| July 5, 2011
Dear Family and Friends,
June is my favorite month of ministry due to the annual 8-day Manti, UT Mormon Miracle Pageant. This is a play performance of the early beginnings of Mormonism and some of the Book of Mormon stories. Each year the pageant draws thousands of Mormons, but it also draws hundreds of Christians from all over the world (one fellow evangelist and his wife, Bobby and Vicky Gilpin, came all the way from England). It is an intense time of spiritual warfare, but the Christians feed off each other’s energy to keep them going. Thanks also for your prayers for protection. There was only one instance in which I felt a little unsafe. One very tall young adult walked past me a couple times, and after I told him to be a little open-minded and not afraid, he came back and looked down right in my face. People were all around us and I knew there were cops nearby, so I calmly told him, “Hey, you’re my bro, and I love you and am really concerned about you.” He finally backed down and walked away.
|Christians singing prior to evangelism at the Manti Pageant|
Every day of the pageant was different. Some nights were great for dialogues, and some nights it was like pulling teeth to get Mormons to engage with me. As a result, I utilized various methods as the situation warranted. The local evangelical pastor Chip Thompson asked me a couple years ago not to use my big MormonInfo.org/JosephLied.com sign prior to the pageant due to the backlash it creates for the Christian community during the year. He and Pastor Rodney Zedicher of the Ephraim Bible Church have been trying to create a more peaceful time prior to the pageant, which they feel is more conducive for dialogues. I have acquiesced to their request and have their blessing to
instead use a big cross with a couple passages of scripture on it: 1 Cor. 1:18 and Gal. 6:14. During a particular slow night, Chip told me that he’s fine if I felt the need to start preaching so that other Christians could more easily get in conversations with interested LDS. He said to just be sensitive to the other discussions going on nearby me. Well, it did the trick that night as I had a good crowd around me. One evangelist, Daniel Mudliar, wrote to tell me, “Thank you sooo much for all the street preaching you do. It really helps me get in some good conversations. Thanks for all you do!” Unfortunately the preaching didn’t work the next night (here’s the video). Nothing really worked the next night in getting the crowd engaged!
|Rob talking to a Mormon at the Pageant|
Now even though nothing that exciting happened on this particular night on the streets prior to the pageant, God was still able to do some great things throughout this day. First, earlier that day, my wife and I had lunch with the mayor of Ephraim and his wife (Dave and Judy Parrish). I had lunch at their place years ago, but at least Judy had never met Tara and Charis. It wasn’t really a time for witnessing, but we did get to pray for them before the meal and we got caught up on life. The Parrishes are very nice people. I got to know Dave, since he also works with the Manti Pageant security, and he used to tell angry LDS to beat it when they got in my face as I preached around the gate. The Parrishes are very open, even though they are staunchly LDS. Dave attributes that from not growing up in Utah!
Second, I did get into a couple relatively short evangelistic conversations prior to the pageant. One of which was captured on video. Please see here for this dialogue on the Trinity.
|Rob with guy that was in his video|
Third, a guy came up to me and said, “Hi Rob. I haven’t seen you since Amanda’s [my sister-in-law] wedding.” I asked, “Are we related?” He said, “Yes, I’m Tara’s uncle Veral.” Had a great time talking with him and just getting to know him. He came back later with his wife Jan, and we had more fun talking. When they wanted to go, I asked them if they wanted my tract I was passing out. I explained that I talk about different religions in it, not simply Mormons. Jan readily took the tract. Later when Tara and I got back home, we discovered that her aunt left the LDS Church (or at least became inactive)! So pray that God will use that tract to draw her to Himself.
Fourth and finally, after the pageant each night, Chip and Rodney are also in favor of me using my big sign and preaching with a megaphone to those who are going back to their cars. The city once again gave me a permit to use the megaphone for 15 minutes while people are leaving. (Here’s an example of that preaching from last year.) On this particular night, the Stake President of the area, Scott Hintze, came up to me again to take a video of me preaching (he did the same thing to me the week before). This time, there were a lot of Christians with me, and after I got done preaching to the crowd and specifically to Scott, a few of us, including Chip, got to dialogue with him. I’ve been told that he has been very upset that the city gave me that permit, and he told us that our whole message was negative. I told him that he’s blind and deaf to our message, which is not simply negative, but very positive… Jesus loves Scott and wants to save him! After going back and forth for awhile, I finally told him that he’s being very hypocritical. His whole message to us that night was negative! He finally got the point, and admitted to me that I was right. We shook hands, and I told him I loved him. This has got to bother him. Last year he spread a vicious rumor about me, this year he told me, “Why would we want to be with you?” after I told the crowd that I loved them and wanted them to be with me in heaven someday, and then he said I was pathetic after he mistakenly thought I called him pathetic (I simply claimed his doctrine was pathetic).
