Sunday, April 16, 2006

SANDRA'S TESTIMONY - BORN AND RAISED IN THE MORMON CHURCH


Born and Raised in the LDS Church, the Book of Abraham Controversy Helped Open Her Eyes to the Deception of Mormonism

I was born and raised in the church ("born-in-the-covenant") in a small town in Utah. My family has been members from 5-7 generations on all sides. My grandfather was a bodyguard to Joseph Smith at one time. He was also in the Mormon Battalion.

I held positions in the church from the time I was 16. I have been a secretary in organizations, spiritual living and social relations teacher in Relief Society, Beehive teacher and President in the YW, taught primary, taught genealogy and worked in the stake genealogy library as a calling, been a PR rep. and other callings. At 26 I was married, 34 went to the temple and took out my endowments, and at 35 had a child. At 42 I held a temple recommend and was an active member of the church in good standing.

I had a friend and her husband who left the church. I was concerned and told them I loved them no matter what their choice. They asked if I wanted to know why. I said sure and went over and listened to them. My friend presented a lot of historical information from the Journal of Discourses. Most of it was not new to me but it was her.

The next day her husband told me about the same thing as I felt. He told me he left for another reason and would share it some time if I was interested. I said sure.
Later, knowing the kind of information I enjoyed reading, he told me he had a book about old scripture and would I like to read it. I said definitely. He said it showed the Book of Abraham was not true. I said that was okay, I would enjoy reading it.

After a couple of weeks he gave me the book to read: By His Own Hand Upon Papyri by Charles Larson. I started reading it that day, Monday. Thursday, I called the publisher and talked with him. As I talked to him and started hearing what I was really saying, I realized I was in denial. Saturday I went to the temple to pray about my feelings about the church. That afternoon I went over to my friends' house and asked them questions: Do you talk about the temple? Have you taken your temple garments off?, If the church is not true, then what is?, etc. My mind was swimming.

Sunday I went to church and sat with my son on my lap and the tears running down my face. It felt empty for me – the church, my feeling about it, everything about it. Monday a friend of this woman called and talked to me. We talked for 3 hours. She was an exmormon and Christian. I got up, took off my temple clothes and went shopping for regular underwear.
Later on I tried to go back to just see what it would feel like to be there and know it was not true. I could hear the Primary singing: "Follow the Prophet". I walked out and have never looked back.

The cost of leaving the church has been high. I am happier and free. However, I have also been disowned by my family. I lost my job over leaving. I spent 9 months in therapy and using anti-depressants because I ended up with post-traumatic shock syndrome with major depression. I lost my friends, my beliefs, my understanding of who I was and what I believed. I had to start over and re-evaluate ALL my beliefs and determine who I really was.

I am not sorry for one minute for leaving. If I had it to do over, I would do it again! I have come away knowing the church is not true. That by scholastic standards the Mormon church is a destructive cult, and I am better off without it!

–Sandra

2 Comments:

At 2:36 PM, Blogger Micah said...

Sandra, your story is similar to mine, and I can empathize. For ten or twelve years, I have lived my life in the Grace of Jesus Christ. I took ten or twelve years to able to say the words "The mormon church is a false ideology, Joseph Smith was a false prophet, following the principles of the LDS church and be destructive to our souls at worst, and blind us of the Saviour's work done in our behalf.

I would not trade my relationship with Christ for all the temples in the world. I have been looked down upon by friends, family and aquaintances, since leaving the church. Most of them haven't said a thing, but you can see the look in their eyes when they find out.
I feel very alone sometimes, not all alone, but without someone to chit-chat about the experience of being an ex-mormon. It takes strength and courage for a generational mormon to say those words, and every once in a while, still, a doubt will creep into my head. What if I am wrong? "What if you are wrong? Just be prepared to stand up for your life on the other side" my father told me, as he lay dying of esophogeal cancer.
After years away from the church, and his death bed return to the "true" church, I saw a man fearful of dying. I could tell he wasn't sure of what he was saying, and he had no idea what to expect.
Who could I talk to? Who could I listen to and who could give me the wisdom of their experience of telling a dying father that his salvation is in the hand of Christ, and not the church?
I was fearful and couldn't do it alone. I will forever regret that I couldn't have that talk with my father. That I was too afraid of him dying in confusion. I wanted him to believe something, and if the LDS church were it, so be it.
Only a generational mormon can understand the tremendous strain of finding yourself in Christ, and the emotional toll it takes to leave what you had trained in your head for your entire life.
Well, enough about me. I wanted to thank you. - think of me as "from jack-mormon to temple-mormon to ex-mormon." When you can pick up the ex, you know you've made it!!!
Yours in Christ, Micah

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger Micah said...

"The cost of leaving the church has been high. I am happier and free. However, I have also been disowned by my family. I lost my job over leaving. I spent 9 months in therapy and using anti-depressants because I ended up with post-traumatic shock syndrome with major depression. I lost my friends, my beliefs, my understanding of who I was and what I believed. I had to start over and re-evaluate ALL my beliefs and determine who I really was."

I am happy for you that you found your way out. I did too, in Utah, after being sealed in the temple to my wonderful husband. The mormon scripture I studied. The conflicts I learned myself. The answers from the bishopric I wrestled. Until finally, I left every church house alone, and studied the word of God, specifically the new testament. And then I compared it to the living word of God. The trauma can be devastating to a generational mormon. The ability to believe in your heart to know what is true, and have the doubts creep in, what if I'm wrong? Ever think of this one? At least if I'm wrong, I went to the temple?
The temple, a prophet, an elder with the priesthood, the d&c, the book of mormon, the pearl of great price - they could all only give me what I needed. The exposure of lies meant to damn my soul. I cry as I recall the struggle to say EXmormon rather than jack mormon. I didn't want to be the fighter, the judas, the non believer. But what I became instead was a believer.
A believer in my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who has taught me joy, and forgiveness, and thankfulness and love and security beyond what this world give. And I became a believer that I know who I am and that I have a purpose in this life, but probably a hidden purpose. Not a sign to be seen, as it will be God's, not mine that will be done. And God's purpose and will does not show through funny underwear lines. It shows in your heart.
The greatest thing I ever heard from my mother: "If it (my new faith) has made the changes I see in you, then it can't be bad."
Idon't try to convert my family. I don't know how. I don't want to, even. All I can do is pray for them, that the true Christ will show himself in their lives beyond the "blessings" of earthly order, and find the freedom and untouchable blessings that await them in their very soul.
Yours in Christ - Micah

 

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