Mesa, AZ Mission Trip

 

Although I did some ministry out at Temple Square last month, the bulk of this newsletter report will focus on my mission trip to Mesa, AZ the end of last month. The Mormon temple there has an annual Easter pageant right outside on its lawn that draws over 100,000 people in its 9 days. There is a huge Mormon population in that area, and my web site, MormonInfo.org/JosephLied.com, needed more exposure there. From the beginning of the year until I went there, AZ was ranked 6th in all the states coming to my site. After my trip, AZ is now ranked 3rd behind CA and UT! Up until the trip, I have been averaging around 180 hits per day from all over the globe, but in just one day while I was in AZ, it was up to 386! 166 from AZ, and only 38 from the second largest number--UT! You just can’t convince me that advertising my web site with my big sign doesn’t work. Please keep praying that God will continue to open hearts to Him and that more people in AZ will check out MormonInfo.org.

 

Jeff from CA (the creator of this sign)
Jeff from CA (the creator of this sign)
In addition to my big sign, several friends were there from CA and WA to evangelize and help advertise JosephLied.com with their signs. Here’s a short video of one of those signs being displayed outside the pageant when the sun went down. The police talked to my buddy about it possibly disturbing the peace, but they never did anything about it. I had an LDS gal complained to me that it was too distracting, and I told her she didn’t have to keep looking at it just like she didn’t have to keep looking at all the cars passing by. According to common LDS thinking there, it would seem they should also apologize to the driver who rear-ended another car right out in front of the pageant one night while I was there. Evidently the LDS pageant disturbed the peace enough to cause this wreck! Of course there’s no excuse for this driver, but then there’s no excuse for LDS who keep staring at this sign and are distracted from their pageant!

 

The first night at the Mesa Easter Pageant was a little disconcerting. The tracts I got out were almost all taken by the Christian "snow birds." LDS wouldn't really dialogue with me, so I resorted to preaching as they waited to cross the street. If I had individuals who were quite adamant about not taking the tract, I started telling them, “You know, you must be LDS. It’s almost like you’re PROGRAMMED not to take anybody else’s literature. You should think about that.” Even the stats on www.MormonInfo.org showed no increase for AZ! I was thinking, "I drove 13 hours for this?"

 

The next day, though, was completely different! People were actually interested and wanted to talk. My friends and I went to evangelize at Westwood High in the afternoon. They were in front of the LDS seminary with all the LDS students, and I was across the street talking to all the pagans, Catholics, and agnostics. Gave 1 agnostic guy, Smokey, reasons for faith, and he said it made sense.

 

Rob witnessing to Veronica with cop in the background
Rob witnessing to Veronica with cop in the background
Then the next guy, Tony, was a Catholic. When I asked him, "What would you say to God if He asked you why should I let you in heaven?," he said, "I wouldn't make it, since I'm not a good person." I don't think I've ever got that response before! I said, "That's a great, honest, first response, and everyone should recognize that truth as Jesus taught... only God is good!" I shared with Tony the simple gospel, and he prayed with me to receive Christ right before his ride came to pick him up!

 

Immediately after that, I went up and started talking to this girl named Veronica. She had no religious background. She also prayed to receive Christ with me! Right after that, I asked her where Christ was now, and she said, "Inside my heart." I was able to encourage her to read her Bible, pray, and find a good Christian church. I then was able to pray for her.

 

Right before I finished with Veronica, a cop came by and said, "Are you guys here for the pageant? I know you have your rights, but I'm still asking you guys to move onto the pageant ASAP. We had someone call about your sign wanting to know what was going on." I told the cop, "Of course this is America, and I pay $ for this sidewalk. However, we are finishing up here, and will be on our way shortly." After that, he walked into the LDS seminary.

 

Then after Veronica, these 2 girls came up to us to talk. One was a Christian and the other an atheist. The guys from WA had a great time talking to the atheist while I had to go meet a friend at Starbucks. While I was heading back to the car, I was passing out tracts to Jr. High students who were just getting out of school. I got to the car and started putting my sign away, and a group of about 7 jr. high boys came up to me to ask me what my deal was. So I spent a good 25 minutes explaining to them the differences between Mormonism and Christianity. They were all very interested in what I was saying!

