Jason and Laura
Laura's Testimony - I Thought I was Righteous
I was always a very dedicated Mormon. I would bear my testimony, kept the Word of Wisdom, attended BYU, and married a return missionary in the temple. I always felt sorry for people who were not Mormon. I believed that I was really lucky and blessed by God to be raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If everyone would just read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, I was convinced that they would know the Mormon Church was true. How could anyone truly be happy or complete without it?
Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the wonderful peace and joy that I have found in leaving behind my religion and entering into a true relationship with God. My greatest desire and prayer is for my beloved family and friends in the Mormon Church and my dear father who is agnostic to discover God and understand the amazing gift of grace that He offers to us.
It is difficult to know where to begin in telling my story of how I came to leave the Mormon Church. For a belief that I held strong convictions for and founded my whole life on, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fell very hard and very quickly when I took my blinders off and God opened my eyes. Close scrutiny and sincere prayer to God that I might know what is true showed that the Mormon Church is not truth and is not of God.
My journal is full of my professions of love for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and sincere belief in it. I remember crying as a little girl in prayer to God that my Dad would know the truth and believe in the Mormon Church. I read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it. I never got a "burning in my bosom" but I still had great faith in it and felt that I didn't need a sign to have a testimony. I was always distressed at the Nephites pride problem and how they kept falling away from God. I would often pray that God would help me not to become prideful and fall away from him. I did not realize that I was fallen and separated from God. Romans 10:2, "they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge", fit me pretty well.
Once in a while I would be plagued by doubts regarding the truthfulness of the Mormon Church. I usually dismissed my doubts as attacks by Satan. I would resolve to stand firm in my faith and push aside my doubts or concerns. Now, looking back on my life, I believe that God was trying to speak to me and have me seek Him.
I attended a General Conference in Salt Lack City in April 1989 with a group of friends from BYU. I remember a person handing out tracks that were considered anti-Mormon. My friends started talking about how the Mormon Church warns us not to take any such material or even look at it. I, of course, didn't take a track. I did wonder briefly why we should avoid anti-Mormon stuff. Surely, I figured, we did not need to be afraid of it. If it is not correct, we could reason with the person and show them that they misunderstood.
I married my husband in the Washington DC temple in April 1991. I had accomplished my goal since childhood to find a return missionary that was committed to the Mormon Church and marry in a temple. I had resolved very early in my childhood to not repeat my mother's mistake and marry a person who would not remain faithful to the Mormon religion. I did not want my children growing up with a non-believing father as I had. My husband and I loved the Mormon Church and tried to be faithful to the commandments. We had children while my husband was struggling to get a degree. During the first 7 years of our marriage, we struggled to make ends meat. My husband's pay was never enough to cover food, housing, clothing, utilities, etc. We would use credit cards to buy groceries, and we had to take out loans so that we could pay our tithing. I felt that the sacrifices we made for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would be recognized by God and that He would bless us for them.
It was after we moved to Virginia in 1999 that my husband started to feel a great dissatisfaction with the Mormon Church. He did not feel the spirit of love in the Mormon Church in this area. He complained that people shouldn't bear their testimonies that they "knew" the Mormon Church was true only that they "believe" it to be true. He didn't seem to have the same dedication to paying tithing anymore and really did not enjoy attending Church services. I became anxious in regards to my husband. My dreams of a dedicated on fire for the Mormon Church husband seemed to be disappearing in a puff of smoke. I figured that I was lucky though because my husband's parents are extremely dedicated to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I believed that with me and his parents working on him that my husband would straighten out and regain a strong testimony and love for the Church.
Then came the fateful day in February 2001 when we had our "Road to Damascus" experience. My husband was watching "FBI: The Untold Stories" on TV. The show was about Mark Hofmann and the Salamander Papers. Curious, my husband went downstairs and did an internet search to see if he could find additional information regarding this topic. He discovered a lot more information than he had planned on. It must have been a couple hours later that he came to me. I could see that he was visibly shaken. My analytical unemotional husband was very distressed over information that he had found concerning the Mormon Church. He wanted me to look at what he had found. I followed him downstairs to the computer room. I couldn't imagine what would have upset him so bad. Anyway, I reasoned truth stands up to careful scrutiny and lies will fall. I thought I had truth on my side so I did not need to fear investigating this; after all, only lies need to be protected.
