Conference time again!! Doug and I, along with Christy Darlington (YAY) hit the streets at the LDS (Mormon) Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City Utah on October 5th and 6th. Our usual witnessing spot is on the corner of South Temple and Main Street, where we catch people coming and going to the morning, afternoon and priesthood sessions held in the LDS conference center.
We all held signs that address critical subjects in the Mormon faith that drawn them into conversations as they are walking by or waiting to cross the street.
Doug’s sign states, “Is the Mormon Jesus the Same Jesus of the Bible?” and Christy’s states, “Are You Prepared to Meet God?” and mine states, “Why Don’t Mormons Believe in the Book of Mormon?” These signs are very effective, even if they won’t stop and talk, they still see a message, scripture verses, our website and a short counter response to the subject title on the sign.
6 Months ago at the Semi-annual Spring Conference the new prophet and president of the Mormon Church, Russell M. Nelson, stated that members of the church were no longer allowed to use the acronyms “Mormon” or “LDS” in reference to the church. Nelson said that using these acronyms gave victory to Satan and that members were no longer allowed to use these acronyms when referencing the church. Nelson stated that the church would only be recognized as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and nothing else.
Because Doug and I have the Mormon acronym on our signs, after that session last spring, we had many people tell us they were not Mormon but members of “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Well, that was 6 months ago and at this conference, we didn’t even hear a peep from anyone that they were not Mormons or that they were members of “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Everyone we talked to had no issue with us calling themselves Mormons or LDS.
I’m guessing they realized that the prophet’s attempt to “rebrand” the Mormon Church as something non-Mormon doesn’t really work because there is simply no way to get around mentioning Mormon when referencing the unique beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Not only did the Mormon Church make a huge mistake changing their websites to “churchofjesuschrist.org” which is similar to the domain of a splinter groups of Mormons called “THEchurchofjesuschrist.org”, but trying to completely erase “Mormon” from the unique experiences of LDS people, causing no little amount of confusion for members and non-members alike who can’t easily tell which domains are part of the mainline SLC brand of Mormonism or this splinter group of Mormons if they mistype the domain name. This likewise causes problems for non-members who search “Mormonism” when looking for the mainline LDS Church. Their new revisions simply go against every type of marketing advice that the experts give about picking a brand name and sticking with it.
Is it any wonder the average Mormon likely doesn’t take their prophet seriously on this matter and that this was just another failed attempt by the Mormon Church to erase all the bad publicity they get from using these acronyms.
Christy had, what seemed to be, a very interesting conversation with an LDS guy about him being prepared to meet God. As you see in the picture, Christy was enjoying the conversation and challenging him with the truth and his own scriptures. This guy had a lot of energy and danced back and forth during the hour or so long conversation. The reaction of this guy when he was leaving was probably similar to what the rich man looked like after Jesus told him to sell all his stuff and follow him.
Usually when Mormons find out the lies of the church they leave and turn to atheism. Yet we do run into some that are either searching for truth or who are leery of getting involved in another denomination.
I had a couple of conversations with ex-Mormons, one was with two 20ish old women that had served in the military. One had been a Mormon but left when she discovered lies about the church. During her enlistment she would attend general Chaplin services yet was not currently attending any other church. She mentioned that she enjoyed those services but know that she was out of the service she had stopped attend church all together. I encouraged her to attend a church that taught only out of the Bible. I asked her if she was concerned about her eternity and where she would end up after death. She just shrugged her shoulders. I explained to her that unlike what the Mormon church teaches there was nothing she could do to earn her place in heaven. That Jesus died on the cross and purchased the sins of mankind and that through faith in Him alone (quoting Ephesians 2:8-9) is how a person receives salvation and the right to go to heaven. I pleaded with her to seek Jesus and get involved in a Bible teaching Christian church. I even suggested a few churches in the valley she could attend. She thanked me and the two went on their way.
The great thing about having a biblical conversation with someone in public, is that, you never know who is listening in on your conversation. The one that might be hearing (Romans 10:17) could be someone other than the person you are speaking too.
Bob and Brian from Washington had a very long conversation with a guy that had left the church and was seeking how to understand what is actually true concerning God. Doug and I talked with this same guy last conference so as the Bible says, some plant and some water but it is God that gives the increase!!