August 7, 2008

Dear Family and Friends,

I've been keeping my eye on the URL MuslimInfo.org for a while now. It was up for renewal in May, and at the last minute it was renewed again. The other weekend I saw Fox News special on honor killing in America. They picked up on a local story that happened a while ago now in which a Muslim man killed his two daughters because they were becoming too Americanized. This made me think of going to a heavily Muslim populated area nearby to tract doors with my Beware of False Prophets tract. While I was doing this, my web master, Aaron Shafovaloff, calls me out of the blue to tell me that he somehow he was able to get it! So please keep this project in prayer.

Speaking of web sites, my wife created her first site on Mormonism. It's a Facebook page called "Do you know the 34 wives of Joseph Smith?" If you have a Facebook account, you may view the page here. Also, my buddy and ministry partner, Darren Brown, started another Facebook page to help us with our fundraising. It's called "I have done (or want to do) evangelism with Rob Sivulka," and it may be viewed here. Please post any videos, pictures, or comments concerning ministry with me here.

I recently completed the half-way point on my first draft of the book I am writing. The book will be a response to a popular LDS book critiquing "anti-Mormon" challenges. Please keep this also in prayer.

I also recently completed a Cheat Sheet for Witnessing to Mormons. Print this out and use it next time you witness to Mormons.

An example of our friendship ministry--the July Dallas, TX Ex-Mormon Meetup/Recovery Group
Recently I told an LDS guy on an internet comments board that I was not there to make friends. It was not the venue. The purpose of this particular comments board was to make points. Think about that for a moment. Does your own philosophy of ministry allow for you or your Christians brothers and sisters to conduct some ministry that does not have as its purpose the establishment of a friendship? In other words, how limiting is your view of ministry? There are all sorts of ministries that we can think of that do not necessarily have friendship as the means or end goal (e.g., famine relief, giving money or food to someone off the street, volunteering for cleaning up at a retirement center). Why is it then that many times we assume that the preaching of the gospel or giving reasons for faith must always be done in the context of friendship? Perhaps this may be advantageous in certain circumstances, but in all circumstances?

Many years ago I remember the basketball sage Charles Barkley, when he was on the Olympic team, saying that he didn't come there to make friends. At the time I initially thought what an un-Christian thing this was to say. But over the years, I have been able to see how mistaken my former judgment was. I had a problem separating love, which all Christians are always called to, with friendship. One can have the former without the latter, but one can't have the latter without the former.

Did our Lord always conduct His ministry in order to establish friendships when He preached? It's difficult to see this given many of His interactions with the Pharisees, for example. In Matthew 15, Jesus tells the Pharisees that it's not what enters the mouth that defiles, but what comes out of the mouth that defiles (vs. 11). The disciples told Jesus that He had offended the Pharisees (vs. 12). Did Jesus apologize to them and attempt to build a bridge of friendship to them? No. He told his disciples to leave the Pharisees alone, and called them blind guides who led others into a pit (vs. 14). So if our Lord responded this way, we should not always be concerned about giving the gospel in a context of friendship. I think one of the reasons for that may be that we only have so many friends, and there are so many more opportunities for us to minister to people.

Currently, we are still averaging about 30% of the monthly funding needed to get us back to Utah. We have a long way to go. If you believe in this mission, then we need your help! Please see our "Invest" page, and send in a tax-deductible investment today. If everyone reading this simply gave $25 per month, we would have no problem being at 100% of what we need.

Thank you so much for your concern, financial investments, and prayers for this ministry, and for those trapped by false religions and philosophies.

Rob Sivulka
President, Courageous Christians United
Rob@CourageousChristiansUnited.org
MormonInfo.org
JWInfo.org

****PRAYER REQUESTS****

1. For more speaking venues
2. For our health (last month was rough for both Tara and I with a number of doctor and dentist visits)
3. For more members to join our Ex-Mormon Meetup recovery group
4. For money to put down on a big enough home in Utah

