LDS Missionary Returns to Christ
I did not grow up in a religious home. My parents didn’t stress the importance of having a relationship with Christ although after they divorced when I was 6 yrs old, they sent us kids to a Lutheran School. At the school they taught us about Christ, but I don’t have any memories of being taught on how to be born again and become a Christian. So I went through my childhood always wondering about God but really never knowing him. The funny thing is though, that in my heart I always had the feeling that one day I would find God and serve him.
I joined the military while I was a senior in high school. After I graduated I went active duty thinking that this was the best thing I could do for myself. I was wrong! I hated full time military service and I was always sick. I was able to get an earlier release and I moved to Illinois to live with a girl I had been dating. That didn’t work out, so I went back home to stay with my dad until I could figure out what to do with my life.
When I got settled in, I took a job working for Ford Security at one of their plants. There was this guy who always witnessed to me about Christ. One day I went to his church and I heard about being born again. It really hit me hard, but I did profess faith in Christ and I believe that it was genuine. I started going to a Pentecostal church for awhile, but I didn’t stick with it. I fell out and just wandered around. I saw a TV commercial about the Book of Mormon and I requested one. I never got it though.
After a move to South Carolina, guess what happened? The Mormon missionaries somehow found me. I guess when Satan really wants you, he will get you. They gave me a copy of the BOM and I read it from cover to cover. It sounded so much like the Bible that I thought this must be Christianity. I prayed the Moroni 10:3-5 prayer and I truly had strong feelings that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. I even cried for several hours after I made my decision to join the Mormon Church.
After being a member for awhile, I was called to serve as a Church missionary, right back in SC. I served diligently and faithfully as a missionary. It was interesting even though I was in SC on a mission, I was able to keep up a relationship with a girl I had been dating before I joined the Church. My mission leaders eventually were able to get me to break off the relationship, but guess what happened? I ended up baptizing her into the Mormon Church.
While I was out tracting, you know the missionary thing to do ... I came into possesion of "anti-Mormon" materials. I couldn’t believe it, there were folks who were against God’s true church. But I read the materials and even researched them to prove that "my church" was true and they were wrong. The thing was, that they were right and "my church" was in error! I went to my mission leaders and told them about what I had found. They didn’t like it and told me to concentrate on my mission, etc. I continued to do more research and report my findings. All I wanted was to make things right. At one point my mission leaders threatened to kick me off the mission. That's how bad it got.
One night I was just so upset at what was happening in my life. I felt that my life was ready to fall apart. I was believing in a different Jesus, a different God and I was trying to work my way to Salvation. It wasn’t sitting well with the "anti" stuff I had been reading. It taught me that we can be saved by God’s grace (His unmerited love to us) without working for it. And because of His grace, we are created to do good works. I was very confused. So, I left the home I was in and went to a country western bar. Imagine a Mormon missionary in a smoke infested, beer drinking bar. I stuck out like a sore thumb!
It was there that I met my future wife. I told her I was a Mormon (of course she could tell). I even danced with her a few times and told her that I was going to marry her. She said I was crazy and slapped my face for being too forward. She proceeded to tell me about her faith in Christ. Wow, her faith in Christ matched up with the "anti" material I had been reading. She even invited me to her Baptist Church. One Sunday I finally went. Had to sneak away to go though. The message was so simple to understand. No works, just God’s love for us who have sinned.
Lisa (my future wife) and I kept in contact even though the Church had forbidden me to talk with her. Every once in awhile I would go back to her church and listen to the message of salvation. I kept praying and asking God (wasn’t sure which god) that I could just find peace in my life.
Well, it all came to a boiling point. Lisa’s mother even started witnessing to me. She said God didn’t plan for me to be a Mormon, instead he had bigger and better plans. Which God I wondered? She read my mind and told me that the god of the Bible is the only true God and not the Mormon god. It really shook me up.
Later that night I prayed and prayed until I couldn’t any more. That morning which was Sunday, I resolved by the true God of the Bible that I could not continue to be a missionary for the Mormon Church. I went to the Sacrament Meeting and turned in my name tags and told the Bishop that I was leaving and not coming back. I walked out, went and called Lisa and told her what I did. I asked her about what to do, because I had nowhere to go in SC. Her mom told me that I could stay with them until I figured out where God wanted me. So I got what little stuff I had and relocated to NC (near Wilmington).
I attended the Baptist church on a regular basis and even went to Sunday School. But I wasn’t sure about getting involved with another organization. The SS teacher and I became close friends and he and I would have long talks about the Bible and how it applied to our lives. He showed me that the Bible didn’t have errors in it, that it was translated correctly. That I could completely trust in the teachings and doctrines found in it. I finally rededicated my life to the real Jesus of the Bible and renounced all the oaths and covenants that I took in the Mormon Church. God proceeded to call me into the ministry of which I am in at this time.
Lisa and I did get married on June 15th 1994. And last year (summer 1998) I was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I didn’t care how my name was removed, I just wanted it gone from their rolls. I now am the Senior Pastor of a Southern Baptist Church in SC. I also am a North American Missionary with the Southern Baptist Convention. My primary work is evangelism to people in the Mormon Church. That is my story up to this point.
In Christ's love,