Every morning the Christians got together in the Manti City Building to sing, pray, and hear a lecture. This year Chip asked me to give my pep talk, “Suffering and Joy in Evangelizing Mormons.” There were about 100 in attendance. You can watch the lecture here.
|Rob lecturing at the Manti City Building|
I also just discovered a Luke 10:2 Ministries' video of me dialoguing with a Mormon named Jacob at the Manti Pageant over monotheism vs. Mormonism for a couple minutes. You may watch the video here. The dialogue starts at the 10 minute mark.
In addition to the Manti Pageant, we also had an Ex-Mormon Meetup with David Bartosiewicz sharing his testimony to our largest Meetup yet. We had over 30 in attendance! To see the pictures, see here, and to watch the videos, see here.
I also hit the Spanish Jehovah’s Witnesses convention in Ogden, UT with Eric Johnson of Mormonism Research Ministry. We thought we were hitting the English convention, but that wasn’t until the following week. JW’s are extremely difficult to dialogue with, so we simply advertized our web sites to them. I don’t know for sure if it was a result of this outreach, but I finally had my first email dialogue with a Jehovah’s Witness (please see the MAILBAG section below)!
I also added a new testimony to MormonInfo.org. Please see Priscilla Marquardt’s testimony here.
We really value your partnership with this ministry. We not only need your prayers, but we need your financial assistance as well. 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. 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. For more information, please see our “Invest” page. At this point, we would like to raise an average around $600 each month to cover costs. If you’re not a partner, please consider joining our team and letting us know. Many thanks to those of you who hold us up in prayer and in your financial giving!
Contending earnestly for the faith (Jude 3),
President, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374
West Jordan, UT 84084
****ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS****
1. To get more speaking engagements.
2. To get more partners who will faithfully invest in this ministry
3. Health for our whole family
5. Tara’s and Maddi’s families to be saved
6. Wisdom in all our dealings
I completely enjoyed your preaching, and training. Great exhortation. I always enjoyed Walter Martin in the Bible Answer Man.
[Sent in May, but just found in June:] hello friend! Hey how are you? …I just wanna say that I love your videos which dearly inspired me, because I used to be a mormon 7 years ago and it's been a harsh experience to learn their true origins. I served a mission in New York and I enjoyed it, but when i came home nobody came to my home coming. I met my wife in the church and we both discovered a lot of wicked things that we've heard before about joseph smith being a 33rd degree freemason and he was a sexual predator for young girls I mean...it just me sick to my stomach.
we both decided to leave the church after asking so many questions and we thank god for delivering us out of that cult. So that's why I created a youtube account and making videos to share with everyone my experiece. i hope that you & i can spread the word to the mormons and let them know that they're being ripped off and it's sad that they're following a false prophet.
I hope to hear from you soon and may god continue to bless you & your family to spread his word to these people.
Hello. I'm. Jehovah's witness and I have read the book of Mormon. And I have a few questions. Wouldn't saying the Book of Mormon is true is to say that Joseph Smith is a a true prophet? Then Mormons would be right in all their doctrine. Then God wouldn't bring forth the Book of Mormon if he knew Joseph Smith would mislead many. Then wouldn't the Inspired Version by Joseph Smith be true a's well even though what he corrected contradicts what Jesus said?
[I replied:] I agree with you that Mormonism is false. But I also believe it is as false as Jehovah's Witnesses. Please see my JWinfo.org. Best,
[He replied:] The funny thing is I've ready every piece of Anti-JW trash their is. I love how people tell us what we believe. I can disprove the trinity and he'll with a bible other than the NWT. We are not false. And for you to take my question on Mormonism and flip it to attack my religion is not cool.
[I replied:] You have a false God, since you devalue Jesus "who is over all, God blessed forever" (Rom. 9:5).
