If you are investigating any church, please do so in a very cautious manner as there are several organizations who claim to have the only truth, yet they only offer lies, deceit, misrepresentations and twisted historical fabrications.
My story involves the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, known as the Mormons. Before I continue, please understand that I have no hate or disdain towards anyone who is a member of the Mormon church, however I do have a certain amount of bitterness towards those who are in leadership positions, mainly those who claim to be "special witnesses of Christ."
When I lived in Germany, (Fuerth in Bayern) the Mormon missionaries came to our home and presented a most wonderful and well executed plan that had all the answers for peace, success and happiness. I was only twelve years old and really didn't know much about life. Though their tactics of conversion were a little bit of the strong-arm persuasion, we joined the church and were baptized in Nuernberg. I don't remember much of being an active member then only that we never really seemed to be fully accepted because we were poor, my mother was working to provide for my brother and I and sometimes we just couldn't make it to church because of the distance involved and shortage of money.
Upon arriving to the United States in 1964 we lost interest with the Mormon religion and for me it only became attractive again when I was discharged from the armed forces.
While in Vietnam I met a fellow who lived in Utah. He was very likable, had good morals, his manners were very polite which impressed me very much. I decided to move to Utah in 1971, become involved in the church, marry a good Mormon girl and raise a family. Everything seemed so simple until I arrived.
I attended a branch at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, to be surrounded by those who I held in high esteem. My motives were to start a new life, leave the past behind and begin anew. The branch president wanted to get to know me and I was eager to meet him in his office. After the small talk and introduction, he looked at me, threw five dollars on his desk and told me to get a haircut. I was embarrassed to say the least but since I didn't have a job I took him up on the offer. The following week he again called me into his office to see if I indeed got my hair cut. I was very surprised at his hostility towards me. He pointed his finger into my face and almost screamed at me if I were to ever touch one of his girls that he would excommunicate me from the church. Why would a man of God think of me this way? What had I done to make him think that these were my intentions? I came to Utah to start over, to become clean not to behave myself in an unacceptable manner. I left his office confused, hurt and disappointed.
I was assigned as a junior companion hometeacher and while doing what I thought was right, I noticed a striking similarity of the days in Germany were everyone seemed to be watching you. The questioning, the probing of personal business the almost interrogational format of the visits left me very uncomfortable. My senior companion, though a nice fellow, had gestapo qualities that I didn't care to acquire. Everything was reported to the elders quorum presidency hoping to get favorable reviews especially when things of a questionable nature were made known. I began to wonder but didn't challenge what I saw due to my newness to the Mormon way of life.
I was married in the Ogden temple in 1973. It was a strange ceremony as no one from my family was there to be with me. I wondered about the slogan "Families are Forever" but my family wasn't important enough to be included in this most important step in my life. They weren't "good" enough to participate, but I got married regardless. We made our home in Provo for a little while, immersing myself deeper and deeper into Mormon theology. I read only church books, reading page after page of only church approved materials, never questioning, only accepting everything my eyes perused. I prided myself at the knowledge I acquired. My in-laws were impressed with my ability to even teach them of the mysteries as they had been members all of their lives. Through the years I seemed to be obsessed with gaining knowledge. My library of church books was impressive. I could quote passages or find references to various topics yet I was never satisfied of knowing enough. I listened to tapes from church leaders, I watched all of the conferences, hanging on to every word spoken, waiting to have some profound wisdom pour forth from their lips.
Gradually, after several years I started questioning. Things just didn't come together. Inconsistencies and contradictions seemed to surface and my questioning was treated as if it wasn't important. This increased my desire to dig more and more for answers. Still I couldn't accept that the church was misleading me. In my mind and heart I knew that the church was true and that the prophets would never lead any astray. Then finally, on one particular conference I noticed something very strange. All of this time I believed that the General Authorities were speaking from their hearts as they looked right into the camera bearing solemn witness to the truthfulness of the gospel. I looked very, very close into their eyes for that spark of truth when I detected the movement of the pupils. They were going back and forth and then it hit me. All the speakers were reading their talks from a teleprompter, while trying to convince the viewer that the talk was memorized. To me this is what led me to believe that the church isn't really what it claims to be. Why would a General Authority who has unlimited knowledge of the gospel have to read? If he had the keys of inspiration and revelation why read from a teleprompter? It was a form of deceit. Every talk I have given in church, and there were quite a few, was given without notes but strictly from my heart. I made it a point to never read anything but only speak from the depth of my soul. Why couldn't the General Authorities do what I did? Why did their talks lack the feelings of spirit? Where was the meat?
I experienced a rude awakening. If the church was in a state of apostasy then where is the true church I thought.
This led me on a different path. I studied fundamental Mormonism and through that found hundreds of compromises and contradictions which convinced me of the fraud. My anger was displayed through a couple of small articles in the Salt Lake Tribune. My bishop and stake president lacked the courage to confront me as my articles proclaimed truth but I was marked as a troublemaker. People shunned me and I could feel their resentment towards me as I attended church. This only fanned the fire of rebellion and I again participated in signing a proclamation which was published in the Salt Lake Tribune in June of 1996. Three months later I was summoned to appear before a church court. Fifteen men of supposed authority tried to entrap me with their lawyer talk but were unsuccessful. I had no defense, though it is guaranteed in the Doctrine and Covenants, but I stood my ground alone. I was disfellowshipped but to this day I do not know why. No reason was given.
Since I am in charge of my life now I do not consider myself a Mormon anymore even though my name is still on the records of the church. It matters not to me what the rules or regulations are, who has what authority or what priesthood they hold. I only honor my convictions, my truth and will allow no one to ever trespass on my sovereignty again.
To those who are considering joining the ranks of Mormonism, please be forewarned that your freedoms are at stake, your mind will no longer be yours and your soul be will sold for a pittance. Be prepared to face an enemy who portrays to be your brother and in the future, be prepared to be cast out and be treated like dirt when you yourself can no longer live the lie.
I have written this not for my own gratification but the love I have for you.
Your friend always,
Michael Gregor Wolfgang Friedrich Vogt