Lecturing SD mission teamMission Teams
Last month I spoke to a total of three different mission teams. The beginning of the month was a team from South Dakota that I spoke to at the mission house in Saratoga Springs, UT. At the end of the month was a team from Missouri, and I also spoke to them at the mission house in Saratoga Springs. Then the next day was a team from Southern California, and I spoke to them at our old church in Centerville, UT. With each team, I was able to walk through the biblical criteria for whether Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and concluded that Smith was a false prophet.
I met with the missionaries last month, but this time it was only P and K. They were in their street clothes with their name tags, since they were just doing a service project. They didn't want to eat. I think they were planning on eating at some youth event later after our time.
Lecturing So CA mission teamAnyway, we had another hour and a half together. We began talking about Elder Holland's talk that they sent to me. I told them that the only objective argument I could gather from it was how Smith could have never lied about the Book of Mormon (BM) when he willingly gave his life for it and never repented. I reminded them that the same could be said of Muhammad and we already agreed that he was a false prophet. I also said that Holland's argument may have been a little more persuasive if Smith would have really been a martyr like many of the early apostles. Instead, Smith fought back with a pistol. These missionaries recognized this fact of history.
I then went into a simple argument for how I knew the BM was not the word of God. The LDS Church changed the BM from Isaiah saying "the mean man boweth down" to "the mean man boweth not down" (2 Ne. 12:9). We know what Isaiah wrote and the current version of the BM here is just wrong. We know this on the basis of 1) all the Old Testament English versions minus the BM, 2) all Hebrew manuscripts, 3) all the different ancient translations into other languages, 4) all the Church fathers citings, and 5) all the early lectionaries of the Church all are consistent in affirming that "the mean man boweth down."
From there, I explained how reminiscent this is of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. Here Smith 1) added a prophecy of himself in Gen. 50, 2) in 2 Sam. 12:13 he said that God had "not" put away David's sin, and 3) in Rom. 4:5 he said that God justifies "not" the ungodly. There is absolutely no justification for what Smith did here and all the evidence is against what he did. I also told them that Prov. 30:6 is clear that if you add to God's word, you'll be proven to be a liar. Smith has proven himself to be a liar. But they still knew he was a prophet of God.
From there, the missionaries shared their testimonies how they knew it was true, but they added miracle stories of healings. So I also shared a miracle story that happened to our family. I also shared my testimony how I know I have eternal life now as 1 Jn. 5:10-3 says, and I don't need the LDS Church or to jump through all their hoops before I get it. The Bible doesn't teach a segregated heaven where some of God's children are outside His presence. Every believer is with the Father and exalted. I have never had an LDS person tell me they know they are going to be with the Father, since it depends on how worthy they are. My hope is secure in Christ and what He, as the only worthy one has done for me.
Then I explained that we both can't be right about Smith, but we don't figure that out by trading miracle stories. God has given us objective tests to use that are outside of miracle stories. Deuit. 13:1-5 is clear that even if he gives a sign or a wonder, but teaches other gods, then you are to know he's not a prophet of God.
Then I explained how the God of the Bible is God by nature, not by obtainment (Gal. 4:8). He always was God from everlasting to everlasting (Ps. 90:2) contrary to what Smith taught. These missionaries are human by nature. They never have to obtain that. They are trying to obtain godhood, but God never had to do that since He's God by nature.
P affirmed that God continues to learn things even though He's way more knowledgeable than we are. I said that this wasn't good enough for the God of the Bible, since He's truly omniscient and doesn't need to grow in learning.
P affirmed an infinite series of Gods prior to our God, and that was honorable to P that God had to learn just like they are. So I explained to them how God truly is the Big Banger of the entire universe, and the Bible affirms that God is not only the God of earth, but of the highest of heavens. Then I explained to them a philosophical reason why the universe must be finite and not actually infinite. I used an example of getting permission to wear these glasses. If I needed to keep seeking permission from some other preceding guy before I could wear the glasses, then how in the world am I ever going to be able to wear them? See, if the world were actually infinite, we would never be able to reach the present moment, or any other moment for that matter. But since we do, we know there must be an absolute beginning somewhere to get the whole thing going. But these guys still knew Smith was a prophet of God, because of their testimonies.
Somehow we got back to the BM. I told them that there is no indisputable historical fact concerning the people, the places, the events in the New World BM. P said they just haven't discovered them yet. However, the story of Israelites populating the Americas prior to Columbus goes against everything every non-LDS scholar knows. It's a religious fairytale much like *The Lord of the Rings* or *Alice in Wonderland*. But they still knew the BM is true.
I even mentioned to them how the Comoros Islands with their capital being the city of Moroni are just east of Africa. All Smith had to do was see that on any world map to incorporate/plagiarize them into the central BM storyline. P said I had to show where an uneducated Smith would have access to such a map! I said that the onus was on him to demonstrate how Smith didn't lift this from some map, since it seems too coincidental. If these missionaries still think it was just a coincidence, then I told them I have beachfront property to sell them in Kansas. I shared that Prov. 28:26 says that he who trusts in his own heart is a fool. I told them I mean no disrespect by this, since I love them too much and think too highly of them to disrespect them. They don't ignore the evidence in any other area of life. P said, "If I buy a car, of course I pray about it." I responded, "Sure, but only a fool would simply do that and not look at the facts. The facts don't care about how you feel." But they still knew the BM was true.
