H.I.S. Ministries International
To: Ravi Zacharias, Atlanta, GA
From: Rauni Higley, Sandy, Utah
September 15, 2004
Dear Mr. Zacharias,
My name is Rauni Higley and I am a former Mormon, as is my husband, who comes from six generations of active Mormons. I am very troubled by your up-coming visit to speak in the Mormon Tabernacle in November. Let me explain why:
I was a convert to Mormonism in Finland where I also served my LDS mission before coming to Utah. I was hired by the LDS Church upon my arrival here to work for them as a full-time translator and interpreter for Finnish language, translating their doctrinal teaching materials, including the secret temple ceremony. I worked as a translator for the leaders of the church over 14 years. I know doctrine of the LDS Church well.
I remained an active LDS for 20 years. My husband had served his LDS mission, also in Finland, and after that he had many leadership positions, which included Elder Quorum President, Sunday School teacher and High Councilman. What we lacked was biblical understanding of who God is and who Jesus is. We had accepted the Mormon twist to what the Bible says. We believed, as Mormon Church teaches, that God had not always been God, but that He was a former mortal man from another planet, who’s father-god also was a former mortal from even more distant planet, etc. We believed that God is resurrected, exalted man, and that there are many Gods, even if we are to worship only three Gods. We believed, what all Mormons are taught, that Jesus is an elder spirit-brother of all humans, born to our Heavenly Father and mother(s) in pre-existence, and that angels, including Satan, are Jesus’ and our brothers and sisters. We also believed that Jesus was not begotten by the Holy Ghost, but by this physical, exalted man, God of Mormonism, as Mormon Doctrine, p. 547, says, ” Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by their mortal fathers.” We believed that Jesus spoken of in the Bible is the same Jesus taught in the Mormon Church, but that the Christian world does not understand His person and is in the dark about Him, because “they only have the Bible“, that is not correct in all points concerning doctrine. We believed, as we were taught, that only Mormons know the truth about Jesus because Joseph Smith, having been visited by God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, had spoken with them, and after that Joseph Smith revealed who God and Jesus really are. Current President, Gordon B. Hinckley, has openly declared that he does not believe in “traditional Jesus“, taught by Christianity, but that he believes in “Jesus who was revealed to Joseph Smith“. We felt sorry for Christian preachers who could speak so eloquently about Jesus, but yet did not know who He is – as we, Mormons, did.
As I said, I have been very troubled by your coming visit to speak in the Mormon Tabernacle, because I am sure that it will be used by the Mormon Church as your endorsement that Mormonism is part of Christianity. I am also absolutely sure that your name will be used in months and even years to come by the LDS Church, and its almost sixty thousand missionaries, to convert more people into Mormonism from Christianity, especially if you also meet with the Mormon Church‘s president and other leaders.
The only way that this can be avoided is if you clearly speak of Jesus who is not “Lucifer’s/Satan’s brother”, but the Creator of him and all things, visible and invisible (Col. 1:16), also making clear to all listening, that God of the Bible is not a former mortal man, but Eternal God, “from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps. 90:2), who does not have Gods before Him (Is. 43:10) nor after Him, as is taught by the Mormon Church that men will become gods, like their God had “become” a God.
I have been familiar with your Ministry for many, many years, and I have enjoyed listening to you on Christian radio, and reading many of your books. It saddens me however to know that your name will be used to promote a cult of Mormonism. I know how Mormons think and how they use Christian terms to say something totally opposite. It is a very clever plan to get accepted into Christianity without changing any of their doctrines. “Been there, done that”.
It is a miracle of God that we escaped from it. I believe that after I had made my mistake of joining Mormonism, God in His foreknowledge directed me to be schooled by the high leadership of the Mormon Church, to learn first all about Mormonism – and then He directed me to seek Him outside of it, and after that He called us to minister to Mormons. We have been born-again believers about 22 years and in the ministry to Mormons since then.
Our website is www.hismin.com , if you are interested.
