Rob preaching at General ConferenceGeneral Conference Report
The first day was filled with great conversations. The second day was filled with lots of preaching and the only people who wanted to talk to me simply wanted to argue. I talked to a guy named Ann (yeah, a he/she), who came out from the conference. He's LDS, but obviously has problems with it. He left it, but came back again. I pressed him to follow Jesus, who wants him not to be around false prophets who teach a false god. "Yeah, but they do a lot of good too!," he claimed. I explained how the motivation to follow Jesus comes from the heart, since He saved us, and it’s not a matter of fulfilling the external law. He seemed open to it, but then had to leave when I answered what I thought of his trans-gendered lifestyle. I told him that God doesn't want him living for himself, his church, his family or friends, but for Him, and that entails that God doesn't want him living like he's a woman.
Rob with Marshall AlmarodeThen I had a great long conversation talking to two girls and a guy. No, they weren't polygamists, but they were all LDS. They had great questions. They were initially interested in what motivates me. We talked quite a bit on the nature of God and what the Bible teaches. They took the DVD and the Temple Square Visitor's Guide, and we ended it with hugs and telling each other that we loved one another!
Then I talked to an agnostic/atheist and former LDS named Steve. He also was curious to find out my story and what motivates me. He told me that he saw the contradiction on polygamy with David and Solomon in Jacob 2 and D&C 132, and that bugged him while he was on his mission. He went to BYU and married. His wife no longer believes it either, but now they're trying to keep peace with the family as much as possible. I got to give him my card, the DVD, and the Visitor's Guide. When I asked him about why he no longer believes in God, he just didn't see the evidence. So I gave him some evidences, which seemed to make sense to him, but then he had to go. I invited him to our monthly fellowship, since he lives the next town above us. Heck of a nice guy!
Here’s someone else’s video of some of my preaching the first day.
Here’s my video of some of my preaching the second day. Near the end of this video, you’ll see a guy who parked himself right in front of me while I was preaching and continued to contradict me to others in the crowd that passed by. So I kept yelling JosephLied.com in his ear until he moved away. That took about 10 minutes or so, but it was worth it. My buddy Jeff then got to witness to him.
I had a nice 10 minute talk with the elders walking down the street across from our home yesterday. (They have never come to our place. Perhaps the big cross next to our front door scares them off!) These conversations almost always go the same way each time. Please give me the benefit of the doubt as you read the following, and assume that I spoke calmly, but directly, and as lovingly as I could.
LDS guy standing in front of Rob as he preachedI introduce myself, ask them how long they've been on their mission, where they're from, and then I ask why they believe it's true. One was the primary speaker, even though they've both been out for 20 months, and he of course played the “prayed about it” card. So I counteract that by saying, "You don't think others of other faiths pray about their own and get their own testimonies? I've prayed about it and God told me my religion is true and He also told me your religion is false after I sincerely read all your scripture. So why would I think yours is right and mine is wrong?"
At this point he said, "Well there's truth in all religions and we just add to it." I said, "Of course we all believe there's truth in every religion, but your religion teaches my religion is wrong." That's when I quoted the first vision story back to him.
Then he started playing the relativist card... "Well this is the testimony we got and you got another one. Galatians 5 talks about the fruit of the Spirit and I see that in my life." I responded by saying, "Well I claim to have the fruit of the Spirit too, but we both can't be right, since our religions contradict each other. So are there any objective tests for faith or is faith simply like ice cream? You like chocolate, I like vanilla, and that's all that can be said about the matter? Are you aware that the Bible warns about the heart?" I went on to quote Jer. 17:9, Prov. 14:12, and Prov. 28:26. Then I told them that "ignoring all the facts because you’re more in love with your burning in the bosom is going to get you in trouble." At this point, elder said, "Well the facts all seem consistent with our scriptures."
I asked, "Have you ever read the Bible and did you ever see any contradictions?" I brought up the Book of Abraham creation account (chapters 4-5) and contrasted that with Isa. 44:24, 43:10, 44:6 and 8, and then asked why would I believe Smith who said, "We have to grow up to become Gods the same as all Gods have done before us"?
Elder responded, "Well we aren't here to Bible bash." I said, "I'm not Bible bashing; I'm offering you some facts to consider. Then I went on to ask, "Why would I believe Smith on this matter when I know the Book of Abraham is a bogus translation?" Elder said, "Well we don't have all the papyri today." I said, "Much of it was given over to the Church in 1967, and it's been gone over by a number of Egyptologists, including ones at BYU, and they've all concluded that Smith didn't give us a literal translation. Abraham is nowhere mention." I went on to describe for them an example of how Smith botched his explanation of Facsimile 3 with the list of characters there.
