I Was a Mormon: Einar Anderson
I was born in Utah, and like countless thousands I was brought up in the religion of my people. I was taught to accept the Mormon faith as the true Church of Jesus Christ, and was baptized at the age of eight. As briefly as possible I want to tell how I heard the true Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and came to know Him who died for our sins.
We lived in Spanish Fork, Utah, until I came to California with my sister. Up to that time I knew very little of any denomination other than Mormonism. I was taught that my salvation depended on being baptized, obedience to the ordinances of the Gospel (so called by the Mormons), and a life of good works, and I considered myself very fortunate to be a Mormon.
In California I was now meeting others belonging to other religions who believed the same thing, and I reasoned with myself. "What difference does it make what a person believes as long as he does the best he can? What more does God expect?"
My Restless Dissatisfaction
As time went on I became very restless, would work only a few months here and there, and then would move on to some other place. There was something lacking in my life, and I could not imagine what it was. I never knew anything about the Lord Jesus Christ who died for my sins. I was never taught that I was a sinner and needed a Savior. I began to plunge into the things of the world, trying to satisfy a longing in my soul.
My brother William, who had come to California in the meantime and who like myself was raised a Mormon, also realized that his life lacked something, and he began to read the Bible for himself. As he read he came to see himself a poor lost sinner, and he cried out to God to save him, and God heard him, and saved him. No human instrument was used in his salvation. The Holy Spirit brought him under conviction, and through the reading of the Word of God he was saved. He began to talk to me about the things of the Lord, but could not tell me how to be saved except to read the Bible myself. I was interested, because I believed the Bible to be the Word of God.
As time went on I met my wife. She was a Catholic, but that did not matter to me. I thought that now that I had met my wife, and was in love with her, this was probably what had been so lacking in my life. But after we were married a short time, although we were very happily married, I realized that there was still something definitely lacking in both our lives. We went to dances and shows and, although we enjoyed these pleasures at the time, we were not satisfied.
One evening I asked my wife: "Honey, what is it all about? Isn’t there something to life beside just working, eating, and trying to have a good time?" She suggested that we attend church on Sundays and see if we would not be better satisfied. I then proceeded to make a good Mormon out of my wife, and we started to attend Sunday school. I had two Mormon missionary girls come to our home every Monday night to instruct my wife in what to believe and do to become a Mormon.
The Holy Spirit Begins to Convict
Meantime I had subscribed to a Christian magazine. My brother William had encouraged me to take it, and I read for the first time a message on the new birth, and I became deeply interested.
At this time I had a baker working for me who was a Christian, and he told me what a change had come into his life when he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. I invited him to our home, and he told me about a group of boys known as "First Mate Bob and the Crew of the Good Ship Grace," who had held meetings in San Diego that he attended, and how through their ministry he had come to know Christ as his Savior. He then told me they were coming to a certain church in Escondido, Calif., about two weeks hence, and my wife and I decided to go to hear them. During this time I was coming under conviction. The Spirit of God was working, but of course I knew nothing about the Holy Spirit. I wondered about God and the hereafter, and whether there was any way for a person to know for sure about eternity.
The Witness of the Word
Then one day I picked up the Bible my brother had given me, and I happened to open to the Gospel of Matthew, at the 7th chapter, and read these verses: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
I said, "O Lord, I guess I am lost." I could see the broad way leading to destruction, and I had been taught that we could be saved only by baptism and a life of good works; and here I read that only a few people in comparison to the multitudes would be saved. So I said to myself that I surely would be lost. I realized I could not merit the entrance into Heaven in my own righteousness. I may say just here that when we had decided to go to church, which we did, and to the Mormon Church, it did not satisfy us. There was still something lacking. We needed to know the Lord Jesus as our personal Savior, but of course up to this time we knew nothing of Him or of His power to save.
The Saturday night came when "First Mate Bob and the Crew of the Good Ship Grace" were in Escondido. (Up to this time, to my knowledge, I had never attended any other church service than that of the Mormons). The church was packed when we arrived, but we were successful in getting a seat on the platform. First Mate Bob gave his testimony, then the quartet sang songs of Jesus. Oh, how it thrilled me when they began to sing. Then one by one the boys gave their testimony of what God had done for them, and I realized that they had something I did not have. When the service was over they gave the invitation for anyone to accept Jesus Christ as Savior. I was so much under conviction that tears were running down my cheeks. That night I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I knew something had happened in my life: I was born again, but I could not explain it.
