Date: January 30, 2018 05:39PM
Hello everyone, I am a mormon convert and a filipino. I was baptized when I was 17 yrs old with my dad. We were devoted Catholics but right before I was visited by Mormons, I was considering becoming an atheist. One time I found a pamphlet underneath my bed and it was a story of a man who saw God and Jesus Christ in a vision (I do not know at this moment that it was Joseph Smith). I thought it was a catholic priest who had a miraculous vision. I was at this time having faith crisis about God. I always believed in people who were having miraculous experiences with God and I was praying to God over and over to give me that kind of experience so I could like those people bring good news that He is real but He never gave me that vision. Then I read this story and it intrigued me.
The following day, I was surprised that a filipino and american mormon missionary came and introduced themselves to us. They said that they have been teaching my big bro about the gospel for several weeks already and had requested if they could also meet with the rest of the family. I was stunned by an american elder because of his skill in speaking our language so I began to listen. They taught us the lesson about joseph smith and the prophets. It gave me a familiar ring since I've read the same pamphlet they were using. I was asking them how could a boy see God and the Son in just a single prayer while I was praying all my life for the same experience and never had received even a dream. They answered me that God manifests himself in many different ways but mostly it is through the Holy Ghost and that I could also receive God's answers through my feelings. They then introduced us the Book of Mormon as Joseph Smith's evidence that he really saw God and his Son. They promised us that if we read, ponder and pray if it is true as promised by an angel named Moroni who was the last prophet who wrote in that book, God wouLd manifest to us that it is true, through the Holy Ghost.
They gave us 3 Nephi 11 as assignment to read. I did pray about it and my big bro too. I never had received any spiritual experiences after I prayed but when the missionaries came back to follow up, they asked us if we read about the chapter gave us and prayed about it, we said we did then they asked how do we feel about the book, before I could speak, my big bro said he felt an overwhelming feelings that the book is true and that he thought God answered him. I was puzzled and quite disappointed with myself and a bit confused about why in a world God does not answer me? What have I done wrong? Nevertheless, the missionaries asked me what do I feel? I was very young 17 of age and I am afraid that if I say I didnt feel anything, I would make the situation become awkward since the situation has become dramatic. So, I said I felt that the book is good but I dont know if God answered me. The missionaries went on to say that my feelings about the book being good is God's answer so I was kinda like saying to my head "Oh is that it?". Nevertheless, the discussion went on and it was about the chapter we've read that Jesus gave authority to baptize and for a baptism to become valid, one must be baptized by one having priesthood authority. They told us that since God gave us a confirmation about the truthfulness of their message, we have to make a decision whether we would follow Christ's example and be baptized by one having authority. My big bro said yes, but I was too hesitant but like Lemuel, I was like following whatever my big bro Laman has to say so I made a big "YES" decision to get baptized.
We have to attend church service on two consecutive Sundays to qualify for baptism so we did and was eventually baptized. However, I never mentioned that before we got baptized my father was proselyted too. He was a devoted catholic but seeing that my big bro is listening to missionaries made him decide to get baptized too. It is because my big bro was a black sheep in the family and my father wanted him to changed his ways. If that would help him stop from bringing trouble, he decided to join us in a discussion and then made a decision to also become a mormon. I do not know how he got his testimony because the missionaries were teaching us separately since we went ahead in a lesson than my dad. I just saw him one time crying while the missionaries were teaching him while I was fetching water from a well. My father and I was the first to get baptized because my big bro wasnt able to pass the baptism interview because of his smoking habit but after two weeks of abstinence, he got baptized eventually.
