With my brother-in-law and Maddi's dad at our church's Daddy-Daughter Dance last monthMesa Easter Pageant
I am planning on evangelizing at the Mesa, AZ LDS Easter Pageant the end of this month for a week. It takes place right outside the Mesa LDS Temple. The pageant began in 1928 and now draws around 100,000 people to it over 9 days, but for whatever reason, I have never evangelized at the event. I have friends that have and will evangelize with me. I have a place to stay with a good friend from high school. I just need your prayers and financial support. Pray for my old car to make it all the way there and back (I need to get some work done on it before I leave). Pray that God will use me and others to bring many LDS to Himself. And pray for my family as well, since Tara will be staying home with 3 kids! I’m also planning on evangelizing at some high schools while there.
Speaking of high schools, while I was out in front of the Kearns high school LDS seminary building last month, I had a brief, but interesting dialogue with someone who looked like the seminary teacher (he was in a suit and tie and escorting the students out). He wouldn’t take my Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith DVD. As he was backing away from me to go back into the seminary, I asked him why he was LDS. He said after a long pause... "Because it feels good." So I asked him, "Can't you be feeling good and headed for hell?" All he could say before he went back in was, "At least I'd be in good company!"
Lord have mercy! This guy is evidently teaching all these LDS kids how to think like him! This explains why it’s so difficult getting our literature and DVDs out to LDS. By and large, LDS people act similar to drug addicts when it comes to religion. They want the good feeling despite the fact that it’s killing them! The old saying is very true: you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
Are Mormons a Waste of Time?
Why keep going? Because not everyone is like this. There are enough out there who are willing to at least consider what we have to say. That may not be immediately, but some of these people still need the wake up call we offer. Some may be on the verge of getting baptized, and some may be newly converted, and these are generally more likely to be open to our message. If we are too focused on our own experience with most Mormons, then we will definitely burn out in ministering to them. We need to trust what God said in promising that His word won’t return void (Isa. 55:11). It will either bring them to repentance, or it will hold them accountable on the Day of Judgment. Further, prideful people who are focused on personal worthiness are often scared to communicate any wavering in their faith. So for all we know we know, Mormons may go back to the privacy of their own home and begin their own research after we confront them. Whatever happens, we need to trust God with the results. “Some plant, some water, but God gives the increase” (paraphrase of 1 Cor. 3:6-7).
Last month we had Brian and Cindy Williams share their story of coming out of Mormonism and coming to Christ. They now serve in various ministries. You can watch their video here and see the pictures of our Meetup here.
Tara’s 1st CCU Blog
My wife came up with the idea of writing a blog on “The Ugly Side of Eternal Marriage.” She did a great job, and received a number of wonderful comments!
We Need Your Partnership!
We not only need your prayers, but we need your financial assistance as well. Keep in mind that your investment is not simply for us, but for the lives of others we reach with the gospel. The standard way to financially invest is by writing a check to Courageous Christians United (CCU). 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. For more information, please see our “Invest” page. 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. If you’re not a partner, please consider joining our team and let us know soon. We’d love to be your missionaries here in Utah. Many thanks to those of you who hold us up in prayer and in your financial giving!
“Be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:6)!
President, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374
West Jordan, UT 84081
****ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS****
1. Health and protection for our whole family
2. Tara’s and Maddi’s families to be saved
3. Wisdom in all our dealings
4. Strength to keep going
You're a warrior willing to stand in the heat of battle.
Rob, this news letter couldn't have had better timing for me. I was quite discouraged and this was just the kind of thing I needed to hear. I really don't have your gift of evangelism but you very much do. It takes guts and courage to stand outside the temple and stand for the truth. I don't know why some christians have to criticize every one for everything. Alot of them do it truly believing they are doing Gods work. Keep up the good fight, through Christ you are changing lives one person at a time.
