"I Bear My Testimony"
by Derick Hartshorn

Condensed from the Sept. 1995 "Inner Circle" publication of John L. Smith

About thirteen years ago, some very wonderful young men came to our house. My wife and I were attending a Lutheran church, and we were both active in it, but we felt a certain emptiness.

The young men returned and shared their faith with us, invited us to church, and ...the following month, we were baptized into the LDS church, and became active in it.

I wanted to know as much about my faith as I could...began an intensive study of the scripture. We came across the teaching about polygamy (Jacob chapter 2), and wondered "If polygamy was so bad, why did the church practice it?" We saw in Mormon 9:19 that God was unchangeable, yet in studying I found the church had practiced polygamy even though there were many references to the virtue of monogamy.

The Bishop indicated that the practice might return, but counseled us to put it out of our minds. I prayed to God for wisdom and understanding. Then I discovered the quotation about man becoming a god, and it troubled me. We talked with the Stake President about these things but his explanation made no sense, and concluded that we would have to take these things by faith. I knew something was wrong. I continued to attend meetings, but began to study the Bible with a new-found interest. I discovered other problems, contra-dictions. My wife and I prayed that Heavenly Father would show us if we were right or wrong in our suspicions. Then we saw John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever would believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

God answered our prayers for guidance through a friend who came to our house after we had prayed. He was what I had referred to as a "born-again". He shared with us the Biblical plan of salvation.

I was close to tears. I was still a member of what I thought had been the only true church. If my church wasn't true, what church on earth, I wondered, could possibly be? I asked him which church he thought was the true church. "There is no true denomination," he said, "only the body of believers that have come to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and savior." He was a Baptist but suggested that, if I would be more comfortable, we could attend the Community Chapel which he said was "neutral ground" for both of us. I went without expecting very much but was pleasantly surprised when I heard the message of the gospel forcefully preached. I saw John 3:16 come alive. God did, indeed, love me. At a point in time, He assumed the flesh of a man and paid a debt He didn't owe for a men who owed a debt they couldn't pay.

Today, I am a grateful and humble Christian. When I left the church, all my LDS friends fell away, but I am grateful that God would accept me and give me the opportunity to spend my life with Him for all eternity. I continue to love Mormons and admire them for their high moral standards. But I cannot help but believe that Mormons have been deceived by their leadership. While most Mormons will not agree with me, I know that the truth of God's word is outside of the doctrine and teachings of the Mormon church.