Charis and Zoe with a doll they createdTraining My Daughters
One night at bedtime, my 8-year-old, Charis, tells me that all her friends at school are Mormons, and they won't believe that there's only one God. She said they say there's 2. She said that they just won't listen to her and that she feels so bad for them that she could cry. She realizes that they are following a false god.
I tried to remind her that we can't really change their minds, and that we just have to keep praying for them, loving them, and reminding them what God actually says, and tell them that if they love God, then they need to follow what He says rather than what anyone else says, including their own family. She's memorized Isaiah 43:10, so I encouraged her to share that with them.
As we begin to pray, without any prompting, my 5-year-old, Zoe, prays for Charis' friends to believe there is only one God!... among thanking God for Windex, her cats, dogs, family, the colors black and white, etc., etc. "OK, Zoe, you're repeating yourself, so it's probably best that you just say, 'Amen.'"
Last month we had Cindy Keetch share her story at our monthly fellowship. You can watch the video here and see the pictures here.
Blog on First Vision Accounts
I spent a good deal of time thinking and writing about the different accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision accounts. Winter is a good time to get a lot more reading and writing done. I read what one friend wrote on the matter, and then another friend not long after that ask me for my thoughts on the matter. I have avoided this subject for too long, so I wanted to give some serious attention to it. I argue that the accounts are fishy, and since they were given by Joseph Smith, they are
Brother Scott and Rob Sivulka
unreliable for accurate information, but nonetheless, I do not find clear inconsistencies among them despite everything I have heard to the contrary. So if you would like to examine my tentative conclusion, please read Can the Various First Vision Accounts of Joseph Smith be Reconciled?
Responding to “Brother Scott”
A few weeks ago, we received an ad in the local paper for “The Book of Mormon Spiritual and Temporal Witnesses Presentation." It is a presentation by a guy named “Brother Scott” regarding the burning in the bosom and archaeological support for the Book of Mormon. I saw the ad last year, but couldn’t make it. This year, I wanted to go and see what all the hype was about. I went and have issued a critique, which you may read here. He has two other sessions, so I plan on going to those and writing more critiques. I will also advertise my JosephLied.com for the audience as they leave.
Home Page on MormonInfo.org
If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the Home page chart of differences, you may want to revisit it. I have cleaned it up and added a number of great quotes!
I have edited and posted a new testimony from a former Mormon on our site: Robert Billings. Some of you should send me your testimony, so that we can have it posted there as well.
We Need Your Partnership!
We not only need your prayers, but we need your financial partnership 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). For more information on various ways to invest in this ministry, including online giving, please see our “Invest” page on any of our sites. Please keep in mind we have no financial guarantees each month. Ministry partners come and go. If you’re not a partner and are blessed by these monthly updates, 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!
We expect God to provide for our needs through you. Why? Because the Bible is clear: “the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14).
My buddy Scott Erlandson came up with a great idea to help us raise funds. He set up a fundraiser to CCU on Facebook for his birthday. If everyone did this on Facebook, we would have no trouble with our monthly finances!
If you sign up to become a monthly partner, I will gladly send you Floyd McElveen's book, Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith, which is based on the DVD and includes it on the back cover.
Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6)!
President, Courageous Christians United
I'm going to start wearing my [JosephLied.com] shirt in public as well. I hope it will start some good conversations!
…It's amazing how God uses us.
I stopped at a fried chicken food truck a few months ago and noticed a scripture on the side of the truck. When I mentioned the scripture, the owner was afraid I was anti-Christian and responded as if she was afraid of my response.
When I thanked her for not being afraid to show her faith to her customers, prayed for her and told her we need more Christians to be courageous like her and openly share their faith like this, she mentioned that I was an answer to her prayer just that morning. She was struggling as a new business owner. I told her to trust in God and even if she struggles for a while, He is using her for His good!
That's motivating. I'm a little afraid of opposition, but I to need to be courageous and openly share my faith. I need to use the same advise I gave to that business owner.
Thanks for all you do bro!
Yeah I wanted to know where the heck you conjured up such false doctrines as to why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is wrong? What better option is there? Tell me of a more beautiful and joy filled Church on the Earth that isnt the LDS church! That's right because there is non! Have you even taken time to ponder and/or pray to the Author of Truth and the Eternal Father for answers? If not I would advise that you do so before you continue to spread you "doctrine"
I am a Missionary who happened to stumble on your website and I was very...... suprised
[I replied:] Hi Jacob,
Well if you examined the home page chart of differences between Mormonism and Christianity, you should have your answer. I have links that go straight to LDS sources on the left, and on the right, I have biblical sources which contradict what Mormonism teaches. CTR! Yes, I've asked God for wisdom and knowledge as I read all the LDS scriptures. He revealed to me that they aren't of Him, and are leading people to hell. I ask you to read through the New Testament without any preconceived ideas, and ask yourself, "Is this really what the LDS Church teaches?" I pray that God will reveal Himself to you and realize that JosephLied.com.