Studying last night before I went to bed and I found this and I thought this would be a great missionary tool to share with brother Rob Sivulka and I wondered if he had found this himself or knows about it, it is so crazy to think how Mormonism blinds people and how blinkered I had become by it's grasp, I still have my Mormon King James and barring the pollutions the text is unaltered and because it has all those blessed years of personal nourishment and comfort and markings I chose to keep it and I just wanted to share this discovery encase it could be used by anyone witnessing to the Mormons to tear down the strong holds that they are locked in.
Here it is and maybe this may be used by the Lord for someone to draw a soul unto Him.
2 Chronicles 4 LDS KJV chapter heading reads:-
Solomon makes the molten sea (baptismal font) and places it on twelve oxen-They make the altar and basons and pots and various items.
6 He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand, and five on the left, to wash in them: such things as they offered for the burnt offering they washed in them; but the sea was for the priests to wash in .
Incredible blindness and all these things waved right under peoples noses, it is astonishing !
I imagine some will justify this but it is a hard thing to ignore, it cannot be supposed as far as it is translated correctly because the chapter heading has been officially verified or certified, perhaps this small thing could do bigger things for someone.
Awesome newsletter dude!
And now...a refreshment for the heart...the three best words ever put side by side...
"... we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us... Titus 3:3-5
This [your last newsletter] is really good, and needful I believe. It is way too easy for "arm chair christians" to play sideline football. More often than not, these critics rarely do anything evangelistic. As Kevin Deagan says "I like my way of doing it wrong, rather than doing it your right way and doing nothing at all". At the same time, we need to be accountable to all men in the sight of God, as Paul was, and the other ministers of the Gospel. We must bare critics and reproach. And when God speaks to us through another, we should be humble enough to respond to the Spirit. I believe there is sense in which sharing the Gospel is a cross for us. And as others hear the message of the cross, those who are perishing, are smelling an aroma of death for themselves, and are offended or recoil. Those who are being saved, are smelling an aroma of life, and live and receive the message of truth. But for each minister of the Gospel, "to his own master, he stands or falls".
For this reason, I believe that I personally should cut a lot of slack to others who are sharing the good news, by what ever means they employ, as long as they are sharing the nuts and bolts of the Gospel. If these critics lived in Ezekiel's or Jeremiah's day would they be upset at the methods that God ordained for them? Most likely yes is the answer. Would it be OK for a man of God to lay on his side naked for 1200 days? And most of us feel that the range of our behavior is the "appropriate" range for all who are truly godly. This is nothing more than self-righteousness. So when Reuben Israel puts the BOM on a chain at Temple Square and challenges Mormons about their supposed loyalty to the BOM, or pulls out a tampon with ketchup on it to show what God thinks of our righteousness, can I allow another brother to do something, that I would likely not do? What if God has lead him to do and to say things that most of us would not do or say? But woe is me, if He leads me to do something, and I refuse or cower in fear of man.
Just read your news letter. What's up man? Sounds like someone is running you through the ringer both ways. If someone is slamming you or your ministry, hang in there, because if people really knew your heart they would not give you such a hard time. God knows your heart and that's what really counts. It's all about seed planting and I know how many seeds you plant. So, keep on keeping on for Jesus. Many of us believe in what you do!
God bless you Rob. You are doing great work! I'll be able to come alongside financially in His time but want you to know I'm praying and behind you step for step.
/O/ ~ PRAISE THE LIVING
LORD, JESUS, THE CHRIST !
Thank you for this message !
Yes ... I Praise the Lord for Your
Ministry ... I have been Blessed
by Mrs. Tanner's Ministry and
the Ministry of Bill McKeever at
Mormonism Research Ministry
for many fruitful years ... I Pray The Lord will Bless, Guide and
Provide for Your Ministry as you Gather Souls from the
darkness of religion and the
ocult ... May God Bless ... We
Will Pray for You and Your Ministry !!! ~ /O/
Great newsletter this month. I absolutely give you the benefit of the doubt with respect to your ministry decisions. The first part of your letter was a wise and needed admonishment to all believers. Keep up the good work for Christ.
