Indy Temple Opening
Rob with some local Christians (Robin--an ex-Mormon--and Don)Thank you so much for all the prayer and financial assistance to get me to the Indianapolis LDS temple opening last month, as well as the all the prayer as I worked there! It was truly a great trip in which I got to preach to a lot of people and inform them of the dangers of Mormonism. It was also a great time to advertise my web site for a part of the country that rarely goes to my site. Each day of my mission work, Indiana was #1 and Illinois was #2 in all the states to visit my site!
As soon as I arrived at the temple, I went through the tour. One of the unique features of this temple is all the Jesus pictures inside it. They even have a hall of them. However, conspicuous by its absence is the symbol of the cross. The penultimate picture prior to the ascension is Jesus praying in the garden! The apostle Paul on the other hand said, "The preaching of the cross is foolishness to them that are perishing, but to those of us being saved, it's the power of God unto salvation" (1 Cor. 1:18). He also said, "God forbid lest I boast in anything, but the cross of Christ" (Gal. 6:14).
It was a little weird getting so many people to give me the thumbs up instead of the other obscene gestures. One guy drove by and said, "Glad you're here! I've been praying for this place from the beginning." However, I did get some people snap at me as they drove past me, so that made me feel more at home. During the week, it was extremely busy all day long on the roads until about 8 PM. At around that time, things started getting quiet enough to do a little preaching to the crowd inside the temple grounds about a hundred yards away. My voice boomed off the walls and people started checking my sign out and listening. The head of security (Brian) quickly came out just to check me out, but there was nothing he could do to shut me up. Others who were evangelizing there told me how open and nice this guy is and I really enjoyed getting to know him a bit.
One night, some security rental guard came out to tell me that he could hear me all around the temple and asked me to knock it off because I was "disturbing the peace." (Another Christian came out to meet us and he said that he assumed I was using a megaphone.) So I told him I wasn't disturbing the peace and that he was just trying to limit my free speech. He asked if he was going to have to call the cops, so I told him to go ahead. He did, and a couple cops came by, but of course they didn't do anything except to just check me out. They said that they got some report that I was getting into arguments and fights. I got to share with the cop how much I love LDS people despite how much they lie about what we do, and I also got to share how different Mormonism is from Christianity. Anyway, here’s the video of this whole ordeal.
During one of the days, I talked to a PK (preacher's kid) named Desmond. He said he had a friend who was LDS, and didn't want to take my literature or DVD. He couldn't understand why we were preaching to Mormons. He asked if we did this to Jews. After I explained to him that Jesus taught to beware of false Christs and that eternal life hinges on believing who Christ taught about Himself, I explained how different the LDS Jesus was from the Jesus of the Bible.
After that, he used the justification that I could be wrong in what I believe as an excuse why we should leave well enough alone and not upset anybody. Crazy! I said, “Of course I could be wrong, but that shouldn't keep me from preaching what I know, since our Master commands us to do exactly that!” I had to give him some verses about how we are commanded to study, to preach, and be ready to defend our faith. Then I had to give him some reasons why we should trust Christ.
Unfortunately, this kid is typical of the mindset of the youth today in the Church, and it reflects poorly on us adults that we aren't doing a good job in educating our own to preach and defend the Faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). This is why our board member Brett Kunkle's ministry in training Christian youth to think apologetically is so important!
I also had a nice long chat with a non-denominational Christian named Matt. He said he works nearby, saw me, and thought I'd be an interesting conversation. So he came by and said, "I've got a water bottle for you for a question." He wanted to know what I was all about. I proceeded to tell him about how much I love LDS and want to see them in heaven with me rather than ending up in hell. He took my newspaper and DVD, and I began explaining the differences between Mormonism and Christianity.
Then he said, "I really hope you don't take any offense by this, but do you think this is the best method?" I told him that you can always find a better method, but this is the best I know of to get the word out to a mass amount of LDS. I told him about all the various methods I utilize depending on a given situation, and how I encourage others in the Body to do what they feel called to. However, the question again made me think about how driven we are as a Church culture by the business results model instead of being faithful in going with the way God has wired us and encouraging others in that.
