I was raised a Mormon. My parents were converted when I was about 5. Many of the people I love are still active LDS. I have no bad feelings or ill will toward the Mormon people, only love and concern. I believe most of them are wonderful people who truly want to do the right thing. They've just been deceived, like I was.
As a teenager, my parents divorced. At 16 I stopped going to church. My dad was disappointed, but allowed me to exercise my free agency in this choice. At 17 I moved from my dad's home in Las Vegas to my mother's in Salt Lake. I didn't go to church with her much either. For the next 9 years I lived as I pleased, with no regard for God or the church.
In 1993, then pregnant with my 2nd child, I realized I was in trouble. I could see that politically, the world was moving quickly toward fulfilling the prophecies in the book of Revelation that I'd read in my early teens. I didn't want to go through the end-times (or die) while in rebellion toward God. I had to try to get right with Him. If it was too late for me, I had to at least set an example for my husband and our children. So I began attending the LDS church with my daughter. Dana found himself married to a completely different woman. I'd gone from very unspiritual and unconcerned about sin, to quite religious. This was not what he'd signed up for.
A year later we moved to a new home. I made friends with a neighbor, Donna (not her real name). She confided in me that they were polygamists. At the time she was the only wife, but she looked forward to the day her husband would find her a sister-wife. I asked why she'd want to live that way. She and her husband had both grown up in polygamist families and that's just the way it was. She'd never read much, but just believed and obeyed what she'd been told. She knew it had something to do with the 132nd section of the Doctrine and Covenants, a revelation God gave Joseph Smith. She suggested I read it; so I did:
"...I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines-"Mainstream Mormonism says that President Wilford Woodruff, a more recent prophet, received a subsequent revelation, called the Manifesto, negating the one I just quoted. The church now forbids polygamy. Donna's family believes the original law is still in effect. The polygamists say Pres. Woodruff caved in to political pressure and made up the new revelation himself. This is where their division began.(Doctrine and Covenants 132:1)
"Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same. For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory."(D&C 132:3, 4)
"Go ye therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved."(D&C 132:32)
"God commanded Abraham and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law..."(D&C 132:34)"And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God."(D&C 132:52)
"And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law."(D&C 132:54) (Wow! Listen up, Emma!)
"And if he (a man) have ten virgins given unto him by this law he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified."(D&C 132:62)
I was torn. If God didn't say all this to Joseph Smith, then he was a false prophet, and the LDS scriptures are fraudulent and the church is untrue. At the time, this was inconceivable to me.
If the church as it stands now is correct, then it doesn't make sense that God changed his mind and revoked his own law. I mean, God used some pretty strong language in that revelation. His law must be obeyed under penalty of destruction and damnation, unless it becomes politically incorrect? Then he'll rethink the whole thing? How do you trust a God like that? How do you know when he's serious? His New and Everlasting Covenant certainly didn't last very long. For a God that sees the end from the beginning, he should've seen that one coming. Perhaps he should have called it the New and For a Little While Covenant.
If Mormonism had gone off track, then polygamy would still be a requirement for exaltation. And now that I was exposed to it, I would be held accountable--
"...for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same." (D&C 132:3)I studied and struggled with this section of the D&C for the next year and a half.
I had to believe that God's word stood as it did when originally given to Joseph Smith. The whole idea of polygamy really bothered me, but who was I to argue with God? Still, I felt I had an advantage. Since my husband was not a Mormon, I was exempt from any requirement to enter into polygamy for now. (Whew!) However, if Dana were to embrace it, I'd be required to live it. Regardless, I knew that I'd have to be a polygamist after death if I made it to the Celestial Kingdom.
Mormonism teaches that if we live our lives according to all the laws and ordinances of the gospel, we can go to the Celestial Kingdom. And what will be your reward?
Well, if you are a man, you will have thousands of wives,(Journal of Discourses vol. 4, p. 209) millions of children and other worlds over which you alone will be God. (J. of D. vol. 8, p. 178; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 346)
If you are a woman, you get to share your beloved husband with thousands of other wives and bear spirit children for eternity. This is as good as it gets for women. Is that fair? Now, I didn't imagine that pregnancy, as a Goddess would be as uncomfortable as it's been on Earth. And I liked the idea of having children. But the thought of sharing Dana didn't seem all that heavenly. It may be a good deal if you're a man, but it didn't seem like such a good deal for me.
So why would God favor men over women? I couldn't figure it out. Was I a female spirit before I came to Earth? If so, why? Did we somehow have gender as the intelligences we were in the beginning? Was God loving or kind of heartless? How did he decide who'd be male and female? Was it an eeny-meeny-miney-mo kind of thing? "Male, female, male, female...Men, if you are faithful, eternal bliss will be your reward. Cindy, if you're faithful, your reward will be eternal heartache. But fear not, you'll get to see your very busy god-husband when your number comes up to be impregnated regularly." Oh, joy.