Read your piece today, and just wanted to say, amen! While you and I may differ in some areas when it comes to evangelizing tactics, I have always respected you and the fact that you get out there and do it! It takes all the parts of "the body" to do the work He calls us to.
May the Lord continue to bless you, the ministry, and your family, in all you do for His Kingdom.
I am not a Mormon, but I have a question.
My wife and I disagree on this.
Can a Mormon, in good standing, attend another Church (e.g. First Christian Church - Non-demoninational) service?
Would he/she be in violation of Mormon church doctrine or law?
Thanks for your time.
[I replied:] My hard core LDS mother-in-law has before. Now if it's a regular occurrence, then that's another story.
Great newsletter! Keep up the good work. I forgot to write and thank you but it was recently the ten year anniversary of me leaving Mormonism and becoming a Christian. Strange how fast time flies, eh? I often get emails from LDS people I knew urging me to come back and it bothers me that they are in a cult and don't even realize it and when you tell them they start acting in ways that they never would otherwise. The devil has a hold on the LDS but I am glad the Internet is around. When I joined back in 1994 there was no Internet and few Christians in my area were familiar with Mormonism. Now people investigating Mormonism have a wealth of information at their fingertips and I suspect a lot of people have not joined that would have twenty years prior just because of the Internet.
Just remember the scripture, "resist the Devil and he will flee." Resist the Devil's temptation to quit and he will flee and I suspect you have angels on your side so don't fret.
I really admire your courage by bringing the truth about the LDS Church
Hey Mr. Rob
If you are a christian like you claim you are, why are you so worry about Mormons and their &%^*. Instead of wasteing your time on the Mormons go out there and preach to those ghettos in lint, Chicago, or some &*^% like that. You are a &%^*, do something useful. act not just talk.
[I replied:] Hi…,
Because Christians follow their Lord and try to see others come to know Him. Mormons have false prophets and a false Lord, and Jesus warned about this in Matthew 24:24. By the way you talk, I'm guessing you don't know the Lord. You need Him to give you new life, and the peace that comes by knowing Him. If you continue to refuse Him and His sacrifice for all your sins, then you will spend eternity in Hell. I pray you make the right choice.
[He replied:] lol you are too fast to judge i use to go to church, you don't make any case by bashing other religion it makes you look foolish, a true believer would just mind his or her own business and try to do the good works. i use to be a Mormon but i don't give a &*^% anymore because there are so much ^%*& going on. the ^%$# Illuminati runs this %^$& world and God anit doing anything about it. that is why you sound so foolish bashing others. while the fire is right at your door steps.
[I replied:] Well if you can get away with bashing me in what I do, then I should be able to do the same. As such, you're hypocritical. Thus, if you're not foolish for trying to set me straight, then I'm not foolish for trying to set others straight. And that's exactly what Jesus, the prophets, and apostles all did. Mormonism has screwed your thinking up, and that's why you and others like yourself need genuine Christian teachers to help you understand what truth is. I challenge you to simply read the New Testament for itself. Drop your preconceived ideas, and just let Jesus speak to you. He's worth listening to.
[He replied:] *&^% you i don't care about religious, just keep your own %^*$ to yourself. you sound like a terrorist ^$#*. the Illuminati made all these ^%*$ religious to *&%^ people up, wake up. go home take your family on a trip, spend time with them stop bashing on *&%^ others. your are fail to society and faith.
[I replied:] You're just spouting off stupid conspiracy theories without any evidence. You're still a hypocrite by the way.
Lord have mercy and open ____'s eyes to see his need for you! Thank you for dying for him. Keep Satan from him and wanting to bring him to hell. Thank you that you love ____ more than anyone else could and that you're patient with him. In your name I pray, amen!
