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My Journey Out of Darkness

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My Journey Out of Darkness

There was a time when I saw suicide as the only way out of my despair. I felt forgotten by everyone until God showed me that He had not forgotten me.

"I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on my hand." (Isaiah 49:15b-16a — NLT)

In time I would see that God’s unconditional love is truly an "unconditional love." Unconditional, because if He'd based His love for me on conditions such as, if I was good enough, if I had worked hard enough to earn His love, or even who I was as a person, He could never have loved me.

"The first 31 years of my life, I spent as an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ... the Mormon Church. I was trying to live up to the rules, standards, and requirements they had set before me as I desperately searched for a way to earn God’s love."

Was I good enough to earn God's love? Romans 3:23 tells us, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Had I worked hard enough to earn God's love? No, for I had not become perfect and that was required of me. Was it who I was that would make God love me? No, for I wasn't even sure who I was myself.

I had been blessed with two very special foster parents who saw to it that I attended church regularly. The first 31 years of my life, I spent as an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ... the Mormon Church. I was trying to live up to the rules, standards, and requirements they had set before me as I desperately searched for a way to earn God’s love. I was also attempting to find a place in this world where I could belong.

I memorized scriptures, one by one, having been taught their individual meanings which had been based on Mormon doctrine because I had been taught that the Bible was incorrectly translated. The eighth Article of Faith of the LDS church reads, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; We also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God."

The teachings of this church were the basics that I attempted to build my life, my hopes, and my dreams on.

At age 16, I married and set out on the road that I hoped would lead to my becoming a Goddess in heaven and in the process, I experienced my preview of heaven for a Mormon women ... ETERNAL PREGNANCY.

By my 26th birthday, I had given birth to nine children and had had seven miscarriages .... I was taught that it was my responsibility to provide physical bodies for the many spirit children who resided in heaven with my Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. It was wrong to avoid this responsibility. I had to keep trying.

I was also told it was selfish of me to expect to be able to keep all of my babies because once they had received their physical bodies, my job was done. It was then up to God whether they had to stay on this earth and if so, for how long. When my fifth child, a little boy, died 22 hours after his birth, I was told he was being spared from having to be raised by me. I was such a failure as a mother. Having just turned twenty years of age, this was difficult to deal with.

I decided that I would do all God required of me so that I would earn the right to have my baby son returned to me after my death because I did not want my little one to think I had abandoned him as my mother had abandoned me. But I also realized that I could never love a God who could take a newborn son away from his mother as a form of punishment.

By now, I had learned that loving only brought hurt. I had already had enough hurt for a lifetime. Yet this was only the beginning of the hurt that awaited me in the years to come.

My parents were divorced, my mother didn't want me, my father wouldn't even acknowledge me, my marriage was a disaster and with the death of my son, I felt God Himself was turning his back on me. I was certain now that something had to be wrong with ... "me". I wondered why I had ever been born.

I put more work and effort into following all the regulations required of me by the church, and went through the temple ceremony for Eternal marriage instead of just until death do us part. I had hoped this would improve the problems I was facing each day. I was shocked at the secret teachings I was given during the ceremony yet knew that I had to make myself believe them or lose my tiny son who was waiting for me in heaven.

As time went on and new babies arrived every year, I gave birth to my eighth child just three days before Christmas. He weighed just 3 lbs. 5 oz. The doctors said he probably wouldn’t live until daylight. To our surprise he grew strong enough to come home in six weeks time and as I gave all the love I had to give to each of my children, now ages 7,6,5,4,3,1 and the newest only two months, I didn’t realize anyone could be so tired. One night out of sheer exhaustion, I fell asleep expecting to be awakened shortly for the baby’s next two hour feeding. However when I awoke, several hours had passed and as I picked up this tiny little one, I realized he was dead. He had died in his sleep of SIDS. My Bishop told me, "There was no forgiveness for murder, even if it was unintentional. When I faced Joseph Smith on judgment day, I’d know if it was my fault."

My ninth baby arrived when I was only 26 years of age and he too seemed to be fighting for his life from the moment of birth. He did not die but I knew I could no longer keep having children and watching them die one by one. When I decided to stop having babies, this, in addition to the rest of my failures, led to a divorce. I began facing life with fear, inferiority, and the knowledge that my children were going to be raised in a broken home and there was nothing I could do to correct it.

My life was spiraling out of control. Every effort I had made to improve life for my children and myself led only to failure. When failure, stress, divorce, guilt, hopelessness, and inferiority became the ruling factors of my life, I saw suicide as my only option to relieving the pain of living.

I began putting that plan to end my suffering, into action .... But God had a plan of His own for my life.

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11 — TLB)

The Bible tells us "But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead." (Ephesians 2:4 — NLT)

God revealed that love to me through His Word ... the Bible.

As circumstances caused me to turn my eyes off myself and my pain, and up to Him instead, I read the New Testament from cover to cover, almost non-stop, in four day’s time, and its message and its Author became a living reality to me.

Through my tears, I placed my life, my hopes, my dreams, my sorrows, my failures, and the pain and scars of living, into the hands of a loving God. His love is truly unconditional and a gift, freely given.

Life changed for me in that moment as I met my Savior, Jesus Christ. That was in 1975. I now have a beautiful marriage to a man who truly loves God and wants to serve Him instead of trying to become a god himself. I’ve experienced love from a God who offers mercy, grace and hope instead of one who would take a newborn child away from his mother as a form of punishment.

I have since become aware of a desire to share this message with the dear people who are still struggling to gain perfection through obedience to Mormon teachings. There are so many who are sincerely trying to live for God and to earn His love. My love goes out to each them, as do my prayers. God doesn’t require absolute perfection from His children. He offers us His love instead.

The world is also full of many Christians who are blindly unaware that Mormonism is not just another Christian denomination. The teachings of the Mormon Church are not in agreement with the Bible. 

God’s plan of salvation is His Free Gift for each of us. It costs us nothing to accept it but .... It cost Him everything to make it available to us.

Eternity is much to too long a time to trust where we will live it, based on someone else’s word (not mine, nor those of any organization). Only the words of God Himself can be truly depended on. His Word is the Bible.

"I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God." (Ephesians 3:17-19 — NLT)

— Sandie