FALL GENERAL CONFERENCE – SHARING MY EX-MORMON TESTIMONY ON THE STREETS OF SALT LAKE CITY
The LDS Fall Conference at Temple Square in Salt Lake City Utah was held on October 6th and 7th. The LDS church announced that there was 100,000 LDS in attendance at the 2-day conference. This meant that the Gideon army of Christian evangelist each had about 8,000 to 10,000 LDS to witness too. This may seem to be overwhelming odds for us Christian evangelist but we like the odds because we know that God is in the business of meeting such odds. This is where ministry signs and tracts can reach out to those that for one reason or another will not engage us in conversation.
On Saturday, Doug had a guy come up to him and ask where the guy went that was carrying the “josephlied.com” sign because he wanted to tell him that at the spring conference he wanted to talk to him about his sign but his LDS buddies wouldn’t let him so he went home and looked at “josephlied.com” on the Internet and said that God opened his eyes to the truth about Mormonism and he later was saved. PRAISE GOD!!
Saturday was a great day for conversations! Jeff, from California, and I got into a conversation with a Native American that was not only proud to be a descendant of the Book of Mormon Lamanites but also proud that she was a Lamanite. Jeff asked her how she felt about 2 Nephi 5:21 statement that Lamanites where cursed causing their skin to become dark, that she as a Lamanite carried that curse. She said she didn’t have a problem that she carried the curse of the Lamanites and that one day that curse would be removed. Our conversation ended when her ride showed up and she said her good byes and left.
I had a discussion with Matt, who is LDS and was selling temple paintings out side the south gate of the temple. I asked Matt if he was saved. After about 3 minutes of silence, all he could do was talk in circles, yet never answering my question. So I asked him if he believed that Jesus was his Savior and he answered, of coarse He is. I explained that due to him not answering my first question that he was saved, tells me that Jesus could not be his Savior since he has not yet been saved. Matt said that Jesus saved everyone physically so in a way he was saved. I reminded him of Scripture that those who believe in Jesus and His resurrection will be raised spiritually after death and raised physically with a glorified body when He comes again. I pointed out that the LDS church teaches that if you don’t repent of all your sins and keep all the commandments then you cannot apply Jesus’ atonement in your life so Jesus can’t be your Savior according to the LDS church. (This is the context of my new business card tract called “Have You Been Saved?”)
To my surprise, Matt answered back by saying that Jesus can’t save you in your sins. I responded by acknowledging that that is what the LDS church teaches according to Alma 11:37 but that was just not true. I when on to tell him that Jesus died on the cross to be a substitute for our sins, quoting Romans 5:8 and Ephesians 1:7, that we can never become sinless on our own.
I asked him if he has repented of all of his sins and surprisingly he admitted of a particular sin in his life (which I will not mention) that was keeping him from getting his temple endowments. I explained that he could be forgiven of that sin and all his other sins right here and now by confessing to Jesus that he was a sinner and wanted to be saved from his sins and have eternal life.
It was obvious that Matt was not ready to accept the idea that God’s grace is a free gift but it will give him something to think about every time he willfully sins. Matt thanked me for talking to him and went back to selling his paintings.
Doug and I had a conversation with Darell, whom we have had a number of conversation with in the past 7 years of coming to Temple Square. Darell is one that likes to argue and this conversation was no different. He asked us why we keep coming here to their temple with our anti-Mormon signs and literature? Darell said,
“The LDS doesn’t come to your church and protest your faith.”
I told Darell that he was right about the LDS not coming to our church and if they did, we wouldn’t try to run them off but share with them our faith. I said,
“The LDS don’t come to our churches, instead they come un-invited to our doors, telling us that they are the True Church with the restored gospel and that our gospel is wrong.”
Darell said that it was different because they have the truth. Then Doug reminded Darell of Joseph Smith’s first vision where he proclaimed that all the churches, creeds and ministers were an abomination to God and how the LDS now proclaims to be Christian also. Then Darell said sarcastically that you say you love us then why don’t you come here sharing your faith but instead come with your anti-Mormon material and bash our faith. I said, that is what Doug’s sign and my shirt are all about. It is to bring LDS into a conversation about our Jesus and then I reminded him that the last time we spoke, I shared our gospel with him, yet he rejected it. By now Darell was very much fired up and stomped off.
Towards the end of the day, two young ladies around twenty years old named Kat and Julie approached us and said that they felt compelled to talk to us because we were not abrasive like some of the other “protesters.” Kat asked why we were not like the others that scream and yell at them? She asked if we and the others that are here all belong to a group like the West Burrow Baptist church that goes around protesting and condemning people and other churches. I stated that the reason you think that, is because the LDS church has told you that we are like the West Burrow Baptist church and are here to protest your faith. She actually confessed that this was exactly what they had been told by their church. I said, because we love the LDS people is why we come here to share the true Jesus and the true gospel of Jesus Christ with them so they too can have eternal life. Kat said that they were both new converts to the LDS church and it was the LDS gospel that appealed to them. She also said that we all believed in the same Jesus. Doug told her that Jesus said that in the latter days there would be many Christs and that Jesus stated in Matthew 7:21-23 that many will come to Him and say that they did all these wonderful works in His name and Jesus said that He never knew them and to go away from Him and their works of iniquity.
