I Was a Mormon: Cory Hendricks

I converted to the LDS Church on March 1st, 1998. The reasons I converted are kind of simple. At the time I was in a low place in my life, wanting to die, and drinking the whole 9 yards. I was also bouncing in and out of foster homes at the time and really feeling the biggest sense of loneliness a 17-year-old can feel. One of my friends from school was LDS and told the missionaries where to find me. At the time I was looking for anything in my life where I would be accepted. The missionaries seemed very kind and very sincere when going through the discussions with me. A lot of the time they were asking me questions making sure I was OK mentally and if there was ever anything I needed (prayers, an ear to talk to, etc.).

The few weeks after I was baptized were amazing. Never before did I see so many people actually asking me how I was and actually caring about me. After the third week things in the foster home went really bad. I was starting to get abused and I needed out. I took off from the home and thankfully was taken in by some friends. The friends I was staying with were devout Christians, and up until then never knew of me joining the Mormon Church. When they did find out, they did everything in their power to get me out. They told the missionaries that they did not know where I was (they actually were searching for me for a while). They discouraged me from going to "the [LDS] Church" and encouraged me to quote the Bible non-stop. They also found some new friends for me, who once they found out about my Mormon ties, did the same thing as the friends I was staying with. A few weeks later I moved out of town and lived with my aunt.

A few weeks after that I decided to give the Mormon Church a try again after my old bishop somehow tracked me down. I went back to the LDS Church for several months. Something started to feel wrong in February of '99, because every time I went to church something inside me told me this was not the way to go. I dismissed this as me being paranoid, and dealing with the feeling I wasn't wanted. During my several months in the Church I was considered the outcast due to me being able to speak my mind and think openly. The last straw for me was when during Sunday school I was told to consider Joseph Smith "on the same level as Jesus." I am not sure if it was an overzealous teacher speaking her mind or what, but at that point I did not care. I left immediately, crying and wondering if this was right or if I had been deceived by something greater. I spent the next week in prayer asking God for some answers.

The next week I wound up at a Salvation Army church service and suddenly all my questions where answered. I felt something I haven't felt in what seemed like a lifetime. I felt at peace with myself and I felt I had the answers I was looking for. I realized that I was led astray by people who claimed to be doing God's work. I prayed to God and asked him to forgive me for my transgressions against him and for forgiveness for joining the LDS Church. I also, for the first time without any member of the priesthood in the Mormon Church, asked God into my life and to save me. I also asked that he use me to help anyone that might want to join the LDS church to see the errors and follies of joining. Since that day it has been my work to see to it that anyone who decides to join that church at the very least know the whole truth and not the LDS half-truth the missionaries give out during the discussions.

I was deceived by some of the greatest con men in the world. All this happened 3 months before I was set to go on a mission and I made no mistake in yelling at almost every bishop and priesthood holder in the Mormon Church: "YOU LIED TO ME; YOU LED ME ASTRAY!!" Naturally I was upset and the Church tried to calm me down, but to no avail. A few of my "friends" in the Church told me that their friendship was dependent on me being at their church. My response was something I never thought I would hear. I told them I would rather spend the rest of my life alone than spend eternity in hell with them. To this day I feel sorry for them. They were brainwashed and do not know better. I hope the Lord will show these souls mercy due to their ignorance. I haven't stepped foot in a Mormon Church since and I have no desire to.

The abominations the Mormon Church forecasted for me if I left never materialized. Actually, the opposite happened. I'm married to a wonderful woman and have two beautiful children. These blessings would never have happened had not the Lord intervened and led me down the right path. To this day, I still think of a certain part in the song Amazing Grace: "was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see." All those times I think about how I should be thankful for the Mormon Church turned into utter disgust with the methods they use to recruit new people. I spend a lot of time now speaking out against the Church, and I am thankful to say that I have stopped several baptisms. The ones I don't stop, I usually tell the person that when they are let down by the Church, I will help them find the right path and pray for them. I still have my Book of Mormon in one of the same places I keep a few other things, and for one reason... it serves as a reminder that through the darkness of my life there was a light, and how thankful I am to have found it.

Cory Hendricks
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