Those who know me know the commitment my family has had to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Both my husband and I were raised in the church (my ancestors were part of the early church), we have served in multiple leadership positions at the ward and stake level, were married in the temple, faithfully taught our children the gospel and did our best to share it with others.
The decision to leave the church did not come quickly or easily. Those who have walked this path before know that it is not just choosing to attend a different church, it is a life-altering decision that affects every single aspect of one’s life. The LDS/Mormon church is not just a church, it is a culture, a way of life that permeates into every thought and action. It would have been far easier to keep things as they were and not rock the boat, to just bury the questions and doubts and remain comfortable in ignorance.
It has been a five-year journey of soul searching, praying and opening my heart to possibilities. I have tried to think back to the sequence of events that led me down this path, and am amazed at all the bread crumbs God left for me to follow. So many things people said or things I read that didn’t connect until years later, all make perfect sense now. God is so good in meeting us where we are and being so patient with us. As I said before, this has been a several year journey (at least this is how long I was aware of how God was actively pursuing me), so my account is very long and perhaps a bit disjointed. I pray you will bear with me and read with an open mind.
Looking back I see many things in my life that led up to this point, but a pivotal moment for me was in 2014 on Easter Sunday. We were on our way home from a month-long Mediterranean tour of Greece, Turkey and Italy. We stopped for the night at our favorite city Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany. It was Easter weekend so we decided to attend the sunrise service held by the church on the military installation at Edelweiss. It was super early in the morning and about 32 degrees, so I wasn’t very excited to be there…but since it was Easter Sunday, we felt obligated to attend some church service even if it was an “apostate” one. I mentally rolled my eyes when the worship team started strumming on the guitar and realized this was one of those “rock n roll” churches.
But as I began to sing the words to the song, the Spirit of God hit me with such incredible force, I just started sobbing. I never cry in front of people. E.V.E.R. But I sat there and bawled like a baby that morning as I felt the spirit of God more powerfully than I had EVER felt it before.
I spent months pondering that experience and wondering what it was supposed to mean, what I was supposed to learn from it? Why I would have such a powerful experience with God at a church that wasn’t His “one and only true church”?
Learning from the Bible
I finally came to the conclusion that God wanted me to learn more about Christianity so I could share the “one and only true gospel” and convert my friends. So, I began the task of trying to prove Mormonism from the Bible… I started to make comparison charts of things I felt like were key dividing factors between Christianity and Mormonism- like the trinity and works vs grace. I started at the beginning of the New Testament and read, looking for key LDS doctrines.
As I began to make my lists and read the Bible it became very apparent that the Bible teaches a different gospel than what the LDS church teaches. It was as if blinders were removed from my eyes and though I had been taught to believe the Bible was corrupted, I began to believe what I was reading.
The Bible teaches salvation by grace, given as a free gift out of love, not because of anything we have done or can do. It teaches that when Jesus died, he freed us from a works-based salvation and burdensome laws that cannot save us (Romans 5-7; Galations 3; John 5; Acts 15:11) and replaces it with the new covenant of obedience out of love. It teaches that Jesus cleanses believers from sin through their belief and confession (John 6:47; John 3:16; John 3:36; John 5:24; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 10:9-10) and not because of works of righteousness. Works will follow believer’s, but works do not secure or earn salvation, they are done out of love for what Jesus has already done for us.
Romans 10:9 declares “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” and Romans 10:13 says it again, “for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Legalistic rule-following of commandments will not save us. Nothing we can do on our own will save us. We are all sinners and need the free gift of salvation offered by Jesus Christ when we confess his name and commit our lives to following Him alone. I came to know that Jesus alone is enough for salvation. There are no prerequisites or worthiness requirements. In Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son the debt was paid without cost and without expectation of payment in return. When he said “it is finished” on the cross, he meant it! We show that we have been redeemed by our good works, but our good works do not redeem us.
The Bible warns multiple times about not being deceived. In Galatians 1:6-8 it says:
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7… there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you let him be accursed.
2 Corinthians 11 says:
3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
As I continued to read the Bible it was like I was reading it for the first time. I saw so many things I never knew were in the Bible before and all the pieces of the puzzle started coming together for me, and I began to see the real gospel and the true meaning of the cross.
