinching fidelity, since it is a testimony against their iniquities. Fearless of all consequences, you must do the right. You will need the courage of a lion unhesitatingly to pursue a course which shall turn your best friend into your fiercest foe; but for the love of Jesus you must thus be courageous. For the truth's sake to hazard reputation and affection, is such a deed that to do it constantly you will need a degree of moral principle which only the Spirit of God can work in you; yet turn not your back like a coward, but play the man. Follow right manfully in your Master's steps, for He has traversed this rough way before you. Better a brief warfare and eternal rest, than false peace and everlasting torment."

 

-Charles Spurgeon, Daily Devotional

 


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