Kyle Sharpe's testimony
I actually was a convert to the Mormon faith in my 2nd year of college. I was "friended" on Facebook by a girl that I had gone to elementary school and had a crush on at the time. She went to a school called BYU, which I had never heard of. I did some research on BYU and found out that it was associated with Mormons. Now, at that time, Mormons, to me, were the people who knocked on your door while you hid and pretended that you weren't home. I vaguely recall knowing that they had some television ad about the Book of Mormon as well. I read over a lot of their theology and I seemingly found a lot of answers for the questions I had growing up Catholic.
To go back a lot further to my elementary school days, my mom was on her second marriage and my step-dad was a Catholic. For some reason we attended Latin mass? As a young kid, I didn't get it. I did have questions though. One such was: Why did God speak to prophets in the old testament but stopped after John the Baptist died? A lot of things in the Catholic faith are "mysteries" and that never set well with me.
So back to Mormonism. I attended church for the first time and saw someone else I knew from school that was also visiting. So that lent it a bit of credibility. Also, everyone in the church wanted to know me! I'd been to Catholic mass and maybe a couple of Christian services, but no one had ever wanted to know me like they did. And these people were wholesome. They didn't drink alcohol, smoke, gamble, drink tea or soda, or have sex outside of marriage. Well, supposedly. But they at least professed these values. Mormonism seemed to have all the answers to the questions I had about Catholicism. But it also had a LOT of other things too. People lived on the inside of the moon. Joseph Smith wrote about blood atonement and killing people. Hieroglyphics were incorporated and said to be from Abraham. Anti-nephites. God lived "near a planet called Kolob." It had pictures of Joseph smith in the grove everywhere, but no crosses. They said they wanted to be focused on the resurrection of Christ, not His death. But the cross is a symbol of His death AND resurrection. Who thinks of one without the other? That alone should be quite telling. Anyway, I had a new friend group and answers to my questions about Catholicism. There's a lot of well meaning people that are Mormons.
But I never really believed. I TRIED HARD TO BELIEVE. Let me tell you that much. If there was a participation medal, I would have been in the running for it. They called me a "golden convert." I wasn't long in the Aaronic Priesthood before I was inducted into the NEXT LEVEL, the Melchizedek Priesthood! But with this new priesthood, I had to never ever leave the church otherwise I would be condemned to outer darkness. Ruh roh. Actually, what they said was that if I went fully against the church after knowing the fullness of the Mormon doctrine that's what would happen. So I stayed a Mormon for about two years. Even after "trying my best" for a long time, I was not leading a regenerate life. I drank. I viewed pornography and had pre-marital sex. I probably had more make-out sessions with more people when I was a Mormon than anytime before or after. There's a large dating culture within Mormonism. Everyone dates everyone. At least at the Single's Ward where I was. I mean A SINGLE'S WARD! Who do you even look up to? When people are married they get into the family club and you never see them any more, unless you get married.
At the end of the two years, and the immense guilt that I had during the entire time that I was a Mormon, I decided I had had enough. I remember chatting with my friend from elementary school and telling her that I just couldn't do it any more. She was really disappointed. But I had had enough. After I left, I got into a long term relationship. I graduated college. A year after that, the relationship ended. I moved across the country and didn't know what I was trying to do. Then I moved back across country to go back to school. I wasn't living any better of a life than when I left Mormonism, but I wasn't really living any worse either. A couple of months after I returned to school, I felt like I needed to go back to church. I knew I didn't want to go to the Mormon church, but I always have known that God existed. There was a girl who sat in front of me in class. I had never had a conversation with her before. She kept coming to my mind for some reason. I didn't know why and thought it was pretty weird. One day, I asked her "You're [name,] right?" She said yes. Then I asked her if she was a Christian. She said she was. I told her I was looking for a church to go to and wondered if XYZ church was a good church. She said it was alright. And that was mostly the end of the conversation.
Fast forward to a week later after Spring break. She invited me to her home church where I got to meet her 11 siblings, other family friends, and experienced people who were radically sold out for Christ for the first time. I met my best friend there and have spent a ton of time with them. The moment I was saved, if I can recall the first time I knew something was different, was when I was participating in an Easter foot washing activity. Before I felt so unworthy, I mean if they only knew! If they only knew the things I did! And they were going to wash my feet? How could I let them do that? It was going to be so weird. But I did let them. And while they washed my feet, they gathered around and sang a song, "Kyle, Jesus loves you. Kyle, Jesus cares. Kyle, God has a plan for your life and you know that He'll always be there." And through this and learning the truth of the Gospel in that I was forgiven past, present, and future and didn't have to feel the intense shame I had carried with me, I was saved.
And since then I've seen the fruit in my life that only salvation through Jesus Christ can bring. Since realizing I'm forgiven, through Christ's power I've had numerous victories over sin and God has repeatedly shown me His great grace and wonderful mercy. He reigns forever. The Bible is 100% true and relevant to our day. It is the Word of God, and because God has changed my heart, I strive to live by His commandments that are written in the Bible. It's not been easy, and not every day is perfect, but Jesus is wonderful. Let me say, if you're reading this.... if there was hope for me, there's hope for you. May God bless all of your days.