November 5, 2008

Dear Family and Friends,

Yesterday was quite a disappointment to those of us who value the protection of innocent human life as the most important political issue. Of course God is still in control, and we must trust Him to bring about His purposes in this dark time, but that doesn't let the Church off the hook for its part in this mess.

Right after the announcement of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate, I received an email that was a prophecy about God getting them elected in 2008. The email is a good example of Christians being caught up in the moment, and giving a false prophecy. These false prophets should be thankful we're not living in Old Testament times.

1 Peter 4:17 says that judgment begins in the household of God. The primary reason that we will have our government controlled by individuals who will continue to push an abominable agenda (particularly the holocaust of letting around 4,000 innocent babies a day being chopped to pieces) is due to the Christian Church caving to the culture. The Church is so feminized today, it is too conciliatory, and it is afraid to boldly and intelligently speak out in the public square. It's not a matter of energizing our Christian base with false prophecies. We also need to not simply pray for our leaders and our culture, as important as that is, but we also need to fulfill our commission and begin destroying bad thinking set against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:4-5).

Contrary to the email I received, here's a true prophecy: God will judge those Christians who had misplaced priorities and voted their pocketbooks and other issues instead of protecting innocent human life. Christians who voted for those who promote the butchering of innocent babies are complicit in this practice. These Christians like Tony Campolo and Jim Wallis agree that abortion is evil, but they rationalize the legality of the practice. Campolo says that just as many abortions were going on prior to Roe v. Wade, so legislation is irrelevant. We need to focus on the socio-economic issues that pressure so many to abort. Wallis has said that all issues need to be considered, not simply abortion. If more good is accomplished with a pro-abortion candidate, then that is the one we should vote for.

Tony Campolo
As for Campolo, there are no stats to confirm what he's saying. Certainly abortions will never completely go away even with the tightest legislation, but there is good reason to think that abortions will be minimized with tighter legislation. If murder is going to happen to those outside the womb, then is Campolo really prepared to say that the murder rates would remain the same whether or not there's any legislation against the practice? Of course arguments may be made that socio-economic conditions need to improve so that there will be alternatives to certain murders outside the womb, but it's completely absurd to think that legislation makes no difference at all. Thus, a person who does everything Campolo does in promoting the improvement of the socio-economic landscape, but also votes against a pro-abortion candidate and promotes legislation to restrict abortion is doing more than Campolo to limit abortions.

John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Jim Wallis, and Barak Obama
As for Wallis, it also seems absurd that a sum total of good things can outweigh the issue of life itself. Jesus said, "What can it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mt. 16:26) One's life is more important than a sum collection of things. Wallis' justification could have easily been used by Nazi Germany to sustain their holocaust.

There is another argument a Democratic friend gave me that is related to Wallis' argument: the poor are also dear to the heart of God. Thus, if one party (i.e., the GOP) doesn't work to alleviate poverty (I don't buy this for the GOP, but grant it for the sake of argument), then this is also repugnant to God. But the problem here is that this is still treating something like wealth as more important than life. Think of it this way… say Nancy has two boys-Bobby and Tommy. If Bobby took Tommy's toy, it would be totally unjust for Nancy to stand by and let Tommy kill Bobby for it. Nancy would rather neither happen and she'd punish stealing and prevent the other from killing (even though she herself may act unjustly at times). If that's true, then what she's really looking for is a pro-life Democrat. But since this was not on the ticket, why in the world would she go with the pro-choice Democrat rather than the pro-life GOP candidate? The only reason seems to be that punishing thieves is really more important to her than preventing killing. Nancy would be a modern day Pharisee who "ha[s] neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness" (Mt. 23:23). This is why Jesus had no problem healing on the Sabbath. He valued life over other lesser matters of the law (cf. Lk. 14:1-5). Life is basic. There is no healing, wealth, or poverty without life! Thus, one will suffer God's judgment for valuing better socio-economic conditions, developing alternative energies sources, re-establishing our respect in the world, etc., etc. rather than "[d]eliver[ing] those who are being taken away to death" (Prov. 24:11).

One final argument is to draw a moral equivalence between war and abortion. Many also die in the wars we wage. The problem with this is that we have not been intentionally going after innocent human lives in the war on terror. We have been defending ourselves and going after the bad guys who deserve death. Even if some innocents were killed, we have no policy in this war to intentionally take their lives. It happens accidentally. But those killed by abortion are not killed accidentally. Further, there is no comparison with 4,000 innocents a day being killed with the number of innocents killed in this war.

