Every year right after Thanksgiving, Temple Square is lit up with a massive amount of Christmas lights, which draw the crowds out every night up until Christmas. One night I went out for 4 hours, and had an awesome time! The weather was quite warm for the end of November. There were lots of conversations, lots of preaching, lots of pictures being taken of me with my sign—JosephLied.com in Christmas lights, lots of people looking up the site, lots of hostility and rudeness. I got out a handful of DVDs. One LDS guy made a joke of me being there by saying, “General Conference is over!”
God saved the best for last. An RM (Returned Missionary) was listening to me for a while talk to another RM. When that finished, I talked to the RM listening to me. His name was Ty. He’s a 21-year-old who did his mission in Tampa, FL. He seemed to have problems with Mormonism, but not ready to jump ship completely. He took the DVD, and intently listened to me. He let me pray for him at the end, then he shook my hand and hugged me!
Thanks for the prayers for protection! There were lots of angry people out, and there was one Pacific Islander I had to threaten to call the cops on for his threats of taking my sign, then me!
The day before I went to Temple Square, I got 126 hits total for MormonInfo.org with 28 from Utah, but the day I went out I had 230 hits total and 57 from Utah. Then the following day I got 292 total hits, and 84 from UT! Yeah, I'd say advertising with my sign works!
Huge Ex-Mormon Meetup
Last month we had one of our largest Meetups with close to 75 people! It was too large to have at our home, so we moved it to our church. The reason it was so large was because of Lynn and Michael Wilder sharing their testimony. Lynn was a former professor at Brigham Young University. Lynn also has a brand new book out called Unveiling Grace, which is a detailed account of the family’s transition out of Mormonism. You may watch the video here and the pictures here.
We had a very interesting evening with our internet service tech. He brought his daughter over while he worked on fixing our system, and she played with Charis. We invited him and his daughter to have dinner with us after he finished up. Tara asked him straight up if he was LDS, and we were off to the races! He described himself as a closet FLDS (fundamentalist), but active LDS! So I asked him how "F" was he. I asked if he bought Brigham Young's teaching that "Adam was our Father and our God and the only God with whom we have to do." Tech said, "Yes," so I said, "So you think God's a sinner." He went into some story about the family of Gods, who brought eternal intelligences into this family to progress toward Godhood. So I asked Tech where the first family came from to pull these intelligences into their family. He simply said, "That's a good question."
I asked if he was aware of 11 of Smith's wives that he married were currently married to other men. Tech said he thought the evidence for that was "convoluted." So I gave him 3 LDS references to back up my claim. He then asked how "anti-Mormons" see all the polygamy in the Bible. Tara told him that we aren't "anti-Mormons" since we love Mormons and are for them, and then told him that basically there's a lot mentioned in the Bible that wasn't approved of God. I also explained to him God's design from the beginning of creation (i.e., one flesh), and even if that wasn't the case, the New Testament is quite clear that the Church leaders, which we're called to emulate, are to be the husband of only 1 wife and Smith clearly went against that command.
He was very open... so much so that he took the Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith DVD, so prayers for him and his family are appreciated! I should also mention that Tara had a very long conversation with his estranged wife earlier this summer, and she was very open as well. She was the sales woman. Our system still continues to give us many headaches. It's been worked on a number of times, but things have kept getting worse. Perhaps God allowed all this to get Tech here that night!
Tara’s Witness to the Missionaries
Tara went out for a 3 mile run one day, and ran into the missionaries. She ended up having an hour conversation with them, and at the end, they let her pray for them. They invited Tara to their church, but she told them she’d only go if they came to our church. They said they had to check with their mission president, but Tara told them there’s no way he’d let them. Well they called back the next day, and she was right! She also requested that missionaries come to our home. Since the missionaries she talked to were out of our area, these missionaries promised to send others. She told them that was not going to happen either. We’ve already asked another missionary, who also promised the same thing, but we’ve never ever had missionaries at our home. She also got to give them more verses to look up, as well as a quote from Joseph Smith in which he boasts that he’s done more for us than even Jesus (History of the Church 6:408-9)!
