LDS missionaries

At the beginning of last month, I had a nice chat with two LDS missionaries off the side of the road. They let me pray for them, but I ask you to say a quick prayer for them as well. I also gave them my to check out after their mission. I had probably a good 20 minutes or so with them. I told them how much I loved them and respected them to pull over and talk with them and give them some food for thought. They said they respected my opinion and hope that I respect theirs. I told them I didn't, since I think their opinion is leading them to hell, but of course I respect them and they could believe whatever they wanted. There's no way I could force them one way or another.

They admitted they hadn't read the whole Bible yet. I encouraged them and prayed that they would simply commit themselves to whatever God tells them in the Bible even if that ends up going against their leaders and their family. I made mention in my prayer of what Jesus said in Matthew 10--that He didn't come to bring peace, but a sword to even divide against family members.

I focused on God being the Cause of the entire material universe vs. the LDS view of God being a product of the universe. That entails that God can't be a spatial/material being who is containable as 1 Kings 8:27 says. I tied all this into Jesus being the Creator of everything from the beginning. They were surprised when I told them what Smith taught about God the Father having a Father and thus wasn't the only God for the entire world. They asked for where exactly this quote was from. However, they said this was too deep doctrine for them, so I tried to simplify it and explain how this is basic to the gospel. The gospel is first and foremost about God who came into the world He created. If that God is not the creator of literally everything, then that devalues God and it becomes idolatry, which keeps one from inheriting the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-11).

Well they weren't there to change my mind, so they didn't want to get into it much. So I tried to encourage them that this was simply food for thought that I think is important enough to consider. We can't both be right. Either one of us is wrong or we're both wrong and someone like the JW's are right. They seemed to appreciate my attitude and the way I treated them... but of course they had to get to their next appointment!

Later last month, I stopped two other LDS missionaries as they were walking by on my street. These were the same guys who didn't have time for me last time in April. I asked them, "So you think God's an exalted man, right?" They hesitated, but said, "Yes." Then I asked if that's the case, then what color is he? One said, "Does it matter?" I said, "Well if God is supreme, and he is a particular color, then that color is supreme." The one missionary said, "We don't have time for this" and they just walked off. As they were walking, I told them that they make lousy Gods and they'll never become one since the Bible is clear there is only one. I also told them that they are following a false prophet to hell.

Pray for these guys and that God will give me more opportunities to place stones in their shoes.

It is interesting that not long before this, I ended up blocking a Christian guy on our Facebook discussion board and then on my personal Facebook page. I blocked him on the discussion board since he was being rude to an LDS guy there. It was obvious that the Christian just wanted to preach to this LDS guy and just call him out and the LDS guy actually wanted to dialogue. The Christian said I was weak for calling him out and he said I wasn’t following the example of Jesus who called people out like he did. I tried to explain that I do the same thing when warranted, but I didn’t think the discussion board and particularly his interaction with this LDS guy was the place. The point of a discussion board is to discuss after all.

I later posted about my brief interaction with these LDS missionaries on the discussion board, and ironically some Christians thought I was a bully, a jerk, and a hindrance to these guys. The problem is that Christians tend to think there’s a one size fits all form of interacting and witnessing to Mormons. That one size is evangelism that is based on an established friendship… even if just in the beginning stages.

However, wisdom dictates that we pay attention to the context, and of course, always intend the best for the people we confront. That intention is key. One would think that after all the time I’ve invested with my life in reaching out to LDS and after all the real nice conversations I have had with LDS, I would be given the benefit of the doubt in a particular situation that doesn’t fit the nice model. This is why people are dubious to say the least of my efforts to draw people to my site by standing in front of their temple with a sign.

Our friend Randy Fieeiki came to share his story last month. Please watch the video and see the pictures at the link above.

Update on doctoral dissertation

My professor is pushing me to wrap the dissertation up by August. Please pray this will happen. He is shortening the project down a couple chapters by combining chapters. August will be when it is to be presented to the school for whether they will pass it or not.


We need your partnership

If you’re looking for ways to store up for yourself treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:19-20), may I suggest investing in our ministry? 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. If you’re not a partner and are blessed by these monthly updates, please join 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!

Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6)!

Rob Sivulka
President, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374
West Jordan, UT 84088
(801) 792-6373


Really? Your idea of converting and "saving" members of the LDS Church is passive-aggressive? 'We love you, but you are a cultist and going to hell.' Great message...thank you for sharing your idea of "gods love".

[I replied:] nothing passive about it, and nothing more loving than warning you of your imaginary god.

…As far as I know Latter-day Saints don’t believe that “God is a product of the universe”. LDS scripture explicitly states that God and all of his spirit children have always existed.

Additionally, your interpretation of 1 Kings 8:27 seems unimportant to me, seeing as an exegetical examination of that passage poses no threat to LDS theology


Furthermore, while many LDS believe God the Father had a father, that is not a position that members of the church are required to believe. The King Follett discourse is more complicated than what you’re letting on.

Next, LDS don’t have a definition of the gospel that contradicts anything in the biblical texts that talks about “the gospel”. With these objections in mind, are you sure that your discussion here accurately represented LDS theology? What aspects of LDS theology here disqualify us from being “Christians”?

[I replied:] since Smith clearly taught that God hasn't always been God and that matter and its laws are eternal just as much as we as intelligence are eternal as D&C 93 teaches, then none of the Gods have always been Gods and have needed the universe in order to be Gods. This is why BYU's David Paulsen's dissertation referred to God as finitistic.

