Last month we had Dale Ruesch share his story of coming out of Mormonism and giving his life to Christ. You may watch his testimony and see the pictures at the above URL.
Tara shares her testimony with mission teamHosting a Mission Team
We also hosted a mission team from a church in Cupertino, CA. They brought the food, and I barbecued. Tara shared her testimony and I shared about ministry to Mormons. The team was working with Utah Partnerships for Christ in Ogden, UT.
After finishing mowing my folks' lawn, their neighbor LDS missionaries biked past me. I called out to them asking if they were going to an appointment. They said they weren't, so I introduced myself to them. These were both new missionaries that I hadn't met before. Martinez was from Houston and Dance was from Alabama. They asked if I was LDS, so I told them I was raised in a traditional Christian home in Southern California. They asked how I became familiar with their faith, so I told them my story of how they came to my door when I was a little kid and how my mom told me that LDS think they have to get to heaven by their own good works. I then went down the street chasing these missionaries down to tell them they couldn't do that. However, it wasn't until I was a teen that I went on a mission trip to Utah and began knocking on doors and dialoguing with Mormons. It was then that I really began to understand Mormons and how they think.
After introductions, I asked them if they had read the Bible. They said they both had. So I asked them if they found anything different from what the Bible says and their own religion. They said they didn't find anything different. So I shared former LDS missionary Micah Wilder's story of being confronted by a Baptist minister who challenged Micah to read through the New Testament with the eyes of a child, and he ended up leaving his mission due to discovering the radical differences between the Bible and his LDS faith.
Dance replied, "Well that's why I'm thankful for the Book of Mormon that fills in all the things we don't understand in the Bible." So I replied, "The Book of Mormon isn't as doctrinally troubling as the later LDS revelations in the Doctrine & Covenants (D&C) and Pearl of Great Price (PGP). For example, the Book of Mormon never talks about true Gods. In fact, Alma 11:24ff. is clear that there's only one true and everlasting God, but the D&C and PGP on the other hand are clear that there are more true Gods out there and they were involved with creation. In addition to what the D&C and PGP teach, Joseph Smith was clear in his two sermons before he died that God became a God by following another God before Him and there are eternal intelligences one above the other going back through eternity.
However, the God of the Bible is such that He has always been God before anything was brought forth (Ps. 90:2) and that He's always been God by nature, not by obtainment as Gal. 4:8 says. So even if we become gods, we are not gods by nature; we're still human, since we never had to obtain our humanness. Further, the Bible is clear that God is the only one involved in creation in contrast to the idols or the gods of the people as Ps. 96:4-5 and Isa. 44:24 say.
Now you're probably thinking of the 'Us' in Genesis 1:26 [Martinez said he was thinking of this], but it never says 'Gods' there. It only talks about 'God' with the 3rd person singular pronoun in whose image we were made in.”
Dance asked, "Well, it makes sense to ask, ‘Where did God come from?’" I explained that the God I'm talking about never came to be God. He always was God. In addition, I told them that we should know as a basic matter of logic that Smith was wrong in holding to one dependent god upon another throughout eternity, since there would be no way to get to this present moment if that were the case. So I gave these missionaries the example of Dance wanting to use my cell phone, but before I could give it to him, I had to get permission from an actually infinite amount of people. “Well,” I asked, “Do you think you would ever be able to use my cell?” Dance in fact said, "No." So I told them that there must be a literal, absolute beginning which could only be explained by a truly infinite God who always was God.
Martinez brought up the Jeremiah 1:5 passage to support a pre-earth life for us. I told them that I don't buy it, and that this passage speaks of God's foreknowledge of us without us actually existing. This is why Rom. 4:17 says that God calls things that exist not as if they really do. [Even if we did pre-exist, we were still created humans.]
Then Dance brought up Paul referring to us as the “offspring” of God (Acts 17:28) and we are in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). I told them that "offspring" is as figurative as me referring to my dogs as my kids and how they "image" me the more they obey me, but nonetheless, they will always be dogs, even if they become exalted dogs. Similarly, Smith described God as an exalted "man." According to Smith, that's God’s nature that he never had to obtain to. It's his exalted status as God that he had to obtain to. The Acts context is clear on this, since it's in Him we live and move and have our being, but that's not the case in Mormonism, since we all exist from eternity as intelligences and God had nothing to do with that. Further, Acts goes on to say that God's not the type of being who can live in a temple built with hands.
At this point, Dance began playing “the ignorance but I know it's true” card. In other words, he said that had no idea how to make sense of these problems with his faith, but he still knew the LDS Church, Smith, and the Book of Mormon were true, and that he would find out one day about these problems. I replied, "Well, I know Smith was a false prophet, since he failed the very first test of a prophet in Deut. 13. He taught another god than what God had already revealed." At this point, I asked if I could be honest with them. They said, "Of course." So I told them that what Dance was saying seemed just like if I were to say that I wasn't sure whether adultery was prohibited by God in scripture, but I still knew it was good for me to practice it, and that I would find out how to answer these apparent problems concerning adultery in the next life. But of course, by then it will be too late. Why? Because God has already made it abundantly clear by scripture as well as just observing what happens when one commits adultery. Similarly, it's clear from scripture as well as logic that God must indeed be a truly infinite God, one who is God by nature.
Well, Dance said they had to go, so I asked if I could pray for them. They said that was fine, so I prayed to the Father for being a good Dad in giving us His only begotten Son to remove His wrath from us and make us into His righteousness. I thanked Jesus for taking flesh to sympathize with our every weakness and died on the cross to forgive all our sins. I thanked Jesus for raising from the dead. I thanked the Holy Spirit for the same power that rose Jesus from the dead. I asked Jesus to protect these guys and draw them out of Mormonism and to Himself and that they would have new eyes to see the truth in His word the Bible. I thanked the Lord for His word and how it could be trusted, since Jesus told us that it was truth and couldn't be broken. I thanked the Lord that it was a light to our path.
Afterwards, I asked if we could get this picture together. Then I asked them if they could put my folks' trash can inside their gate after it was picked up the following day, since my folks were on vacation. They said they would, and indeed they did.
God's timing is an interesting thing. This interaction would not have occurred if it wasn't for some wreck getting to my folks' place, which rerouted and delayed us just over 1/2 hour. The plan was to drop my girls off near-by for their piano practice for an hour and then I'd finish the lawn during that time. If that was to go according to schedule, I would have missed these guys.
We Need Your Partnership
If you’re looking for ways to store up for yourself treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:19-20), may I suggest investing in our ministry? 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 tax-deductible 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 our sites. 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/or in your financial giving!
Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6),
President, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374
West Jordan, UT 84088
(801) 792-6373 (leave voice message or text)
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Happy to be able to help. You’re doing a great work Rob - I don’t know how you do it, but blessed to be able to push the work forward. The world is really messed up and you’re trying to give hope.
your whole page is LDS hate. iam reporting this group