On the weekend of April 6-7th, Doug and I attended the LDS Semi Annual Spring Conference at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. Let me correct myself, according to the new prophet Nelson, I need to address the Mormon Church as the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” and avoid using the term Mormon. This new prophet Russell M. Nelson stated that calling Church members “Mormons” or “LDS” gives Satan victory so these slang terms or acronyms are not to be used anymore. So from here on out, we are suppose to refer them as “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.”
Another change that Nelson just made before conference, is that, church members who are gay or transgender will no longer be considered apostates and their children can now obtain baptism into the Church as well. As a result of these changes, I had one young man approach me asking what I thought about these changes in the “LDS” church. By the dress apparel of this young man, I assumed he was referring to the acceptance of gays and transgenders, so I answered by asking if he was referring to their new stance on gays and transgenders and he responded with a “yes.” I told him that I don’t agree with anything the “LDS” church says or believes. I continued to explain that their new change in policies contradicted God and His word in the Bible, that these sinful practices are an abomination to God and carry horrible consequence for those who practice such sins. He said that he wasn’t Mormon anymore, but was just curious what I thought about it. He then said he had to go and thanked me for talking to him.
Next, Doug and I were approached by a guy we will call “the spitting mad Mormon.” He approached us so mad that when he spoke, spit would fly from his mouth. He did not like our signs, “Is the Mormon Jesus the Same Jesus of the Bible” and “Why Don’t Mormons Believe the Book of Mormon?,” and was very arrogant and prideful as he spoke. As Doug explained that the Mormon Jesus was not the same Jesus of the Bible, Mr. Spit said that the Bible was corrupted by man and it couldn’t be trusted. Doug kept explaining that the LDS church was the one that corrupted the understanding of who Jesus was by saying Jesus was a created being and the brother of Lucifer, but this guy kept arguing that the Church was right and we were wrong.
Then, Doug went on to say that Jesus is God, the Second Person of the Trinity. At that point, this guy started mocking the Trinity and mocking the Bible. Knowing this guy would not listen to reason from the Bible, I asked him 3 times, “How many gods does the Mormon Church have? The third time he turned to me and answered “3 gods.” I said, “Well, there’s the problem. The LDS church is breaking the 1st and 2nd commandments, “Thou shalt not have any gods before me,” and “Thou shalt not make an image and worship it.” I explained that believing that God was once a man like us before he was exalted to Godhood was worshipping a false god and that believing there are 3 gods in the Godhead meant he was worshipping other gods. The whole time this guy was spitting while arguing his Mormon mantra about the Church being true and the Trinity being false, I added that believing that he could be a god someday meant that he also worshiped himself before God, which God refers to as blasphemy.
He responded that he was proud that he could be a god someday and be worshiped. I explained that this is how Lucifer was cast out of heaven and down to hell because he thought he could be just like the Most High God and be worshiped and that this would also happen to him if he didn’t repent of his blasphemy. I told him that he would burn in the Lake of Fire for eternity for believing he could become a god. Now, this guy changed his tune and was trying to tell me what Jesus said in the Bible. He said, “Do you know what Jesus said in the Bible?” I interrupted him by saying, Jesus said, “If you don’t believe that I am HE, you will die in your sins.” Then he interrupted me saying, no, “Do you know what Jesus said?” Again, I interrupted him by saying, Jesus said, “This is life eternal to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent.” He continued arguing about the Trinity so I reminded him that even the Book of Mormon taught the Trinity and that he didn’t even believe the Book of Mormon. This guy finally gave up and left, spitting mad.
We also had a conversation with a young man named Captain who approached Doug and with a question on how we know that what we believe is true. Captain explained that he was an Ex-Mormon and didn’t believe Mormonism or any other faith nor was not even sure that there is a God. He explained that he just was looking for the truth but because of the Mormon lie; he didn’t trust anyone or anything for the truth. His question to Doug was how Doug knows that what he is believing is true. Doug started by giving his testimony of how he was saved. Then Doug explained that it is through faith by which we believe the things God tells us and that there is no magic formula that someone needs to follow to prove that God is real. Doug went on to say that because Captain didn’t trust anyone or anything, there was nothing Doug could share with him to help Captain understand, that Captain would have to find that out for himself.
I stepped in and reminded Captain that Mormonism teaches people to trust their feelings, but the Bible warns us not to trust our feelings but to trust in every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. I explained that God gave us emotions as part of our humanity to express ourselves to one another and to God. Yet, emotions need to line up with the Word of God. I explained that because he didn’t trust anyone or anything, that makes it hard for him to measure what is true or false. Doug and I encouraged Captain to read the Bible and to ask God to give Him answers because without some way of measuring truth from false that he would never find the truth. Captain thanked us for our honesty and mentioned that although he had read the Book of Mormon and doesn’t believe it, he hadn’t read much of the Bible so he thanked us for suggesting that he read the Bible. He said he hoped to see us again so Doug told him we are here on this corner at every conference.