Then years have gone by as a member of the church, my dad and I became really active in the church then my big bro began slipping away again into bad habits but my dad and I continued to be active. I studied Mormon doctrines and became well versed in it. When I discovered about Joseph Smith's polygamy, I was shocked then asked missionaries and my seminary teacher about whether if it was true. They said that Joseph did that because many female members were widowed because of persecution and lots of male members got killed, so God commanded Joseph to take care of the women and thus the beginning of polygamy. They had me read D&C 132 and I was kind of pacified about it. (They didnt tell me about young girls Joseph had married and women who was married to other men) Those are the only explanations they gave me. When I turned 19, there was a pressure among members and leaders that I should go on a mission. I was always working with the missionaries when I turned 18 and the reason I do that is because I found the funny side of the missionaries. I have never thought before that missionaries can act immaturely like most of the youths like me because the missionaries who taught me appears very sophisticated, he actually visited me when he became an AP. After finishing his mission, when he returned home, I was surprised that he sent me a letter with a money telling me to use it for my mission.
I have never had a desire to go in a mission but members keep on telling me that my talents and knowledge in doctrine would be wasted and that I would regret it my entire life if I dont take that once in a lifetime opportunity. Well, the first thing I thought was I was too young, too immature and I am living in poverty too. Although my dad and I were full-tithe payers, we have meager income to even support for a mission. Also, my mother was working as a domestic helper abroad and she was helping me pay for my schooling. If I go on a mission, I will have to stop schooling and disappoint my mom who's not yet a member. I told these things to my stake president when he came to our branch to interview me? He told me to forget about all of those things I was thinking because the Lord already knew about it and will provide for me. I only need to prepare 2400 pesos as a counterpart and God will take care of the rest. I told him what about my schooling and my mom? He told me that God will also take care of that. After saying that, I was thinking about how to tell my mom. So I wrote my mom a letter because I dont have a phone to call my mom so a letter was my only means of communicating with her. I do not even know how to use the internet that time. After several weeks my mom replied and was very mad at me and my dad for letting the religion take much of control of our lives. She bought and sent us a phone so we could communicate with her better. I was too afraid of my mom so I forgot about thinking on going on a mission.
Then I turned 23 years old, my mom was still working abroad. I had my own job and supporting my college although she helps me with my tuition since she wanted to contribute with my success. However, my former branch president who was serving as a stake councilman interviewed me and began encouraging me again to go on a mission before it was too late for me to go since I was 23 that time. He told me that I am in the right age to decide for myself. So after fasting and praying about it even without feelings of confirmation, I decided to stop college and work then go on a mission. My mom actually threatened me that if I go, she will never returned. I told her that I know that she cant do that. I never had imagined breaking my moms heart that way just for the Lord. So I did go on a mission for 2 years. I served well and was put in leadership positions in just 6 months as a missionary. However, I was still quite puzzled with the fact about how people could feel something after prayers while I dont. I only say to people when I invite them to make certain commitments that God "might" manifest to them the answer when they pray and read the Book of Mormon. However, I am quite too puzzled about how these people say they felt God after they pray while I do not. Maybe because the majority of the filipino people are very supersticious? I dont know. I struggled for myself and became depressed.
I am a good member, strived to obey the commandments out of guilt that leaders and members incur to you if you show lack of interest. I served as a good missionary and was very obedient although I served only out of guilt and pressure. I understood mormon doctrine as it can be found also in the bible. (Although I never searched outside the box at that time) I finished my mission honorably though. One thing I realized though that most missionaries are targeting poor and uneducated people since maybe because they are the most gullible and will most likely join the fold. They also baptize little children without making an effort to reach out for the parents since most parents are busy working. I found that troubling. When I was a missionary, I target people who are educated and can really join in a discussion not just us doing the talking. I like people who asks questions. Here in the Philippines you will most likely find missionaries in slum areas since most converts come from poor people like my family. You will rarely see them in developed areas where educated and sophisticated people resides. However, in my thinking, if they really want to build up the kingdom, they will target people who can really contribute and can help poor people. I see many inactives due to poverty and many could not even afford to pay tithing. (Not that I care anymore now since I stopped believing).