Aha! I must've sinned in the pre-existence. That wasn't so hard to imagine. The church says that's why black people were cursed with black skin. I've been pretty crummy on earth, maybe I was a real brat in heaven and that's why he made me female. I guess I'm being punished. I'd have to look into this theory.
Well, Donna expressed how she wished she could go to the temple and wear the garments; but the polygamists aren't allowed into the temples. I realized I was in a position to receive these blessings and wasn't taking advantage of them. How could I take these things so lightly? I decided I'd do all I could to follow God's commandments. I wanted to go to the temple if possible. But that would mean confessing my sins to the bishop of my new ward. I was terrified, but it had to be done. I resolved to go. The worst that could happen was that I'd be denied. In which case, I'd be no worse off than I was already. At least I'd have tried.
By accident, I found a Christian radio station. I enjoyed the music and sermons. I was offended to learn that these "Christians" didn't consider Mormons to be Christian. Ha! We had the fullness of the Gospel. All they had was the Bible, which couldn't even be trusted. But they sure knew the Bible better than I did. They spoke of things and people in the Bible I'd never heard of. I thought that maybe I could learn a thing or two. So I listened often. They'd talk about how Jesus had changed them and how He could forgive any sin, because his blood shed on the cross had paid the penalty. I'd think, "Well, not any sin."
"Are you aware that there are certain sins that man may commit for which the atoning blood of Christ does not avail? Do you not know, too, that this doctrine is taught in the Book of Mormon?"(Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation vol. 1, p. 133)
Not for a white person having a child with a black person.
"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." (--Brigham Young, J. of D. vol. 10, p. 110)
These Christians didn't have the benefit of modern revelation. The radio preachers would quote 1st John 1:7 "...The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." And what did Jesus say to the woman taken in adultery? "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." (John 8:11) I heard them explain how to pray for salvation. Admit you're a sinner. Choose to turn from your sins, even if you can't overcome them yet. (You just give yourself to Jesus as you are, and He'll clean you up.) Ask Jesus to forgive you, to come into your heart and be your personal Savior and Lord of your life (as in "take charge Jesus, my life is yours.") Could it be so simple? Could there be something to this? Would God be mad at me for even trying this? I took a chance.
"Heavenly Father, please forgive me if I'm out of line here. I'm just trying to find you and do what's right. Please show me what is right, real and true. I will do whatever you want me to. The radio-Christians say Jesus' blood paid for all sin. I know I have sinned, and I know I don't deserve it, but if its possible, please do let Jesus' blood cover my sins and come into my heart like they say. If it be your will, please let me go to the temple. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
(I never did feel it necessary to pray in King James English. If God can understand Swahili, Chinese and Navajo, I figured he could make the transition to Modern English. He knows my heart, and he knows I'm respectful of Him without the fancy words.)
I made the dreaded appointment. Bishop K. was understanding and easy to talk to. I made my confession and shared my desire to go to the temple. He put me on probation. I signed a contract committing to pray and read the Book of Mormon daily, attend Sacrament Meeting and meet with the bishop every month or so. At the end of six months, we'd see about a temple recommend interview.
Around this time, I read a book exposing some of the occult and sinister secrets of Freemasonry. It described some of the blood oaths in their ceremonies. The book also claimed that Joseph Smith had been a Mason. I was shocked! If Mormonism had anything to do with Masonry, I wanted nothing to do with it. These blood oaths were terrible! I knew there were some kind of oaths in the Mormon temples. Could there be a connection? Would I have to wait until I got there to find out? What if it is evil? I'd have to know before I went.
I called Dad. He verified that Joseph Smith had been a Mason, but said that he had left it. I read the blood oaths to him and asked if that was part of the temple ceremony. Since it is forbidden to discuss the temple ceremony unless you are actually in the temple, he couldn't say much. But he finally said that those oaths weren't in the ceremony.
"Dad," I asked, "In Matthew 5:37, Jesus said, 'Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.' So why are there oaths in the temple at all?" He assured me that everything about the temple was holy, sacred and of God. There was nothing to worry about.
My probation ended. I really wanted Dana to take me to the temple to be married for time and all eternity, but he wasn't interested. (He probably thought he'd been a little to hasty in committing to 'till death do us part') I didn't want to wait for him to come to his senses, so I decided to go by myself. Dana gave my bishop his written consent.
