Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Reunited and it feels so good!

"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." Psalm 90:2

"Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me."  Isaiah 43:10

Unfortunately, LDS doctrine teaches the exact opposite of this. In June of 1840, Lorenzo Snow, the 5th president of the LDS church, stated what would be known as the center doctrine around Mormonism:

"As man is...God once God may become."

At the end of the day, Mormonism is all about yourself, not Christ.

Folks, Courtney is officially in Utah.  We thank you for all of your prayers and support.  

Since I (Mary) stayed up until 1a.m working on my last blog post, I completely forgot to expand more on the 1 Corinthians 15 passage.  There has been some downtime for me to really dissect this verse.  Here is an article by Matt Slick from that helps explain the origin of Paul's language in this passage. 

"Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?"
1 Corinthians 15:29

"Just north of Corinth was a city named Eleusis. This was the location of a pagan religion where baptism in the sea was practiced to guarantee a good afterlife. This religion was mentioned by Homer in Hymn to Demeter 478-79.  The Corinthians were known to be heavily influenced by other customs. After all, they were in a large economic area where a great many different people frequented. It is probable that the Corinthians were being influenced by the religious practices found at Eleusis where baptism for the dead was practiced.
Paul used this example from the pagans in 1 Corinthians 15:29, when he said, "...if the dead are not raised, then why are they baptized for the dead?" Paul did not say we.
This is significant because the Christian church was not practicing baptism for the dead, but the pagans were."
I encourage you to read the full article here
What a day it has been!  It first started off with an interview at Doris Hanson, from A Shield And Refuge Ministry, right here in Salt Lake.  I was blown away!  
I encourage you all to read Doris's full testimony at this site, but I will share some of the highlights with you.

Doris grew up in a polygamist family: 2 wives and 15 brothers and sisters.  She knew from the early years that she wanted out.  She was only taught the wrath of God.  It was all rules and no relationship.  When she turned 18, she packed up a small box of things and left the polygamist sect.  She wanted nothing to do with religion, until she began thumbing through pages in Christian books.  Her thumb stopped on a page with the words "God loves you."  Tears began to flow down her face as she informed us that she had never heard that phrase before in life.  Naturally, my eyes began to water and so did Shane and Matt's.  This is where her passion dwells: She wants to see women out of polygamy, and she wants them to know that they are loved by God.  This is what her ministry is all about and I couldn't be more excited to spend more time with her this week!

Courtney is going to fill you in on the rest of the day, but I wanted to end with this quote:

"We send Christian missionaries all over the world, but we forget about our own backyard." 
-Doris Hanson

We need more people out here preaching the good news of the true and only gospel of the real Jesus Christ.  Who's in?

Night friends,


Well, First day in Salt Lake City-- Nothing could really prepare me for all the emotions I (Courtney) feel actually being a part of this city. 
Mary Shane and Matt had just finished their first interview with Doris Hanson, and raved about how moving her testimony was. I couldn't wait to see what God had in store next! 
First stop?  Rob Sivulka- the founder of 
His family was generous enough to invite us into their home to document their interviews. And what a story they had! His wife, Tara Sivulka was raised LDS and struggled with the impossible expectations of the Mormon Church. Struggling with the existence of God, she finally founded Jesus Christ through a Biblical Christians prospective. Later meeting Rob, who found passion in the lost mission field here in Utah, they now run the ministry together as well as host ex-mormon support groups at their home. What a power couple! The most touching moment in the interview was when Tara looked at me straight in the eye and stated, "I have learned over the years that boldness is sometimes more important than friendship. I'm all for friend evangelism but sometimes you need to stand for your faith in order to get your point across to that person. Friendship only goes so far when it comes to eternal salvation." Wow did God speak through that message. I have to stop sugar coating things in fear of hurting people's feelings. Of course respect is always necessary because where respect is, there is love. But it's incredible seeing more and more ministries evolve in the Utah area. Rob basically ended the interview by bluntly stating, "So when are you moving out here?" Soon Rob, very soon! 

Well... what single word would sum up Shawn? Kooky. But, definitely has his Biblical outlooks straight. I had the privilege of conducting my first interview ever! So that was also very cool. Shawn is the host of Heart of the Matter, which airs on TV 20 in Utah. All 4 seasons of his show can be found on He detailed his life as an LDS member of over 40 years, and his struggle in finding the truth. He definitely didn't sugarcoat anything!  Every question we asked, he backed up with Biblical scripture. Many view him as having a very abrasive approach to reaching the LDS community, but it is all out of love, which was evident in the interview. He made it clear to us that every person has their ministry strengths, and his ministry is TV preaching. He was by far my favorite interview so far because he wasn't afraid to lay his whole life out on the line, even if it meant losing some family members and friends on the way. He was truly an inspiration in calling us to be advocates of Christ and find our passion with the Lord! 

Last stop? Temple Square. 
It was my first time experiencing the city and no matter how much I studied, no matter how many tabs I had in my Book of Mormon and Bible, nothing could really compare to the feelings I felt walking onto those grounds. We were able to converse with 2 sisters who approached us as we walked around the visitor center. We explained to them that we were Christian missionaries interested in discovering more about the LDS faith and history. They welcomed our questions with open arms, but in reality, they didn't really answer any of them. They always repeat the same answer, "Well if you pray, you will receive a good feeling from the Holy Spirit that the Church is true."
"But Sister, I read the Book of Mormon, and I've studied it. Is there any other advice you have for me that would convince me to believe otherwise? Any Biblical scriptures?" 
And that's where it began. One of the Sisters was very understanding and actually had questions about our faith and understanding of God's grace. She was unaware of the passage found in 2 Nephi 25:23 stating, "... to believe in Christ and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do?" 
But what is all we can do? We can't do enough compared to the tremendous glory of Jesus Christ. We will never be even close to God's perfection. If it were by our own deeds, then Jesus died on the cross in vain. 

Isaiah 64:6 "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." 

And when Mormons ask, well then what does the Bible mean when it talks about works. Jesus answered that exact question in John 6! 

John asked, " Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, 'This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." John 6:28-29. That's pretty self explanatory. 

The conversation ended with Mary asking, I just have a final question, "If you were to die today, do you know where you will be going?" 
- The missionary sisters answered, well we can't know if we've done enough because God is the ultimate judge and we must repent before we can be accepted in his Kingdom. 

Yet the Bible preaches something completely different, and it is so evident that we cannot gain our salvation through our own good deeds! 
 " For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace" Romans 6:14. 
" I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law then Christ died in vain." Galatians 2:16

And in present tense. 1 John reads, " And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life add this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God: that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." 1 John 5:11-13. 

It kills me because I have that assurance. I know that God's grace has saved me because without that, I would be damned to hell. So basically, I can bluntly say that no,  I do not believe there is truth in all religions, and that is complete heresy to believe that our works can even measure up to the glory of God. I pray that this trip I can plant seeds, that the people that I encounter can see the peace I have with God. I'm not afraid to share the Truth just as Jesus was hated among his own people, the Jews. 

I love the LDS people with all my heart, and that is why I am doing this. We are all called to minister, and I have found my calling. 

Thank you so much for keeping us all in prayer! 
Please pray for the upcoming storm ahead! 
Pray for: 
- the people we encounter 
- future interviews  
- building relationships 
-witnessing to tourists and non-LDS 
- pray for Shawn, Rob and Doris's ministry 

With Love, 


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