Brian (head of LDS Church security) told me they had about 7,100 go through the temple that second to the last day, and he expected around 8K on the last day. Later, some guy drove by and cussed both Brian and me out, telling us to go home and leave these LDS alone! Brian was shocked, especially since he was dressed in a white shirt and tie. I told him that it's a liability hanging out with me!
It was extremely difficult to get into conversations with the relatively few LDS walking by us, particularly the missionaries. Some happened, but they were very brief. However, there was a Tri-Grace Christian ministry booth outside the temple grounds that everyone clearly saw right after they exited the temple tour, and people would sporadically come by for more information. (In fact, on a couple occasions prior to my arrival, they had a display of 34 women acting as Joseph Smith’s wives!) That drew some LDS in, but I think this mission was primarily about informing the predominant Christian public as to the real nature of Mormonism.
Here are a couple other videos I took while there:
JosephLied.com Outside the Indianapolis LDS Temple
Rob Sivulka Preaching at the Indy LDS Temple
I ran into an honest skeptic while evangelizing outside the LDS Conference Center. When I asked him about Jesus, he said he liked Him and thought He had a lot of good things to say. So I asked this skeptic about Jesus' claim to be God. Skeptic said, “Well that's what others said about Him, but He really never said that.” So I asked skeptic, “Why should I buy that?” He told me, "I don't know. It's just a gut feeling I have." Classic skeptic "burning in the bosom"!
He asked me why I hold that Jesus did claim it, so I told him the eyewitnesses were consistent in their story and went to their deaths for their testimonies. I then asked skeptic why he held to anything Jesus reportedly said. Well, skeptic had to take off.
One other older LDS guy was so condescending and prideful, and I told him as much. He said he knew so much more than me, since he'd been in Mormonism for longer than I was born. He had to take off when we were on the subject of plagiarism and the BM. While he was waiting at the light to cross, I was trying to tell him about Moroni being the capitol of the Comoros Islands in Eastern Africa since the Middle Ages. (A central point in the Book of Mormon story is that the prophet Moroni buried the gold plates, which later became the Book of Mormon, in the Hill Cumorah.) He wasn't listening to me and kept interrupting me. He got sick of waiting for the light and ran across North Temple. Immediately a cop drove by and stopped him! I told the other LDS guy I who had been talking with us (Elder Cottrell) that he's not worthy!
Rob with fellow Christians John and Cindy Bennett, Mary Hilding, and Chip and Jamie ThompsonHere's another funny thing... some guy walked past me and says, "You might have more interest if you are for something rather than against something." I quickly responded, "Sounds like you're against something!"
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The Tri-Grace Non-Mormon Temple Info boothPresident, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374
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****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
Thanks for your website. I've had many opportunities to share the true Lord Jesus with Mormon missionaries. I've nearly always hit a brick wall sharing with them. Coming across this website is a real encouragement and I'm sure will help while talking to Mormon missionaries in the future.
A couple LDS boys from KY who wanted a pic with RobEvery blessing in Jesus our Lord and Saviour's Name
I spoke to a man from Bolivia at Manti this year and he checked your Josephlied.com out. You blessed him...he will be in Boise with his family in Oct. We are e-mailing- thanks for your passion bro: Jesus 1. Satan 0
God bless brother...thanks for your witness
[Referring to the mass resignation in last month’s newsletter…] That is music to my ears. I try to get people that don't want to be Mormon to get their names off their bloated records. It isn't hard and doesn't take long. Best thing I ever did.
Dear mister Sivulka!
Can you explain to me your all natural God? I got confused after I red it several times. I am an investigator for truth and work with you and the Mormons
I want to know to whom I can pray. I will compare the Mormon answers and yours. I also study the Bible.
God bless you,
[I replied:] God is the Creator of everything outside Himself. Everything is because of Him and He exists eternally as 3 distinct Persons--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As such, you can pray to all of them.