Rob with John Kauer and Timothy OliverThen I said, "Why would I believe Smith when I know he had 30 to 40 wives, married women currently married to living husbands (so he's a serial adulterer), and also married 14 and 16-year-old girls? That shows me that he probably was a typical cult leader who is in it for the sex."
So at this point, elder gets defensive and starts bearing his testimony about the Book of Mormon. So I responded, "Why would I believe the Book of Mormon when there's no archaeological proof for it concerning the New World? There's no city, country, or person ever mentioned in the Book of Mormon New World that's ever been found."
At this point they start to walk, so I take a parting shot: "You guys need to wake up. You're deceived and in a cult that's leading you to hell." Then I went home and pray with my family for their salvation, and we ask you to do the same.
Meet the Ex-Mormons Fellowship
We had Barbara Dunbar share her story at last month’s fellowship. You may watch her story here and see the pictures here.
Summer Mission Trips
In addition to the Philadelphia LDS temple opening this August, there is also an LDS temple opening in Ft. Collins, Colorado during that same month. The former goes from August 5th - September 3rd. The latter goes from August 19th – September 10th. I am planning on flying back to Philly and then taking a family road trip out to Colorado.
If you are interested in helping make this happen, we need to hear from you soon. Flights are cheap now, but I’m sure prices are going up the closer to summer we get. Keep in mind that any amount helps!
Here’s a new video I made explaining “Why You Should Support My Mission Work at LDS Temple Openings.”
We Need Your Partnership!
We not only need your prayers, but we need your financial assistance as well. Any amount helps! 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). For more information on various ways to invest in this ministry, including online giving, please see our “Invest” page on any of our sites. Please keep in mind we have no financial guarantees each month. Ministry partners come and go. 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!
We expect God to provide for our needs through you. Why? Because the Bible is clear: “the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14).
Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6)!
President, Courageous Christians United
****ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS****
1. Health and protection for our whole family
2. Tara’s family to be saved
3. Wisdom in all our dealings
4. Strength to keep going
This is the Boldness that each one that profess Christianity should have in sharing the Truth with those who are perishing ...
May the Lord bless you and keep you Sivulka family!
Hey, so I haven't been an active Mormon for close to 10 years, and really haven't wanted anything to do with them since. I realized today I am probably still a "member", and was hoping I could get advice on how to remove my name from their records.
[I replied:] [H]ere's the info on how to finally leave.
That revelation 1 5 and 6 where it not only gives distinction with Jesus and the father but said His God seems to mess with the idea of our triune God?
[I replied:] [I have an FAQ on this subject.]
[I posted “Happy Atheist Day” on Facebook, and got the following response:] How are we fools for not believing in an imaginary friend? This is counter productive as it will turn people off and do more harm than good. No wonder not many people choose to believe in your world view. You insult them for their beliefs while expecting them to respect you for yours. No wonder their will be people beheading Christians in mass numbers before your Christ supposedly returns. We are sick of the arrogance, asshole nature and insults from people like you. We don't insult you for your beliefs so why do you insult us for ours? Youi cannot be an arrogant asshole and just insult people just because you think your insults are true. And he is an imaginary friend. You may say he's only imaginary to me. But then again, well he's also imaginary to about 5 billion other people on this planet. and even if he does exist, why would I want to live with him if he's just going to treat me with insults for eternity? I'm not trying to be a bitch but you've really pissed me off now as you are trying to cause a fight. You have no love for anyone but yourself and you don't care about any of us so why should we listen to you? What ever happened to truth in love instead of insults in hate?
[I replied:] The Bible calls atheists fools in Ps. 14:1 and other places. You're a fool for rejecting what God has made obvious and instead ridiculing our faith by calling Him our imaginary friend. And when did I ever say that I expect unbelievers to respect me for my beliefs? My FB home page is mine and most of my friends are believers. If you don't appreciate my humor, then you can unfriend me. If you want a serious discussion as to why one should believe, then I am up for that, but don't micromanage my wall.
[He replied:] oh but all of you can micromanage mine and some of you have done that on numerous occasions and no you can't just be insulting just because you think your speaking truth so nice knowing you
[I replied:] You deal with them then. I didn't go on your wall and whine about being insulted with something you wrote. Again, if you want a debate on God's existence, then I'm up for that. Just tell me why it makes sense that there is no Creator of all there is.
[He replied:] Well, we don't have to deal with each other anymore. I think I've unfriended you to the benefit of both of us.
