From Deception to Redemption

A Lifelong Mormon Leaves the LDS Church 

 


  By Sharon Taylor

  March 13, 2004


I was born and raised as a Latter-day Saint – a “Mormon.”  My family goes back to the early days of the LDS church.  I have relatives who lost their homes and all they had more than once because of mob attacks.  Some came across the plains and went through untold hardships as they came, as well as after their arrival in Salt Lake City.  Some had barely settled in when Brigham Young called them to go south and settle Rockville, Hurricane, and St. George, Utah.  All had a genuine belief in their leaders and willingly gave their all for the cause of the LDS church.

I think about these people a lot, and realize that I too was one who would have willingly given everything I had if the prophet had called for it.  It's called blind faith and almost every Mormon who is faithful has this kind of faith, although they will never admit to it or maybe don't realize it. My goal in sharing this testimony is to help others see the foolishness of this blind faith, and hopefully help a few to think outside of the box of Mormonism and finally see the truth.  Here is my story.

I was raised in Alpine Utah, the youngest of five children.   Alpine was small then, and everyone was LDS.  We had two wards (congregations), and everyone in town knew each other.  All of our activities revolved around the church.  Sundays we attended Sunday School and Sacrament meetings. Monday was Family Home Evening, where people get together as a family to learn the gospel and do an activity.  On Wednesdays, the kids under twelve went to a meeting called “Primary,” where we sang songs and learned Book of Mormon and Bible stories, and had fun activities.  Kids age 12-18 went to Young Men and Young Women meetings (they did the same kinds of things as Primary, but on an older level) and our moms went to Relief Society.  In Relief Society, women 18 and older learned to do canning, quilting, take care of kids and provide help for those in need.

In the summer families would go to American Fork on assigned nights to pick green beans on the church welfare farm.  We had lots of fun picking beans and playing in the rows with friends.   Sometimes we would sneak away and go to the creek that ran along the road to check for frogs and pollywogs.  We always got chased back to the beans when they noticed us missing.   Life in the church was good, and we were all close.

Tragedy struck my family when I was ten years old.  My father was diagnosed with Cushings Syndrome and Vasculitis, among other things caused by taking high doses of steroids for the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.  Within a few weeks of his diagnosis, the disease had taken over his body and he could no longer walk or feed himself. His mind and wit were sharp as ever and he was usually smiling, and always said “G'mornin,” no matter the time of day.  He was well known for his good nature even though he was in constant and excruciating pain.  

People in the church rallied around us as his disease progressed.  Elders would come when he was having a crisis, anoint him with oil and bless him. As a family we would fast and pray for him, and every time the Lord saw fit to let him live.  We saw miracle after miracle and I learned that the Lord was always there.  It was during this time that I gained a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, and cemented my belief that the LDS church was true. I fully believed that we had a living prophet and that Joseph Smith was chosen of God.

Eventually, even with all our prayers, fasting and blessings, my father died on August 5, 1973 at our home.  He was 45 years old.  I knew he was in heaven, and I'd see him again.  He'd done it all right according to the church.  He'd married in the Temple, gone to church, and exercised his priesthood when he was needed.  He was a good man, and tried to set a good example for us – even going to church in his wheelchair when he could hardly tolerate the pain of sitting there.  He always said "stay close to the Lord and your family, it's all you really have".  The bishop said at Dad's funeral that he had been through the refiner’s fire and would no doubt go to the Celestial Kingdom.  I was so glad to know that he was going to be there for sure.

After dad's death, my mother went to work and did what she could to get us all raised and through college. I was the last to finish, graduating March 17, 1982.  I'm sure it was a relief for her to finally have us through the hard part of life, at least from a parent’s point of view.

I had been out of college for almost a year when my husband and I met at a little care center in Provo, Utah.  He had just come home from a 2-year mission for the church.  He was a nursing assistant and I was a charge nurse.  We would hang out at our local Denny's after working the late shift with a group of friends, and since he didn't have a car, I'd always take him home after.  We would usually end up sitting on the hill behind Provo Temple talking until 2 am.   One night in September, we decided to get married, and did so on January 28,1983 – right there in the Provo Temple.  We stayed active in the church and I fulfilled various callings over the years in primary, relief society, scouting and nursery.

