| June 1, 2010
Dear Family and Friends,
Last month we dedicated Charis Sophia to the Lord at our church. My mentor at Talbot School of Theology, J. P. Moreland, was here the first weekend of May doing a Saturday conference and then speaking at our church the next day. So we had J. P. do the prayer. It was great to have my folks and some of Tara's family there for the event! Please watch this 8 minute video of the dedication, and pray for us as we raise Charis to love the Lord.
|Sivulkas with Dr. J. P. Moreland|
We had many help us out in front of Temple Square in May. My dad Bob Sivulka, Ken Rice (ex-LDS) has been coming fairly regularly now, Drew Shreeve from Dallas (he goes to our former church in Dallas, and is a flight attendant who occasionally has layovers here), Maggie Grimyser (who goes to our church), and Brett Kunkle with a mission team from Nebraska (Brett’s on our board for Courageous Christians United and works doing apologetics for youth with Stand to Reason). This has been great for getting the truth out to more people!
On the 13th, Aaron Shafovaloff tried using the bathroom at Temple Square. He left all his literature with me out front, and about 10 minutes later was escorted out by a big security guard. He had actually blocked Aaron from leaving the bathroom while the guard was waiting to hear what to do with him. Once outside the gate, two guards told Aaron that as long as he’s doing any protesting work in front of Temple Square, he’s forbidden to enter Temple Square. That’s actually better than the warning I got a number of years ago!
I can never step foot inside Temple Square! This is not uncommon LDS policy. This also happened at the Manti Pageant a couple of years ago. Christians were barred there from using the “public” restrooms, since they were on LDS property. For video documentation, see here and here.
|LDS guards with Aaron Shafovaloff|
Last week I had a nice long talk with an agnostic gal named Yu, who had just graduated from the University of Utah, and was getting ready to go back home to Japan. Yu’s host mother here has been taking her to a local Bible church, so she’s familiar with Christianity. She was challenged when I asked her what Jesus taught about Himself. It was if she didn’t want to admit what she already knew, viz., that Jesus taught He was the Son of God, God Himself, and claimed to be the way to the Father. She then told me and my friend J. J. Springer (the youth pastor of the NE mission team) that “seeing is believing.” J. J. then asked her if she believed he had a mother, and if she had ever seen her.
Well of course Yu believed in his mom without ever seeing her.
|Rob with J. J. Springer's son Dakota, who loved holding the sign and telling people to look at it and that Joseph lied!|
I was able to witness to our trash man Eric a couple weeks ago. Tara and I were standing in front of our garage when he came by to pick up our trash. After picking it up, he got out of the truck and asked me what was with the bumper stickers on back of my car--CourageousChristiansUnited.org and MormonInfo.org. When I found out he was LDS, I asked him why he thought it was true. Seriously, I waited for at least 20 seconds of uncomfortable silence while he tried to spit something out. Of course he finally said that he just felt it was true. After I told him about the Bible’s condemnation of his feelings as the sole source of truth, particularly in dismissing evidence, after I pointed out to him the Bible’s condemnation of LDS polytheism, and after I asked him why he would trust his feeling when Smith had 34 wives, 11 of whom were already married to other men at the same time, all he could claim was, “I’d rather die than deny the feeling I have.”
Well at that point, what else am I going to say? He wanted out of there, so I thanked him for picking up my trash.
|A barbecue we hosted for a mission team from Nebraska|
This reminds me of Ingrid, an LDS lady, who told me a couple weeks ago that all the writers of scripture were men and thus could make mistakes, but there was no way she could have made a mistake about the witness she has! LDS people as a whole are tragically addicted to their feelings, and they damn the word of God as being the ultimate authority in their lives.
At our Ex-Mo Meetup last month, we only had our CFO Matt Vessey and Ken Rice meet at the restaurant.
We are planning on having barbecues at our place this summer, so pray that God will bring more people out for this time.
|The Salt Lake City Ex-Mormon May Meetup|
Here's a video of me discussing "The Logic of the Trinity" in front of Temple Square on May 20th.
Thanks for praying for more speaking engagements. I was able to fill in for pastors and missionaries Timothy Oliver and John Kauer at Sovereign Grace, Santaquin, UT. They meet in a charter school called the C. S. Lewis Academy. I ministered there on the 23rd and 30th. The first week I spoke on “Hungering and Thirsting for Righteousness” for the sermon, and then did a Sunday school lecture on “What is a Christian?”
