ROB’S REPORT – Another “Great Commission” trip to Manti Utah for the annual Mormon Miracle Pageant
All praise and glory goes to God!!
It never seems to amaze me how God brings His missionaries from around the country, from different Christian denominations and unifies them as a worshiping and praising evangelistic army that fills the street at the Manti temple with God’s wonderful seeds of truth. On any given night there were 200 to 250 Christian missionaries watering and planting the Word of God.
As the first week ended, there were groups of missionaries heading home only to be replaced by even more groups of missionaries for the second week. God is awesome how He supplies every need. This year, Doug and I had our wives and two friends, Brandon and Bridget, join us for the first weekend of the pageant. Hopefully the Manti bug gets them and it becomes an annual mission trip for them also.
This was a very fruitful year as pertaining to conversations and the distribution of evangelism material. We handed out 500 “business card size tracts” and about 50 bad news/good news gospel tracts along with 75 “Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith” DVDs, thanks to Chip Thompson’s endless supply of DVDs.
We also had many conversations that were not only lengthy but doctrinally in-depth. Tri-Grace and Ephraim Church of the Bible provided a worship time right on the street at 6:00pm for about 15 minutes. Then we prayed and began evangelizing the LDS people.
The first night right after worship and prayer, Randell an LDS man, approached me and we talked until the pageant started at 9:30pm. We talked about sin and repentance, the Trinity, exaltation, eternal life with the free gift from God. John joined me about a 1/2 hour into our conversation so we double teamed Randall. Randall let me pray for him so I prayed for God to open his eyes to understand grace and to pour out God’s grace on him. When I finished there was tears in his eyes. At the beginning of our conversation on grace, I had asked him if he was saved and he said no but was on the path. After we had discussed grace and had him read 1 John 5:9-13. I asked him again if he had eternal life and his response was that he had already received grace. I questioned him that he had already denied that he was not saved so I reminded him that the Book of Mormon and Ephesians 2:8 states that we are saved by grace so if he had grace he would also be saved. I believed by his teary eyes that he understood that salvation comes with grace. It was great the way John and I interacted with one another as we shared with Randall. Randall was very willing to talk but seemed standoffish about admitting that the LDS church was wrong on these subjects even though his emotions did.
Doug wore our ministry shirt that says, “Is the Mormon Jesus the same Jesus of the Bible?” and hands out our business card size tract with the information to address his shirt. I wear our ministry shirt the says, “Why don’t Mormons believe the Book of Mormon?” with Alma 11:26-29 (there is only one God).
I handed out 2 Book of Mormon tracts that address my shirt’s question. I had a number of people approached me out of curiosity why I don’t think that Mormons believe the Book of Mormon, which would lead into great conversations about why Mormons don’t believe that there is only one God, that Jesus is our Creator not our elder brother, that God is a Spirit not a man of flesh and bones, no second chance for repentance and forgiveness after death (Meaning no baptism for the dead) and my ending verse (3 Nephi 11:39-40) where Jesus says that the gates of hell stand open to receive anyone that adds to his doctrine taught in the Book of Mormon.
This is where I introduced my second tract about Joseph Smith saying that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on the face of the earth and that man can get closer to God through its precepts than any other book. My question then is, “Where in the Book of Mormon does it teach that God was once a man like us, exaltation to Godhood, that Jesus and Satan are brothers, 3 glories in heaven, celestial marriage, baptism for the dead, 3 Gods in the Godhead, Gods through out the universe, forgiveness after death?”
I remind them that all of these doctrines are not taught in the Book of Mormon. Therefore they are adding to Jesus’ doctrine that Jesus taught in the Book of Mormon meaning that the gates of hell stand open for all Mormons that embrace these additional doctrines.
One night right after worship on the street, an LDS guy named Jason approached me about the question on my shirt so I explained many of the teachings in the Book of Mormon that contradict current LDS teachings of today. I pointed to the temple and explained that all the ordinances performed in the temple are additional teachings that were not taught in the Book of Mormon. Therefore, this would be adding to Jesus’ doctrine and coming under Jesus’ condemnation of 3 Nephi 11:39-40. Jason seemed concerned about these contradictions in Mormon teachings and said he would look further into this and then he left. Jason walked about 50 feet down the street and ran into Shane and Kim from Tri-Grace ministries and they talked with him for 3 hours until the pageant started. Shane later told me that Jason was a returned missionary and asked a lot of questions about the LDS church. WOW is God awesome or what!!!
Another night, a girl about 14 years old with her younger sister approached me about the question on my shirt. She was very polite, yet very bold during our conversation. As we discussed the Book of Mormon teachings on one God and that Jesus was our Creator, not our elder brother, she gave as good a defense for her faith as a 14-year as any adult LDS could do. So I addressed the Alma 34:32-35 verses that states not to procrastinate your repentance until death or you will be handed over to Satan for eternity. I told her that this meant that baptism for the dead went against the teaching in the Book of Mormon and that Joseph Smith said the Book of Mormon was the most correct book on the face of the earth. I then read Jesus’ warning in 3 Nephi 11:39-40 about adding additional doctrines to Jesus’ doctrine in the Book of Mormon and explained that the gates of hell stands open for any Mormon that embraced the ordinances preformed in the temple.
She began to cry with big alligator tears running down her face and between sops was trying to tell me that she believed the Book of Mormon was true but she was crying too hard. I apologized for making her cry and she responded it was OK. Another LDS couple that had been standing there listening to our conversation suggested she return to her seat in the pageant and they left also. Please pray for this young girl that our conversation and the tracts she left with will grow and produce fruit.
For the past 4 years, Doug and I have witnessed to an LDS man named Dan on the last night of the pageant and just like clock-work, on the last night here came Dan to talk to us. He was very happy to see us and commented that he hoped we would pray for him again because he stated that this past year was one of his better years and he contributed it to us praying for him last year during our conversation (WOW what a witness to prayer).
Each year, Dan has had a different topic of interest to discuss and this year it was about some new LDS DNA evidence that proved that most native Americans were Lamanites and that the first DNA evidence had been falsified. Of coarse, he had no evidence nor material or articles to back up his claim. Of coarse, this conversation went nowhere for him and we only dug up more condemnation over that lack of physical and geographic evidence for the Book of Mormon.
I turned the conversation to Jesus and asked Dan if he believed that Jesus was his Savior. Dan replied that Jesus was his Savior so I asked him when he got saved. Dan looked puzzled and replied that he wasn’t saved yet but hoped that he would be saved when he died. I explained to him that Jesus could not be his Savior if he had not yet been saved by Jesus. I explained that he could be saved right now if he wanted to and then Jesus would be his Savior.
He awkwardly tried to explain that Jesus was his Savior even though he was not yet saved. I explained that that was the same as claiming that you had a wife but was not yet married. Dan got very frustrated with me and the idea that Jesus wasn’t his Savior and walked off, only to return in hopes that Doug and I would pray for him again. So Doug prayed for Dan and said our goodbyes with Dan thanking us and saying he would see us again next.
In His Grace and Mercy