When I read the information, I immediately knew that what it said regarding the Mormon Church was true. I knew instantly that the Mormon Church was false and that I had been deceived by it. Nevertheless, my husband and I checked out sources to verify, for ourselves, if the information was authentic. We were able to get the History of the Church books and verify that the statements concerning Joseph Smith on a website are true. The information I'm talking about is located at:
I went through the temple in 1991 and was very disturbed to discover that before 1990 the temple ceremony was different. My husband who went through the temple in 1988 was able to confirm this. They had penalty oaths such as cutting ones throat, cutting one's heart out, and slashing the abdomen and the five points of fellowship that is in Masonry. They discarded this and some other stuff when they changed the ceremony in 1990. We prayerfully researched and went through so much material that it would take me a very long time to give a full detailed account of everything.
Please search (Proverbs 2:2-6,11) and investigate for yourself. God wants us to prove all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The Book of Mormon says to pray and base your faith on a feeling. One should consider the fact that if a book is false than the method prescribed for testing the validity of the book is also false. The Book of Mormon claims that the Bible was corrupted and many plain and precious parts of the Lord's words were lost or taken away. The Bible states that such a thing would be impossible. God's word (the Bible) never fell; it has stood through time. Isaiah 40:8 states, "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever." The Lord's words have never passed away, needing to be restored at a latter date. Jesus said in Mark 13:31, "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away." 1 Peter 1:23-25 testifies that the word of God "liveth and abideth forever" and that it "endureth for ever". The Bible has endured forever in its trustworthiness.
http://www.irr.org/mit/lostbooks.html has a good article regarding the Bible. It specifically addresses LDS beliefs such as secret teachings of Jesus, an apostasy and removal of parts of the Bible, that other inspired books that were rejected in the canonization process, and that God continues to give new revelation through latter-day prophets. The article explains why Christians don't hold to such claims.
I have to admit that I was very angry and bitter towards the Mormon Church for the deep sense of betrayal that I felt from it. I felt that the LDS Church had deceived and hidden things from me a member! I know that Jason was taught in the MTC to avoid certain subjects with investigators and present only certain parts of the Mormon gospel. Milk before the meat was the saying. Likewise, only certain parts of Church History is presented to members of the Mormon Church.
DISCOVERING GOD AND MY SINFULNESS
I had always thought that I was a Christian. It had irritated me that people would think that a Mormon was not a Christian. I mean just look at the name of the Mormon Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormons believe in Jesus Christ. Now I finally see and understand what I couldn't before. Both Christians and Mormons use the names Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, but they believe in a totally different Heavenly Father and Jesus. Same name but completely different nature, being, and powers. The God that I came to know is not limited in any way. He can create things out of nothing. "With God nothing shall be impossible" Luke 1:37. He has always been God (Psalms 90:2). He is not progressing. He has always been perfect. He is a different and much, much greater being than us. Hosea 11:9, "for I am God, and not man". There was never any God that has ever existed before or will exist latter on. It is impossible for man to progress to become a God. Isaiah 43:10, "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, ...before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
In my searching, I began to come to the realization that I really did have a sinful nature. I had always thought I was a righteous person. I figured that I lived a better and more righteous life than most people in the world did. I wasn't perfect of course, but I felt that I had done a good job of keeping all the major commandments. I would feel bad though. While I had never killed anyone, kept the Word of Wisdom, saved myself for my husband, tried to do good things and help others, I continued to fall short and sin every single day. All it takes is a sinful thought or omission of what we should do. I would lose my temper with my kids and husband. I could not be perfect as the Lord commanded. (Matthew 5:48) Even 3 Nephi 12:48 says to "be perfect" which is a present condition not "become" which refers to future. No matter how hard I struggled or tried I could not stop sinning. James 2:10 says, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."
Ephesians 5:5 tells us that no unclean person has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Even 1 Nephi 10:21 and 15:24 state this.) "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags" Isaiah 64:6. Flesh cannot conquer flesh. I was helpless to change myself and be perfect.
