Ex-Mormons Tell Why
Although I am not and never have been LDS, I have heard the testimony of many who have been, and have found them informative and helpful to those who are searching. I pray many will be helped by these testimonies. Sharon
MORMON MISSIONARY RETURNS TO CHRIST
Questions In Life
I did not grow up in a religious home. My parents didn't stress the importance of having a relationship with Christ although after they divorced when I was 6 yrs old, they sent us kids to a Lutheran School. At the school they taught us about Christ but I don't have any memories of being taught on how to be born again and become a Christian. So I went through my childhood always wondering about God but really never knowing him. The funny thing is though, that in my heart I always had the feeling that one day I would find God and serve him.
I joined the military while I was a Senior in High School. After I graduated I went active duty thinking that this was the best thing I could do for myself. I was wrong! I hated full time military service and I was always sick. I was able to get an earlier release and I moved to Illinois to live with a girl I had been dating. That didn't work out, so I went back home to stay with my dad until I could figure out what to do with my life. When I got settled in, I took a job working for Ford Security at one of their plants. There was this guy who always witnessed to me about Christ.
One day I went to his church and I heard about being born again. It really hit me hard, but I did profess faith in Christ and I believe that it was genuine. I started going to a Pentecostal church for a while, but I didn't stick with it. I fell out and just wondered around. I saw a TV commercial about the Book of Mormon and I requested one. I never got it though.
After a move to South Carolina, guess what happened? The Mormon missionaries somehow found me. I guess, when Satan really wants you, he will get you. They gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon and I read it from cover to cover. It sounded so much like the Bible that I thought this must be Christianity. I prayed the Moroni 10:3-5 prayer and I truly had strong feelings that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. I even cried for several hours after I made my decision to join the Mormon Church.
After being a member for a while, I was called to serve as a Church missionary, right back in SC. I served diligently and faithfully as a missionary. It was interesting even though I was in SC on a mission, I was able to keep up a relationship with a girl I had been dating before I joined the Church. My mission leaders eventually were able to get me to break off the relationship, but guess what happened? I ended up baptizing her into the Mormon Church.
While I was out tracting, you know--the missionary thing to do. I came into possession of "anti-Mormon" materials. I couldn't believe it, there were folks who were against God's true church. But I read it and even researched them to prove that "my church" was true and they were wrong. The thing was, that they were right and "my church" was in error! I went to my mission leaders and told them about what I had found. They didn't like it and told me to concentrate on my mission, etc. I continued to do more research and report my findings. All I wanted was to make things right. At one point my mission leaders threatened to kick me off the mission. That’s how bad it got.
The Turning Point
One night I was just so upset at what was happening in my life. I felt that my life was ready to fall apart. I believed in a different Jesus, a different God and I was trying to work my way to Salvation. It wasn't sitting well with the "anti" stuff I had been reading. It taught me that we can be saved by God's grace (His unmerited love to us) without working for it. And, because of His grace, that we are created to do good works. I was very confused. So, I left the home I was in and went to a country western bar. Imagine a Mormon missionary in a smoke infested, beer drinking bar. I stuck out like a sore thumb!
It was there, that I met my future wife. I told her I was a Mormon (of course she could tell). I even danced with her a few times and told her that I was going to marry her. She said I was crazy and slapped my face for being to forward. She proceeded to tell me about her faith in Christ. Wow, her faith in Christ matched up with the "anti" material I had been reading. She even invited me to her Baptist Church. One Sunday I finally went. Had to sneak away to go though. The message was so simple to understand. No works just God's love for us who have sinned.
Lisa (my future wife) and I kept in contact even though the Church had forbidden me to talk with her. Every once in awhile I would go back to her church and listen to the message of salvation. I kept praying and asking God (wasn't sure which god) that I could just find peace in my life. Well, it all came to a boiling point. Lisa's mother even started witnessing to me. She said God didn't plan for me to be a Mormon instead he had bigger and better plans. Which God I wondered? She read my mind and told me that the god of the Bible is the only true God and not the Mormon god. It really shook me up.
Later that night I prayed and prayed until I couldn't any more. That morning, which was Sunday, I resolved by the true God of the Bible that I could not continue to be a missionary for the Mormon Church. I went to the Sacrament Meeting and turned in my name tags and told the Bishop that I was leaving and not coming back. I walked out, went and called Lisa and told her what I did. I asked her about what to do, because I had no where to go in SC. Her mom told me that I could stay with them until I figured out where God wanted me. So I got what little stuff I had and relocated to NC (near Wilmington).
I attended the Baptist church on a regular basis and even went to Sunday School. But I wasn't sure about getting involved with another organization. The SS teacher and I became close friends and he and I would have long talks about the Bible and how it applied to our lives. He showed me that the Bible didn't have errors in it, that it was translated correctly, and that I could completely trust in the teachings and doctrines found in it. I finally rededicated my life to the real Jesus of the Bible and renounced all the oaths and covenants that I took in the Mormon Church. God proceeded to call me into the ministry in which I am now engaged. Lisa and I did get married on June 15th 1994. And last year (Summer 1998) I was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I didn't care how my name was removed, I just wanted it gone from their rolls.
I now am the Senior Pastor of a Southern Baptist Church in SC. I also am a North American Missionary with the Southern Baptist Convention. My primary work is evangelism to people in the Mormon Church. That is my story up to this point.
MY TESTIMONY - OUT OF POLYGAMY, INTO CHRIST
I was born and raised in a cult - a group of people who practiced polygamy as their way to heaven and to eternal exaltation. All my life I was taught that the "god with whom we have to do" was a tyrant, with a celestial whip, ready and anxious to punish, hurt and humiliate those who don't always please him - and he was very hard to please.
When I turned 18 years old, I packed a couple of boxes and slipped out of the house in the middle of the night and ran away. Sometimes I think I jumped from the frying pan to the fire because I had been raised up completely ignorant of the outside world, was naive to the extreme and was totally incapable of making decisions for myself. My life was a mixed up mess for years. Fear and guilt are Satan's tools, and this cult used them well. Fear and guilt haunted me through the years.
I lived most of my adult life fearful and wondering what if "just maybe" the beliefs of that cult were correct after all - and the most horrible thing I could think of was that when I died I would wake up on the other side finding out "they" had been right after all. I wondered a lot about "religious" things, but never searched, only ran from the idea, as all I knew about God made me afraid and hateful toward Him. I had been brainwashed as a child, I believed God hated me and was out to get me. Who wanted a God like that?
But then the kindness and goodness of God my Savior appeared into my life. He knew exactly what I needed to know and when I needed to know it and it was that He indeed loved me with an everlasting love! It was many, many years after I had ran away from the group, a grown son and many broken dreams later, but one day as I was reading a book, three little gigantic words brought tears to my eyes: God Loves You! How sweet those words were. How they changed my life.
