I havenít been involved with the LDS organization since 1986, except for a time about 1993-94. I still face personal issues about this organization and myself. It can be a mild struggle at times.
I was a devout member from 1977-1985. About the time when I was a rebellious 17-18 year old teen, is when I began searching for another church to congregate with. I was brought up in the United Methodist faith but, by then, I was unhappy with its teachings. My worried parents allowed me to venture out. I found myself exploring Lutheranism, Catholicism, Congregationalists, Presbyterianism, and some other small offshoot non-denominational type churches. My time of venture was put to a stop when I was about 19, thatís when I investigated the LDS organization.
I was slightly, aware of the LDS faith through some of my motherís family. Her younger sister, twin brothers, and parents converted to the LDS faith a few years before. She has a brother and a sister who are not members.
We had visited my Uncle who was serving a two year mission out in Pennsylvania when our family was on a touring/camping trip during the summer. At that time, our family thought it quite odd to get special permission to visit my uncle. But we were granted it, as long as it was on a Monday! I had never seen Mormon missionaries before this. He was ironing a whole bunch of white shirts when we arrived at his house. I also couldnít figure out why he was a missionary in the USA. I thought missionaries went to Africa or South America to teach the non Christians.
Another event which aroused my curiosity was when my grandfather was searching his family tree. He came to our house, asking all of these questions of my parents of when, where, of who was born, etc. I remember going to their home and he would share his impressive family tree with us. He got quite far on it.
Then came the time my aunt had to marry my uncle again! We were all gossiping about that event in and among my non-mo family members. How peculiar, and we couldnít even attend! She was already married with two infant sons when she converted along with her husband. So, of course, it was rather humorous among us who didnít understand. We wondered if her kids would be illegitimate and which anniversary would they celebrate?
But, when my twin uncles found their wives to be, my gosh did the rumors fly when none of us could witness the marriage ceremonies! Only my Auntís family and by then my grandparents (they were converted and went through the temple by then). We were outraged and didnít understand what it was that gave them a special privilege to attend. About that time, the non-mo members were making fun of the practices of wearing special underwear, their way of composure to meal prayers, those sort of things. It seemed like my motherís close knit family was beginning to "split." Letís just say that many gatherings were just slightly stressful, but not too bad. Momís family was and still is very much close knit. Just the non-moís were making fun of the habits and practices of the LDS members behind their backs. They didnít go out of their way to make visits to their homes like they use to either. Only when we had the typical family gatherings at holidays and such.
These things are what aroused my curiosity about the LDS faith. I told my mother one day, that I would like to invite the Mormon missionaries over because I have quite a few questions to ask about their peculiar ways. She agreed with me. Mom and Dad were also wanting to know some things as well. So, I took it upon myself to call these missionaries in the area and invited them to our home to ask those questions. They eagerly came over, my parents and I in the living room listening to their "speech." Oh, we had our questions written on paper ready to ask them, but, when we did ask they explained to us that we were asking questions that they could answer in a later discussion with us. That pacified my parents somewhat through another visit with them. However, they grew tired of what they called "Avoiding the Issues Game." They no longer were interested with visiting with the missionaries.
I still was. So, with my parentís permission, I invited the missionaries back a couple of more times, listening to the discussions they presented to me. I am stubborn, I was going to get the answers no matter how many times it took them to come back.
Oh what a tangled web we weave! It was beginning to make sense to me. My parents were also becoming concerned with me. Especially the Sunday I accepted the invitation to visit the LDS services. That was the day they told me they did not want the missionaries to visit our home again. But that didnít stop me. The missionaries found a memberís home in the neighborhood I could receive the rest of the discussions without my parents knowledge. By the way, it took more than six visits with the missionaries, because of all the questions I had. If I remember right, it probably took about twice as long with me to receive the discussions. The missionaries later revealed that they didnít mind, because they knew I was a "golden contact."
During that time, I had some conversations with my Uncle (who was one of the twins, but not the one who went on a mission) about the LDS faith. I shared some of the concerns I had about what the missionaries were sharing with me and I was contemplating on joining. My concern was the reception of my parents. He quoted Matt. 10:34-39 to me. It really hit home with me and that is when I decided I should go ahead with baptism.
