Rob and Russell about to enter Meridian TempleMeridian, ID
Last month started out by going up to the Meridian, ID LDS Temple Opening. As soon as I got there, I took the tour with my local friend and former Mormon Russell Hayes. At the end of the tour, we talked to two sister missionaries. I talked to one for quite a while and Russell talk to the other. Then I got to talk to both of them for quite a while longer. I first challenged their method of knowing. The one I first was talking to asked me how I knew. I told her I follow Jesus, and if you want to know what Jesus taught you go to His word found in the Bible. I told her how the Bible warned about testing with our feelings, because our hearts are more deceitful (Jer. 17:9), Satan can appear as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11), and even God can send a strong delusion to believe a lie (2 Thes. 2:11). Instead God gave 3 basic tests that are outside of our feelings: 1) do they teach other gods or Christs (Deut. 13:1-5 and Mat. 24:24)?, 2) do they make false prophecies (Deut. 18:21)?, and 3) what does their fruit look like (Mat. 7)? I told her how the Bereans were more noble because when Paul gave them new revelation, they compared it with the Old Testament to see if these things were of God (Acts 17). So I began showing how the Book of Mormon contradicted the Bible with the former being white supremacist 19th century literature.
This was the point where the other missionary got involved in the discussion. I brought her up to speed in our conversation. She then said that the way she looked at it was that "white skin" and "dark skin" were symbolic language used for the righteous and the unrighteous. So I pulled out my phone and read to her from 3 Ne. 2:14-16 and Alma 3:6-9. There it was clear that the point of all this was very physical: no mixing the seed, so that the curse of dark skin would be passed on to their posterity. She simply said, "I don't know." I told her that's fine. I'm just sharing with her some problems why I can't accept Mormon scripture as of God.
Rob preaching with LDS Reid behind himI brought up Brigham Young's statements, and just like the last sister missionary I talked with at General Conference, she admitted that he was indeed a racist! It was just his opinion which was quite fitting with the time. So I went back again to the original criteria the Bible gives for determining whether a prophet is really from Him or not.
I started to talk about the monotheistic passages of Isaiah and contrast that with the stark polytheism of Abraham 4-5. She pulled the "plain and precious truths" card on me, viz., that the Bible has been through translation after translation and many truths have been left out of the process. But she admitted there was no evidence for that position. And I added that all the evidence we have goes against that possibility, including the translation problems with the Book of Abraham itself. Russell said he had already brought that up to this one missionary.
She said they had "another appointment," but I kept talking to them for another 15 minutes or so. I brought up what their apostle Jeffrey Holland said in the introductory video at the beginning of the tour. He said he couldn’t imagine heaven without his wife and family… that it wouldn’t be heaven for him. So I asked these sister missionaries if it would be heaven for them to share their husband with other wives throughout eternity and be eternal baby makers.
Rob praying for ReidThey couldn’t say anything to that, but one simply said that I would never change her mind. She also admitted that her mom even left the Church, and she wouldn't be like that. So I told her how many times I have heard that before, and yet how many former Mormons like Russell used to say the same thing. Russell concurred. I began telling her of an email I got 8 years later after a woman saw my sign while I was advertising my site outside the Newport Beach Temple opening in 2005. She said that she saw it, put it on her shelf, and recently her shelf came tumbling down, and she thanked me for my site. The sister missionary asked me what my site was. I told her, "JosephLied.com." She said, "Oh, so you're with those protesters outside." I told her I was even though I don't condone all the methods that were being used out there (one guy has a devil's mask on with temple garments). I told her that I loved her and how I've devoted my life to reaching Mormons with the truth of God's word.
The other missionary said, "Well we really have to go to our other appointment." I asked if I could say a quick prayer for them before they left, and they look at each other and refused. So you can say that quick prayer for them instead!
Threatening noteThis temple opening was difficult for one on one conversations outside on the sidewalk. LDS were busing people onto the property and many cars were also using their parking lot. It was also cold most days, and any foot traffic we had typically didn’t want to dialogue with us in those conditions. On one Saturday though, the weather was decent and there was quite a bit of traffic. People were lining up to the sidewalk, so I took advantage of the situation and began preaching to them. Here’s the video of that. Immediately after this, I, along with fellow missionary Bob Pilch, shared the gospel with a volunteer security worker named Reid, who was standing behind me as I preached. He was very open and full of questions, and he let me pray for him at the end of our discussion. Here’s the video of our discussion.