I met with Bishop K. and received my temple recommend. I promised to attend church, wear the garments night and day and obey the word of wisdom, etc. I pledged my loyalty to the leaders of the church. (I qualified this by saying silently "In as much as they follow the Lord.") He asked if I sympathized with any apostates. I knew Donna and her family qualified as apostates in his eyes, but I didn't believe they were apostates in God's eyes; so I answered, "No". Then I met with the Stake President and repeated the whole bit to get his signature. At the end of the interview he told me, "I know about your confession and your probation. The church forgives you. But as for God forgiving you, that is another matter." My heart sank. But at least I had the recommend.
Finally I could go to the temple. I was excited. I thanked God for this privilege. But I didn't thank him for forgiving me, because I knew he hadn't. I knew what that would entail. I don't know if most Mormons know a lot about blood atonement, but my dad had taught me some LDS doctrines they don't teach in Sunday School.
I knew that Mary wasn't really a virgin, because she had relations with God the Father to become pregnant with baby Jesus. "...he was born in the same personal, real, and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events, for he is the Son of God, and that designation means what it says." (Mormon Doctrine, 1st ed. p. 670, in later editions try looking under the heading "Son of God")
I'd heard about the mysterious Adam-God doctrine, though I didn't understand it. I knew you could be ex-communicated for talking about it, because a friend of ours had been. (J. of D. vol. 1 pg. 50)
I knew Jesus was married and had children, but that it had to be kept kind of hush, hush. (J. of D. vol. 13, p. 309, vol. 1, p. 345-346) Oh, he was a polygamist too.
And, of course, Blood Atonement. I think it would be best to let Brigham Young speak for himself on the subject:
"There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or in that which is to come, and if they had their eyes open to see their true condition, they would be perfectly willing to have their blood spilt upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins; and the smoking incense would atone for their sins, whereas, if such is not the case, they will stick to them and remain upon them in the spirit world." "I know, when you hear my brethren telling about cutting people off from the earth, that you consider it is strong doctrine; but it is to save them, not to destroy them." "And furthermore, I know that there are transgressors, who, if they knew themselves, and the only condition upon which they can obtain forgiveness, would beg of their brethren to shed their blood, that the smoke thereof might ascend to God as an offering to appease the wrath that is kindled against them, and that the law might have its course. I will say further; I have had men come to me and offer their lives to atone for their sins."
(J. of D. vol. 4, pp. 53,54)
Well, I knew the price I would have to pay. I deserved it and was willing to deal with the consequences. I was relieved to have gone to my church leaders and now I had only one more step left to atone for my sins. The only problem was that I had small children. I didn't want to kill myself until my kids were grown. I explained the situation to Dana.
"Honey, I've got to die by being shot, stabbed or something so my blood will be spilt and God will forgive me. If I ever get cancer or some deadly disease, we'll have to make sure I die bloody first. Oh, and if I'm ever dying in a coma, you'll have to make sure I die in a way that spills my blood so I can go to heaven. Ok?" I hadn't considered how he would explain to the jury why he was caught stabbing his comatose wife. Although, quite seriously, he'd probably be understood and would likely be acquitted in a Utah court of law. (Doctrines of Salvation vol. 1, pp. 136-137)
I was called to teach in Primary. I was a Visiting Teacher. I did service projects. I helped with services at the nursing home. I had Relief Society work nights and weekend quilting, every baptism to attend, fliers to distribute, etc. My church load was admittedly light compared to a lot of Mormons, but it was getting on Dana's nerves. He'd say, "The church puts all this emphasis on family, but you don't even have time for us." I was busy. How could I say "No" to God? I tried to get Dana to come to church with me. He did once. My shy guy. They called on him to say the closing prayer. He looked at me and turned bright red as his glasses fogged up, but he pulled it off. Needless to say, he never came again.
I went through the temple for the first time in April of 1995. I received my new name, Phoebe, which no one was ever to know. I was never to write it down or whisper it, even to my husband. It could only be uttered at one certain time and at one certain place in the temple. This name would be used to call me from the grave unto resurrection. No one was ever to know it except the one who would call me from the grave. (Optimally, this would be Dana, if he ever got his act together.) When I asked what I should do if I ever forgot it, I was told to just call the temple and tell them the date I received it, and they'd let me know what the name for that day was. (??? Over the phone??? Through the mail???)
"What?!" I thought, "Everyone here has the same name today? Everyone here that knows I'm here for the first time knows my name?" Well, all the women did. The men had another name. So, as I sat with my stepmother in the female introductory-type meeting for first-timers, I whispered, "Isn't that neat? You are here in proxy for my grandmother the same day I'm going through for the first time, so she and I both have the same name!" The underlying point being, "Gasp! What's the deal here? You know my name! What's up with that?" She didn't comment.
Well, after the washing and anointing, movie (no popcorn) secret handshakes and promises to abide this and that law and never to reveal the temple stuff, my father and I kneeled at the altar and were married in proxy for his parents and other relatives. Then it was over. It was a bit anti-climactic. I didn't know God any better than I had before I had gone. Just that Jesus was Jehovah and Adam was Michael. (I gave up caffeine for this?) At least I'd learned the signs and tokens that would get me past the angels that stood as sentinels in the Celestial Kingdom; and I was fulfilling God's requirements.