[He replied:] So It is pleasing to God that his Children all teach from the Bible but Contradict one another depending on what each believes? There is ONE Bible "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism" Why are there so many different denominations teaching the same bible in 100 different ways? How is this pleasing to God? Is God an Author of confusion? No and it is contrary to believe that he would want us all to be confused and lost wondering which Church is True. Joseph Smith understood this as a 14 year old boy. He had very little education but that didnt stop him from seeking to find answers. And he did! We believe that there WAS INDEED a "falling away" when Christ and his Apostles left the earth. There was nobody to guild the Church. No authority to say what was doctrine and what wasn't. When Constantine came into power over Rome, there was a lot of confusion to the idea of Religion and what Christs church was. The Saints of Christ and his Church were persecuted, banished, and killed by the opposition of the Emperor Nero. Because of this, The Foundation of Christs Church crumbled and the Authority of God was taken from the Earth. Constantine established a central church for people to believe on. Thus the Roman Catholic Church was born! Since then, HUNDREDS of churches have branched off from that Catholic Church.
We believe that Christs church has been Restored in the EXACT manner as was the Primitive church. We have a Prophet to lead and guide us with the help of 12 Apostles all called of God to teach and lead the Church. Prophets have taught and lead us in the ways of the Gospel since the world began starting with Adam. "God is the same yesterday today and forever"! Amos tells us that "surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secrets unto his servants the prophets". Why would God stop sending us Prophets to lead and guide us in the ways of happiness and Eternal Life?
I can Testify to you that Christ Church is hear on the Earth and it IS the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! I would invite you to listen to a talk pertaining to the "blueprint" of Christs Church
[I replied:] Does it please the Lord that there are over 100 branches of Mormons that all teach from the Book of Mormon, but all contradict each other? Is the God of the Book of Mormon a God of confusion? Your question proves nothing. I am very well aware of the Mormon story, so you don't need to rehearse that for me. Smith was a false prophet, since he clearly went against the 3 basic tests for a prophet of God in the Bible: 1) Smith taught other gods contrary to Deut. 13:1-5; 2) he gave numerous false prophecies contrary to Deut. 18:21-22; and 3) he had lousy fruit contrary to Jesus's teaching in Mat. 7. Jesus warned of false prophets who would come in the last day and teach false Christs in Mat. 24:24.
Here's a video of a former Mormon missionary telling how he got converted to Jesus on his mission. Micah Wilder is a friend of mine, and his mom Lynn Wilder (also a friend of mine) used to teach at BYU, and she also got saved. Please be a little open-minded, and watch this 17-minute clip.
[He replied:] Jospeh Smith Translated the Book of Mormon to be the Keystone of OUR religion. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!!!! The Church that has the Authority to perform His labors. Not the other 100+ "branches" that decided to apostatize from the truth. Its no different than what happened tot Christs Primitive Church....Because it IS Christs Church.
You are RIGHT! Jesus DID warn of false prophets but by their fruits ye shall know them. Sir, Joseph Smith's fruits are pure and I have come to know them as divinely inspired testimonies that He was and is a prophet of God... What have you to say otherwise? I am looking at your fruits right now... you are an author of contention and a false prophet. You lie, plunder, and lead away the hearts of men. Just as prophesied would happen in the Bible. Joseph Smith has restored truths that have brought me and many others I know to Jesus Christ. Find me a better and more Beautiful Church than the LDS Church. Can you promise me any blessings that they haven't already? Do you promise Eternal families and happiness? Or do I sit on a cloud playing a harp?
Pertaining to that video..... Do you even know what Grace is? You make it seem like we believe that we have to work our way into heaven and thats not true. It IS only by grace that we are saved! 100%! We are all entitled to return to heaven through Jesus Christ but if you don't follow him and his Gospel, how can you expect to find Joy in the next life when you return to him?
His Grace is Sufficient by: Brad Wilcox
Please listen to this and pray for understanding. I hope we can come on equal grounds as you better understand what we truly believe in.
[I replied:] Hi Jacob,
Look if you have questions for me, then I'm happy to answer them. If you simply want to preach your gospel to me, then I'm not interested in wasting my time.
There are well over 100 different Mormon break-offs, and each claims to be the one true church of Jesus. However, they can't all be right, since they all contradict each other and say the other has apostatized. For example, the fundamentalists who follow Brigham Young teach that Adam is "our Father and our God and the only God with whom we have to do" (Journal of Discourses 1:50-1). You guys don't buy that, so which one is the Church of Christ? How about neither of you, since you both teach a false god and a false Christ?