[He replied:] There you go again. What would Jesus Do?
[I replied:] Jesus would, err, is trying to convert you, since He loves people and warns them.
[He replied:] But when you attack them it shuts them down from hearing the true gospel. Jesus approached people with love and not persecution.
[I replied:] Wow, you really think I'm attacking you with persecution. That really does an injustice to those who are getting their heads chopped off for the Christian Faith. You should read the New Testament and see how Jesus loved. Read Matthew 23 for starters. Jn. 8:24 is a good passage that has Jesus telling the Jews that unless they believe who He was claiming to be, they'd die in their sins. Since I'm a student of Jesus, I'm simply following His example.
[He replied:] Yes but this is how you come off. "You're false religion!!!". Jesus told them to repent because they were already believers living in heresy. You're just saying I'm false. You only believe about witnesses what you research from the outside. I read your page on Mormonism before. I've brought it to Mormons and they say that it's half truths. People would do anything to elevate their Brand of Christianity. I've studied them all. And when you want to guide someone to Christ you don't snare at them with "you're wrong we're right". You don't see witnesses at the door saying Jesus is not god and you're wrong. We dont convert we give a message of the kingdom. I love how people say the Watchtower this the Watchtower that. I've never heard the Watchtower to say something without a scripture to back it up. I've looked up all scriptures in KJV. Nothing different. I've never been told that if I don't belong to the Watchtower organization that I'm going to be killed in Armageddon. Go to a kingdom hall and see for yourself instead of reading false trash. From a psychology stand point. It's easier to find ANYTHING that supports your beliefs. For example. Say you think Carrots are bad. And there is an article that states Carrots are bad. You read it and it says they are bad because they grow in trees. Now if you didn't know that they grew in the ground you're more likely to accept that what they said is true because you both agree that they are bad. Then you present this as fact while farmers know this is not true and you won't go to them for the answer because you think they are wrong already. I formed my opinion on Mormons after I read the standard works and studied with missionaries and went to the CoJCoLDS.
[I replied:] Believers living in heresy? Where do you get that Jesus thought that those who denied who He claimed to be as believers? The whole New Testament testifies that the Jews who did not follow Jesus were unbelievers, and there father was the devil in Jn. 8:44. Now look at hypocritical you are. You telling me that I shouldn't tell people they're wrong, but in so doing, you're doing the exact same thing. You also assume I've never been to a kingdom hall, but I have.
You also formed your opinion of Mormons from the outside just as I have. I also formed my opinion of JW's from the outside. I read their literature, talked to them, and went to their kingdom hall. Take the beam out of your own eye before you remove the speck in your neighbor's as Jesus said in Mat. 7. Unless you repent, you'll all likewise perish (Lk. 13:3). Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god (Ps. 16:4). You've got a false god taught to you by false prophets, and you need to be warned. Jesus is the Almighty, the Alpha and Omega, the first and the Last (Revelation 1:7-8, 17-18; and 22:6, 12-20 with Isa. 44:6). Because I tell you the truth, I've become your enemy? (Gal. 4:16)
[He replied:] Think of the story of the Golden calf and think And I didn't form them from the outside.
[I replied:] The JW's, LDS, Christian Science, Moonies, etc. have a Golden Calf in place of the one true God.
[He replied:] What I mean by outside is I didn't just get a book by an ex mormon ad read it.
[I replied:] Well I'm a little more open-minded, since I evaluate it from all different sources, including former practitioners.
[He replied:] And also just because you throw bible scriptures in a mean way to prove you're right doesn't mean it's the work of god.
[I replied:] True, but I'm not doing it in a mean way. I have no animosity toward you. I'm just giving you food for thought. Of course I could be wrong, but then again, perhaps I'm right. You need to evaluate the evidence just like everyone else.
[He replied:] Psalms 83:18. I dont see where it's a false god. I'm saying I don't just read their stuff. I've read it all
[I replied:] If you don't accept Jesus as Jehovah, then you've got a false god. Jesus is Jehovah, the Almighty, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, God over all blessed forever. And the scripture declares just that. If you love God, then love His word.
[He replied:] Read the bible again. Jesus sits on the right hand of Jehovah.
