A Princess of the KING!
I am a seventh-generation Ex-Mormon. My ancestors go back to the days of Joseph Smith; one was his personal body guard. Many Latter-day Saints think that anyone that leaves the Church must have had a bad experience, or want to sin--otherwise why would anyone leave? I left when the Lord, in answer to prayer, showed me the truth.
My grandparents were temple Mormons. My grandmother had ten children: nine girls and one boy. She would spend Saturdays getting all of the dresses ready for Sunday. She curled the girls' hair. Many Sundays after church they would sing while driving to a picnic area, and she'd take out the picnic basket she had prepared from the trunk. Sadly, after about one-half of the kids had married, my grandfather left my grandmother. Grandma continued to rear the remaining kids at her knee: teaching LDS doctrine and living the ways in which they believe. They continued to press forward after losing the farm. They hit many hard times. But Grandma canned, loved gardening, knitted, crocheted, mended, cooked and urged all of her kids to be educated. She believed wholeheartedly in her scriptures and read avidly.
I referred to Grandma as the family's "wise owl." Everyone turned to her for advice for almost everything. She was the glue of our family: she held us together in many ways. She initiated family reunions and gatherings on holidays, ensuring their success. She adamantly drove home the importance of family and heritage. She showed me, through my mom, the importance of keeping on when times were tough. She gave her son, daughters and grandkids that same drive to never give up.
Before I became a Christian, having that drive during the tough times meant working hard to get through. I did it because I had to. I could count on myself and on my family. But as a believer in Christ Jesus, I acquired a different outlook. Though that drive is still there, I now can turn everything over to God, and He will carry the weight. I saw that there are things in life that I, as well as any human, cannot fix, and we need His guidance and His mercy. I have learned that when the cross is too heavy to carry through the storm, joy, peace, and hope come through leaning on Him.
My mom taught me sewing, crocheting, some cooking, and also the importance of morals and values. All of these things have greatly impacted me, especially now that I am older and raising my own children. My dad loved to take the family on camping and fishing trips. He was also on Jeep Patrol; therefore, the family expeditions we went on were sometimes adventurous! I also enjoyed listening to him play many songs on the organ late at night. I'm thankful for my family and our traditions.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I went to Primary, Beehives, Mia-Maids, Laurels, Young Adults (Mutual), Seminary, Camps/Retreats, Relief Society, played sports on the church team, and was a substitute teacher. With such fun times, love, and positive family influences, how could I leave the Church? It was not easy. They were not receptive to my leaving. But the truth is, the LDS doctrine left me empty inside. Attempting to become a temple Mormon was really me trying to fill a void in my life that only Jesus Christ could satisfy. I was still unsaved.
As I moved to California to get my sister and I more closely involved becoming temple Mormons, God had different plans--a higher calling! Some of my family members falsely accused me of setting out to look for faults within the Church--some still do! In truth, I set out to become the "temple girl." I took classes taught by missionaries in the young adults ward in California. I wanted to be worthy in that church. I wanted a temple recommend and to marry a temple-worthy man and be sealed for time and eternity. I wanted all of it! It was the plan I set out for myself. During this journey to become temple worthy and taking LDS classes, things began to change.
I was involved in a truck accident, and I needed chiropractic care (my sister worked for a chiropractor at the time). Although I couldn't afford the payments, the doctor allowed me to barter for service. This gave his wife an opportunity to witness to me. He also was a Christian, and began sharing things about the Bible. Soon my sister and I attended Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), though we still attended the LDS Church. The Bible study centered on the Gospel of John! Chapter one told of the "only begotten of the Father." Wow! Then Satan was not, as I had been taught, the brother of Christ. John 1:14 opened my eyes: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." The Word was Jesus and the Word was God; Jesus and God are one. He was the Savior, dying for my sins on the cross and rising again. Yet according to Mormon doctrine, "There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 670). Again, "There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, p. 188). But the Bible records, "Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). Acts 4:12 says, "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
I began to ask questions, prayed, shed tears, and stood amazed as I found comfort, yet wondered how this could be. "Saved by grace," "mercy," "salvation," "It is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). I was learning a new language. I saw discrepancies in the LDS Church that I couldn't overlook. Whereas the Bible says, "A man is not justified by the works of the law" (Galatians 2:16), in Mormonism, such scriptures are replaced by temple works.
I asked God to show me the truth. A few things about Joseph Smith didn't add up! Why was he so important? Was he a true prophet? I didn't ask to see if the LDS teachings were false. I simply asked God for the truth. And the truth set me free! The harder I looked to find Joseph Smith truthful, the more God revealed to me that Smith wasn't. For example, many times Smith said, "Thus saith the Lord," but over fifty of his prophecies never came to pass. He prophesied, for example, that within fifty-six years, the Lord would return. Fifty-six years were fulfilled in 1891 (History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 182).