SAVED AND REDEEMED
The occult symbols on the temple and similarity between the temple ceremony and Satanism were the last straw for me. They freaked me out. I was convicted that in my ignorance I had been serving Satan and not God. I was finally able to let go of the Church, the system, the rules, my works, and everything I had known and give myself to God. Everything got swept off the throne of my life and God was finally given His rightful place. I knelt in prayer and acknowledged before God my sinfulness. I acknowledged my total dependence on Him and accepted the wonderful free gift of grace that Jesus offers us. I surrendered myself to God and His will. I accepted Him as my MASTER and BOSS. I may not be the best servant but I am His. I experienced the most profound sense of peace and love that I have ever known. Even the anger and bitterness I had been feeling towards the Mormon Church left me. I do not base my faith on just my feelings though. The Bible is my measuring tool. I test all things with the Bible, which is God's very word.
Jesus is truly our Redeemer and Savior. He is not an example or model of how to earn God's favor but is our substitute. He earned Heavenly Father's forgiveness for us by His suffering and death. He was the blood offering for our sins. The law points out our sinfulness to us. Jesus is the only one who could keep the whole law. It is like a huge chasm that only Jesus could jump over to reach heaven. It doesn't matter how far each of us is able to jump; we all fall short. Mother Theresa might jump a lot farther than Bill Clinton. They both fall far from the other side. Only through Christ do we get there. We are captives or prisoners to sin. Only Jesus can set us free.
The Bible is very clear that our works do not save us. (Ephesians 2:9) All of our works are stained with sin. (Isaiah 64:6) Faith in Jesus is what saves us. (Genesis 15:6 and John 20:31) When we still believe in our own righteousness and works, we are not placing our total faith in Jesus Christ. We are not taking the wonderful undeserved gift of eternal life that He offers. "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." (Romans 10:3-4)
We are free from the condemnation of the law when we come to really know Jesus, repent and accept His sacrifice on the cross for us. "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." (Colossians 2:13-14) I pray that you seek to know God and be saved by Him.
In Christ's Love,
I do want to express my thanks to my husband's wonderful extended family. Jason's extended family are true Christians who walk with God. For 29 years his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins and the churches they attend have been praying for Jason's parents, him and his brothers. The last 3 years we had prayers specifically said for us. They never preached to us, but boy did they pray. Most of all I praise and thank God for His great mercy and answering the prayers said for Jason and I. The support, strength, and help that God has given us has been truly supernatural. I thank him every day for saving us. My hope is that you will let him save you as well.
Jason's Testimony - Saved by Grace
The reason I'm writing this is so I can add my testimony to the world about the Deity of Jesus Christ and His plan of salvation, that we are saved by grace. First a little background. My parents converted to Mormonism when I was about 2 years old. I grew up as an active member of the Mormon church, attended BYU, served a full time mission, and married in the temple. My callings included primary pianist, ward organist, primary teacher, and nursery worker. I must admit however that I wasn't the best of home teachers. My belief that the Mormon church was the only true church of God on the earth was based on the Book of Mormon. I must have read it a dozen times. I didn't read the Bible because it was supposed to be unreliable. Why base my faith on something that I couldn't trust? That all changed, and here's how.
One day I was watching the FBI untold stories. The show was about Mark Hofmann and the Salamander papers. I was curious about the events that transpired so I did an internet search on him and the papers. I was surprised to find that not only was there an abundance of information about Mark Hoffman, but there was tons of other interesting things that I came across. It didn't take me long for my testimony to crumble about the Mormon church. It was not what it presented itself to be. I felt lied to and deceived. Thank God my wife came to the same conclusion. It took her only a few minutes to reach that conclusion because of the preponderance of the evidence. Anyone wishing to do their own investigation can start off with www.utlm.org (Utah Light Ministry).
For the next few weeks/months my life was in shambles. My wife and I were expecting our third child and everything I believed in I found out was a hoax. Not only did I think that the Mormon church was a hoax, but was it possible that Jesus was a hoax? Could it be we evolved from apes and that God does not exist? These questions really bothered me because my faith was in an institution, the Mormon church, and not the person of Jesus Christ, who is God over all, His name be forever praised.
