Advice from a Pastor
With my brothers and our dad celebrating his 70th birthday the end of last monthLast month I was talking to a very prominent local pastor here in Utah, and after learning I was a Christian missionary here, he proceeded to tell me what the proper method to evangelize is. I was quite surprised to hear him say that I shouldn’t argue doctrine with Mormons. Instead, I should only wait to reply to their charge that we are really anti-Mormons. At that point, I’m simply to tell Mormons that it was Joseph Smith who first attacked Christians by claiming to be the only true Church. So if anyone is “anti,” it was Smith.
I politely listened, but I was thinking, “Why is it that so many Christians think they have the magic bullet on how to witness to Mormons?” After witnessing to LDS for about 40 years now, I can tell you there is no magic bullet! There’s not something you can do that’s always going to break through the Mormon bondage. Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do, and, if others won’t welcome you or listen to you, it’s better to just “shake the dust off your feet” as Christ taught and move on to others who will listen (Mat. 10:14). Further, while this pastor’s advice may make sense with one’s family, close friends, and certain others (cf. 1 Pet. 3:1 and 15), it’s quite a generalization to think that all the evangelism we do is within these circles. And what about all those former Mormons we know who came to the Lord, because at least in part, Christians had the courage to “contend earnestly for the faith” as Jude 3 says and argue doctrine with them?
This all reminds me of what happened to us last month with two different internet employees. We changed our internet service provider, and the LDS gal who sold us on it was very open to talking to Tara for couple hours about her beliefs and problems with Mormonism. However, a week or two later, when the installer came and I engaged him in dialogue, it was obvious that this LDS guy had his mind made up. We talked for about an hour, but I knew it was pointless to go further with him. He had his confirmation from God via feelings of the heart. That’s all that really mattered to this guy!
Now if I would have taken this local pastor’s advice, I should have just shut-up and trust that God would bring a close Christian friend into this installer’s life. But just perhaps I was the Christian that God wanted to speak truth into this guy’s life. What if this guy ended up dying later that day and didn’t have a chance to wait until a Christian friend could tell him who the real “anti” was? As I read the Bible, I just don’t see Christian witness there being this passive. In fact, sometimes it’s very active as well as offensive.
I found it ironic that the first LDS individual I talked with one night at Temple Square passes me by and simply says, “You should read the Bible; it would help you!” I could only quickly respond, “I did, and it doesn’t teach Mormonism!”
Here's my radio interview from last month on Not Another Corny Christian Radio Show. I come in about the 10 minute mark.
Here are the pictures and video of Falon Gilson's testimony at last month's Ex-Mormon Meetup.
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Poor Lost Mormons how blessed are they who bring Truth to these deceived people thanks Rob keep up the bold and courageous witnessing you inspire me often
I unfortunately mentioned yesterday that I would prefer to be cremated and all the Mormons came down on me like a ton of bricks........I just listened and said nothing.
What is your view about cremation according to the Bible and being a reborn Christian following Jesus.
[I replied:] I want my wife to cremate my body, since it's a lot cheaper than burial. If the worry is resurrection, the God who made matter itself isn't going to have any problem reconstituting my body for *me* to inhabit when the time comes. The Bible is silent on the matter of how one's body is to be disposed after death.
[She replied:] Much appreciated, thanks.
I feel the same way but they said that we are going to "stand up" and need our bodies/flesh?? I replied with the fact that my spirit cant be cremated. Oi!
[I replied:] Silly. Of course when God resurrects our bodies, we'll stand up. What? Is cremation really too difficult for their God? Then this is another reason why the LDS God is too weak! I wonder where they get this crap from? Even on their view, their God organized matter to produce mortal bodies, so why can't He do it again with immortal bodies? Man, the stuff they come up with!
[She replied:] Thx. Blessings with what you're doing in such boldness, truly an example! Yip! Mind blowing......
[I replied:] My guess is that this is another cultural Mormon understanding with no scriptural reference. Sorta like it's OK to have hot coco but not hot tea or coffee, since the latter breaks the Word of Wisdom when the former doesn't... although all the WoW says is no hot drinks. Just dumb thinking.
[She replied:] Really?? No hot drinks?? I thought it was about coffee?? No wonder I always have to make my own tea when visiting......
[I replied:] https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/89?lang=eng
That's all it says about it.
[She replied:] Goodness, completely missed this in all the time I gathered info regarding the Mormon cult. I prayed through the whole funeral, that they must, will, can see the truth...Jesus. It is so sad, they think they're saved and ok but they're not.