Later that same day, I got a video of Braden preaching and sharing his story of coming out of Mormonism and coming to Christ. You can watch that here.
One woman left our literature ripped-up on the front windshield of my car with the following note: “Excuse me. Yes you have a right to voice your opinion, but so do I. Your car/vehicle is sitting in my neighborhood. You are on my turf. Good idea not to park here. I am a generational Pagan/Wiccan. J.” I know it was a woman, since the people I stayed with are neighbors with her. On the other side of the note, it said, “YOU ARE WORTHLESS YOU ARE A LOSER”.
The numbers for people coming to visit the site were pretty good all things considered. Idaho was behind Utah for that entire period. There seems to be just one explanation for this. Mormon Stories Podcast Show had a video interview of Mike Norton that came out not long before this mission trip. He made mention of how he started JosephLied.com. Since Mormon Stories supposedly has a larger following in Utah than anywhere else, it figures that many Utahns continued checking out our site during that time.
Ripped literature and belittling noteI was also able to spend the entire Sunday I was in Idaho with the good people at Homedale Assembly of God. For the evening service, I shared on “The 3 Biblical Criteria for Testing the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith.”
I came back from Idaho and had a day to prepare for our family trip to CA. My daughter Charis was off track from school, and her birthday was the 11th, so we went to Oceanside to celebrate as well as speak at our adopted church in Escondido—Logos Christian. While waiting for our flight at the airport, I had a great time preaching to all the LDS missionaries that were going on their missions. At Logos, the girls recited the books of the Bible and scripture verses, Tara shared her testimony, and I shared on “The 3 Biblical Criteria for Testing the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith.” It was so good to reconnect with friends there.
The next day after we got back from CA, I drove down to my 20th temple that I’ve walked through and done ministry at--the Cedar City, UT Temple Opening. (I’ve done ministry outside other temples too.) The first night was crazy! Lots of people were going through the temple. I didn't see any good options to talk to people in the reception area, so I went out to the sidewalk. It was completely different from the Idaho temple opening! The shuttles were dropping people off and picking them up on the sidewalk, and many people were parking right outside on the street, so people would have to walk past me!
Two couples walked past me and one young guy in a white shirt and tie takes a light swing at my sign. I told him to be a little more open-minded than that. They go up the hill, and he actually threw rocks at me which fortunately missed! I told him he's got anger issues and needs Jesus to change his life. Dude threw rocks at me again and one of them hits my lower right leg! They later drove by in a silver Chevy car and threw rocks again at me! These rocks also missed. I tried to get the license plate, but my eyes are getting old and the wind was really bad, and I didn't want to lay my sign down to try getting a picture. I have been stoned before, but with tiny rocks. These were much more significantly dangerous.
Not long after that a young guy and girl came by. Zack and Kaitlyn are probably early 20s. Zack went to Catholic school as a kid, and Kaitlyn was raised LDS, but rejected it for personal reasons. Both were basically nothing now. They asked me what I was all about, so I told them why I thought Smith was a false prophet and I presented the gospel to them. While we were talking, a truck came by, parked, and then smoked us with exhaust as it took off. It didn't really matter, since it was so windy! Anyway, Zack and Kaitlyn knew they were not going to be with God, and deserved hell, but God showed mercy on them and they prayed with me to repent and received Christ! They knew Christ was now living in them. I encouraged them to grow in various ways, prayed for them, and gave them the temple opening paper, the Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith DVD, and my card. Please pray for them! God made it worth all the headaches!
Given all the foot traffic during this outreach, I only used my lighted sign at night. The nature of this outreach demanded that we (Pastor James Hazelton of the Narrows Church, St. George and I) get out as many temple papers as we could. Sure, we got into a handful of conversations, but we got out around 1,100 of these papers in just two days! You can read that paper here. Here’s a video entitled the “Cedar City Temple Paper Distribution."