****MAILBAG****

[Concerning the recent video we posted on YouTube of Walter Martin speaking in Brigham City, UT, his daughter Jill wrote me:] Thank you so much for the video and picture! Wow. This is the event that some Mormons insisted never took place. Thanks again. :) It's good to see it up on YouTube. …Take care and God bless-
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brother Rob, i strongly believe in what you do. i applaud your boldness which is something i could never match. …may i one day have your boldness and strength, and may we all become true ambassadors for christ, not just with lip service.
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God Bless you and all you do for his kingdom, it is an honor for us to be able to partner with you and your passion for Christ!
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I recently read that book "Under the banner of Heaven" and it really got me interested in the mormon church. I've gotten to know a ton about the religion by reading some of the B of M and using the internet. It only take an outsider a few minutes in my opinion to learn just how terribly false mormonism is....Anyways, I am also a flight attendant. My GF has long time high school friend that is mormon and lives in Utah whom she had been wanting to visit for a long time. So, I gave my GF a free buddy pass ticket and we went up there together. Her friend Rachel lives in Provo, which is I'm sure you know the heart of mormon land. First of all the whole place is very creepy, it felt kind of like that movie pleasantville or the truman show. Another thing I noticed though was the people seemed very depressed or sad, something just wasn't right. I know it is the LDS church and the lack of the REAL Jesus in their lives. So after going to Utah and doing all this research I really feel compelled to do something. I found your ministry on the internet and want to know if there are any ways I can help serve in your ministry? I don't have any mormon friends and the only discussions I have had with mormons is on an aggie message board (and arguing with them is like running on a treadmill, you go nowhere) I can always fly for free to Salt Lake..haha...
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I wanted to ask you something. I was talking to this guy about Mormonism and he was telling me how God became God and how God was always the same, so I asked him if God became God became God how could he have always been the same and this is what he told me

Most believe that it is because once God became a God, he gained power outside of time itself in some way we don't understand, stretching back in time to before he was a God, and forward in time. But we don't know everything about this...

I just wasn't sure what he was talking about so I thought I would ask you about it...

and then I asked him about God and said I believe there is only one God and he talked about there being many fathers....
he was saying even if Abraham became like God he wouldn't be his God...like there is only one God for us...but there are others. He stared talking about even though I can become like my mother I will never be my mother and stuff and even though we can't be God we can become a god....I don't know it was just really confusing....

Thanks for all of your help!

[I responded:] It sounds to me that your friend is incoherent. If God became God, then that means by definition some time He wasn't God. Your friend was also making clear that we won't take God's place if we become gods. We'll be gods for other worlds. Now you need to start asking your friend why you should believe what he's talking about when you have good reasons to believe otherwise. See my "Cheat Sheet".
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Rob...Please remove me from your list- -

Thanks...

P.S. Here's a post for you.

Also...Who said these statements?

"It is my precept of my Christian faith that my redemption comes through Christ, explicit belief in provedence and faith. And so that resonates with me...the more seriously you take the world...the more you have to fall back on some sort of north star. Or you get lost."

"...what was intellectual and what was emotional joined, and the belief in the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, that he died for our sins, that through him we could achieve eternal life - but also that, through good works we could find order and meaning here on earth and transcend our limits and our flaws and our follies - I found that powerful."

"...It's not Reagan, Bush, 41, 43, or J. McCain..." It was Obama when Franklin Graham interviewed him recently.

[I responded:] I'll honor your request and not send you any more mass emails. I still count you as a brother, but I don't know what kind of friend would do this. It strikes me that you simply don't care about my ideas.

As for McCain, the link you sent demonstrates what I already suspected. A 0% rating by NARAL! That's awesome! Obama gets a 100% NARAL rating. McCain would radically change abortion in this country by electing pro-life judges. Would all abortions be barred? Of course not, but would any be barred if Obama got in office? That's the point. *Many* is better than *none.*

I don't doubt Obama's Christian faith, or yours (that's the only thing I disagreed with in the article I emailed out by Voddie--this isn't an issue [that] necessarily defines wolves). I do think that you, Obama, and other Christians have misplaced priorities in which you are willing to legally allow for the butchering of many innocent babies to uphold some other political agenda. God will still judge you all for it, but again, I look forward to sharing eternity with you when we can sit down and argue more.
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Loved your newsy letter and hearing about all the excitement in your enxtended family growing in and out of Mormonism. I can tell that you don't have many, if any, dull moments in your house! Hope you can get to move pretty soon. Wish I could help more. Best of luck.

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DrBob Funk says... (Reply)
"Great You re still just keeping on ding His will.When I lost my good friend Wally Tope in the 92 LA Riots I felt I lost a great powerful buddy.We used to witness together at Palmyra.Now Rob has come along to be another Wally and Im very happy.For me its hard to realize that we cant all be friends,but its biblical to care enough to confront....Jude 3.Keep up brother and sister,just wait on the Lord. and you will get to Utah or wherever.Could use you daily here in Honduras where 90%pastors dont have a clue about countering cults and in 9 yrs being here there s been a dobling of LDS converts from 82,000 to over 167,000.Please pray some will get as excited as Rob here too.Bob Funk" (8/7/08)