TEMPLE SQUARE

Emily Madsen shares her faith with a couple LDS gals outside Temple Square


We've been consistently having about 10 to 15 Christians go out to evangelize out in front of Temple Square every Thursday night, which is choir rehearsal night. One of the best things that happened to me there this past month was having a black guy named Cordell wanting to hear what I had to say, since others were blowing me off. He's a Baptist, who was taking the LDS missionary lessons to become a Mormon. So of course I showed him some racism passages in the Book of Mormon, and it blew him a way. He took the Temple Square Visitor’s Guide and the Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith DVD, and walked away saying... "That's crazy!" I think it's safe to say, he'll stay Baptist! 

The next week I talked to a Returned LDS Missionary (RM) named Michael. He never once gave a positive case for his faith. Instead, he simply attempted to maintain the mere possibility that Mormonism was true. He compared it to the Jews in Jesus’ time not being able to understand all that Christ was doing on the Sabbath. In their minds, Jesus was flatly contradicting the prior revelation. But He could do what He wants, since He’s Lord. 

I told Michael that Jesus gave a case for why there were weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faith (Mat. 23:23), and issues of life and health should have been obviously in that category regardless of the days they were upheld. So when I asked Michael to at least begin to give a case how Mormonism is true, he wouldn’t do it. No scriptural interpretation mattered to him. All he would claim is that I needed to go to the source (viz., God) to find out what’s true. At that point I told him that because He was continuing to reject God’s word that He’s already given, God has given him a strong delusion to believe his lie (2 Thes. 2:11). Michael said that he’s never studied that before. Like that’s a shocker! I mean why bother “study[ing] to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) when you can simply go to the source?
  
The following week I talked to Jake, who I also talked to briefly the week before. I took him to be a Christian, since he was quoting Bible passages to me and was sympathetic to me being against Mormonism. But as I began talking more to him this following week, it became clear that Jake wasn’t a Christian. He was simply searching. So after giving him a lengthy positive case for why he should be a Christian, he let me pray for him to find truth and follow Christ.

JW

A very argumentative Jehovah’s Witness called me out of the blue last month. He never claimed to be a JW, but all his lame arguments were obviously from that mindset. His argument was that just because Jesus is called “God” is irrelevant, since the angels are also called Gods. Instead of responding how debatable his claim is (certainly they are called “Sons of God” in Job 1:6, for example), I simply told him that the Bible is clear that Jesus is God in the sense that He’s the Creator of all things outside Himself (e.g., 1 Cor. 8:6 and Col. 1:13-8). No angel is in that category. But to dismiss this view of Jesus is simply to devalue Him. If there’s only 1 “true” God as John 17:3 says, and Jesus isn’t a member of that true God, then Jesus must be a false God. It’s Jehovah who made the heavens alone after all (Ps. 96:5 and Isa. 44:24)!

When it became apparent that the caller wasn’t open to my point of view, and just wanted to belittle the doctrine of the Trinity, I simply said, “This is a silly waste of time,” and hung up on him. That really made him mad! He continued to call throughout the week, but I simply ignored his calls. Keep in mind what Jesus taught about casting your pearls before swine (Mat. 7:6). It’s important for us to remember that we don’t have a mandate to save everyone. Jesus Himself wasn’t called to the righteous, but to sinners (Lk. 5:32). Too many of us our wasting our time and energy on those God hasn’t called us to.    

HOSPITALITY

At our Ex-Mormon Meetup, we had a couple from our church, James and Natalie Rollinson, share their story. You can watch the video here and see the pictures here.


Rob Sivulka lectures to Heartland EVF
We also hosted a Memorial Day barbecue for a high school mission team from Heartland Evangelical Free Church in Central City, NE to kick off their week long mission trip to Utah. I shared some things to say in response to common LDS statements made to trip Christians up, and then Tara shared her testimony.  

WE NEED YOUR PARTNERSHIP!

