High Schools

 

Mammatus clouds over Salt Lake County last month
Mammatus clouds over Salt Lake County last month
LDS Elder Steven E. Snow recently wrote, “Some young people are surprised and shocked by anti-Mormon material on the Internet because they haven’t fortified themselves against it” (“Balancing Church History,” New Era, June 2013). This is exactly why I like hitting high schools with my sign: MormonInfo.org/JosephLied.com! The more LDS youth are exposed to the problems with Mormonism, the better chance we have at them being open to our Christian alternative.

 

Last month, while at Hunter High, I talked to a number of students--not just LDS. I talked to a Buddhist, Muslim, atheists, and others who stated they were “Catholics, not Christians” and wouldn’t know what to tell God if He asked them why He should let them into heaven. One student named Josh wasn’t interested at first and said he wasn’t religious. He went on to say he was raised Christian, and then the other half of his family raised him LDS. Now he doesn’t know what to believe. He did end up taking the Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith DVD. Another student named John was very open, took the DVD, and let me pray for him. We had a very long conversation about whether feelings were a good test for truth, monotheism vs. polytheism, and the impossible worthiness emphasis of Mormonism. I got out 20 DVDs altogether to students.

 

At Kearns High, I got out 15 DVDs. I started out by talking to an agnostic student, who claimed he was into philosophy. He suddenly became a lot more serious when I told him that I have grad degrees in philosophy. I asked him about how the universe started. He said he didn’t know. I explained to him that if the Big Bang was the first event, and every event that we know of has a preceding cause, then the first event also requires a cause. But this Cause looks quite a bit different from all other causes, since it originated the entire material universe and set it up in such a detailed way that would sustain life. The student said that it could have been chance. I said, “That’s like the chance of a tornado ripping through a junk yard and forming a 747 airplane.” He agreed with the analogy, so I told him, “If you buy that, then I’ve got a bridge to sell you.”

 

I also talked with some LDS students. One remembered me from being in front of Temple Square. Other students were quite surprised to hear how different the Christian God was from the Mormon God.

 

Temple Square

 

I tried something new outside Temple Square last month. While the temple patrons were exiting and walking across the street toward me, I shouted, “I love you guys. I’m just trying to warn you. Please check out JosephLied.com. I hope you didn’t listen to Lucifer and wear your fig leaf aprons throughout the ceremony. You don’t need to follow Lucifer. You only need to follow Christ.” Blank stares mostly. However, one lady said, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

 

I got to meet Kurt Bestor, who is a very famous LDS musician. I asked him if he wanted a brochure. He declined. I asked him, “Are you Kurt?” He said, “Yes I am.” We should hands, and he asked my name. I then asked him if he’d like the DVD. He accepted. He said he was on his way to do a gig for his buddy who was getting married. I told him that I appreciated his work and that he was quite an artist. A friend of mine wrote me afterwards to tell me that she read an article about him from almost 11 years ago, and it states that he is “uncertain of his Mormon beliefs” and “is disenchanted with Mormonism.” 

 

One other individual who stood out from last month was a very elderly LDS man named Barnard Silver. He was very unusual in that he started quoting the Bible to me from memory. He started out with Philippians 2:5-9 and then Galatians 2:20. The latter passage says, “Christ liveth in me.” So I asked Barnard if he realized that LDS scripture denies that Christ can live in one’s heart, calling it an “old sectarian notion.” He said that was false. So I opened up D&C 130:3 and read it to him. He paused as if he wasn’t quite sure what to say, then said, “Well, Christ is in my entire being.” So I said, “Isn’t your heart part of your entire being? If Christ isn’t in your heart, then he’s not in your entire being.” Silence! I told him, “You know, I really love you and want to spend eternity with you in heaven.” He appreciated the sentiment and asked for my card. He wrote down “JosephLied.com” on the back of it and took my tract.  

 

Meetup

 

Our daughter Zoe got a fever just about an hour prior to having our Ex-Mormon Meetup last month. We tried canceling, but didn’t have everyone’s phone number. We had one couple from Salt Lake area, and 3 couples from Utah county. We felt bad about having them come all the way over and having to send them home, so we simply shared a meal together. Fortunately Zoe slept for almost the entire time. We rescheduled the speaker, Brian Daley, for June’s Meetup. You can see pictures of our get-together here.

 

Upcoming Lectures

 

Please pray for some upcoming lectures I have. I will be lecturing on “Suffering and Joy in Our Evangelism to Mormons” on June 21st. This will be at Ephraim, UT Church of the Bible for their morning training session during the annual Manti Pageant. I also will be teaching Intro to Logic and Philosophy at my church’s first Institute of Theological Studies the beginning of July for two weeks. If you are interested in taking the latter, please see here.   

 

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 an InspirePay site where you can make a secure online investment. For more information on various ways to invest in this ministry, 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
CourageousChristiansUnited.org
MormonInfo.org
JWinfo.org
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

 

****MAILBAG****

 

Hey Rob, we do enjoy the newsletters. And we pray for you often. I was sharing with a small men's group recently how God called you to the ministry you are in, and it was encouraging them. Did you read the book, "Radical"? It's a good read, and a life you are living. You face a lot of criticism, bro, so don't let your heart be troubled (John 14:1a). …Cheering and praying for you,
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Brother Rob, just wanted to tell you to keep on keeping on! Hang in, no matter how much you get beat down and worn out. God has you! His plans are for you to be right where you are! Much love from your sister in Christ Jesus!
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Hello.I am… a devote mormon. I read about Ezekiel 37 and how you try to explain this  scripture about the two sticks. it is interesting what you do NOT say about these verses and that is that the scolars are puzzling about these verses. Jewish scolars, christians scolars modern scolars ancient scolars and so on..Some want to rewrite it some want to just through it out of the bible. So your expanation about it is just one another explanation that goes with many other explanations and you just do not now but are prideful and are calling mormons for cults and that is disrespect and not a christian thing to do(I assume you are calling yourselves christians but  for me youa are not christians when you judge in that way. See Nibley in an approch to the book of Mormon about Ezekiel...