[I replied:] Sorry you're too thin-skinned.
BTW, there are only around 7 billion on the planet and atheists are only around 2-3% of the population.
So you're wrong in saying there's 5 billion atheists.
Most people see what you call an imaginary friend.
[He replied:] Sir, you're right. It's obvious that there has to be a creator and I'm sorry for all of this. I was and still am really outta line.
[I replied:] So it seems like you guys are the one with the color blind problem.
You can believe whatever you want. I'm not ever going to stick a gun to your head. I respect you enough to make your own decisions.
[He replied:] I just am not in a position to firmly believe right now. Maybe if I had more evidence that was personal. And I only said 5 billion because that's what I read or thought I on Skeptics Annotated Bible. I was wrong, very wrong.
[I replied:] You may never get what you consider personal evidence. Nonetheless, there's plenty of evidence for God's existence. It's not 100% certainty, but I think it's the preponderance of the evidence.
Maybe you'd start getting personal evidence if you start accepting the objective evidence already there.
Praying for you!
[He replied:] You see, maybe if God removed my Schizophrenia and/or restored my vocal cords so I could have a normal voice, I would believe more. If I woke up one day and suddenly my voice was 100% normal and/or my Schizophrenia was removed suddenly, I would shout hallelujah to God. But thanks,
[I replied:] This is why many go atheist.
Because they want things on their own terms instead of submitting to the One who orders life according to His own purposes. We all have crap we have to go through. The good news is that we don't have to deal with these earthly problems forever!
So I choose to be positive and trust God with my problems instead of thinking there's no hope and I and all events are simply the products of matter bumping into more matter with no free will.
[He replied:] Now I've gotten most everything I've wanted so I really can't complain and it's obvious there has to be a creator but I'm worried for my brothers as they don't believe in God. They say he's not tangible to them. Yes, the good news is we don't have to deal with these things forever.
[I replied:] There are all sorts of things we believe in that aren't tangible to us.
Wind, quarks, gravity, minds, laws, intentions, desires, numbers, etc., etc.
[He replied:] My twin told me that he died once and there was nothing and then he woke up and he now says there's no God. He had drowned at the swimming pool. he said there was nothing or blackness like when you black out.
[I replied:] One's own experience is often a bad judge of reality. The Bible says there's a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Prov. 14:12).
[He replied:] But oh well, I believe in a God. I just think I'm going to hell anyway so why try. I mean, I've got a really heinous addiction I can't overcome. So I'm headed for hell.
[I replied:] God can give one a strong delusion to believe a lie if one's heart is set against Him (2 Thes. 2:11).
[He replied:] true
[I replied:] addictions don't get you to hell, unbelief and rejecting God is what gets you there.
[He replied:] ok
[I replied:] Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
[He replied:] ok
[I replied:] If that's the case, then trust God with that problem too. Hell is your biggest problem you'll ever have!
[He replied:] yes ok
[I replied:] If you trust Jesus as God and to pay for all your sins, and turn from living for yourself, then God promises to save you. Now is He telling the truth or are you going to hold Him to be a liar? It's that simple.
[He replied:] yes that's true
[I replied:] Then trust Him and not your brother or anyone else.
[He replied:] ok
[I replied:] If this is what you believe, then you're not an atheist, but a Christian, who is simply having problems with his faith and needs to grow in it.
[He replied:] yes
[I replied:] Mk. 9:24 says, "Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, 'I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!'"
[He replied:] that's correct
[I replied:] Here's the beginning of a book you should get. You should also get Cold Case Christianity.
These will help you overcome your unbelief.
[He replied:] ok
I’ll get them
[I replied:] Thanks for being honest with me!
[He replied:] you are welcome
I am Mormon and I don’t need your money or your help. WE love one and all. You only love your church. Quit this dumb rally!!!
If I am in the wrong and I'm going to hell, you will be too. I believe in the lord, just as much as you do, I simply have an extra book. John 3:16 bud. That's from a book called the bible. I'm sure we can agree that that's a relevant book.
[I replied:] Which you've distorted to your own destruction as Peter said of those who twist Paul's scripture (2 Pet. 3:16). We don't have the same Lord, since my Lord created everything outside Himself. You're Lord needed all sorts of things before He could even become Lord. That's a false Lord that leads you to hell. Jn. 17:3 says that eternal life is knowing the only true God and Jesus whom was sent. So since you're following the LDS God, you're not following the God of the Bible. Consequently, you continue to follow that Lord, you won't be seeing me in the next life, since I'll be with the only true God.