We not only need your prayers, but we need your financial assistance as well. We took quite a hit last month with a surprise corporation tax for the first quarter. We didn’t set enough aside for it, so we’ve been pulling from savings to stay afloat. 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 84084
(801) 738-0539
Rob@CourageousChristiansUnited.org 
MormonInfo.org 
JWInfo.org
MuslimInfo.org

****ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS****

1. Health & protection for our whole family
2. Tara’s and Maddi’s families to be saved
3. Wisdom in all our dealings
4. Manti, UT Pageant evangelism from June 21-30

****MAILBAG****

Since 2004, I have met with around ten different Mormon missionaries.  Last summer I became acquainted with a classmate in my graduate program who is a committed member of the LDS church.  Through those experiences, I have become fascinated by Mormonism and heartbroken over the deception that its followers have accepted as the truth.  Thinking about the confusion of the Mormons I have met has moved me close to tears at times.  I care about Mormons deeply and want to help bring them to a true understanding of the gospel.

I have spent the last year organizing materials to share with Mormons.  I greatly appreciate the resources and insights you have posted at MormonInfo.org.  I have also read Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons by Mark J. Cares, The Mormon Mirage by Latayne C. Scott, and the God Makers books by Ed Decker (although Decker's were a little too confrontational and sensational for my taste).  I have ordered the Tanners'Mormonism-Shadow or Reality? but have not yet examined the research compiled in that volume.  What other books, audio recordings, or videos would you recommend?

Despite my studies and the resources I had developed, the discussions I had with a recent missionary pair did not seem very productive.  The missionaries seemed to have two primary reactions to the objections I had to what they were teaching me:

1.  Often, they would try to push my concerns to the side and reiterate my need for a testimony from the Holy Ghost.  They claimed that, once I received my testimony, the Holy Ghost would help me understand all of the things that seem like discrepancies to me now.  I responded that, even if I thought I received a personal revelation that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was God's prophet, I would not be able to join their church unless the logical inconsistencies between their teachings and the Bible had been cleared in my mind.  This did not seem to motivate them to evaluate sincerely the issues I was raising.

2.  Sometimes, when presented with a dilemma between the New (or Old) Testament and LDS doctrine, the missionaries would give me a solution that seemed to make perfect sense to them but, to me, seemed like a lot of effort just to make things fit together.  (Hopefully the previous sentence made sense.  I can't think of any examples at the moment.)

I know that the Bible teaches that, ultimately, God converts men (1 Corinthians 3:7).  With this in mind, I pray frequently for the deliverance of the Mormons in my life.  I find myself very frustrated with my apparently futile attempts to reason with them, though.

As I mentioned in my previous email, I have considered moving to Utah or a bordering state in the next few years primarily as an opportunity to witness to Mormons.  My discussions with Mormons to date have often made me question that plan.  Do ministries like yours have much success even though they are located in the cultural center of the Mormon world?  How often do you become genuine friends with Mormons in your sphere of influence?  How often are you able to use those relationships as a door for evangelism?  Are you ever shunned by the people in your community because of the work you do?  Where are some solid Christian churches in the West who are intent on spreading the good news to Mormons in their surrounding area?

I know I gave you a lot of material, so I understand if you need a while to formulate a response to this email.  Feel free to give me advice on things I didn't address; I am pretty sure there are important questions that I don't even know I should ask.  I hope to hear from you soon!

[I replied:] http://utlm.org/navonlinebooks.htm 
http://mormoninfo.org/feelings 

There are other ministries that concentrate on friendship.  This one doesn't.  Keep in mind that making friends with LDS doesn't guarantee any success either.  I encourage friendship with LDS and I of course have friends (and in-laws who are LDS), but we are trying to get more seed out.  LDS are very difficult to reach.  There's no sugar-coating it.  The good news is that many of them are leaving now according to their own general authority.  But the problem is still that they've been burned by religion and most don't want anything that smacks of it... including what we have to offer.  

