I Was a Mormon: Lynn Wilder
Pay Attention to Those Doubts about Mormondom! Ask for Truth—Then Hold On!
Lynn Wilder and Family
Although in a secure position as an associate professor at Brigham Young University (BYU), tenured, and a member of the LDS Church for almost 30 years, I began to doubt my faith in Mormonism. Questions had been stirring in me from time to time over the years, but I always seemed to find a way to bury them, explain them away, or just plain ignore them—the way that Mormons do with scriptures that directly contradict the teachings of their modern prophets. Looking back, I believe God was trying to show me the truth and to draw me to Him, but I wasn’t listening. For instance, one day at work a faithful member of the Mormon Church that I had great respect for shared with me their patriarchal blessing. There was a section of this blessing that had not come to pass and was not now possible. This person asked me what I thought about the fact that it had not and could not come to pass when they had been faithful. I stammered that I knew Heavenly Father could do anything. But honestly, this shook my faith in the Church’s ability to foretell one’s personal future in a patriarchal blessing. My own had never made much sense to me. Then there was the woman in my daughter-in-law’s home town who was called on a mission to—her home town. Oops! She had to be reassigned by the “infallible prophets, seers, and revelators.” Most disturbing were the scriptural and doctrinal conflicts I was finding. Recognized but conveniently ignored for too long.
I finally began to take a serious look at the doubts that had come to me or maybe I just paid more attention to what God was trying to teach me when our third son Micah had a profound born again in Christ Jesus experience on his Mormon mission to Orlando, Florida. Micah's faith in Christ alone, without Mormon leaders or what the Bible calls “the arm of flesh” in between, was revealed during a 2 hour inquisition from his mission president. This young missionary stood for the Christ of the Bible and was called…well, you can imagine. Although Micah was honorably released from his mission, he was sent home 3 weeks early, stayed with his shaken but still-desperately-loving-and-trusting-him LDS family (after all, this was Micah!) less than 48 hours, and returned to live and work in Florida. Micah never really talked about his experience, but because I trusted him implicitly (he’s always sought God), God planted in me a mighty motivation to know what was true. This investigation was twofold for me; it involved prayer and the Word of God.
When Christ was on the earth, He often went to His Father in fervent prayer.
Hebrews 5:7 (NIV): "During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission."
This is what I learned to do. I learned to pour out my heart to Him like He had. My personal questions to God and my subsequent devouring of Christ’s words in the Bible seeking answers to who He was and what was truth led to my total surrender to the Christ of the Bible during an October night in 2006. After Micah helped to reintroduce Pandora's Box of questions, I decided I could only learn the truth from Christ Himself, so first I went to the Book of Mormon for answers. I soon realized that Christ's actual words are only in one little section of Third Nephi and basically that section was a copy of the beatitudes in the Bible, so I went to the Bible to hear Christ's words and the words of the Apostles who were His eyewitnesses. I was eager to know Christ’s will—hear Him speak—and was convinced that I would find it in His Word (John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God," and Revelation 19:13 says, "He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God"). Christ and the Word of God were the same. Ironically, a BYU religion professor friend of mine suggested I read other versions of the Bible for enlightenment. No matter which version I read, when I read the Bible, what I learned changed my life. His Word in the Bible changed my life forever.
If you are LDS, I challenge you to read the New Testament with an open heart and mind, with fresh eyes, maybe just the book of Hebrews or the book of John, and you will see the blatant contradictions with Mormon doctrine. Then you must choose: the words of Christ or the words of modern day prophets. I chose Christ.
My husband Michael and I had joined the Mormon Church in our mid-20's in Indiana in 1977 when Mormon missionaries knocked on our door and convinced us that Mormonism (not Christ) would fill all our needs. We had no children at the time and immediately dove into a life of active participation with our new "family." We were always temple recommend-holding members of the Church and held numerous leadership positions. We made an honest effort to "live the gospel" as we understood it and to know Christ as we understood Him. Mike and I now have 4 grown children and they have spouses, all of whom were once active LDS. Our sons served missions. We all bore testimony of Christ often in church and were sincere, active members of the LDS Church. We moved the family from Indiana to Alpine, Utah in 1999. Mike is a mortgage broker and I had just finished my doctorate and was hired at BYU. Now I thank God He took us to Utah. I often say, "I went into the heart of Mormonism to learn the heart of Mormonism." It was there that God opened our eyes and unstopped our ears, as the Bible says.
I honestly believe our entire family's conversion out of Mormonism and to Biblical Christianity was set in motion by God himself. He draws us I learned in John 6:44 (NIV) where Christ says, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day." He loves you personally and reaches out to draw you to Christ in so many ways. Pay attention. After Micah’s mission, his brother Matt dug into the Bible and accepted the true Christ. Micah, Matt, Jay, Steve, and Joseph (all former Mormons, 4 young men having served LDS missions) felt led to birth a music ministry called Adam’s Road to tell the amazing story of what God has done in their lives and to point people to the truth in the Bible. See www.adamsroadband.com or search ex-mormon or ex-lds on YouTube.
I have come to believe that each human has a critical choice to make: the real Christ of the Bible or a counterfeit substitute. My desperate search for truth, God’s supernatural answers to my queries (I have so many stories of how God spoke to me personally through the Word), and my choice to give everything to the real Christ of the Bible, the Word, changed my life forever. He had drawn me. In fact as I look back, I think He had probably been drawing me all of my life, but until I made the choice to look for answers from God to some very serious questions, I did not find the truth. If you dare to ask, He will dare to answer. Just stay open to any possibilities for truth and for change.