Thursday July 5, 2012: Throughout the entire week, God had open doors for conversations each day; this had been an answer to our prayers. Our hope was this would continue. During the morning hours we had a car wash to serve the city of Ogden and to also get into conversations. However, rain dampened our efforts. It is hard to have a car wash during a storm. That afternoon the team went out to hand out flyers for a free dinner at the Blue House where we were staying. These were given to students at Weber State and some apartments nearby, hoping and praying for visitors to come eat with us.
Unfortunately, that evening no one showed up from the community for dinner. It seemed as if we were going to have a day where we didn’t get into any discussions. However, that quickly changed as a LDS missionary named Kyle, who had been hanging out at the house, engaged a few of us in conversation.
We talked from about 9pm to midnight on various issues. We discussed archeology and other evidences against the Book of Mormon. We then tried to explain God’s grace. I told him Mormons don’t understand grace because they think they have to earn favor with God with good works. I asked him if he was going to reach the highest level possible in heaven. He said he hoped to. I said we have assurance of the highest level, without having all these works. Grace is receiving forgiveness through what Jesus Christ did on the cross, not because we deserved it, but because we accepted the free gift of salvation. Not only are your sins forgiven, we also receive all the good things that Jesus accomplished. When we die and stand before God, He sees Jesus not us.
Kyle had trouble accepting this truth. He said it was too easy. He pointed out that one of us could just say, oh I am forgiven and now I will live anyway I want. Basically, he was saying without rules and commandments, accountability goes out the window.
I took him to Romans 6 and explained how we are no longer slaves to sin but when we receive the free gift of grace we become slaves to righteousness. God will motivate to obey through the power of the Holy Spirit. We obey, not because the church has burdened us with commandments, but because the Holy Spirit within us moves us to be obedient. This was why Paul called believers slaves to righteousness. Brandon, Nick, and I then gave our testimonies of free grace and how God dramatically changed our lives. The three of us moved from being slaves to sin and are now slaves to righteousness; not perfect but moving towards being more like Jesus.
I also took him through the Roman road (Romans 3:23, 6:23; 5:8; 10:9, 10) so he would clearly understand how he could be saved. All night he seemed to vacillate back and forth between reacting positively to what we were saying and then offering an explanation of why he thought it wasn’t true. He also pointed to his heart as confirmation of the truth of the Book of Mormon and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. We finally gave up at midnight as Kyle didn’t seem overly interested in our arguments, plus he seemed a bit overwhelmed. We had been dialoguing for hours and lots of information had been shared. It was time to get some sleep and see what God had in store for us tomorrow.
Below I am standing behind a carving of Joseph Smith’s so called vision of meeting the Father & the Son.