In July of 1986, I found out I was pregnant – finally, after three years of marriage.  From the beginning, I had to stay down due to constant problems.  My husband was in the Army at the time, and we were stationed at Fort Rucker, Alabama.  One night at the end of August, I started having heart palpitations and had to go to the post hospital’s emergency room.  I was fine, but the doctors informed me that I would need to go to Texas to see an OB doctor and a cardiologist.  We decided that I would go home to Utah instead, and stay with my mother.  That way, I could see my own OB doctor, and go to a cardiologist I knew in Provo.  My husband and a friend gave me a priesthood blessing and I flew home to get checked out. They found no problems with my heart.  Unfortunately, I was having more problems with my pregnancy, and the doctor said I would have to stay in Utah until I delivered.  My husband put in for a transfer to Fort Carson, Colorado so he would be closer to me.  He got his transfer a month later.

Within a few weeks of my arrival, my mother got very ill. We rushed her to the hospital, and called in the Elders to give her a blessing. We also began a fast, and prayed for her.  This time the Lord did not see fit to grant a miracle. Mom passed away October 6, 1986 – she was 56.  I felt like the world had collapsed when she died. And yet I felt comfort knowing she was in a better place, and that she was with Dad.  I pictured the grand reunion she was having with Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, and all the rest.  I could picture her and Dad dancing there in paradise like the night they met.  They were married in the Temple… all was well.

After Mom died, I stayed in her home with my oldest sister.   My husband would drive over from Fort Carson about every six weeks and things were going well for us.  That is, until 3 am on January 12th, when I turned over in bed and my water broke.  I was six weeks too early to have my baby.  I called the doctor and he said he'd meet me at the hospital.  We drove the 30 miles to Provo, praying all the way.  I felt a calm come over me, and just knew everything would be all right. I got to the hospital and checked in on the labor and delivery floor.  The doctor checked me out and said he couldn't stop me if I went into labor.  He said I was not dilating or contracting, and he wanted me to stay in the hospital until the baby came.  I had an ultrasound every other day to make sure I still had enough amniotic fluid around the baby.

I had a priesthood blessing given by my husband's uncle, promising me that I would deliver soon and the baby would be healthy. This promise was fulfilled at 3:14 am on January 17th.   I had a healthy baby boy weighing in at 6 lbs 6 oz, even though he was early. All 16 ½ inches of him was perfect – he was beautiful.  I thanked the Lord a million times a day for my baby. I believed the priesthood was an awesome power. 

By the time our son turned 10 years old, I had two more miscarriages, and could only get pregnant with the aid of fertility drugs.  Finally, we decided we wanted to adopt children.  Our goal was to help a sibling group stay together.  We took the foster care/adoption classes and started filling out papers, praying that we would get the children God wanted us to have.  Before we even had all our paperwork finished, our caseworker showed us pictures of three children: two boys, ages 6 and 5, and a girl who was 4 years old.  They looked so familiar to us, it seemed like we knew them. This was very important to me being LDS. I thought I maybe we had known them in the pre-existence (the LDS Church teaches that we were spirit children in heaven before we were joined with our physical bodies).  We arranged to meet the children and began visiting on the weekends, 300 miles from our home.  We had fun getting to know the kids for the next six weeks, and finally brought them home on October 18, 1997.

The most important thing on my mind after they placed the children with us was helping them get to know the Lord, and getting them ready to be sealed to us in the temple. We taught them that Jesus and Heavenly Father loved them, and we taught them how to pray. They made a lot of progress spiritually that first year, and we started settling into being a family – or at least trying to.  It was hard for all of us. Our three little ones were wild and untrusting.  Learning that the Lord loved them had a calming effect on them, and they loved learning about Him.

On August 3, 1998, the judge declared the children ours. We were so excited. Now we could have them sealed to us and they would really be ours.  We took them to the Mt. Timpanogos Temple on August 29th, my mother's birthday. They were so cute in their little white suits and dress. I was so excited for this day to finally be happening.  We kneeled around the altar and could see ourselves going on forever in the mirrors on the walls at the ends of the altar. These mirrors were to help you see that sealed families go on forever. The temple worker sealed them to us as if they were born to us, “for time and all eternity.”  I was so thankful we had made it.  It was truly one of the happiest days of my life, and I thanked the Lord for eternal families – especially mine.