Rob, Tara and friends,
A while ago I mingled with your people in Manti at the Mormon Miracle Pageant. It seemed that rather than to help me fill my cup to runneth over, you (they) were more intent on making me spill what I already have. Thank heaven I saw you first; and then the pageant -- the pageant filled my soul and lifted my heart.
I was perplexed as to why so many people are so darned obsessed with tearing down something that, regardless of its authenticity, motivates people to do good in the world, be honest, serve others, strive to be Christlike, and share of their time, talents, and worldly possessions. Have you nothing of your own to promote -- to make this world a better and happier place?
Perhaps you might weigh your efforts of tearing something down against time spent in building something up.
Sure we Mormons try to share our beliefs, but we try to approach you privately, courteously, unobtrusively and without guile -- but with a "no thanks" or even a "hell no" we thank you for your time and leave. We would never consider interrupting your gatherings.
Even if the CoJCoLDS is not the "one true church", are we the ones most in need or your truths? Are we the ones furthest from the teachings of the Savior?
I see that you seek donations -- show me the good that is done with your collections and I will gladly donate -- or simply ask your faithful to donate 10% of their earnings (surely they can bring that with them to their new congregation. Yes, I do know where my tithing goes; I see the good that it does in the world; and I would never want to give up the joy derived therefrom.
Why did you leave? What FIRST caused you to want to disprove what you once held as truth? Did someone offend you? Did you find some of the "commandments" too hard to live? Nearly all of those whom I know personally to leave the church, fit into one or both of those categories. I've yet to meet the one who found something that made him/her behave more as our Savior taught. Perhaps that is you -- but that's not what I saw in Manti, nor is it what I see as I walk to the conference center.
Give me something positive and uplifting -- something that persuades me want to become a better person. I already know that Joseph was also "just a man" -- as were most of the prophets of old. Only Jesus Christ was perfect, and Mr. Smith never professed himself to be so. On the other hand, why is it so easy to believe that his detractors are truthful? What is it that they say about the first liar?
Why do so many people who leave the LDS church, find it so hard to "leave the church alone"?
Who, except the devil himself, would try harder to prove Joseph Smith a fraud -- and why??
Thank you for your time.
[I replied:] Obviously we hold that Mormonism is blasphemous, evil, and it's leading you to hell. Correction is what is required to bring you the life that is only in the God of the Bible. Mormonism has deceived you. If that's all true, then wouldn't you want to know about it before it's too late? You can still be happy and headed to hell, but someone needs to warn you before it's too late. Of course you don't believe that, but there's obviously a ton of us (including many Ex-Mormons) who do, and that's why we come from all over the country to try to help you guys out.
If you're at all interested to learn why we hold this, then please spend some time reading what we believe as Christians and how contradictory Mormonism is on my www.MormonInfo.org Home page chart of differences.
Thanks for the great resources you provide and the great work you are doing!
I am a rather new Christian (I grew up going to church when I was young, but never had a saving relationship with Jesus - I only started to truly believe and repent two years ago or so). I am trying to share my faith with people as I find opportunities. I have some friends that are Mormons, and I came across a talk you gave on Mormonism at Watermark back in 2009 (I downloaded it on the Watermark app).
Ultimately, I would like to prepare myself to talk with some of my Mormon friends about the differences between Christianity and Mormonism. Do you have any outlines from the various talks you have given? You gave a lot of great information at the Watermark class, and I wanted to see if you had anything that I could keep with me when I am talking with my Mormon friends.
[I replied:] Thanks for writing and the encouragement. Instead of outlines, I think the following will be more helpful for what you’re wanting: [here] and [here].
Hope that helps!
Hey Rob. I have been "studying" the history of the church etc. and long story short, here I am on your web page. The one thing that holds me back from completely trumping my fear of "going to Hell'' if I leave the church is my Patriarchal Blessing. In my blessing I am warned about having the opportunity to "stray from the path", and the wickedness never was happiness etc. How do Christians outside of the LDS church (who have left) explain blessings? Is it possible that there is truth that needed to be restored through Joseph Smith but that maybe Joseph Smith went off the deep end (therefore God allowing him to be killed by the mob). Than again, wasn't abinidai(?) put to death by fire? If he was a prophet of God why would he allow him to be killed? I am hurting inside and so confused. Please shed some light on this for me. Thank you!
