Utah 2014 Trip Final Thoughts

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Well its all over, I was in Utah for about 11 days I think, and had a really great trip. I fully intended to do various posts while I was there but did not end up having the time. Which I guess is a good thing.

For the first half of the trip I spent a lot of time meeting up with people. I met up with 2 Utah church Pastors, one from the Provo area one from West Jordan. This was a great chance to learn what ministry life in Utah is like not just for those focusing on Mormons, but for local leaders seeking to reach out to and care for anyone that may walk through their church doors.

I also had the chance to meet up with a number of LDS people including a BYU Professor. Again this was great to build some relationships and understanding, there was of course some discussion on the issues that are often raised on this site, however  talking face to face I think  can be much more authentic and personal, it was great to do this with some of the people I often have dialogue with online.

The second half of the trip was spent at Manti. There I was with around 100 or so Christians witnessing for 5 nights  to some of the thousands of LDS people making their way to their seats to watch a kind of stage show, of their theology and believed history. This was a great but challenging time seeking to dialogue with people. Each night I had some conversation with LDS people and I hope and pray some seeds were planted.  Here is a video from Matt Slick of Carm.org from his time there this year.

 

One key thing that I got from the trip was this. For years now I  have been kind of living in the hope of one day moving to Utah. Part of the reason in going on this trip was to further build some links with this in mind. However I have decided that we will no longer aspire to do this. I feel challenged and compelled to keep our focus on reaching out to LDS and Jehovah’s Witness people in the UK. I think the mission field here already has such a need and significance that we are dropping this idea. At least for now. Utah Mormons you can sleep safely haha 🙂

I think one of the major encouragements from going to Utah is the opportunity to hang around with so many Christians with a heart for the same ministry that I am called to do. This is really great and a reminder that it’s no fun doing this stuff alone. Mission trips to Utah is definitely something I want to carry on doing as regularly as possible for many years to come.

If there is anyone else reading this in the UK with a heart for reaching these groups I would really love to hear from you and have you get involved if you would like too, I see running a structured ministry like this as a way of connecting with people with the same mission, please get in touch.

Thanks for all of your prayers and support for this trip and I look forward to sharing more as time goes on, on where we are going as a ministry. Posts will go back to normal in the coming weeks.

7 thoughts on “Utah 2014 Trip Final Thoughts”

  1. Ah Bobby, I was hoping you’d find a house down the street, where we could have you over for family home evening, invite the missionaries, and discuss all the reasons why you should be a Mormon. Of course we could also do some great hiking in the meantime.

    By the way, in answer to the question from the video above: Yes, I believe Jesus is the Son of God and has always existed. And yes, I’m saved by grace, through faith in Christ. And it’s still nonsense for Matt (?), if I understood him correctly, to imply that God doesn’t expect us to love him and love our neighbor as Jesus commanded. If we believe in Him and accept him as our Savior, but deny the need to do what he has asked us to do–well, do we really believe in Him? After giving us a great long to do list (Matt chapters 5-7), Jesus said that if we hear him only and do not DO these things, our house will fall in on its sandy foundation (Matt 7:26-27). Of course, the power to do His will also comes from His grace, so as the Book of Mormon teaches, we still have no reason to boast.

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    1. Sadly mike you did not understand him correctly. Please have a look at matts website and you will see more on where he comes from.

      So from what you have said there we are just the same Mike, I guess that means I am wasting my time, with that in mind why do you think I am seeking to reach Mormons? Am I just bored looking for a dishonest hobby? Or is there another side to what you said?

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  2. Yes there is another side, and I don’t believe I’ve seen it accurately represented in all the “witnessing” to Mormons that I’ve experienced. Let’s get to the heart of it instead of straining at gnats. I think what troubles evangelicals most about us is our literal belief in Christ’s promise to make us branches on his vine (John 15:5), to make us one with him “even as” He is one with the Father (John 17:22), to make us “joint-heirs” of God with Christ (Romans 8:17), and to grant us a seat with Him in His throne “even as” He sits with the Father in His throne (Rev. 3:21).

    This belief is nearly always framed by evangelical critics as Mormon pride or a kind of satanic self-exaltation, but it is neither. It is a simple acceptance of and belief in Christ’s promise to glorify us with Him. No Mormon who really knows his or her religion thinks that they are making gods of themselves. They believe that Christ is making joint-heirs of them, as he promised.