I couldn't believe it - and I wanted to know more, so I started digging. And did I ever find out the truth about God. He showed me very early on in my biblical studies that this cult was in no way THE WAY to heaven. All my life I had been taught that the Bible was corrupted and unreliable, being mistranslated so many times, the truth didn't exist any longer and a new revelation had to be given. But, He showed me that indeed He had promised to preserve His Word and He DID!! Isaiah 40:8. From that moment on I was devouring the Bible.
It wasn't long before I came across the verses he would use to save my soul. They were Ephesians 2:8-9: "For it is by grace you are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift from God, NOT BY WORKS so no one may boast..." Then Romans 10:9-10: "That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved....."
I was in shock. Saved by grace - not by works? No one can imagine the glory in that verse unless one has been "under the law" and the law of polygamy no less. I still glory in the simplicity of God's salvation. I had always believed that Jesus was Lord and that He had come back from the dead, but I had not known that Jesus is God - which is exactly what that verse means. As I learned and studied I was so excited to finally discover the truths of God's word. I discovered that those who claim the Bible is not trustworthy do not themselves study the Bible to find out for themselves.
I learned that God's love is so deep and wide and high and long that no one can humanly fully understand His great love, but what an adventure life is discovering new depths of His love daily.
I studied Scripture day and night - I just couldn't get enough of God's precious, delightful, healing Word. I had to wash out the old lies to make room for the wondrous truth. I discovered the truth which replaced many false doctrines. I found out that Jesus Christ is God Himself, not Satan's spirit brother. I discovered that only God pre-existed. I now could see that the Trinity is indeed a solid, Biblical truth. That there is really only one God now and forever, anywhere and everywhere. I learned that Jesus Christ died for ME on that Cross that day -- and not for His own exaltation.
God began to teach me through experience as well as through His Word and He allowed me to go through many difficult, faith-building times before He had me ready for Ephesians 2:10 "the works" He planned in advance for me to do AFTER He saved my soul. At first I merely taught a bible study one night a week. Then He called me to a full time ministry. When God puts us to work, it is FULL time. I love the work I do ministering to homeless women and children in the name of Jesus Christ. God has given me a heart to disciple new Christians and to tell others about His Good News of salvation by grace, not by works. God's salvation is free to us, but it cost Him so very much. How can anyone exalt himself so highly as to think he can out-do Christ's work on our behalf which He did on the Cross?
God has blessed me so much. He has saved my son, and my two granddaughters. God has shown me He alone is my security in life. God is Savior and nothing I can do will save myself, or save anyone else. I just need to be faithful to live my life in His power giving and living His message.
My heart hurts for all who continue to cling to false religion, believing their "rules and doctrines" have salvation, when it is Christ alone for salvation, and the Bible alone for doctrine and the sweetest thing on this earth is to know and walk with my God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus warned us in Mark Chapter 7 that "religion" lets go of the commands of God and holds to the traditions of men. I learned that man's doctrines are trouble, but that God's commands are a delight and sweet to the soul.
I pray daily for the souls who are blinded by Satan to believe in anything except the simple and pure doctrine of salvation by grace alone. I pray that this, my testimony, will be used by God as a trophy of His grace in saving a lost soul such as mine was. In His great mercy, He reached down from heaven, grabbed a hold of me, and placed me on the solid rock of Jesus Christ, my Lord, Savior, Master.
"And they overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony...." Revelation 12:11
Evelyn Hall's Conversion Story
I was born into an inactive LDS family. Part of the time we attended an Evangelical United Brethren church, but when I was 15 "Ma" insisted that my brother and I be baptized into the Mormon Church...just in case it was the only true church!"
I later married Bill, a Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) guy, and I then was confirmed a member of that faith. But since I still had my name on the Mormon rolls I had faithful home teachers who came to see me every month. When we moved to Nevada, about 1958, they found us there and continued to come. At one point Bill expressed his desire to know more, so the Mormons went into action. We were "friendshipped" into a lot of activities and members' homes. The missionary discussions were done in March 1961 and then Bill was baptized. But shortly after that our new "friends" stopped friendshipping us. We wondered if we'd done something to offend them but we found out later that that is the way things are done. We were left alone to work out and earn our own salvation and we would then join the ranks of friendshippers when the opportunity came along. That was hard on Bill because for the first time he had friends. Now they were only friends within the walls of the Church.
Bill became baptized without the "burning in the bosom" testimony that I had and he tried for many years to get it to feel as if he belonged, I believe. But it never came even after trying for many years. I heard him tell the church leaders after I had resigned that he never believed in the Joseph Smith fairy tale and that the main reason he joined was because it was a good church with good people and nice friends and that it was a nice family-oriented church and he felt comfortable with it.
As soon as we joined the Church they gave us both callings as the genealogy specialists. We held that calling for about 32 years! We researched, wrote and published 12 family histories between us and did the temple work for all who were in the books. We were "Saviors on Mt. Zion" they told us.
As the years went by Bill got disgusted with the Church. He would accept callings and then no one would take the time to teach him the procedures or offer to assist him. Once he was publicly "volunteered" to teach a class without any advance warning. Some of the tactics reeked of Big Brother and I started putting the pieces of a long-standing puzzle together.
One piece came via a Jehovah's Witness neighbor who shared with me a bit of research she had been doing about the Book of Mormon. How could characters, written in 600 B.C. be quoting from Bible sources that weren't written until 600 years later? Why did the book use Old Testament terms that Joseph Smith couldn't possibly have known about? Why were GREEK words in the text such as Jesus (Jeshua) and the anointed (Christ). Why was the French word, ADIEU in there -- from a language that didn't exist until 700 AD? Why were over 100 quotations from the NEW testament appearing in a text written long before its time? This and other information were "puzzle pieces."
But I was reminded (by Satan?) of my burning bosom testimony as the real "proof of the pudding" and that experience came back to me with full force! So I became more active in the Church, bearing my testimony often and going on numerous temple trips.
Another piece fell into place in 1989 - a wonderful manifestation to me in my living room. It was a vision of the cross on the hill Golgotha. A sun-striped path led thru a grove of autumn-colored trees to the foot of the cross. It was wooden, bent over in its blood-stained shame! I was overwhelmed by the beauty and glory of God! I worshipped in awe as I beheld this scene! It only lasted a few minutes but it has been burned into my mind for eternity.
On the next fast and testimony meeting I took a carving of the cross vision that someone had carved for me who heard about the vision. As I shared the vision, overcome with emotion, what a shock met my eyes! As soon as the congregation discovered what they were looking at it was like in the movies when you see vampires look at a cross! These folks looked up and down and all around but refused to focus on the cross! I became invisible for the rest of the morning. I was not acknowledged, nor spoken to -- nothing! I was very disheartened. I put the carving in a drawer and there is stayed until Jesus brought me out of Mormonism. I went back to being Molly Perfect Mormon. I excelled in and enjoyed my callings.