Soon after the sealing of our children, the honeymoon wore off completely for them. I guess they knew they were staying – after all, they were sealed to us forever – and all hell broke loose!

The children had always told bodacious lies, but now they were outdoing themselves; telling people they were hungry and we never fed them, stealing things from their friends’ homes, etc.  People at church were starting to give us dirty looks and stopped talking when we walked up to them.  The Division of Child and Family Services investigated us nine times in the next three years.  Every time, we were found innocent of any wrongdoing.  Our family had to live a very strict therapy program designed to help the children attach and build trust. There had to be a consequence – good or bad – for every behavior.  It was a round-the-clock job to keep on top of it. We had to ask people not to hug the kids or give them treats, because the therapy required that only the parents do those things.  If we let down and didn't follow through, it set the kids back. There isn’t enough space in this article to get into all we had to do.  People didn't take kindly to what we were asking. It made it hard at church because they always gave treats as a reward for being reverent.  Ward members acted like we were so strict that it was abusive. No one would take the time to understand what we had to do to help our children. There was just no way we could explain our situation so that members would understand what we were going through. It was something you had to be living with; it was just unexplainable.

We tried hard to go to all of our church meetings and do the callings we had, and it worked out off and on, depending on how safe our children were feeling.  At first, the bishop was good about working with us, but in 2000 we got a new bishop who did not understand and was unwilling to listen. We asked him for help to buy some alarms to put outside the kids’ rooms because they would have some aggressive behaviors during the night, and we needed to know they were in their rooms.  He turned us in to Family Services, even though he knew we worked closely with them.  We told Family Services the problem and they bought us the alarms.

At this point in time, my faith in our bishop began to falter.  I thought, how can this bishop be inspired and not know we were doing what was right for our children?  I couldn't believe that he had even prayed about our situation, because if he had, he would have known we were being honest.  I no longer had any trust or faith in him as a bishop. It was a seed of doubt that, two years later, reinforced other growing doubts that the church was not true.

Things calmed down enough a short time after this incident, and we were able to go to all of our meetings. We did ask to be released from our church callings so we would be available if we needed to take care of the kids during church.  It was the first time we didn't have a job in the church in eight years.

One Sunday morning in April of 2002, my husband and I were attending the gospel doctrine class at our LDS ward.  We were studying the Book of Mormon. I had my book open on my lap, but I was leaning over, reading my husband’s book over his shoulder.  The teacher read a verse and I read along, and then decided to sit up and read it again in my own book. I read the verse and noticed it was not the same as in my husband’s book.  I jabbed him with my elbow and showed him. He said “hmmm” and shrugged his shoulders at me. After class he said maybe it was changed for clarity.  I said it shouldn't need to be changed – it came straight from God.  Seeing this should have raised a red flag, but somehow I let it go for two more years.

During those two years, God was bringing people into my life that gave me food for thought and left me with seeds of doubt. For instance, I met a woman at my kids’ karate studio who had left the church and was now Christian. I asked her why she would leave the church.  She explained she couldn't believe in the same Jesus as Mormons do. She did her best to explain, but I didn't get it.  Still, it was a seed that would help me understand later when I heard it again.

One day, I was looking on the internet for some good LDS sites from which to get family home evening stories.  I saw www.mrm.org (Mormonism Research Ministry) on the list and clicked on it.  I soon noticed it was not an LDS site, but I started reading the pages there anyway. I sort of skimmed through them and felt a little defensive.  I looked on the list of links they had and thought, what the heck…there is nothing wrong with looking.  I saw Contender Ministries on the list and clicked on it.

The first page on the site I looked at was Joseph Smith’s false prophecies.  I thought well this should be good; I bet they don't have any of it right.  One of the first prophecies that caught my eye said:  “It is the will of the Lord that those who went to Zion, with a determination to lay down their lives, if necessary, should be ordained to the ministry, and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh - even fifty-six years, should wind up the scene.”  (The History of the Church, vol II, page 182).   Well that one didn't happen. Honestly, I had never even heard that Joseph prophesied this.