As for last month's news, we were not able to meet with this gal who converted to Mormonism from our church. She backed out at the last minute. Tara did meet, though, with another gal from our church who is dating a Mormon. Tara was able to share her testimony with her, and warn her of all the un-Christian doctrines of Mormonism.

My buddy Brian Mackert came out with a new book last month called Illegitimate: How a Loving God Rescued a Son of Polygamy, and on its "For More Information" page, both MormonInfo.org and CourageousChristiansUnited.org are listed. To read the Forward and Prologue, see here.

I also discovered last month that I was mentioned disparagingly in Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America by Eugene V. Gallagher and W. Michael Ashcraft, eds. (Greenwood, 2006). Douglas Cowan quoted John Morehead, who was appalled and embarrassed by my witnessing tactics. I am not aware of anyone in countercult ministry who endorses Morehead. He appears to be more in love with cultural sensitivities and not rocking the boat than he is with Christ and ironically others who desperately need Him.

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. We are hoping to get back to Utah next summer. If you believe in this mission, then we need your help! Please send in a tax-deductible investment today. Some of you may be looking for a tax deduction in these last couple months of 2008. If everyone reading this simply gave $25 per month, we would have no problem being at 100% of what we need. Please see our "Invest" page for more information.

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 God to use Tara's testimony in our church news on November 9th
2. For more members to join our Ex-Mormon Meetup recovery group
3. For money to put down on a big enough home in Utah (homes are much more expensive there than here in TX)
4. For my book (I am about 75% done with the first draft, and having a real intelligent friend of mine, Dennis Monokroussos, critique it)

****MAILBAG****

I really want you to get back to Utah! I have always been excited to give to your ministry because I have seen how incredibly effective you are in sharing the gospel--you have the knowledge, eloquence, love, persistence, technique, and all those factors that help people overcome obstacles to the faith. Seriously, I have never seen somebody as effective as you. God Bless, brother.
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Tara, I just recently read your testimony online. I have been searching, and most recently doing more research from nonMormon areas. I grew up RLDS, attended Graceland University (their college) and became LDS in '98. A few years ago I felt like something wasn't right and a bit over a year ago I began regularly attending a Baptist church. During the last year I've been doing a lot of reading and searching for what is "truly" right, and am still not sure. It is encouraging to know that it was not an overnight change for you (as I haven't found any former-Mormons to talk to). I will continue to review your website(s) but would love to know if you had any recommendations for readings. Thanks again!
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Thank you for sending me monthly news letters. I read them. I am blessed by them and it helps me to be reminded to pray for your ministry. If it is any easier for you, you can send them to me by e-mail. …Keep up the Lord's work. He is pleased with you.
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I think you are great, keep up the good work. I hope you have a megaphone now, that has got to be hard on your vocal cords. And people need to hear what you are saying. Take care and God bless
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I've made it a goal to reach out to those who are very misled about the LDS church one time a week. So you are my one goal for the week. I betcha just feel special. I am a born and raised Mormon who grew up in a small farming town... I was the only LDS person in my school. My parents joined the church as young adults coming from a family of strong german Lutherans. My mom prayed fervently for God to give her inspiration on what to do with her life and the next day the missionaries knocked on her door. They said they skipped about 10 doors and felt led to her door. My parents abandoned their Lutheran beliefs and after learning about the LDS church for a time and were baptized. They were persecuted by their family and ostracized from friends but it still felt right to them and they changed their life in wonderful and productive ways. My dad abandoned alcohol, tobacco and they became united in the purpose of truly learning how to rely on Jesus Christ as they went through their trials.

I grew up LDS in a town where the godmakers was shown at every local church. My best friend was baptist and anti mormon rhetoric was preached from the pulpit. My best friends through high school preached to me about how I was in a cult but they couldn't tell me why except for some spewed out anti mormon info they received at their own church.

I have had to gain my own testimony of the church. As I watched general conference yesterday the spirit was strong. I felt the love of the savior touch my heart and reaffirm again the truthfulness of the restored gospel. I know Jesus christ has saved me from my many sins. I know the lord has watched over me my whole life. …I still am discriminated against as a Mormon. The "Christian" homeschooling group here prevents LDS people from speaking on any topic during the meetings. I've had adults come up to me and tell me I'm not Christian. Well all of these people can say what they want but they don't know the joy and peace I feel in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope you understand I have felt the darkness of sin and the joy of the cleansing of the atonement. It is real and the gospel is real. I hope you will end your fruitless pursuit.

[I responded:] Thanks for writing. I'm at the orthodontist for my daughter who's getting braces. The Dr. just asked if she watched conference this weekend, since he saw me wearing my "MormonInfo.org" shirt.

