I Was a Mormon: Mark Champneys
God has changed my life and has blessed me beyond anything I could have imagined when I was an active Latter-day Saint (LDS). I can say that without hesitation despite having experienced the blessings of a loving, strong Mormon home. I was born and raised in the Mormon Church. My late mother has told me that I was born a 5th generation Mormon. My grandfather was a stake president, my late father was a bishop, and my mother was a stake relief society president and later a family history center director. She returned from her second LDS mission in October of 1998 before passing away in July 1999. I have four sisters and a brother who are all temple-married and active in the Church. My brother and youngest sister both served Spanish-speaking missions. (I baptized her.) I was an active Mormon during my growing-up years. I was Deacon's quorum president, Teacher's quorum president, and the leader in the Priest's quorum. I graduated from four years of high school Mormon seminary. I attended Brigham Young University for two years, attending the requisite LDS religion classes there. My bishop from the SF bay area flew to BYU and asked me to go on a mission during my freshman year at the point where I was just beginning to ask a lot of questions, so I said "Not now, I must increase my testimony first."
In the spring of my sophomore year (1973) I was studying the New Testament on my own, and while reading Romans became aware of enormous discrepancies between the gospel of the Bible and the gospel I had been taught by my wonderful, well-meaning (but errant) parents. I responded to what I read without any intention of leaving the Church, but from that moment, God changed my life forever. I received His free gift of eternal life through my decision to take Him at His word and trust Him (John 6:47).
In the period of time which followed I gained less and less by attending the Mormon Church, so I studied the Bible more and more. For two years or so I struggled to sift out Bible verses in my head from Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants verses in my head with intense effort. By the end of that time through the scripture and through the Holy Ghost I was certain that Joseph Smith was not God's man, so out of loyalty to God I ceased calling myself a Mormon. For a number of years thereafter I felt very alone, because I knew of no one who had left the Church out of loyalty to God, like myself (but only those who wanted to smoke and drink). It has been very painful with my parents through the years as you can perhaps imagine. Finally I began to discover other ex-Mormon Christians like myself. A few years after that I was officially excommunicated for speaking publicly against Mormonism in a variety of Christian churches (though it was actually I, myself, who asked to have my name removed from their records).
Mark Champneys' Testimony Out of Mormonism Into ChristianityFor many years now I have been a Bible-believing, born-again, evangelical Christian who unashamedly loves God because of the astonishing forgiveness that He has granted me. He has changed my life, giving me hope that I never had as an active Mormon. It is the same hope that I wish to share with others, particularly Mormons, who I still consider "my people." I am not proselytizing anyone to my church, for there are many wonderful Bible-teaching churches. I am talking about a God, a hope, and a way of life--not a church organization.