Rob at Ephraim Church of the BibleI had another awesome time in Manti, UT for their annual pageant. My first act of public ministry there was giving a lecture at the Ephraim, UT Church of the Bible. The lecture is called “Suffering and Joy in Our Evangelism to Mormons” (you may watch the video here) and it was given at the church’s morning training session to encourage the Christian missionaries that came from all over the country. In case you’ve seen this lecture before, I updated it.
I had many good conversations each night I was out prior to the start of the pageant. For example, one night I talked with two brothers—Tyler and Trevor—for close to an hour! Tyler just got his call to go on his mission in England, and he had his eyes glued on me as I shared Jesus and His gospel with them. They let me say a quick prayer for them right before the pageant began.
Along with a few other Christians, I also talked with a stake president named Doug. He had come back to accept my challenge that if the Bible said anywhere that there was more than one true God, then I would become a Mormon that night. He pointed to John 1 where the Word was God and was with God. “That’s two Gods,” he said. I said, “That’s a common LDS assumption not explicitly stated in the text, and it simply dismisses the way Christians have looked at that text for 2,000 years now.” I then began to share with him three different views on the Godhead to help Doug see his forced assumption upon this passage. I shared the Modalist view (one God and one Person with different titles or ways of appearing), the Mormon view (three Gods, three Persons, who are only one in purpose and human nature, but each are separable and come to be united in a Godhead team), and the Trinitarian view (one God, three Persons united inseparably and eternally in the Godhead). It took Doug awhile, but he finally saw where I was coming from. He didn’t accept Christianity, but at least I gave him a reason for believing he was yet to demonstrate a specific Bible passage that affirms more than one true God.
Tyler and Trevor with RobWhile walking with our two young daughters, Tara got into a great long conversation with an LDS gal, who approached her, saying, “Look at all these anti-Mormons.” Tara asked, “What makes you think they are antis?” The gal asked, “Are you one?” Turns out this gal recently returned to the LDS Church and opened up to Tara about some of the problems she had with it. Tara got to share the gospel of grace and how she herself was once a Mormon, who could never live up to the impossible standard of worthiness placed upon LDS members.
I also preached a couple nights on the streets for a little over an hour each night right before the pageant would start. It was very satisfying dumping off LDS antagonists to fellow Christians and watching many conversations form while I preached. The first night I preached, a teen was intently listening to me and then started to walk away in an obvious state of confusion. My buddy from Iowa, Frank Chirico, immediately went after him. After talking for a little bit, Frank was able to lead him to the Lord. This kid went away really rejoicing, knowing exactly what had happened to him. I was told about six people committed themselves to the Lord during the whole week and a half of the pageant.
Even my daughter Charis got into the act! She was helping me pass out tracts, but we were both having a hard time getting them out. So I started preaching, and she followed suit all on her own! While I preached, she shouted among other things, "Don't be Mormons!" Of course we have to work on her theology a little more, since after I preached, "I love you and am warning you before it's too late," she shouted, "It's too late!" But to be fair she was also preaching, “Go to heaven please!” She also told Mommy that when she grows up, she's going to be brave like Daddy! This was Charis’ first year of preaching. (She sort of preached last year with me, but none of it was intelligible. It was just yelling to somewhat imitate what Daddy was doing!) My buddy, Keith Walker, later told me that his LDS buddy told him how disturbing it was to see her preach... almost like the little girl in the movie Poltergeist. In fact, I have never gotten such a large and angry response from Mormons before after posting the picture of Charis passing tracts out on my Facebook page. Here’s a short video of Charis and me preaching.
Robbie and Rob witnessing to Stake President DougI also had help from others who, after my lecture at the Ephraim Church of the Bible, wanted to help advertise my site (JosephLied.com) each night after the pageant. They did this without me even asking! The daily visits for Utah went from averaging in the 20’s to 97 the day after the end of the pageant!
