I Was a Mormon: Debbie Beppu
Debbie Beppu with her late husband Tom
When I met Jesus, I really didn’t know if there really was a God or not. I was brought up Mormon and my sister was having a Bible study with a friend who she challenged me to read the Bible. I had tried to read it before but I didn’t understand that their was an Old Testament that was more about the history of the Jewish people, and a New Testament that was more about Jesus here on earth and letters written to the believers of Jesus. My sister gave me a Bible (The Good News New Testament). I would pray and asked God, if He really was there, to show me and help me see Him. I really didn’t understand everything I was reading, but one thing I did know is that I had never heard about this before and I wondered why I hadn’t heard this before?
When I read about the warnings of false Christs and false prophets, I was shocked to realize that religious people could be deceptive. My sister asked me to go to church with her, so I went to her ward. I asked God if this was His Church to show me Himself there. I figured maybe it was, because I was younger and I just didn’t understand everything.
My sister wanted to have a Bible study together with just me. On our first meeting together we started reading, and the first reference we came to that went into Mormon doctrine she wanted to look up in Mormon sources. I told her let’s first find out what the passage means that we had just read without going to those sources. She didn’t want that, so we parted ways so she could get more into Mormon writings and I could go try to find out what the Bible was saying.
I started looking at the TV on Sunday mornings and came across a show called “Zola Levitt’. He was reading in the New Testament and referencing the Old Testament. I had not even started reading the Old Testament yet, so I took notes and after the program I read all over the chapter to see if it made sense. It was like a light bulb going on; it made perfect sense. Later I wrote Zola and told him I was Mormon and reading the Bible. I also told him I had seen his show and knew that he knew what the Bible was saying. I asked for direction of what church to go to.
I went to my bedroom and asked God to forgive me and told Him I wanted to give Him my life. His love and forgiveness poured over me. I had never felt like this before. I knew that He loved me and this was not like any other love I had ever experienced in 33 years of living. It was a love I had needed and was looking for all my life. I knew this was going to come with a price. I didn’t know if I could pay the price, but I knew I could never leave this love. I knew I would lose my family.
I was talking to this lady at work about what I had been doing, and she told me that the Mormon Church had either killed her mother or she had ran off with someone at the Temple, but she was convinced they had killed her. I told her she was crazy, but she explained that her mother was doing a lot of work in the Temple. One day she came up missing and the daughter had tried to find out what had happened to her, but got nowhere. I said, “The Mormons wouldn’t kill someone,” but she said, “You would be surprised what they had done in the past.” She told me she had a book she wanted me to look at, and she brought it in the next day.
The book was called Mormonism--Shadow or Reality? by Jerald and Sandra Tanner. As I looked at the book I read about the blood atonement and how they had an “avenging angle” that was sent off to kill people known to be sinning in certain ways. When I read this I thought, “This can’t be true,” and I asked God about it. All of a sudden, it was like a movie going on in my head, and I remembered dancing at my grandmother’s when I was about 7 years old. She told me that I was very lucky to be born at this time, because if she had been caught doing what I was doing (meaning dancing) she would have been killed. I followed her around the house asking her what she had meant and she just kept trying to get away from me. My grandfather heard this and asked my grandmother what I was doing. She told him that she just slipped and told me about killing. My grandfather was very upset with her and told her that she had just ruined my testimony, and that she knew they weren’t suppose to talk about that.
I had told my sister about this book by the Tanners and what I had remembered. She told me that we weren’t supposed to read such things, and they were just people who where trying to get back at the LDS Church for some reason or people who where were just persecuting the Mormons. I told her, “But if it is the truth, don’t you want to know about it?” I told her that they stated in the book that it is in our own writings--the library, book, and exactly where to get this information. I also said that I tend to believe them because of my experience at Grandmother’s, and if these people are going to tell you where to find this information, it really must be true. She said she would go check it out with me the next week.
When the time came to go with my sister, I called her on the phone and her husband told me not to call her anymore. All I did was upset her and he wasn’t going to let me talk to her anymore. If she wanted to talk with me she would call me. She never did, and at the next family get-together she pretty much told me that she wasn’t supposed to even eat dinner with me or have anything to do with me because I had left the Church.
I believe it was Zola Levitt that had asked a church in Salt Lake to send out someone to my house. The man showed up on a Sunday afternoon, and said he was sent out from his church to answer any questions I had. It turned out he was an ex-Mormon bishop, and he discipled me for my first year of walking with the Lord.
God really does work everything out. My life with Jesus has had a lot of ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade it in for anything. He is what everyone needs.