How God Gave Me Truth
Updated: Jan 15, 2019
I grew up in a faithful Mormon home. My dad if not Bishop, was on the Bishopric (leadership) for most of my life. We said family prayers together and read the Book of Mormon as a family each day. The 'thee thou shalt' language of 'scripture' was second nature to me.
A positive impact of growing up in a religious family was that I was taught good morals, I knew about sin, I believed in God and I wanted to please Him. I read the Book of Mormon personally for myself from front to back several times trying to learn more about God and what I believed was the true 'gospel.'
Like all children I definitely tried my parents at times and as I was super stubborn they had their hands full, but my heart was always to live right and aim for the celestial kingdom (Mormon version of heaven).
Although questions popped up occasionally in my mind such as "why could black people not receive the priesthood until recent times," I never doubted my faith and just put it down to something that would be revealed to us in the next life, believing God would have had good reasons.
Since Mormonism (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) is a works based religion, I tried to do well and repent if I did anything considered sin, I had no assurance of whether I would actually make it to heaven, but I hoped and prayed I would. I remember Once talking to a Christian in my university years who had asked me if I was going to go to heaven, and when he said that he would make it to heaven I saw it as cocky, self-righteous and presumptuous. I believed that a very few people could know for sure (which in Mormonism is called having your calling and election made sure) but the majority of us could only have faith that we would.
After turning eighteen I began to make some stupid decisions. I knew what I was choosing to do was wrong (such as drinking with my friends), but my friends and I believed in God and the church and I planned to repent afterwards (I wasn't planning to 'sin' for long and I planned to resume faithful church life afterwards). A night of drinking, went wrong and I found myself pregnant at nineteen. I later had a Still birth losing my daughter.
Although I had planned to drink that night, I had not planned anything else and the guilt of what I'd done tormented me. I also subconsciously felt like it was my fault I lost my daughter because of what I did. Fornication or sexual sin was seen in Mormonism as next to murder. I believed that apart from the shedding of blood and denying the Holy Ghost it was one of the worst things I could have done and carried tremendous guilt because of this.
I remember going through the repentance process, going to see my bishop. I went through the period of time where I was not able to take the sacrament (communion) etc. as a part of consequence for my sins. Finally, the time was up and my bishop said that I could take the sacrament again, my sins were forgiven. I remember telling him that "I didn't feel forgiven."
He told me that I probably needed to forgive myself and encouraged me to read The Miracle of Forgiveness. I did this, but even that troubled me, we were suppose to feel 'godly sorrow' for our sins. When I thought of godly sorrow, I thought of Jesus having the weight of sin on Him in Gethsemane (that's where Mormon's believe He paid for sins, the cross not as significant).
I thought of how sad it would make Heavenly Father feel to see His children sinning. I regretted my actions, but if I was honest, in my heart I didn't feel sorrow for my actions. Eventually, I just agreed with the Bishop, I was forgiven - and moved on.
There were so many ways God was drawing me out and showing me that things didn't quite line up with Mormonism over the years, but as it was all I knew and who I was, I continually pressed all of these notions down inside carrying on with life. If anything made me question something too much, I would reprimand myself reminding myself that it is not all for us to know on this side of the grave and any questions would be answered on the other side - Praise God for His grace that He did not leave me to find the truth that way. I got to a point where I couldn't bring myself to read the Book of Mormon, even in classes when I was asked to read I declined (which was unusual for me). I didn't even really understand why I didn't want to read it.
I remember clearly the last Mormon service I attended. It was fasting testimony meeting, which is held the first service of every month. Instead of the regular service with messages, this service is opened up to the congregation to stand up and give their testimonies (as well as other things God may be doing in their lives at that time). This fast and testimony meeting was the same as the hundreds of others I had attended in my life, but for me it was a pivotal moment. Each person got up and said their testimony (which is pretty rote in Mormonism), they all consisted of;
I know the church is true, I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet, I know the Book of Mormon is true and I know that the Bible is true as far as it's translated correctly.
I had heard this and even said it all my life so it was nothing new to me, but this service God spoke to me each time someone got up to bare their testimony.
They would begin: I know the church is true
God spoke: no it's not
They would continue: I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet
God spoke: no he was not!
When they finished with the Book of Mormon
God reaffirmed: it is not true.
This did not happen once, over and over again as people got up to share God continually told me that it was not the truth. Not being able to bear it any longer, I stood up and left.
I was so confused. This was all I knew. If it wasn't true - what was? Knowing that the Bible was regarded by many religions, not just Mormonism, I began to read through the New Testament seeking answers. I cried out to God "I don't care what is true, Mormonism, Christianity, Muslim, I just don't want to waste my life on a lie." I pleaded as I read for God to show me truth.
When I got to where Jesus was saying that we needed to be born again, I knew that this is what I wanted and needed. I didn't fully understand it, but I knew THAT was truth. I had heard people at one church speaking of being 'born again' and being a Friday I could not wait till it was Sunday to go.
Through song service the congregation sang "this is my desire to honour you... Lord I give you my heart, I give you my soul..." it was like they were singing everything I felt inside. I wanted to serve God and if He was willing to give me truth I was determined to honour Him by following it. Finally, at the end of the service I was given the opportunity to give my life to Jesus and be born again.
For the first time in my life I was completely at peace and overjoyed. The heavy weight of sin fell off me and I KNEW I had be forgiven.
Life after being born again was different too. I had such a hunger for God, to know more about Him and His word. Although I had gone to church nearly every Sunday of my life, now when I went it was different. Singing and praising God He blessed me with His tangible presence and It seemed as though every sermon was written for me. I heard from God each service and He continued to show me truth in His word.
Being saved for over six years now, I still enjoy God's presence and still hear from Him constantly. To others looking on it may look like I'm a good religious person, but it's so much more than that, I have the privilege of having a personal relationship with God Himself. It has changed my whole outlook on life and I am constantly learning and growing as I continue to seek God.
I am so thankful for truth, and I am so thankful that God did not give up on me when I would press down His voice that was telling me that what I believed was wrong. I had unintentionally rejected God and His call for so many years, it was only when I was free that I could see how blind I had allowed myself to become.
I am so thankful for God's word. I am so thankful that I am encouraged to ask questions and seek the answers for myself and not just bury concerns that I have.
I am in awe that God would love me so much that He was willing to continue to draw me to Him despite my harsh reactions.
I am so thankful that I now have a true purpose, and I look forward to seeing how God will use me in the future.