I did have a few problems with cops this year. One night I went to stand in my usual spot right on the curb in front of the temple with my battery LED JosephLied.com flashing sign. (It’s a great spot to wave to all the cars heading north out of town.) However, this year, someone stuck a sign there that is the same one used all over the LDS-owned park across the street. (I suspect it was the local stake president!) It says, “Pageant Visitors Welcome–No Proselytizing or Evangelizing Allowed.” So one cop pointed to the sign and told me I couldn’t stand on their property. I got off the curb and stood just inside the street. Cop told me that I would have to walk on. I told him it was a public street, but he said it didn’t matter. The next day I was told that they wouldn’t have a problem with me walking the street back and forth, so that’s what I did. Well the next week, I find out that this LDS sign didn’t belong there, since it’s not their property after all!
Aaron helping advertiseThe next problem came when one cop told me that there was some ordinance that said I couldn’t have any flashing red object facing oncoming traffic. I told the cop that this wasn’t a problem, and switched the light to not flashing. However, as I went over to stand in front of the temple, I noticed that right behind where I was there is a flashing red Manti High School sign facing oncoming traffic!
The final problem was that even though the cops always do a good job in watching over me as I preach and will arrest anyone that physically assaults me, they aren’t protecting my constitutional right to freedom of speech and are only waiting for physical damages to occur rather than preventing them. I was told by my legal counselor, Rich Berghammer, that when LDS are getting in my face and drowning me out, the cops should be backing these people off me.
On the other hand, LDS pageant security, particularly the head of it, Dave Parrish (also the mayor of Ephraim, UT), has always done a better job than the cops in this regard. For example, when one LDS guy got in my face, bumped me, and said, “Touch me and I’ll break your legs!,” Dave was there to tell the guy to beat it. But Dave can’t handle a whole crowd that is acting this way toward me. That’s where the cops should do their job! Dave has watched over me for years now. We’ve become good friends. Unfortunately, this was Dave’s last year working security.
Rob and Brigham (Marshall Almarode)One of the great joys of going to Manti each year is working with Christians from all over the country. One group came out with Marshall Almarode (who grew his beard out to look like Brigham Young—see photo) from Washington. He would get in conversations with people telling them of all the crazy things Young said. Two others from his group (Steve and Bill—see photo), though, had the distinct privilege of witnessing to the local fundamentalist Mormon prophet, Jim Harmston, at his home the day before he died of a heart attack. Harmston ran the True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days (TLC). He dismissed them as just “Bible thumpers” and took over most of the conversation. Bill said the next morning that something bad is going to happen to Harmston due to his arrogance, and sure enough, Harmston died later that afternoon. For the Salt Lake Tribune article, see here.
Harmston died the same day Joseph Smith died—June 27th. Word on the street was that Harmston was supposed to be the reincarnation of Smith. Perhaps Harmston dying on the same day as Smith gave the former some credibility. However, word also on the street was that Harmston was supposed to rise on the third day! Many left the group in 2000 after a failed prophecy of Christ’s return. Perhaps Harmston’s death will be the end of the TLC, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Prior to the Pageant, I had a phone interview again with Dave Mitchell on The Next Step radio program in Miami, FL. We discussed the pageant and Mormonism. You may listen to it here. Dave and his wife Claudia came out for the entire pageant.
In response to, "I hope you didn't listen to Lucifer and put your fig leaf aprons on throughout the ceremony" outside the Salt Lake Temple last month, I got a couple interesting responses. 1) "Does your mother have any kids that are living?" Uh... yeah, I'm one. 2) "You should try listening." If this doesn't tell you that going to the LDS temple is dangerous for your mental health, nothing will!
Rob with Steve and BillMesa, AZ Easter Pageant Update
Please check out this testimony I got from Kaleb Schorr last month.
We had a great Meetup with Brain Daley sharing his story. You can see the video here and the pictures here.