[I replied:] That's because Jehovah is made up of more than 1 person. You need to read the Bible again, and serious deal with the passages I gave you. Jehovah calls the Son Jehovah and commands the angels to worship Him, yet there's only 1 Jehovah (Ps. 45 with Ps. 2:2, 7, 12; 47:1-2; 96:4-5; and Heb. 1:5-8). The problem is that you assume that 1 being can only be 1 person, but the Bible teaches that Jehovah is made up eternally of more than 1 Person.
[He replied:] So Jehovah sits next t[o] Jehovah. That's new. Jesus isn't Jehovah. He sits next to him. On the right hand side. Only the father is god. 1 Corinthians 6:8.
[I replied:] It's not new. It's what the scripture teaches and what's been taught for more than 2,000 years now. There are 3 Persons who can each be called Jehovah, since they all go to make up the only being of Jehovah there is. That same passage you referenced (1 Cor. 6:8) teaches that Jesus is the Lord, the Creator of all things. So if the Father created all things as the passage says, and Jesus also created all things as the passage says, then there's only 1 Creator of all things, who exists in at least 2 different, but inseparable Persons.
[He replied:] Through Jesus God created all things.
[I replied:] On your view God didn't create Jesus through Jesus. So there's 1 thing Jesus didn't create that was created, viz., himself. But that's not what the scripture teaches (Jn. 1:1-3, 14; Rom. 9:5; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:15-18). This is why your view actually devalues Jesus and my view exalts Him to the highest position possible.
[He replied:] Through Jesus God created all things though him. John 1:3. Jesus can't be with God and be God at the same time.
[I replied:] Unless of course God is made up of more than 1 Person, which is exactly what the Bible teaches. But the problem is, you've got fixed in your head that God must only be 1 Person. Scripture for that statement? Argument for that statement? You have no none. You merely assume, and it's also reinforced by others around you that also assume this. The Greek in John 1:1 as well as verse 3, 14, and 18 are clear that Jesus is the "only begotten God" (18), the creator of literally everything from the beginning. You devalue Him to make Him the 1st creation of Jehovah, and then Jesus, err Michael, created everything else. That's just not what the Bible teaches.
[He replied:] You write it is quotes but you're misquoting it. It never says "Only begotten God". It says "Only begotten Son". It says in John 1:14 that he was begotten by the father. And the father is not the son because who would Jesus be praying to? Himself? No so if the father is not the son the 1 Corinthians 8:6 is right when it says only the father is God. If Jesus was included in this Godhead it would look like this.
But to us there there is but one God: the father....and the Son". But there is no Colon it says there is one god the father not the father and the son.
[I replied:] I quoted it from the Greek and from the New American Standard. Again, I said that God is made up of 3 Persons, so of course Jesus isn't praying to Himself. BTW, the Greek doesn't have colons.
[He replied:] I know this. And the translators are aware that that is not what they meant. I notice you change scriptures and when I have a valid one you say "God is made up of three".Okay where does it say that? Also in Greek in my non-watchtower interlinear translation. It does not say "theos" for son. Theos means god. It says: notice how the word theos only is number 2316. This is John 3:16. No where does it use theos again so it does not say. " For God loved the world do much that he have his only begotten God.."
[I replied:] I was quoting Jn. 1:18, and if you understood the Greek term "monogenes," then you'd know that Jesus is in the nature of God. To be in the nature of something is to be that thing. Since you're in the nature of a human, you're human. If you're the son of a human, you're human. If you're the only begotten Son of God (Jn. 3:16), then you're the only begotten God (Jn. 1:18). Jesus is the Son of God from eternity. There was never a time when Jesus wasn't the Son of God. He's existed from the beginning and was the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega, First and Last, Jehovah God (Isa. 44:6-8 with those Revelation passages I sent you).
[He replied:] Look at what Jesus said. He is the son OF GOD. I love how trinitarians try to say God the Son. Find me where the term God the Son appears.
[I replied:] I just showed you from Jn. 1 & 3.
[He replied:] Yes and I read it. You tried to say Jehovah is three in one. No where does it say that. All I can say is call truce. We can throw scriptures back and forth and never get anywhere.
[I replied:] "In the name [not names] of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" (Mat. 28:19), amen! That's why the Son is to be honored *just as* the Father, and why the Son made Himself equal to the Father (Jn. 5:18-23). Even if I didn't have this verse in Matthew, I believe all of what the scriptures say, and you don't. If the Bible says Jesus is the Son, I believe it. If the Bible says He's also God, I believe it. You don't. Again, Jesus is over all, God blessed forever (Rom. 9:5).
