THE GREAT DEBATES
Late October 1988, Las Vegas, Nevada. It was there, that a small group of people stood over a hole in the ground, watching as the tiny white casket which held its precious cargo was lowered into its final resting place. The casket held a child of God that was serving a mission for the Lord and from the results of her funeral; many would come to know the saving power of Christ Jesus, His crucifixion and resurrection.
Of course the baby’s parents felt as bad as they looked on that cold autumn morning and the baby’s grandparents, a couple of uncles and a cousin stood by to support her grief-stricken mom and dad. Nothing anyone could say would make it better as far as her mom was concerned and as the sound of the bishop’s voice droned on, the thoughts of the childless new mother was not at her daughter’s graveside.
Within the first five minutes of the eulogy that cold morning Mallory’s mom frantically searched her memory bank of the Jesus she had heard about in her travels over the past six years. What very little she did know wasn’t even close to what that bishop was proclaiming.
At the end of the graveside service the wind picked up as everyone walked back to their vehicles and the heartbroken mom turned to catch one more glimpse of her baby’s casket. The mom and dad drove home in stunned silence for most of the twenty minute drive back to the apartment. Little things were spoken between the two; “she sure had a lot of black curly hair” and “her nose looked just like…” What was there to be said? There was no baby, no help, no hope, no God to reach to and find comfort. The only thing she left that graveyard with was the bishop’s voice telling her that she would never see her baby again because they hadn’t been married in the temple. God would give Mallory to another family who was worthy of her. That’s when the visual made its appearance and the bishop’s voice began to serve as noise in the background.
When he said the words “she’ll be given to another couple who is worthy of her because they have been married in the temple…” her mind instantly pictured a massive white building with little to no windows; the temple. On the other side of the picture there stood a cross with blood that had been dripping from its owner that made the dust that caught the blood Holy ground.
Back at the apartment the young woman walked in her little home to be greeted by her own mother. As they changed clothes and began making lunch the debate that had been at the tips of everyone’s tongues broke loose.
The younger mom said to the older mom; “…didn’t you hear what that guy said? He told me that I was going to hell!” The older mom shook her head and made a clicking noise with her tongue as she told her daughter that she had misunderstood the bishop. The young, defiant woman knew differently; yet sadly enough neither she nor her husband even discussed the funeral until four years later. However, for now the bishop’s quote of the Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith rang in her ears; “If parents are righteous, they will have their children after the resurrection. Little children who die, whose parents are not worthy of an exaltation, will be adopted into the families of those who are worthy.”
How was that to be misunderstood? It seemed rather dry and pretty straightforward to her. She wanted God, but didn’t know how to go about “getting” Him as she was too intimidated to visit another church. She also didn’t know that the Holy, Merciful God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would bless the couple with two more daughters within the next four years and the greatest gift of all; their salvation!
I never could have imagined that eighteen years later I would be praising a righteous Sovereign God for the gift of Mallory Elizabeth Grim and be involved in yet another debate. This time it would be in a Seattle Christian radio station with my husband and of course who else, but a couple of Mormons?!
The debate in that apartment has now lasted 18 years. I’ve never counted how many times I’ve “debated” with my mother about that day so long ago. She is just as convinced today that I misunderstood and I’m even more convinced I heard them correctly. The divide is wide indeed, but Jesus warned us of these days. He said there would be mothers against daughters and sons against fathers on account of His name.
It is almost surreal for me as I look back on that day in Vegas and think of what God has done for my family and for me too. I never would have imagined that this is what I would be doing; yet now I cannot imagine not doing this work! The debate at KGNW last week with Thor Tolo has blessed us beyond measure. We can’t thank everyone enough for their prayers that went up for the event! I’ve had people pray for me before when I speak or do a radio show, but in all honesty I have never experienced what I did this last week and the week prior to the taping of the show! It was very obvious to those in the studio and to Kirk and me that God was present among us!
I noticed the “misunderstandings” and topics between the debate last week and the debate 18 years ago were very similar. They both contained the following subjects: absence of the cross, no assurance of salvation and good works. The most striking similarity was the emptiness in my heart while I wondered why; both then and now. Why is it they won’t even stop to give it (the truth) the slightest of consideration? What bad thing could it bring upon you to just consider the possibility that there may be some truth in what we (non-Mormons; Christians) proclaim?
Mallory wasn’t the only “thing” I buried that day in 1988. Before I got up from my chair at that gravesite I recall looking down into the grave and picturing myself placing my heritage down there as well. I knew on that day my ignorant, misinformed perception of “my people” was over and done with.
One of the first things Thor asked me at the debate was to explain why I believe the Mormons are not Christians. I told him the main reason is because of the cross. In Mormonism there is no cross in the sense of it being the altar of God. Once again, it’s about the cross, or rather the lack thereof. The sign of the empty cross doesn’t just imply, but shouts out the good news of our salvation and resurrection! On the flip side you see the Mormon parents at their child’s funeral. All that is offered is the hope of going to the temple a year later to work for salvation of the child and the parent; no mention of a cross in that scenario.