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We not only need your prayers, but we need your financial assistance 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 check to Courageous Christians United (CCU). For more information on various ways to invest in this ministry, 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. 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!
In addition to our regular needs, here are some random things we need: lawnmower repair, a microphone for our video camera, bumper stickers to advertise our web sites, renewal on one of our web sites this month, sink repair, and a new laptop for Tara. We expect God to provide for our needs through you. Why? Because the Bible is clear: “the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14).
"Be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:9)!
Rob preachingRob Sivulka
President, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374
West Jordan, UT 84081
****ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS****
“You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many” (2 Cor. 1:11).
1. Health and protection for our whole family
2. Tara’s and Maddi’s families to be saved
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Christians worshipping together with singing and prayer prior to evangelizing****MAILBAG****
Thanks for the news letter and sharing your witnessing experiences, example of love to Mormon members and heart with me brother, it's great news to hear of the many lives you touch against such an evil stronghold, be praying for those and your Ministry to go from strength to strength bearing much fruit for Christ and He can gather out many more like you to be soldiers. … Praying that your talks go well and that your family are well and healthy and safe and your meet ups continue to flourish and attract those seeking fellowship after leaving Mormonism and coming to Christ.
You're a champion, Rob. Keep up the good work! I never got to read your account of a conflict as expected because our nephew erased my "favorites" to bookmark it. Nonetheless, you are going strong and in the right direction. … it's good to know you will never give up.
Dave Mitchell witnessingYou are truly a valiant, noble and brave Kingdom Warrior on the front lines doing amazing work.
I promise to be steadfast in praying for blessing of multiplication for you, your ministry and your beautiful family.
As always.... outstanding work for the Lord, great to serve with you, we have already passed this to several LDS in the Denver area we are working with.
Thanks again for all you do.
hey rob, our 19 year old daughter is reconsidering going back to the Mormon church after coming out about 5 years ago. she is meeting with her Mormon boyfriend and the missionaries this week. Any advice for concened parents?
[I replied:] Sorry about this. If it was my kid, I'd force her to watch the entire temple ceremony. That should inoculate anyone!
[He replied:] Not a bad idea
[I replied:] Tell her she can do whatever she wants after that.
And that a person should be fully informed (as much as reasonably possible) before she marries a person or into a religion
I love what u are doing with your organization stay strong in The Lord and in his mighty power. I believe in you
Missionaries making their own JosephLied.com signsHi… I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and I lately attended the Manti Mormon Miracle Pageant. I really don't want to have a bashing conversation on which church/opinion/information is correct, I just want to know where "you guys" are coming from. If I may be so bold as to ask you, why is it so many people want to prove the "Mormons" wrong? Why is it so bad that we follow a modern day prophet that has been called of God (so we believe) and that we follow the Jesus Christ that is in the Bible (3rd Ne. clearly states it) just like you? I don't understand how people can say they are a different Jesus (they both did the exact same thing). Why is learning more about our Lord and Savior, using additional scripture, so wrong? The main reason I ask is because I'm troubled why our church is attacked and beaten to death by so many other churches. Why can't we focus on what we believe and not get flustered with others for what they believe? If it is true that one is saved by grace, then am I not already saved? From the most secular point of view, all I am is an overachiever on following Christ... or not, whichever you would agree with.
Matt Slick of CARM.org witnessing and videoingIf you choose not to respond, that is fine. I don't want to be a frustration to your day. I'm simply curious. Thank you for your time sir.
[I replied:] Thanks for the honest questions. If you spent any time looking at my www.MormonInfo.org home page, you'll see why we spend so much time evangelizing Mormons. We honestly think they are following a false Christ with a false gospel, false prophets, and scriptures. Just as our Lord warned of false Christs and prophets (Mat. 24:24), we must do the same. We all have many friends who are LDS. My in-laws are LDS. We have a deep love for them and want them to know the God of the Bible, so that they can spend eternity with us in heaven. After looking over the Home page, let me know if you have any other specific concerns.