ROB AND DOUG WITNESSING TO MORMONS AT THE SPRING CONFERENCE 2013
Well, another LDS General Conference has come and gone and only God knows the full impact from all the conversations and tracts handed out during the 2 day conference. For all of you that have not been to an LDS Semi-Annual General Conference and experienced the masses of LDS in attendance and the sorrow of seeing so many deceived and unwilling to talk about their faith, let alone hear the true Gospel Message, it is quite heartbreaking, to say the least.
While trying to strike up a conversation with a couple of Elder Missionaries (those who are on a mission to share and convert people to the LDS faith), they told us that they were not allowed to talk to us because the prophet (Monson) just told them in the Saturday morning section that they (including missionaries) were to guard their hearts by not talking to people like us (Christians). And they wonder why people call the LDS Church a cult? BUT our God is in the business of opening hearts and minds to hear the truth about Him so we gladly stand in the gap for the LDS people knowing that God will draw many to Him.
The weather was surprisingly mild and warm since the weather forecast was for rain, which is typical for Spring Conference. Saturday was a little on the slow side pertaining to conversations except for an atheist and a returned missionary named Mark.
The atheist named Luke struck up a conversation with Doug over his sign (Is the Mormon Jesus the same Jesus of the Bible?) and seemed more interested in arguing than talking about why or why not to believe in God. I decided to step in and try turning Luke in the direction of his conscience. I tried using logic through creation in pointing to a Creator, something I learned through “Way of the Master” but all Luke wanted to do was argue with an arrogant tone about all the hundreds of faiths there were in the world and how they all believed something different.
I corrected Luke by explaining that there was really only 2 faiths in the world–that all religions came down to only 2 faiths: One was faith in oneself to get to heaven through their own merits and the other faith was total trust in Jesus alone in getting to heaven. I explained that Biblical Christianity stood alone by trusting totally in Jesus for salvation and all other religions required self-works to achieve salvation. I explained that atheism was a religion through faith in oneself and the rejection of God just like all the other religions. I told him that one day he (Luke) would stand in judgment before the Holy and just God of the Universe. Luke stated that he wasn’t afraid to die and I responded that if I was him, I would be, because eternity is a long time to stand in judgment of God. I finished the conversation by saying that I hope you enjoy your eternity. By the look on his face as he walked away, I could tell that there was some conviction going on inside.
Bob P. had been in a long conversation with a returned missionary named Mark before I started listening to their conversation. Mark was trying to give evidence that the Bible was not accurate and that all the Bible translations taught differently. As I listen to Bob explain about the accuracy and evidence through original manuscripts to prove the liability of the Bible, I could tell that Mark didn’t want to listen and Bob noticed it also.
Bob changed to addressing the liability of the Book of Mormon through original manuscript, such as the gold plates that the Book of Mormon was supposedly translated from and how no one could verify from these gold plates that the Book of Mormon was correct today. Mark said that they have the original 1830 edition to show that the Book of Mormon had not changed. Bob was quick to point out that the current addition of the Book of Mormon had over 4000 changes from the original 1830 edition. Well I just couldn’t help myself so I stepped into the conversation to help Bob fry his fish 🙂 (a street evangelism term). I asked Mark why sections of chapters of Isaiah and Matthew were plagiarized from the KJV Bible in the Book of Mormon? And why the Book of Mormon was written in an unknown language of Reformed Egyptian yet was translated with the KJV slang throughout the Book of Mormon?
I asked if reformed Egyptian was spoken with a KJV slang and therefore was translated into the Book of Mormon? Mark didn’t have an answer to these question and was starting to lose his confidence. Bob turned the questioning to Joseph Smith, the translator of the Book of Mormon and the founder of the LDS church. He discussed how no one should trust Joseph Smith and his translation of the Book of Mormon because of his shady marriages to 33 women. We shared with Mark that in the LDS church history records show that Joseph Smith was married to 33 women after his marriage to Emma his first wife. That 11 of his wives were currently married to living husbands at the time Joseph married them, which is called adultery by God’s standards, that he married 2 sisters and a mother and daughter. Mark lost his cool and confident appearance and said it was time to leave and left. May God open his eyes and cause him to do some research on Joseph Smith.
Sunday I had a lady reading my shirt that says, “Why don’t Mormons believe the Book of Mormon?” and she smiled and said hi. I replied by saying hi and how she was doing. She said that she had a testimony that the Book of Mormon was true and asked if I have ever read the Book of Mormon. I replied that I have read the Book of Mormon a couple of times and had a testimony that it was not true. She got very upset and was murmuring as she walked away. (Moroni 10:4-5 says to pray that these things are NOT true and it will be revealed to you by the Holy Ghost) Why don’t they believe the Book of Mormon?
Brian B., Doug and I got into a conversation with an elderly man named George who told us that recently he had been excommunicated from the LDS Church. He didn’t state the reasons why but simply said that he welcomed it because he stopped believing in the LDS church because of how they focus more on the Church than on Jesus. George said that all he wanted was to love his Savior yet he felt as though there was something missing and he needed to find it. He told us of his LDS heritage and his lifestyle in the LDS church and having friends like Gordon B. Hinckley (last LDS president and prophet).
After sometime telling us his life story, it was obvious that even though he had welcomed his excommunication he was still clinging on to his LDS heritage. I asked Goerge if he had confessed his sins and asked Jesus to save him. He looked puzzled and said that he believed in Jesus. I ask if he believed in the Jesus that the LDS Church had taught him and he said, yes.
I told George that the Jesus of Mormonism was not the true Jesus of the Bible and explained the many differences between the Mormon Jesus and the Jesus that saves through faith. I told him how Jesus prayed for His disciples in John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might KNOW thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Because Jesus knew that eternal life/salvation came only through knowing the true Jesus.
I told George that as long as he still kept clinging to his LDS heritage, he could never truly trust in the Jesus of the Bible that freely gives eternal life to all who put their trust in Him. With tears in his eyes and confessing that he was still clinging to his LDS roots, yet wanting to understand how to put his trust in Jesus. We asked if it was OK to pray for him and to pray that God would give him the understanding to be saved and have eternal life. After praying for George and with tears streaming down his face, he thanked us for praying for him and mentioned that in all his years in the LDS Church, this was the first time that anyone had ever prayed for him. We gave him some good news/bad news tracts and our contact information and encouraged him to call us or email us at anytime. We hugged him and said our goodbyes and told him to come and visit us at this same spot during next fall conference.
We also spoke to a guy who I witnessed to at the conference last year. He is in a wheelchair, but came to talk to us and share that he has left the Mormon Church. Praise God!
It is so amazing to see God at work in many LDS lives as we stand in the gap at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.
Come and joins us and you will come away changed!
In His Grace and Mercy,