Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Convention
Last month was the first time I had both of my girls help out at the annual JW convention. The convention is held at the Dee Events Center in Ogden on the campus of Weber State. We take the north exits and Eric Johnson of Mormonism Research Ministry and others take the south exits. There are two exits on the north, so I had my girls take both sides of one exit and I took the other exit. This is the first time that I know everyone leaving the north exits saw our signs advertising our website JWinfo.org.
The hits for our site were pretty impressive. The first day we had about 115 and the second day we had about 260!
The responses of Jehovah’s Witnesses to the advertising of our site were much more tame than the way Mormons respond to us. JWs do a much better job when it comes to ignoring us. Nonetheless, some told my girls to have their parents take them home and I did get a couple thumbs down.
We did have an older lady come out who was waiting for her husband to pick her up. She told me that she’s a Christian, who doesn’t go to church, but was there due to her JW friends that she’s been studying with for some time even though she doesn’t buy JW theology. She used to be Mormon. I gave her my card with all my different websites on it and told her about a good local Christian church she could attend.
Here's a quick video of what the girls and I did.
Last month we had our friend Jeff Walston share his story of coming out of Mormonism and giving his life to Christ. You can see the pictures and watch the video on the site.
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I prayed for you and your fam today as I try to make my prayers on Mondays for God's mission and missionaries. As I read through your email newsletter, fond memories of being on the front lines at Mantai went through my mind. It is encouraging to hear snippets of God's work through your ministry. Keep fighting the good fight of the faith.
God bless you my friend
Thanks for the Video Rob. It's great to see the fruit of your ministry. You are having an impact on the Mormon community. There are probably many people like this woman that you don't even realize has been changed by seeing you or speaking with you.
Here’s a dialogue I had with someone who was upset about kids (including my daughter Charis) distributing literature to LDS at the Manti Pageant:
Wow. Teaching kids to hate! Sad!
[I replied:] Since when is warning others hate? If warning is hate, then I guess you're hating us here!
[He replied:] Are you kidding? Using kids to protest against a religion you don't like or agree with is hate and it's no better than what the KKK or Nazis do!
[I replied:] This is just wrong. KKK has and would kill if they had the chance and the Nazis did. We love LDS enough to warn them. You're a hypocrite, since you're warning me just as I warn LDS. You call warning hate, so you're a hater according to your own postmodern definition. My in-laws and friends are LDS. I warn them because I love them. You only warn selectively.
[He replied:] Also, I've considered the possibility that Mormonism is a cult, but I've come to my own conclusion that it isn't!
[I replied:] Good for you, but that's besides the point. The point is if anyone holds that something is dangerous and leads to hell, we would expect that individual to warn others about it if they really loved them. There's nothing hateful about missionaries wanting others to spend eternity with them. The only thing hateful would be someone believing people are going to hell and doing nothing about it so as to avoid them throughout eternity.
[He replied:] Excuse me sir, but I actually am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, so, I believe that I no better what Mormonisms teachings are than you do! Screaming at people and insulting them and calling people names isn't my idea of "love!"
[I replied:] If you'd like to change the subject from whether what these kids are doing is hate or not, I'm fine with that, but everyone should know that's what you're attempting.
[He replied:] Yeah, whatever! Goodbye!
I looked at your webpages on your visits to manti. I wanted to see if I may ask some questions? Thanks.
[I replied:] Sure, what's up?
[He replied:] What are the main truth claims that Joseph Smith made that you have issue with?
[I replied:] Well that's what my site Josephlied.com is all about. To simplify what he lied about though, here's an article I wrote: http://www.mrm.org/sharing-with-mormons-joseph-smith-lie.
[He replied:] I have a few questions concerning that article.
1. As far as the book of Abraham goes, how is Joseph being able to receive revelation to write about something from the past that he wasn't present for different from Moses writing the book of Genesis? Do we know any of the methods of how that was written or do we have Adam, Abraham, Isaacs, Joseph of Egypt, or anyone else mentioned in Genesis to confirm that Moses' retelling is actually how it went down?
You could say, "Joseph had text he referred to to translate it and from the papyri we have, we've determined that it's all mistranslated." But then I'd be moved to bring up a few scenarios such as: (the common one) perhaps most of the papyri that the book comes from was burned in the Chicago fire. Or another one would be: perhaps indeed those papyri didn't say anything that's in the book of Abe, but Joseph used those as inspiration to become familiar with the language, and God just spoke the words to him of what actually needed to be written down. Plus who's to say Moses didn't do his writing of Genesis in just as farfetched a way. It's convenient that we live in modern day where all of the fishy documents and methods surrounding the book of Abe are easily accessible, perhaps we would be just as suspicious of Moses had we the same collection of documents and methods that we do with Joseph Smith.
2. One other disputed topic that wasn't in that article from Joseph's history is his first vision and how he later received more knowledge through angelic visitations. I wonder, was that not included because it's not as heretical as Book of Abe, Polygamy, or Polytheism or it's just not as important in the argument that he's a false prophet? What are your issues with the topic of his visions, calling, and subsequent heavenly manifestations?