The following week I spoke on “Suffering and Joy in Our Evangelism” for the sermon, and then gave arguments for God’s existence in the Sunday school. I also spoke last Wednesday night to the Nebraska team at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church.
|Rob preaching at Sovereign Grace|
As my good friend Corey Miller said, Calvinism, particularly once saved always saved, doesn’t really work when it comes to support-raising. People, as well as jobs, come and go, so missionaries like us are always looking for others to invest in their work. Please remember our financial needs and send in your investment today. Your investment is not simply for us, but for the lives of others we reach with the gospel. The standard way to invest is by writing a check to Courageous Christians United. But we also have secure electronic funds transfers 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 detailed information, please see our “Invest” page on any of our sites. Many thanks to those of you who hold us up in prayer and in your financial giving!
Contending earnestly for the faith (Jude 3),
President, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374
West Jordan, UT 84084
****ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS****
1. To get more speaking engagements
2. For me to do a good job in teaching and witnessing at the Manti pageant later this month
3. To get more partners who will faithfully invest in this ministry
I came across the mormoninfo website in search of a mormon film I had seen years ago. I know this will not mean anything to you, but I am saddened by the fact that you must put down other religions to make your own faith seem greater. The mormon church has never put down or tried to denounce any other religions, but only stressed acceptance of the faith of others. I can appreciate your passion for what you believe, I just feel sorry that it comes at the expense of and lack of respect for what others hold close to their hearts. I'm sure you've heard it all before, and I'm sure you don't care, it's just disheartening to me and I wanted to share. Thanks for your time.
[I replied:] This just isn't true. If you read your own scriptures, they clearly put down other religions (1 Ne. 14:10, Joseph Smith's History 1:19, and D&C 1:30). Further, the temple ceremony prior to 1990 mocked Christian ministers as hirelings of Satan.
But even if it wasn't the case that the LDS Church put down other religions, since Mormonism is false and evil, people like yourself need to be warned about it or you'll spend eternity in hell. It's because I respect you as a person that I warn you. If truth really is in religion, then some religions are just wrong and they keep people from the truth. If what you believe to be true turns out to be wrong, then wouldn't you want others to help you find the truth? I sure would, and Jesus tells us to do unto others as you'd have them do unto you.
I love LDS people. My in-laws are LDS. I've given my life to see people like you come to know a much more powerful God/Jesus than the God/Jesus of Mormonism.
…Keep up the good work. I imagine there are days when you wonder if it is all worth it. Well it is. If you hadn't come up to me outside of Temple Square and started talking to me who knows where I would be now. Our conversations got me to start looking into things more deeply. I had questioned Mormonism before on my mission but was never all that serious about looking into it. I had more important things to do back then. You helped me change my priorities so that looking into Mormonism became the most important thing I could do and for that I will always be grateful.
I have thought about writing many times to you, and now I know we really need your prayers. Our family … have gone through many hard times... This has been very hard on all of us. For me personally, it has brought me to the word of God like never before. This I am very thankful and I can tell you, I never want to go back.
A few yrs. ago, our family received an e-mail from my sister… that she wanted to become Catholic. Everyone was very shocked. My real last talk with her was on talking on God's Word. She said that it is not Sola Scripture anymore, but that tradition and the church are also our authority. We then parted ways. My husband and I felt we needed to protect our kids, so we have really pulled away. We are kind, but stay away from talking, because it only leads to a big argument. Later, she decided not to become catholic, but her and her husband are now apart of a health and wealth church. My sister seems to go with the wind and accept anything that comes her way. I am so concerned and very sad. My family… all seem concerned, but no one wants to talk. Anytime I say that we would like for the family to sit down and talk, although I think we need a [mediator]. Our family cannot talk calmly. I only want to go to the scriptures and talk about things this way, but everyone seems to be one all different pages. This has been very confusing for our kids. We just continue to stay in the Word and teach them Truth and PRAY!!!