[He replied:] wow faith don't have any evidence either right mr. preacher. Did you see jesus nope, have you talked to him face to face nope. so stop being a hypocrite yourself. praying for me that i will not get drag down to hell, i guess you're going to heaven already. you for-see the future already. let's call you the new prophet. &^*% come on mr. preacher ^%$*. you try to sound like you are goody goody too-shue you are a fool. you got a short temper, not happy with your life, stress plagued by stupid &^*% religious mumbo jumbo crap. you are not happy get a *&%^ life. you are *$#& go smoke some weed or some $#^&. God put that on the earth, for ignorant fools like to have a hit on it. so, you wont be so &*%# worked up. Jesus die yati yata for u and me blah bla bla. Rob i am being serious go get a life. if you are not married go get married have a family and spend time with your kids and wife. be a good man love them that is all God really wants you to do.
[I replied:] Here's another example of how the LDS Church has screwed your thinking up. You buy their assumption on faith having no evidence. Why in the world would I believe that? Then you assume that the only evidence that counts is physical and personal seeing. But that's silly. Do you have evidence that I exist? Of course. Have you seen me? No. So how do you know I exist? Perhaps you're imagining this whole conversation. Perhaps it's a dream. That's possible. So if you don't have physical and personal seeing of me, why do you *believe* (i.e., exercise faith) that I exist? Have you ever seen Caesar? No. Do you have good evidence that he existed? Of course. Then why don't you hold the same for Jesus and what He taught?
He taught that He came to give life for those who have faith or believe, and for those who do, they pass from death to life (Jn. 5:24). It has nothing to do with my goodness. This is another area where Mormonism has screwed your thinking.
The Bible doesn't teach that we get right with God by our good works, since we're all sinners. The Bible clearly teaches that salvation is by grace and not of works (Rom. 4:5, 11:6, and Eph. 2:8-9). Our best is never good enough, since we’re always struggling with sin and any of it is an offense to an All Holy God. That’s why all our own righteousness is called “filthy rags” before Him (Isa. 64:6). You can’t murder someone and then tell the judge, “But I saved someone from drowning!” You’re still guilty and need to be forgiven of *all* your sins. That’s why Christ paid the debt you could never pay, and He wants you to receive it instead of boasting about your performance in all these other areas. Because of this incredible *gift,* to those who freely receive it, they obviously *want* to live for the Savior. It’s not that they *have* to. That’s the freedom we have as believers. If they don’t *want* to, then it should be obvious by the way they live that they’ve never received the gift scripture teaches in the first place.
I'm very happy with my life. Very fulfilled. I do have a wife and kids. My wife used to be LDS, but now she lives for Jesus instead of some legalistic church. But even if I didn't have a wife and kids, my life was already fulfilled in Christ. He's the ultimate. I live to serve Him, and He's using me to warn you and offer you the same ultimate fulfillment that nothing in the world can give.
You need Him! There's nothing else worth living for. Living for yourself and your own temporary pleasures? C'mon! Why put up with all the crap to get temporary pleasures? Why not just be done with the whole circus? If life's about you and your pleasures, then you become your own God until you die pretty soon. Really? So if you can get away with rape and murder if that turns you on, why not? What a pathetic way to live!
We're all going to die, but Jesus lives forevermore. He fulfilled prophecy written about Him hundreds, thousands of years before He came on the scene (e.g., Isaiah 53). Also, the best case of history demonstrates that He rose from the dead, and thus is who He claimed to be... God in the flesh. The New Testament was all written in the first century. It would have been very easy to kill the early Christian movement. How? Simply produce the body of Jesus or get others who testified of their experience with Him after His death to recant. Instead, they went to their deaths holding to what they knew to be true, and Christianity flourished. In fact, our whole western calendar is based on Jesus living... AD: in the year of our Lord. If Jesus isn't risen from the dead, then I might as well live a pathetic life like you are... one without any ultimate hope.
Do I have 100% certainty? No. But again, I don't have 100% certainty that I'm actually corresponding to a real person outside my own thought life. So what? I'm still reasonable to infer there is a person I'm corresponding with outside my own thought life. And I'm a whole heck of a lot more reasonable in living for Jesus than you are for living for your pathetic temporary pleasures.