 

Then at the pageant, I can think of at least 4 good conversations I got in! One was with a kid, who had all sorts of good questions for me. As I was leaving that night, I saw him talking to another Christian evangelist. Another was a black gal, who recently converted to Mormonism from Christianity. So of course I went right into the white-supremacist passages of the Book of Mormon (she hasn't read the whole BM yet) and other differences between Mormonism and Christianity.

 

Outside Mountain View Seminary
Outside Mountain View Seminary
The next day, prior to the pageant, we spent a little over 2 hours in front of Mountain View High School LDS seminary. This was like being in Mormon Central! I’ve heard figures that the student population is around 80% LDS! One student physically threatened us. Another guy came by in a truck, and pulled up in front of my buddy Jeff. Dude in truck told Jeff that he was a Marine, and he had a gun back home he was going to get, and if we were still there when he came back, there was going to be trouble. Jeff called the cops as dude drove off, but he never came back. I also had a gal throw her used sucker at me as she walked by, and we had a few students litter the seminary’s property with our tracts that they ripped up. Nonetheless, we did get into several good conversations.

 

 

This was an all-around great trip! Thanks so much for your prayers and support!    

 

Ex-Mormon Meetup

 

 

Parker Hinckley shared at last month’s Meetup. He’s related to the late LDS Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley. Here’s his video and here are the pictures.

 

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!

“Be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:9)!

Rob Sivulka
President, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374
West Jordan, UT 84081
(801) 738-0539
MormonInfo.org
MuslimInfo.org
JWInfo.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. For the resources to pay for our roof leak--our insurance will cover it, but we've got a $500 deductible

 

 

****MAILBAG****

 

Hey Rob, how many times do you hear "Christians" say 'why are you trying to evangelize those nice people'? Do you ever think that evangelism's purpose is to change you primarily and others secondarily?

 

[I replied:] No, although I know it changes me. I always thought the primary purpose was the other's benefit. Christians are clueless on their Bibles, so it shouldn't surprise us that they are clueless on cults as well.

 

[He replied:] Yes the reason I bring this up is because comments like that teach me patience...I can't help but think of how your ministry has changed you..thicker skin, way more patience, etc...The lives of the people we bring to Utah are changed incredibly too, in a very positive way. What a blessing. Still I've been asked this question so often that sometimes it is wearying. Blessings to you this day my brother as I contemplate your example for us all. Lot of the Utah Missions trip is spent right here at home, as a missionary to the people around us who may or may not be Mormon.

 

 

[I replied:] Well it certainly is character building. Thanks for the encouragement! "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Gal. 6:9).
________________________

 

do you have a life? just wondering you have alot angst build up agaisnt the mormons,i saw your stupid website it spewed nothing but hatred and venom towards the mormons,you and your cronies on the that website are an insult to christianity hell i wouldnt call you guys christians for the lies the pit in the mormons faces,find something that is actually faith promoting of your church instead going around slandering people you dont know what a low life scum bag you are!

 

 

[I replied:] A life?  No, I’ve got THE Life.  His name is Jesus, and you ought to get to know Him.  People nailed Him to a cross, because they hated His message.  So let me see if I’ve got this straight… if I criticize something I take to be wrong, then it’s hateful? If that’s true, then you ought to look in the mirror!

 

[He replied:] You criticizing most of that are "issues" that aren't really issues stuff that's been debunked and refuted for years and even a Century ago,if you love Christ like claim you do then why don't spend your time and energy on him instead of focusing All of your wasted energy trying to prove a faith wrong time to find the savior now that actually be something very productive..

 

 

Witnessing to a skeptic who thought it was crazy to think if you don't live for God, you're going to make a mess of your life
Witnessing to a skeptic who thought it was crazy to think if you don't live for God, you're going to make a mess of your life
[I replied:] How about giving me examples?  Furthermore, have you ever considered that what you take to be debunked was really just a sloppy dismissal that really doesn't have merit?  Just because something has been addressed doesn't entail that it's actually a good response.

 

If you want to focus on Christ, then you have to do what He taught, right?  He taught love, right?  So how do you love?  By loving like He loved.  He warned of false Christs and false prophets in Matthew 24:24.  He showed how others were thinking incorrectly and offended people (cf. Mat. 15:1-14 and 22:23-32 and ch. 23).  And He commanded His followers to teach everything He taught (Mat. 28:19).