LDS security was pretty good to us, but one called the cops on us for trespassing when we were simply using the public sidewalk! Cops came, and were really cool to us, and here’s the video of that event. Before that, one LDS usher was questioning us about someone telling them that one of us was getting on the shuttles to hand our papers out to the patrons! I told her that it was a lie, and we respect their property. Further, we had no reason to do that when we were getting a ton of them out without getting on the shuttles!
Rob speaking at Logos ChristianOn November 19th, I spoke at James’ church on, again, “The 3 Biblical Criteria for Testing the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith.” Here’s the video of that talk. I had a good time reconnecting with friends down there, as well as meeting a lot of new friends.
Not long after I got back from southern Utah, I woke up one morning inspired to write a blog on polygamy called “Excusing Polygamy from Jacob 2:30.” That Book of Mormon passage condemns polygamy as an abomination, yet one verse is used by LDS to justify its practice as an exception to the rule. So here’s my response that.
The day after Thanksgiving, the Temple Square Christmas lights come on and this draws the masses in. It’s such a great opportunity to reach a ton of people with our message via the lighted JosephLied.com sign! The web site stats have been off the charts, and demonstrates yet again that advertising works! Many have been taking pictures, which obviously go on social media, and many have been coming by to ask what did Joseph lie about. Many great conversations have ensued. I also get out a good handful of DVDs each night I go out.
Not everyone has been as thrilled about this as I have been. Here’s a video of an angry vet who told me how he really felt about me after I refused to leave. Typically though, it’s difficult to blow up at me when I smile and wish people Merry Christmas as they walk by!
A couple of the rocks that were thrown at Rob--smaller one hit him in his legOne of the most encouraging stories from my time there last month was that I met a guy named Nate and his wife Anita at the south gate. He told me he left the LDS Church and sent his papers in within the last few months. When I asked what did it for him, he said, "JosephLied.com"! He was leaving, but I gave him the DVD and my card.
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James Hazelton and Rob outside the Cedar City TempleWe 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).
President, Courageous Christians United
Hopefully this will help you in your calling. It’s small But God will multiply!
I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed last Sun[day]! It was so good to see you and your beautiful family! Please come again soon! In Christian love,
Hi, my name is…, and i was assigned a prayer log for this month in my freshman missions geography class. I chose you as my missionary to pray for throughout this whole month. I have been praying for your ministries and hope you are doing well.
Paper distribution outside Cedar City Temple____________________
We were blessed to have Rob out to speak to the body. We thank you and will continue to lift you up in prayer to allow the Lord to use you to be poured into the lives of those who are lost and deceived. God bless and we’ll keep in touch!
… thank you for sharing with us at Logos! So awesome.
Thanks for keeping us in the loop Rob. We enjoy your updates.
Yesterday I went to the lights at temple square. I saw one of your people standing and holding a sign with this website on it. As I walked past, your person was yelling at someone and said, “Well Joseph didn’t have just one wife, he had like 35.” Well for your guys’s Information, they only practiced polygamy just so they could be sealed in the temple. It wasn’t for sex or anything like that. Joseph only lived with Emma and had intimate relations with her. He didn’t live with any of his other wives and never had intimate relations with them. They were only married and sealed in the temple.
[I replied:] You have no evidence for your claim. Here is the evidence contrary to your claim... And even if sex was out of the question, Smith had no business marrying other men's wives they were currently married to and he had no business marrying 14 and 16-year-old girls as a as a 37-year-old man.
I'd also add that as a Church leader, the Bible says Smith had no business taking other wives period (1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6).
Cedar CityJust had another thought... if sex is out of the question, and it's just a means to get women sealed and ensure their place in the afterlife, then 1) it's sexist, since it just is a benefit to women, and 2) worthy LDS males should continue the practice and seal all the LDS women and girls of the world to themselves, regardless if they are married or not. However, if this happens, you'll have a lot of angry LDS husbands and parents!
Another point... what about Brigham Young who obviously had 55 wives and 56 kids by 16 wives?
I have tears as well. Tears of sadness of discovering JS was a fraud. I've loved the church all my life and I'm so distraught to find the lies that have been perpetuated. I could remain in the church if they would teach of Christ and leave JS and the BofM which he created, out of the teachings.
Keep up the good work! I always enjoy your posts. Praying for you guys.
I have a few new pending inquiries and didn't know whether or not you could please help answer them for me.