None of it was really shocking to me. During my probationary period, I had read parts of a book by an ex-Mormon lady, who had gone through the temple, so I had an idea of what to expect. (I'd wanted to go into this thing with my eyes open.) There was nothing bloody about the oaths we took. Dad had told the truth.
Finally, I was in the temple and free to discuss the ceremony. I'd heard there had been changes and I wanted to know what they were. Dad was the only one I dared to ask, but I couldn't get alone with him and he was in a hurry to leave town. I never went back to the temple with anyone who had gone before the changes, and I was afraid to ask anyone I didn't know well, so the questions just simmered in my mind.
Now this change in the ceremony issue really bugged me. I'd been told they were made because of complaints. If the ceremony is so important to get us into the Celestial Kingdom, and God went to the trouble to give it to Joseph Smith in its perfection, who are we to mess with it because someone complained? Did I miss out on something that I was going to need to get by those sentinel angels? On the other hand, I was afraid it could've been those Masonic blood oaths that were removed.
I never got more knowledge or understanding out of the ceremony by returning like I'd been told I would. Same boring movie, same stuff. Dana and I had begun trying to read the Bible together. It was very confusing for both us (now I know why. --See 1 Corinthians 2:14.) By February of 1996, I'd convinced him he needed to at least be baptized, by showing him where Jesus said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3) He didn't care to attend church or be a member, He just wanted to be baptized for God. That was fine with me, I figured he'd want to be more involved as soon as he received the Holy Ghost. He agreed to take the missionary lessons. We were counseled to put the Bible away and read the Book of Mormon. It was easier to understand.
He was taught about the Word of Wisdom and how when wine is mentioned in the Bible, it really means grape juice--unfermented. This really didn't hold water for either of us. The stuff got Noah and Lot drunk. Jesus mentioned that he did drink and people called him a winebibber. (Matt. 11:19) The footnote in my LDS-issued Bible says that winebibber means drunkard.
I told the bishop I had lots of questions. He referred me to the Ward Wise Man (not his official title). I got someone to substitute for me in primary and met with this brother in the cultural hall. He didn't have real answers to my questions. But he did clear up the wine issue for me. He looked to the left and to the right, leaned in and said quietly, "Actually, I agree with you. When Jesus changed the water into wine, it really was alcoholic. There are fine wines and not so fine wines. That's why the man said most people use the best wine first. By the time everyone is drunk, they don't mind the bad wine. But Jesus had provided really fine wine at the last. (John 2: 1-10) You are right, but it doesn't harmonize with church doctrine, so we just tell people it was grape juice."
What?! Well, I did appreciate his honesty. That took nerve, I'm sure. But I was angry at the church. This is how it handles discrepancies? They lie and deceive? Are we going to change history and scripture just to fit our theology? (Little did I know, I'd only seen the tip of the iceberg.)
I was into politics at this time. I became a delegate for my party. One evening I went to deliver some papers to the home of two other delegates, a married couple I'll call Kenny and Penny (yes, the names have been changed to protect the innocently deceived). We began talking about politics and then religion. They told me they were leaving the LDS church to join a polygamist group. (What are the odds?) I told them I'd been concerned with the polygamy thing myself, and asked if they could tell me what had led them to make that decision.
Kenny certainly knew his stuff in this area. He had writings of the old Mormon leaders. He explained to me how the church used to be in its beginning and how it had strayed. For instance, Brigham Young preached:
"Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the Garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is MICHAEL, the Archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about whom holy men have written and spoken--HE is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom WE have to do." "When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family;... "...Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven. Now, let all who may hear these doctrines, pause before they make light of them, or treat them with indifference, for they will prove their salvation or damnation."
(J. of D. vol. 1, pp 50-51) (italics and capitalization in the original).
Mormon leaders now deny that it was ever truly taught by the church. They try to dance around it saying it was "misquoted" or "erroneously transcribed". They say enemies of the church twist words and take things out of context, but they are lying. They call it the Adam-God Theory if they're forced to recognize it at all. But it was no theory; it was doctrine and scripture (J. of D. vol. 13, pp 95, 264). Brigham Young was very clear on the subject. Does that make Brigham an Anti-Mormon? A false prophet? Then where do the church leaders get their authority?
I asked Kenny and Penny if they knew what the changes in the temple ceremony were. He did but, of course, he couldn't discuss it. He showed me a yellow book called "Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony: 1842-1990" by Jerald and Sandra Tanner. He said it was all in there and it was accurate.
