Meet the Mentors — Jon
I am 37 years old, male, married to my wife since 1992 and we have 4 children. I was raised in the LDS church, baptized at 8, and served a mission in Venezuela from 1988 – 1990. After returning from my mission I held several callings within the church such as seminary teacher, Elders Quorum President, Bishops Counselor, and at the time that I left the church I was serving as the Bishop of our ward. I was living my life as a faithful member of the LDS church and then God began to reveal Himself to me in a way that I didn’t know Him and in the light of Christ I began to see the frailties in my belief in the LDS doctrine. I came to the point that I had to place my trust in God and allow Him to lead me on in whatever direction He would choose for me.
My journey began when I began to research a doctrine that I had never heard of before, the Adam/God doctrine. The discovery that Brigham Young had taught that Adam is God shook me even though the LDS church has since abandoned that teaching. I found comfort though that it would be possible if indeed the LDS teaching that man can become just like God is true. I was led to consider then the truthfulness of that teaching and as I studied it in God’s word I found clear evidence that not only is that teaching also false but God has made clear statements against it in the book of Isaiah. My faith began to take a serious beating then as I began to study the other elements of my faith and over and over again I found that my beliefs conflicted with God’s word. At that point I ran across IRR and the MIT group who were very supportive in helping me to find biblical answers to the questions I had.
In December 2002 I had reached my wits end and was feeling spiritually deflated. I took time off from work to try and recollect myself. A friend suggested I read the Left Behind series where I ran across over and over again the Christian teaching of grace which conflicted with my LDS beliefs. I was no longer sure of my LDS beliefs since everything else I had known conflicted with God’s everlasting word. In my reading the “Sinners Prayer” and I considered my relationship with Jesus Christ. I realized that I would not be able to have a true spiritual life without a true relationship with Him and so on January 9, 2003 I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. That moment became the turning point in my whole eternity. As John 1 states we become children of God not by birth or human decision but by the will of God. I became His child at that moment because He loved me and He chose me when my life was being lived out in pursuit of a faith that conflicted with all He had revealed.
As it is with most who leave the church I then had to face revealing my new faith to my wife and family. My wife was initially torn apart by the change in my life as she knew nothing of my journey up to that point. She began to pour herself into the Bible and God began His great work in her life. Our marriage suffered for a few months but in the end she also trusted in Him and allowed Him to work in her willing to leave her LDS faith if that was His desire. At the time I felt it was a risk to reveal my new faith with her but I realized it was a greater risk to us both and to our children for me to pretend nothing was different. God, through an immeasurable portion of grace and mercy, has united us in our faith and worship of Him. We left the LDS church in April 2003 to begin a new life in Christ.