I took the liberty of passing this onto my ex-Mormon wife. She'll also be interested in corresponding with you. We can sympathize with you to a certain extent. I used to live in UT and felt like an outcast there. My wife also feels like an outcast and persecuted by her LDS family. It is precisely because we love LDS that we will never give up our pursuit that you deem "fruitless."

I pray that God will give you and your family eyes to see before it's too late. The God and Jesus of the LDS Church is simply not that of the Bible, and since they are imaginary, they cannot forgive you of your sin. The LDS Church has devalued God from His position as Creator of literally everything outside Himself, and has instead exalted man to make them into Gods. But Jesus was clear that there is "only one true God" (Jn. 17:3). As such, I'd drop Mormonism and believe Jesus. Your friend,

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I don't understand this argument:

3) Given that one's exaltation is of ultimate importance as the Manti, UT Mormon Miracle Pageant states, it should surprise no one that if one of the spouses leaves the LDS Church, then that spouse is holding the other back from godhood.

Wouldn't this be an argument against LDS divorce rather than an explanation of it? Also, about the claim that LDS divorce more than Evangelicals, are you sure? We have to keep two types of populations separate: the "mere" religion x-er and the highly committed religion x-er. A Barna study earlier this year gave a national divorce rate of 33% with just 26% for Evangelicals, and said that among highly committed Ev's, it was "even lower" (I didn't see a stat). According to this old (2000) webpage, LDS divorce at the usual rate with the rest of society, but those who marry in a temple have only a 6% rate.

[I responded:] I'm not following why this would be an argument against LDS divorce... unless you're thinking that divorce in and of itself keeps one from exaltation. Yes, in and of itself, at the moment of divorce, that's true. But if one's exaltation is dependent on the worthiness of the spouse, then if the spouse leaves the LDS Church, there's no chance that he or she will be worthy enough for exaltation so long as he or she remains married to that spouse. LDS are often counseled by their bishop to divorce the unworthy one, and move on to find a worthy one with the same mindset.

Further, I suggested different factors on why there's a lot of divorce going on in UT. Given Tara's and my experience with LDS and Evangelicals (and Catholics), the latter looks down on divorce more than LDS. My ex-Mormon wife was really surprised by this when she became a Christian... especially with many Christians holding that abuse isn't a biblical reason for divorce. I know that my ministry opportunites are now limited due to my divorce... even given that it wasn't my fault. I'm just claiming that if there's not as much pressure for a Mormon to remain married as there is for an Evangelical, then this, as well as other factors, seems to make sense why there would be more divorce among Mormons.

I know that temple goers have a lot lesser rate of divorce than other LDS, but the majority of inactive LDS (the obvious substantial majority of the LDS Church) still have the mindset of what I noted in the first paragraph. They still want to have at least the option of being sealed with the family unit for time and all eternity, and that's not possible if the spouse is not a member of the true Church. So again, why not just find someone else who shares this common belief?


[He responded:] Thanks for clarifying. It never occurred to me that throwing a spouse in spiritual need under the bus was the route to exaltation. What a religion!
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I have one problem with what has been said on your website. I could never join one of your churches because from what I can see in this website, you are completely hostile toward the LDS faith. I know the bible says that if any have desires to be contentious, we do not have this custom in the church of God. so why do you insist on tearing down something that brings happiness to others? I don't remember Christ tearing down others faiths. He taught only the truth. we have diseases spread across the world, we have hungry people in every country and you insist on tearing the world apart rather than helping it...why? why don't we all as christians focus on bringing those who know not Christ to an understanding of his great sacrifice for us? Have you ever studied into other religions across the world? Zoroastrianism? Judaism? Sikhism? Shinto? Budhism? Hinduism? Jainism? Islam? or the ever so clever liberals (trying to tear our constitution apart)? I think we as christians have more to do than try and convince the Mormons that their beliefs are false and they have no hope for any kind of salvation. how about convincing the rest of the world that they can obtain salvation? how many broken homes are out there which we could help? how important is it to save our country from the liberals trying to do away with everything our founding fathers worked so hard to build. We're going to lose our right to religion if we don't stop battling against other religions and fight for religion in general!

God gave you the right to decide for yourself. I only hope you sincerely pray that he will guide your path in what you'll do with regard to these remarks. whether to give in to pride and continue fighting that which is good or to be one as Christ would have us do and battle that which is actually evil.

Add Comment
tricia says... (Reply)
"HI Rob,

I read your newsletter and it only confirmed the debate I had with a Marine yesterday at my gym.

His side was "Well, I voted for Obama because my buddies are dying over there Iraq".