 

 

Finally, and again, are you focusing on Christ by correcting me?  If you can get away with it, then why can’t I… with not only you, but all those who have an incorrect understanding of Christ?  That’s why you strike me as hypocritical.
___________

 

Rob,

 

 

Please tell Tara that I enjoyed her article "The Ugly Side of Eternal Marriage" and thought it was well written. I too wondered a lot about temple marriage when I was a teenager. I figured I would get off my mission, find a great girl, marry her in the Temple and have a large family. Sure enough I got off my mission, met a great girl but never felt like I should marry her. I think the Lord kept me from making that decision as it would make it harder for me to leave Mormonism when I did.

 

I have heard that some men will threaten their wives with "I won't call you through the veil unless you...." It seems like it can be used as a form of abuse. It also cheapens the authority of Christ by circumventing the eternal judgment of that woman. If she is found worthy of Heaven by Christ (Celestial Kingdom) and scripture states that "all be made alive in Christ" (Universal Resurrection) then for her husband to say otherwise, does the LDS Church have a doctrine on that? Would that be a sin committed in the after life by the husband, thus negating his own judgement? LDS theology sure is a puzzle wrapped inside of a riddle.
___________________

 

Thanks bro for the news letter, much appreciated and always inspiring, edifying and encouraging. Thank you for posting the chronicles scripture I shared [in the last newsletter].

 

Be praying for you and your family as you minister at the LDS pageant, praying you will have much success and to touch the lives of those who need the Lord's healing and life, who are genuinely seeking Him and that you plant many more seeds and gather many more to join the harvest, praying for your safe keeping and every blessing you need brother.
________________________

 

 

Just read the newsletter and then your wife’s post on LDS’ “eternal marriage”. I had some quick thoughts about that topic; in particular, how to make sense of it given the roughly 50-50 distribution of men and women. To populate worlds, LDS “gods” allegedly need lots of wives. But how is this supposed to work given the 50-50 distribution? The various hypotheses seem to indicate that either men or women are considerably less godly than their counterparts:

1.       Women are holier than men, which is why many more of them get to be goddesses than men can become gods. (Really? If so, how come they are the spiritually subordinate sex?)
2.       The standards for female holiness are considerably lower than those for men. (That doesn’t seem biblical or plausible in any other way.)
3.       Women don’t have to be godly to get “recruited” in the next world for the job of popping out spirit babies to populate new planets. (That certainly seems to devalue the concept of marriage, for starters. Also, if that is a lofty calling for women, then why do they get a higher reward than “second-class” men?)

No doubt there are plenty more problems that could be and have been devised; as I said, these just popped into my mind as problems stemming from the 50-50 sex ratio, as distinct from general problems with polygamy, the evolution of man into a “god”, etc.
_______________

 

B… shared Tara's post about eternal marriage with a Mormon friend.  It was perfect timing.  Thanks so much! Love in Christ,
____________________________

 

 

May God bless you and your family continuously, I know you will stay the course, be encouraged & emboldened in Him, for you are an inspiration to me[.]  I love you brother,
__________________________

 

Well, we listened to this testimony yesterday and it was a blessing and thank you for posting this. I think this was really good for my son, who is 15, to hear Parker's story because my son does not know anyone else who has left Mormonism besides me and all he hears from is my story. This is good for him to hear from another guy. My kids go to my ex husband's home half of the week and he is still Mormon. So, when they are with him they do all the Mormon stuff and my son has a lot of Mormon friends and he just really likes the social life. I understand that because when I was in Mormonism I liked that part too when I was a teen. Anyway, Rob, I checked out your website and I wished I had found it sooner! I have been out of the Mormon church for six years now and have done alone, with just me and The Lord. It has been hard to not have others to talk to who have left the Mormon church. I have felt pretty isolated. I am going to try to do a youtube vid on my channel today about my story of leaving Mormonism. I need to come to an exMormon meetup thing! Wow..that would just be awesome! Wish there was something like that in my town here... Anyway, thank you for your website, and thank you Parker for your story (I hate saying testimony now because, after leaving the Mormon church, all I can think of is "testimony" meeting, so, it has been hard for me to say that word without thinking on Mormonism..lol). God bless you all!

 


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Jannette Mavis Harvey says...
"Praise God! I am so proud of you both. I still want to go with you and do what I can to help. " (4/15/13)