I had a private discussion with my parents on the matter. I shared with them that I was unsure of what to do. I didnít want to disgrace them but yet this seemed so right. They told me that I was an adult and that it was up to me. They didnít want to get in the way of my decision. However, they wanted me to talk about this with their pastor. I asked them if the missionaries could attend. They granted permission for them to come. Later, I found out when my parents shared with me about this incident, they were really shaking in their boots during this time.
We went through with the "Meeting of the Minds." It was a knock down, drag out one at that. Which, to say the least, made me more determined to follow through with my baptism. So I did. Unbeknown to me, my parents had called up every one of my LDS family members and begged them not to attend my baptism. I also understand they mildly threatened that if they did, the family would surely split. They felt betrayed. But, they shared none of this with me at the time.
My baptism was a Saturday evening. Some members and only my grandparents attended. I wanted one of my uncles to baptize me, but they declined. They wanted to keep peace in the family. My grandmother shared with me later that she felt that my mother had no right to tell her she could not attend a church service in her own church. Besides, she couldnít see me go through with this without anyone there.
I grew very strong and devoted in the LDS faith. I accepted every calling the bishop gave me. I tithed 10% before taxes were taken out. I made wedding cakes for those who were married in the temple at only cost. I decorated cakes as a hobby. I felt that not only should I tithe my income, but my talents as well. I was devoted to my scripture studies. I worked hard on my genealogy, mostly on my fatherís side, because gramps did my motherís side. I worked at the welfare farm, which was a potato farm and at the cannery. I did missionary splits with the sister missionaries. I even received my patriarchal blessing !
All these activities lead to my parents telling me it was time I be on my own. I needed to find an apartment to live in. Shortly after I moved out, my parents moved to another state. Not because of me, thank goodness, but my father located another teaching position. My parents are both teachers. Dad was a high school chemistry/physics/general science teacher. Many times he would burn out and needed a change. That is what happened at this time.
I was on my own big time now. I was going to school to become a nurse, holding down a full time job, and my church callings on top of all of this. I was also becoming a wall-flower Young Adult which was a disappointment to me. Iím not the greatest looking chick in the world, but I was very faithful. I shared my concerns with my bishop of not locating my chosen mate yet. I decided to work towards my endowments. He granted permission for me to do this.
With great sacrifice and determination, I finally made it to the beautiful temple I had my heart set on. I was so excited. Many told me that this would be the experience of a life time. To just go and be at peace with Heavenly Father. I was so looking forward to this event. My LDS relatives were very supportive also. But again, no one came with me in fear of the repercussion they would receive from my parents.
When going through, however, I was amazed. I built myself up only to find disappointment. I was horrified! I was shocked! I felt so vulnerable. I could not believe all of this ritualistic pagan practices! This is supposed to be the true church? Yeah, right! "You have got to be kidding!" is what I found myself saying to myself. I didnít share any of this with anyone. I didnít know what to think. The annoitings and washings bothered me most. I was also bothered from the messages of the "plays." It seemed what I attended on Sundays was a different religion from what was going on in the temple. This is not what I expected.
Not long after my temple experience, a young man came to my apartment door one day. He told me that he was a friend of the Mormons and wished to share some things with me. I couldnít begin to think what it was that I didnít already know. As it was, he was a representative from the C.A.R.I.S. organization. How he got my name, is still a mystery to me. My non-mo family denies ever hearing of this organization. I never heard of it either. Itís not important anyway. He shared with me many things about the LDS faith that were still unknown to me. He located the truth of Christ for me in the Bible and directed me where I could search to compare the teachings of the LDS faith. It didnít take very long for him to put doubt in my mind about what I believed in because I was not impressed with what I experienced in the temple to begin with. I was developing doubts already! He left some paraphernalia with me to study and left a number to reach in case I had any questions or concerns to discuss.
I delved into the material and searched my Bible. I was raising questions within myself about the truthfulness of this religion. I shared some of my discoveries with my bishop along with the concerns I had about my experience in the temple. He told me to pray about it and this truly is the true church. I shouldnít focus on such confusing matters. It was Satan confusing my mind.