He couldn't let me look in his book, or he would go to hell for revealing it to me outside of the temple; but he said I could go to the Tanners' bookstore and get my own copy.
We talked until early in the morning. By the time I left, I knew that the LDS church of today wasn't the restored church God gave to Joseph Smith. It was corrupt. It was compromising, covering up, deceiving and lying to us. If there ever was any truth in Mormonism, it had to be in its true original form as first given by God to Joseph Smith & Brigham Young. But I felt physically ill whenever I thought about becoming a polygamist.
Dana was still taking the lessons. He was bothered that he had to go through all this just to get dunked. He pointed out that when the Ethiopian asked Phillip, "See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?" Phillip's reply was "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest." (Acts 8:27-38) Nothing was said about the Word of Wisdom, committing to attend church, etc.
At this point, I couldn't tell Dana about my understanding of how the church had been watered down and how polygamy is essential for exaltation. How could I expose him to the meat of the gospel that I was choking on, when he was finding the milk so sour? I didn't want to shake whatever faith he had. Then again, I didn't want him to say, "Polygamy is required? Hmmmm,.......Well now... Yes! That's it! I've seen the light! In fact, I'm getting a personal revelation right now that I am to take on a few more wives. And don't give me a hard time about it. Remember how God threatened Emma!"
So Dana was baptized on April 16, 1996. He never did come back to church. I figured he'd taken a big enough step to deserve a lull in the nagging. Besides, I had other things on my mind.
I went to the library and got a book called "Polygamy--A Mormon History." I was disgusted with all the garbage that went on in early Mormon history. I wouldn't call it an Anti-Mormon book though. It just presented the facts in an unbiased way and was very well documented. It sounded like Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were a couple of wife and daughter stealing scoundrels. Kenny had read the book and said he believed it to be quite realistic. He justified Joseph and Brigham's stunts as necessary to test everyone's faith. I guess destroying lives and marriages was just an inconvenient side effect. What a nightmare it would've been to be a Mormon back then.
I was quite distraught by now. I thought, "If Joseph Smith was a prophet, then I have to follow his teachings. Whatever God's will is, I have got to do it. But how can I share my husband? I can't! But I can't turn my back on God's will either!" I began to pray earnestly, "God, What is true? What is real and right? What is your will? You'll have to show me. If you want me to share my husband, I'm willing. But you'll have to change my heart, because it just isn't in me."
I called Kenny for the address of this "Tanners" place. He warned me to get the temple book and get right out because there was "a bad spirit in there". I went and bought the book. (I did peek around just a bit.) On my way out, I noticed a rack of free handouts. I took a few and went home.
As I read that yellow book, I found those same Masonic blood oaths I'd been worried about. The penalties of revealing the secrets learned in the temple were thus:
"I agree that my throat be cut from ear to ear and my tongue torn out by its roots from my mouth."; "We agree to have our breasts cut open and our hearts and vitals torn from our bodies and given to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field."; "We agree that our bodies be cut asunder in the midst and all our bowels gush out." (Evolution of the Mormon temple ceremony: 1842-1990, pp.17, 18) These were toned down to just the penalty sign and eventually phased out altogether.
Among other things, I learned that the garments had been changed considerably; from ankle and wrist length to the style used now to accommodate the dictates of fashion. Men used to be sealed to men in the temple, through the "Law of Adoption". I also learned that most of the ceremony is straight out of Freemasonry.
I hid my book and made Dana promise not to read it if he happened to find it, so I wouldn't go to hell. Next, I started on those handouts. I learned of more deception, changes and lies. There were accounts of church historians who were excommunicated for disclosing historical truth at the expense of tarnishing the church's squeaky-clean image. Again, everything was well documented. I went back to that bookstore and picked up everything free they had. Then I bought books. I did nothing but read for a couple of weeks. My house was a wreck. I was seriously doubting that Joseph Smith was ever a prophet. Some days I wouldn't wear my garments. I quit praying.
This was a terrible time for me. I believed in God, but I felt deserted by Him. I was angry and sad. I felt He didn't care about us. He had just created this world and dropped us off without direction. No living prophet, no Book of Mormon, D&C, or Pearl of Great Price. All we had was the Bible, and that wasn't even translated correctly. Letting go of the church was like letting go of an anchor. I felt like a kite in the wind watching my string fray and snap--lost forever, hopeless and alone, heading for outer space. It was a bitter and depressing period. I thank God that it didn't last long. I believe many ex-Mormons remain in this state.
I still had many questions. I was confused about a lot of things. But I knew I was finding answers at that bookstore. On another visit as I paid, I told the lady, "I wish I had someone to talk to who knows Mormonism, but isn't a Mormon." I knew by now a Mormon would only give me answers to protect the church, true or not. She gave me a number for Dennis and Rauni Higley. She told me to ask for Rauni and to tell her Sandra Tanner referred me.