In 1990-93 I started work as a certified Nurse's Aid at the local hospital on drug, alcohol, eating disorder rehab center. I worked as a Treatment Tech where I helped the clients through counseling and assignments which followed the 12-Step Recovery Program. Here another piece of the puzzle was added. I learned about my Higher Power and how I could let go and let God. I learned how to visualize my Savior holding out His arms to me as I laid my burdens into His out-stretched arms. When my home-teachers got wind of it they warned me that I was playing with fire...it was a Protestant thing which is of the devil. But it was too late... I had learned of the personal Friend who never left me alone and was always there within a whisper of my heartbeat!
In 1993 as I escorted a sister through the temple, in the Celestial room, she started saying something. She was trying to say "Evelyn" (my name) but the word that came out of her mouth and was literally bubbling out like water from a hose was the word ELIZABETH repeated over and over and over. She couldn't stop! That word was my NEW NAME (and also hers), which we were forbidden to reveal to anyone but our husbands! We were both horrified. I whispered to her it was my new name. And then the babbling ceased. Those who witnessed this scene were dumbfounded. A sister told us to just forget about it.
But Sandra and I were not forgetters! We wanted knowledge! And then Sandra confessed something to me that put everything into perspective! She said that as she sat in the Celestial room the first time she was given a vision that everyone in the room was dressed in BLACK! She felt it was the Temple of Satan! But she had pushed it to the back recesses of her mind because she wanted to be a good Latter-day Saint. Another piece of the puzzle!
The only explanation I could get regarding these things was that demons are always walking into the temples with people who lied to get their temple recommends. How bizarre! The temple of the Lord full of demons!!!? I went there to be with Heavenly Father and I had to deal with demons, too? Come on! This doesn't jive!
We decided to go into the Christian book store and ask some questions. A Christian pastor was there and he listened to our story and then he enlightened us on some aspects of Mormonism and recommended some books for us to read. We learned the real meaning of the cross...and much more.
We went to church the next Sunday and Sandra was asked to give her testimony about the temple trip. She said as she walked up to the pulpit that she felt an evil presence standing behind her. She couldn't wait to get out of the Church! We met back by her car afterwards and she told me that she felt she needed to resign instantly because this was Satan's church! Now I wanted to do that, too, but I had so much invested in it! It was my whole life! At that time I opted to stay in and see what would develop.
I did have an insatiable desire to study the Word and found The Family Radio School of the Bible, and enrolled. It was hard and intense. But the teachers were patient and kind and soon the Holy Spirit just took those old scales right out of my eyes. It was like reading the Bible for the very first time. It became alive to me! I hungered and thirsted for God's words. I also learned more about Jesus Christ from some Lutheran friends.
This puzzle was almost together now. Sandra and I were given dreams - nearly identical. In both dreams Christ was there. In both dreams He indicated to the one who had the dream that he did not come just for a select group, (i.e.. Mormons) but for the whole world. In my dream His love enveloped me. He was my Shepherd, and I was His lost dumb sheep. I knew His voice. He knew mine! He knew my name! Such a wondrous overwhelming feeling filled my very soul! I was His child! I belonged to the family of God! Some people would call this a "born-again" experience. I like to call it my conversion experience. All I knew was that at that very moment I felt forgiven of all my sins and that I was loved unconditionally and that all the WORKS I had ever done as a Mormon were NOTHING in His sight! Believing on Him through the gift of the Holy Spirit and receiving His free gift of grace and the assurance of eternal life and salvation was the one boost I needed to be free of the bondage of Mormonism.
Sandra and I got into a Bible study at a local Lutheran church. Here the last puzzle piece fell into place when we read in Job 33 that God can speak to people through dreams and visions...warnings, to turn man from wrongdoing and keep him from pride, to keep his soul from the pit...even three times. This was just what God had done for me and for Sandra. I don't know why I was so lucky to get so many boosts by the Holy Spirit to send me in the right direction, but I think God knows that staunch Mormons are hard nuts to crack! How I love Him who died for me on the cross.
I continued to research the teachings of the Mormon Church; discovered the work of Jerald and Sandra Tanner. It gave me the courage to write my resignation letter. It was powerful. They released me in less than one month. It took a year for Sandra to get released. We both immediately got rebaptized into a little Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
As a Mormon, I thought I had been trusting Christ as my personal Savior. Really what I was doing was trusting MY testimony, MY good works, instead of Christ who had shed His precious blood for me, a dirty, rotten sinner, on that cross of my vision, for my salvation. I was a sinful hypocrite. In spite of my sins I thought I was right with God as a Mormon. Yet John 13:35, Eph. 5:2, I John 4:10 and Eph. 2:4,5,8-9 told me differently.
I so love Jesus who died for me on Calvary. He washed my sins away. I no longer have to earn my own way to Him. All I had to do was to have faith and trust in His free gift of grace as it says in Acts 4:12. As Paul expressed in I Cor. 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
I leave you my witness and my testimony in Jesus' precious name.
In Christ's service and love, Evelyn Jean Hall
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Back when I was in 9th grade, a freshman in high school, I was just a "normal" LDS teenager. I was enrolled in LDS seminary at the time. I kept the Word of Wisdom and refrained from sexually immoral acts. (I still do but not because of obedience to the LDS church.) A friend of mine, whom I had known for 7 years, happened to be in my class. He had a talent for doing things on the computer so he wanted to show me what things he could do in the school computer lab.
I began spending more and more time in the high school's computer lab. The lab aide happened to be a Christian man who knew a lot about Mormonism. (I didn't know that at the time, however.) When I was starting to learn how to use the lab's e-mail program, I would send questionnaires to various people, including the computer lab aide.
On one particular questionnaire, I asked questions like: "Do you believe in UFO's?" and "Where do aliens come from?" He wrote back saying that they [UFOs] are a deception of Satan and that there is only one God, not three or more. I was confused. I knew that there was only one God- Heavenly Father. I thought that God was my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ was just His son and the Holy Ghost was just something or someone that told you what was good to do.
I wrote back asking him what he meant by his statement. He told me to go home and read Isaiah 43-46 and John 10-15. I read those and believed them. (They are from God right?) I thought, "Since we support the Bible as one of the standard works, this must be true." I asked my seminary teachers about those chapters and they quickly corrected me with other scriptures and quotes from prophets mentioning that there were three separate Gods and that we could become gods! I was shocked! Could I trust the Bible or the prophets? I didn't think that they were supposed to contradict each other. I became more interested in what the Bible said. I began reading it more and more, coming to the Word with a spiritual hunger each time. It became addictive. I had never read most of the Bible before. The only stories I had ever heard from the Bible were "Noah's Ark" "Daniel in the Lion's Den" and the story of "The Birth of Christ." I kept having discussions with the Christian man at school. He would answer the questions that I had and challenge me to read other passages from the Bible. This went on for over a year.
Through him, I became aware of a couple of Christians in Salt Lake City, UT who knew quite a bit about Mormonism. I contacted their ministry, "Utah Lighthouse Ministry" (Jerald and Sandra Tanner) and they sent me some information to look through and ponder over. I went through every piece of that material and looked up every scripture to be sure it had not been misquoted or taken out of context. Nothing ever was.
