| March 6, 2012
Dear Family and Friends,
I’m pleased to announce that our ministry is growing! Tara is pregnant again and due the beginning of October! Today was the first day I got to hear our baby’s heartbeat--at only 9 weeks! Praise the Lord that Charis will have a little brother or sister as a playmate! It’s been a very difficult pregnancy thus far, so please pray that Tara will have some relief soon. Please also pray for a healthy baby that God will use to bring many to Himself, that we’ll be good parents, and that we’ll be able to raise the additional required finances.
As a result of the pregnancy, and due to only a couple individuals interested in attending DivorceCare this semester, we have decided to take a year off from this weekly ministry.
Last month, though, I started witnessing again at the high schools. I was at Gilbert, AZ H. S., Kearns, UT H. S., and Riverton, UT H. S. Each one was quite different. The best interaction with the students came at Gilbert. Many took my literature there, and I got into several conversations. One was particularly good. It was with a student-teacher named Dan. He converted to Mormonism from being a Methodist in order to marry his Mormon wife. He told me he no longer believes Mormonism, saying there are too many problems with it, but now he’s basically agnostic. Dan told me something I hear quite a bit from people today. He said that there’s no way to prove Christianity. I challenged him on his idea of proof entailing 100% certainty. Most of the things we think we can prove don’t operate that way, so there’s no good reason to expect Christianity to be this way either. Instead, let’s just look at the evidence. Dan wanted to talk about the Bible being unreliable and written hundreds of years after the time of Christ. I told him this just wasn’t true. One fragment we have of John’s gospel is dated to around the beginning of the 2nd century. Further, most of the copies of the New Testament dated to a few centuries after Christ. Copies presuppose the original was written earlier. Now there is no comparison here with other ancient works, which date many more hundreds of years after the time of their original writing. Yet scholars generally accept that we know what these works originally said even though they are no where near the amount of manuscripts we have for the New Testament! I challenged Dan to read a couple tracts I gave him on the reliability of the Bible and one on the resurrection.
Kearns H. S. resulted in a good email correspondence not long after I got back home. Read it in the MAILBAG below.
While out in front of Riverton H. S. on a walkway, I found out that this really isn't a public sidewalk... at least that's what some school official told me. Instead of arguing with him, I just went on the other side of the street in front of the LDS ward where the cars coming out had a better view of me.
We hosted a couple groups at our home last month, and both groups had around 20 people. The first was our monthly Ex-Mormon Meetup where we had another great testimony. You can see the pictures here and see the video testimony here. The second was a group from Scottsdale, AZ Christian High School Academy. They were working with Russ East, who runs Utah Partnerships for Christ in Ogden, UT. We got to share a barbecue with them, and then we got to share our ministry and testimonies to them.
Within a period of a few days last month, I had 2 guys (one partner of our ministry and a Christian lawyer I’ve never met before) tell me that I need to seize upon this window of opportunity while Romney is running for the presidency and spoof the “I’m a Mormon” campaign with our own videos. Many of you have seen these videos or billboards, which depict Mormons as everyday good Christian people. The timing of this campaign with the Romney campaign cannot be a coincidence. The “I’m a Mormon” campaign isn’t telling the whole truth of how bizarre this polytheistic pagan fertility cult really is. So that’s going to be my job! This means that we won’t be going after LDS in these videos. We’ll be going after those being bombarded with this campaign and become curious to investigate Mormonism further. So pray that God will use this by drawing a lot of people to MormonInfo.org where they can learn a lot more about Mormonism as well as what the Christian gospel is all about.
|Tara shares her testimony to Scottsdale Academy
Speaking of drawing more people to MormonInfo.org, last month we had 6,243 visits and averaged 215 a day! Compare that with January where we had 5,794 visits and averaged 187 a day.
I have also been going through all my old cassette tapes in my garage and transferring them to a digital format. Please see our Multimedia page for all the audios I’ve uploaded thus far, and check back on occasion for new ones being added.
We not only need your prayers, but we need your financial assistance as well. 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). But we also have secure electronic funds transfer 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 information, please see our "Invest" page. Please also keep in mind that, particularly in this economy, we have no financial guarantees each month. Ministry partners come and go as jobs do. At this point, we would still like to raise at least $300 each month from consistent monthly ministry partners. The last 2 months have not been good for us in terms of monthly financial investments, so we have had to pull from savings. If you’re not a partner, 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!
