Tag Archives: Journal

Manti Journal-3 2007

Saturday, June 16th 2007
Part 1

Every morning at Ephraim Church of the Bible Christians gather for praise, prayer, ex-Mormon testimonies and to listen to the teaching of a pageant veteran. This morning Becky had the privilege of presenting the Impossible Gospel of Mormonism. (scroll down the page from the previous link until you see the listing.) Becky did a good job and many people came up to her afterwards to thank her for sharing our approach.

Not only did Becky get to teach this morning, but she had a very cool witnessing experience in the bathroom of McDonald’s before we arrived at the church. Becky is keeping a journal so I’ll just have her tell you herself.

Today’s morning started out with a bang. We went to the showers and I had
trouble finishing up because we had planned to go to McDonald’s for the guys to
get some breakfast. It was a non-hair-washing day for me, so I decided, in order
to not have everyone waiting on me, I would just do my hair at McDonald’s since
I was not going to eat anyway. Rosanne saw my hair and advised my not to brush
it out because she thought it looked curly and nice and Keith even agreed with
me and told me not to brush it out, but I told them I felt nappy and yucky
having not brushed my hair since last night and then slept on it too. I was
adamant that I was going to go into the bathroom at McDonald’s and fix my hair,
even with Keith teasing me, telling me to take the advice of the professional.
(Rosanne is a cosmologist)

I went in the bathroom and started working on my mop-head when a lady
employee came in, used the restroom and then came over to the mirror to wash her
hands. I removed my stuff and stepped out of the way and told her she was there
for the right reasons, not me, so I would gladly step aside. She said she
understood not having time to fix yourself at home. I told her I was camping in
the park, so it was nice to have a real mirror to use. She asked why I was there
and I told her it was for the pageant. She asked where I was from and then she
told me she lived in a near by town. We exchanged names and then she told
me she had lived there all her life and had just seen the pageant for the first
time last year.

I told her this was our 8th year coming and that we were Christian
missionaries to the LDS people and coming to Manti was the highlight of our
year. She looked surprised and then said quietly, “I have been LDS all my
life but a while back, my husband and I visited a Christian church and we think
we believe more of what they teach at Christian churches than at the LDS
My jaw probably dropped to the floor! I asked her if she knew
about Ephraim Church of the Bible, but she did not. I told her where it was,
since had heard about it.

I asked her if I could take a moment to pray for her and she seemed
shocked, but then we stood there in the bathroom and I prayed for her. As soon
as she finished she said, “You know, when I came in here, I noticed your
T-shirt with the cross on it, so I figured you were a Christian. Do you know
what the LDS say about the cross?”
She proceeded to tell me and then she
said rather proudly, “BUT I HAVE 10 OF THEM!” We
laughed together and then she described some of them to me.

I asked her if she knew why we loved the cross as Christians. She said she
wanted me to tell her, but that she needed to clock in very soon, so I quoted I
Cor. 1:18 to her that says, “For the cross of Christ is foolishness to
those who are perishing, but to us, it is the power of God.”
I told her
that I’d be back to see her, told her about the wonderful folks at the church
and that they would so love to help her and her husband. She seemed sincerely
grateful, took a tract, and left. What a wonderful way to start the day! Again,
another example of having to be ready in season and out of season. Later, I told
Rosanne and Keith that I was right…I was supposed to go fix my hair!

OK, I’m hungry so I’ll have to post our Saturday evening activities later.

Manti Journal-3 2007

Tonight was MUCH better! The park was packed with tents and the crowd on the streets was a large one like we use to have a few years ago. It started off pretty slow, but as I was talking to Becky, I noticed a young teenaged girl with a camera behind me. She looked like she wanted to take a picture of my T-shirt.

Friday , June 15th 2007

We normally wear our team shirt on Saturday’s, but since the biggest crowds are on Friday nights, we decided to wear them tonight instead. (See the May 22nd entry for a picture of our T-shirt) I walked over to the girl and asked if she wanted a picture of my shirt. She looked caught and said she didn’t, but I posed for her anyways. She said, “Well, OK. I will if you really want me to.” She took my picture and then asked what it meant. Becky and I were able to talk to 5-8 teens about the impossible gospel, grace and the Biblical gospel. At one point, the mother of one of the kids came over and listened too. Usually when parents come over, it is to break up the conversation. This lady eventually did lead the kids away, but not until we were able to explain a lot.