On one occasion when I was talking to the computer lab aide, I was telling him about all of the contradictions I was finding in Mormon doctrine. He changed the subject slightly and asked me if I had received Jesus into my heart. I didn't quite understand what he meant. He explained to me that all I had to do is pray to ask Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. By accepting Him as my Savior, my sins would be forgiven. Not just some of my sins or certain ones, ALL of my sins would be forgiven.
That night, I opened my Bible again to read John chapters 10-15. I thought about that day's discussion. I thought about what I just read in the Book of John about the love that God has to offer me. I made the decision to become a Christian that night.
I knelt on my bed and confessed that I wasn't perfect and that I needed a Savior to rescue me from the pit of sins that I was slowly drowning in. I invited Jesus to live in my heart that night of January 25, 1996. I felt love flood my body as I knelt there, crying over how disgusting of an act hanging on the cross must have been.
I didn't know everything that was wrong with Mormonism. All I knew was that the God of Mormonism was contradictory. If I believed in a god that changed his mind all of the time, could I trust him with my eternal salvation? What if he changed his mind at the last minute? I didn't have to know everything that was wrong with the world to realize that I needed a Savior.
Inwardly I felt more complete. A void that I never thought I had, was now filled. Outwardly, other people began to notice a change in my life.
Still attending seminary, I was talking to my teacher one day, the following March, after school. He knew that I had been reading "anti-Mormon" literature. He turned to me and asked me what had been going on in my life. I answered with a puzzled look. His reply was, "I've seen a tremendous change in your life. Don't get me wrong. It's a change for the better. Have those antis been leaving you alone?" I could only turn around and laugh. I didn't know how to explain to him what Jesus had done with my heart.
There is such joy that awaits people that can be found in Christ Jesus. He is an awesome God. His gift of salvation is free. There is no price to pay, no amount of money, no certain amount of good works that you must do to qualify for
heaven. True freedom can only be found in Jesus Christ and the price he paid.
God has placed a burden in my heart to share Jesus Christ with others who are being deceived by false gods and prophets. (1 John 4:1) I never became angry with anyone or anything when I learned that I was deceived. (I can understand those who may be angry, though.) I look at Mormonism and think, "If only people would open their eyes to notice what is being spoon fed to them, would they still be willing to open their mouth to accept and digest it? What may look like sugar to them could actually be a spoon full of cleansing powder."
Questioning the church at such an early age has left me with various obstacles including losing some of my friends, living in fear of being disowned by family or being ridiculed for being a Christian in a predominantly Mormon town. I eagerly await the return of my Lord Jesus. Every eye will see Him on that day and not just the LDS who are in Missouri.
If Joseph Smith turned out to be a false prophet, would not the church be false also? Who are you putting your trust in, man or God? (Psalms 118:8)
The process of my leaving the Mormon Church was that my late husband, Steve, and I were in marriage counseling and beginning to be able to think for ourselves. At the time I was the ward public relations person and also the ward newsletter editor. I decided to read the New Testament without preconceptions, and the writings of Paul, especially Romans, impressed me with its message about faith being accounted to Abraham as righteousness. I said to my husband at the time that if the NT said what I thought it did, the Mormons were wrong.
My husband had been having problems with driving under power lines. He would stop in front of them and just shake. In counseling, he and the counselor figured out that the power lines symbolized Mormon Church authority to him. He began questioning that authority and his reaction to the power lines subsided. However, when he wrote a letter to the bishop questioning some aspects of church doctrine, the bishop reacted in an angry, threatened manner and refused to deal with the questions that had been asked.
We decided we had had enough of the Mormon Church, and that we could not believe it any more. We wrote letters telling why we were leaving. Among the scriptural reasons given were the fact that Jesus said that when he came again it would be as lightning and be seen from the east to the west, and not be in a temple as claimed by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. Also, there were verses in 1 Timothy and Titus cited against genealogies.
In the process of leaving, we were told that we had to write a letter to church headquarters in order to keep our children, who were then teenagers and pre-teen, from getting a summons to a church court. We did this and protested the action. We had to attend a church court as my husband was an elder and this also was distasteful to us. We have a copy of the letter from our stake president stating the results of the court being that our names were to be taken from the records of the church, and expressing his regret.
It was after we made our decision to leave that we started researching Mormonism in a more objective fashion than we ever had. We read "No Man Knows My History" by Fawn Brodie and "Joseph Smith, the First Mormon" by Donna Hill. We were impressed that Fawn Brodie had started out to write a book favorable to Joseph Smith but the evidence induced her to do otherwise. Her book is well-documented and thorough. Donna Hill took advantage of archives of church historical records that had been opened up to researchers; they were closed some time after her book was published. She also presented well-documented evidence that the official Mormon Church line was not historically accurate.
About the same time we left, another friend also left, and then not long afterward a family of eleven left. There was also a couple in Portland, which is about 30 miles away. This was in 1984. As far as I know, all asked to have their names removed from the records of the church.
After leaving the church, it took a while to begin thinking for myself, after so many years of having other people think for me and tell me what to do. I went through a period of time when I rebelled against any organized religion, even the Mennonite Church I attend, as relatively un-organized as it is. But I continued to pray and believe in Jesus, although I felt that my prayers weren't answered at the time. (It took me a long time to learn that God may have a different time frame for answering prayers than I have.)
Several years ago, I started to read the scriptures every day in a One-Year Bible format, which contains selections each day from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. I had tried to read my scriptures every day before, especially as a Mormon, but had failed. I continued reading the Bible faithfully for several months and was then invited by a friend to go to Bible Study Fellowship. Spiritually, I was ready, where if I had not been reading the scriptures, I would not have been. Bible Study Fellowship and the intense Bible study there prepared me for my husband's death from leukemia in the summer of 1995, and for taking over his business. I was asked to co-edit the church newsletter a few months after Steve's death, and have continued to attend BSF.
I can't emphasize enough the importance of committed Bible study. I am grateful for the way such study led me to a greater faith in Jesus and a conviction of his finished work on the cross.
ROBIN COHEN'S TESTIMONY
The Bible references included I have come to know in the last two and one half years (since leaving the LDS church).
I was raised in an unchurched home as were both of my parents.
