For some time now, we’ve wrestled with how to approach you about something which God has laid upon our hearts. People are curious about our decision to leave the Mormon Church, yet at the same time they are uncomfortable discussing it with us. We hope and pray that you will read this with an open heart and mind. One shouldn’t be fearful of reassessing one’s position, even if it involves discomfort. Whatever faith we profess is what we stake our earthly life and eternal soul on, so, it is essential; a duty, to be educated about what God’s standards for salvation encompass. Brigham Young said, “Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the LDS with it, and see if it will stand the test" (Journal of Discourses Vol. 16, Pg 46).
I encourage you to double check every reference that I will use. Read them in context. If you find an error, please do not hesitate to point it out. However, I deal in facts, not emotions.
I know many have assumed that we left Mormonism for any number of reasons. So to set the record straight:
• We did NOT leave because of any unresolved sin. Our lives are still up to very high standards.
• Nor did we leave over Word of Wisdom problems. (Our life standards could still qualify for a temple recommend). Although Jesus said, “It’s not what goes in your mouth that makes you unclean, it’s what comes out of your mouth" (Matthew 15:10).
• We did not have our feelings hurt. However, my daughters are treated 100% better at the churches that we’ve attended since.
• People have erroneously assumed that we must have had marriage or family problems. Wrong again. Although I must say I thought our marriage was wonderful, now, to be equally yoked as believers has made our marriage even more fantastic!
• Others have said we don’t understand the “meat” of LDS doctrine. But, I don’t think ANY true thinker could understand it.
• Maybe we’ve lost our testimony? In what, God? NO!! In Jesus? NO!! In the Bible? NO!!
• Or that we’ve been listening to Satan or reading anti-Mormon literature. OK, if you want to call Journal of Discourses, History of the Church, Mormon Doctrine or the Bible, anti-Mormon literature??
• Another reason was that we’ve become closed-minded. On the contrary, our minds have never been so exercised.
• Or that we need to fast and pray. We have done SO much praying for truth and strength to confront the truth--the whole truth and God did help us.
• Lastly, people have said maybe we lost the Holy Spirit. Not at all. He now dwells in us; he is our life line and our promise for heaven.
With all that behind us, I’d love to share our journey:
Anyone who knows me, Trudy, knows that I love to read, especially non-fiction. I’m a list maker and it’s important to me that things “make sense” and are concrete. The Mormon church teaches that the Book of Mormon contains the “fullness of the Gospel”, and it doesn’t contain much that would be contrary to historical Christianity and that it also doesn’t contain any of the doctrines that were in direct conflict with Christianity.” “If so, why do they say it has the “fullness of the gospel?” (D&C 20:9, 42:12). I wanted to be a Christian; the LDS church assures members that they are (although that is a very recent statement by church officials).
Remember, Joseph Smith said, “Don’t join any churches. They are all an abomination”. All subsequent LDS prophets since Smith have denied being a Christian church.
Gordon B. Hinckley was quoted in the Church News: “Many outside the church say we do not believe in the traditional Christ. No I don’t. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak” (June 20, 1998 Pg 7).
I decided to study the Bible in depth (cover to cover) to see what Christianity was about and to determine if I, as a Mormon, was a Christian or not.
First, I have to testify to you that I believe the Bible to be true, reliable, and perfectly translated. As archeological finds have been uncovered, time after time the Bible has been proven. Coins, historical proof of Biblical rulers, places, etc. match up with the Bible. When the Dead Sea Scrolls were translated the books of the Bible were found to be 99.9% accurate. I noted as I read the Bible that Jesus himself recommended the Bible by his words and his life. He quoted it many times. John 5:39-40 He told the Pharisees: “You diligently study the scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
As I read the Bible, I saw hundreds of prophecies that were fulfilled. I saw a unity throughout the whole book. I saw Jesus and his grace all the way through. 2 Timothy 3: 16: “All scripture is God breathed, useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness,” and Matthew 24: 35 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
Right away in Genesis, as I read the story of Adam and Eve, the fall of all mankind, and the introduction of sin into the world I started taking notes. Several things immediately struck me. In Genesis 3:1-4, and in John 8:44, Satan is a liar and NO truth is found in him. Obviously the fall from grace in the garden was NOT a good thing. Adam and Eve did NOT become Gods. They would die and they had to leave the garden and were separated from God. As I read on about Adam & Eve putting on fig leaves, I was reminded about the temple ceremony. Remember how we wore aprons of fig leaves to represent Adam & Eve? But, if you read the rest of the story in the Bible, you see that they put on fig leaves to try to cover their own sins. God came along and sacrificed animals and made them coverings of skin (Gen. 3:21). We can not cover our own sins. It takes the shedding of blood to do that. That first sacrifice was a type to represent the sacrifice of Jesus to come.