We have seen during these years literally hundreds of Mormons come out of Mormonism, but everyone of them had to first be taught who God is, and is not, and who Jesus is, and is not – and after that, how to be saved. (Romans 10:9-10; Eph. 2:8-9; John 14:6; Acts 4:12.) Teaching Mormons about God is a challenging task, because their concept of Him is so radically different. (2 Tim. 2:25-26; Jude 3.)
I pray that God will give you courage to oppose Mormonism boldly and openly, and even refuse to come here, if your cannot, or are not allowed, to speak clearly when you are here.
Because of Christ Jesus of the Bible, who is Emmanuel,
[used by permission]
To: Ravi Zacharias 11/22/04
Re: Your visit to Salt Lake City, Nov. 13-15, 2004
My name is Rauni Higley and I am a former Mormon.
I was converted to Mormonism in 1963, in Finland. I believed it completely. I served a full-time Mission for the LDS Church there and after that came to Salt Lake City, and worked as a translator and interpreter for the leaders of the Mormon Church for over 14 years. I learned from the leaders of the church as well as from their own documents what Mormonism really is. I learned I that had been deceived. Mormonism is not biblical, it is not Christianity.
My husband, who was a sixth-generation LDS, and I, with our daughters, left the LDS church in 1983 after becoming a born-again believers in Biblical Jesus and His gospel.
I, with my husband, have been ministering to Mormons from that time on.
This, your meeting in Salt Lake City, has caused a lot of damage to the ministries like ours, mainly because your organizers, Greg Johnson and BYU’s Robert Millet, had included in the program Fuller’s Richard Mouw, and Biola’s Craig Hazen, and what they said on Sunday night.
It was evident to us, from the start of this plan, that the only ones that were going to benefit from this event were the organizers, Johnson and Millet and, of course, the LDS Church!
Being a Berean (Acts 17:11) is not easy. By taking a stand for truth, more often than not, comes with the cost, even a high cost. However, the Lord, WHO IS THE TRUTH, to whom we belong and serve, requires that we stand for Him, no matter what the cost. The Lord says (Rev. 3:15-16) that He wishes that we’d be hot or cold, rather than lukewarm, which I read to mean that we must not be “wishy-washy” with a “phony love” that is not strong enough to take a risk and clearly declare the truth to those who have been misled, as Mormons have. The Lord says that those who are only lukewarm towards His gospel, He will spew out of His mouth. Christ brings division. Matt. 10:34-39 tells us that. We cannot compromise. The truth is truth. I have often in the past quoted your statement, “Truth cannot be sacrificed at the altar of pretended tolerance.“
I believe it is “pretended tolerance” if we are seeking unity without agreeing in doctrine. That kind of “unity” is unity with the world. We are told not to be pleasers of men, which is the world, but to be separate. ( 2 Cor. 6:17). You know that I am not suggesting that in order to be heard we yell and scream or insult anyone, as some have done. I mean that real godly love towards the lost must be tough enough to tell them exactly how and where their eternity will be, unless they humble themselves before the true God, Who is the Author and Finisher of our salvation. We cannot waste time in lengthy “friendship building”-projects before we can say much about the error, in this case, error of Mormonism, for we don’t know when their appointment with God comes – it could be today, it could be tomorrow. I imagine that these Mormons we have met, when they, in one future day, face reality before the Great White Throne Judgment seat of Christ, will surely accuse us for not loving them enough to tell them the truth so clearly that they could have understood!
I don’t think that the damage done this weekend was done by you as much as it was done by liberal theologians, Richard Mouw and Craig Hazen, whom (I assume) Greg Johnson and Robert Millet had chosen to speak and represent Christianity, that is all of us! They did not represent us!
It is not that you did not give a good sermon. I hope you understand what I am trying to say. It was a good sermon to a Christian audience, but you knew you were not speaking just to the Christians – after all you were in a historic Mormon building, with many Mormon leaders present.
You failed to declare the truth clearly to those who interpret the words, familiar to Christians, totally differently. I think this is why Biola’s Craig Hazen, after the meeting, said in his report that “rank and file Mormons would not have found anything controversial [to Mormonism] in it”, meaning that what you said would not have alarmed them to see that Mormonism is false!