I read your blog about Charles Schulz and his daughter over Mormonism. My cousin was Ann's boyfriend, and I always figured their family had a big part of her conversion to Mormonism. I can only believe that Charles wasn't that worried about Ann joining the LDS church because the fruits of it are pretty obvious-- happy families who try to live according to Jesus' teachings. Love, service, obedience, repentance, etc.
I then read your take on Jeffrey Holland's claim that Mormons are Christians. I find it amusing, actually silly, how so many of you out there are so insistent that Mormons aren't Christians, but I guess it's by your definition, so I get it. But we LDS people believe in Jesus Christ, believe he atoned for our sins and was resurrected-- resurrection is a gift we ALL will receive, but only those who repent and make use of the atonement as the great gift it is, will enjoy eternal life with God again. And we believe the atonement is much more than a death bed gift, but rather we can lean on Christ during our lifetime since he paid not just for our sins, but took on our infirmities, our mortal pains in every sense, and our loads can be lightened if we turn to him. We believe in doing our best all the time-- not just declaring our belief in him so we're "saved" and can do whatever the heck we want the rest of our lives. How that makes sense to anyone is beyond me.
For anyone like you, who has obviously studied religion, can read about Mormonism and not think that maybe there's something there, is sad to me. Prophets have always brought Christ's church back from apostasy, so the Joseph Smith story is nothing new. In fact, the Joseph Smith story is so incredible, that if it were fake, how could it possibly have led to such a fruitful existence, growing by the thousands? What fruits are born of it? Happy families who know who they are and the purpose of life. We lived before coming here. We live by faith now. We know the reward, through the atonement, that waits for us. This is why active LDS people are happy, hard working, faithful, tithe paying people. It's a shame that those who get pretty close to looking at them, can't see them for what they are. CHRISTIANS!!!!!!!!!
[I replied:] Hi,
I don’t doubt there are many happy families in Mormonism. But that’s not a good criterion of what counts as good fruit. You can have a lot of happy families in any number of groups that are headed to hell. As for “Love, service, obedience, repentance, etc.,” those may also be found in other groups that are diametrically opposed to Mormonism. As such, they can’t both be true. So the focus for me is on objective truth as I stated in that blog on Schulz. And if that’s found in religion, then the Shulzs both had a moral obligation to persuade each other just as the Apostle Paul said he did with men (2 Cor. 5:11).
I’m glad you see that by our definition, Mormons aren’t Christians. But more precisely, given our definition, Mormons are false Christians. Again, they both can’t be true. Either Christ is the creator of Lucifer or He’s not, for example. Mormons devalue Christ and hold to the latter and traditional Christians hold to the former.
The Holland blog didn’t deal with the grace/works issue which you brought up, but that also adds to the distinction between Mormons and Christians. Of course any Christian is going to affirm they are to do their best all the time; it’s just that we think that this isn’t good enough to save us, since the Bible clearly teaches that salvation is by grace and not of works (Rom. 4:5, 11:6, and Eph. 2:8-9). Our best is never good enough, since we’re always struggling with sin and any of it is an offense to an All Holy God. That’s why all our own righteousness is called “filthy rags” before Him (Isa. 64:6). You can’t murder someone and then tell the judge, “But I saved someone from drowning!” You’re still guilty and need to be forgiven of *all* your sins. That’s why Christ paid the debt you could never pay, and He wants you to receive it instead of boasting about your performance in all these other areas. Because of this incredible *gift,* to those who freely receive it, they obviously *want* to live for the Savior. It’s not that they *have* to. That’s the freedom we have as believers. If they don’t *want* to, then it should be obvious by the way they live that they’ve never received the gift scripture teaches in the first place.