Satan’s first lie was, “You can become Gods.” That lie is still a lie today. Satan has always wanted to usurp God’s throne and that is why he was cast out of heaven. We are here to worship God, not to try to become Gods. I wasn’t aware of the Mormon doctrine about “becoming gods of our own planets” until I’d been a member for quite a while. That teaching always made me very uncomfortable. In the back of my mind, I planned to find the root of that doctrine. Having read the Book of Mormon thru at least 4 times, I knew the doctrine about becoming a god wasn’t in there. In fact, in Alma 11:27-31, it says, “Is there more than one God?” And he answered, “No.” Alma 11:44-- “arraigned before the bar of Christ the son, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God,” Mormon 7:7---- “unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God.” 2 Nephi 31:21, 3 Nephi 11:27, and Mosiah 15:1-5.
God is eternal. He always was God and always will be God. Also, God is spirit. Alma 18:26-28, 22:8-11, and 31:15. But then, Mormonism teaches that God has a body of flesh and bones, and that there are many Gods and we should aspire to become Gods. This is in direct opposition to what is declared in the Book of Mormon, as shown in the verses quoted in this paragraph.
As I got into Leviticus and Deuteronomy, my note taking really increased. I had heard over and over that Mormonism had restored ancient temple worship, so, having been to the LDS temple many times I was anxious to compare. Starting in Exodus 25 with Moses setting up the tabernacle for worship, I could NOT list one single thing that was done by the Hebrews that is done in the Mormon temples.
I was sure something had been left out somewhere, so I bought a book by Alfred Eidersheim called The Temple. Eidersheim was a Jew that became a Christian and was very knowledgeable about Jewish Traditions. The book was fascinating; all the ceremonies pointed to a blood sacrifice for sins. It was a heavy burden for the Hebrews to carry out all the rituals and legalisms. No wonder Christians who embrace the grace of God thru Jesus are so relieved.
In the ancient temples, they did not perform marriages. In fact, women were not allowed any further than the outer court. No baptisms. The “sea of brass” on the oxen’s back was a holding tank for water as it came into the temple, for the priest’s cleansing ritual of hand washing before they started their routines. Priests had to be from the Levite tribe. There were no such things as endowments or sealing ceremonies. And there was only one High Priest at a time and the office was held for life.
All Jewish records clearly dictate that the ancient temple was only to be used until the ultimate sacrifice for sin came and laid down His life for us. At the death of Jesus, the temple veil was torn from top to bottom (Matt. 27:51), signifying that we no longer need a mortal High Priest to mediate between us and God. We can now come boldly before the throne of God. Jesus is now our High Priest and He lives forever. Jewish temple worship was fulfilled in Christ (Hebrews 9: 25-28 and 10: 12-14). Jesus said we would soon worship in our hearts, not within a temple.
Why bother to do Mormon temple baptisms for the dead when the Book of Mormon says there is NO second chance after death?. Alma 34:34, 32-35 says, “Satan teaches there is a second chance.” II Nephi 9:38: “. . . die in sin, remain in sin.”
I began to see that the Mormon temple ceremonies have nothing to do with the grace of God and the sacrifice of Christ for our sins, but everything to do with secret names, signs, and handshakes of classic occultism, ritual magic, and Freemasonry.
Another interesting conflict of current Mormon teachings was found in Ezekiel 37:15 - 19. I had heard these verses referred to in the Mormon Church as the “stick of Joseph and stick of Judah,” purportedly to represent the Book of Mormon and the Bible. But, for the first time, I read the Book of Ezekiel in its entire context. In this case, the context involves a specific era of time. From chapter 34 thru the end of the book, Ezekiel is prophesying about the return of Israel after its captivity. At the time Ezekiel wrote this book, the Jews were divided into two kingdoms; Judah and Israel (see I Kings 12:16-24). Ezekiel 37:21 explains what the above passages concerning the “joining of sticks” means. The sticks really are sticks or planks of wood, representing each Hebrew tribe, and that one day the tribes will come together and be one nation in their own land, with one king, and never again be a nation divided. NO WHERE in Ezekiel does it mean scrolls or two books. I have a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, so I looked up the word “stick” that’s used several times and every time it was the Hebrew word “ates,” meaning wood, plank, or timber. Not scroll or book, but simply boards, with each tribe’s name written on them, to represent the tribes which will be brought together to be one tribe.
From all of this I had to draw the conclusion that the Book of Mormon was definitely NOT prophesied by Ezekiel.
I have always been bothered by the concept of God commanding polygamy as a prerequisite to get into the Celestial Kingdom. God created Eve for Adam and pronounced “. . . the two shall become one.”
Jesus reaffirmed monogamy in Matthew 19:5. Mark 10:5-9, Titus 1:6, and 1 Timothy 3:2 declared monogamy was a requirement in order to hold a church office. Goodness, even the Book of Mormon, in Jacob 2:27 reads, “Hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife: and concubines he shall have none.” The first person to take up polygamy was Lemech the son of Cain. Biblically, polygamy was merely tolerated by God; it was NEVER a requirement for one’s salvation.