I called Rauni the next morning as soon as I got my daughter off to school. She got out her scriptures and I got out mine. First of all, she introduced me to this Bible I'd been carrying around for so long. She helped me see that the Bible is translated correctly and that it is reliable. Doubting Mormonism was one thing, but admitting it to another person was something else. So, we went around and around. I'd bring up an issue and defend the church's position. She'd give a biblical explanation. I'd look for holes in her answers. Back and forth. I'm glad she didn't give up on me. We stayed at it until my husband came home from work. We did this for 3 days, about 8 hours each day. This lady was a wealth of information. She knew Mormonism inside and out because she'd been a translator for the church for 14 years.
Finally I began to soften. She just made sense. By the end of those conversations my ears were sore, but my heart had hope. I knew Mormonism never was true, Joseph Smith never was a prophet, and the Bible was the reliable Word of God. Not because of a feeling or a burning in my bosom, but because I had facts and they added up right. I'd found Truth that stood on its own, that didn't need me to make excuses for it or prop it up. How refreshing.
At that point, I ripped off my garments, pulled the others out of my drawer, and threw them all on the floor. (They had never before touched the ground. I was taught that it would defile them.) Well, it happened to be garbage day, so I kicked them through the house to the front door. Then I threw them in the trash outside. I watched and smiled as the garbage men took them away. Finally, I felt truly free. I was both excited and apprehensive. Life on the outside. What would it be like?
I couldn't wait to tell everyone what I had discovered. I went visiting teaching to one of my ladies armed with scripture references, quotes, books and tracts to prove the church was false. Tiffany wasn't very receptive. She got upset. I went home and got an angry call from her husband. He wouldn't listen either. Of course I got a call from the bishop next. I asked him to come to my house and discuss the entire thing with Dennis, Rauni, Dana and myself. He accepted the invitation, but called back later to chicken out. I was disappointed. He needed to know the truth. The Elder's Quorum President was at my door within a day or two. We had long discussions for a couple of evenings, to no avail. He kept giving me the party line, but I couldn't push my head back into the sand. I hope they all find Jesus.
We moved to Idaho two months later and started fresh. Dana and I have both become committed Born Again Christians and have asked our names to be removed from the records of the LDS church.
The family and friends I've tried to share with haven't been open. They don't want to talk about it. They hold the blinders tightly around their eyes. I understand. I used to be just like them. They feel that even thinking of finding fault with the church is a sin against God. A real biggy, maybe unforgivable. Learning why I left the church may rock their boat. Mormonism seems like a pretty comfortable boat - but it leaks. All they really need is the One who walks on water.
"I would ask how many covenant breakers there are in this city and in this kingdom. I believe that there are a great many; and if they are covenant breakers we need a place designated, where we can shed their blood." (President J. M. Grant, 1st Counselor to President Brigham Young, J. of D. vol. 4, p 50)
"I say, rather than that apostates should flourish here, I will unsheath my bowie knife, and conquer or die." "Now, you nasty apostates, clear out, or judgment will be put to the line, and righteousness to the plummet." (Brigham Young, J. of D. vol. 1, p.83)
"Will you love your brothers or sisters likewise, when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the sheding (sic) of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood?" "I have known a great many men who have left this Church for whom there is no chance whatever for exaltation, but if their blood had been spilled, it would have been better for them."..."That is the way to love mankind." (Brigham Young, J. of D. vol. 4, pp. 219,220)
To be so shunned by everyone in this group that you've been so enmeshed with is just too much to take for some. Many will stay even when they know it's false. They don't realize there is something better. They don't know that they're worshipping a false god and they're actually headed for hell. Real hell, not the LDS concept of a hell that is more pleasant than this earth.
* Do I deserve to die for my sins? Absolutely! "For the wages of sin is death; -"
"-but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6: 23) Now I know how truly amazing God's grace is. While I was yet in my sins, Christ had died for me. It took the blood of our holy, sinless, perfect God Himself to redeem me. My own sin-contaminated blood could no more atone for my sins than the gunky stuff left in the pan when the oil is changed in my car.
This gift of eternal life is not something I could ever earn by my good works: "...all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;..." (Isaiah 64:6) God is not impressed. Nor can we be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2: 8, 9) "if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2:21b)
* There is no second chance after death: "...it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this, the judgment:" (Hebrews 9:27) Jesus illustrated this well in his story about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:20-31. Note verse 26 --no visiting back and forth. No missions on the other side.