I was just on your website.
I just have one question that has been on my mind for years and you fit the description of someone who might be able to honestly answer it for me.
Why do people who believe Jesus Christ, and believe in Him, and try to follow Him try to dissect and exploit and in some cases tear down or belittle those who also believe in Jesus Christ and try to follow him?
This may be the wrong question to ask you, because you may be an ex-member of the LDS faith. If you are, then I understand the answer, but for those that have not been a member before, which may be you in this case, this question applies still.
Thanks in advance for your answer.
[I replied:] I've never been LDS. My wife was. The reason I go after LDS, JW's, Christian Science, Muslims, and other groups that believe in Jesus is that I hold they all promote a false, devalued Jesus that leads to hell. Jesus warned in Mat. 24:24 that false Christs would come. So since I'm His disciple, I also warn others of false Christs. For why the LDS Jesus is false, I invite you to see the Home page chart of differences on MormonInfo.org. Best,
[He replied:] I understand somewhat where you are coming from. I guess that leads me to another question if you don't mind answering it. Why might a belief in a "devalued" Savior lead a person to hell? If the steps to repentance are taken and one believes in the saving grace of Christ, and is baptized and so on, well wouldn't that person also have access to His saving grace? I know I have read where the Savior says false prophets and Christs will come, but at what point and through what things would that lead someone to Hell? Hopefully this is the right question. Thanks again Rob.
[I replied:] It's a great question. Jesus said in Jn. 8:24 that "you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins." In that context He was telling the Jews that He was God, and they were rejecting who He claimed to be. The question of who Jesus was is central to the New Testament. Now when I became a Christian, I didn't have a very deep theology of Christ, but I wasn't going around rejecting anything He claimed about Himself. Ignorance is different from denial. As I continue to grow in His grace, He continues to reveal more of Himself to me, and if I'm truly led by His Spirit, then I won't be denying what He has for me. I think LDS do this when they clearly go against what the Bible teaches about God, so that they may exalt themselves to be Gods themselves over their own worlds and have their spirit-kids worship them to the exclusion of the God of this world. If that's not a blasphemous notion of God/Jesus, then I just don't know what is.
[He replied:] As far as I've learned about LDS beliefs, most of that sounds correct, except the part about excluding God. They teach that He will always be their God and they will always worship Him, and never be more than He is. Correct me if I am wrong, but that is what I have understood. Seems they have most beliefs in common with other Christians. Why do people give them trouble?
[I replied:] Yes, an individual has a particular God throughout eternity, but once an individual becomes a God, then His spirit-kids worship Him and not His God. Just as we don't worship or pray to our spirit-Grandfather, if we become Gods, our spirit-kids won't worship or pray to our God. Again, check out the Home page chart on MormonInfo.org for lots of differences with traditional Christianity. It's these doctrinal beliefs that lead people like myself to label Mormonism "false Christianity" with a false God, Jesus, Holy Ghost, prophets, and scriptures. And because I love LDS, I naturally am going to warn them as Jesus warned of false Christs and prophets.
[He replied:] So, that sounds correct, but I don't see the blasphemy in it. I mean, if we all worship the Father of our spirits aren't we living by the laws of Heaven, the laws of God? I have found that the LDS beliefs make sense to me. It makes sense because, (continuing with this topic) children grow up to become mothers and fathers...so it makes sense that this life should be a pattern to our next life and if this is training in being fathers and mothers, it will continue in the next life as such and we will just continue having a family. Right? I think it makes sense, I don't see the danger in this. I'm not saying everything they say makes sense to me, but from what I have learned of other religions, they make more sense than anyone else. I mean, I don't get how everyone else has their own ideas and expect others to just take their word for it...when all they are doing is spouting words mixed with their own opinions-backed by nothing but their own interpretations of scripture. The religions that make more sense to me are the ones that have a prophet or a spiritual leader who is in communication with God and that person can tell God's children what God is saying in scripture. Then there is the whole "trusting in the arm of flesh" thing, and "false prophets". When do you ever really know though? It's got to stop somewhere.