Of course I disagree with your understanding of 1 Kings 8:27. The point is the God isn't a containable being and can't fit inside anything since He's the creator of the highest heavens. That's why Jews and Christians haven't devalued Him like LDS have in making Him an exalted man who must work with matter and its laws in order to get things done in the worlds He rules over.

Regardless of individual LDS, Smith clearly taught that God had to become a God in the KFS and that the Father had a Father in the Sermon in the Grove. As such, Smith is a false prophet who taught a false god according to Deut. 13:1-5. And because that is a false god, then the gospel is also false.

[He replied:] alrighty, in which account of the KFS does it claim that God “became” a god? How about the Sermon in the Grove? That seems difficult for you to prove, because as Blake Ostler points out:

"It seems fairly clear to me that Joseph Smith had [the Father being born as a mortal] in mind and not [the Father being spiritually begotten by another Father above him]. First, immediately after discussing the fact that generation of a son necessarily requires a father, he states: "I want you to pay particular attention to what I am saying. Jesus said that the Father wrought precisely in the same way as His Father had done before Him. As the Father had done before? He [Jesus] laid down His life, and took it up the same as His Father had done before." Thus, Joseph returns to the same explanatory principle that he had in the King Follett discourse. The Son as a mortal does "precisely" what the Father did before him." -Blake T. Ostler, Exploring Mormon Thought Vol. 2: The Problems With Theism And the Love of God (Salt Lake City, Utah: Greg Kofford Books, 2006)

Additionally, I’d love to see that dissertation if you don’t mind sharing it 🙂
Your explanation of what you believe about 1 Kings 8:27 is likewise interesting…just to be clear, you mean to tell me that God cannot “fit” in His temple at any point in time?

Why do you believe that God created from nothing? Most scholars believe that Creation from nothing is a post-Biblical idea that was imposed upon the Biblical texts centuries after the fact.

[I replied:] If you're going to propose Ostler's theory here, let's keep in mind this is an arcane position that the vast majority of LDS throughout history have never held to, let alone even heard of. I grant it's popular with BYU academic types. Now if you want evidence that Smith did indeed teach that God became a God and thus was not always God from eternity, and any version of the KFS supports that, then please read
Loren Pankratz's Dialogue article from a couple years ago: Sure syntax differs, but the semantics are still there. Further, Ostler's god still turns out to be finite, since he still has to work with eternal matter and its laws which are outside his being. Thus, God ends up being subservient to goodness instead of the traditional God of Christianity who has goodness of His very nature (that's how Augustine split the horns of the Euthyphro dilemma).

If Ostler's view that the Father had a Father simply means that the Father had a mortal experience like Jesus, who looked to what His Father before Him, then who was the heavenly Father that the Father looked to in His mortal experience? The Son certainly looked not to His earthly father, but to His heavenly Father. The immediate context in the Sermon on the Grove is "Intelligences exist one above another, so that there is no end to them." The broader context is the KFS, and there it plainly teaches not simply that the Father went through a mortal experience like Jesus did, but that the Father was *not* "God from all eternity", but "God came to be God" and is an "exalted man", and that is why Smith went on to say that we "have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before". We have not ever been a God, but yet we are asked to become one just as all the others have done before us.

As per 1 Kings, of course God can take on any type of nature or attachment in order to fit inside His universe or a house like He did with the dove nature the Holy Spirit took on at Jesus' baptism or like God did when He took on the man nature of Jesus. But these natures are not the nature of God, which isn't containable since the highest of heavens are because of Him or belong to Him (also cf. Deut. 10:14). The plain reading is that they just are not from eternity, but they are because of God. In Mormonism, matter is eternal and thus these heavens were either put together from eternal matter by prior Gods (traditional Mormonism) or were co-eternal with God (Ostler's view). In either case, the highest heavens are not because of God.

Creatio ex nihilo is the plain reading of the Bible and has been traditionally held by Jews and Christians, by whom the scriptures originate, and even Muslims hold to it. To deny it is to simply devalue God and make Him as Paulsen claimed "finitistic" (1975. The comparative coherency of Mormon (finitistic) and classical theism. Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms). Further, science and philosophy both affirm a literal first moment in time--a big bang--from which all of space and time originate. If that's not the case, then it doesn't seem that we'd ever arrive at this present moment having traversed it one at a time. We can't go backwards if the universe is actually infinite and ever arrive at a beginning, and neither can we go forward from actual infinity to arrive at any point. It would be like trying to jump out of a bottomless pit. We need an absolute starting point to get anywhere. If prior to sending this post, I had to ask an actually infinite amount of people, I'd never post it. Since there must be an absolute beginning, that has implications for a radically different God than the LDS god--Smith's or Ostler's. One that is actually infinite, omnipotent, eternally God, the Cause of time and space.

Sure, "[s]ome modern biblical scholars think that scripture does not support *ex nihilo* creation" ("Ex Nihilo" in, but that doesn't entail it's not actually taught in scripture. And just like how certain terms like "Trinity" or "moral objectivism" came about subsequent to scripture that doesn't entail that the semantics are not already taught in scripture. Judaism and Christianity were unique in not holding to all the other pagan creation myths that taught an eternal universe.

Even if creatio ex nihilo isn't the case, Mormonism still devalues King Jesus by making Him not the creator of all things whether in heaven or in earth as Col. 1:13-8 state. Jesus in Mormonism didn't create the planet He was born on as a spirit child, He didn't create Lucifer, our spirits, etc., etc. That's not the Jesus of the Bible, and thus is not the gospel.

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