This seemed to shake up Julie who had teary eyes. I explained to Kat and Julie that the LDS church taught that Jesus was created through sexual relations with God the Father and God the mother and that all of us were literal brothers and sisters, Jesus being our elder brother and the brother of Lucifer. Kat said that we were all born spirit children in heaven, in the preexistence. I didn’t argue about the preexistence. Instead I used their belief to make my point. I explained to them that the Bible tells us in Colossians 1:16 that Jesus is not a created being but the Creator of all things in heaven and in earth then because Jesus is our Creator He could not be our elder brother. I explained that even the Book of Mormon teaches in 2 Nephi 11:7 that we would not exist if Jesus had not created us so if we preexisted in heaven, as you believe, then according to Scripture Jesus is our Creator, not fathered through a sexual relationship with the Heavenly Mother. I explained to them that because the LDS view of Jesus contradicts the Biblical view of Jesus, this shows that they are not the same Jesus.
I asked Kat if she would explain why the LDS gospel was so appealing to them. Her explanation seemed to be more Biblical than Mormon so I went on to explain that the LDS gospel is not the same either because it is a gospel of self-works to earn God’s grace and eternal life. I explained that the LDS church required that you keep all the commandments, repent of all your sins, be a full tithe payer, get your endowments in the temple and do all your temple works before you can receive God’s grace, have eternal life and enter the Kingdom of God. I went on to explain the Biblical gospel and how God’s grace and eternal life is a free gift received through faith alone in Jesus without works. I explained that trying to work and earn God’s grace, as the LDS church teaches, will only eliminate you from receiving God’s grace.
I told Kat that I believed the reason they were compelled to come talk with us, is that, God wanted them to hear His true gospel so they could have eternal life. Before they left, we gave them some gospel tracts and Book of Mormon tracts and they thanked us for sharing our faith with them and that they would look more into the things we shared about the LDS church. The great thing about talking to new converts of the LDS church is sharing with them the problems concerning the doctrines that the LDS Church has not yet taught them, so when these subjects are introduced, they will already have the Biblical side.
Sunday was another great day for conversations. One of the more promising conversations I had came about through a dual conversation with Rafael (a non-believer searching for truth) and Amy (a 4-year convert to the LDS church), Doug, Jeff and myself. Amy approached us because of Doug’s sign and was trying to convert us to Mormonism when Rafael entered the conversation, wanting to know which church is true, because he thought every church he attended was full of hypocrites. The funny thing, is that, when Amy tried to convince him of Mormonism, Rafael told her some of the same reasons we did of why the LDS church was wrong. During the conversation I mentioned that I had grown up in the LDS church and had left the church so Amy migrated towards me, and Rafael towards Jeff and Doug getting into separate conversations. With great concern on her face, Amy asked me why I left the Mormon church, so I shared my testimony with her of how I got saved and as I read the Bible I saw how the LDS church didn’t line up with what I was reading and learning in the Bible so I had my name removed from the church.
I explained my deep concerns I had for the LDS people because they were following doctrines that where an abomination to God’s character. I shared the consequences of following such doctrines and told her I would be praying for her. Her friends came along and she thanked me for listening to her and sharing my concerns and left. All along there had been to young ladies standing by and listening to our conversation, so when Amy left, Megan and Kelsey approached me and said that they had heard I had been LDS and believed that I truly cared about the LDS people and wanted to know why I left.
Kelsey didn’t talk at all, only listened. It was Megan that did all the talking and asking questions. Megan explained that she converted to Mormonism not long ago and that her mom and dad were not happy with her because they attended a Calvary Chapel here in Salt Lake City. Megan was interested in hearing more of why I left the LDS Church, so I shared with her that when I got saved and read the Bible, I noticed how Mormonism had changed the nature of God and how we are saved so I had my name removed from the church records.
I shared with them that as I re-studied the god of Mormonism and how Joseph Smith in the beginning of the church history taught that there was only one God, the same as the Book of Mormon teaches, a God that is Triune. Yet 3 months before he was killed is when Joseph Smith started teaching that God was a man of flesh and bones like us and that we needed to learn how to become Gods like all the Gods before us. I explained that Joseph Smith had changed his teaching of there being only one God to many gods and then began teaching that we can become Gods ourselves.
I told them about Deuteronomy 13:1-5 that says that any prophet or seer that leads people after “other gods” would be put to death, which is exactly what happened to Joseph Smith, 3 months later! I shared Isaiah 14:12-15 that explains why Lucifer fell from heaven and was cast into hell because he said in his heart that he wanted to be “like” the Most High God.
I said that the LDS people are taught that they can become Gods and Goddesses and rule over their own planet, just like God the Father is now. I explained my concern for the LDS people, that they would suffer the same as Lucifer by believing this doctrine and that is why I am here today because I love the LDS people and I don’t want them to spend eternity in the lake of fire. All the time I was talking and sharing scripture, Megan was writing down notes and Scriptures verse. She said that she wanted to go home and study what I had said because her mom had been sharing things about the Mormon church that she had not yet been taught by the LDS church. I gave both of them some LDS tracts and gospel tracts before they left.
Please be praying for, Matt, Darell, Kat, Julie, Amy, Rafael, Kelsey, Megan and the many others that were witnessed to at Temple Square. Don’t we serve an awesome God?!!!
In His Grace and Mercy