Since leaving Mormonism, This part of Christianity leaves me stumped how Christians can judge a persons homosexuality. Jesus would love them and accept them. I know a transgender personally and this person was born in the wrong body and If they were to choose the life given them that society violently judges I bet they would choose to be like everyone else. I would Never judge another human and ask them to repent for something they have no control over. I am rethinking Christianity because of listening how angry they are about subjects and you have no right to ask someone to repent when you don't have all the facts. Do you know what it is like to have a child in this situation. The suicidal thought these people have. Shame on you for making them feel more rejected and more alone.
[I replied:] When I ask a Mormon to repent, I'm asking that individual to do something they can do even if they are born Mormon. I'm asking the individual to listen to what God says and reject their false prophets.
Similarly, when I ask a homosexual to repent, I'm asking the individual to hold that engaging in such actions are sin and contrary to the intentions of the Creator/Designer. I preach to both, because I follow Jesus who said, "Unless you repent, you'll all likewise perish" (Lk. 13:3). 1 Cor. 6:9 not only condemns idolatry (worshiping false gods), but it also condemns the practice of homosexuality.
So I have all the facts I need from God's word to go out and preach everything He taught. Of course Jesus loves homosexuals just like He does with Mormons, since He died for both of them. However, that doesn't entail everyone's righteous before God. Some suck in this way and some suck in other ways, but we all suck, and need to repent and trust God to come into our lives and make us into the kind of people He wants us, not as what we want.
Christianity is about the cross. It's dying to ourselves and living for Jesus. We can't do that if we're playing our own god and sweeping sin under the carpet.
[She replied:] So you believe being gay is a choice.
[I replied:] I'm agnostic about the whole subject and find it irrelevant to what I'm ta[l]king about. Even if they can't help their orientation, they are still commanded not to engage in it just like any other sin I may be bent towards.
I agree that LDS is a cult and that those people are deceived; I disagree with your tactics because they are unChristlike. I hope that you recognize that and repent before you die and end up being one of those to hear Jesus say, "Depart from me, I never knew you.”
I am an ex practicing Mormon and would to be led to the Truth and know more about Jesus and His true words.
Long story short, I have been meeting with a JW woman (30 years in the faith) along with some of her younger counterparts since the fall (7 meetings). When it is both of them, they are pretty strong and not really interested in hearing my counter arguments, but once she came by herself and was pretty open. Asking me lots of questions about my church/beliefs instead of pushing hers. She has since only come back with other women. Any thoughts on how to proceed? I would love to give her the info on your website somehow. At this point, I am not sure if it is fruitful for us to continue, but not sure if the door is closed yet.
I read some on your jw website and it is super helpful! Thanks for putting that together :)
[I replied:] It's really difficult to say not going through your experience. I would say that I'm surprised they keep coming back! Usually when you challenge them, they move on. I would continue to challenge them as graciously as you can by continuing to ask them to justify their statements. If you ever reach a point where you think it's time for them to move on, then just start preaching to them and telling them they need to repent for devaluing Jesus by making Him a lesser god, and I'd also give them those false prophecies on my site and tell them that if they're getting their info from the Watchtower, then obviously they're getting it from quite an unreliable source.
Glad you find JWinfo.org helpful!
[She replied:] Thanks for the email! I have talked with them about him being treated as less than God by calling him another god and they are insistent they still esteem him highly enough. I am really looking forward to printing out some of your JW website and talking through it/giving it to them. Appreciate all you do to further the cause of the gospel!
[I replied:] Well they will be insist[ing] that they esteem Him high enough because they are blind. I'd try telling them that I can easily think of a Jesus more highly than their Jesus, viz., one by whom literally all things were created, not the mistranslation of all "other" things that they stick into their New World Translation. So because I can think of it, then obviously theirs isn't as great. They should recognize this when they call Jesus a "lesser" god according to their mistranslation of Jn. 1:1.
I hope you're enjoying learning how they think. God is using you and will use you to reach more JWs!
You are in my prayers. Thanks for all you do.
It's our joy to support you, Tara and the kids Rob!