When I was in my twenties, I was searching. I read the Book of Mormon. Many verses were identical to the King James Bible. After reading the Book of Mormon, I prayed about it, with a heart that was as sincere as I was capable of. The missionaries as well as the Book of Mormon itself instruct the reader to do this. I got a very strong physical/emotional reaction which I interpreted as confirmation from the Holy Ghost that it was the truth. see Proverbs 14:12)
I was baptized into the Mormon church (official name Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints) in 1978. For the next 6 years I was an active Mormon, unquestioning the teachings of the "brethren". I paid tithing (on my gross income), attended church every Sunday for 3 hours, kept a journal, did visiting teaching monthly (visiting and checking up on several of the women, assigned to me), served faithfully and to the best of my ability in many callings (including some I felt very unqualified for), gave public talks in worship service (called Sacrament meeting) and tried to convert my family, friends and co-workers. I fasted one day a month, abstained from tobacco, alcohol, tea and coffee (even decaf) and even gave up cola drinks until I once fell asleep at the wheel. From then on I would drink cola on long drives. I felt guilty because I didn't have 1-2 years food supply stockpiled in my basement and hadn't made much progress on tracing my genealogy. (See 1Tim 1:4, Titus 3:9)
As a Mormon, I believed that I could pray about anything and God would give this same confirmation if it was right. Mormons make all major life decisions (what job to take, who to marry, etc.) Based on this same measuring stick for truth. The formula I was taught is- 1. Study it out 2.Make a decision 3.Pray abut it and ask God (called Heavenly Father as God is not respectful enough) if it is right 4.If it is right you will get a good warm feeling, if it is wrong, confusion (called a stupor of thought). So they believe in personal revelation but here's the kicker....Mormons can receive revelation FOR OTHERS, too. Anyone that falls under their authority, ex. A man for his wife and children, a Bishop for anyone in his congregation, a Sunday school teacher for those in his class (in matters pertaining to the class), etc.
I received my "Patriarchal Blessing" and wept with joy for this great blessing of knowing God's plan for my individual life and for the love my "mother in heaven" had for me. (Isa 47:9, 12-15 & 1 Tim 4:1)
When they gave me a church job, it was a CALLING FROM GOD, revealed through the bishop. Bishops are also called by a higher church authority. Bishops receive no special training or seminary education, receive no compensation, and also hold a full time job while they serve in this capacity. It is quite a sacrifice for the man and his family.
When I had three children under the age of 5 and was barely able to get through the day, I was called to work in the nursery, for two hours every Sunday, during the two "adult only" meetings, Sunday school and Relief Society for women, Priesthood for men). I found it pretty hard to say no when I was "called to a position". It was like saying I knew more than God. And when I did refuse a calling, the Bishop quoted me a scripture that said God will not ask you to do anything without providing a way for you to do it. Talk about a guilt trip!
I met my husband at the Mormon church (he was also a convert) and after six years of Mormonism(1 year for him), we were married in the Mormon temple (the goal of all Mormon couples). I was told by the Bishop that if I did not marry in the temple, "for time and eternity", my children would be taken from me in the next life and given to someone worthy. Neither my parents nor my husband's were allowed to attend the wedding because they were not Mormons. They not only had to be Mormons, but "temple worthy Mormons". Not exactly "honoring thy father and thy mother" (also see Acts 17:24)
In the temple there are several ordinances that take place. They are all very strange. Some are quite frightening. Mormons will not talk about them. They claim they are not secret but sacred. In truth they are very secret and until 1990, all temple Mormons were required to take 3 blood oaths not to reveal what goes on there or "suffer my life to be taken" while pantomiming slitting one's own throat and other ways of dying). Also prior to 1990 the "endowment ceremony" in the temple portrayed Satan hiring a Christian pastor to deceive searching people. In 1990 these offensive parts were removed from the endowment ceremony. Now there are many Mormons (who first attended the temple after the 1990 changes) who don't believe they ever did these things.
When my husband and I arrived at the temple on our wedding day, we were immediately separated, each whisked away to separate locker rooms for the "washing and anointing" or "initiatory ordinance". I was given a big white garment, called a shield. It was open all the way up both sides and generously slit in front (kind of like a big poncho). I was told to take off every stitch of clothing and put this thing on. Then I entered a small cubicle (like a shower stall) an elderly woman temple worker ceremoniously touched each part of my body with wet fingertips, symbolically washing me clean from sin. Her hand kept darting under the poncho and touching briefly as she recited the blessing for each part of my body. Then I was told to enter another stall where the ritual was repeated, this time using oil. At the end of the anointing, the woman dressed me in holy garments (which are the secret Mormon underwear you may have heard rumors about). She put it on me, I was not allowed to dress myself. I was told that I must wear it day and night for the rest of my life. It has legs that reach the knees and little cap sleeves. There are also four little symbols stitched into them. (Mormons are allowed to remove them, for swimming, sports, bathing and marital relations).
I then reported to another small cubicle where I was given a new name. I was told to always remember it and never reveal it except one time in the endowment ceremony which was to come next (That was so my husband would know it so he could call me out of the grave at the resurrection. I was not allowed to know his name.) My name was Sussana- I remembered it by humming "Oh Susannah" (different spelling, same pronunciation)
Next came the endowment, where I took the oaths and learned the "sacred" handshakes (called tokens) and passwords. It lasted about an hour and a half. Men and women were seated on opposite sides of the room. Part of it was on film and part was presented by older men and women. As the ceremony unfolded, they paused three times to add various articles of clothing to the basic long white dress (white, pants, shirt and tie or jumpsuit for men) including a "robe" which is yards and yards of pleated sheer white fabric (goes on one shoulder), a plain white sash (called a girdle), a veil for women and a very strange white fabric hat for men. On top of all this goes a bright green satin apron, embroidered with fig leaves. At the end of this ceremony each person is tested on the passwords and handshakes (called signs and tokens) at the veil of the temple (which is miraculously intact, not torn from top to bottom.) Matthew 27:51) This test is spoken individually, mouth to ear in whispers. (Luke 12:2-3 and Ephesians 5:11)
After all of this ritual, my husband and I were finally together, and told to kneel and hold hands across an altar in a "sealing room". There were mirrors on both sides and our reflections went on forever "giving us a glimpse of eternity". The actual marriage ceremony only lasted about 10 minutes. All I could think of was, "I'm getting married in a green apron with FIG LEAVES on it!"
Anyway, on my wedding day my doubts were born and they remained with me for the next nine years. They never grew to an unbearable point but they were never resolved either. I grew to hate temple attendance. There was no one I could talk to about it as it is forbidden to discuss. On the few occasions when I hinted at my discomfort, members got a dreamy look and would say something like, "going to the temple is like spending the day in heaven". I grew to hate it so much, I got terrible headaches in anticipation of going. I had to take three extra strength Tylenol just to make myself walk through the door. Much more about the temple and all of the rituals is posted at : http://www.enteract.com/~marsh/index.htm
One day my husband, who had NEVER expressed any doubts about Mormonism, called me from work and said he had had it with trying to do all the church asked him to do. He was to be the main speaker for Sacrament meeting the next day. He was going through a very busy time at work, working about 65 hours a week. He said he wasn't going to church the next day.
I went with the children to fulfill my obligation to teach in the children's primary organization. I told the Branch President (equivalent of a Bishop in smaller congregations) that if my husband didn't come back in a month, I was leaving too. That was so weird. I was amazed at he words coming out of my mouth. After that first Sunday, I quit taking the kids to church, and only stayed until my primary obligation was fulfilled, leaving before sacrament meeting.
