Dear Ministry Partners,
This year, the LDS Church’s 182nd General Conference at Temple Square in Salt Lake City Utah was March 31st and April 1st. Doug and I always get exited about General Conference because it gives us an opportunity to hand out gospel tracts, witness to the LDS and show the love of Christ to literally thousands of Mormons that walk by us on the streets during the 2-day conference. Each conference we get a few LDS that stop and tell us they appreciate the way we conduct ourselves, even though they don’t agree with what we are doing. And, of coarse, we get those that call us: “Protestors” and “Mormon Bashers.”
Saturday was very windy but in the 70s, so we expected to have a number of conversations, but all in all, it ended up being a slow day for conversations and passing out tracts. Chip and Shane from Tri-Grace Ministries came by and invited us to lunch at the new City Creek mall food court. The food court was packed with mall goers and LDS conference people so Doug and I started looking for a table. Many people gave us puzzled looks because of the shirts we wore.
Doug’s shirt said “Free Gift” with a picture of the cross and mine said, “Why Don’t Mormons Believe the Book of Mormon?” on the front and “4mormon.org” on the back. While we were waiting for a table, a mall security guy came up to us and said they don’t allow protestors in the food court. Doug told him that we are not protestors nor are we protesting. This security guy said our shirts were offensive and could cause trouble in the mall so he was asking us to leave. I asked him if he was going to make everyone in the mall leave that had something written on their shirts and he replied, “No.” I told him we would leave but I let him know that he was the one in the wrong and would have to live with his decision of discrimination.
YET, GOD IS ALWAYS IN CONTROL…
When we got back to our favorite witnessing spot, a man, who identified himself as a Muslim, wanted to know about Mormonism. I told him I was not Mormon but was here sharing the gospel of Jesus to the LDS people. I told him that Mormons believe in a different God and a different Jesus than what the Bible taught. I explained that the Mormons are required to earn their way to heaven through their own good works. Then, I told him the Biblical way of getting to heaven through faith alone in Jesus’ finished work on the cross and that to enter the Kingdom of God, it was a free gift from Jesus because He died on the cross for our sins. All He wants in return for this free gift is for us to trust in Him.
I used the “Way of the Master” approach, which uses the Ten Commandments to show that we are sinners and not good enough to go to heaven. I showed him that neither he nor I was a good person. I told him that I am already saved and that I know am going to the Kingdom of God when I die.
I asked him if he was saved and knew he would go to the Kingdom of God. Surprisingly, he said he was saved. I asked him how Muslims believed they would go to the Kingdom of God and he responded by doing good works. I then said to him,
“So you really don’t know that you are saved and heading for the Kingdom of God.” He then responded with a disappointed look on his face and with his head bowed, “No.” So I said, “As a Muslim, you would not know until after you die.” He said, “Yes.” I told him, “The Bible says that when you die, it will be too late and you will spend eternity in hell. You need to trust Jesus and then He will save you and give you eternal life.”
At this point, he thanked us and went on his way. Isn’t God awesome?!!
GOD HAD OTHER PLANS…
Sunday was cold, snowy and rainy all day and this usually means we won’t get into many conversations. Yet God had other plans. Doug got into a great conversation with a lady that had seen his sign (Is the Mormon Jesus the Same Jesus of the Bible?) the previous day and had decided to come back this day to talk to him. She had been thinking of joining the Mormon Church and Doug’s sign made her question her decision. She told us that she had seen a black angel that was pointing its finger upward to heaven and told her that the Mormon Church was true and to join. We told her the danger of believing spirits that don’t line up biblically and then we shared the gospel with her. We told her that we come to Temple Square because we love the Mormons and that we loved her too and we don’t want them or her to spend eternity in hell. She started crying so we prayed for her and she thanked us before leaving.
About the time when we were frozen from the cold weather and ready to leave, 2 young LDS men approached us. So I handed one of them some of our card tracts. He asked me what the card was about and I responded by saying that it talks about the “other” Jesus. He looked puzzled and said, “I thought there was only one Jesus?” I replied that Jesus and the Apostle Paul spoke that in the latter days there will be many Jesuses. So off we went witnessing about the differences about the Mormon Jesus and the Biblical Jesus.
One of them got mad, saying that I was being rude by interrupting him. So Doug told him that he was being contentious and that they would have to leave (I was thinking to myself that Doug was nuts because we had these guys rattled with the truth), but then this guy just starred at Doug and I continued our conversation with the other guy.
It was obvious that the Holy Spirit was at work. I turned the conversation to salvation through faith without works and when I got my LDS quad (LDS scriptures) out of my bag, his eyes went as big as saucers (my quad was twice the size of his). I shared with him Romans 4:4-5, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 6:23 that grace is a free gift from God through faith alone and can’t be earned by our good works.
Doug and the other guy had been talking alone but at this point they joined the conversation, these 2 guys were totally convicted and started back peddling about salvation. So as I started naming off all the works and ordinances they needed to do to enter the kingdom of God, including buying their way into heaven. One of them said they don’t have to buy their way to heaven. So I reminded them that one of the ordinances was to be a full tithe payer or you wouldn’t be allowed eternal life. I asked him when he got his endowment, if they had asked if he was a full tithe payer? He said that he had not yet gotten his endowments but was looking at going on a mission. So I told him that the Church would be asking him if he was a full tithe payer, and if not, they would not let him become a missionary, nor could he enter the kingdom of God.
By the look on his face, I could tell he was not a full tithe payer and again they both started back peddling, bearing their “testimony” that they “knew” the church was true. We talked about Joseph Smith and how he changed his doctrine about God and I challenged them to research more of Smith’s doctrinal changes. After over an hour, we were all so cold we couldn’t stop shaking. So we all shook hands and said good-bye. Even though we only handed out about 150 business card tracts and a dozen “good news / bad news” tracts, we still had some awesome conversations and saw God’s power at work.
One thing I did notice a lot this conference was the use of smart phones to look up the scripture verses we had on our shirts and Doug’s sign. LDS would look at the verses, then play with their smart phones, and then the look of conviction fell on their faces. A picture or a look in this case was worth a thousand words.
In His Grace and Mercy