It was early spring of 07' and I had recently dove back into the "church". I had been severely depressed for years. I was a very unhappy and insecure woman most of my life and my recent addiction to pain killers was proof of my unhappy life. If life had ended at that point I would have been fine with that.
Shortly after my grandfathers death in 2003 I threw myself into the depths of my addiction as I never had before. He was my father figure since my biological father left when I was 2 and my mother married my alcoholic stepfather (at the time) when I was 7.
I struggled with this addiction for 5 years floating in and out of activity in the "church", til one day I finally broke my cycle of eminent death. I knew if I didn't quit I would be dead soon and I needed a way out. A way out so I could at least raise my 3 baby boys.
I turned in a fraudulent prescription at the local pharmacy and I asked, "God Please HELP Me." A week later I had detoxed my body alone at home and then I turned myself in and was hauled to purgatory in Hurricane. At that point I had a 7 and 3 year old, plus and infant at home. It turned my world around in an instant.
As I lay in a cell that was only opened when the guards unlocked it, I thought about who I was and where I was going. I had wanted to die before I landed in jail, but because of my children and my husbands pleas, I decided that I could live, but only on one condition.
So as I lay on my metal bed and my thin roll up cushion I prayed. I prayed like I never had in years. I told God that if He got me out of jail that I would serve Him and only Him. I told Him that I wanted to be happy and raise my babies in a healthy home. I told Him that I didn't know anything but that He knew everything, so PLEASE help me. I told Him I knew that I had sinned much and to please forgive me so I could go forward and do His will.
As soon as I was let out of jail I went right to work, putting my life back together little by little. I prayed to God every night and told Him that I had faith that He would bring me peace and comfort and heal my broken soul. To commit myself even more to the Lord, I challenged myself to read the entire Bible, front to back in one year. (Why the Bible when the mormons claim it's false?) I decided the only way to weed out the false was to start with the oldest book written and move on to the BOM when I was done. Needless to say I am still reading the Bible 2.5 years later, but the rationality of doing this saved my soul from Hell. Picking up that Bible and reading it was the one way God knew how to prick my cold and lonely heart.
I decided that I needed to go back to church and perfect myself for the Lord. I started attending the Mormon church since I had been LDS all my life. It was all I knew. So I went back with conviction. I dedicated myself in service to Him. I took on my callings with humble dedication and stayed faithful to them.
I went to church almost every Sunday for a year and decided that I was ready for the temple. But I drank coffee and the bishop would not let me enter. He basically told me I was not worthy to enter the temple. I was frustrated with this because I knew I had never BEEN more WORTHY. But I let it go and tried to work on stopping the coffee.
In the meantime my health declined AND I lost my joy! Everyday my schedule was jam-packed with church events and functions. My health made it hard to function but every time I turned around the phone would ring for someone else needing me to sing at church or sing at some other function. I would wake tired in the morning and go to bed exhausted every night. I wasn't happy at all and I recognized this immediately! I also recognized that my family was suffering because of ALL the things I was committed to. I never spent time with my children because the "church" sucked it up with a straw. Weren't my children the reason I chose to live in the first place??? What an AH HA moment!
So I went directly into prayer to the Lord and asked Him, "What was up?" I told Him my joy was gone. I told Him that I was tired of living my life like this and that I wasn't going to do this unless He revealed to me the Truth. I told Him that I would still be faithful and serve Him if He would just give it to me plain and simple. I point blank asked Him if I was on the right track with the "church" and if I wasn't He better start directing my path. I pleaded with Him and told Him of my unhappiness. I told Him I knew He didn't want me to be unhappy, so why was I?
It was no sooner than 1 or 2 days after this wail and sob of a prayer that I was watching TV and stumbled upon a documentary of Joseph Smith's life. I must tell you:
#1 I don't watch TV unless I can't sleep.
#2 It has to be Discovery or AETV's 48 hours
#3 I don't have time for TV
#4 I hate the TV shows they air these days
But lo and behold it was a local station that was broadcasting this film. PBS and the mainstream "church" endorsed this production as I later found out, but it was purely a factual historical account of Joseph Smith and the pioneers. The church did not endorse this documentary to bring people OUT of Mormonism.