The first thing I needed to do was find out if the Bible text was reliable. Since the Mormon church teaches that the Catholic church corrupted the Bible, my first task was to do some research in this area. It turns out that, as most teachings of the Mormon church are, this one is false also. The Bible text is reliable. There are some good resources for those who want to do their own investigation. A good start is "The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell. Another good book is "Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel. Both of these books can point you to other authoritative resources for Biblical reliability. It turns out that the Catholic church did not and does not control the Bible text. There are over 5000 New Testament Greek manuscripts, plus the writings of the early church fathers that quote the New Testament manuscripts. Also the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery should put to rest any idea that the Old Testament text is not reliable since they are dated to 150 BC, before the Catholic church even came into existence. However the most authoritative source that the text is reliable should come from the Lord Jesus himself as quoted in Mathew 24:35 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." My advice to any Mormon is to get a different Bible translation than King James. There are some good ones out there. My personal favorite is the New International Version (NIV). Some other good ones are New King James Version (NKJV) and the New American Standard Bible (NASB). The NASB is supposed to be a very close translation, almost word for word translation from the Greek and Hebrew. All three translations use today's English instead of 16th century English and therefore make the Bible more understandable. Also it makes it harder to twist the meaning of the words, a common practice in the Mormon church.
The second thing I needed to do was convince myself was that Jesus is not a hoax either. If Genesis could be discredited, then Jesus could not be who he said he was. Some good places on the internet that I found helpful are www.answersingenesis.org and www.icr.org . I won't go into detail now about them, but for anyone who has some doubts and concerns can do some of their own investigating at these very good web sites. Also a good book to start out with is "In 6 Days" and can be found in either web site's bookstore. Psalm 19:1 states "The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Paul states in Romans 1:18-20 "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." From the evidence of creation I'm convinced that there is a God. But that doesn't necessarily mean that Jesus was the son of God. What evidence is there that he was who he claimed to be. The first and foremost is the resurrection. If he did rise from the dead then Jesus was God. There is also fulfilled prophecy. Jesus fulfills all the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah. Then there is the Holy Spirit. He is the one who ultimately convinces you that Jesus is Holy One of Israel. By the grace of God I was able to be convinced that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. But then what must I do to be saved. It's easy... read on.
By reading the Bible I came to realize that salvation does not come from human works, it comes only from the grace of God for those who believe in Jesus Christ. Here are a few of the versus to back it up. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:18 "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." John 6:27-29 "Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval. Then they asked him, What must we do to do the works God requires? Jesus answered, The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." John states the reason why he wrote the book of John in John 20:31 "But these (the book of John) are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." Acts 16:30-31 "He (the jailer) brought them (Paul and Silas) out and asked, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved - you and your household." Romans 3:21-24 "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Romans 10:9-10 "That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.' Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger that man's strength." Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." 1 John 5:11-13 "And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." The message of the Bible is clear. The only way to get into heaven is to believe in Jesus Christ plus nothing. Period. Nothing that you or I can do will allow us to earn our way into heaven. No amount of temple attendance, completing a full time mission, paying tithing, etc. can get you or I into heaven. If you believe it is by works and not grace, then you don't have the faith to get into heaven. Just as Jesus said in Matthew 9:22 to the sick woman "Jesus turned and saw her. Take heart, daughter, he said, your faith has healed you." And in Matthew 9:28-29 when he heals the blind men "... Do you believe that I am able to do this? Yes, Lord, they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, According to your faith will it be done to you." He didn't ask any of the people he healed to do any kind of works. The only thing he asked is for them to believe that he can heal. There were times when Jesus was unable to heal because the people lacked faith. It's not that Jesus couldn't heal. He could have done anything he wanted. He didn't heal because the people didn't believe. In the same way if we trust in our human effort, church membership, Joseph Smith, etc. Jesus will not forgive us and give us eternal life. He asks us to trust Him and believe in Him. It's the only requirement to get into heaven. If the thief on the cross had to rely on human effort, he'd be up the cross without a paddle. Instead Jesus shows us that eternal life is only determined on our belief and faith by saying to the thief "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
My only hope is that anyone who reads this will decide to make Jesus Lord and Savior of their life. Eternal life is easy. If you want it say this simple prayer. "Jesus, I know I have sinned against you. I'm sorry and I ask you to forgive me. I have nothing to give you in return for your gift of grace. I now give my life to you. Come into my life and be Lord over me. Thank you for the gift of eternal life that you have just given me." If you said this prayer and meant it you have just crossed from death to life. You now have a ticket to heaven and out of the hell that is eternal. If you don't believe it then you just made Jesus into a liar.
For anyone who is struggling with leaving the Mormon church and needs someone to talk to, you can get in contact with my wife and I. We would be happy to give comfort, assurance, and friendship to anyone who needs it.
Email Jason and Laura