We felt guilty and confused. I called a friend who I had worked with 12 years earlier and told her we were thinking of leaving the Mormon church. I knew she was a little different but I didn't know she was a born-again Christian who had been praying for me for 12 years! (She had never attempted to witness to me). Two days later a package of literature arrived from a ministry to ex-Mormons, at her request. We decided to read it (something we had been counseled by "the brethren" never to do). The scales literally fell from our eyes. That morning we were deceived and that night we could see!
Having been delivered from my belief system and recognizing how deceptive my feelings could be, I was nearly desperate for some kind of measuring stick for truth. We began visiting churches and meeting with pastors. Some told me to believe the Bible. I wasn't about to take anyone's word for anything. The eighth article of faith in the Mormon church says..."We believe the bible to be the word of God AS FAR AS IT IS TRANSLATED CORRECTLY...."Of course this leaves the door open for any biblical principle that doesn't agree with Mormonism to be an error in translation.
It took me 7 hours with a Christian apologist and a personal study of the Bible and writings of John Ankerberg, Josh McDowell and others to overcome this mistrust of the Bible and realize that it is the measuring stick for truth. I studied old testament prophecies and their fulfillment until the evidence for the truth of the Bible became overwhelming. On April 29, 1994, I became a Christian. What a wonderful thrill it was to discover that salvation was by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9) and not something I had to earn by works and personal righteousness (Isaiah 64:6) As a Mormon, I was taught that we are saved by grace, after "we do all that we can do". (Of course I could always do a little more so I never had any assurance of salvation).
I lost almost all of my Mormon friends. I also learned a huge lesson in humility as I went from pridefully carrying a" temple recommend", a card in my wallet that "proved my worthiness", to acknowledging before family, neighbors and co-workers that I had been deceived, I was wrong. The things I had testified to them that I KNEW to be true were lies.
But we were truly blessed. Our parents, not being LDS, were accepting and supportive. The greatest blessing is that my husband and I were delivered TOGETHER. Many people lose children and spouse when they chose to leave. It was also a tremendous blessing that our three children were very young. We have had the opportunity to correct all the false teachings that they have been subjected to and they have all accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
A few things that I was taught to believe as an active Mormon (that you will probably not be told by your Mormon friends)
*God the father was not always God. He was born as a man on another earth, died, resurrected and exalted to the position of God, as were many gods before him and as will be "worthy Mormons who are married in the temple and obedient to many other laws and commandments. (1Cor 8:4-6, 2Sam7:22, Isa 46:9, Isa 43:10)
*We also have a Heavenly Mother (God's wife)
*Eternal life is not a free gift but is earned by obedience to a number of laws and commandments.
*All other churches are wrong and all of their creeds are an abomination in God's sight
*The test of truthfulness is how you feel about an issue (Proverbs 14:12)
*If a Mormon leader teaches you something that is false, you will not be accountable for it, the sin is on the leader's head (Isaiah 9:16)
*Joseph Smith has done more for you and all mankind than anyone except Jesus Christ.
*Non-Mormons belong (most unknowingly) to the church of the Devil, even those who profess Christianity.
*When a Mormon apostle or prophet says something that is accepted as true, he is directly inspired by God. When he says something that turns out to be false, he was just speaking for himself, as a man.
*Anything written by a former Mormon is false, deliberately twisted and misleading. Former Mormons have evil intentions.
*People leave the church because of serious moral sin. They know the church is true and are liars in league with Satan.
*Even if the Mormon church weren't true, it teaches good values and wonderful morals so what's the harm in it?
There are also many changes in the history of the Mormon church, of which most Mormons are totally unaware. They can be documented entirely in older Mormon writings (not "anti-Mormon literature")
*There have been thousands of changes in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and covenants, including dates and words (not just spelling and punctuation errors as I was taught)
*The "testimony of three witnesses" in the Book of Mormon was edited after the death of the witnesses, "that we...have seen the plates..." originally said, "that we...have seen WITH OUR SPIRITUAL EYES the plates..."
*The name of the church has been changed twice and at one time was "The Church of Latter-day Saints" leaving out the name of Christ entirely. Mormons can read this in the last paragraph of the EXPLANATORY INTRODUCTION to their current Doctrine and Covenants. (This is especially significant because Mormons claim the "true church" must have the name of Jesus Christ in it's name.
The Mormon church is the fastest growing religion in the world. It has a full time missionary force of over 55,000. It has tripled in size to over 10 million members, since I joined in 1978. I can't help but feel that if more Christians were aware of it's teachings, it would not have such a tremendous growth rate. There were to my knowledge, at least 5 Christians praying for my husband and I. No one ever attempted to show me how unbiblical Mormonism is. If you do nothing else for a Mormon friend, pray!
This lengthy testimony has barely scratched the surface of my experience. Many things have been left out. It is my prayer that God may use my experience that others may not be deceived. I feel no anger or bitterness toward the Mormon people. I am burdened by a great love and concern for them.
On September 1, 1951, I was born into a fifth generation Mormon Family. (It is reported in my family that Joseph Smith and his first wife stayed in my ancestor's home in Nauvoo). However, in 1980, I requested an appearance before a bishop's court to share my assurance of salvation with him and his high council. I knew that I was turning my back on the possibility of ever becoming a god. I also knew that my action could condemn me to an endless hell as a son of perdition if the teachings of the Mormon church were true. What brought me to such drastic action? Please let me share with you a brief testimony of my real faith in Jesus Christ. My search began when I was 19 years old. I was working for a freelance house painter named Ira, who claimed to be a Christian. I started watching him like a hawk. He was not a Mormon, but he was different than any member of the Mormon Church that I had ever known. He had a peace and gentleness about him I had never seen. No matter what went wrong, he would never get angry or uptight. Even when I painted the whole living room of a house the wrong color, he apologized for getting irritated with me. He had what I was looking for, so I asked him a question over lunch one day. "What gives you your inner peace?" He replied, "Jesus." "What do you mean, Jesus", I retorted. He gently answered, "I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and I am absolutely positive I am going to heaven if I die." I scoffed, "What makes you so sure?" He answered, "Jesus Christ lives in my heart." And then he shared John 3:16 with me: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish but have everlasting life."
Immediately I rejected the possibility of anyone having this kind of assurance. I said to him, "It can't be that simple!" But I never forgot him, or his assurance of everlasting life.
I started searching for someone within the Mormon Church that had this same assurance and this same inner peace. I found no one. In fact most of the people that I asked in my ward looked at me like I was crazy. And after a while other members started avoiding me. Obviously my question bothered them as much as it bothered me. I came to one conclusion: I would not find the key to the peace and assurance I had seen in Ira with the keepers of the "restored gospel".
My ensuing search was very difficult and sometimes terrifying. No one could understand the inner turmoil I was going through but Jesus Christ Himself. Yet, the very person I was searching for was faithfully drawing me. The more I trusted Him to reveal himself through my King James Bible, the more I learned to trust Him and love Him, until in 1980 I was standing in a Bishop's court, willing to trust Jesus Christ alone with my eternity no matter what.