[I replied:] I'll take these just one at a time.
1. We don't know how God gave Moses exactly. Any argument supposed for Moses is simply an argument from silence.
As for the BA papyri, since 1967, no one holds that it was burned in the Chicago fire. The LDS Church accepts that this was the papyri.
Your other objection won't work either, since Smith tells us what certain characters mean and provides that as a "translation." He got the translation wrong. There's no good reason to think he got it right and there's every reason to think he got it wrong. If language has no publicly accessible and verifiable meaning, then anything goes. This is the problem with deconstructionist theory. When a date rape victim says "NO!," claiming to be a prophet of the Lord who discerns the true meaning is "yes" will still result in jail time. But of course the prophet *may* really be right after all.
If you want to live in the what's possible realm, good luck. Although, given everything we know of Smith, what makes more sense? I suggest that since all the evidence points to him being a false prophet, he probably was.
[He replied:] Precisely. And I'm saying if we did find out there was a lot of sketchy-sounding origins to how Genesis came about, we'd be wary to trust it too.
Well I suppose as a throwaway grab at your second paragraph, perhaps he wasn't getting any guidance and his translation of certain characters were wrong, I can admit that. But again I think you missed my point in that possibly in the way Moses came up with Genesis, the papyri weren't used at all and the whole book of Abe came by revelation. Maybe Moses had some funerary texts that he screwed up too but ended up still getting on paper what God wanted to be written.
And that realm is the only place to live if you aim to be fair. Since all we have in our possession that any of this Biblical stuff happened is the Bible itself, we have to consider all of the circumstances and possibly extinct written history that were going on around the events in the Bible that aren't within the two covers of it. Like I said, it's convenient that we have all of that about the LDS faith, it's quite a sheltered mindset to avoid giving any scrutiny to the validity of the Bible for considerations sake. That is the crux of mainstream Christianity today, is they can lambast Mormon stuff all they want because they have RESOURCES, but they never consider that people might have been doing the exact same thing to the writers of the books of the Bible in times past.
I do hope that none of this comes off abrasive or harsh. I'm really just saying this because of where my study has taken me. When bringing up some of these counter-thoughts to people against Mormonism, often instead of hearing me and and considering things they just drop conversation. I hope that you can be open-minded you expect Mormons to be and we can continue our dialogue and can move on to other questions I have.
[I replied:] Again, it's an argument from silence as to what Moses did, and in logic, that's known as a fallacy. "Maybe" isn't evidence.
Further, the evidence is that the papyri was used in the origin of the BA, and it just didn't come by revelation. If you want more documentation, please get Charles M. Larson's "...by his hand upon papyrus" and you may also be interested in watching https://youtu.be/hcyzkd_m6KE.
Finally, the Bible isn't the only realm in which we verify if any of this biblical stuff happened. We have independent, outside sources that corroborate certain biblical information (e.g., historians outside the Bible documenting certain characters and events, or certain archaeological evidence). Sure, that doesn't cover everything, but at least it covers something whereas you have nothing going for this BA story.
[He replied:] Except it’s only a fallacy if the person proposing it believes it to be true, which I don’t. I believe Moses and his writings, though likely for different reasons than most Christians do. Presenting a hypothetical what-if or playing devils advocate is what I’m doing. On the flip side, for most Christians to just say it’s all true based on nothing but the book itself and citing how long the Bible’s lasted is more repudiated by the majority of people who think secularly and require evidence first, faith second or simply as not relevant.
Joseph actually said that the papyri was the sole source in which he wrote the book? Did he say what method he used for the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible? I'll just answer that and say YES, he did. He had nothing but the King James Translation of the Bible, and as he read he was revealed by God what needed to be reinserted into it. Any possibility that could've happened? If you do in fact have documented sources that say specifically that it was SOLELY the papyri and no revelation then I'd be open to consider those.
Going back to one of your first points, "maybe" might not be evidence of something happening but neither is mentioning your all-essential truth-determining evidence such as "it's lasted for thousands of years", "cities mentioned in the Bible existed or still exist", "all Christians have agreed on the 'core principles' for so long", "we know languages those languages existed", or "that group of people existed". Here's a few questions I have concerning evidence: Where are the pharaoh's chariots that were buried in the red sea? Where did the city of Enoch used to sit? Where's the bush that burned and contained God's voice within it? How do we know for a certain that any blind, lepers, or dead people were ever healed or resuscitated? See the issue with mainstream Christians getting on the evidence train, is it digs an even deeper hole than Mormon claims ever could and completely takes the spiritual out of it and replaces it with the physical. And furthermore, that track of reasoning completely diminishes any usefulness of the scriptures Hebrews 11:1 or John 20:24-29, lest repeating the mistake and not learning the lesson these verses were supposed to teach. This linguistical, archaeological, anthropological evidence course should only belong to non-believers. We should judge truth by the evidence that we can't see but that only God can grant us and not physical man. From these lessons in the Bible, we learn that physical scrutiny should not trump spiritual enlightenment.