[I replied:] I’ve never been LDS, but I’ve asked others who have and are now Christians. The basic answer is that these “blessings” are an ungodly form of manipulation to get you to take your eyes off truth/God. The Bible is clear that prophets can speak the truth and get things right, even performing miraculous signs, but if they lead you to other gods than the only true God (Deut. 13:1-5) or if what they prophesy doesn’t come to pass (Deut. 18:20-22), then we shouldn’t fear them. Jesus was clear in Mat. 16:4 that a wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign. So God is allowing you to freely choose whether or not you’ll follow prophets that give signs, but ultimately lead you away from Him.
Damn everything else and follow Jesus. Only He has the words of life (Jn. 6:67-8). We are complete in Him as Col. 2:10 says. He promised to build His Church and that not even hell would prevail against it (Mat. 16:18). The faith was already once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). Any other info that God wants you to know isn’t pertinent to your salvation or right standing with Him. Of course the Church or Body of Christ has good times and bad times, but it remains and has no need of a resuscitation or restoration.
So why would God allow false prophets to be killed? Only He absolutely knows for specific cases. Since they’re all men, they all die, so why not some by being killed? There are in fact all sorts of false prophets who are killed for their beliefs (e.g., David Koresh). So dying for one’s faith isn’t sufficient for making their faith true. I don’t even need to provide empirical examples of this, since this is philosophically obvious. Suppose some nut goes to an Islamic community preaching that Muhammad was a false prophet and said nut is the true prophet. We know what the result would be. Also keep in mind, that in the cases of Koresh and Smith, both fought for their lives, which obviously were about PMS (power, money, and sex). That’s quite a bit different from the early Christian martyrs.
I pray that God will give you the strength to follow Jesus and give you discernment in avoiding false prophets. I’ve got you on my prayer list. Please let me know how I can continue to help.
LOL - You need to learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (a.k.a Mormons) if you think they don't believe in Jesus Christ. The LDS faith is Christian and also studies the Bible. The King James Bible to be exact.
Maybe you should go to the church website so you can learn a bit more about a faith you know nothing about it seems. http://lds.org
[I replied:] That's already on my links page. LDS have a false Christ as I make clear on the www.mormoninfo.org home page.
[She replied:] What you have on your blog is bits and pieces of what has been said and taught. Remember everyone here is only human (a man). What is said can always be twisted, misunderstood, etc. I have seen such things said in other faiths as well by leaders within those churches walls. Even in the Bible you can find things that go against each other. This is why there are many people who have chosen not to belong to a faith. Saying the LDS has a false Christ is pretty short sighted as they believe in the same Jesus Christ all christians believe in. Also, the cross and his death upon it is not removed from the faith. Here is another article maybe you haven't read about this subject
I have friends of many faiths and those who do not believe in religion at all. I don't judge them, nor them of me. However, I have never pointed a finger at one of them or someone I did not know and say you worship a false Christ. I do not believe this of anyone who worships Christ. I think we are all seeking answers and full truths. I feel I have found this in the LDS faith. I have looked at other faiths, attended and studied their teachings. The one thing I found the same about most of them is they point a finger at the LDS faith and talk about how wrong it is. However, the LDS faith has never named another religion by name and called it wrong...other than Joesph W. Smith when he was young and first seeking truth as a boy. Do we hold what he said then as a believe...No. We know this is how he felt when he was seeking a religion to share truths and teachings of Christ in his life. What he said had to do with his point of view back in the 1800's. It has nothing to do with what we think as a church. We embrace other faiths and love talking about Christ with other faiths. Do we always agree with each other...No. However, we do know we each believe in Christ, what he gave on the cross and how through him we can return to God and that is the same in all christian faiths no matter how we worship him.
[I replied:] Of course as imperfect beings we're going to see things even in the Bible as contradictory, but that doesn't entail that they are actually contradictory or that we shouldn't work to get at what the truth is. So if I'm misunderstanding something in the Bible or even with what LDS teach, then I'm willing to try to make sense of it. It's myopic to assume all Christians have the same Jesus though. It's like saying all blacks look and think alike. Further, if LDS don't have a false Christ, then I really don't know who do. And I do know that Jesus taught false Christs would come (Mat. 24:24). Traditional Christians exalt Jesus to a position higher than any other, but LDS don't, since He's simply a first born child of heavenly parents.
I'm well aware that LDS believe Jesus died on the cross. But that's not the point. LDS generally believe that the atonement happened in the garden and the cross just finished Jesus off.
Regardless of whether you think I worship a false Christ or not, you still made another judgement against me thinking that LDS aren't Christians and you obviously aren't trying to straighten my thinking out in some way. That's fine. But if you can do that, then I can also do it in other ways (e.g., warning others of false Christs).
