The Truth Set Me Free
I grew up in Elfrida, AZ, coming from a long line of Mormons. Some of my ancestors from my grandmother’s side were with the handcart companies that traveled across the plains to the Utah Territory after Joseph Smith’s death. I remember Grandma talking about relatives living in polygamy in Mexico after the U.S. outlawed the practice in 1890. Needless to say, I’m related to a LOT of Mormons. I have to say that growing up in Mormonism was a difficult experience. A mixed bag of confusion was constantly churning inside me. It was as if I had no identity to call mine because they told me how to do everything: eat, act, think, speak, and be. I equate Mormonism to living a lie; always trying to be something you’re not. Deep down you have a lot of unexpressed doubts, but don’t dare say anything or confide this to anybody or they look at you like you just landed from Mars and put all kinds of blame and guilt on you. It’s always your fault if you have any problems with Mormonism, never the church. I always felt something didn’t quite fit with what they were telling me.
A cousin of mine, Mrs. Stephenson, (I don’t call them “brother” or “sister” anymore) wife of the Bishop at that time, taught seminary early in the morning before high school started each day. There are certain things people say that stick to my memory like super glue, and one of the things she said was her patriarchal blessing stated that “ Spencer W. Kimball would still be the prophet at the time of Jesus’ second coming.” Spencer’s been dead for a long time now, and Jesus didn’t come during Spencer's’ presidency. Turns out the patriarch must not have had all the discernment he claimed to have. I could give a lot of examples of this type of teaching, but this would turn into a book instead of a few pages meant to honor and uplift our Lord Jesus. I give thanks He led me out of the clutches of Mormonism. God has given me a fresh new life and a fresh new wife, and she loves me unconditionally. I had known only conditional love until Karen entered my life, so this is quite a treat for me. I love my life now.
In Elfrida I always had questions about the Mormon church, but was afraid to ask because if I asked they would raise the “red flag” to others that I was doubting the church, and then I would hear all the stock answers they are taught to give doubters. I heard things like “just read the Book of Mormon again and pray about it” and “Follow the prophet, he can’t lead you astray” or “When the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done.” Faced with a question they can’t reasonably answer, here comes the favorite fallback: THE MORMON TESTIMONY. You’ve heard it, they all sound the same; “I testify to you I know the Book of Mormon is true, I know Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, I know the Mormon Church is true.” This testimony is based on FEELINGS. Mormons trust feelings over facts.
If you’re having doubts about something, you should be able to ask questions, then make up your own mind whether the answers you hear are true. Anywhere I’ve been in life - school, the military, my work, or when talking to Pastors and other believers in Christ, they have always been happy to answer my questions. The Bible warns in 1 John 4:1, “…believe not every spirit, but TRY the spirits whether they are of God: Because many FALSE PROPHETS are gone out into the world.” Joseph Smith was a false prophet. Deuteronomy 13:1-5 gives a test for a true prophet: “ If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commandments and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the Lord your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.” To get a look at Joseph Smiths’ false prophesies and a lot of other info about Mormons (with documentation from the Mormons own original documents), check out this very interesting web site: http://www.utlm.org.
The truth always stands up to investigation. The Bible commands: “PROVE ALL THINGS; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The faithful Bereans,“…SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
No amount of prayer, despite the degree of sincerity, will ever convince God to change his mind concerning matters on which he has already clearly spoken.
I got to a point in my life where I was angry at the Mormon Church for being so deceptive and was agnostic and didn’t want any contact with them. Wherever I went in the Army, they always contacted me and tried to get me to come back to church. Throughout the years I was amazed at how they found me at Fort Carson, CO, overseas at Germany and Fort Huachuca, AZ. Then I found out my Mom was sending them. Mystery solved!
I realized the only way to be free from the Mormon Church was to have my name removed. After I received my “freedom letter” as I call it, (notice of name removal) an incredible feeling of freedom washed over me and I felt like a trapped bird that was now free to fly. As found in John 8:32; “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” I know that the Mormon baptism I agreed to at the age of eight didn’t mean anything towards my salvation, but the main thing was I couldn’t stand them calling me one of theirs, and inflating the membership rolls because of “inactives” like me, so it was an important step for me. A short time after that I went to a Christian church and was saved and baptized a Christian. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in the world! There’s nothing like freedom!
There was an interesting article on cults by Robert McKay of UMI Ministries that showed at least twelve signs of all cults [Editor's note: the article quoted here is no longer online]: 1: Faulty interpretation of the Bible 2: Undermine the authority of the Bible 3: Their Gods are not the God of the Bible 4: Every cult has a conception of Jesus Christ that is contrary to his person and works as revealed in the Bible (the Jesus of the cults is not the Jesus of the Bible) 5: Cults have what Paul called “another gospel” ( 2 Corinthians 11:14) 6: The head of the organization comes between God and man 7: A cult claims to answer all religious questions 8: A universal mark of a cult is its attack on Christianity 9: Another indication that a group is a cult is saying one thing in public and another in private (articles of faith) 10: Doctrines are subject to change. Almost nothing in Mormonism as it was originally founded is still taught today. (this is a big one because of over 4,000 changes in the Book of Mormon and numerous changes in their other “scriptures”)
11: False Prophesy. Don’t take my word about this; check it out for yourself: http://www.irr.org and http://www.challengemin.org 12: The idea that the cult is the only group that God deals with. A cult feels that it is the only group authorized to act for God. (Mormon priesthood)
Also from http://umi.org that I agree with: “Mormonism has cloaked itself in respectability, gaining an image of family values and Christianity. All this is just a cover, though. Mormonism still maintains every one of its heretical doctrines under the guise of being Christian. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter -Day Saints is indeed a cult.”
The Mormons have it backwards when they compare things to their Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants. The Bible was first, therefore test all things to the Bible and see if it’s true.
I know this for a fact: Gods’ word never changes. Isaiah 40 verse 8 states: “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
We are warned about preaching a different message that the Bible teaches in Galatians 1:8-9; “Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including myself, who preaches any other message than the one we told you about. Even if an angel comes from heaven and preaches any other message, let him forever be cursed. I will say it again: If anyone preaches any other gospel than the one you welcomed, let God’s curse fall upon that person.” Another warning in Revelation 22:18-19, “And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the prophetic words of this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. And if anyone removes any of the words of this prophetic book, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.”
Put this all together with the lack of archeological evidence that the Book of Mormon characters ever existed in North America and DNA evidence that proves the ancient people of North and South America migrated from Southeast Asia and not Israel and you see that Mormonism is a man-made religion. Further proof of this is in the web sites I listed plus one more, http://www.exmormon.org where you can find some excellent articles, and one of my favorites under “what’s new” at that site, the Mormon history quiz. Have fun with that one!
Few join the Mormon Church because they have thoroughly investigated its teachings and found they agree with the Bible. In fact, it is doubtful that anyone has ever become a Mormon who first studied all the teachings of the church. Without Christ, the Mormon people - despite their sincerity, despite their dedication, despite their reputed good works, despite their missionary zeal, are doomed to an eternity separated from God, never able to enter His presence.
Today, I compare the Mormons to the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, they had set up all these rules, laws and regulations for them to follow, always being judgmental of them, and yet all the laws were impossible to follow. The Pharisees took away their hope. It’s not up to man to judge, only God can do that. Mormons claim their Bishops are a “judge in Israel.”
The bottom line here: Don’t put your trust in man, trust Jesus and he will never disappoint you. I give thanks I no longer have any doubts about that. We are saved only through Jesus, no amount of work or pious attitude will earn a place in heaven.
I hope this will be an encouragement to whoever needs to hear some good news; there’s hope for everyone.