Just like the other month when I got some encouragement from my pastor letting me know of someone he met who was helped by my www.MormonInfo.org site, last month I got more encouragement, but this time it was from my step-daughter Maddi and concerned my other site—www.JWinfo.org. Maddi told me of a friend she made at driving school, who is moving away from being a Jehovah’s Witness. He told Maddi how he has been to my site, and how helpful it was for him. Come to find out a few days ago that they are now dating!
We Need Your Partnership!
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 on any of our sites. Please keep in mind 1) this is our sole source for income, and 2) 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!
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).
Our home in West Jordan
President, Courageous Christians United
P.O. Box 1374
West Jordan, UT 84081
****ADDITIONAL PRAYER REQUESTS****
1. Health and protection for our whole family
2. Tara’s and Maddi’s families to be saved
3. Wisdom in all our dealings
4. Strength to keep going
Rob the first time I saw you preaching I was afraid of you : ) but I guess I was more afraid of Christ in you now years later I can say Im not scaried of you neither of Christ and I see know that the preaching of the cross is folishness to them who is lost but to tho who believe it is the power of god unto salvation ! Praying for you!
Rob, I've never been much on having a hero but you are one of mine. I truly am in awe of your ability to draw people to Christ and Give God the Glory in every situation. you inspire me to be a better person.
Rob is an amazing man of God. A modern day John the Baptist.
How do you deal with Mormon friends who accuse you of not loving them because that is what my Mormon friend did when I shared the truth and I shared in person to her and I have shared your site and a few others on Facebook. I said it is out of love that drives me to share but you can already guess her response. Ti her by "saying what I say about her church it means I don't care about her. I know we will never be close like we were. I am 58 she is 75. My ex-pastor says some are so deeply indoctrinated they may never be reached. I pray always for the lost. Now I think I have become a stumbling block to her, but I will continue to pray. Thank you for missionary.
[I replied:] Sorry... They're blind. We should expect it and just keep giving them what they need, ignoring their nonsense. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and how He dealt with the blind.
[She replied:] Thank you for your kind words Rob. I feel a loss because she was a friend and it will never be the same because she thinks I'm attacking her when I say anything negative about her church. Even if I never said another word it will never be the same. And you are correct Rob they are very blinded. So proud that you can reach the ones you do reach with the gospel of our dear Savior Jesus Christ.
And I need to correct the word proud. I am proud but not in a proudful matter just proud to see young Christians like you with the heart of Christ.
[I replied:] I know what you mean and am thankful for the sentiment
[Responding to an invite to come to our next Ex-Mormon Meetup that Tara posted on her Facebook:] I'm tired of religions fighting. Please just leave it alone. You're not going to convince anyone by attacking something they love.
[Tara replied:] Thought I would send you a private note rather than post on your wall. Please don't forget that Joesph Smith attacked Christianity by saying that "all other churches were wrong" As A Christian I am just defending my faith against the LDS attacks. Also I want others to know the true God of the Bible. The one who loves them and died for them. I remember when I was LDS and when I felt others "attacked" my faith it would just make me so upset. Now I can say I am thankful for those people, because they made me question my faith and find the AWESOME God I love now. I love you..., even if you think I'm crazy and stay Mormon your whole life. God loves you more and He has an awesome plan for you life! Praying for you.
[Referring to one of our homemade jams I sent to the following ministry partners:] My wife and I think that you and your wife have missed your calling! We’re fully going to be really disappointed if we can’t get more – you need to get that “Sivulka’s Spreadable Joy” website up and going so we can make you guys rich!
(really man, it’s THAT good)
Sorry it has taken me so long to respond as we first met outside of the "Temple" grounds.
…I watched the DVD you gave us and I have watched it twice more! The producers did a superlative job! Excellent!
I wish I had seen the DVD sooner. My wife and I were riding the tram through the city after we met you and happened to sit across from a mother and her ~7-year-old son. We struck up a conversation with them and the son asked me if I was "LDS," expecting a positive answer. When I told him no, he looked like I had taken an ice cream cone away from him. Prior to that he was very talkative. We returned to our Hotel...Little America and I sat down and played church hymns on the piano down one of the hotel corridors. Guest who happened along? The 7-year-old and his mother. They were amazed, especially the mother, at seeing the stranger from the tram that they had dismissed as being a bad non-LDS person was now playing recognizable church hymns. If I had seen the DVD sooner, I could have asked them some thought-provoking questions and gently challenged their religious position. Maybe the Lord will make that happen at some point in the future?
