Husband and Wife Together in Christ After 11 Years
Bob and Norine’s Finding Faith Story
Around 11 years ago my wife, Norine, found the Mormons in Transition website, contacted IRR Ministries and spoke to you over the telephone from Northern Ireland. She had come to the conclusion that the Mormon faith which she had embraced in 1977 was false, felt trapped in it and asked for your guidance. You encouraged her to find a local church with good Bible teaching. She was subsequently contacted by a lovely lady named Barbara Palmer who, with her late husband Gordon, led her gently to the Lord. You also put her in touch with Janice Hutchinson as her mentor.
I was raised in the Mormon Church and was very happy in it. My life revolved around it and, along with fellow-members, I accepted it as the truth. My life-experiences were associated with it and most of my friends were members. Norine, however, felt alone and isolated when she left Mormonism and feared that I would divorce her or that she would be unable to remain with me because our views of Christianity were now so different. You counseled her to stick with me, citing St Paul's teaching that the unbelieving husband of a faithful wife may in time come to faith. … I was pleased that she had found some degree of peace, but hoped that she would some day return to my 'true' faith.
Years have gone by. … She found a 'home' in our local Parish Church of Ireland (Episcopalian). To please her, now and then I attended each of the churches where she worshiped, but remained faithful to my Mormon heritage, to her near despair … Though I didn't know it, many of Norine's friends in Christ were praying for her and for me, that I would recognize the errors in Mormonism and come to true faith. As you probably know Mormon leaders warn their members not to read 'anti-Mormon literature' or visit websites where Mormonism is questioned, claiming that they churn out the same old 'lies' that have been disproved time and again, so are a waste of time. This made it very difficult for Norine to get me to read anything which challenged the church. However this spring Norine asked me to read a short book: An Insider's View of Mormon Origins by Grant Palmer (the surname is an interesting co-incidence). That this was written by a church educator and historian gave it credibility and I could relate to the language he used. It was not a hate-filled, spiteful diatribe (as I was taught to expect and feared) like some posts by (understandably) bitter ex-Mormons. Rather, it was like your own wonderful website, an extremely well-researched and fully referenced investigation comparing the history of Mormon origins as presented by the church with the historical evidence surrounding its origins. It was a revelation to me though I am not sure I would have been ready to read it or a website, however reliable, any sooner.
Norine tells me that you are extremely well-informed about Mormonism and will be familiar with the teaching that if the Book of Mormon is true, it follows that Joseph Smith was a prophet, the Mormon Church is true and its doctrines are true. Grant Palmer's book not only demonstrated to me that the official church history was highly suspect, but portrayed the popular theories and religious messages present in the New England area where Joseph Smith was raised. He was able to show how the Book of Mormon could have been written by a clever 'forger' and established that Joseph Smith's character was not that of the upright hero portrayed in Mormon teaching. Now that the Book of Mormon - the keystone of Mormonism - had been rendered very suspect I began to start from a different point. If Joseph Smith was not a prophet, none of the rest was credible. Where did that leave me? Very unsettled! Unlike some ex-Mormons I wasn't angry, just very sad and feeling adrift without a frame of reference. I could no longer stand before the congregation conducting the choir and leading the music in all conscience, so asked to be relieved of all duties explaining that I was having a crisis of faith.
I started attending the Parish Church of Ireland with Norine more frequently and, at her suggestion, spoke to Colin, the leader of the Home Group she was attending. He encouraged me to read St John's gospel and St Paul's Epistles. I started to see in them doctrines and teachings which had been obscured by Mormon theology and realized the degree to which it was inconsistent with the Bible. In May of this year, Colin led me to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord as well as my Saviour. I explained to my Mormon Bishop that I was leaving, and, to ensure no misleading rumours were spread about by my sudden 'disappearance', I spoke to the High Priest's group I had been part of and explained that I could no longer believe the Church history I had been taught and would be leaving the congregation while I sorted out my beliefs. I assured them that I still loved them all - they are great people and dear friends, blinded as we all were by a web of deceit. A couple of them approached me afterwards saying they were also struggling. Soon after this I sent a letter resigning from Mormonism and asked to have my name removed from their records, with which they complied without any problems. I had been providing flowers from our garden for Sunday Services for many years and have continued to do so to make sure that the members know I remain their friend. This has kept contact open between us, though I suspect that at some point I will be asked to stop bringing the flowers.
I was baptized (by immersion) at the Parish in October of this year and Norine and I now sing in the Parish choir, which we love. We are so enjoying being together in faith once more. We are attending a training course on prayer ministry as well as the home group. Our lives are very full. Having been seen as an 'authority' on questions of doctrine in my Mormon congregation, I now sit at the feet of others as a novice in the faith and read my Bible with a new eagerness to understand what God is saying to me through its pages, rather than looking for affirmation of Mormon doctrine and skipping over the verses which don't accord with it.
You may, by now, be wondering why I'm telling you all this. Well, Norine told me about you and her telephone call and subsequent Internet discourses with you for the first time this morning. You may not realize it and until this morning I didn't either, but you played a big part in saving our marriage, in securing Norine in the faith and, through that, ultimately in leading me to the true Jesus Christ (who as you well know is very different from the Mormon version, though I always did trust the Gospels). I'm writing to thank you for the role you played in keeping Norine sane, in encouraging her to stick with me, and in my coming to faith.
I have now begun to join Norine in seeking to bring our children and wider family to true faith through forwarding helpful web-links, but have been challenged by a nephew on the role works and enduring play in salvation, hence Norine's request for your help on that subject. She joins me in thanking you for your continuing guidance.
In deep gratitude to IRR and many praises to God for His goodness to both of us.
My thanks and blessings to you all,
P.S. Since I last wrote, our youngest son has come to faith - the hand of God was very evident in this. As he is away at University we are praying that he also will be well mentored to secure him in the Lord.