I'm needing you to address these as it relates to a widow and what Jesus/NT says about them:
Also, from where in the NT do we address Deuteronomy 24:1? I'm looking at Matthew 5:17-19 and trying to explain to another how culture mixed with God in the OT and how female suppression was real at that time. Because of those lacks of rights when compared to men, things were different. But how is the grace for this subject shown in the NT?
Rob speaking at The Narrows Church, St. George, UTIs there a book that directly addresses this concept of female suppression and our rights now, while still abiding by Matthew 5:17? Was 5:17discussing the whole 5 books of the OT, or just a portion?
Thank you again,
[I replied:] Sorry, but I've been on a mission trip and just got back last night. I'm also taking off to CA tomorrow, so sorry I can't be much help now. Lev. 21:10 refers to the high priest.
As for the Num. 30 passage, the verse before says that a marriage woman can get out of whatever she promised if her husband disavows it. Since a divorced or widowed woman doesn't have that headship, she must keep her vow. I'm not quite sure what you're referring to with what Jesus/NT says about this.
As for Deut. 24, Jesus said that the certificate of divorce was given due to the hardness of their hearts, but from the beginning this wasn't how it was supposed to be (Mat. 19:7ff.). This was case law, which God works with the cultural mindsets of the time to bring about the best thing to do in that particular situation. Jesus doesn't deal with case law, since the New Covenant He issued was opening up God's economy from the nation of Israel to all who believe.
Under that latter scenario, new desires are put in the individual to follow God and not be constrained by the case law for a particular nation He used to work through in being the shadows which ultimately brought about the Messiah. There are weightier matters of the law after all according to our Lord, and those were being forsaken by the religious leaders of Christ's time (Mat. 23:23). The New Covenant gives us the words of our Lord come in the flesh to pulls us into simplicity (cf. 2 Cor. 11:3-4). That simplicity is a matter of grace, not of works, which brings us into His kingdom (Rom. 4:5 and 11:6). So the law doesn't bring us righteousness; Christ's death does that. We develop these new desires to follow whatever God gives us, and God's grace is still offered all through our lives as we seek to determine what He'd really want us to do. So the good news is that even though we'll never be perfect and will continue to screw up what God really wants for our particular situation, we still have our desires to follow Him thanks to the new life He's given us.
Back at Temple Square for the Christmas lights1 Cor. 11 is clear that God is the head of Jesus, Jesus is the head of man, and a man is the head over a woman (1 Cor. 11:1-3). Our submission is to each other as friends is motivated by love (Eph. 5:21). However, God made me the head over my wife even though we mutually submit to each other in all sorts of areas.
In addition to telling you to check out some good commentaries, the only book coming to mind off the top of my head now is K. P. Yohannan's Touching Godliness Through Submission (GFA).
Sorry I couldn't be more help on this!
I truly, TRULY thank God for you, Rob!
My two dear friends and I will be standing outside of the Cedar City Temple this December, evangelizing and witnessing to Mormons. Rob, you have taught me SO MUCH! You are such an inspiration! You really are! You give me so much hope not only for my own family, but for others lost in the LDS church. Rob, you inspire me to continuously be bold and to step out in faith. To share the true and living gospel and to keep fighting the good fight.
God bless you, Rob!!!! ❤️ Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do.
Hey, Rob, quick question for ya. Old Testament saints could be and were born again, as is evident by Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus in John 3. But, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit didnt start happening until Pentecost, after Jesus' death and resurrection. So, Old Testament saints were born again, and were counted as righteous on the basis of their faith in God providing a future sacrifice for them, but didn't have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? I didn't know that the two were mutually exclusive. I assumed that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the very means by which a new believer is given a new birth.
Unless, Old Testament saints were born again and justified just as we are, but the indwelling of the Spirit was reserved for new statement and beyond as a helper because of the great commission to preach the Gospel in all the earth, and the persecution that they would face in doing so.
[I replied:] the OT talked of the Spirit coming on not working in to where we didn't need a law of stone but a law of flesh with the Spirit leading from within. That's essentially the New Covenant.
Thanks for the heads up on Shawn [McCraney]'s rant [disrespecting Sandra Tanner]...I really didn't think he could go lower than he already has. You called out all the big guns in the movement, congratulations! I too have contacted some of the same people recommending they not be fence sitters. I am sure glad we have God on our side and filled with the HS, because this fight we have taken on certainly is no popularity contest.. Satan is smiling because of Shawn.. I am very sorry we know him. Keep up the good work Rob, God loves you and so do we!