[I replied:] The problem is that Christians have always held to there being only 1 begotten Son of God from eternity. The other children of God are made or creations and must be adopted into God's family through faith. God's a completely different being and species than man, since He's the Creator of literally everything outside Himself. That's not the case in Mormonism, and thus, He's a completely different God than what the Bible teaches. As Christians we want to be faithful to what it says, regardless of our feelings.
[He replied:] Ok, but where are we told that God is a completely different being and species from man? I mean, I know He is a God...so what does He look like? Is he an alien looking creature? I don't get it...?
It seems like if God just wants to look down on us like little ants and always pride himself that He is all powerful then that is a God I don't want to follow. But if He wants me to enjoy the same blessing He has enjoyed, well then that would be a loving God and I would want to be my best and try to follow Him so I can become like Him one day. I would be forever grateful if I could be half the man my father is. I think it is the same with God. Isn't there scripture that says we are to be like God or something? I know the LDS teach that, and it makes sense to me.
[I replied:] We are told in all the passages I list for you on the MormonInfo.org Home page. God doesn't look like anything, since He's the creator of matter. But since He's all-powerful, He can show up in any form He wants to (e.g., the Holy Ghost descending in a bodily form of a dove). Your wants are really beside the point. Your wants may be to commit adultery in some situation. Again, the point is being faithful to what God has revealed. I encourage people to be like God, but that's understood in a particular context. I'm obviously not telling them to be the creator of everything outside themselves. That would be nonsense, since only 1 being fulfills that.
[He replied:] Yeah, I get that. I just mean, if you are trying to follow someones example, won't you eventually be like them if you are committed to this for the eternities?
So, God doesn't look like anything? What about that scripture that says we are created in God's image? Doesn't that mean God created us to look like He does?
Also, I know what you mean by our wants leading us astray. But what about you? Haven't you interpreted scripture in your own way? How do you know it is right? There are thousands of Christian sects...how do you know who has the right interpretations? This is an important question for me.
I deffinitly agree with you about being faithful to what God has revealed, how else would we be saved. But that is why this question about interpretation is important to me. Because JW's interpret it one way, and Jews, and so on.
[I replied:] [See this FAQ.]
I hold that I'm right the same as I hold to most theories. I look them over and evaluate the evidence. It also helps when the history of the Church (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) is on my side when it comes to the doctrine of God. To toss 2,000 years of consistent testimony aside to believe a relatively new cult seems imprudent to me. Perhaps I would if I had some good reasons, but Mormonism doesn't have it. Basically the "burning in the bosom" is sufficient for most LDS, and that's not persuasive at all for me.
[He replied:] Those are some interesting points.
So, where did God come from then? Who created God? Will we ever know?
I understand where you are coming from with the history of the Catholic, Protestant, etc...for me however, I can't bring myself to trust testimonies of other religions. I won't trust any man. It is hard to trust any prophet either. I believe if someone says they are an apostle or prophet, that is something, but I wouldn't leave it at that. I would wait for that spiritual witness. (I know what some might say the heart will lead you astray, but spirit to spirit is not the same thing. I think that is the only way I could ever believe something a prophet or apostle would say. If someone is spouting their own ideas...it doesn't mean anything to me...unless it has already been said by an apostle or prophet. Where is the authority? Maybe you can elaborate on this for me a little bit.
[I replied:] [See the FAQ I have on God's origin on MormonInfo.org.]
With all due respect, I think for you to dismiss the apostles, the disciples of the apostles, as well as the disciples of those disciples, and look out for your own "spiritual witness" against all evidence is tantamount is pure arrogance.
[He replied:] I know God lives. He has one begotten Son named Jesus, and another son named Joseph who along with His other sons Moses, Noah, Adam, etc. brought forth good fruit. He and many other prophets died for God and His work. This is what I believe and God has told me, I felt it in my spirit. How do you know what you believe is true?
"We don’t ask any people to throw away any good they have got; we only ask them to come and get more. What if all the world should embrace this Gospel? They would then see eye to eye, and the blessings of God would be poured out upon the people, which is the desire of my whole soul." - Joseph Smith Jr. the Prophet
By the way, I wasn't dismissing the apostles, I am just saying, the only perfect person to walk this earth was Christ. His words we can trust, but without the witness of the Holy Ghost, we can never know anything for ourselves to be true. It is a perfect answer, not a human one.