Be strong and courageous Joshua 1:9!
President, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374
West Jordan, UT 84084
****ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS****
1. Health & protection for our whole family
2. Tara’s and Maddi’s families to be saved
3. Wisdom in all our dealings
I just read your newsletter. Thanks for the encouraging update in regards to Mormons "leaving in droves". WOW! It gives me new ammo in sharing with my husbands Mormon family.
I am an active lifelong LDS member. I am a returned missionary, am married in the temple, and have held leadership callings in the church and while there are things about the church I have always had questions about (polygamy, temple work, blacks and the priesthood), I have always just accepted these things on faith and put my doubts aside.
I travel a lot for my job, and while out of town, my wife sent me an email link to YouTube to look at one of the church sponsored advertisements. It was a nice message, and I looked on YouTube to find a message to send to her. While looking for a good one to send to my wife, I came across stuff that was critical of the church. Out of curiosity I watched a couple of them and was shocked about the things I saw and never knew about the history of the church, Joseph Smith, and issues with the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price.
I now have doubts that I am researching. I do not yet want to share these concerns with my wife, as this will put a strain on our marriage. Once I finish my research I will share my findings with her, but I am far from this point.
As part of my research, I would like to attend another church to compare, maybe a Protestant church just to see what they are like and to see if I feel uplifted in their services. I have only attended funerals at other churches. My main issue with Evangelical Christians is the loud nature of their services. They have always seemed to be more of a rock concert than a religious service.
I guess my question is: Are there Protestant denominations that don’t break out in tongues (everyone speaking at the same time in their own language and no one understanding anyone), play rock music, and are loud? The people I see on TV seem to be in it to make money, that it is more of a business than anything else. All of the corrupt scandals that have come out over the years from the Evangelicals have also turned me off. I also don’t understand why they need to pray in public. I love sports, and I don’t understand why athletes kneel down and pray WHILE ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD. Prayer seems like more of a private and personal thing, not done so others can see you. I also don't think God cares about who wins the football game (in fact I am I imagine there are other things he wishes we were doing than playing or watching sports on the Sabath).
If I do leave the Mormon church, I am trying to figure out what my beliefs are and where should I attend church going forward...
Thanks for your time,
[I replied:] Not all evangelical churches are loud rockers. I go to a church like that, since that's how my family likes to praise the Lord. It's only about 25 minutes of the whole hour and 1/2 service. There are many Baptist, Presbyterian, etc. churches that look more like an LDS service in style. Further, there are many evangelical churches, like ours, that don't even believe in using tongues in a public service. Many do, but of them, many don't think it should be done all at once. If it's done, then there needs to be an interpretation as Paul said in 1 Cor. 14.
As for sports and God, here's a great video by Brett Kunkle, a long time friend of mine and board member of our ministry.
Ya, scandals are just that... scandals. But you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater and think Christianity is untrue simply because people are going to do some very bad things that require our correction.
As for praying in public, there are biblical verses that encourage and discourage it. Why? Because it's simply a matter of the heart. What's the intent? Is it to glorify myself or to bring glory to our Lord? If the latter, then I hope more people do hear.
Good questions! I hope you'll take the time again to run things by me.
Thanks for writing and hope this is helpful!
[He replied:] Thanks for taking the time to reply to my email and for your insights.
I am definitely going to make time to attend some other services with an open mind, the next time I am out of town for work (I am sent to other parts of the country for three weeks at a time).
I enjoyed the video on Tim Tebow. Got a good laugh from it and it made me think of things from a different point of view that I did not have previously.
On another note with regards to my continued search for the truth, I saw an hour long YouTube video of a speech you gave on Mormanism and the Holy Trinity!
I only wish you had spent more time on the Christian view of the Trinity, rather than the Mormon view of it (I know the Mormon viewpoint all too well...), but I guess your audience already understood and accepted this view...
I liked the example of the twins, born with a defect of having two heads but having to share the same body. While they are two entities they are still one. I also liked the example that you gave that you have many roles (a husband, father, son to his parents, and president of his organization) and are just one person even though you have these various roles and
I have ready the Bible scriptures you listed, and see why God has always been God, and is God by nature. He could not be an exalted human being as past Mormon profits have taught and would agree with you that there is no evidence in the Bible of multiple Gods (Don't think I would ever have said this even a week ago!).
