These are things I believed with all my heart:
- The Book of Mormon was the word of God and the most correct of any book.
- Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God.
- I was of royal birth, God being my Heavenly Father and Jesus my brother.
- I was a righteous spirit in the pre-existence to have been born to white, LDS parents in these latter days.
- I belonged to THE.ONLY.TRUE.CHURCH. on the planet.
- I could become a god if I tried hard enough.
As you can imagine, I was feeling pretty good about my station in life.
Then I turned 12. Suddenly I was considered a “young woman”. The pressure was on. I had goals to set, worthiness interviews to pass and temple work to do. My eternal progression was looking good! I could just see all of the good work tally marks next to my name in the Book of Life. As I bettered myself and reached goal after goal, self righteousness and pride ruled my heart. I didn’t know that the Bible says: For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. Romans 10:3
I put on a good show. The typical good mormon girl, hiding my weekday sins and dark gloomy heart, trying to project goodness through my smile and works. My teen years continued on in this way. I had many friends and was always busy with school, sports and church activities. I hid my sins and the growing darkness and hardness in my heart. I knew how to appear happy. Inside I was so sad and completely alone.
When I was 15, I rolled my dad’s pickup. I was knocked unconscious at some point and to this day, I don’t recall anything about the accident. When I woke up I was trapped inside the truck and the truck itself was lying upside down. I screamed and screamed. I prayed my first sincere prayer, truly needing God’s help. It took over two hours for emergency crews to extricate me from the mangled vehicle. Miraculously, I had no major injuries. I should have died. I am so thankful for God’s mercy that day. I was not ready to account for my life. If I had died that day, God would have had no choice but to send me to an eternity in Hell as I had not yet accepted His Son Jesus Christ as my Savior. I was depending on my church membership, self-righteousness, good works and supposed spiritual heritage to deserve eternal life.
As you read this, you might be tempted to assume that I have never had a burning testimony experience. You’re wrong. I had a very emotional, life changing testimonial experience where I felt the burning. I decided to give my life to the mormon church at that time. I knew without a doubt that the church was true. Read about it here.
After graduation I moved to Boise to attend BSU. I met Lori, a Christian, and we became friends right away. We ate lunch together most days for two years. Our conversations turned to religious beliefs almost every day. Some of what she showed me from her Bible made sense but most just confused me. Her testimony made a huge impact on me and I filed her words away in my heart.
During my second year at BSU I married my high school sweetheart and best friend. We had three kids in less than three years. They cried A LOT and so did I. Suddenly by life was to be stuck at home with no friends, no car and no support of any kind while their dad was at work, which was sun up to sun down back then. I was also seriously doubting my religious beliefs. Depression overwhelmed me and suicidal thoughts came more and more frequently. I thought the circumstances of my life were the cause of my depression and problems. I was soon to find out that my ONLY problem was my lost spiritual condition. Guilt. I had NO relationship with my Creator. I prayed constantly for help and strength but there was just emptiness…absolute loneliness and no answer from God. Oh, I thought I was talking to my Heavenly Father. I thought I had a relationship with Him. I thought these things because of my religious training, but reality and truth were about to hit me head on.
I cried every day for nearly six months before I finally cried out to God for help. I was no longer crying out for help with the kids, the husband, the mundane duties of motherhood but for a cure for my soul. I wanted to know the truth about Him, His Church, His Word and His plan for me. This was the first time He ever spoke to me! In my mind, I heard “You know you don’t have to feel this way. SEARCH. You will find Me.” In His Word He promises: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
So that’s what I did. I got out my Book of Mormon/Bible set I had used in LDS seminary. I also got out a regular King James Bible I had received as a gift. I don’t remember how many days and weeks I spent during the kids’ nap time pouring over those books. Back and forth it went. Bible? Or Book of Mormon? They certainly didn’t agree with each other as I had been taught. The only thing I knew for sure was that God did exist. Everything else was cloudy. I didn’t know what was right or who was telling the truth. What do Christians believe? What verses do they use to support those beliefs? What do LDS believe? What verses do they use? Back and forth. Back and forth. Praying all the time.
I was searching and God was revealing! If ye continue in my word…ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31-32
The first truth I realized: I am not good. I am not royal. I am not chosen. I am not worthy. I am not able. I am nothing. I am a sinner. I am blind. I am unclean. I am guilty. I am poor and needy. As it is written, There is none righteous…Romans 3:10; For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God… Romans 3:23; But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…Isaiah 64:6
I was getting a serious blow to my self-esteem and starting to feel some relief and happiness!
The second truth I realized: Jesus Christ of the Bible is all powerful, all knowing, and present everywhere. He is eternal. He created the universe and everything in it and He created me. The Father is in Him and He is in the Father. He knows me. He knows my heart. He came to earth and lived a perfect life, then was crucified, was buried and rose again. He conquered sin and death. His shed blood is the payment made in full for ALL my sins. His free gift to me is eternal life and all I have to do is accept it, take it, claim it. I can’t earn it or deserve it. Not with church membership, baptism or works of any kind. For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him: And he is before all things and by him all things consist. Colossians 1:16; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:24; Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…Titus 3:5
I realized that the Bibilical Savior, Jesus Christ, was not the same Jesus I had learned of as a child. The Jesus of LDS teaching is a good man, another prophet, a savior, a polygamist, a man who had worked out his own salvation and attained godhood. He is the brother of Lucifer. His blood does not atone for ALL sins. I realized that the LDS Jesus had no power to help me. They call him Jesus but he is not Jesus Christ. He is the Jesus of one man’s imagination. He is not the Jesus of the Bible. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets…Matthew 24:24; For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many…Mark 13:6; But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:8
So. I had come to the end of the road. If I decided to follow Jesus of the Bible, I would disappoint my parents and hurt them deeply. I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to alienate myself from everyone I loved and respected. I knew I would lose close friends. I wondered if my parents, siblings, and friends would ever speak to me again! But I knew I had to choose. I couldn’t remain LDS, follow their prophets, worship their gods and believe the Bible at the same time. Mormonism and the Bible just don’t agree!
It was the most difficult and painful decision I’d ever been faced with. But looking back, I see that it was the simplest, most important and best decision I have ever made. Jesus said: For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25
I asked Jesus to forgive me of my pride, self-righteousness and blasphemous ideas. I asked Him to cleanse me of all my sins, to save me from an eternal hell and to live in my heart forever. And just as He promised, He did that and so much more!
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. John 3:16
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. Romans 5:8-9
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23
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 whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:9,13
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. Ephesians 2:8-9
I still make mistakes. I am far from perfect. Anything but sinless. BUT… His mercies are new every day. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Romans 5:20
Why am I doing this? Because I want to give a reason for the hope that is in me. My hope is not in myself but in Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I know I am ready to face judgment because I have accepted the correct payment for my unholiness from the correct Lord Jesus. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6
I also hope that you all, my friends and family, will have the courage to question, search and pray…your eternity depends on it.