There were many more prophecies that failed, and I tried to find a way to see them in a different light.  I hoped I would see a way for them to be fulfilled later, but could not.  As I read, I wrote down all the references the site listed. I looked in the Doctrine and Covenants and saw it all in context.  I read the quotes in Journal of Discourses and Church History at the public library, all in the right context.  I soon had the sickening feeling that Joseph Smith really could have been a false prophet. I felt like someone kicked me square in the stomach. It was awful to think such a thing about the prophet, and I felt guilty for even looking at the site. Nevertheless I was in a spot now that I had to know, and nothing could help me but to find the truth.

I read more of the Mormonism pages, and the page titled, “Questions Every Mormon Should Ask Themselves” really bothered me.  I decided I could answer all those questions and email it back to them.   I read the first three questions:

1.  If Gods are individuals who have passed through mortality and have progressed to Godhood, how has one person of the Trinity (the Holy Spirit) attained Godhood without getting a body? (See Acts 5:3,4)

2.  If Gods are individuals who have passed through an earth life to attain Godhood, how is it that one person of the Trinity (Jesus Christ) was God before He received a body or passed through earth life? (Matt. 1:23 and Hebrews 10:5)

3.  If the Book of Mormon really contains the fullness of the Gospel, why does it not teach the doctrine of “eternal progression”?  (See D&C 20:8,9)

I couldn't believe I was totally stumped!  I just couldn't answer the questions.  I was getting worried now. I even asked other members of the church, and no one could come up with anything.  I did get a few responses along the lines of, "God is God and He can do what He wants to, and allow what He wants to allow".   I was not satisfied.

I began posting on the Contender Ministries forums.  One of the owners of the site, Ben Rast, emailed me and offered to answer any questions he could for me.  He also said he and his wife Jennifer would pray for me.  I was glad to know that there was someone that would go through all the questions I had. I'm not sure he was ready for me to send so many, but he was always willing to send me an answer.

Ben and Jen also sent me a book called Answering Mormons' Questions by Bill McKeever.  I read it as soon as I got home from the mailbox. I couldn't get information fast enough.  This book gave me answers to questions that I had about the Bible, and explained how it was God’s Word.  It also told me who Adam really was, and that he was not Michael the Archangel, or the Ancient of Days, but that he was just the first man God created.  I was shocked to hear this because I had been taught that Adam was Michael the Archangel and that he was with God in the preexistence. I believed that he helped Jesus create the world.   Ben expanded on the book’s topics and I started to see how LDS beliefs were completely different than what the Bible taught about God, marriage, families etc.  Still I clung to my LDS beliefs, not ready to say it was all false.  I still felt that there had to be an explanation for the things I was seeing.  I was very confused but kept looking for answers no matter how discouraged I became. Ben and Jen sent a couple more books called Mormonism 101 and Out of Mormonism.  I read them as fast as I could, and kept asking questions.

I studied and prayed constantly. It was in this early time of study I decided to say the sinner’s prayer and ask the Lord to lead my life. I didn't even know anymore, who or what I believed God was.  So I kneeled and confessed I was a sinner.  I ask Him to forgive me for my sins, and come into my life, and lead me to the truth, no matter who or what He was, and no matter if the LDS church was true or the Christian beliefs – I just wanted to know the truth. I poured out my heart to God and told Him I didn't want to make a mistake and be led astray, and asked Him to please just help me. I was absolutely horrified at the thought of making a mistake about the Mormon church and becoming a “Son of Perdition,” which is what they teach would happen if I left Mormonism.

Saying the sinner’s prayer and being saved opened up a whole new understanding for me. It was as if someone switched on a light and I could see.  Still, fear would grip me, and I would cry if I even thought of the church.  Even so, the Lord was working in my life. Things began to change almost from the moment I prayed. The Holy Spirit was teaching me and I had a thirst for the Bible I had never had before. It also brought an understanding of the scriptures I had never had.  I was still reading everything I could find about the  LDS Church on the internet and from the library.  I felt like I had to get most of my information from church sources or I would end up still wondering if I had given it a fair shot.