I went on, continued being a good devout member. But I couldnít get those questions out of my mind. I would pray, study the BoM, fast, and pray some more. I began sharing my concerns with my visiting teacher, she pretty much told me the same thing as the bishop---pray about it and donít worry about it. I also shared with my home teacher, he had the same responses. I shared with close friend members, my LDS family, still the same rote answers---pray about it. I was developing callouses on my knees!
Well, if no one would guide me to the answers, I would! So, I did. I began going to the library, Christian bookstores, and tearing apart all the LDS scriptures. I contacted the C.A.R.I.S. organization and gave them the name of the guy who visited me, I wanted him to return. But, they told me that they didnít have anyone by that name and never did! That was really strange. The lady at the other end even thought I got the name wrong. But it wasnít, because he printed his name on the pamphlet he left me. I canít help wondering to this day, if maybe an angel visited me? Everything points in that direction. Strange, isnít it?
The members of the LDS organization were beginning to get rather impatient with me. They were starting to somewhat ignore me. It was if I was a thorn in their side. I began to slide in going to the activities. Slowly, more Sundays went by where I would "sleep in" rather than go to Sacrament meeting. I would "forget" to go to Relief Society meetings.
It was at this time I was getting into financial trouble as well as my health. I was burning the candle at both ends. I had ended up in the hospital several times with pneumonia. I had to drop out of my nursing school. Praise for my parents, they rescued me which was a blessing as well! I was not in the good graces of the LDS people in my ward, so this was a good time to start fresh. My parents moved me into their home. They lived in another state 10 hours away from where I lived. I was ready to leave and continue my search for the truth.
My parents knew this, but in their gentle way, they tolerated me. When I lived with them again, I went from one church to another, then back to an LDS branch there in town. Gave the same questions to them, same rote answers---pray about it, and donít concern myself with it, some things we will not understand about Heavenly Father. We must accept it in faith. Yeah, right.
I ended up attending a Southern Baptist church in the small community. The pastor there took me under his wing. He knew my history. He shared the peace and joy of Jesus Christ. I found the hand of Christ. It was so warm and wonderful. I accepted His invitation of baptism. And you know what? My parents attended. I saw a tear roll from my fatherís eye, which happens rarely with him.
Not long after, I left home to attend a state college to get my teaching degree. I met my husband at that college as well. He is such a devoted husband. The Lord has richly blessed me with him. We married a couple of years later, shortly after he graduated, in the United Methodist church. I did that to honor my parents.
However, I was still troubled somewhat with the LDS faith. My husband knew my past and what I had gone through, but I knew he didnít quite understand. I just wanted him to know the pain I had experienced. I felt like I had the rug pulled out from under me from something I deeply believed in. I had lost a "friend" I truly loved, I was still grieving.
Up to this time, my husband was not much of a church attender. He really didnít have a solid foundation in Christianity. His mother was an occasional Presbyterian member. His father didnít go to any kind of church activity. That is how my husband grew up. That is another reason he quite didnít understand my grief and that bothered me, too. He wouldnít go to church with me on Sundays, but I didnít want to attend alone without him. It was a struggle. When I did get him out of the house and to a church, we ended up church hopping. I felt he needed to be satisfied with something, anything! I just wanted him to experience the joy I felt knowing Jesus Christ. Oh, how this was a familiar path and I was getting frustrated.
I shared my frustrations with my patient husband. I told him that this is bringing back bad memories, if only he knew where I was coming from. It was then I came up with an idea. Why not invite the LDS missionaries to teach him the basic beliefs of the LDS church? Yeah! I would guide him so that he wouldnít become trapped into their web. My husband consented to this idea. So, we invited the missionaries to our home.
WRONG!!!! My husband ate up every word the missionaries shared with him. He was falling into the trap! I couldnít get him out! My husband didnít have any Biblical background to fall upon, he didnít even know the Bible! But those missionaries were sure going to teach him THEIR way! Soon we were visiting the local ward and I was going with him because I was fearful for him. I fought to convince my husband the lies in this organization.