Please Rob, pray for us. I am so concerned for my family. Yet the more I grow in Jesus, the more it seems to create more problems in my family. Yet, I see your verse that is posted. Gal. 1:10, Lord, help me to stand for you, even in my family. Thank you, I know that you will pray. Anything that you know or could say we would very appreciated. God bless you.
[I replied:] Sorry about your troubles... At least she hasn't given up on Jesus and the supernatural as many are doing these days.
As for the Catholicism debate on Sola Scriptura, the assumption is that the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) cannot ever be in error, and that's something as a Protestant I don't share. If the RCC can be in error, then how is it going to be judged? It must be judged by Scripture by *any* interpreter, but Scripture is the Word of God and thus the ultimate basis for judgments for the Faith.
Dallas Willard once made a great point in his book "Hearing God:" The infallibility of the message and messenger does not guarantee the infallibility of its reception. The Church is made up of fallible receptors... including the Pope. Since we are all fallible, then we must all be judged by God and His word. Now what this does is that it opens up the door to some interpreters being more credible than others. A group of kids is not as authoritative as a group of any elders in the Church (in any denomination). Given what the RCC teaches, I don't find them as authoritative as a group of Protestant theologians.
As for health and wealth gospel, it's silly and is for infantile Americans who always are looking for material blessings in this life to give them temporal pleasurable satisfaction. The symbol for Christianity is the cross, not the $. Christians may have a lot of $, but that's not the gospel. I don't find the modern gospel to be biblical.
Remember that Jesus being the truth does obviously divide families (Mat. 10). I pray that [your sister] will pick up her cross daily and not use Jesus as a means for her glory, but as an end in itself... for God and His glory. Thanks for sharing!
How would you respond to this video [Jeffrey Holland’s Testimony of the Book of Mormon]? I'd love to pose a question to my friend who sent this... any suggestions? (to get her mind thinking...)
[I replied:] [See here and here.]
Smith and Hyrum died for a racist book: [see here.]
With Smith’s sex cult of at least 34 wives, it’s easy to see how similar he was to David Koresh, who would rather go out in a blaze of glory than to give up his kingdom.
I’m always pleased and amazed at how many people you manage to reach each month! How proud you must be to know that you helping many people find the Lord! I can’t imagine what life would be without Him!
We are so encouraged by your faith to step out in boldness + share Christ. Thanks for being faithful to God’s calling in your life. Praying for you,
The last 4-5 months I’ve gotten into consistently reading your newsletter, and stuff on your website. It really encourages me, and I look forward to each update. Thanks for your kingdom work!
We are so thankful all of you made the long drive to worship with us! Rob, we are especially grateful for all the preparation you’ve done ~ two sermons, two Sunday school lessons, communion … we are so blessed to have you as a guest speaker at our tiny church! Thank you again! For His glory, Sovereign Grace Fellowship
Thank You!! Seriously, it was so awesome to have you preach and teach Sunday School. I know it takes a great deal of preparation, and we really needed to hear both messages. =) I was challenged all last week to evaluate my focus...whether I was hungering and thirsting for righteousness or some other idol. You challenged me this week to be bold...not to fear man (a struggle of mine), and to love others enough to tell them the truth plainly.
The Sunday School lessons were great too...really insightful on how to logically explain faith to someone like my brother (an athiest, I presume). Thanks again,
I loved your baby's dedication ~ your words were thoughtfully prepared & JP's prayer was powerful. Charis Sophia is twice blessed!!!
I watch the Glenn Beck show every once in a while, and I was thinking you might have a great chance to plug one of your websites. J His studio is on street level, and you can see pedestrians in the background through the windows, behind his chalkboards. If you have a reader in NY, maybe you can persuade him to walk past with a big sign? Could be fun.
Hi Rob and Tara, thanks for trying to keep me involved in your ministry. I have great sympathy for your calling. Honestly, this would all be a lot less challenging if my wife would want to be a part of the get to-gathers, but her loyalties are with the Mormon religion and culture. And I must admit that I feel much the same way about the culture. But, as you know, there are serious doubts in my mind about the LDS religion and its origin. I just wanted you to know that your friendship was and is important to me. Thank you for your love and concern, and I hope to remain your friend.
So how many extra hits did you get this last month from the Vancouver BC area. Remember that there were a lot of people coming from Washington too.
[I replied:] March was 92 from Canada, but last month [April] it was 247.