Although things were changing for me, and in me, I was still very confused and unsure of where it was all leading.  Ben and Jen suggested I read Beyond Mormonism – An Elder’s Story by James R. Spencer online, and gave me the link.  I sat and read it start to finish without a break.  I cried as I read it.  I thought, this man is so strong.  He risked his family for Christ, and he was rewarded for his faith. Could I do that?  I didn't think so; in fact, it made me nervous thinking about it.  So far my husband had been supportive of me asking questions and studying it all out, but I wasn't sure what would happen if I actually decided to leave the church.

During this time I decided it would be a good time to try going to a Christian church.  I logged on to the Contender Ministries forums, posted the names of the churches in my area, and Ben and Jen helped me decide on Calvary Chapel Cedar City.  I was really nervous to go, but my husband came with me and encouraged me to get out of the car and go in. I had been worried someone from our LDS ward would see us.  My husband said, "Just get out and go in.  It's all right to see how other people worship". The kids came with us as well, and it turned out to be very welcoming and nice.  We decided we would go there along with going to our LDS ward on Sunday, and also attended the Thursday night Bible study.

The Pastor's wife was really good to talk to me one-on-one after Bible study, and answer my questions. She would also pray with me, which was a new experience.  That helped me to trust the Lord more and more. I was impressed with how she trusted the Lord and expected Him to answer, like she had a real relationship with Him.  I noticed the same in the other women of the group as well. I wanted to have that relationship with the Lord too.  It was great for me to experience the love at Calvary Chapel, and also to compare the worship of that church to the LDS church. Worship is so different and bold in the Christian churches compared to the LDS church.  I was growing more and more spiritually every day, and attending this church helped me begin to learn more of the Bible and grow in the Lord.

The Rasts suggested I write to Jim Spencer, since he was an ex-Mormon.  I thought about it, and finally went to the mazeministry.com site and read the information.  Jim has a “Book of Mormon Comparison Machine” there.  I went through it and couldn't believe how much the Book of Mormon had been changed. Some changes were so drastic that it changed the meaning of the verse completely!  Some of the changes that bothered me the most were the verses like 1 Nephi 11:21, where it was changed from reading,  

"And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?" (original 1830 version) to,

 "And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?" (my 1992 edition).

It sent my head spinning!  I couldn't believe the church leaders would mess with the Book of Mormon.  Who did they think they were to change things God had given directly to His prophet? I thought back to that day in Gospel doctrine class when I saw the difference in my husbands Book of Mormon and my own.  It was sinking in now that perhaps the Book of Mormon was not what it was represented to be.   Little did I know that Joseph himself had changed some of it when he started to preach that men could become gods, and that the Godhead was three separate gods.   I would learn much more in the coming months that would put any hope of the church being true to rest.  I decided to talk to Jim Spencer and sent him an email.

The first questions I asked were about eternal progression.  What will we do in heaven for eternity?  I told him I thought eternal progression was the answer. Mormonism says that we will progress until we eventually create our own worlds and become gods of those worlds.  I just couldn't accept us simply singing praises and sitting around talking to each other for eons as the answer.  Jim said the LDS concept of God did not make sense, since to become a god a person must live on a world and progress to godhood. He asked the same question Ben had asked, “Where did the first god come from if this is how one became a god?”  He referred me to chapter eight of his book, Have You Witnessed to a Mormon Lately?  He states "God cannot have had a grandfather. Nothing can predate Him. Any being predating Him would Himself be God. God must be the Being beyond which no greater can be imagined. If something is bigger than your god, you are worshipping a demi-god.  When you do come to God, He stands alone. There is none like Him. We can never stress that too strongly. That is why God makes this concept the First Commandment: ‘Thou shalt have no other gods beside me.’ That is the foundational revelation of God: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord, our God, the Lord is one’ (Deuteronomy 6:4)." 

Ben and Jen had been giving me verses from the Bible that showed that God was not an exalted man, and now it was really sinking in.  Seeing the way Jim stated that "God cannot have a grandfather" just made the LDS belief in God being an exalted man seem silly.  That is the only way to describe it. He also said God, angels, and men, were different.