When I returned home, I was able to land a high paying job but it required me to work on Sundays too. So what happened is that I attend church on and off. I was offered by the new branch president a calling as a clerk but I said I cannot magnify it since I sometimes work on Sundays as my schedule shifts every week. Then the Branch President told me again quoting scriptures that if I put the Lord first, all things will be added. (Here's that scripture again.) I dont know why the heck I kept on having feelings of guilt everytime I refuse to do something when asked. I dont even have a testimony. Why the heck is God asking me too much while he refuse to five the answer I was asking for for a very long time while people who never really did anything for Him have received their answers! So again after two years of working in the company, I made a sacrifice once again in a hope that God may manifest somehow to me and give me answers to my prayers. I resigned from the company and found a low paying job that would allow me to have weekends off then accepted callings from the church but this time as a branch pianist. (Well, I learned playing the piano when I was on my mission, atleast I was able to get some perks out of it.)
Then one time, when I was able to buy a computer and set up an internet, I was able to watch in youtube about Joseph Smith and his polyandrous relationships and young women he married. I was able to watch the book of abraham and its real interpretation. I was shocked with what I've found out! I asked missionaries about all of these but one missionary said that those were only celestial sealings and that Joseph Smith had never had children with those women. I was racked and disturbed of their admittance. I told them how in a world would God tell Joseph Smith to send husbands on a mission so he could take their wives from them for eternity and how could he marry them without having children with them knowing that I was taught repeatedly and it was in D&C 132 that the sole purpose of why God allowed polygamy is to raise seed for him. It was also mentioned in the BOM in the book of Jacob 2:30. They were rattled and dont know what to say. I do not know if one of them is also aware of this things as he was quiet then later told me if what else do I know? One of them said that it was God who commanded it and he went on with the reasoning that God commanded man not to kill but he commanded Nephi to kill Laban then continued on with saying that men's ways are not God's ways. I told them that if they were put in a situation with those men whose wives Joseph secretly married, what would they feel? Even if that were just a celestial only marriage, could they or would they take it and move on with their lives knowing that their beloved wives will not be with them in the eternities? That missionary said he would if God commanded it then I told him that he can only say that because he knows that will not happen to him today. I told them I am done, if they are telling me that the kind of being I was worshipping is like this! I would gladly live my life in outer darkness than to live with that kind of tyranical God! I cried in front of them and right here in my house and told them I do not believe anymore and I am angry with Joseph Smith and the church. But I told them that they are still my friends and that will never change.
They never gave up on me until now. They dont visit me nmore as they maybe afraid of the questions I might throw them or maybe because the other missionary was shocked too. They just keep on sending me book of mormon messages to read And asking me to keep on praying. I told them not to waste time. I dont know how to get out though. I still attend church because there are old women there who likes to listen to me playing the piano. They are so dear to my heart and my mom too have become a member and she was very happy and active! I dont want to break her heart once again. I was so depressed to the point that I am now consulting with a psychiatrist to help me to move on. I was taking anti depressants and was thinking about suicide as it breaks my heart to see my family trapped in a fraud! They are all full tithe payers. I want to confront my branch president but I am afraid that my family would know and I dont want to confuse them especially my mom whose reasons of joining is because of me! The missionaries arent informing the leaders about my concerns as they also know that these leaders arent highly educated and living in poverty and that they do not know about all these things. It was odd that I was asking God to show me the truths and now here I am, knowing about lots of damning facts about the church, Book of Mormon translation and damning history.
I sacrificed a lot for this church and it gave me only confusion and now I am mentally sick, depressed and wanting to kill myself. I am heartbroken for my family! I dont know how to tell them to get out! My younger bro has returned from mission and was married in the temple. My big bro was active again and both of my parents. They were all full tithe payer and really believes the church ia true. But here I am, knowing the truth and living in hell! I want to die or maybe just lose all my memory and forget who I am! Now I am agnostic, although still a member of the mormon church!