Salt Lake City is only 40% LDS, but the state is around 60 to 70% LDS.  Of course we get shunned, but it's not something I care about.  Other Christians do for various reasons (e.g., they're too emotionally involved in friendships or they have to work in a community where they depend on the business of LDS, who are the majority).

As for churches: http://mormoninfo.org/utah-churches.

The bottom line is, you just keep going, praying for them that God will use something you said to convert them.  This video always reminds of that, even when I don't see immediate results.

_______________________ 

I enjoyed reading your latest newsletter.  Congratulations on your pregnancy!

Just a note regarding one of the letters - from the woman concerned about former Mormons losing all faith entirely.  In 2010, the Pew Forum did an exhaustive survey of religion in American life.  They studied disaffiliation rates and found that of those who were raised LDS, 30% disaffiliate from Mormonism as adults.  (Compared to 32% for Catholics).  Of these 30% who leave roughly half affiliate with a different religion.  About half of those end up in Catholicism and the other half in Protestant churches.  That doesn't tell us much about the actual spiritual condition of these ex-Mos.  But roughly one in four people leaving Mormonism end up in a Protestant church of some kind, while roughly half end up with no faith connection of any kind.

Here's the link.  Its at the bottom of page 30.
____________________ 


Good morning Rob! Im not sure if you remember me but I was a fellow brethren in your philosophy class through Rio. I have recently moved to the Gilbert AZ area and am running into  tons of Mormons. I am going to the house of a coworker for dinner this evening and my intent is to share the true Gospel. 

I have some understanding of what Mormons believe. If you have any specific things to ask or to share as I know they don't believe the bible to be true and accurate and is the last source of guidance. I just would like to be as well prepared. Let me know and any wisdom would be much appreciated. 

Grace and Peace

[I replied:] Yes, I remember you.  I was standing out in front of Gilbert High last February witnessing.

Ask your co-worker "why"... continually.  That challenges them.  They'll resort to the burning in bosom, and challenge them on that as well.  Last night when I was at Temple Square some Mormons then asked me why I'm not.  So I told them because I've read the Bible and it teaches a totally different God/Jesus than what the LDS Church teaches.  One LDS challenged the Bible being translated correctly, and all I had to say was that all the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts say the same thing on key passages that teach the nature of God.  For example, there's no variation with Jesus teaching there's only 1 true God in Jn. 17:3.  So if that's been tinkered with, show us the evidence.  It's not there.  Mormonism is simply based on a mere possibility and a warm fuzzy feeling.  

Also, take this along with you with your Bible and the LDS scriptures.

Let me know how it goes.

________________ 

I am traveling around the country in our RV with my husband.. that is why I haven't been lately. I just wanted you to know that I love this group and I miss everyone very much. When we come through Salt Lake I will try to see all of you again. Keep praying for my husband, his heart is changing slowly, at least we don't fight anymore. I just love him and want to be a good example of my love for Jesus. Please pray that we will meet Christians along the way, and these outsiders will help him. Thanks for all you do, your ministry is awesome and I'm proud to be a part of it. 
God Bless


Add Comment
Bro Wayne says... (Reply)
"As Rob knows, I withdrew my membership in the LDS Church a long time ago. I'd just like to try to suggest to those debating Mormon doctrine and practices, that it is all about the premise. Establish a premise and you can logically prove about anything that you want. The Mormon premise is Joseph Smith and "modern revelation." A Christian's premise is the Holy Word, the Bible unadulterated and unspoiled and divinely protected by the hand of God. If you feel you are called to try to convert these people, good luck and may God bless your effort. But if they don't have ears, they are absolutely not going to hear you. Sadly, once a Mormon gets that special feeling and gains a "testimony," most of them will be lost and they will stay lost. My question to them would be this: how do you know who it is that has planted that burning in your bosom? " (6/10/12)