What a sickening feeling I had in my stomach when I began going to the Sacrament, Sunday School, and Relief Society meetings again. That burning in the bosom feeling wasnít there this time. To top all of this off, I began to have these real vivid nightmares. I have never in my entire life experienced these kind of nightmares! They were so real and scary. I would have the same ones over and over again every night. I would wake up so tired the next morning. They exhausted me. My husband revealed that I would thrash around violently, crying out. Sometimes he couldnít wake me up.
I would dream that my husband and I were in the back of the sanctuary attending the sacrament meeting. The congregation was chanting things I couldnít understand. They would turn their heads to stare at me and I would see their gnarly faces of cat like eyes, black pupils shaped like a cat with bright green irises. The teeth were pointed and dripping with saliva. They had bloodshot eyelids, unkempt hair, they were laughing at me. I turned to my husband and he had the same expression on his face.
I ran out of the sanctuary and frantically looked for the exit. Many LDS buildings are somewhat of a maze of halls and rooms. I couldnít find my way out! The hall maze kept going and going, growing longer and longer. My husband would run after me, grabbing me and pulling me back to the sanctuary, laughing at me. I would wake up screaming and in a cold sweat by this time. My husband tried to comfort me when I shared my dreams with him.
Another dream I kept having was that we were taking the sacrament and it would turn to blood. Bats would fly out of the piano in front, swooping down on us. They would pin me down and start to eat my flesh. I couldnít get up. The missionaries would hold me down so that the bats would devour me.
Under the direction of my husband, I shared these dreams with the bishop and the missionaries. It seemed they didnít believe me at all, that I was making all of this up! My husband decided to be baptized and arranged a date with the bishop. He felt that Satan was trying to get in the way of this ordinance and he must go through with it. Thatís what the members, bishop, and missionaries convinced him why I was having those dreams. The missionaries then asked me if they could anoint me with oil and give me a blessing. I consented. I thought, I would just go through the motions of this, because I didnít believe it would do any good.
While under their hands and during their prayer, I had those visions of the wicked people. I heard gibberish coming from the missionaries mouths---it was wicked sounding. I felt cold sharp pains entering my head. I had to stop them in the middle of their prayer. I told them that I was getting bad revelations. It just reminded me so much of the dreams I was having.
My husband and I went home. I was sobbing. I told him the church is not true! I left the house and drove myself to a secluded place, a peaceful country meadow along a dirt road. I got out sobbing, asking God to guide me, my heart poured out. I asked for forgiveness, that I didnít mean to lead my husband this way. Then, I felt this peace. I felt the warmth of Christís hand again. I went back home.
My husband didnít say a word to me about where I was. I told him that we needed to talk, so we did. It was like the Lord was guiding my lips and showed me where to go in the Bible. I felt it and knew He was there with me. I got the Bible out, and verse after verse refuted what the missionaries taught him. He drank every word I spoke like an obedient child. Finally, that day, actually evening, he renounced the LDS faith. We didnít go to that ward anymore.
My husband became a Christian that day he says. He gives the credit to the LDS faith though. It was because of them he realized that he needed to study the Bible to have a personal relationship with Christ. To this day, he reads the Bible daily and he grows stronger in his faith. He is my pillar, and my strength now when I feel like I have fallen.
We go to church together now too. To a Southern Baptist church I might add. My husband was baptized in the church we attend now a year after he investigated the LDS faith. Our marriage has grown stronger too.
To this day, I havenít had any of those dreams. They stopped after I convinced my husband the lies behind the LDS faith.
Now I want to be able to witness to my LDS family. This will be a difficult task as there are several factors against me. One of them being that I live 12 hours away from them. Another is the fact that they are family, and I know it would place a big stress within my motherís family walls if I attempted it. For now, I keep them in my prayers and hope someday the Lord will awaken them to the lies they believe in.
Thanks for reading my conversion story. I hope in some way, I have enlightened you, the reader, to the dangerous lies the Mormon religion has to offer. Please follow the the example of the Bereans in Acts 17:10-11 and the advise of Paul in 1 Thess. 5:16-24.
May the peace and joy of Christ be with you always.