We hope this e-mail finds you and your family well, and look forward to seeing you next September.
Just watched the video of you and the primary song singing lady. In my opinion you won, hands down. I suggest you take out stock in throat logenzes and as always God bless you!
Rob, its my honor to support your ministry and I look forward to the day I get to meet you and Tara and the adorable kiddos. Please please please let me know if you are anywhere in the Bay area ever and I will come meet you and take you to dinner.
Hi! My name is... I have heard wonderful things about the Morman church and I am thinking very seriously about joining. If you could please get back to me, it would be greatly appreciated! Thank you again!
[I replied:] How can I help you? Your bro,R
[She replied:] Well I want to join the church but don't know how
[I replied:] So how did you find me?
[She replied:] I googled the Morman Church of LDS
[I replied:] So why do you want to join? And more importantly, what makes you think it's true?
[She replied:] I want to join because I feel as if Its the right religious move for me, I've read about Church and it sounds like me, personally.
[I replied:] Well why would it be the right religious move for you if it turns out to be a false church that really teaches a false Christ with false prophets? I mean, do you even know what Mormonism teaches? And do you have any religious background?
[She replied:] I don't feel as if the Morman church is a false church. And yes I do have a religious background. And no, I don't actually know what it teaches...
[I replied:] What is your religious background? Would you please read the chart of differences on my www.MormonInfo.org home page and let me know what you think?
[She replied:] I grew up Baptist, but I've noticed that I didn't quit understand whar was being taught
[I replied:] Let me know when you finish reading the differences chart, k?
[She replied:] I have finished.
[I replied:] So what did you think of it?
[She replied:] I feel as if the Morman church makes more sense than the average Christian church.
[I replied:] Why when it doesn't teach what the Bible teaches?
[She replied:] Its what I feel.
[I replied:] Well then you're right. You are a prime candidate to become a Mormon since they trust so much in their feelings. However, don't your feelings ever lead you astray? Of course they do. So what makes you so sure they aren't leading you astray here? You seem more in love with your feelings than you do God and His word. Do you know that God said that the heart is more deceitful above all else, who can know it in Jeremiah 17:9? God also said that there's a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Proverbs 14:12). Would you please read more of what I've written on this subject? http://mormoninfo.org/feelings
I commend you for thinking and getting both sides before you buy a religion!
[She replied:] Okay, I am very confused. Are you and Tara Mormans, or are you against the entire religion itself?
[I replied:] Here's my wife's testimony: http://mormoninfo.org/testimonies/tara-sivulka
[She replied:] Oh wow. So what you mean is that the LDS church is not Christian..?
[I replied:] It's a counterfeit of Christianity. It uses all the terms of Christianity, but doesn't teach what the Bible teaches. Jesus warned of false Christs and false prophets that would come in the last days in Matthew 24:24, and the Mormon Church certainly is in that category. Here's my story: http://mormoninfo.org/autobiography.
Praying for you! There are no accidents with God, and I believe He led you to me to protect you.
[She replied:] Thank you so much for telling me. I really think I need to start praying again.. maybe this is why I so vulnerable right now :'(
[I replied:] You're very welcome! Not only start praying, but start reading your Bible.
Please, any time, let me know how I can help you! I'll put you on my email list to stay in touch with you.
[A Christian friend asked me to comment on the following he got from his LDS friend:]
Isaiah 44:6 reads:
[“]Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.[”]
Passages such as Isa 44:6,8 and 45:5,21 that read "no God beside me" or a variation of that phrase are traditionally interpreted by mainstream anti-Mormons as meaning that other than Yahweh no form of deity exists at all, including exalted men. This type of interpretation at first seems obvious, but after considering similar passages in other parts of scripture it is clear that this interpretation is incorrect.
For example, Isaiah 47:8-10 depicts the city of Babylon as saying:
“Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children:
For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.”
These passages use the exact same phrase as Isa 44 and 45, yet they certainly do not exclude the existence of any city other than Babylon. The city of Ninevah would be very upset if this were the case, as Zephaniah depicts Ninevah in Zephaniah 2:15 as saying:
"This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand."