Today I have the inner peace and assurance that I had seen demonstrated in the life of my friend Ira. And I have prayerfully prepared this testimony for those who are now like I was, looking for that inner peace and assurance of eternal life. My prayer is that you will find it with less of a struggle than I did.
THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL
As a Mormon I was in a real dilemma. I had come to realize that the faith that I had been raised in could not help me find the inner peace that my soul was crying out for. Yet I had been taught all my life that no other church had the truth. My heart screamed out, "Where can I find the truth!" I felt very much like Joseph Smith must have felt, over one hundred years before, searching for the truth but not knowing where to find it. So I cried out to my Heavenly Father for guidance and the Holy Spirit reminded me of the verse that Joseph Smith claimed in James 1:5 which reads, "If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth liberally and upbraideth not." I didn't have to wait very long before I began to get some answers. I went to one of the works of the Mormon Church, A MARVELOUS WORK AND A WONDER, authored by LeGrand Richards. I knew this book had been written to explain the tenets of the Mormon Faith. Therefore I was hoping he might have some answers. As I was reading the section that explains how the gospel had been lost I noticed in Revelation 14:6 that the angel was proclaiming the "everlasting gospel." Even though my heart was pounding out of my chest, I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal to me this "everlasting gospel" being spoken of. As God's word had promised he gave me the wisdom I had been asking for. Was the gospel everlasting? I looked in the topical index of my Bible, and found I Peter 1:23-25: "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible , by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." It "abideth for ever"? "How can this be true," I asked myself. Then I saw the cross-reference, Psalm 100:5, which said God's truth endureth to all generations. A cross-reference there led to Psalm 119:89, which speaks of God's word being forever settled in heaven. And another reference I found was Matthew 24:35, which says "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
In further study I learned that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to him in repentance. That supplied me with a reason for His not allowing the gospel to be taken from the earth (II Peter 3:9 and I Tim. 2:4). As I studied about the gospel, I was surprised to read that one can be right with God by faith! "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth: to the Jew first and also to the Greek (i.e. Gentiles). For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, 'The just shall live by faith'." And I learned from Romans 2:16 that men are going to be judged by the standard of Paul's gospel.
This was all unsettling. If the gospel had not been lost because God wanted it available so men could believe it and it was going to be used as a standard for judgment on the judgment day, how was I to understand the passages I had been taught as a Mormon?
APOSTASY SCRIPTURES EXPLAINED
As I prayed that the Holy Spirit would reveal to me the truth, here is what I found: I began by checking II Timothy 3:1-5, which I had been taught as a member. I noticed it spoke of "despisers of those that are good" and of those who deny the power of Godliness. I already knew that the GOSPEL is God's power for becoming godly (Rom. 1:16). How could the wicked deny the gospel if it was not in existence. The answer was they could not! Then I looked at II Thessalonians 2:1-4. As I looked at the time frame involved, I could see it just HAD to be in the future because it spoke of the man of sin being revealed, who is destroyed by the brightness of Christ's coming! (2:8) This was obviously the same one as is described in Rev. 19:15 and Rev. 13:1, both of which describe future events in their contexts. As I meditated on these things, the truth hit me, in the pit of my stomach, like a ton of bricks. The truth was that there never had been a total apostasy. I felt betrayed by the very ones I had believed had the truth. (Two other scriptures often used are Isaiah 29:4 and Amos 8:11, which both refer to apostasy of Israel, not the church. The two are not the same - see Romans 11:25. The fulfillment of Amos 8:11 was during the 400 silent years before Christ was born, when no voice of a prophet was heard -- no reference is made in the scripture to the written word.)
I HAD BEEN LIED TO!
They had said the gospel was lost. The scriptures revealed the gospel was everlasting. They said there was a total apostasy historically. That apostasy was yet future. My mind was reeling as I tried to comprehend the impact of what the Holy Spirit had shown me in response to my sincere prayer over the weeks of searching. I felt sick in my heart. Everything I had believed all my life was falling apart like a house of cards in a typhoon. How could it all be a lie? I was afraid to continue any further with my search at that time...afraid of what I would find. But my hunger to fill the void in my soul drove me onward. And what I later found changed my life forever.
THE TERRIBLE TRUTH
About this time I was married. I temporarily put my doubts in the back of my mind. As we settled into our apartment in Hawaii, though, the emptiness became so great I could no longer ignore it. How was I going to tell my new Mormon bride that I didn't believe the church was true? I needed to make sure before saying anything!
As I thought it through several things became clear. "IF" what I had learned from my study so far was true, then Joseph Smith's vision was suspect because the personages who appeared to him said the gospel had been lost." IF" my study had brought me truth, then no "restoration of the gospel" was needed, which meant Joseph Smith's alleged calling to restore the gospel was unnecessary. In other words, he was not a prophet of God! Further, there would be no need to reveal any restored truths in the Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants, because I had learned that Jesus had revealed "all truth" the first time (John 14:26, 16:13). It was a falling domino effect! No restoration, no vision from God, no true prophet, no restored church, no modern revelations. ....and what about the gospel? Was the LDS gospel true or not? I had to know the real truth because it would have eternal consequences. Again I prayed, and began to read more about the gospel. I Corinthians 15:1-5 was eye-opening. The gospel was defined as the truths that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the scriptures. I was excited and troubled at the same time, for I had been taught all my life that Jesus did not die for my personal sins, but only for Adam's transgression. (Articles of Faith) That's why we could never be sure if we would go into God's presence. But if Paul was right and Jesus died for all my personal sins, then I could know that all my sins were forgiven and that I would be with God eternally. The Holy Spirit taught me through other scriptures as well. Galatians 1:3-4 say that Christ gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from this present evil world. I Peter 2:24 and I John 2:2 taught me that Christ bore our sin on the cross, and that he is the propitiation for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. There was agreement here that Christ died for our personal sins. I then learned what was required to have forgiveness, from Acts 16:31. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." No mention of keeping the commandments. Just believe. This was foreign to what I had been taught. They said that "salvation by faith alone" was a teaching of the Devil, and here it was in the Bible! I found the same thing in Ephesians 2:8-10, and for the first time in my life, this passage made sense. "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created unto good works which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." But I wanted more evidence. This was so hard to believe! As I entreated the Holy Spirit, he revealed the evidence that I needed. Romans 11:6 spells out the principle that if we are saved on the basis of grace, then it is not on the basis of our works. Grace and works are the opposite of one another. Titus 3:5 explains that works of righteousness have nothing to do with our salvation. Amazing! Then I saw that when the religious leaders asked Jesus what they should do to earn eternal life he simply told them to believe on himself! John 6:29) What? No being baptized? No keeping the commandments? Yes, and it was the same thing in John 3:15-16, and John 1:12 and John 5:24 and Romans 3:24 and 5:1 and 10:9-10. I was later to learn that the principle of forgiveness (salvation) by faith alone is found in well over 100 new testament passages! On the most important issue of all, I had been lied to!