I searched LDS doctrine for a belief that there was, in fact, that invisible God who spoke everything into existence, thinking perhaps eternal progression was given to us by Him. I searched the teachings of Joseph Smith and found only more confusion on the subject of the Nature of God, angels, and man, things such as

  • Joseph Smith declared, "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 345).
  • Mormon Apostle John Widtsoe stated, "God and man are of the same race, differing only in their degrees of advancement" (Gospel Through the Ages, pg. 107).
  • This concurs with Mormon Apostle Parley P. Pratt's comment which states, "God, angels, and men are all of the same species, one race, one great family..." (Key to the Science of Theology, 1978 ed., pg. 21).

Yet the Bible agreed with what Jim had told me, that God, angels and man are different beings. Revelation chapters four through seven is a lengthy passage showing that angels are not the only creation in heaven. Those that appear in this single passage include the following:

 

·        Twenty-four elders (chapter 4, verse 4).

·        Four living creatures (chapter 4, verse 6), whose descriptions are similar to the cherubim by God’s throne in Ezekiel chapter 10.

·        A “strong angel” (chapter 5, verse 2).

·        Jesus Christ (chapter 5, verses 5-10 obviously refers to Jesus, though He is creator rather than created).

·        Tens of thousands of angels (chapter 5, verse 11).

·        “The souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held” (chapter 6, verses 9-11). It is clear that these are human martyrs who died for the cause of Christianity (and also clear that more will be joining them).

·        “A great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues” (chapter 7, verses 9 and 10).

Notice that not everyone is an angel, although everyone is by the throne of God in heaven. Reading this passage, you also discover that although white robes were given to the martyrs (chapter 6, verse 11) that there is no description here (or anywhere else) of anyone being changed into an angel after they go to heaven. People and angels are different here on Earth, and they remain different in heaven.

The LDS prophet and apostles were wrong according to the Bible.  I kept vacillating between LDS doctrine and Christian doctrine. I thought I was going crazy.  I continually cried to the Lord for help and clarification.  I felt as if I were on a rollercoaster through hell.

I had so many questions and I felt as if I needed them answered all at once. I read until my eyes were sore every day. I prayed all day long and when I would wake up in the night.  I read the Bible everyday and ask more questions.  I asked Ben and Jen about Temple marriage and why Christians didn't believe in it.  They showed me Matthew 22:30, “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”  Ben explained that it meant there won't be marriage in heaven.  I still thought there might be a chance there was, since the marriage had already been performed on earth.  I wrote to Jim and ask him if there was any possibility of the LDS view being right.  He said no and asked me, "What if you are sealed in the Temple and then your child turns away from the church and is a blasphemer and murderer? Where will your child be? He sure won't be in the Celestial Kingdom with you. So what good was the sealing"?  I thought long and hard about that one.  I was sick about it. 

While I was on the computer at the public library one day, I read Mormonism’s Temple of Doom, by Bill Schnoebelen and Jim Spencer.  I had been heavy into New Age healing, and energy and light work, so this book had a real affect on me.  As I read the information on the tokens of the priesthood it gave me chills. These paragraphs set it firmly in my heart that the temple rites were not of God:

"The Sign of the Nail activates a point said in acupuncture to alleviate the symptoms of convulsions, hiccough and insanity. In the Craft this grip was regarded as powerful enough to stimulate the blind rage necessary to work real black magick.

“The Second Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood, or Sure Sign of the Nail, applies pressure to a point on the meridian which pertains to sex and circulation. The meridian runs up the right arm and over the shoulder, to arrive at the nipple – the precise anatomical spot where the Masonic square is stitched on the temple garment…. The meridian travels down still further and terminates at the navel – the place where the other mark is stitched on the garment.

 

“The whole thing falls together incredibly well: the magickal marks on the garment are held together by a subtle occult web of sexual energy which is activated by pressure from the two highest grips in the LDS temple endowment!

 

“The meridian activated by the Melchizedek grips is classified by the Chinese as Yang – fiery hot and masculine – which fits perfectly with the character of Lucifer as a solar-phallic god.