Will keep you as a friend but removed your anti Mormon rant. It is not that Mormons are perfect. It is just that Protestants are 10 times worse. Luther advocated the slaughter of 30000 Peasants.
[I replied:] Who is better than whom misses my plea/warning entirely. The point is Mormons need to be saved by repenting of their false god/Jesus and trusting the true God of the Bible.
[He replied:] News flash Rob. You are not God. Who made you my Pastor. I am capable of reading many translations of the bible. Why isn't my interpretation as good as yours. I can't find a one heaven or one hell deal in the bible. Not even Greek Orthodox believe in your stupid saved heaven hell itiocy. Their afterlife is similiar to Mormons. Are they going to Hell too. You are a dumbass. [web page]
I talk to God all the time. He never mentions you.
[I replied:] I'm a missionary. You have them to. So we'll continue to do our jobs. Your interpretation isn't as good, since the Bible never says anywhere that there's more than 1 true God and God had to become a God just as we all must. You're blind and make a lousy god. You'll never be worthy enough. But I know the worthy One and He loved you enough to die for you, but you want to be your own god. You're never going to have spirit kids to bow down to you and sing O my Father to you and your wife. Blasphemy. Your false weak god is leading you to hell. Define it however you will, but it's outside of God's presence. I'm going to His presence since He lives in me as Jn. 14:23 says, but which your scripture denies (D&C 130:3). You need to repent before it's too late, and I love you enough to warn you.
[He replied:] [web page]
According to the Jewish bible, about four thousand years ago, a man named Abraham living in Ur of Chaldea met a god named Yahweh. Yahweh instructed Abraham to leave the land of his ancestors...
The bible mentions the plurality of Gods in several place. The bible says do not preach to heretics once they reject you. I have rejected you.
[I replied:] They're all false gods, who are not Gods by nature as Ps. 96:4-5 and Gal. 4:8 say. Again, they aren't the one true God of which there's by definition only one (Jn. 17:3).
Idols as 1 Cor. 8 says, but then contrasted is the Lord and Jesus made all things (vs. 6).
[He replied:] Psalms and Jesus disagree. You are really ignorant.
[I replied:] You can make a god out of anything. Again, you make a lousy god. Ps. and Jn. 10 condemn the false gods who were bad judges and would die like men. Look at Ps. 82. That's what it says, and certainly Jesus wasn't one of those gods.
You're blind and need to repent of Joseph Smith's god.
They were not Judges. The Jews took up stones to kill Christ for quoting this. your interpretation is an old 19th century idea. Nobody believes it anymore except dupes like you. [web page]
[I replied:] Whether they were rightly called judges or not is besides the point. Did you read Ps. 82? They were being judged by God for defending the unjust and showing partiality to the wicked (vs. 2). Does the One True God do that? No, of course not. These guys were not defending the poor and fatherless, and not rescuing the weak and needy (vs. 3-4). Does the One True God do that? No, of course not. These gods knew nothing and walk in darkness (vs. 5). Does the One True God do that? No, of course not. These gods would die like mortals and fall like every other ruler (vs. 6). Does the One True God do that? No, of course not. So it's obviously a condemning Psalm of these gods. False gods. If you can't see that, then you're interpretation is distorted to uphold your prideful position that you can become a god. However that's possibly in the future. These gods are being called gods now. You're not a god in the sense that you hope to be and as Smith said, "You've got to learn to become gods the same as all other gods have done before you." That doesn't happen in this life. So the only conclusion is that these are false gods and Jesus compared the Jews of His day to those gods since they were making unjust claims about Him in Jn. 10.
[He replied:] I am defriending you.. You are a nut. I will testify against you in the next life.
[I replied:] You're going to hell and you need to repent.
You make a lousy god!
[He replied:] There is no hell It is an anglo saxon word dumb&*^%.
[I was going to respond before he blocked me:] "Whatever word Jesus used when He said, 'Don't worry about him that can kill your body and after that do no more. Worry instead about Him that can throw both body and soul in hell'" (Mat. 10:28).