Unfortunately I am still having a hard time grasping how the Trinity really works. Forgive my ignorance, but I guess when you see things one way for 40 years it is hard to see it another way. Let me see if I am understanding correctly:
1.) God is a spirit, and he is an eternal person.
2.) Jesus is a 2nd eternal person of the Godhead, but he came to earth and was born of a virgin Mary. Here he manifested himself as Jesus Christ, fulfilled his mission on earth, and willingly gave up his life on the cross. He then was resurrected the 3rd day, fulfilled his earthly mission, and reigns as the high priest or prophet over Christianity today.
3.) The Holy Spirit is the third part of the Godhead.
4.) These three are one God, all were involved in the creation. All three are distinct beings unified in one Godhead. This would explain how Jesus could be babtized, God could speak, and the Holy Spirit could manifest itself in the form of a dove all at the same time. It also explain why Jesus would pray to God, because they are distinct beings, but one God in a Godhead.
What am I missing or wrong on?
So is Jesus the only member of the Godhead with a body or is he a spirit now too? Was obtaining a body important to Jesus, other than he would need one to dwell on earth, teach, and die on the cross?
Also, what would you say to Mormons that tell you that we must be born of the water and the spirit to enter the kingdom of heaven as it says in the New Testament? Is baptism necessary for our salvation? How about for those that never have a chance to be baptized? Is the grace of God sufficient for these people?
Again, I am in the process of gathering information and looking at things for the first time in my life with an open mind. I am moving closer to the idea of leaving the Mormon church, but far from deciding "what is next" in my life outside of the church...
Thanks again for your time and guidance.
[I replied:] Just to make sure we’re clear… “the roles view” of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost isn’t the Trinitarian doctrine. The roles view is a modalistic one, which has been condemned as heresy by traditional Christianity. Why? Because roles aren’t distinct persons. Trinitarianism as well as Mormonism both hold the members of the Godhead are distinct, but the latter goes further to claim they are also separate, and thus separate Gods who are only 1 in purpose and nature, not in being.
Trinitarians would claim that God is a person, but only in the context of distinguishing Himself from the impersonal. “He” is technically a personal being eternally made up of 3 persons. So it’s better to say that God is a personal being rather than a person. Other than that, I like your summary of your 4 points. The only minor thing I’d change is referring to the Holy Spirit as “Himself” rather than “Itself.” Jehovah’s Witnesses think of the Holy Spirit as an impersonal force. But it’s not that big of a deal to use the term “itself,” so long as you’re not intending that He’s really an It. I mean the terms “baby” and “child” go with the neuter pronoun “it,” but we don’t think of a baby or a child as impersonal.
As for the rest of your questions, as far as we know, Jesus is the only member of the Godhead with a permanent attachment, viz., a body. This attachment is what He has in His human nature. In this nature, He is also a life-giving spirit as 1 Cor. 15:45 says. The only bodies that aren’t spirits are dead ones or non-living ones. When Jesus said that spirits don’t have flesh and bones in Lk. 24:39, He wasn’t referring to all spirits whatsoever. He was referring to ghosts, spooks or departed spirits. Those obviously don’t have flesh and bones. Jesus was claiming He wasn’t that, since He had been resurrected.
Having said that, though, it’s always possible for the 1st or 2nd persons of God to take on an attachment or body themselves as we clearly see the Holy Ghost doing, temporarily at least, in Lk. 3:22.
Yes, Jesus needed a body if He was going to come to earth and perform a ministry as a human for other humans.
As per baptism, I don’t take “water” in John 3 as a reference to physical water for water baptism. Take a look at the extended context. The next chapter has Jesus talking to a woman about living water. Jn. 7:38-9 talks about spiritual water coming out from within a person. Isa. 44:3 and Ezk. 36:25-6, which Jesus seems to be referring to in Jn. 3, seems to be talking about a spiritual water of cleansing and making new from the inside.