[I replied:] I not only feel what I believe is true, but I have reasons for my faith. I don't find any good reasons to buy Mormonism. My faith is based on all the good reasons (philosophical and scientific) to buy a First Cause or Big Banger, who revealed Himself ultimately in the person of Jesus, and that has been verified by prophecy written hundreds and thousands of years before He came on the scene as well as through the best case of history demonstrating His miracles, particularly raising from the dead.
Smith doesn't simply add, but he contradicts the word of God. He even claimed that all other churches were false. Further, Smith contradicted scripture by adding to it in his translation of the Bible. For example, Gen. 50 has a prophecy of himself that isn't in any other translation of the Bible. You'd have to suspend all judgment and simply follow your burning in the bosom in order to believe Smith got it right. It just doesn't fit the facts. Further, I wouldn't believe him anyway, since he was a sexual predator, who married 14 and 16-year-olds, no better than what Brian David Mitchell did with Elizabeth Smart, and Smith also was a serial adulterer, who married 11 women out of his 34 who were currently married to other men. See the LDS here or here for verification. With all due respect, I think it's crazy to trust this guy.
The perfect answer by the Spirit is often imperfectly received. Since you're human, you are liable to mistaking what God's trying to communicate with you. And if you persist in devaluing God to make Him a man whereby you continue to exalt man into being a God, then God Himself will give you over to "a strong delusion, so that [you'd] believe a lie" (2 Thes. 2:11).
You haven't given me any good reasons to accept that you got it right with your spiritual witness. The links I provided to you demonstrate how your thinking is in error. Thus, I think it safer to believe Jesus when He said there's only 1 true God (Jn. 17:3) in contrast to Smith.
[He replied:] Honestly, there wasn't one single prophet or apostle without sin. So you stating that Joseph had married women in various ages and marital status' is really irrelevent to his calling. What I mean is, just because someone is imperfect and sins, doesn't mean their work is now false. Also, Brian Mitchell raped Elizabeth Smart, so yes, Joseph Smith was by far better. Secondly, only Holy inspired men can write scripture...if UN-holy men have taken things and changed them, then only a prophet would be able to correct it. We know scripture has been changed.
Thirdly, to give you a reason to accept that I "got it right" with my spiritual witness: It is a feeling I have felt only a few times as strong as I did one night as I prayed over the Book of Mormon. It was so powerful that I knew it had come from God. Satan cannot mimmic the witness of the Holy Ghost. I felt this feeling when I decided to be baptized as well.
Also, where did the Savior's apostles go? Where did the prophets go? Does your faith extend to a belief in men like that?
I really don't get where people get this whole "false" Jesus statement they always make. I believe in Jesus Christ, who taught that the basic principles of the gospel are to have faith, repent, be baptized, and recieve the Holy Ghost. If I continue to believe in His words and His promise, then I will be saved. Is that not what he promised?
How do you interpret Romans 8:16-17
16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Doesn't seem like LDS are "devaluing" God, just following his mandate to be perfect even as He is, so that we might suffer with Him...so that we might be glorified together. I don't know any other interpretation of the word heir. If we are His children, then we are princes and princess's, future Kings and Queens. Is that not what an heir to God would be, a God? I don't see why that sounds confusing, or wrong.
I don't see how this is a delusion, maybe what you believe is a delusion.
[I replied:] The Old Testament prophets had no unrepentant sin. Smith never repented for this sin, kept doing it. An obvious cult-leader abusing his office. Smith put a power-play on his young victim, who was currently married to Adam Lightner: "I know whereon I stand, I know what I believe, I know what I know and I know what I testify to you is the living truth. As I expect to meet it at the bar of the eternal Jehovah, it is true. And when you stand before the bar you will know. He preached polygamy and he not only preached it, but he practiced it. I am a living witness to it. It was given to him before he gave it to the Church. An angel came to him and the last time he came with a drawn sword in his hand and told Joseph if he did not go into that principle, he would slay him."
- Sister Mary Lightner, "Address to Brigham Young University," April 14th, 1905, BYU Archives and Manuscripts
...Sounds pretty close to rape to me.
In fact, according to D&C 42:25-9, Smith has no forgiveness in this life nor in the life to come, since he committed more than 1 instance of adultery.