I also got into a conversation with two young LDS women approach me. Their names were Sarah and Lisa. They asked me about the meaning of my sign. I explained that I was not being sarcastic towards Mormons but that I truly believed that Mormons didn’t believe the Book of Mormon teachings about God. I pointed to Moroni 8:18 that stated God is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity, meaning God was never a man before he became God. I reminded them that the LDS Church teaches that God was a man just like us before he became God. I explained that the LDS Church denies the Book of Mormon teachings when it comes to the nature of God. Sarah said that is why they have a living prophet to guide them. I reminded Sarah that Joseph Smith said that the Book of Mormon was the most correct book on the face of the earth and man could get closer to God through its precepts. Yet, the prophet Joseph Smith started teaching a different God then that in the Book of Mormon shortly before he died. I went on to point out 2 Nephi 31:21 that states that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are only one god, not 3 gods in the Godhead, like the LDS Church teaches. I stated that the Bible also teaches that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are 3 persons that make one God. Sarah asked who Jesus was praying to in the garden? I explained that Jesus was praying to the Father who was in heaven at the time. Lisa said that this made no sense that Jesus could be praying to himself.
So to help them understand, I asked if I could start from the beginning in Genesis where it says that God made us in His (their) image (Genesis 1:26-27), a Triune Being. I read 1 Thessalonians 5:23 which explains that we have a body, soul and spirit, meaning we are a triune being just like in the image of God. Lisa asked how one person could be three? I went and stood next to them and explained that there were three of us standing next to each other, just as the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three persons, yet they make one God. That’s how Jesus could pray to the Father in heaven while on earth in the garden. I explained to Sarah that the Bible tells us that we have a body, soul, and spirit; yet when I look at one person, I only see that person’s body and not the soul or that person’s spirit. When the disciples asked Jesus to show them the Father, Jesus responded to them by saying that when you see him, you are seeing the Father (John 14:9). I then said: “When I look at you, Sarah, I also am looking at your soul and spirit.” Lisa then said that she could somewhat see the idea I was painting. I went on explaining that in Philippians 2:6-8 where it states that Jesus is in the form of God, we read that he also made himself in the form of man to be a servant unto death, the perfect sacrifice. Then, I took them to Colossians 1:15 explaining that Jesus is the image of the invisible God so that’s why Jesus said to the disciples that when you see him, you see the Father. I could tell that Lisa was beginning to understand the concept of the Trinity, but Sarah stood fast to her hardcore Mormon beliefs.
After this, Sarah changed the subject to baptism asking if I believed in baptism? I explained that baptism was a representation of dying to Christ, buried with Christ and rising with Christ but was not essential for salvation. Sarah became defensive about baptism and why Jesus was baptized. I explained first that Jesus didn’t need to be baptized for salvation or to wash away his sins because he was God and had no sin. Secondly, John the Baptist was saying that we need to repent before being baptized. Baptism is a work that Jesus asks us to do after we have already repented, not as condition of repentance in the first place. The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:17 that Jesus didn’t send him to baptize but to preach the gospel ,so the gospel doesn’t include the self-work of baptism. Baptism is merely an open confession of one’s repentance. Next, I quoted Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” I explained that you can’t do anything to earn grace, not even by baptism. Sarah said that they didn’t believe they had to earn grace but that baptism was essential for the gospel. I asked them if they could have eternal life without doing their works in the temple and they responded that Jesus commanded us to keep the commandments. I reminded them that Jesus said, IF you love me, you will keep my commandments. I pointed them to Moroni 10:32 that states that you must deny yourself of all ungodliness before grace is sufficient for you. Both Lisa and Sarah said, “That’s not true; we don’t need to earn grace.” So, I pointed them to 2 Nephi 25:23 which states, “for that we know that it is by grace we are saved AFTER all that we can do.” I reminded them that they were proving my point about my sign that they don’t really believe the Book of Mormon. With that, they stopped to think about that one! I told them that in their own LDS Bible dictionary, it refers to 2 Nephi 2523 as an example that they can only receive grace after they have expended their own best efforts. Then their mother stepped into the conversation and said they would just agree to disagree, and she pulled them away and left.
This is only a few of the many conversations that Doug and I had at conference. Please be in prayer for all those that received the seed of truth.