As for whether baptism is essential or not for salvation, John the Baptist was doing baptisms prior to Christ’s death, yet the thief on the cross apparently was never baptized when he trusted Christ and was told that he’d be with Christ in paradise, which according to the apostle was the 3rd heaven (cf. 2 Cor. 12:2-4). Further, look at the end of Acts 10. The Gentiles believed and started speaking in tongues, obviously receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost prior to baptism. By definition that entails that baptism isn’t necessary for salvation. Now that doesn’t entail that baptism isn’t important. It is! But it’s not salvific. Baptism is the prime indicator that someone has been born-again and belongs to the New Testament Church, and if one refuses to get baptized, then it may very well be that the individual has never been born again through genuine faith.
Hope this helps, and please keep the questions coming!
really really REALLY appreciated your YouTube video on suffering n joy witnessing to mormons. Feel renewed in purpose to evangelise. Thanks for your witness to them
[From a friend I used to go to high school and church with in AZ:] hey dude, saw you outside Gilbert High the other day but had no time to stop!!! how did it go?!!?!?
Rob, that is great news [about LDS "leaving in droves"]. It is also a thrill that the young lady I mentioned who was considering converting to LDS read and considered your resources on Mormoninfo.org and has returned to our group. What the Lord has in store for her I don't know, but this is a good sign. Have a blessed month of February!
Rob, I know I'm going to get myself in trouble but re, sacred not secret. I don't see anything wrong with having private ceremonies. I liked the idea of putting off the world and entering into a quiet relationship with God. When you put an ex mo in the position of talking about the temple they have to betray the promise they made before God. I guess I haven't ever taken my name off the records because I feel like I would be going back on my word. I don't ever go, I consider myself a christian but I would rather just turn and walk away than break a promise I made to Jesus. I hope that makes sense. I'd like your feedback
[I replied:] I don't care if there are private ceremonies, but don't say you can't reveal what goes on in the temple and then say there's nothing secret about it. My quiet time I have with God is sacred and private, but there's nothing "secret" about it. My wife, Bible, and communion are sacred, but there's nothing secret about them.
God wants you to go back on your word that you made to lying prophets and a false God. It's just repentance since you now know better. So since Mormonism teaches such a radically different God/Jesus than what the Bible teaches, you wouldn't be breaking your promise to Jesus, but to Satan.
Regarding the heresy of "God's love is unconditional.", Joel Osteen was in Hawaii recently, and I heard him on a TV commercial saying that "God's love is unconditional." I've heard other people recently say that. You said on your mormoninfo.orgsite in the article comparing Mormonism to Christianity that, "God's love is always conditional." If it was unconditional, then everyone would be saved, and Jesus going to the cross and dying for our sins and rising again was a big mistake and wasn't necessary. Do you know of a booklet or book that does a good job of answering the heresy ? Perhaps you've written an article specific to the subject you could email me.
[I replied:] It depends on what sense you're referring to. I don't know why it follows that if God loves someone that means they're saved. God hated Esau, but He still showed His loved by dying for Him. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." It would be nice to cite the specific article you were referring to, so that I'd know exactly what was said. On the Home page chart under "What is Divine Salvation?," I stated, " Divine salvation is always from sin and its consequence of separation from God. This salvation is always conditioned upon faith. Until this occurs, God considers the individual dead. When this salvation occurs, one has eternal life (Jn. 5:24; Romans 5; Eph. 2:1-10; and 1 Jn. 5:10-3)."
On my view, God has a love-hate relationship with unbelievers. He still loves them in allowing them to exist and freely choose to stay away from Him for eternity.
Any standard Systematic Theology (Strong, Gruedem, etc.) does a good job at not only explaining what we believe, but why we don't buy heresy.
[He replied:] A lot of people believe that, and if they do, they're not an evangelical, and probably aren't saved. The phrase "God's love is unconditional." needs to be clarified if it's used. I've got a new phrase Christians can use, but I don't think it will catch on: "God's hate only has one condition: Your sin."
Do you think Esau is in heaven ? I don't remember any verses where it said Esau was redeemed. I know he was mentioned in the New Testament by Paul I think.
[You said, “]On my view, God has a love-hate relationship with unbelievers. He still loves them in allowing them to exist and freely choose to stay away from Him for eternity.” I agree. There are a few verses, (I know because I searched the Bible for them once), where God says certain people or practices are an abomination to him. Abomination means a hateful thing. The only persons that I can think of right now where God said that they were an abomination are homosexuals.