Throughout the evening, numerous people walked up to me and asked about my shirt. They are great conversation starters. One guy didn’t really want to talk, he just wanted to understand the message of the shirt. I explained it once and he said, “Well, it sounds like the same thing to me.” I explained it again and this time told him that the difference was between knowing that Jesus is sufficient rather than just one of many necessary things. Once I told him that since Jesus is sufficient to forgive my sins, the temple is unnecessary, he understood what I was getting at. He thanks me for explaining the shirt, took a tract and walked off.

I got into another impossible gospel conversation with a returned Mormon missionary named Justin. Things were going pretty well for awhile. During our conversation, three young ladies walked up and said, “We just want to know what you believe.” I told them that I was talking about that to Justin and that they were welcome to listen. They stood there for awhile until one of Justin’s friends came over and told him that his group was going to go sit down and that he should come with them. From that point on Justin seemed defensive and would not answer simple questions. The girls got a little nervous and walked off. It wasn’t until Justin ended the conversation that I turned around and noticed his buddy standing about 15 feet behind me.

I realized that Justin was getting defensive because he felt as if he had to look like he was in control of the conversation in front of his friend. One on one conversations can be so sincere until someone the Mormon knows comes over and listens. Then all of a sudden the atmosphere changes because their pride gets in the way and they don’t want to be viewed as weak. Justin got kind of frustrated and left. He still took a tract though so that was good.

It wasn’t too long before I got into another good conversation with some teens. I was talking to some Christian friends of mine and they pretty much just walked up and started talking to me. This conversation was with more than 10 teens and lasted for the rest of the night. It started with one a couple of main guys and then shifted once this other kid showed up. He was 16 and had a pretty sharp mind except for the time he told me how humble he was… oh, and he was serious. He was following my argument and asked some good questions. We went through the impossible gospel and got stuck on the point about repentance. That is what usually happens when you are talking to a group. Someone will come in late and start to raise objects that have already been raised and answered. When that happens, it seems like we’re just talking in circles.

Most of the kids stayed around for a good part of the conversation, but after most of the kids had left, this one kid stayed and talked. I think he felt “beat” and wanted to try to save face. He got frustrated again and left. Bill McKeever and I were standing there, turned around and saw this little, cocky 12 year old kid standing there. We started talking to him and then the previous kid saw that and came back to tell us how sad it was that we were picking on little kids. We explained that they walked up to us, not the other way around. He got on his little soap box and started talking about how I was way too prepared for him (like that is somehow a bad thing) and that he wasn’t prepared, but was being lead by the Lord to talk to me as eloquently as he was. I told him he was doing a great job and that I would love to talk with him one on one. The other kids were standing there looking at him and he said that he wouldn’t because all my scriptures were marked up and that I was too prepared, but all he had was God. I asked him why he needed any more than god and pointed out to him that I did not have my scriptures marked up. He then pointed at another piece of literature that I had shared with them and said that one was marked up. I handed it to him and asked him where I had marked it up. He handed it back and said, “Well, maybe you don’t, but I’m still not prepared.”

His group came back to retrieve him and I talked him into taking one of my tracts so that he could e-mail me if he had any questions. He looked hesitant, but I kept pleading with him. He said, “OK, I’ll read this tract and call you in a week.” He had a big smile on his face like he was looking forward to the challenge. I pray that he does call and that God gets a hold of him.

Manti Journal-2 2007

Thursday , June 14th 2007

Tonight at the pageant was pretty slow. One guy I talked to, Brent, was watching me pass out tracts and was leaning up against a pole sending out the, “don’t walk up and talk to me” vibe, so I figured I would walk up and talk to him. He was polite, but was also looking for a way to end our conversation as soon as possible. He took one of my tracts and made it very clear that he wasn’t interested in talking. I asked him what he did for a living and he looked surprised that I asked a question like that. It was like he didn’t want to tell me. He said he had background in law enforcement. I noticed that he was watching the crowd like he still might be a cop. We chatted for about 10 minutes before I left him alone. He did take a tract though and thanked me for it.

I got into a few other short conversations with guys named Chris, Steve and Jared. I was never really able to get into the impossible gospel, but I did talk about the nature of God with one guy. I didn’t have any really great conversations, but I did pass out a lot of tracts tonight. Most of the times Mormons do not want them until you tell them that it is not “anti-Mormon.” The tract we pass out is just a gospel tract that is worded in a way that is sensitive to the LDS audience.

Manti Journal-1 2007

Wenesday, June 13th 2007

For the last eight years Becky and I have been coming to Manti. We decided six years ago that it would be a good idea to keep a journal and update those who are praying for us with the events of our trip so that they would know how to pray. The first journaling year was a nightmare. We went to the Manti City library and had to use a Macintosh computer. Manti is the only library in the whole state of Utah that uses Macs. Neither of us were familiar with them so we had a learning curve to overcome fairly quickly. Once we had everything typed out only to lose it once our session timed out. The wonderfully helpful librarian failed to inform us that we had limited time on the computer before it timed out.