As I read this, my whole world just crumbled right there in front of everyone.  I began to sob uncontrollably, and had to get up and leave the library.  I went to my sister-in-law’s house and talked to her and cried and cried.  It just all washed over me what we had actually taken upon ourselves in the temple, and it extended to our children and maybe beyond. I was terrified at the prospect of what we had done.  I went home and cried some more. That night I had nightmare after nightmare. I still wore my temple garments because I had decided not to take them off until I knew for sure if the church was true or not. Now I felt uncomfortable wearing them.  It took two more weeks for me to take them off for good.  The fear was so strong it was a hard thing to do, even knowing the truth. The nightmares continued off and on for a few weeks. Finally I prayed and told God that I was sorry I went to the temple, and renounced it all. The nightmares stopped after that.

I still had times when I was gripped by a strong fear but I would pray my way through it. Jim called one night when I was having a particularly bad time of it and prayed for me.  He prayed the blood of Christ over my home and me, and dismissed the devil.  Things were much better after that and I finally had peace.

One day while I was sitting in church, the Lord knew I had had enough of the ride and He put it all together for me.  Here is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to Jim Spencer about it, "Then Pastor Joe starts getting into Romans 3. I was thinking yeah no one's good enough and thank goodness for Jesus - and then he started on verse 20. By the time he got to 31, I was almost ready to sob, but I held it back. I had just realized the depth of my stupidity and mistrust. God saved me for real! Even me, who can never be enough or do enough to be worthy. I said to myself I know I got saved, but the Lord said you didn't trust me to have saved you, you doubted me.  All I could say was I'm sorry Lord I'm sorry I'll trust you now. I felt so convicted. To think I didn't even trust Him - didn't even realize it either."  Another weight was lifted and I felt forgiven!  Not only had I learned to trust in Him – I now felt that I could trust others more.

The Holy Spirit worked in me to lift the terrible depression and slow down the emotional rollercoaster I was on.  I learned through Him that all the spiritual experiences I had with my parents and others had nothing to do with the Mormon Priesthood "power".  It was all God, plain and simple. He answered our prayers because He knew we had faith and we had asked.  God should be given the glory and honor, not the LDS Priesthood. Over and over He showed us He was there, and we didn't really give Him the glory. We constantly bore testimony – not of God healing – but of His priesthood healing.  The glory for all the wonderful miracles in my life must be given to God and I now praise Him for those blessings in my life, past and present.

I am now truly saved by His Grace.  I am happier than I can ever remember being! All that was taken from me through depression and self-deprecation has been returned to me by the Lord.  It feels good not to live with guilt and fear constantly. I finally feel right with God and I know He is always there for me.

All four of my children have come to the Lord as well, and the changes that have taken place in them are nothing short of a miracle. Life is so much better for us all.  We are still praying for my husband to see the truth, and I believe the Lord is leading him.  I also thank the Lord daily that my husband would stick by me through all of this, as many LDS men would not.

To all of you out there struggling with this kind of choice: listen to the Holy Spirit, and invite the Lord to lead your life.  This simple thing will open up a new and clearer understanding of the scriptures. It will also help you be what God wants you to be – happy.  He didn't put us here to be full of sorrow and grief or to be weighted down by laws so strict as to bind one's progress and plunge them into guilt and depression. You can’t be good enough on your own, but God loves you just as you are right this minute. He accepts you and loves you and died to save you. Take His offer of love and be free from the bondage of Mormonism or whatever is holding you back.  As Jim Spencer always says, "There were no Nephites and there is life after Mormonism".

Christians, be patient. Don't ever lose faith that the Lord can lead. The people coming out of these types of religions/cults are in pain and have fear that you may not be able to understand. Pray for them, and for yourself to be strong in the Lord so you can help.  If not, they will go their own way and perhaps leave God completely because they can no longer trust.

I want to thank Ben and Jen Rast and Jim Spencer for their patience and perseverance.  I am one who would have tossed the whole thing if not for them and their willingness to stay with me no matter how long it took.  I pray daily for their ministries; that the Lord will pour out on them blessings they can hardly receive, and for their health and strength to continue in the Lord’s work.

 

  V Click here to read Sharon's courageous letter to the LDS Church

 

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