ROB AND JEFF WITNESSING TO MORMONS AT THE FALL CONFERENCE 2013
A QUESTION FOR LDS MISSIONARIES
We handed out about 350 business size tracts and a few DVDs October 5th and 6th was the 183rd Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The opening comments by the LDS leadership stated that the Church membership was growing, not declining but I have been coming to the Semiannual General Conferences for the past 8 years I have noticed a decline in attendance at these General Conferences. The Salt Lake Deseret News posted an article sometime back admitting a decline in the overall membership of the LDS Church. So who says that we are wasting our time evangelizing the LDS people! Our God is way bigger than doctrines of deception and the craftiness of men!
The weather was surprisingly warm and mild, which presents a more comfortable atmosphere for conversations and handing out tracts. Doug could not make it this year so Jeff B. from California stood in the gap and held Doug’s sign (Is the Mormon Jesus the Same Jesus of the Bible?). Jeff has a great passion for evangelism to the Mormons and JWs and was instrumental in starting a number of conversations with LDS Elder missionaries (male LDS missionaries).
His strategy was to point to me when LDS missionaries would walk by him and say that I had a question that perhaps they could help me with. This would draw them over to me asking, what question do you have? I would start by telling them that when I read the Book of Mormon, I noticed a number of Biblical precepts taught in the Book of Mormon which contradict current Mormon doctrine. I would then hand them my tract, “Why Don’t Mormons Believe the Book of Mormon?” and then point to one of the Book of Mormon passages that is in conflict with current Mormon teachings.
The first time Jeff tried this approach, without me knowing what he was up too, it had me in a conversation with 3 Elders. After I asked my question of why the LDS Church teaches something different than that which is taught in the Book of Mormon, I pointed to 2 Nephi 11:7: “For if there be no Christ there be no God; and if there be no God we are not, for there could have been no creation. But there is a God, and he is Christ, and he cometh in the fullness of his own time.”
I explained that according to this passage, Jesus is our God and Creator, not our elder brother as current Mormon doctrine teaches. Elder A said that this passage may be confusing and seemed to be in contradiction but Jesus is our elder brother. So I continued by stating that 2 Nephi 11:7 lined up with Colossians 1:16: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him,” meaning that Jesus created all things in heaven so this is stating that Jesus is our Creator, not our elder brother.
I added that John 1:1-3 says that Jesus was God before the beginning of creation and that nothing was made that was not created by Jesus. I pointed to Jeff’s sign and said, “If you believe in the wrong Jesus how are you going to have eternal life?” Elder C said that they do believe in Jesus and by repentance they will have eternal life.
I asked, “Don’t you believe that you have to keep all the commandments and do your temple works before you can enter the Kingdom of God?” Elder C agreed that Temple works and keeping the commandments and repenting was necessary to enter the Kingdom of God. Elder C asked me if I believed in repentance for forgiveness and I stated, “Yes.” I said that I was forgiven for my sins when I believed in Jesus and trusted in Him through faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross.
I explained that when Jesus said that “It is finished” and then gave up the Ghost, dying on the cross meant that there was no further work needed to gain eternal life. That Jesus never taught that we needed to believe in Him and then keep all the commandments and ordinances to have eternal life. Jesus taught that just by believing in Him a person would receive eternal life, as in, John 3:16 and John 5:24.
Elder C asked me if I believed I didn’t have to do good works for eternal life and I said, “No, because good works are a product of believing in Jesus for eternal life.” I pointed out John 6:28-29 when people asked Jesus what we might do to work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” Jesus taught that the only work needed was to believe in Jesus! I said that if you are believing that you have to add your good works to Jesus’ finished work on the cross, then in reality you are not trusting in Jesus for your eternal life but are trusting in your good works, adding that this is not believing in Jesus but in yourselves.
Elder B had not said a word throughout our conversation but was taking in all that was said with a “Deer in the headlights” expression. Then Elder A said, with tears welling up in his eyes, that he believed in Jesus and then beard his testimony that the Church was true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. Then he commanded me by the power of the holy Melchizedek priesthood to stop bashing Mormon people and to stop preaching to at the temple. I said that I was not here to bash the Mormons but to share the truth with them so they could have eternal life. I stated that I love them and I wanted them to know the truth and receive forgiveness of their sins. These 3 Elders went away with a lot to think about.
Another time, Jeff’s approach got me into a conversation with 2 Elder missionaries that struggled with the idea that the LDS church rejects some of the doctrines taught in the Book of Mormon. One of the Elders stated that they believe in modern revelation and that they have a living prophet. So I asked if they believe that their living prophet can teach something different than what is taught in the Book of Mormon and then his teaching becomes Mormon doctrine.
They both agreed that modern revelation trumpets what the Book of Mormon teaches. I added that Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS Church had stated that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on the face of the earth, the keystone of the Mormon Church and that man could get closer to God through its precepts than any other book. All they did was look at me with confusion, so I asked who was wrong, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon or modern revelation. They left saying they would study the information I had given them.
Thanks to Jeff and his witty approach, I had a lot more conversations with the LDS Elder missionaries than in past General Conferences.
I had several short conversations about the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:15-17, which the LDS Church teaches is a prophecy about Joseph Smith with the Book of Mormon and the Bible becoming one in thy hand. These conversations would end when I mentioned that if they would only continue reading through verses 18 thru 22 that it would explain that this prophecy is about the 12 Tribes of Israel coming together and making one nation again and had nothing to do with Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.
There were only 7 Christian Evangelist at Temple Square during this conference so that made it about 8000 Mormons to one Christian during each session each day. A Gideon Army!