Further, you're just wrong about Smith being the only one who called out Christians as being wrong. Not only does that scripture in the Pearl of Great Price do it, but also 1 Ne. 14:10 as well as D&C 1:30. Other LDS leaders in the past have called out traditional Christianity as being hatched in hell, and even the temple ceremony prior to 1990 used to mock Christian ministers as being hirelings of Satan.
Now speaking of worship, who do LDS worship? More than 1 true God? If not, then is it only the Father? If so, then what about the Son who also received worship? If they do, and LDS believe they are separate Gods, then they are clearly going against what Jesus taught. He said we were to only worship God, serving only "Him" (Mat. 4:10). But the Bible is clear that the Son also received worship and is even supposed to be prayed to directly (the latter of which, no LDS is supposed to do)--e.g., Mat. 28:16-20. And even if LDS get this straight, they still have a false god, who is an exalted man. That is, they have no room for the Creator and Sustainer of all things outside His own Being. Anything less than that is idolatry, and those who practice it won't inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
[She replied:] Actually, the LDS do exalt Jesus Christ. He is our savior and redeemer. He is the son of God and God of this world. He is our judge and teacher. He is part of the God Head (all one person or three different - as different Christians believe differently on that one). Jesus Christ is the center our faith...through him is the only way back to our heavenly father and Christ.
[I replied:] Of course they exalt Jesus, but not to the extent that I'm talking about. … He's the spirit bro of Lucifer to them. For Christians, He created him and everything you can even think of.
LDS don't think Jesus created their spirits.
[She replied:] We do believe he created all around us.
[I replied:] Or the planet He was born on as a spirit child.
That's not good enough for traditional Christians.
Christians hold Jesus is literally "God over all blessed forever" as Rom. 9:5 says.
[She replied:] We believe he is the creator and God of this world. He created every living creature here.
[I replied:] Again, that's not good enough.
And where were we created anyway? LDS say, "Heaven." Well according to the Bible, if we were made in heaven, then we were made there by none other than Jesus as Col. 1:13-18 says.
[She replied:] What we believe is this. We are all son and daughters of Heavenly Father. Now, if you believe the God Head are three people, but also only one...then you would believe Jesus is God, Christ/Redeemer of the World and the Holy Spirit as that is the God Head.
[I replied:] The Son is just as much God, the Creator, as the Father and Holy Spirit is.
[She replied:] However, LDS believe in the God Head as three people in a position known as the God head - Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. They each have different rule, but act as one unit.
[I replied:] There never was a time when they weren't God. But there was according to LDS, since they each had to become exalted to that position.
[She replied:] Okay, so now to the whole thing as Jesus is God. He is God to us.
But first let me explain.
[I replied:] That's not good enough.
[She replied:] … Heavenly Father is our father and Jesus Christ's father. We believe before coming here as is also taught in the Bible that Heavenly Father came to us with his plan for Earth. Satin/Lucifer wanted to make us do Heavenly Father's will therefore taking away freedom of choice. Jesus did not. He wanted to give us freedom of choice. A war broke out and 1/3 the host of heaven was thrown out. Satin/Lucifer and his followers. Jesus however went forth to carryout Heavenly Father's plan and created Earth, the plants, animals, the sun, moon, stars, planets, everything we have here. He even created Adam and Eve in his likeness and that of Heavenly Father's likeness as Jesus is the son of God. Is Jesus a God, yes. We believe is he is and know he is our God here and also the Son of God known to us as Heavenly Father.
[I replied:] Yes, I'm well aware of the Mormon story, but it's not what the Bible teaches. Jesus created your spirit, Lucifer, and any planet you can think of. God is the creator the heavens and "the highest heavens" (Neh. 9:6).
If you doubt that, then you have devalued Jesus and are holding to a false Christ.
Mormons are polytheists and Christians, as well as Jews, have always been monotheists.
[She replied:] Again, it depends on which God is being referred to and how you believe in the God Head. When is says God and you believe the God Head as we do being three complete people - Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, then one can not assume God means Jesus Christ every time as it can be used interchangeably depending on the subject matter.
[I replied:] Well, at least this is a different God than what Christians believe in, since they've always held that each of the members of God have literally always been God. LDS don't think that, and as such, they have individual and "separate" Gods who form a Godhead team. A Christians would never claim there is more than 1 true God as Jn. 17:3 says. However, the LDS scripture is full of references to other true Gods (e.g., Abraham 4-5 where the Gods are helping each other out in laying out the heavens and the earth--directly contrary to Isaiah 44:24).