Again it is clear that this phrase does not exclude the very existence of other cities. Using these parallel phrases makes it clear that Isaiah is not excluding the very existence of any other deity when he quotes Yahweh as declaring "there is no God beside me." There are, in fact, several scriptures in the Old Testament that imply that Yahweh is in fact one of a number of Gods, albeit supreme. Compare the following passages from the KJV, NIV and ESV versions of the Bible:
§ And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. For who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him. O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee? aor to thy faithfulness round about thee? (KJV Psalms 89:5-8)
§ The heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings [fn. Lit "sons of god(s)]? In the council of holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him. O LORD God almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you (NIV Psalms 89:5-8).
§ Among all the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works (Psalms 86:8).
§ God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment (ESV Psalms 82:1)
§ God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. (KJV Psalms 82:1)
These scriptures speak of divine beings, "gods" who are the "sons of god(s)" who are heavenly beings who dwell in the skies. These cannot be idols or false gods. Yahweh dwells among them, reigns over them, and holds judgment in their midst.
Another favorite scripture of the critics of the LDS doctrine of exaltation is Isaiah 43:10. They seem to believe it contradicts this doctrine when it says:
“Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.”
Whether this passage is referring to false idols who represent deities that do not exist, or whether it refers to real divine beings who exist alongside and subordinate to Yahweh is not crucial for responding to this particular criticism. The passage specifically says "before" and "after" Yahweh. Since Yahweh has always existed, and since He will always exist no man can ever be exalted "before" or "after" Yahweh. All men who are exalted to godhood will be contemporaries of Yahweh, and will never precede nor follow Yahweh's existence. They will also become part of the divine council over which he presides.
Wherefore, as it is written, [the inhabitants of the Celestial Kingdom] are gods, even the sons of God (D&C 76:58).
Feel free to e-mail me anytime. However, if you really want to know if the Book of Mormon is true, the only way to find out is to read it yourself with an open mind and then ask God if it is true. I read and prayed about the Book of Mormon and I know that this book has made me a better person and a better father to my family.
[I replied:] The first problem comes in your friend’s misunderstanding of what our position is. He states these Isaiah passages are “interpreted by mainstream anti-Mormons as meaning that other than Yahweh no form of deity exists at all, including exalted men.” However, we do believe there are other gods and there are exalted men, and we plan on becoming the latter when we go to glory. The thing to keep in mind though is what Jesus taught, viz., there’s only one true God (Jn. 17:3). That entails all other gods are false or idols as Isa. 46 makes clear (cf. vss. 1 and 6, e.g.).
The scope of the Isaiah passages is the Creator of the universe, or in Old Testament language, “the heavens and the earth” (cf. 44:24 and 45:18, e.g.). And as Ps. 96:5 says, “All the gods of the people are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.” With that in mind, of course there literally is no one else besides Him being the true God or Creator, since no one else is responsible for all of creation. There is no other true God mentioned in Isaiah, yet there are other idols or false gods mention in Isaiah (cf. 46:1).
So what’s going on in Isa. 47:8-10? The Babylonians (note the plural in verses 1 and 5—“Chaldeans” is a synonym for “Babylonians”) were obviously prideful in claiming there’s no one beside “me” (the city of Babylon). That’s why the only true God calls them a “wanton creature” (vs. 8 as the NIV says) or one given to pleasures and dwells carelessly (as the KJV says). God is chiding them for saying they were sufficient. Given this context, your friend would have to equally chide the only true God for His sufficiency statements! One is justified, the other isn’t.
Further, Yahweh is Jesus to LDS. They say that He was supreme in the OT, because Elohim (a separate God known as the Heavenly Father) gave Jesus that authority to act supreme. However, that’s technically not what we think of as supreme. Who’s the King of Kings literally speaking? The Father or the Son? For LDS, “supreme” is always relative to what’s being talked about. There is no absolute supreme, since each God rules over some other world or sets of worlds. For the Christian, the answer is the absolute Supreme is our God--the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each Person inseparably and eternally makes up the only true God or Creator of all things outside Himself.