This was not compiled by a bunch of LDS stiff-necks from BYU. It was researchers and historical guru's from all over the world. As I watched this show I became very angry and hurt. I was infuriated by the time it was over. I had learned that Joseph Smith was an idolatrous, power hungry, egotistical liar. In a nutshell, he loved women, money and power. They never said any of those words in this documentary, but it was the conclusion I had come to by the mere existence of their production. In fact, they painted quite an impressive picture of Joseph. But I wasn't impressed at ALL! He practiced polygamy and he did it very well. He commanded his followers to do the same and I was disgusted. But I had concluded I was going to have to BE a polygamist in order to practice what the true teachings of Mormonism were!
It has always been a very big issue for me that the "Main-streamers" practice polygamy in the temple. So after I watched this documentary I became very curious and started digging. But my life took another huge twist.
I went in to get my hair done shortly after watching this documentary. My hair dresser, the same lady that I have used for the last year told me about this book that was a true story of a polygamist woman who made her way out of polygamy. She had just finished reading it. The book was called "His Favorite Wife" by Susan Ray Schmidt.
Whenever I hear someone mention polygamy I always bring up my cousins that were forced into it at a very young age and raised up in it. So I brought it up to my hairdresser. She says, "Your family members are talked about in this book." I looked at her in disbelief!
I told my mormon mother about this book and the fact that it had our family in in, so she went on E-bay and bought it. Needless to say, the power of Susan Ray's testimony was too much for me to resist. I knew that I needed to contact Susan Ray, since my family had rebuffed my Aunt and Uncle involved in this story due to some threats that were made to our family years ago. I honestly can't explain why I searched for Susan Ray or my long lost family but I felt so compelled I kept searching for her until I made contact.
Susan Ray was very receptive when I told her that her book includes my cousin and her family in "His Favorite Wife". I told her I wanted to meet my cousin and have a relationship with her, but I did not know if she was still practicing polygamy. Unfortunately, my cousin is the only one left in her family (besides her brother who never practiced polygamy). the rest of the family has been murdered through the workings of the famous Ervil Lebaron hit list.
Susan Ray reassured me that neither of them were practicing polygamy anymore, but that they were both saved Christians. I asked her more about her walk with Christ. Well you can probably guess the rest of what happened.
First of all Susan Ray helped me to make contact with my cousin who has been rebuffed by my entire family. To sum it up, my Cousin and I have a new relationship and we are on a mission to get to know one another. Praise God!
Susan Ray is the one who sent me all the material I needed to start my research of the "church". DNA versus BOOK of Mormon, Lost Book of Abraham, Book of Mormon versus the Bible and Lifting the Veil of Polygamy. She sent me a book called Coming out of Mormonism and a few other pieces of material. She is now a good friend of mine whom I confide in all the time. But God used her to get to me. He knew I needed her and that she could help me with this massive search. I have never read so much in my life. I would read all hours of the night and day. Then I would call Susan and my cousin and let them council me thru my grief and let them help in the process to leave the "church".
The Lord has also used my cousin to help me come to Christ. She has counseled me many times when I have struggled with the truth. All 3 of us have planned a trip we will be taking together to finally meet for the first time.
As I made my way out of the "church" I searched for people I could talk to. Although most are not as bold as I, I opened the phone book and went to the Yellow Pages in search of Christian churches in St George. You'd be surprised how many there are. Praise be to God for that! I started calling with the first on the list and ended up getting someone on the line not long after that. I asked the Pastor that answered if he knew anyone who was a serious ex-mormon. In fact he DID know someone and that this man would come to my house that evening and counsel me. Praise God!!!!! We spent two hours talking about the scriptures he brought with him and his walk away from the "church" and into Christ. I thank God for that man and his wife to this day.
It was not long after I was counseled by this young man that I left the church for good and started attending the 1st Southern Baptist Church a couple of blocks from my house. I have tried attending a few other churches, but God knew what He was doing when he led me to this little church. I have never been happier. I was saved in this little church and when I became curious about baptism the pastor counseled me and told me that baptism was not necessary, but that it was only a symbolism of laying down my old life and becoming a new person in Christ. I loved it because it didn't have anything to do with sin!!!!! Praise God!!!!!! I sin everyday, and now I can rest assured that eternal life is my gift from Christ. AMEN and Praise God!
I was baptized this last October of 2007. My walk with Christ has not been easy and maybe the Lord will be able to help me find a way to tell my family about my walk with Him really soon.
— Shelby Thorn,