Deuteronomy 18:20-22 states: “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”
Considering that Joseph Smith is the foundation of the Book of Mormon, it felt like sand falling through my fingers realizing he was a false prophet. Scripture says, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1).
I had other concerns: in Mormonism there are many gods, but Isaiah 43:10 clearly states, "Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me." Therefore it is false that the Mormon god has a father, and thus, LDS elders cannot become gods of their own planet, nor can the women become goddesses. This eliminates the teachings on preexistence and eternal progression. To believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers demeans Jesus who is God, and lowers His standards. To place ourselves worthy enough to become Gods is blasphemy!
It became evident to me that we are not from a planet near a star named Kolob, born as spirits to be born again on earth. Joseph Smith had no idea what born again meant (cf. John 3:3-8)!
Through more study, I found another troubling area. How can an LDS member have true forgiveness? In Mormonism, it could take centuries and is granted on the basis of a Mormon's humility, sincerity, works, and attitudes. It would be granted only by living all of the commandments, can be canceled on reversion to sin, the discontinuance of sin must be permanent, and the transgressor must even lose the very desire or urge to sin (The Miracle of Forgiveness, by Spencer W Kimball, 325)!
But the book of Romans told me that Jesus only used the law so that we'd recognize sin and admit we were sinners, which in turn leads to repentance. We are justified by faith! "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more" (Hebrews 8:12).
When I compared Mormon teachings with the Bible, I went through heartache, anger, and fear knowing I had been deceived. LDS prophets such as Joseph Smith and Brigham Young lied. Their own scriptures proved these prophets false.
My sister gave me Beyond Mormonism--an Elder's Story by James R. Spencer. He shared many things in this book of darkness in the LDS teachings with reliable references. My research revealed that the LDS doctrines contradicted themselves. It became very obvious to me that the Bible does not instruct us to abide all the ordinances, tokens, temple works, secret handshakes, to believe that Joseph Smith is a true prophet, stay worthy, keep the word of wisdom, all of the commandments and more in order to have everlasting life... should Joseph Smith grant it! If all of these works are required for our salvation, that would declare that Jesus went to the cross in vain. That would state that Jesus isn't a redeemer if we have to earn our way to heaven.
Which Master did I want to follow? The God of the Bible who is omnipotent reigning or the one who leads to everlasting burnings? On my knees, I asked the Lord God--as revealed in the Bible--to forgive me for my sins and to be my one and only personal Lord and Savior. After I spent time in prayer with the Lord, I soon knew I needed to be re-baptized. I was baptized in the Pacific Ocean. Then the Lord brought me back to Idaho Falls, Idaho: my home town!
About one and a half years after leaving the LDS Church, the Lord blessed me with an amazing Christian husband, Don. I had my name removed from the temple/Church records. I have a strong desire to help LDS members seek the true gospel of Jesus Christ, have salvation in the grace of Christ, and be free from bondage.
I give praise to the Lord for the appointments He has given me, allowing many opportunities to witness the true gospel. My husband and I have been blessed to establish Mormonism discussion/support groups over the years. "Grace4Mormons" is our newest group, enabling others to have the tools needed for witnessing the true gospel of Christ.
One of my most cherished witnessing opportunities was when the Lord sent me to witness to my LDS grandma, "Nana." Though I was scared of rejection (she was so mean to me over the years) and cried, in obedience to my Father, I went in prayer. I spent over five hours witnessing to her. We went to lunch and I prayed with her. I also left the book of John and Romans, and located her Bible. A month later, the Lord nudged me to call Nana. She accepted Christ, and we prayed on the phone together. Four months later, she went home to be with our Lord. She was 97!
"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 with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:9-10).
The Lord has brought many Christians into my life: my husband, beautiful children, sister, brother-in-law, church family, friends, and many wonderful ministries--all for His glory! Jesus is sovereign and my Lord has blessed me and has brought me through many trials (witnessing many miracles). He will continue to be with me every step of the way. I rejoice knowing He loved me enough to die on the cross for my sins. His salvation is a free gift for those who so desire Him. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His ONLY begotten Son, and whoever believes in Him has eternal life” (John 3:16).
My God is HOLY, forgiving, all-powerful, everlasting, and His promises are kept.
It is my continued prayer that all of my LDS family members (I love them dearly) will come to Christ; receiving true salvation--free in Christ! I am but a vessel for His glory--by Christ in faith alone.
I am a daughter of the King!