All Mormons in the audience could have agreed with just about everything you said, but yet not understood at all!
I think how I, if I was still an active and believing Mormon, as I once was, I would have “understood” your words. I would have interpreted them, based on what I believed as a Mormon, and what I was taught by the LDS Church. When you said “Jesus”, I would have thought of Him as my brother I lived with in heaven before coming to this world. When you said “ God, or Heavenly Father”, I would have thought my literal heavenly parents, father- and mother-Gods in heaven. When you said “redemption” or“payment for our sins”, I would have thought of conditional salvation Jesus provided for me, and that I must work hard, along with my husband, to earn my real salvationwhich is exaltation and godhood. When you said “Trinity”, I would have thought of three Gods for this earth, “Trinity” in a sense of unity in purpose among them, – and I would have, at least in passing, thought that someday my husband and I will be as God is now. When you said “Cross” I would have acknowledged that Jesus died on the cross, but I also would have thought that He had, before going to the cross, already made an atonement for me and provided resurrection by suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Like the Mormon leaders on the platform, I too could have said that I “agreed” with you message even when using my “Mormon-mindset”.
I personally know active, temple-going Mormons here in Utah who regularly listen to Christian speakers in radio and TV, read C.S. Lewis’s books etc., and “agree” with them all – even though with some pity that these great Christian speakers cannot go to celestial kingdom and become gods because they have not received the “fullness of the LDS gospel”. Mormons simply interpret and understand the words used differently. I am sure you get my point.
In order to give them a chance to accept the truth found in the Bible and be saved, we need to get into the hearts and minds of indoctrinated Mormons in order to effectively communicate the truth of completed salvation by grace, given as the gift of the real God and Jesus whom He has sent. They must know Who God is, Who Jesus is, before that can happen. To know God and Jesus is equal to salvation (John 17:3), just any god or any “Jesus” will not do.
Even if you did not dare to speak clearly to the Mormon audience in the Mormon Tabernacle, you failed Saturday night. Then you were “on a neutral ground”, at the University of Utah, not on LDS turf! You failed to “give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason of the hope that is in you“. (1 Peter 3:15 ) You were asked what are the differences between Mormonism and Christianity – but you side-stepped that when you replied that you had to remember that you was a guest here! What were you here for? To be polite and pleasing to Mormon leaders, or to speak the truth for the Lord’s sake? This was your opportunity the give an honest answer to those who asked. Being truthful would have been honorable regardless of whose guest you were here in Salt Lake City, in my opinion. You could have given truthful answer nicely and politely, but you did not give a straight answer! – I could not help but imagine apostle Paul standing before a pagan temple in Corinth, even on the grounds of that temple, and when asked “what are the differences between the beliefs of Corinthians and Christianity“, he would have replied “I have to keep in mind that I am a guest here”. I just don’t get it! I have read God’s opinion on that. God asks, “know ye not that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4″4)
“It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals, than falsehood that comforts and then kills. Let me tell you something, friend, IT IS NOT LOVE AND IT IS NOT FRIENDSHIP IF WE FAIL TO DECLARE THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD. It is better to be hated for telling the truth, than be loved for telling a lie. It is impossible to find anyone in the Bible who was a power for God who did not have enemies and was not hated. IT IS BETTER TO STAND ALONE WITH THE TRUTH, THAN TO BE WRONG WITH THE MULTITUDE. It is better to ultimately succeed with the truth than temporarily succeed with a lie. THERE IS ONLY ONE GOSPEL AND PAUL SAID, ‘IF ANY MAN PREACH ANY OTHER GOSPEL UNTO YOU THAN THAT WHICH WE HAVE PREACHED UNTO YOU, LET HIM BE ACCURSED.‘” (Pastor Adrian Rogers.)
Mormon gospel is “another gospel” that brings God’s curse to those who preach it and/or follow it. (Gal. 1:8-9; 2 Cor. 11:4, 13-15.) We must declare what the true Gospel is – and is not, we must stand for God, even if it means standing alone.
May God help all of us to be lovingly bold.
[used by permission]