[I replied:] Look, it's obvious your mind is made up, and I don't have anything to offer you. I believe the evidence for Jesus, which includes archaeology, prophecy, and the best case of history demonstrating that He rose from the dead. Since He did that, I believe the Hebrew Canon He had and sourced. I believe what He taught and He contradicts the false prophet Smith. Since faith is divorced from evidence for you, there's no point in giving you evidence or any arguments. My time is precious, and I'd rather use it elsewhere. I pray that God would have mercy on you.
[He replied:] It’s hard for me to understand where you get this idea that any of that evidence matters. Neither jesus nor any prophet certainly don’t say it’s necessary.
Faith is divorced from evidence for me in that faith is everything and required, evidence is nice to know but in no way needed or essential. The difference with most of you guys is you make up a notion that god expects us to see stuff to trust whereas he just says to believe and see.
Coming from what I’ve seen in your videos preaching to Mormons at temple square and the apparent love and long suffering you have for their souls, I would think all people would be worthy of your precious time especially when they don’t blindly believe you like me. I would think with people like me you would try even harder to help because like Timothy or King Agrippa, I actually bring up issues in order for both to understand each other and the truth better. Your response comes off as pompous because it sends the message that you are the arbiter of the gospel and know exactly the correct way to interpret gods word.
I mean if I’m too much of an inconvenience and present too many counter thoughts instead of submitting to what you say like you’d hope then I guess maybe I’m not worth your time. But I would just have you consider before you sever communication with me, the Pharisees were the most resistant to Jesus and were always countering him. He never said he’d rather spend his time elsewhere, rather he stuck with their disputation until threat of stoning and from that we have some of the greatest passages of scripture.
So I hope you think of that first so as to confirm to me that all of your pronouncements of love and apparent pleadings to Mormons at temple square is real and doesn’t run out as soon as it appears to do here.
[I replied:] Mat. 10:14; and 15:12-14
I'll honor God with better use of my time, so please stop trying to micro-manage it with your unbiblical legalistic guilt-trip.
2 Tim. 3:2-9
[He replied:] Oh so with those first verses you're making yourself equal to apostles and being an apostle yourself? Because contextually you would have to since that's who these verses were directed at. And in context, Jesus was telling them to do that after they preached the gospel to them. You haven't preached any of the gospel to me. You've just said how the book of Abraham and Joseph Smith are wrong and talked a bunch about archaeology. You haven't told me anything like the apostles would've taught to me.
So doesn't unbiblical mean "not contained in the bible?" I just gave you BIBLE verses like you protestants always challenge Mormons to do. You just are looking at it that way because you are so focused on the lessons of Paul, that you are unaware of most of the lessons JESUS taught about HIS gospel. You might as well say you believe in the Gospel of Paul instead of the Gospel of Jesus.
Now I can say that last verse is unbiblical like to said my points were, because I can say that you have no authority to determine who those verses are meant for. But again, I guess you're an apostle so ought to be able to do that. Whoops.
You have proven yourself, like so many like you, that all your talk of “love for the Mormons” are just empty words. You only say that insofar as people cower and give into you.
How about you just tell the truth when you’re on the streets. Say your love and concern for the people is conditional. I had hope you’d be different than all mainstream Christians who “evangelize” to the “lost Mormons”, but you guys are just copies of each other that think you have it all right and that if all the prophets and Jesus were here they’d dub you a genius in interpreting their words.
[I replied with tongue in cheek:] You just need faith in me and what I'm telling you is true and that Mormonism is leading you to hell.
[He replied, obviously not seeing my point:] K man that sounds exactly like what you say Mormon missionaries say except they say have faith in Jesus and they say to ask god and have faith he’ll answer you (like the Bible and LDS scripture say). It’s like you’re saying to have faith in you (a man, where you say not to have faith in men like they do in their prophets) and just believe you without investigating you’re truth claims, like I have been doing.
Also how can you be sure about anyone’s end result? The Bible doesn’t tell you that you can know where someone is going to end up. I’m only Jesus can. That’s why he gets to be the judge and that’s why there even will be a judgment day.
Great video and testimony.
Keep up the good work!
[In reference to one of my lectures, some guy wrote:] This stuff is great for ferreting out cults like Mormonism and Scientology, but what this poor soul doesn't understand yet, is that all religions and belief systems are made up by man!
[I replied:] That's your made-up belief. I think Jesus is infinitely more worthwhile to listen to than you.
[He replied:] ... And the 35,000 plus denominations that made up their own way to follow him, right? Makes sense, since he, himself is only a man who made up his own way …
[I replied:] so what if there are many denominations? If they are truly a denomination, then they are based on what C.S. Lewis called Mere Christianity. I have no idea why denominations would entail there couldn't be a true religion just because people differ on different expressions of it. It would be like claiming there couldn't be a Sivulka family, since there are are so many different Sivulkas.
Jesus claimed to be God, who became a man 2,000 years ago to die for all our guilt/sin. He's either a nut, a liar, or He really is God. Given His exemplary life, His fulfillment of prophecy, and the best case from history demonstrating that He rose from the dead, I have way more sufficient basis to believe Him than some hack on YouTube.