Your hinting that the phrase "God's love is unconditional." isn't heresy, and it usually isn't, as the evangelicals that use it don't believe that everyone is saved from birth. It depends on what the person means by it. Joel Osteen messages are encouraging, but don't have any teeth in them. Is he off from what you've read or heard, and if so how ?
I listened to the half hour long radio interview with you that you had the link for in your newsletter. You did a good job.
[I replied:] Glad you liked the interview.
As for "unconditional love," I don't know why you haven't addressed what I stated which clearly does show what we mean when we talk of God's unconditional love... Jn. 3:16 & Rom. 5:8. There's nothing that we had to do to get God to love us and demonstrate that by dying for us. Thus, God's love is unconditional by definition. However, God still hates unbelievers and the wrath of God abides on them (Jn. 3:36). So I don't know why can't have a love-hate relationship with unbelievers. He loves them unconditionally, but He also hates them due to their unbelief. God doesn't hate believers, so I take it that Esau is in hell. I think God hates the sin of believers, but no where do I find that he hates believers.
As for Osteen, he doesn't watch his doctrine closely, which goes against 1 Tim. 4:16. Thus, I don't think he's a good role model, but I grant that God can and still does use him not unlike how God used Baalam's ass.
I am LDS and I truly believe in my religion it has done many great things for me. It has brought me and my family many joys and miracles as well as happiness and comfort. We love our our current prophet (Thomas S. Monson) and past ones like Joseph Smith, we also love our Savior Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father with all of our hearts. We do not believe Joseph Smith was a liar in fact we KNOW he was not a liar he was a man of God a good one at that. I am not trying to push my religion on you an the last thing I would do is cuss you out and rip up your flyers BUT I won't and none of our members will do so. I do believe anyone is entitled to their own opinion but tue reason I send this is that I saw one of your men standing infront of the Kearns High Seminary building holding a sign and handing out flyers i hope that you know that the ground upon which the seminary is built (or any LDS seminary building for that fact) is sacred and dedicated ground and that is against the law to stan on dedicated ground with a protest sign even if the person holding the sign is not saying or doing much. IT IS ILLEGAL if I see them on sacred property I might just call the cops, not out of rudeness BUT out of the respect for my church and beliefs. and I think I speak for all the members of my faith, the prophet of the present, the prophets of the past and the seminary teachers that we wish to never see one of your signs or flyers by, in front of, or on the ground of our seminary or any seminary building AGAIN. I may only be 17 BUT I know my rights and te constitution I know you have freedom of speech BUT not on sacred ground. I don't want to see it again it crushes my heart and the hearts of others in my faith to see that because we know with a SURE heart that out religion is true. And do you really think that you are going to get people to join your group by handing seminary students who have a firm testimony of Joseph Smith and the LDS faith to believe a word you are saying? I would appreciate it if I would not see anymore of this, as we respect your beliefs, respect ours. Please leave us alone and don't think I wont do what I said I would. You come back and stand on that hallowed, sacred, dedicated ground THE cops WILL be called.
"And Joseph Smith shall do more for mankind, save Jesus only." That means Joseph Smith suffered by being tared and feathered, imprisoned, separated from family, betrayed, spit on, accused of false doctrines, and killed in cold blood. Just like Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ I will stand by my faith no matter what winds blow or what the world may say I will stand by my faith until the death.
[I replied:] Your problem is that you don't understand where the private property ends and where it begins. I've been doing this type of thing longer than you were born, and have never been arrested, since I respect private property. I had a cop drive right past me and wave at me today while I was holding up that sign in front of the seminary. I was there last year as well, and the cops said that I'm fine doing what I'm doing on public property, so long as I don't impede the foot traffic coming back and forth. I'm not going to stop doing this at various seminaries, wards, temples, and pageants, so you're going to have to deal with it. This is America, and on public property, we have a free exchange of ideas. If you don't like it, then I suggest you move to China.
Your own GA, Church historian and recorder recently said that LDS are "leaving in droves." Why? Because people are finding out quite easily through the internet how problematic the LDS Church is... historically as well as theologically. So that just encourages me even more to advertise my site, so that many will come to the true God and Jesus and leave the lie of Mormonism. Eternal life is at stake!