Therefore, there is no need for genealogy: "But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain." (Titus 3:9) "Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith..." (1 Timothy 1:4)
* The savior of Mormonism is Not the Savior of Christianity. President Gordon B. Hinkley has admitted this. "The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak." (Church News, June 20, 1998, p. 7) General Authority Bernard P. Brockbank admitted also: "It is true that many of the Christian churches worship a different Jesus Christ than is worshipped by the Mormons or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." ( The Ensign May 1977, p. 26) I must agree. The Jesus Christ of the Bible is not the offspring of an exalted man with a body and Mary. He has no train of wives and children. (J. of D. vol. 13, p. 309) Nor is He the spirit brother of Lucifer, but rather the Creator of Lucifer and all of the other angels fallen or holy. (John 1: 1-14, Ezekiel 28:13-15) A fairytale savior can't save.
* What do we know about the God of Mormonism?
"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!"..."-I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form--like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man;"..."...I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345)
"...-If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son?" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 373)Compare that with the God of the Bible:
"...even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." (Psalm 90:2)
What does the Bible say about the LDS notion of God being an exalted man? "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man..." (Romans 1:22, 23)
The God set before us by the LDS church is a fictitious imposter.
If you decide to worship a shoe, it would only be a false god. It won't change a thing if all your friends worship the same shoe. You can attribute power and wonderfully benevolent characteristics to your shoe. And Satan will be happy to give you mystical experiences (even a burning in the bosom) to keep you ooh-ing and ahh-ing as long as your eyes stay off of the true God. No matter how sincerely you believe in the shoe, it can't save you from your sins. Even if you pray to the shoe, tell your friends about the shoe, bear your testimony of the shoe, go on a mission for the shoe, blindly follow the prophets of the shoe, or take out endowments at the temple of the shoe, it is still not the one true God of the Bible. You are accountable to the True God whether you like it or not and whether you choose to believe it or not.
Faith in a false god cannot save you from your sins. And we've all sinned: "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23) In fact, the first of the 10 commandments says worshipping a false god is itself a sin: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:3)
* Whether something sounds good or feels right is irrelevant when it comes to determining Truth. We can't trust our feelings. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9) " "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12)
* Please don't put your trust in false prophets who would tell you that hell really isn't so bad. There is no Telestial, Terrestrial, or Celestial Kingdom as taught by the LDS church. They take 1 Corinthians. 15:40 out of context. Go ahead, read the whole chapter slowly.
---Don't get hung up on verse 29. The pronoun Paul uses is they, not I, not we, not even you, being "the church of God at Corinth" (1 Corinthians. 1:1) Note this. The church didn't do baptism for the dead. Some other sect did. Paul's point being that resurrection is not some new or unknown doctrine, even other people, Non-Christians, were banking on it while doing their non-Christian ritual of baptism for the dead.---
Now, check out verse 35. The next 19 verses are answering this question. They are talking about the resurrection, and how bodies of flesh differ from resurrected, or spiritual bodies as much as the sun differs from the moon and stars.
God's word, the Bible, says there is heaven and there is hell. That's it. No degrees of heaven. It's hit or miss. And hell is not pleasant by any means. Don't be fooled by the false security Mormonism gives saying even the lowest degree of Heaven that liars, sorcerers, adulterers and whoremongers go to is better than this Earth. That safety net just isn't there. The Bible says hell is eternal torment, a lake of fire. And we're all headed there if we've broken God's commandments. Let's take a look at some more of them.
"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." (Exodus 20:7) Have you ever used the name of Jesus or God in any other way than with respect? Jesus said, "...every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." (Matt. 12:36)
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." (Exodus 20:8) Have you ever broken this one? Even just once?
"Honour thy father and thy mother." (Exodus 20:12) Have you ever disrespected or failed to honor and value your parents, even in your mind? Have you ever rolled your eyes at their words, even when they weren't looking? If so, God was looking. Have you ever disobeyed them? "... disobedient to parents...they which commit such things are worthy of death..." (Romans 1:30, 32)
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." (Exodus 20:16) Have you ever told a lie? Just one is all it takes. "...all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8)
"Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13) Have you ever killed anyone? Maybe not. But have you ever hated anyone? If so, you've broken this commandment and you're just as guilty as any murderer. God doesn't judge us by our actions only, but also by what is in our hearts. "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." (1 John 3:15) Have you ever called anyone an idiot, a fool, a dummy or something worse? Jesus elaborated on this commandment for us: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and ... whosoever shall say, 'Thou fool', shall be in danger of hell fire." (Matthew 5:21, 22) Hatred, unholy anger, and name-calling will send us to hell just as surely as if we'd taken a gun and killed the person.
"Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14) Jesus clarifies this one for us too: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." (Mathew 5:28) God judges the heart and so we're held accountable. "Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,...thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall not inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10)
"Thou shalt not steal." (Exodus 20:15) What do you have to steal to be a thief? A rubber band will do, or cheating on your taxes. "thieves,...shall not inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10) There are not only sins of commission, but sins of omission. If we've failed to meet a need with our resources, we're as guilty as if we've stolen from the poor. "Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, 'Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee." (Proverbs 3:27, 28) "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (James 4:17) Not helping the less fortunate is a crime in God's sight. Neglecting to give God what rightfully belongs to him is also. Have you always paid a full tithe plus given offerings from the time you earned your first dime? "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me! But ye say, 'Wherein have we robbed thee?' In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me,..." (Malachi 3:8-9)
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, ...wife...ox,...nor any thing that is thy neighbour's" (Exodus 20:17) Have you ever wanted something that belonged to someone else? "nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall not inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9,10)
"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." (James 2:10) This means that if you've ever stolen a paper clip, you've earned the same eternal destination as a mass murderer. God doesn't grade on a curve. There is no statute of limitations on sin.
Time doesn't lessen the offense. Your regrets or apologies won't erase your sins, nor will confessing them to your bishop. Even if a person you've wronged forgives you, that doesn't erase the fact that you've sinned against God. You've broken his law. You've blown it. There's nothing you can do for yourself. If you die in your sins, that's it. Hell. "wailing and gnashing of teeth", "where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched." (Matt. 13:42, 50; Mark 9:44, 46, 48)
You need a Savior and there is only one that will do. Make sure you turn to the one who actually can help you, and not a false idea someone made up. If the blood of the true Jesus covers you, the righteousness of Christ is all God sees. Your sins are as far from you as the east is from the west, and you will go to heaven.
* As for the LDS doctrine of men becoming gods, that is actually in the Bible. In Genesis 3:2 Satan makes his entrance casting doubt on God's word. "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Today he does it this way: "We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly..." (8th Article of Faith, History of the Church, vol. 4, pp 541)
Observe his next maneuver on Eve, "And the serpent said unto the woman, 'Ye shall not surely die.'" Directly contradicting God's Word, as does the whole of Mormon theology.
And then comes the clincher: "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, ..." (Genesis 3:5)
It's hard to believe Satan gets so many of us to fall for that same old line. "...and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves..." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 346)
It was this same aspiration that got Satan into so much trouble in the first place. "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer..."..."For thou hast said in thine heart...I will be like the most High." (Isaiah 14:12, 14) It's blasphemous, and it'll do you in too.
* The apostle Paul never desired that he not be questioned. He praised the people of Berea saying, "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." (Acts: 17:11)
He also said, "But though we, (himself included) or an angel from heaven, (Moroni included) preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." (in case that wasn't clear, he goes on in the next verse:) "As we said before, so say I now again, if any man (Joseph Smith through Gordon B. Hinkley included this time) preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:8, 9)
Paul is simply saying, "Don't take my word for it. Do your homework! Check it out! Make sure you aren't fooled by anyone, even me! The Bible is to be the standard that you measure everything else by. If something contradicts God's word, throw it out!
Let's compare that with what the LDS leaders say:
"The prophet will never lead the church astray." (14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, by Ezra Taft Benson)
"But if you are told by your leader to do a thing, do it. None of your business whether it is right or wrong." (President Heber C. Kimball, J. of D., vol. 6, p 32)
"...Lucifer... wins a great victory when he can get members of the Church to speak against their leaders and to 'do their own thinking' "When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan- it is God's plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give direction, it should mark the end of the controversy." (Improvement Era, June 1945, p. 354)
Kind of reminds me of the official response to Toto's curiosity. "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, The Great Oz has Spoken!"
People, please, do your own investigation. Don't take my word for it either. Check out my quotes. Seek God with all your heart. Surrender your life to Him. Read your Bible. Jesus said, "...If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32) Pray for knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and discernment.
Take Brigham Young's own advice: "Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test." (J. of D., vol. 16, p. 46) See, there's no reason to feel guilty. You've got his personal permission.
I'm going to this trouble, and risking your rejection and anger, because I love Mormons and I don't want them to miss out on heaven. I can't bear the thought of any more of these precious people going to hell because I was silent. Besides this, I'd be in trouble with God if I didn't warn you.
"If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning;..., his blood shall be upon his own head....But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand." (Ezekiel 33:6)
"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13) "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18)
You can't afford to be wrong about the God you worship. My prayer is that Mormons and people considering Mormonism would turn to the one true God of the Bible, Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, and coming soon for His bride.
Beseeching in Love,
"The Journal of Discourses deservedly ranks as one of the standard works of the Church, and every rightminded saint will certainly welcome with joy every number as it comes forth from the press as an additional reflector of 'the light that shines from Zion's Hill.'" (George Q. Cannon, later the First Counselor to President John Taylor, J. of D. vol. 8, preface)
"I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture." (Brigham Young, J of D. vol. 13, p 95)
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