I've had a witness from God telling me the LDS Church is false. Again, God can send one a strong delusion so they'd believe a lie, and we both can't be right, so what makes you think God hasn't given that to you?
[See this FAQ.]
Again, Jesus warned of false Christs in Mat. 24:24, and if the LDS Church doesn't have one, then I don't know who does. The LDS Jesus isn't the creator of all things as 1 Cor. 8:6 says among others. He isn't God over all blessed forever as Rom. 9:5 says. You devalue Him to make Him your elder brother in a pre-earth life. No thanks.
[He replied:] How do you know none of the old testament prophets had no unrepantant sin? If you could provide scripture to support that I would be very interested to know.
Secondly, maybe he was abusing his office, maybe that is why Joseph Smith was taken out of the picture. Still doesn't mean his work is now false. I don't worship Joseph Smith, he was a man, a man who did many great things, (and yes, some bad). I worship God.
You had a witness from God saying the church was false? Would you care to elaborate on that?
Something that I feel confirms that the LDS church is doing something right is because if God had something to say, he would be telling it to the whole world in mass numbers. The missionary force is doing that. If you have the truth, why don't you have a force like that in the last days telling all the world? I think it just makes sense that if God had something important to say to help His children return to Him, then that is what He would be doing. Besides the JW's, there is no missionary force like it in the world. Feels like the missionary force of the new testament if you ask me.
[I replied:] Well the example I was thinking of is King David, who repented when Nathan confronted him on it. But you're right, I don't have a scripture to say that everyone did. Nonetheless, given everything we know of Smith, and given his distortion of the Bible, I think the evidence points to him being a typical cult-leader after sex and power.
Ya, I read through all the LDS scriptures and sincerely prayed if they were of God or not, and God gave me 1) a witness in my spirit that it wasn't of Him, and 2) He confirmed that with all the evidence from His word as well as everything else we know.
We do have missionaries all over the world promoting the Christian gospel. I'm part of that, so is my brother, who's a missionary/pastor in Serbia. Because we promote the Christian gospel that entails that we have to defend the Faith against attacks from cults and other false religions and philosophies. This force of Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox is way more than the shrinking 50K of missionaries the LDS Church has.
You are still unable to give a good reason to buy Mormonism. It's false Christianity that teaches God had help in laying out the heavens and the earth (Abraham 4-5) contrary to Isa. 44:24. All you've been able to give is a feeling that I already know is a delusion.
[He replied:] Catholics do not believe the same as Protestants, and from what you have told me you don't believe what they believe. I am talking about your following, your missionaries. Look, just google "what church has the most missionaries", you will see for yourself.
Secondly, Joseph Smith was not an adulterer.
Thirdly, Joseph Smith did not distort the Bible. He translated it, big difference. You say distortion because you don't believe he was a prophet called of God, keep in mind that there are over 14 million people who disagree with you. You have your right to say what you wish about that man, but I believe he was called of God, and I believe you are the one that has received the delusion when you say God told you the LDS faith was false. Any good thing comes from God.
Fourthly, why do you keep using that term "buy" mormonism...it isn't something you simply buy into. My testimony of this faith is stronger than you know. I am not some ignorant Mormon boy. I may not know everything, but I know enough. I have given you enough reasons. Honestly you have given me no reasons to "buy" into what you are selling me, seems like almost everything you have given me so far is quite counterfeit.
We have a book, which testifies of Christ, a book for which carries evidence you cannot simply dismiss. Just have a look at the fairlds.org website, or FARMS website. IF that is really what you want, it won't be enough though. You have to walk by faith.
As for your attempt at proving the LDS have false Christianity because of Isaiah 44:24, Genesis uses the words "let us make man in our own image", so there was someone else there. Even so, this scripture doesn't just wave away all the other evidence and testimony of millions of people.
I think you have had enough conversations with Mormons, you have had plenty of opportunities to hear what they would have to say. I served a mission in Texas, and I have had plenty of conversations with people and pastors just like you. And all I have to say to you after that is...
God is our Heavenly Father. Joseph was called of God. The Book of Mormon is true. God is the Father of us all. Jesus Christ will come again one day. I know this with all my heart, and I will never leave the truths I have found. Delusions don't bring this kind of peace and joy.
Thanks for this nice little conversation Rob. I think I am done hearing what you have to say.