[She replied:] I will not argue with you Rob. But I can promise you this IF I see you again I will confront you and ask you politely to leave. If you say no I will walk away. I will not stay and tell you that your wrong, I will not argue with a child of God. The church needs no defense. I just want to share my testimony with you. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet and that God lives and loves us and will help us through anything he gave the privilege to Joseph Smith to translate this book of Mormon, God helped him restore the gospel and God gives us living prophets to help guide us. God cares about us and each one of our eternal welfare. I do not exceedingly fear the great judgment day. I love God and His prophets and even though President Monson does not know you he loves you to and God loves you to. Just remember "God hates the sin, but loves the sinner." good bye my brother
[I replied:] Hi Sis,
My testimony is that I read all the LDS scriptures and prayed sincerely about them, and God told me by the power of the Holy Ghost that they are all false. My testimony is that the Bible is true, and teaches a totally different God than what the Mormon Church teaches. I know God, and by His grace alone, He's saved me through His death on the cross. I know that if I die, I will go and be with Him in the highest heaven. Not because of what I've done, but simply by His grace.
My wife used to be LDS, and now knows the true God. Here's her testimony.
I pray that God will give you eyes to see and ears to hear before it's too late.
[She replied:] I must ask you one question brother then we will leave it at that. The LDS people strongly believe in their religion and you do not see us carrying signs and handing out flyers on places that people consider to be sacred? And yes you may respond that we have missionaries but we don't hold signs or carry signs missionaries of the LDS religion accept it when people slam the door in their faces. And I pray that you remember that the LDS church is the only true and living one and pray that your eyes will be opened to the truth. Now I say my final farewell. I do not believe in what you do or say but I love you brother.
Enough is as good as a feast
[I replied:] I'm not LDS. So why should I have to do things like LDS do?
The LDS Church isn't the one true church, but it's a cult that teaches a false God who had to grow up to become a God for only a certain sub-section of reality. That's not the all-powerful God of the Bible, who creates everything outside Himself. The LDS Church was founded by a serial adulterer and sexual predator. He had 34 wives, and 11 of whom were currently married to living husbands when he took them as his wives. Further, Smith married 14 and 16-year-old girls. Just look up FamilySearch.org to verify this. It's obvious to most fair-minded people that Smith was a typical cult leader who was after $, sex, and power.
[She replied:] Dear Brother,
I no longer have to protect my religion I have 2 people who are perfectly capable of doing that. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Now my dear Brother I still love you but I will NEVER believe in your religion and I don't expect you to believe in mine and I respect that I will stop being rude and I just ask you respect my choice in religion as well (I'm not saying stop using the the signs and flyers) but just respect our religion that's all I ask and you may send more emails if you want but I probably will not respond since I do not have to protect my church.
[I replied:] Hi Sis,
Of course God will protect His Church, but He still calls us to protect it as well and if we don't, then we're being disobedient. Jude 3 says to contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints, and even D&C 71:7-8 says, "Wherefore, confound your enemies; call upon them to meet you both in public and in private; and inasmuch as ye are faithful their shame shall be made manifest. Wherefore, let them bring forth their strong reasons against the Lord." So even if your God is true, why would you assume that you're off the hook, and you don't need to protect your church?
Now also keep in mind that if your God and Jesus are false and imaginary, then there's nothing there to protect. I'm claiming, contrary to Joseph Smith, that there's "only one true God" as Jesus taught in John 17:3. That's ultimately how we should know if Smith was a false prophet or not. He contradicted our Lord and taught another God when Smith said there were other Gods who helped each other out at creation in Abraham 4-5 (Pearl of Great Price). The Bible has always clearly taught that God never had help in creating; He did it alone as Isaiah 44:24 says.
So because I know that Mormonism is teaching a false God and Jesus, it is leading people to hell, and there's no way I can respect Satan and His work.
I’m really enjoying getting to know Rob Sivulka on Facebook. Keep up the good work Rob! Yes, the internet is a wonderful tool for witnessing to Mormons, and who knew that it would be the “straw” that would break the back of Mormonism, PRAISE GOD! He truly works in mysterious ways!
After watching The Bible vs Joseph Smith, it seems obvious to me that the "plain and precious things" taken away from the Bible refer to the 7 books removed by Martin Luther. And the reference to II Nephi refers to "sola scriputura". At some point "the two sticks shall come together".