 

Now the thing is that we mormons are not bound to interpretating the bible and i can see that many are trying to show that the bible is so easy to understand that anybody can do it when lookg to the context but the thing is....the bible is not a common ground, it is a battleground...good luck wit the battle yuu will never convince me of anything just trying to prove things from the bible. Why?  Look at all the sects in the christan world,...it is a jungle.... And for example muslim scolars experts professors can "prove" thongs from the bible....look at youtube....so you see the Bible is a battle ground and everyone can see it if they dare to....

 

Sincere

 

[I replied:]  Well if I’m not a Christian for making judgments that Mormonism is false Christianity, then you must not be a Christian either, since you made a judgment on me.  That’s pretty hypocritical. 

 

As for battle grounds, everything is… not just the Bible.  That includes the LDS Church, since there are well over 100 different groups that claim Joseph Smith as a prophet of the Lord and they all say the other is apostate.  And that also includes your burning in your bosom, since our fallible feelings are all over the place, contrary to everyone else and oftentimes our own hearts, and “desperately wicked” as Jeremiah 17:9 says.

 

So if you conclude from this that there’s no point in studying or concluding anything on the basis of arguments, then there’s really no point in making a case for you of my conclusion of Ezekiel 37.

 

Best,
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Hi Rob,

Got your email, followed the link to the newsletter, and then jumped into your review of “Religulous”. There are plenty of things you could expand on, and maybe updating and filling it out every so often could be a long-term project. All the same, it’s worthwhile as it is, and I hope lots of your readers were able to use it for their benefit and for others’, too.

There are a few things I might disagree with and some places where I’d change the emphasis, but they aren’t so important. But there are some places where you might want to make adjustments, and I’ll mention two simple things that caught my eye after a very quick browse – I’m in a bit of a hurry. They’re both at the start of the “Specific Accusations and Rebuttals” section.

First, on original sin, Psalm 51:5 (which you use) is consistent with the doctrine, but I’m not sure it really demands it. There are several reasons why this might be so. For one thing, it isn’t given in the text as universal. There might be some reason it only applies to [David]. For instance, I’m thinking of some OT passages where there seem to be multi-generational curses that aren’t universal and traced back to Adam; perhaps [David] takes himself to be inheriting such a curse. And then there’s the blind man in John’s gospel, about whom it was asked whether it was his parents’ sin or his that caused him to be born blind. I don’t believe those Jews were offering a doctrine of original sin; if they were, then it wouldn’t explain why the man was born blind but they weren’t. Yet they were in some sense attributing pre-natal sin, or a pre-natal penalty of sin, to him. An intergenerational curse? A penalty based on foreknowledge or middle knowledge? So I’d recommend substituting, or at least adding, Paul’s statements in Romans 5 (verses 12-21) that sin entered through one man, and that through that one man we are all made sinners.

Second, I don’t know if it’s Maher who asked about the “Immaculate Conception” or if you’re introducing the term here, but it refers not to Jesus’ conception but Mary’s. It’s the Roman Catholic teaching that Mary was miraculously spared from the stain of original sin, so that she could be a pure vessel for Jesus. (There are some Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox and Lutherans who hold it too, but more who hold that Mary avoided sinning but by other divine means.) Of course responding to this is simple – you can essentially follow the template you give about Popes.
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Hi Brother Rob,

 

May God keep blessing you and Tara through your ministry and those your reach and those within your own family that are in your hearts and prayers. Thanks for your news letter Rob and I pray the Lord will keep you upheld to be like a cutting torch through the steel of adversity as you seek to reach and seek out those that are lost and captive to Mormonism and thank you for you unwavering testimony and example in ministry for Christ in graciousness and gentleness and His simplicity. …I pray that The Lord will look after you and your family and ministry with an increasing flow of financial assistance towards His blessing and glory in you and those that He reaches and touches and gathers.

 

God bless you Brother,

 

yours sincerely,

 

with love,
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I’m always interested in hearing about all the people whom you become involved with – as well as all the info that you share with them.  It’s great to know that there are people who do listen and some who go further than hearing – but actually do – see the Lord – and, at least, some, --what He actually does for us – and even more – if they would let Him.  I continue to pray that even more will come to see and listen to you and the story still goes on from there.

 

Prayers,

 

Sincerely
_________________

 

Brother Rob, just wanted to tell you to keep on keeping on! Hang in, no matter how much you get beat down and worn out. God has you! His plans are for you to be right where you are! Much love from your sister in Christ Jesus!


Add Comment
Wayne says...
"Bro Rob, sorry I was so stingy (?). Pick up the side cutters any time. Hope all is well with you and your fam. I'll be praying for you guys and for your calling." (6/5/13)
Carolyn Budd says...
"Hi Rob: We know Barnard Silver. We were invited to his home for his birthday a couple years ago. Did our best to share Christ with him. Hope he's ready now. " (6/6/13)