The Testimony of Sherry Brown
I am writing these things because I want people to know why I left. I know from past experience in the church that when a member leaves or becomes inactive, sometimes rumors begin. I didn't leave because someone hurt my feelings, nor because my situation became too difficult for me to handle; my husband didn't force me to leave. I did leave because of a very special friend I came to know. That friend is Jesus Christ. Because of a new and personal relationship I now have with him, my heart has changed and so has my life.
I was born and raised in a Mormon family. We attended faithfully and I never had any doubt about the LDS church being the only true church on the face of the earth.
I attended Ricks college for a year and became even more certain of this belief. I married Greg Brown shortly after college, and then began to attend church alone. I had great faith that Greg would someday join the church because my patriarchal blessing told me he would join.
Greg began searching for some answers to life. I had shared some of my beliefs with him, but they never seemed to be enough for him. He wanted assurance and peace. His brother accepted Jesus Christ while at college and wrote home with great excitement. Greg was intrigued. Rich was really changed. In a contact with a pastor later, Greg found that his questions about life were answered - right from the Bible. He accepted Christ, and came home and told me he knew he was saved. I had never seen such joy and contentment in anyone's face as I saw in Greg's that night, but felt one could never know for sure in this life about our standing with God. Greg's life changed immediately for the better. He spoke of the Lord all the time. He wanted to live for him and please him, not to gain exaltation but out of love and thanksgiving to God for having saved him.
I tried to change myself to be like Greg, not realizing that I needed a heart change to be able to do it. But I could tell he had something I didn't have. He hungrily studied the Bible, and was happy and fulfilled and peaceful. How could this be happening outside of the true church?
I began attending both his church and mine. I couldn't believe the difference. The people were friendly, and I began to learn much more of what the Bible taught. The focus was on God's love for sinful mankind and his son's horrible death to pay for our sins, and I learned that our good works are not the key to forgiveness. It seemed too easy to me, though. I couldn't just trust in Christ alone. I felt that anything worth having is worth working for.
I began to see the doctrinal differences, and it sickened me. My arguments didn't make sense when I really analyzed them. I began reading the Bible more. I asked LDS people for answers, but they only satisfied temporarily. The struggle at times became so great I would quit going to Greg's church. I blamed myself for doubting, surrounded myself with LDS things and people. But I felt a bit suffocated. IF the church wasn't true, it would not be something one can easily escape from. And one's pride makes it so difficult to admit you have been deceived.
I knew a decision had to be made - both systems could not be right. My beliefs gave me no peace about death - I was afraid to die. Greg wasn't. It was easier to believe that most people would receive a level of glory than to believe in the heaven-or-hell choice, but what if it was true? The Bible indicated that just one sin condemns us to an eternity apart from Jesus Christ.
This led to my being physically sick. I knew a showdown had to happen. I asked Greg a lot of questions: How could so many good people all be wrong? He reminded me of the Jonestown massacre. Even their leader gave his life for his beliefs. I began to realize that my beliefs were founded on nothing more than feelings. The people in Jonestown felt they had the truth, but that's all they were trusting! I asked God to show me the truth.
The next morning I read a pamphlet entitled "What Every Mormon Should Know", which spelled out the contradictions between the Bible and LDS doctrine. I had read this type of thing before and dismissed it arbitrarily, but this time, God removed the spiritual blindfold and I knew Mormonism was wrong. I was spiritually born that day, accepting Christ as my Savior, and at that moment an assurance and peace of eternal life with God flooded my soul. "For by GRACE are ye saved through faith; and that no of yourselves; it is the GIFT of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9). I could finally let go of Mormonism and accept Christ with "no strings attached". The chains that held me to a system now fell off as I entered the arms of the Savior. I'm free! "And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) All I want to do now is share with others this miracle. God has changed my heart and has given my life new meaning and purpose.
I had never understood before about being born again. That was what was supposed to have happened to me when I was baptized at age 8. But after my spiritual birth, I could see that it is only through a relationship with Jesus Christ that we can understand the Bible, and now I hunger for it. It is so wonderful to willingly and joyfully serve he Lord because it is my heart's greatest desire, not because I feel I have to do it to "measure up". Only a heart change can cleanse my record so I will measure up in the sight of God. Only God can take a proud, rebellious, sinful heart and turn it around to love him like He has done with mine. Your heart may be in need of changing too. Only after that change will your good works be pleasing to God. My good works now are as a result of my salvation; they are not done to obtain it. If you believe you must in some way add to Christ's blood sacrifice to save yourself, you are saying that His shed blood for you is not enough. "How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the spirit of grace?" (Heb. 10:29) Really think about that!!
Only Jesus can save you; I know that now. I pray for all who read this that you may learn it too. Jesus wasn't talking about physical labor when he said, "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heaven laden, and I will give you rest." He went on to say that he offers you "rest unto your souls" (Matt. 11:28-30) Spiritual rest comes to those who trust in Jesus' blood alone as sufficient to qualify them for God's presence. That can be yours! "Whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)
In His Amazing Love, Sherry Brown