    And yet we are accused of blasphemy for this. It is interesting to me that the Jews accused Christ of blasphemy for a similar reason (John 10:32-38), and Christ prophesied that His followers would receive a similar treatment (John 15:18-21). It is also interesting that those who would persecute Christ’s followers would do it for His name’s sake, because they didn’t know the Father (verse 21).

    So I’m just saying, be careful that you don’t find yourself in Saul’s (Paul’s) position, kicking against the pricks (Acts 26:14-15). I do think you might be a bit like him in your genuine (but misguided) zeal. I feel some fondness for you for that reason, and because I think you’re a genuine nice guy. But to avoid being in that uncomfortable position, you might take Gamaliel’s wise advice (Acts 5:38-39).

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    1. Hi there Mike

      If you mean by your first paragraph the LDS view that we can become a god then yes that is an area of trouble for many evangelicals including myself. What LDS people and leaders mean by that can vary but to say that you will one day rule over your own kingdom as our Heavenly Father does with His spouse is a key area.

      I don’t tend to blame this belief on the members as they are just believing what they have been taught, however I see this belief as the total opposite of the God exalting gospel of the Bible. Mormonism is one of many faiths that seeks to uplift man at the expense of Gods glory, thinking about it there are few that do this to the same extent of Mormonism.

      Yep you are right about the Jews problem with Jesus, however taking this and applying it to the general membership of the LDS church is certainly a step too far. I certainly don’t want to find myself fighting against Gods plans, but I feel very safe that this is not going on when I speak against Mormonism, however I know I have good people like yourself to keep an eye on what I write and challenge what I say, which is great as that keeps the other side of the discussion coming my way and its always considered.

      Moving this on a little here is my big issue with Mormonism. I know you wont see this the way I do but here we go.

      I see Jesus there in the Bible offering Himself to humanity. So that those who put their faith in Him can be united with God. Clear and simple. Then I see the Mormon Church stand in front of Christ and say, “If you want to get to Him, you need to do what we want you to do”. Taking away that simplicity and complicating it with much dead works such as the temple ceremony etc. So important in Mormonism but so useless when it comes to truly knowing and following Christ.

      There is of course more issues such as the doctrine of God etc, but that is an area I see as key. More and more I hear stories of people finding this freedom in Christ when they leave Mormonism and similar movements and for the sake of those stories I am going to be at this for a long time yet.

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      1. Thanks for your response Bobby. “Mormonism seeks to uplift…” and “Mormon Church stand in front of Christ…” are examples of the kind of misunderstanding that many Evangelicals continue to have even after Mormons have tried to correct them. It is not our religion that exalts people, it is Christ. We don’t stand in front of Him, but like you, seek to introduce people to Him through the teachings and ordinances HE has given. We see the ordinances he has given as signposts or symbols of Him and from Him. Just as reading the Bible brings us closer to Christ, participating in the ordinances He has given us brings us closer to him. One might say, “Why do I need to read the Bible? Can’t I just believe in Christ?” Well technically, perhaps, but how will they know to believe in Him if they haven’t heard of Him or read His word? Likewise, ordinances such as baptism (which He commanded us to partake of) teach us of Him. As I told you when we visited in Provo, ordinances are like interactive texts. We remember Him better, and know Him better because we’ve walked a little ways in His footsteps when we partake of His ordinances. To turn away from them as “dead works” would be like turning away from Bible reading as a “dead work.” Why would anyone want to do that if they really seek to know Jesus? You probably can’t see that because you haven’t experienced these ordinances, and those you hear from most often likely have a biased view of them, or a limited understanding. For example, you learning about temple ordinances from the Wilders would be something like me learning about the Bible from Bart Ehrman. And I suppose he feels no less liberated from his past belief than they do.

        But I’m glad people are finding Christ through your work. If they couldn’t find Him as Mormons, they misunderstood their faith. But better find Him in Evangelical Christianity, if that’s what it takes, than remain a Mormon in name only.

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  3. Bobby said that he hears stories of people finding freedom in Christ when they leave Mormonism and similiar movements, and he will be doing what he us doing for a long time.

    I have been reading many, many blogs on and about Evangelicalism to get a better understanding. I have found as many blogs about what is wrong with Evangelicalism and how to leave it. There are as many as these type of blogs by exEvs as there is blogs by exMormons.
    And the exEvs say they found the real Jesus and finally understand what the Bible really says since they left Evangelicalism, and they finally understand what it means to be a real Christian.
    Mike is right, better for people to leave a religion they are not comfortable with than to stay in name only.

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