On October 4th and 5th, Doug and I attended the 184th LDS Semiannual General Conference in Salt Lake City Utah. The weather was very pleasant, around 70 degrees, making it more suitable for conversations and more comfortable for standing outside the Temple grounds each day.
Doug sign, “Is the Mormon Jesus the Same Jesus of the Bible?” usually draws in a number of LDS with their argument that the Mormon Jesus is the same Jesus as in the Bible. But when they say that, it opens the door for us to share the real Jesus and why eternal life can only be obtained through belief in the Biblical Jesus (John 17:3).
Saturday morning started with a bang when Doug’s sign drew in a very loud, obnoxious LDS guy that wanted us to leave because we were persecuting the Mormons by saying they believe in another Jesus. That’s not what Doug’s sign says. It only asks a question about the Mormon Jesus, yet it makes the LDS think about what they have been taught.
Jeff, an evangelism friend from California, and Doug began explaining the differences between the Mormon Jesus and the Biblical Jesus, and as they did, this guy got louder and louder, until he was screaming at Doug and Jeff. This was drawing a lot of unwanted attention from Mormons walking by, as though we were the anti-Mormon protestors. When a conversation gets to this point, in my opinion it is over, so I stepped in-front of the guy and asked him to leave and with some encouragement he left.
Later, this same guy came running by and kicked Jeff’s sign down and ran off, only to return in the afternoon with a sack lunch, which he offered to Doug as if extending an olive branch to him. I told him that his earlier conduct of kicking our sign was not Christ-like. I asked if he was here to apologizes for his conduct and if he had repented. He was very reluctant to apologize and didn’t feel a need to repent. So, he started getting loud again, so we invited him to leave and that was the last time we saw him. I have found over the years of witnessing at the LDS temple that Satan will send people to interfere with our witnessing and try to consume our time, so it is better to send these type of people away so that those whom the Spirit is leading can hear the Good News.
I had a short but great conversation with Kevin and Daniel about why they don’t believe what the Book of Mormon teaches. They were reading my shirt, which says, “Why Don’t Mormons Believe the Book of Mormon?,” so I approached them with my Book of Mormon tracts and asked them if I showed them a verse in the Book of Mormon, would they believe it? They both said “yes,” so I went to 2 Nephi 31:21 and had them read it aloud. It states that the true doctrine of Christ is that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one God without end. Amen. I asked them if they believed this verse that stated that the true doctrine of Christ was the Trinity? Kevin said they believe in one God, yet this verse was talking about the Father, not the Trinity. I asked if he believed Jesus is God, which he replied that Jesus was also a God. So I clarified that he believed what the LDS church teaches, that the Father is God and that Jesus is another God and that the Holy Ghost is also another God, which he agreed too. So I pointed out that he did not believe 2 Nephi 31:21 because it clearly states that the true doctrine of Christ is that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one God not 3 gods as he believes. Kevin started back-peddling and then said they had to go but that he would do his own research on 2 Nephi 31:21.
At another time, I was talking to a couple of fellow Christians when an LDS guy named Jeff approached us and asked why we were here protesting the true church of Jesus Christ. He stated that he had prayed to know that the LDS church was true, so he wanted to know why we were there trying to deceive the Mormon people. As we each explained why we were there, the subject of who Jesus is began. Jeff was convinced that he believed in the same Jesus we did and he kept quoting the first half of John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth and the life”, but he would not quote the second half of the verse which reads, “no man comes to the Father but by me (Jesus).”
This is a verse that many Mormons know and use, at least the first part, yet rarely do they quote and use the second part, which Jeff later confessed that he did not know the second part, nor could he tell where it could be found in the Bible. So, I explained to Jeff what the whole verse meant when Jesus said that no man comes to the Father but by me.
Mormons believe that the Father resides only in the Celestial Kingdom/the Kingdom of God and Mormons will not come to the Father unless they have faith in Jesus AND perform ALL their works in perfection. Only then do they believe that they can come to the Father. I explained that when Jesus said that no man comes to the Father BUT by me, Jesus was saying that only through faith in Jesus alone and not by anything we do can we come to the Father.
If Jesus had meant that we had to add our works to His finished work on the cross then Jesus would have said, no one comes to the Father but by me and Jeff or me and Rob. I told Jeff that the last thing that Jesus said before He died on the cross was “it is finished” meaning that Jesus had provided all that was necessary for us to be saved from the death penalty of sin, that no one comes to the Father but by Jesus. Jeff was listening and didn’t try to interrupt me, so I continued by asking him what he believed the purpose of the Temple was for and he replied to perform ordinances to enter the Celestial Kingdom.
So, I explained to Jeff that these requirements were performed by himself and were needed to come to the Father, according to Mormon doctrine, but Jesus said He was the only way to the Father so all those temple works are dead works according to Isaiah 64:6.
I told Jeff that in the Gospels, Jesus never taught that man’s good works were required for salvation but that just putting your trust in Him (Jesus) was all that was needed for eternal life. I asked Jeff to tell me what Jesus said in John 3:16 that was needed to have eternal life but he couldn’t tell so he asked me to tell him. It became obvious that he knew very little about what Jesus and the Bible taught so I explained that Jesus taught that all that was needed for eternal life was to trust in Jesus alone for salvation, that adding your works to Jesus for salvation was actually not trusting in Jesus and saying that Jesus was wrong when He said that no one comes to the Father but by me!! Jeff seemed to lose his zeal in continuing to talk to us but said he would come and talk to us the next day.
Sunday, Doug had a number of conversations. One of them was with a Spanish lady who got very upset with Doug when the conversation turned to Joseph Smith and his plural wives. She stomped away still arguing with Doug until she got into a car.
Then, Jeff, from the day before, showed up to convince me that the Mormon Church is the true church. His only defense was that he prayed about it and God told him it was true. I asked him what standard he uses when he prays to determining whether the answer is true from God or from Satan. I asked him if he uses the Bible, the Book of Mormon or whether he uses the words of the prophets to verify the answers to his prayers. He replied that he didn’t trust the Bible, nor the Book of Mormon and would only follow what the prophet said if he prayed and God told him Mormonism is true.
I reminded him that the church teaches that when the prophet speaks, it is as though God is speaking Himself. Jeff said he prayed about everything and waited until God answered him before he would believe anything.
I asked him how he new it was God answering him or Satan if he didn’t use something as a measuring stick. He said he could tell in his heart when it was God answering his prayers. I told him that the Bible, Jeremiah 17:9 says, “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Then, Jeff did something I have never seen before, he said he was going to pray right now to see if I was telling the truth. He closed his eyes and you could see his lips slightly moving and after about 3 minutes he opened his eyes and very seriously stated that God told him I was a liar. I had to bite my tongue :-). He asked me to pray if he was telling the truth, and I replied that I didn’t need to because God has already verified through the Bible that the LDS Church is false and that praying about anything without measuring it with the Bible could not be trusted. I told Jeff that he should talk to his Bishop about not trusting the Book of Mormon nor the prophet’s word and see what he had to say. Jeff said he would pray about it and off he went. It’s never a dull moment at Temple Square!!