Joseph Smith's fruits were pure? He lied a month before he died claiming he only had one wife in your History of the Church vol. 6, p. 411. He was answering the charge of The Nauvoo Expositor which blew the lid on his polygamy, and Smith burned the press down. Your church acknowledges that Smith had 30 to 40 wives at the time. So should we believe your church or should we believe Smith? Smith married 11 women who were currently married to living husbands making him a serial adulterer. He married 14 and 16 year old girls. He married a mother-daughter pair. He was a sick pervert, and this is who you're trusting with the restoration of Christ's Church. No thanks!
He gave us racist scripture where God curses people with dark skin (2 Ne. 5:21ff. and Alma 3:6ff.) and as they repent, their curse is taken from them and they get white skin (3 Ne. 2:14-16). No wonder your church didn't allow blacks to attend BYU in the 1960s and didn't give them the priesthood until 1978. Bad fruit.
Jesus taught that there's no marriage in heaven in Mat. 22:30 and that we will like angels, which according to your own scripture in D&C 132:17 are single. No, I don't expect to be board in heaven, but I know I'll be with God throughout eternity, since he forgave all my sins. You don't have that peace, and have no idea if you've done all that you can do according to 2 Ne. 25:23. That's why Wilcox is irrelevant. He's not scripture, nor a General Authority. Your own Bible Dictionary calls grace an enabling power that helps you "to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.
Divine grace is needed by every soul in consequence of the Fall of Adam and also because of man’s weaknesses and shortcomings. However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient. Hence the explanation, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23)." This is why you need biblical grace, which saves you before all that you can do. All your good works are as filthy rags in His sight as Isaiah 64:6 says. This is why I don't have to memorize secret handshakes or passwords in a temple ceremony, or wear temple garments night and day. Your gospel is burdensome. The gospel of the Bible is freeing and so loving that it motivates me from within to do works that please God.
If you want to enter God's presence, his grace isn't sufficient. Your general authorities all teach it must be "earned." Exaltation is a matter of works in which you get rewarded and you're helped only if you've done all you can do. Have you read your own Prophet Spencer W. Kimball's "Miracle of Forgiveness"? If so, then you know what he teaches you must do. You need to keep all the commandments and never even have the desire to fall again, because if you do, all the former sins come back on you as your D&C 82:7 teaches. Kimball says clearly on p. 164 that your trying is insufficient. You need to do all of it, and your own Book of Mormon says that God's never given you a command that He doesn't expect you to keep (1 Ne. 3:7). So do them all; if not, then you aren't really repentant according to D&C 58:34-43. According to Alma 34, you've only got this life to make your repentance complete or you're seal to the devil and that's the final state of your soul (vss. 33-35).
Yeah, I'll stick with traditional Christianity, which clearly teaches we are saved before anything we can do. We are saved through faith just like the thief on the cross who went with Jesus not to Mormon paradise, but to the 3rd heaven according to 2 Cor. 12:3-4.
If you want more criticism of Wilcox, then please read [this].
You make a lousy God. Smith lied to you when he taught we've got to grow up to become gods the same as all other gods have done (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, The King Follett Sermon). God doesn't share His glory in this universe of all things with anyone (Isa. 42:8). He doesn't even know of another true God out there (Isa. 43:10 and 44:8). All other gods in the Bible are false gods (Ps. 96:4-5). You're working your way to something that doesn't exist. Be at peace and leave the Mormon Church and fall to your knees and ask Jesus to pay it all for you. He's waiting. Don't go to hell.
[He replied:] .....thank you for your time Rob!
[I replied:] You bet Jacob! Praying for you!
How would you differentiate between normal feelings and feeling the love of God or the Spirit of God as mainstream Christians describe them?
[I replied:] I'm not sure I understand your question. The point of my post is that feelings are not trustworthy. They are important, since we aren't robots, and they help motivate us to do what's right. But determining what's right isn't ultimately on the basis of our feelings. It's based on what God has revealed, whether we feel like submitting to it or not. Similarly, sometimes, given my defectiveness, I don't feel like serving my wife. However, I do it, since I know it's the right thing to do. Hopefully after a while, the act of serving in a particular way becomes more natural by habit. If not, then I'm just defective thanks to living in a fallen world. Given that we are in a fallen world, we don't trust our feelings; we trust God and His revelation.
[He replied:] So then do you believe in personal revelation? Please explain why or why not
[I replied:] Sure do. For example, read the first section here about my mom [here].
Congrats on being part of a book! Are you the editor, a contributor…what?
Re your answer to the letter about various Jewish beliefs, there are more interesting things you could have written, but presumably the people you cc’d will be able to help him. Just to give one example, there were some Jewish thinkers at and before the time of Jesus who were or at least flirted with a binitarian conception of God. Also, while the concept of the conquering Messiah was predominant, Isaiah 53 was (rightly) taken to be messianic, and of course that’s about the Suffering Servant who is cut off from his people. It’s true that “messiah” or “anointed one” is a generic term, but I believe that at least some Jews took Isaiah 53 to be about the Messiah, not merely someone with God’s anointing.