If you don’t have all this as an understanding, then good luck following what your late prophet Spencer W. Kimball said: "Your Heavenly Father has promised forgiveness upon total repentance and meeting all the requirements, but that forgiveness is not granted merely for the asking. There must be works-many works--and an all-out, total surrender, with a great humility and 'a broken heart and a contrite spirit.' It depends upon you whether or not you are forgiven, and when. It could be weeks, it could be years, it could be centuries before that happy day when you have the positive assurance that the Lord has forgiven you. That depends on your humility your sincerity, your works, your attitudes" ("The Miracle of Forgiveness,” 324-5). It ain’t going to happen.
Christians also agree that the atonement “is much more than a death bed gift,” but it certainly is at least that according to the parable of the workers in the vineyard in Mat. 20:1-16 and the story of the thief on the cross repenting and being promised to be with Jesus in paradise, which according to St. Paul is the third heaven where God dwells (cf. Lk. 22:42-43 and 2 Cor. 12:2-4).
As for the issue of apostasy, the issue isn’t that prophets have always brought back people from it. The Joseph Smith story is something new, because it demands a *total* apostasy, which requires a *restoration,* not a *reformation.* However, I’d rather believe Jesus who said that the gates of hell would never prevail against His Church that He would build (Mat. 16:18).
Finally, your question about how could Smith be a fake when his church continues to grow happily by the thousands harkens back to the beginning of both our emails. Was Muhammad a fake? Most Muslims who are not of the fundamentalist sort can say the same thing concerning their religion, and it has over 1.6 billion! I think you need a better criterion for truth. I suggest Jesus’ own words and whether Smith taught another Christ and God (cf. Deut. 13:1-5), as well as whether Smith had all his prophecies fulfilled when they were supposed to be fulfilled (cf. Deut. 18:18-22), and then examining all the bad fruits of Mormonism: http://mormoninfo.org/matthew7:15-20.
[He replied:] Funny how sure we both are, and totally disagree. One day we will find out, and I'm afraid you will discover that you were "ever learning, and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth".
Yes, a total apostasy took place since after the death of Christ and his apostles those with any priesthood authority also died off. Finally, when Joseph Smith as a boy wanted to know which church to join, because his own mom & dad went to different churches, he simply asked as James 1:4-5 told him to, and that began the restoration, NOT reformation. Angels visited and eventually restored all authority and keys-- John the Baptist, Peter James & John, to name a few. The golden plates were handled and testified by many, and translated into the Book of Mormon which supplements the Bible so beautifully to help us understand precious truths that were distorted over the centuries and translations-- even something as basic, yet SO important, as the nature of God and the Godhead-- distinct beings, we'll be resurrected with flesh and bone like them-- why would we grow into anything other than our Father in Heaven?
You'll never be convinced, that's OK, when you get to the spirit world and recognize people preaching there who also talked about a pre-earth life (a truth also restored to us now), I hope you'll listen, recognize it for what it is, and accept the baptism and other ordinances that will be performed for you by someone still on the earth. Oooooh, that thought has to be a little painful for you now, huh? Oh well, don't sweat it!
So forget religion-- I bet we at least agree on politics and that God gave us this country for a purpose, and that those who wish to throw away our freedoms and chase socialism are destroying it, yes? So I hope your activism includes politics and fighting for conservative values-- seems to me most Christians do and that's what's still saving this country.
[I replied:] Why think we have to wait to find out after we die? Why not read what God has said in the Bible now? If I'm right, then you're on your way to hell after this life and you don't get a second chance (cf. Heb. 9:27 and Alma 34:32-35). Please just read the New Testament without your preconceived ideas and let God speak to you through it. I did that with all the LDS scriptures, so I think it's fair that you do that with the Bible. If you have already, then the Bible commands us to give *reasons* for our faith (1 Pt. 3:15). You haven't really done that. All you have done is simply tell me what the LDS Church believes, but of course I already know what they believe.
You evidently didn't read my blog on Holland very carefully, since you continue to use a straw-man against the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. Of course we believe the members of the Godhead are distinct; we just don't think they are separable.
I'm sure you'll be please to know that it sounds like we agree politically. Please read my other blog posts, and you'll find that I do venture into the political, since I hold it to be an extension of ethics.