[I replied:] Well according to the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible, it indicates that the Bible was really screwed up. That's why Smith stuck in a prophecy of himself in Genesis 50 and changed Romans 4:5 to God "justifies *not* the ungodly" (emphasis added), for example. For more on this, see my FAQ on the Book of Mormon assertion of "plain and precious truths" taken from the Bible. You may also be interested in this site on Joseph's translation of the Bible and this site. For my review of The Bible vs. JS, just in case you haven't seen it[, is here]. As for the 2 sticks, please see my FAQ on the 2 sticks of Ezekiel 37.
You may be begging the question in favor of the apocrypha being scripture, but that's just a Protestant and Catholic debate.
[He replied:] I believe that Nephi was alluding to the Apocrypha and sola scriptura because otherwise Joseph Smith would have made his translation from the catholic Bible and not the King James. Did Joseph Smith translate any of the books included in the Apocrypha? If not, then why?
[I replied:] Smith didn't translate any of the books in the Apocrypha. Probably because he was working in a community that accepted the King James and the Protestant understanding of what's in the canon. The JST gives a more precise meaning to Nephi's statements in what Smith did with what was known as the Bible at that time. Recall that the 1st Vision story doesn't mention Catholics, but Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians. Wiki says, "The total U.S. Catholic population in 1790 was probably less than 5%... [and] [t]here was relatively little immigration from 1770 to 1830." Smith was never a Catholic, but was raise in a Protestant family. So the Apocrypha was obviously not an issue at the time.
[He replied:] Dear Rob,
Thanks for the information and have a great Lent!
According to the bible, did we exist before our birth? A Mormon friend last night said that he believes that I was so good before I came to earth that I have the strength to endure the hardest trails. But I thought to myself, wait a minute, I can't believe that because I can't remember what biblical Christianity says about existence before birth. Was there a war in heaven? I can't remember what I believed before Mormonism. I've got a lot of knowledge to replace :(
[I replied:] Here's what I have on my Home page chart at MormonInfo.org: "With the exception of Jesus, humans are not from heaven or from above, but from the earth or below, and have never seen the Heavenly Father (Jn. 3:31-2; 6:38-46; and 8:23)." There may have been a war in heaven. Evidently there was some sort of war given Satan's rebellion, but there's no good reason to think that humans were there and there are good reasons from the scriptures I just gave to think that humans weren't there. Humans were created a little lower than the angels (Ps. 8:5 & Heb. 2:7). Angels were the divine beings that God created in heaven prior to making humans on the earth.
Even if I'm wrong in all this, the more basic point is that God and humans aren't of the same species. So if we were created in heaven prior to this earth, we along with the angels were still created and not begotten of God. There's only 1 begotten Son, from eternity, who has the very nature of God. He was begotten, not made as humans are.
[He replied:] Thanks! I'm tired of being mad at God. I've robbed myself many years of peace, love and happiness.
[I replied:] Praying for you. There wouldn't be anything, including peace, love, and happiness if it weren't for God. Practice thanking Him as much as you can for any good you can think of.
I've looked at your web site. Impressive.
I fell in love with a beautiful Mormon woman whose family I've known for more than twenty years. I read through the BOM with her but by the time we got into about Section 30 of D&C my incredulity was obvious to her, and she abruptly deserted me.
I'm broken-hearted and dejected, bleeding as it were. If there's any way you could help close the wound and heal I'd be most grateful.
Thanks for all you do & have done,
[I replied:] Sorry you had to go through this. But if you’re a follower of Christ, this is the trouble we get into when we go against His command not to be unequally yoked. Nonetheless, God can use this experience for everyone’s good. You’re now more aware of what Mormonism is all about, and you are now probably more passionate about warning others as to the lies of Mormonism. And God may even use you to reach out to her and her family and see them repent and trust the Truth.
As one who has gone through a number of break-ups myself, and having led a DivorceCare group at our church, I know that grieving is a process that is relative to you and your time-table. Don’t try to short-circuit it. Give yourself enough time to heal from this emotional heartache. You’ll be the better for it. Trust God for His strength, comfort, forgiveness, and knowing He’ll use this for His kingdom. 1 Peter 5:10 says, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
[He replied:] Thanks Rob for the reply. I'm sure you're very busy. I appreciate it.