If the Bible said anywhere that there are other true Gods who properly are worshiped by others, then I'd be a Mormon today. However, then Bible flatly contradicts that.
[She replied:] And the Neh. 9:6 actually says as you cannot quote unless the full verse because all things should be said in the fullness for which they are meant is, "Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou has made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all thing that are therein, the seas, and all that is is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.
[I replied:] the heaven of heavens is another way of saying what the New International version says... viz., the highest heavens.
[She replied:] And not all Christians believe all members of the God Head are one, beyond the LDS.
There are others too.
Other religions who believe this as well.
[I replied:] No traditional Christian believes that there are other true Gods. False Christians may, but that's condemned by the Bible.
Isaiah 43:10 is clear that God says there's not a God before nor after Him. 44:6 says He's the first and last, besides Him there is no God. 44:8 says that God doesn't even know of any other God. 44:24 says that He created all things and spread out the heavens and the earth alone contrary to Abraham 4-5.
[She replied:] If we are going to go with Tradition Christian beliefs then the only true Christian church would be the Catholic church as they were the first church and all others are breakaways.
[I replied:] That's a myopic way of looking at the church.
[She replied:] So then we are all wrong and should convert to Catholics
…we need to agree to disagree. All I can tell you is to search your heart and if you have a faith you believe full fills you and brings complete happiness in your life great...wonderful. All I know is this...I am happy and full filled in the LDS faith. Good luck with your path and we will meet again in this life or the next.
[I replied:] Well you certainly can be happy and headed to hell. The Bible is quite clear that there's a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is the way of death (Prov. 14:12). 1st sense of "church" is an external organization, made up of the 2nd sense: individuals who make up the Body of Christ. It's the 2nd sense that Scripture speaks of. Those individuals are the various branches of the Vine, which is Christ. It's just like my family that is made up of various individuals with different beliefs, but we are united at the core of who we are. I hope we can continue to disagree agreeably with each other as we continue to follow what the Bible advocates, viz., giving reasons for faith (1 Pet. 3:15).
I'm having a hard time believing the whole bible is true.
[I replied:] Well I don't believe the lies of Satan in it for example.
But I don't know why I'd not believe that God accurately gave us His own word and perspective on life in it.
so if you have doubts, then we need to deal with them on a case by case basis
[She replied:] because just like with the BOM there is absolutely no evidence that the Garden of Eden ever existed
[I replied:] Well there's indirect evidence.
Jesus held to it. He's trustworthy. So I have some evidence.
[She replied:] that sounds like a FAIRS response
[I replied:] Why do you need direct evidence of everything?
Can't we hold the Bible is true even if we can't find or have evidence for some place?
[She replied:] well that puts the shoe on the other foot Rob. what would you say to a Mormon about there being no evidence of theBOM being true. although with 100 percent knowledge I can say that that and evey one I ever thought trustworthy was a sham
[I replied:] We do have direct evidence for many places in the Bible. The Bible is truthful in other areas. So why not assume that it's probably right in areas where there's no direct evidence at this point?
We have no evidence that Jesus held to the BM.
[She replied:] BM?
[I replied:] Book of Mormon. We do have evidence through His apostles that He held to the whole Old Testament.
[She replied:] yes, thats pretty confusing
unless he has his reasons for wanting us to believe it
[I replied:] No archaeological site has been directly proven in the New World in the BM
[She replied:] if it isn't true it shots some pretty big holes in Christianity
sorry , shoots
[I replied:] We have a number in the Bible that have been. So why not assume those that haven't had any direct evidence for them actually did exist at one time?
[She replied:] because I don't want to be duped again
[I replied:] no one does, but at least you have evidence for Christianity's historical sites
[She replied:] yes, that
[I replied:] why not trust what Jesus held to?
and leave the rest for God to work out?
[She replied:] I believe Jesus came. I believe most of the OT but some of it is a little hard to bite off.
[I replied:] He's given you enough that you're responsible for believing.
Sure it's hard, but that doesn't mean you should throw it out
[She replied:] why can't some it just be nice stories
how do you fit a dinosaur into the bible
according to stanleys school the earth is only 6,000 yrs olf.
[I replied:] The Hitites were laughed at by archaeologists until there was direct evidence supporting their existence. Well, why not just believe Jesus, hold to the whole O.T., and hold that eventually the evidence will point to those sites and events... either here or in the next life.
There's nothing in the Bible that entails it must be 6,000 years old. It could be billions of years, and our human species only came into existence relatively late.
[She replied:] well you have good points. I have go peal potatoes.