I also was able to read to them all of Hebrews 7, since they kept emphasizing the power of the Melchizedek priesthood that they received to perform miracles. I read to them the characteristics of our great High Priest, who having the Melchizedek priesthood, continues to intercede for us since He lives forevermore. Only He is holy, separate from sinners, undefiled, exalted above the heavens (vs. 26). His is a permanent priesthood, not changed to the next guy upon death like the Levitical priests (vs. 24). He saves completely (vs. 25). These guys are fooling themselves in thinking they have this sort of priesthood.
Nothing I was going to say was going to convince them otherwise. I encouraged them to at least be open to consider that they are fallible and may be making a mistake here, so I pleaded with them to be open to the evidence. They encouraged me to be open to the witness of the Spirit. They said they'd rather have that than anything any scholar could say.
I said I better get going. Time had flown by. K prayed. Then I simply prayed, "Lord, have mercy on these guys. Have mercy! Amen!"
I asked if we could meet again next week and that I'd buy them dinner. They said that there was no point continuing. I felt like I was getting dumped! I encouraged them to check my JosephLied.com out after they get off their missions. They said that they've already seen it, my YouTube channel, and my Facebook. So I encouraged them to friend me on Facebook after they get off their mission. We hugged each other and wished each other well.
Please see the pictures and watch the video of last month’s Feast & Testimony meeting by clicking the link above. Perrin Pollard shared his story of coming out of Mormonism and atheism.
The first was “Dr. Loren Pankratz on ‘Joseph Smith and Authority’" and the second was a specific part of the first: “Dr. Loren Pankratz's Critique of LDS Blake Ostler's Theology.”
Fruit from Planting in 1986
It’s always amazing to see some fruit from what I plant. Last month, I got the following messages on Twitter: “@RobSivulka
JWs got my mom in ‘86 & this was the 1st convention I attended: I was 12 yrs old. We rode w/ a JW family & upon seeing you I said ‘he’s cute.’☺️ In a panic-they instructed us to put our heads down & not look: you were evil. It terrified me for yrs but I made it out.🥳”
“I remember this day like yesterday & I was so pleasantly surprised when my Google search found these pics of you all. Thank you for helping JWs & the exJW community. I wonder how many people you’ve helped. People who didn’t plug their ears or put their heads down. Thanks again 🤗”
This woman was referencing seeing me outside a Jehovah’s Witness convention at Dodger Stadium in 1986! Here are a couple of the pictures she found of me evangelizing there. I am really looking forward to more stories like this when I get to heaven!
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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. Please keep in mind we have no financial guarantees each month. Ministry partners come and go. 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!
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 1:6),
President, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374
West Jordan, UT 84088
(801) 792-6373 (leave voice message or text)
Thanks for sharing these conversations. You've been at this long enough to know that you planted seeds. Statistics say they could very likely abandon Mormonism within a few years of completing their mission. And your conversation has likely increased that likelihood for them. But that's a hollow victory if they reject Christ and settle into atheism. May the Lord use those seeds sown in love to draw them to Himself. Watering those seeds with prayer....
Rob I am surprised you would let a missionary lead in prayer since they are praying to a false god. You planted some great seeds, may God bless them.
[I replied:] It's obvious to us both that we don't have the same God that we are praying to. I'm not going to stop them when they wanted to pray. I think my continued witness to them after they get off their mission is more important than whether I rudely stop their prayer. The same goes for my LDS family events. I'm not going to ruin my witness by rudely stopping their prayer over a meal so I can emphasize a point that they already know what I believe.
How are you making out with your university studies? Could you give me an update, please.
[I replied:] I'm still waiting on them approving the Research Proposal! There has been such confusion for registering, applying the bursary for this year, and paying my bill. Though I'm hopeful it's worked out now. Also not impressed with the responsiveness of my supervisor. I have concluded that getting the PhD here is like buying a bare root tree. What you may save in the costs, you certainly pay with patience! The good thing is I'm really in no rush. But please pray I'll hear soon about my bill being paid sufficiently, that the RP will be approved soon, and that I may be able to finish next year. That would all be very nice.
Hi Rob: I love reading of your witnessing to the LDS you find in your life. I have a friend named John, who just moved to Nebraska and has been witnessing to the Mormons who come to his door. He was very disappointed that they stopped meeting with him last week, saying that his asking them to study the Bible might changed their faith. I told him to rejoice that their hearts are so disturbed by what he showed them in the Bible that meant to me that he had planted some seeds that the Holy Spirit would use. I gave him your name and website and told him to read what you have to say and will surely get more opportunities in his new neighborhood. Your enthusiasm is infectious!! Taco Tuesday!! YAY!
Again brother Rob an awesome newsletter as you share the real Jesus with those blinded by a false hope.
Thank you for your ministry and very interesting letter. I appreciate the mind God has given you to together the verses needed to reach the Mormons for Christ.