Exit Story of Melissa Grimes

18 July

I was raised in a Christian home despite the fact they we didn’t go to church often. My dad thought that you didn’t need to go to church all of the time to worship God. My siblings and I were taught the importance of prayer and of reading the Bible. Sadly, I never really studied the Bible. As I got older I began working and wasn’t able to attend church as I should have. Yet I still had a prayerful relationship with God and went to him for help and guidance all the time.

Not long after my husband and I began dating we started talking about marriage. We both agreed that we wanted our children to be raised in a Christian home, and we wanted them to understand the importance of going to church.  At the time he was an inactive member of the Mormon Church. We decided to go to my church first, he wasn’t really happy with it, so we went to his church a few times. The people at the Mormon Church were very welcoming, and to be honest I really liked the church, I just wasn’t sure I wanted to become a member.

I was concerned that if I didn’t go to his church my children would never be brought up in a Christian home. So I had the discussions, which I found very intimidating, the missionaries kept asking me “What do you think about that?” or “How do you feel about this?” Despite my apprehensions I was baptized into the church, and hoped that after I was member for awhile things would start to make more sense.

After being a member of the church for one year I was able to go to the temple. I thought that by going it would shed some light on my doubts and concerns about the church. Not only did it not help sooth my concerns, it only added to them.

Speak of my temple experience, during my time in the Mormon Church there were times in the temple that were upsetting and scary to me. I never spoke of these things to a member of the church. I always heard others talk about the wonderful experiences they had. They would say things like “I know that they accepted the work I did for them”, or that they knew their family member was there with them in the temple. It wasn’t until after I got out of the church, and spoke to others who had left, that I found out I wasn’t the only one who had creepy things happen to them in the Mormon temple.

At this time many Mormons would be asking me  why didn’t you talk to your bishop, or a church leader about your concerns? And I did talk to them, I was given the same standard, recycled reply, “Pray about the Church, Fast, Read the Book of Mormon”, and my personal favorite “I know this church is true.” After I did those things I was told there are things that we won’t understand in this life; we just have to take it on faith.

For 13yrs we were an active, temple worthy couple. I tried to push back all the doubt and questions in my mind. At the end of 2006 I couldn’t keep it up, I knew there wasn’t something right about the church but I was afraid to say anything. It was during this time that my husband watched a program on TV about the Masons. It showed what goes on in the Masonic Temple. He told me about it, and how it reminded him a lot of the Mormon endowment ceremony. We wondered why this was, and if there was anything to be concerned about.

 

It was then that I began to truly investigate the Mormon Church. I was determined once and for all to get answers to my questions. I knew that jumping into the deep end of this would either reaffirm all that I was taught or change my life forever.  I read many things both pro-Mormon and what Mormons would call anti-Mormon. I really began to read and study my Bible. Telling my husband about all the things I learned along the way.

It didn’t take long for us to come to the conclusion that the Mormon Church is not what it claims to be.  As I look back I can’t help but wish I would’ve known the Bible better. It clearly says that the Mormon Church is wrong. As a Mormon we’re taught that we can’t trust the Bible, that it’s in error and not translated correctly. Believing this made me feel like I couldn’t really believe what it was telling me. It wasn’t until after I left the church that I knew that in order for me to understand the Bible I needed to be saved first.

As I write my testimony I think back to all those Fast and Testimony meetings I sat in on as a church member. All of their testimonies were about the church. They talked about their callings, the temple, how great the Bishop is and let’s not forget Joseph Smith or the current prophet. None it this is about Jesus.

Recently I came across a verse in Luke (6:45) the last line says “of the abundance of his heart his mouth speaketh”. This verse describes the Mormon testimony to a T. Their hearts aren’t focused on Jesus, but on the church and Jesus is somewhere in the background. They’re always the first to say that “Mormons are Christians” and point out the “real name of their church” emphasizing “Jesus Christ” with their voice. I wonder now, if they believe so much in Jesus why is their testimonies filled with praises to their prophets, church leaders and other aspects to their religion?

My last few weeks in Mormonism was heartbreaking for me. I just didn’t what to be there any more knowing what I knew about the church. One day I was sitting in on a Relief Society meeting for the leaders; I was the compassionate service leader. I remember feeling very apprehensive, but I was there out of duty to my calling. Inside I was a bundle of nerves, and I felt awful being in that building. By this time I was learning how far away the church was from biblical Christianity and the real Jesus. That was the last church meeting I ever attended, it was my final contribution to “the Church”.

We have been out of the church now for four years now and our spiritual growth has been tremendous. 🙂 When I go to church now I am learning from God’s Word, not from some ones testimony or a church manual. Before I never could say that I was saved, I never knew what it truly meant. Mormons don’t say that they’re saved, it’s not part of their vernacular.

At the time I believed that I had to work my way to heaven, I believed it was “through good works” I would receive exaltation and eternal life. If we had to work our way to Heaven Jesus didn’t have to come, take upon our sins and die on the cross for us. Now I know through God’s Word that I will have eternal life, because I have been born-again, and have accepted Jesus as my savior. And now I am making a real effort to learn, and understand the Bible. I hope to help other people understand what Mormonism is all about. I want them to come to the Jesus of the Bible, and know that they can have the peace and hope that he gives freely.

Melissa Grimes

melissa@lifeater.org

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