When I explained (extensively) the "born alive act" that Obama voted against... this Marine could not even understand the difference between INNOCENT LITTLE UNBORN BOYS AND GIRLS (and then those who actually survive the butcher)

FROM SOLDIERS WHO ARE ARMED WITIH WEAPONS IN WAR. He could not discern the difference or rather would not even acknowledge there was a difference between (4000 babies a day) and relatively few American soldiers compared to thousands of INNOCENT LITTLE BOYS AND GIRLS BEING DISMEMBERED OR CHEMICALLY BURNED TO DEATH EVERY DAY. He would not even retain the thought of how barbaric it is when the poor little boy or girl actually survives the abortionist, that Obama actually
voted against any kind of emergency help to save the poor little child.

We are as wicked as it gets !!! Certain judgement awaits ... but it begins at house of GOD.

Most of the "Church" where I live (Calif) .... is nicer than GOD. They would never think of offending the wicked and saying things like "repent of your wicked ways", "hell", and "eternal judgement with wailing and gnashing of teeth"

This would not be good "Christian" vocabulary in these parts, certainly not "loving".

Thank you for your clarity and boldness to speak the truth.

May our LORD give us strength to never flinch in face of the hatred that is sure to come.

trish

" (11/7/08)
Matt Randquist says... (Reply)
"Dear Rob,

That was a very interesting newsletter. You wrote, "God will judge those Christians who had misplaced priorities and voted their pocketbooks and other issues instead of protecting innocent human life."

I agree that abortion is the most important issue American face, far more than any other moral issue, but I will be frank. I did not vote for John McCain. I voted for Chuck Baldwin who is also pro-life and my viewpoint is this. Yes, McCain was on the right side of the abortion issue, but he was on the wrong side of so many other issues. His support for a "path to citizenship" for illegal aliens was a slap in the face to those who have intelligence. There already is a path to citizenship, but illegal aliens chose to ignore it and break the law. McCain voted for the $700 billion dollar bail-out which was financial socialism. Time and time again McCain crossed the aisle and decided to support liberal big-government legislation. Ronald Reagan he was not.

Thus we have a problem with the GOP. They have this tendency to nominate big-government politicians who during election time claim to be social conservatives but once elected become tone-deaf to social conservatives. George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, and John McCain all fit this bill.

Why vote for a pro-life candidate if their other positions are lousy? I voted third party knowing my guy wouldn't win, but did so because Baldwin (an ex-Baptist minister) was right on 99% of the issues, whereas McCain was right on only about 5%. In the end elections are not horse races where you vote for the person you think will win but instead you vote for the person you want to win.

I have not been a huge fan of President Bush at times. I don't regard him as very conservative and the fact that the national debt nearly doubled on his watch proves he isn't a fiscal conservative. His support for the torture of human beings was something no Christian would have ever supported and I have my doubts that he is as pro-life as he has said he is. Outside of partial-birth abortion he didn't really do a whole lot.

Matt Randquist" (11/11/08)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"Hi M,

Good to talking with you the other night and catching up.

My newsletter didn't necessitate that you had to vote for McCain. The point was to vote pro-life, which I'm glad to see you did. God bless you for that! It really doesn't bother me that you didn't vote for Mc, since all third party candidates together only totaled 2% of the vote. They were irrelevant this election. My basic point is that if all Christians would have valued what God primarily values, this election would have put a pro-life candidate in the White House.

I agree that Mc wasn't a perfect candidate, but his 83% American Conservative Union lifetime rating looks a whole lot better than Obama's 8% lifetime conservative rating (http://www.conservative.org/archive2/2008potus.asp). Realistically, the election was between Mc and Obama. Given those 2 realistic choices, you go with the best, and that was clearly Mc. Now we must suffer with at least 4 years of a pro-death candidate simply because Christians did not vote the most important issue first. So I disagree that elections are simply about the person you want to win. My wants aren't as important as "Country First." I may want an obscure friend of mine, but it would be silly to actually vote for him by writing his name in when I know he doesn't have a chance.

As for Bush, I certainly wouldn't call him perfect either. But we should thank him for banning partial birth abortion, as well as upholding the Hyde amendment (not using public funding for abortions), for overturning Clinton in funding abortions internationally, for passing the born alive act to protect those born as a result of botched abortions, for not using federal funding for stem cell research, and for giving us 2 conservative supreme court justices (more the better). We should also thank him for keeping us safer here after 9/11, and not allowing another terrorist attack by Islamic radicals since then. We should also thank him for keeping the overall tax rate low, and giving everyone tax cuts. All this will likely go with Obama. 5 Supreme Court justices may retire in the next 4 years!

Your bro,

Rob" (11/11/08)