When Thor asked Stake President Burnham if he had assurance of his salvation, he replied; “Well now you’re testing my humility”. Oh please. I knew he wouldn’t be able to proclaim any good news of rest for his own soul, assurance that the Shepherd is always with him to lead, console and keep watch over His flock. There is no hope when you are working all the time for your own life. How are you rejuvenated, fed, rested and refreshed? You can’t be if you are the one that is always in control. It took me years to disencumber myself of the filthy robe of self-sufficiency. I felt much like what the apostle Paul described in Romans chapter seven; “why do I do the things I don’t want to do but don’t do the things I want to do”? The only way my life got into order is when I got off the merry-go-round of doing good works for my salvation. Even to this day, how could I be sure if it (salvation) was based on my own worthiness? This week and last week I’ve worked pretty hard. Next week I might get distracted or maybe take it easy. How do I justify myself in God’s eyes with this type of spiritual battle going on inside my soul?
As mentioned earlier, we have been so blessed by seeing God at work in people’s lives. It’s been nothing short of an honor to watch His grace flow to those around us! We’re sending out this praise and prayer report so you can be blessed as well! Continue to pray won’t you that those who are struggling with their decision to either join or leave the Church would be made through the will of the true God of the Bible? And pray for us as we help the people in their decisions so that we would only be focused on Him and our reasons for doing this!
Mr. Burnham e-mailed Kirk and me a couple of days after the debate to let us know that he had researched our claim about the false prophecy of Oliver Granger. We’ll be posting that on the site this week. He wanted us to be sure to let everyone know that indeed the prophecy did come true. He (Burnham) found some letters that were written by Granger’s descendants describing their grandfather and what he had done for the Church. As we stated on the show, it didn’t come to pass. This brings us to a little project. We’re asking everyone to let us know; have you ever heard of Oliver Granger? We’ll be posting our findings on the site at the end of the month!
You can download and listen to the debate by clicking on the links below. Each file is approximately 9 MB. These take you to the website of KGNW and the Live From Seattle Show.
Praise! We cannot give too many details for privacy reasons, however, someone here in the Puget Sound Community, ex-Mormon, accepted the true Lord Jesus into “their” heart as Lord and Savior because of the debate! All we can say is “Praise God!”
We’ve been in touch several times with a very nice lady who listened to KGNW the Monday after the show (Thor actually had me do the program w/ him impromptu). I was able to pray for a woman whose daughter is thinking of joining the Church. Daughter’s name is Lauren, 18, freshman at University of Washington. Lauren needs to be introduced to good Christian kids on campus.
I (Michelle) received several e-mails from members of the Church who believe that I am totally wrong about my claims in regards to the lack of the cross and want for me to issue a public apology for my statements on KGNW. My answer…no.
Praise! An ex-Mormon Christian listening to the debate wrote in to volunteer to help us at the ministry!
Praise! We have a volunteer for translating our tracts from English into Spanish! Because the Lord provided so quickly and abundantly on this I’m going to be confident in asking my next request! If you speak a language other than English or Spanish and would like to see tracts printed in that language and would be willing to translate them for us, let us know!
Praise! We received many requests for mentoring packets. The new outlines are going to print this week, if you’re interested in an expanded, updated version (80 pgs.), don’t forget to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know! We’re requesting $3.00 for s+h for postage.
Prayer and Praise! A 40+ year old mentally disabled man contacted Life After about a week before the debate. He was a convert in the LDS Church and was active for approximately seven years. He felt the Lord tell him two months ago to leave the Church because they weren’t Christian. Ironically enough, Michael, ended up attending my church. He then was listening to the radio, heard the debate and called our ministry line. To make things even more confusing for him, Mr. Burnham (from the debate) is Michael’s Stake President. Various members of his ward are harassing him at the stores, etc., in the town they live. I am confident you’ll know how to pray! J This isn’t the first time I’ve had to deal with the Church and mentally impaired members who want out.
Jeff Burnham – Stake President at debate.
Doug Crandall – Jeff’s neighbor and fellow Mormon at debate.
We thank each and every one of you for praying for us and the ministry. We couldn’t do this without you! May God bless you and our warmest greetings go out to you as you celebrate this upcoming Thanksgiving!
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor. 1:18
Quote of the month from the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 156; “O ye Twelve! and all Saints! profit by this important Key—that in all your trials, troubles, temptations, afflictions, bonds, imprisonments and death, see to it, that you do not betray heaven; that you do not betray Jesus Christ; that you do not betray the brethren; that you do not betray the revelations of God, whether in Bible, Book of Mormon, or Doctrine and Covenants, or any other that ever was or ever will be given and revealed unto man in this world or that which is to come. Yea, in all your kicking and flounderings, see to it that you do not this thing, lest innocent blood be found upon your skirts, and you go down to hell. All other sins are not to be compared to sinning against the Holy Ghost, and proving a traitor to the brethren.”