Bottom line: all references to the “sons of the mighty” or any other “gods” mentioned in scripture are all false gods or creatures that are unduly worshipped. The Psalm 82 passage is particularly harsh in calling out these “gods” as being sinful and unjust. Obviously that’s not the God of the Bible, the only true God, who has been God from everlasting to everlasting as Ps. 90:2 says. You need to ask your friend, “If you say that these gods can’t be false gods or idols in Ps. 82, then why were they judging unjustly (vss. 2-4) and would die like men? If they’re really are heavenly beings, then how are they going to die like men (vs. 7) and why the reference at the end of God judging the earth and inheriting the nations (vs. 8)? Even if they are referencing heavenly beings, the passage is no reason to think that they should be regarded as *true* Gods in charge of all creation, and thus deserve ultimate worship for some world or set of worlds. Until Mormons can really show in the Bible an instance of a true God in addition to “the only true God,” then we have no good reason to accept Mormonism.
As for the Isa. 43:10 passage, the passage isn’t a treatise on whether anything exists before the Lord or not per se. It’s about whether there’s a true God that was or can be “formed” before or after God, and the answer to that is obviously no for us. For LDS, the answer to that is, “Of course a true God can and was and will be formed before and after our God.”
Tell your friend that he can baptize you into the LDS Church immediately if he can show you a legitimate instance of there being more than 1 true God in the Bible! And speaking of the BM, your friend can’t show you this in there either. In fact, there is no more than one true and living God in Alma 11:24-9.
One last thing… contrast Isa. 44:24 with Abraham 4:1ff. Why buy the latter? Keep Gal. 1:6-9 in mind.
[My friend writes:] It seems he still did not answer my question. Any suggestions?
[Then he posts his LDS friend’s reply:] I'm sorry you felt I didn't answer your question. Lets simplify this discussion. The first scripture from the Bible you used was Psalm 90:2 and then you used Moroni 8:18 where it says God is "unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity." You used those scriptures to say that the Book of Mormon never says God was once a mortal. In fact, it teaches that God was always God.
The term "unchangeable God" is not referencing a physical state. This can be shown from similar terms from the Bible about Jesus. Jesus is referred to as "the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). Yet we learn from the scriptures that Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man”(Luke 2:52) here is certainly a change in condition; here is succession of time with God, a before and after; here is being and becoming; for whereas, He was a spirit, He became man; and in becoming man, He passed through all the phases in life from infancy to manhood. It is significant also that it was not until Jesus had arisen from the tomb and stood in the presence of His disciples, glorified personage, body and spirit united, that He exclaimed, “all power is given unto Me in heaven and earth.” (Matthew 28:18) If “given”, there must have been a time when He did not possess all power in heaven and in earth; and hence, a change from possessing some power to the condition of possessing “all power”. So this term is not meant to mean His physical condition.
Once again, if you really want to know if the Book of Mormon is true, the only way to find out is to read it yourself with an open mind and then ask God if it is true. I read and prayed about the Book of Mormon and I know that this book has made me a better person and a better father to my family.
[I replied:] Just because Jesus grew doesn’t answer in what sense He was always the same. Christians have an easy answer to that… Jesus was not just man as of 2,000 years ago, but God from eternity. No physical condition is static anyway, because all of the physical [is] temporary and changing, created from something that is static… something non-physical or Spiritual. You’re right [your friend] doesn’t answer your questions. He gives no clarity as to how God can be God from everlasting to everlasting.
And why buy this business that the only way to know if the BM is true is to simply read, pray, and ask God? Aren’t we still men who make mistakes? If so, then even Steve can be making a mistake with his testimony of the BM. As such, he’s just really not open to examining the evidence, which he regards as largely irrelevant. Don’t confuse him with the facts!
Further, just because some fairy tale makes one a better person and father is no reason to think it’s true, and if we want to follow a God of Truth, then we shouldn’t be claiming the BM is something it isn’t. And if [your friend] wants truth, then he should leave the god of Mormonism and follow the God of the Bible. That would ultimately make him a better person than he is now. It would cure his blindness for starters.
How would you answer a guy who says that the bible and how its read really was for the immediate and local audience only?This guy is into higher criticism to endorse his humanistic-relativistic outlook.Says the Torah was for the Jews only.
I try to say that moral and civil laws etc are applied today etc.and that prophecies etc are valid and archeology verifies the texts,that could be applied today
[I replied:] I'd put the onus on him to prove his point, especially since 2,000 years now is against him. I'd also ask why would we believe this when the good news is for the world as Jn. 3:16 says. I'd also ask why would we believe this when the apostle of our Lord said that the past was written for our benefit (Rom. 15:4 and 1 Cor. 10:11).