In Joseph Smith’s First Vision, he stated that he was shown by an “angel of light” where to find the Gold Plates. Please note that in Bruce McConkie’s book, Mormon Doctrine, “angel of light,” is identified as Satan. Considering Joseph Smith in this context, I read II Corinthians 11:13-14: “For such men are false prophets, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” What else does the Bible say about angels delivering messages? ... Galatians 1: 6-9: “If we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel, other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally cursed!”
When you read any part of the New Testament, it is crystal clear: The gospel that was brought by Jesus and taught throughout the Bible was GRACE not works. The work was done on the cross by Jesus and salvation is a free gift. It cannot be earned or worked for. Romans 10:9-10 tells you to confess that you are a sinner, and that Jesus is Lord, believe that He paid the price and you will be saved then and forever. This concept was a bombshell for me: There are no requirements such as special garments, “full tithing”, meeting attendance, partaking of sacraments, abstinence from certain foods, temple rituals, etc., etc., etc. The true plan is so beautifully simple: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved! Even Abraham was saved by faith, not the Law, 430 years before the law was given (cf. Genesis 15:6 and Romans 4:13). Mark 10:27 says: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Acts 4:12: “There is NO other name by which we can be saved,” I Timothy 1:15: “Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” Col. 2: 14: “He forgave us ALL our sins,” I Corinthians 6:19: “You are not your own, you were bought at a price,” Ephesians 1: 13: “Having believed, you were marked with a seal; the Holy Spirit guaranteeing your inheritance,” Acts 4:12 implies that no church organization has the power to save, only Jesus Christ, and Him alone, Titus 3:4-5: “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy,” Galatians 5:4: “When we try to be justified by the Law, we are alienated from Christ and fall away from Grace,” John 6:28 tells us what works does God require... to believe in Jesus, Isaiah 64:6: “Your works are like filthy rags.”
I found many, many more things about Mormonism that were not only in direct conflict with the Bible, but also in total disagreement with the church’s own Book of Mormon. The “pillar” of Joseph Smith’s “restored gospel” was that he was God’s chosen “prophet” who restored the true, ancient church and all its tenets. Joseph declared that the restored gospel would never again be taken from the earth. Interestingly, modern day Mormon prophets have continuously changed the unchangeable basic fundamental doctrines espoused by the founding prophets, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, whereas the precepts of the Bible have been firm and consistent for millennia. Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever,” Hebrews 1:1: “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets. In these last days, He has spoken to us by His SON.”
Through my exhaustive biblical studies, I am utterly convinced that the Bible is the irrefutable word of God and is ALL we need for understanding and attaining salvation. It is scripturally evident that the need for prophets was negated with the arrival of our Savior.
Worse than seeing the errors of Mormonism, was the sinking realization that I was in error, separated from God because of my sins. My conscience pricked my heart as I read Romans 3:23: “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” And Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death.” When a person goes to work, they earn a check for their wages.
WE HAVE EARNED OUR WAGES FOR OUR SINS, AND IT IS DEATH; an eternal separation from God in a place of torment, pain, darkness and absolute isolation. WE deserve it because of our rebellion against God. We also have a problem that stems back to the Garden of Eden. Romans 5:12: “Therefore just as sin entered the world through one man and death thru sin, and in this way death came to ALL mankind, because all sinned.” That’s the bad news.
There is also good news: JESUS CHRIST PAID THE PENALTY!
Romans 5:8: “God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Jesus died in our place. He was our substitute. Even though Jesus died for everyone, God will not save everyone.
YOU MUST TRUST CHRIST!
Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved, through faith: and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”
Trusting Christ is a matter of praying and admitting you have a sin problem that is fatal, making a decision to rest in Him to take care of your sins. It is a decision which says, “Father, I trust the work of Jesus Christ on the cross to take my sins away. I know I cannot work my way to heaven.” There is nothing wrong with doing good things, God made us for that purpose. However, we can only be saved by accepting the Grace offered by Christ, and our works are the proof of our salvation. We should never put the works before the salvation. God says that when we try to work to get His approval, again, “Our works are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).
Once we are saved, it's Jesus who credits us with a righteousness that enables us to stand before God blameless and our debt paid in full---forever.
We still have to live in a fallen world and even Christians will sin occasionally, but the Spirit will let our hearts know that we need to repent. If a Christian is living in habitual sin, then they should reassess if they sincerely made that “heart” decision or if they were just going through the motions with their head. Grace is simple, but it wasn’t easy (for Jesus).
I know that God called me out of Mormonism and into His arms. Once I made the choice to trust that the blood of Jesus was enough to save me from my sins, I finally had “the peace that surpasses all understanding.” I find myself just smiling several times a day as I rest in His love.
I don’t need secret handshakes or special names to get to heaven. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice, I know them and they follow me” (John 10: 27).
I invite you to read the Bible, especially the New Testament. There are many translations and most are very accurate. I particularly like the NIV (New International Version). It is just like the King James, but, without all of the “thee’s & thou’s”. We don’t speak in Old English, so why try to read in Old English?
I pray that you will come to a saving Grace in Jesus Christ, and then take your rightful place in “the family of God.”
In His Joyful Service,
Cliff and Trudy Stubbs
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