That got old really quick so we decided to go over to Chip Thompson’s house and use his computer. At the time, Chip was the pastor of Ephraim church of the Bible. We were not happy when we found out that he uses a Mac too. The only time I like a Mac is if it is preceded by the word “big” or followed by “n cheese.” After that year, we brought our laptop computer, saved our journal on a floppy disk (remember those) and then e-mailed it to my Mom from a local friend’s computer.

My, how things change. I am sitting here under the pavilion in the Manti City park and am wirelessly connected to the internet. The little town of Manti, which is in the middle of nowhere, has wi-fi for the whole city. It is a bit pricey, but the convenience is so much better than past years.

Becky is going to continue journaling the way we have done it in the past, long detailed accounts sent to my Mom who then sends it to those who pray for us, but I am doing something different this year. Instead of writing incredibly detailed accounts of our daily events, I will stick to smaller entries and post them here on the blog. I will also post short sections of Becky’s journal too. Here goes.

Tuesday June, 12th 2007
One the first day of our mission trip, we like to spend some time at temple square, take a tour and then witness to the sister missionaries. I had a fruitful discussion with a Japanese LDS missionary who asked me about my occupation and why I was in Utah. I told her about our ministry and why we were going to Manti. She was very interested and wanted to know some of the differences between our beliefs.

I got into the Impossible Gospel approach with her and she did a good job of trying to understand even through the language barrier. I was very impressed that she never once used the language as an excuse for not understanding my position. We talked a lot about repentance which in the LDS view includes a total abandonment of sin. The only way to be forgiven of specific sins is to completely forsake and never repeat the sin.

We kept going back and forth in our conversation and it became very evident that she was trusting in her repentance to make her right with God. Whenever she would admit to a moral failure, she would then just say that she would repent. I asked her if she wanted to keep repenting or just keep the commands of God. She wasn’t quite sure what I was getting at so I asked her, “If you are keeping the commandments, there is nothing to repent of, right.”


So then repentance is there for when you break the commandments, right?


So you need to stop repenting and just keep the commandments.

We kept going over it and I think she was starting to see that if she is in the repentance process, then that means that she has broken a commandment of God. Being in the repentance process is not a good thing.

About 3/4′s of the way through our conversation, one of the security guards came over and interrupted us. Usually that happens when an LDS missionary has pushed a little button on their belt signaling that she is in trouble. They walked just outside of hearing distance from me and began to talk. James, one of our team members, overheard part of their conversation. The security guard asked if she was in trouble and she said that she wasn’t. He told her that he received a report from someone saying that we were talking for a long time and that that usually signals a contentious debate. She said we were having a good conversation so he let us continue.

We finished our conversation while Becky, Rosanne and James were ending their conversation with the other sister missionary. We all had a great time and had our picture taken together afterwards.

After we had finished our time on temple square, we went over to the LDS Church Museum of History and Art. There are all kinds of things there that are interesting. Most Mormons do not know that right before Joseph Smith was killed, he shot three men, two of whom died on the spot. The actual guns that Smith and his brother had is on display at the museum.

After we had already passed the guns and were on the other side of the display, I overheard a tour guide talking to an English couple about the guns. I walked back over there, waited until he was done talking and then asked what he could tell me about the guns. He explained that the Gun Hyrum Smith had was a single shot and that Joseph had a six shot pepper box. The pepper box’s were notorious for misfiring. He also said that Smith shot one person in the shoulder, but that no one died.

I questioned that and mentioned that I had read in the history of the church that Smith shot three people and two died. The tour guide looked caught and tried to deflect my questions. I restated that the report was in the LDS church publication series called History of the church. I did not have the reference memorized. I also mentioned that I saw the movie down the street that was about Smith’s life and that there is a scene of him being killed, but not shooting back into the mob that killed him. I asked why it was not in there. He replied, “Well, you can’t tell everything.”

The big thing about today though was what we are now calling the “pentaplay.”
As I walked into an area that is set up like a children’s play area, there were two large pentagrams on the wall. One was stuck to the wall with Velcro and the other was made of various colors of plexiglass that can be interchanged. I decided to play with the plexiglass one and make it all red. I thought it was appropriate.
Once Becky saw it, she absolutely had a fit. There were a couple of ladies in the room allowing their kids to play in the area so Becky told them about pentagrams and how they are on the cover of the satanic bible. We had to leave shortly after seeing the pentaplays.