Monday, April 17, 2006

FORMER LDS JACKIE LEAVES THE MORMON CHURCH

My New Testimony - by Jackie Lou Kaldahl

In 1982, at age nine, I was baptized, along with my mother, into the Mormon Church, formally known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For the most part, I followed and trusted the teachings and doctrines of the leaders and "prophets" literally with blind faith until my fiance, Rick, loved me enough to study the "Mormon Bible" (The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ), and thoroughly study Mormon doctrine. With much study, prayer and guidance from trusted Christian pastors and friends, and even from ex-Mormons, he reached the conclusion that the book and the Church were works of the Devil. He argued, debated, pleaded and prayed with me, hoping that I would believe the truth about Mormonism and reach the same conclusion for myself. He exposed me to dangerous, blasphemous and even ridiculous teachings of past and present Mormon "prophets" and leaders that I never even heard of.

All of his pleading and teaching seemed to be in vain because, like most Mormons, I had been convinced that the Book of Mormon and the Mormon Church were the one and only true Church by the power of what I thought to be the Holy Spirit. I had prayed and received a "burning in my bosom", as is taught in Doctrine and Covenants 9:8: "But behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right, I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right."
I "knew" that the Book of Mormon was "true" and no man was going to convince me otherwise. In fact, the more Rick tried to convince me of the falsity of the book and the Church, the more strong my testimony was that they were absolutely true. I was angry, frustrated and confused, but I believed that I was being persecuted and tried for Christ's sake. I felt sure that I would be blessed for it.

As nothing else seemed to work, Rick was becoming more and more frantic, feeling an overwhelming desire to convince me of the lie that I was part of; a lie that I was, with all my might, defending. He didn't know what else to do, and so left me a home-taped video of himself informing me that he could not marry a Mormon and raise Mormon children; that I should find myself a temple-worthy Mormon man with whom to become an eternal goddess and procreate spirit children eternally.

I was devastated. The engagement was broken and so was my heart, for I truly loved him. Hadn't he said that he would stick by me no matter what happened? I felt betrayed. I called him a cruel and heartless liar. I gave back the engagement ring that I had so proudly worn for a few short weeks. I called upon my mother (a devout Mormon) for consolation. She brought two Melchizedek Priesthood holders to my home to give me a blessing for strength and comfort.

The next Sunday, at Fast and Testimony meeting, I bore my testimony of the truthfulness of the Mormon Gospel and my belief that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and had, indeed, restored the true and lost Church of Christ to the earth, and that Ezra Taft Benson was the true and living prophet.

Holding up the gown that I was to wear to wed Rick, I sobbingly told the congregation that Satan had tempted me, but that I was going to "hold to the iron rod." I told everyone that the pain and suffering I was experiencing was increasing my faith and strengthening my testimony. My mother cried with joy; her dream of her eldest daughter becoming worthy to attend the sacred temple with her was becoming more and more a reality. She told me that she had never felt closer to me and that she was so proud of me for being so strong and for choosing the right.

Two days after that Fast and Testimony meeting, Rick came to my home to collect one of his belongings. I had called my sister and a friend over to support me and comfort me while Rick was in my home. I was angry and not ready to face him alone. I sat and watched as he disassembled his fish aquarium and carried it piece by piece out to his car. It took several trips. I followed him on his last trip.

Fearing I might never see or speak to him again, I couldn't bear to see our eight-year friendship end so brutally and so abruptly. I stood there facing him, crying. I didn't know what to say. Finally, I just grabbed him and hugged him as tight as I could. I told him I loved him. I told him I was so hurt and confused but that I wasn't willing to let him go. I told him he was my best friend.

I didn't know what was going to happen because I had heard him tell me about contradictions between the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon (and other Standard Works of the Church). I had listened when he told me of the crazy teachings and doctrines that past and present "prophets" and leaders taught. I had watched the expose videos like the Mormon edition of The Pagan Invasion series on cults. I had read anti-Mormon literature, such as The Godmakers.

I had gotten down on my knees with him in supplication to the Lord and the God of Adam and Abraham (to be sure I was pleading with the right God) to tell me if I really had been led astray by the Mormon Church and its teachings. I had discussed with Mormon missionaries the things that Rick told me. I read the verses that he asked me to read from the Holy Bible. I was convinced that he was the one being deceived. I was almost as desperate for him to learn the truthfulness of the Mormon Gospel as he was for me to learn the evilness of it. In my heart, I knew that he truly loved me and was not doing all this to hurt me or to drive me insane, but to help me to come to the true and living God for salvation.
We talked for endless hours. We read and prayed together.

I began to have serious doubts about the Mormon Church and I began to see the same things that Rick had seen when he had studied Mormonism. After a few weeks, Rick introduced me to two women, one of whom was a former Mormon. One of the women had a regular column in a quarterly publication called "A Word In Season" published by Word for the Weary, an organization dedicated to bringing the truth of Christ to Mormons. Rick had told them all about me and our dilemma. The meeting was held in the home of one of the women. Interestingly, I felt very comfortable and "at home" with them. I felt comforted, supported and understood by these women.

They knew what I was going through and were willing to help me through it. Weekly personal Bible studies were arranged. I really needed those studies. I had learned enough from Rick about what wasn't true and I needed to know more about what was true. Every minute, every hour, every day after every prayer, after every study and every conversation, I was more and more convinced that Mormonism was, indeed, a work of the Devil and that I wanted no part of it.

I disposed of all the Mormon paraphernalia that was in my house, including videotapes, books, magazines and pictures of temples. I kept my Latter-day Saint issue Bible and the triple-combination of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price, partly because they were an expensive set and a birthday gift from my mother and partly as a tangible reminder of where I had been. After all, I had spent fourteen years as a Mormon. They could also be used in the future for reference. I bought a Christian issue King James Version of the Holy Bible. I had a lot of studying and a lot of praying to do. I had not only to learn truths, but to unlearn untruths. I had to learn who Jesus Christ really was and develop a personal relationship with Him as my (only) Savior and Lord.

In the fall of 1994, I was overjoyed to announce my newfound faith and trust in the true Jesus Christ, my Lord, King and Savior to my ex-Mormon Bible study partner, Kathleen, and to my loving fiance, Rick. My soul had at last been freed from Satan's powerful grasp. In March of 1995, Rick and I were married at my (still Mormon) mother's home, at her invitation, by Rick's good friend and Southern Baptist Born Again preacher, Robert Lockert.

My testimony has changed so drastically and so quickly that I feel like and, indeed, I am, a new person. I was born again in Christ and He has made me a new being. I want to share my new testimony and my story with others; especially with Mormons, so that they too may have the chance to know the truth and to accept and truly know Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Rick and I are united until death parts us, but we know that we will be good friends in our Father's kingdom, worshipping the Lord our God and singing praises unto Him together forever!
(Thank you, Rick, for "walking on fire" for me and leading me to Jesus. I love you!)

1 Comments:

At 9:37 PM, Blogger Barry said...

Praise God!

Awesome testimony!

Barry

 

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