FINDING THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL
One day I was in a phone booth calling my wife, and noticed a small booklet entitled "The Romans Road to Heaven." The 3 questions on its cover captivated my attention: " 1. If you were to die today, are you 100% sure you would go to heaven? 2. If you are, what gives you that assurance? 3. If not, would you like to know what the Bible says, so you can know for sure?" I had wanted to know since I was 19, and I was now 22. I forgot all about calling my wife, and with shaking hands I opened the booklet and started to read it. What I found inside changed my life. In it were six questions followed with scriptural answers from Paul's letter to the Romans. Here is what I read. Please read on, and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you through God's word:
WHO IS GOOD? (Romans 3:10) "As it is written, "There is none righteous, no not one."
WHO HAS SINNED? (Romans 3:23) "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
WHERE DID SIN COME FROM? (Romans 5:12) "Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned."
WHAT IS GOD'S SOLUTION FOR MY PENALTY? (Romans 5:8) "But God commendeth His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
WHY DID GOD DO THIS? (Romans 2:4) "...the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance."
HOW DO WE BENEFIT FROM GOD'S GIFT? (Romans 6:23b) "But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 10:13) "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:9-10) "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, 'Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.'"
The booklet concluded, "If you will agree, right now with God that you are a sinner, give Jesus every area of your life, make him Lord of your life and ask Him to take away your sins and be your Savior, you will be saved."
There in the phone booth I bowed my head and did as the booklet said to do. And that load of sin that I had carried for years, and the confusion, fled from my heart as Jesus Christ came into my life as my Lord and Savior. I knew if I died I would be with God eternally! Praise the Lord! I had found the everlasting gospel I was searching for all my adult life.
The booklet gave a phone number, and I was through it led to a local church. And I have been following the Lord ever since then. This is my testimony. I know that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and I know that if I die today I will be with my Heavenly Father for eternity. I am absolutely sure you can have that same assurance, right now, on the basis of God's word .
"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." I John 5:13
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
"I Bear My Testimony"
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.
John and Jenn's Testimony
We were raised in the LDS Church. My parents have been active in the Church for a long time, and still are. My Dad is a Sunday School Prez. John's parents are still very active also and are Stake Missionaries. I used to be very active in the LDS Church. When I was a teenager, I felt the Church was true, but I did not like going. I didn't like YW's. I had no friends in my ward, and I was also very shy and hardly said anything to anyone. John was the same way. I didn't feel very comfortable in my ward. But I still went because I felt the Church was true. And I read the BOOK OF MORMON every day. And I thought I knew it pretty well. John had been inactive before, up until a few months before we met.
My Husband started having doubts about the Church over a year ago. He was teaching the 11 year old boys about the BOOK OF MORMON. John started doubting if what he was teaching them about the BOOK OF MORMON was true or not. He stopped going to Church. The Bishop called him in wondering why John wasn't showing up at Church. John told him he had doubts. The Bishop told John to go up in the mountains, take his BOOK OF MORMON, and pray about if the BOOK OF MORMON was true or not. But John didn't. He didn't know where to search for the truth. Meanwhile, my doubts had started two years ago, when my boys and I got sick for months. We had had several Priesthood blessings saying we would be healed soon. But soon never seemed to come. I felt that God had abandoned me and my boys. I was angry at God, and I even started to doubt if there was a God.... I fell into a deep depression. I just wanted to die, so I went on medication. After awhile most of the doubts went away. John had stopped going to Church, and I was hurt. I wanted him to go with me, and the boys, even though the boys and I hardly ever went. But John had no desire to go. But sometimes he would go with me to help with the boys, because I had some health problems.
About 6 months after that (about 7 months ago now), John and I went to the library. John borrowed an anti Mormon book. I was kind of embarrassed about it, because living in Utah there are a lot of Mormons. And I thought one of them would see us borrowing this book. Well, John started reading it. He told me a little of what it said. I didn't know whether to believe it, so we decided to check it out for ourselves, and were shocked to find a lot of it was in Mormon approved books!! We searched even more.... becoming more devastated and shocked as we searched. Mormonism had been our life! And now it had been shattered.
Well, my parents found out that we had been reading anti-Mormon literature, and were very upset. They blamed John for my doubts, because he brought home an anti-Mormon book, even though my doubts were different from his. I doubted the Church, John started doubting Christianity in general. We do know now that the LDS Church is not a true Church. John's parents don't even know about us yet. We haven't asked to have our names to be removed from the records. We don't think it really matters. Because now we belong to Jesus.
After we found out all this stuff about the Church, we were very angry , hurt, and bitter. We wanted to know where we were supposed to go. We were afraid to trust anyone. We had been deceived and were afraid we would be deceived again. We felt alone. We didn't want anyone to know about our doubts. We were very scared, and felt very guilty... afraid that people could see on our faces that we didn't believe in the Church anymore.
John knew a Pastor's son, so he talked me into going to this Pastor's Church. When we got there, I almost backed out. I was afraid everyone would know we were Mormon. But we went inside. And after about 10 minutes I felt more comfortable. The way they praised seemed right! We could feel the Spirit, and I cried. I felt that this is where God wanted us to be. But I still had a lot of doubts. So did John. We still weren't sure what God wanted us to do.
But then one Sunday, John saw in the bulletin an announcement for a Marriage Encounter Weekend, for couples who had a good marriage but wanted to make it better. So we went. Something happened while we were there. Something wonderful! We learned that we needed God to be one with us in our marriage and one with Him personally. We felt God's Love for us so strong that it consumed us to the point where all the anger, hurt and bitterness and guilt were washed away by Jesus' love for us!! We were filled with so much joy! And God filled us with knowledge of Him. He answered some questions, thru His Spirit, that I had had for years! It was awesome! We were born again!! We will never forget that day that happened, and it happened on Oct. 18, 1997.
There are several reasons why we are leaving the LDS Church. The inconsistencies with the Church doctrine were only part of it. What really got us to think of leaving was that we felt spiritually unfulfilled in the LDS Church. We didn't feel like we could be close to God there. We had tried, but had failed. We feel that we need to worship God the way Christian Churches worship God. It helps our Love for Him to grow! And helps us to draw close to Him! It fills us with so much joy! We need God in our lives, and we feel the only way we can be close to Him is thru worshipping Him thru music and prayer.
Our relationship with Jesus now is so wonderful! I never knew that we could be this happy! We feel God working in our life now! He is more real to us now... more then ever! We still feel guilt sometimes, but the doubts are pretty much gone. Our faith in God is a lot stronger! And we feel we are One with Him in our marriage and also in our personal relationship with Him. Our Love for Him has grown. We are now trying to help others like ourselves who are coming out of Mormonism. We feel that People like this, need the emotional and spiritual support. We want people to know there is happiness after leaving the Mormon Church. We feel we know now who God is, and that His Love for each and every one of us is unconditional, no matter what we do, He will still love us! . He is definitely an Awesome God!!
JENN & JOHN
Note: If you would like to have your testimony added to this site, please let me know.