The Mormon missionary girls were still coming to our home instructing my wife. I sensed something was wrong with the Mormon doctrines, but I could not tell what. The day was approaching when my wife was to be baptized into the Mormon Church, and we set a date to meet with some of the Mormon elders and missionaries for a certain morning at our home.
In the meantime I heard that a Hebrew Christian evangelist was coming to San Diego to hold some meetings, and I wrote him that if there was anything we could do to help him while he was in San Diego to call on us and we would be glad to do what we could for him. The following week I received a letter from him telling me he would be at a friend’s home in San Diego, and that on a certain morning about ten o’clock I could call for him there, and he would come to our home to discuss some things with us. We had already arranged with the Mormons for a meeting on this same morning, and we did not know what to do. We decided to call the Mormons and tell them that the evangelist would be at our home the same morning we had planned a meeting with them, and we invited them to come and meet him. The president of the Mormon missionaries said that he could not say for certain whether they would be able to come, but if they could it would be about nine o’clock.
The morning arrived, and we were waiting for the Mormons to come. Nine o’clock came, then nine-thirty; still the Mormons did not arrive. At nine forty-five I had to leave to call for the evangelist and my wife and I concluded that the Mormons were not coming.
I had never seen this evangelist before, and when I first met him he at once began to talk to me about the Lord Jesus Christ. On the way to my home I asked him, "What is wrong with the Mormon Church?" He said he would explain these things to my wife and me at my home. As I had dismissed the Mormons from my mind, I never told him that they were expected at my home for a meeting that morning.
When we reached the house my wife opened the door, and we were in for a surprise—the room appeared to be filled with people! My wife took it for granted that I had told the evangelist about the Mormons coming. She introduced them, but not as Mormons. I had a strange feeling, and I thought I ought to tell my friend that these folks were all Mormons, but we sat down and I said to myself, "Well, I guess we’ll have to just wait and see what happens now." There were the two missionary girls who had been coming each week, two elders, and the president of the missionary society.
The evangelist began by saying how happy he was to see so many young people who were interested in the things of the Lord, and he told how the Lord had saved him. Now he said: "Brother Anderson has asked me about the Mormon Church, and I want to explain all about it to him." Then the fun began! To make it brief, they began to cut in on him and ask him questions, until it finally dawned on him that these folks were Mormons. Not once did he "knock" the Mormon Church; he merely stated that no church could save, only Christ could save. The Mormons reminded me of how the Pharisees talked to the Lord Jesus and asked him where he got his authority to preach. I was amazed at what was going on. After some discussion back and forth, I finally rose to my feet and said, "I have enough. Let’s adjourn." The evangelist shook hands with all the Mormons, and he invited them out to the church that night to hear him speak.
After they had left I told my new friend that I was so sorry this had happened, but that I had not expected them to come. Then I said, "There is something wrong with the Mormon Church." He then gave me a pamphlet to read, entitled, "The Mormons’ Mistake, or What is the Gospel?" written by Dr. H. A. Ironside. When I read it I began to see for the first time what it was that was wrong with the Mormon Church. The Gospel the Mormons preach is Faith, Repentance, Baptism, and Laying on Hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost. So according to Galatians 1:8, 9 they are under the anathema of God, for the Gospel that Paul preached was the Christ died for our sins, that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Oh, how happy I was then to know the truth! When I realized that I was saved, and that all I had done was to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior, I felt like shouting for joy. I wanted to tell everyone, and I thought they would all be so happy to hear about it, especially my Mormon friends and relatives. I was sadly disappointed. For I found that people wanted to have some part in their salvation by working for it, not knowing that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isa. 64). Such is the pride of the human heart.
Then my mind went back to those verses in Matthew 7:13, 14, and then I could see why many are going into the broad way that leads to destruction. God says in his Word: "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8, 9; see also Titus 3:5). But man wants to do something and have a part in his salvation. But we read in Romans 4:5, "To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
The evangelist led my wife to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ just a few days before she was to have been baptized into the Mormon Church. How we thank God that we were translated from the power of darkness into the Kingdom of his dear Son, and that we are looking forward to that day when we shall see our Savior face to face.
(Originally published by Grace Mission, Inc.)