I learned that the “new covenant” spoken of is not that of plural marriage (as taught in D&C) but it is the law written on our hearts (2 Corinthians 3:6; Galatians 2-3; Hebrews 8-10) that we obey out of love because Jesus has already made us righteous, not out of fear or because we need to earn a higher place in heaven. I learned that marriage, as wonderful as it is, is actually not required for salvation (1 Corinthians 7:28 and no, this is not addressed simply to missionaries as the LDS church teaches). I learned that temples are no longer used for sacrifices. When Jesus died, God tore the veil in two, no longer do we have separation from God. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross we can approach the throne of God boldly. He calls us (believers) his temple now (Matthew 27:50-51; Hebrews 10:19-20; Hebrews 8:13; Acts 17:24). In contrast to LDS temples, the Bible teaches that there was only ever one temple and only one high priest at a time. Only the high priest could enter the holy place to make sacrifices and this only happened once a year. It had to be done every year because it was not a permanent atonement of sins (modern LDS temples have almost nothing in common with the Biblical temple in physical appearances or in purpose). The high priest had to do this every year because it couldn’t cleanse them of their sins permanently (and that priest usually died because he could not perfectly satisfy the demands of justice, none could perfectly keep the law). With the coming of Jesus, he made the last and final sacrifice for sin- one that was permanent, once for all. Jesus Christ is now the one and only High Priest (Hebrews 6-9).
I learned that God now speaks directly to his believers rather than through prophets (Hebrews 1:1-2; Luke 16:16; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Acts 2:17). When God does speak to man, it is almost always through the Bible, which is God-breathed revelation. Because Jesus was the final revelation, there is no longer need of a middle man prophet. The gift of prophecy is typically used to proclaim truth of the word of God and any “new” revelation must agree with the Bible, or it is not truth. God cannot lie, and he never contradicts himself.
I learned that contrary to Joseph Smith’s teachings, God has always existed and never was a man (Isaiah 43:10, 44:6, 8, 9; Psalm 90:2; Numbers 23:19; Romans 1:22-25) and we will not become gods ourselves after this life, but inheritors of salvation through Christ.
HOWEVER, the most important thing I learned is that I can be assured of my salvation NOW, not maybe…someday…IF I work hard enough. Because Jesus died for me while I was still a sinner and it was not because of anything I did of myself (Romans 5:8; Acts 16:30-31; Ephesians 2:8; Acts 2:21; Galatians 2:16; Romans 5-6).
Christianity vs LDS beliefs, and why they are incompatible
I discovered that though I had been taught my whole life that I was a Christian, none of the beliefs in Mormonism align with those in Christianity. Not a single one. Every common term or belief is changed in LDS doctrine such that it is incompatible with Christianity. Mormonism is not just another Christian denomination, it has nothing in common with Christianity other than in name.
The belief in and worship of Jesus Christ is different. Christian’s believe that Jesus IS God and that he has the power to save us while we are still sinners. Mormonism teaches that Jesus is merely the Son of God (literally our older brother) and that while he offers the free gift of resurrection to all, salvation or life with God is reserved only for those who are baptized in the LDS church, receive the gift of the holy ghost through the LDS priesthood, obtain all the ordinances in the LDS temple and live faithfully keeping a long list of commandments until their dying day (essentially earning their exaltation). Mormons also reject the trinity, the virgin birth, the authority/reliability of the Bible, and they don’t believe the sacrifice Jesus paid on the cross covers all sins or is enough for salvation. A chart of just a few of the differences between LDS doctrine and Christian doctrine is available here.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has also added (and subtracted) many doctrines over the years that are incompatible with the Bible (explained in more detail below) such as three degrees of glory, polygamy (while it’s not practiced now, it is an “eternal” doctrine that will one day be restored, along with animal sacrifice), blood atonement, Adam God doctrine, plurality of God’s, the ability for man to to become a god, racist doctrines, vengeance oaths, baptisms for the dead, and more. In the LDS faith, Jesus is not enough. The church does have some good things to offer, but only Jesus can give the assurance of eternal life with God.
This is an excellent audio series that teaches the basics of Christianity, I highly recommend it if you want to learn more about what Christian’s believe. This article explains the differences between the LDS Jesus and the Biblical Jesus.
This article explains why many LDS people, upon learning the truth, turn to atheism; because the teachings of the church actually align more with atheistic world views than Christian world views and because they have destroyed the credibility of the Bible and the mainstream Christian Church in the eyes of most Latter-Day Saints.
The “processing” period. What now? Can’t I be saved and remain Mormon?
During this time I had started reading the Book of Mormon over again from the beginning. I started with the title page and introduction. It read: “The Book of Mormon…contains the fullness of the gospel”…I knew that wasn’t quite right. I went and found an older copy of the Book of Mormon and this one said: “The Book of Mormon…contains, as does the Bible, the fullness of the everlasting gospel”. That’s quite a change to make without any announcement or explanation!
And, IF the Book of Mormon does indeed contain the fullness (but the Bible apparently doesn’t anymore), what “plain and precious” truths does it have that the Bible doesn’t? The Book of Mormon doesn’t even teach about the things which the LDS church teaches are essential to salvation such as eternal families, the three degrees of glory, temple ordinances for the dead, that God used to be a man, our potential for godhood, that God and Jesus are separate beings who have bodies of flesh and bone, the doctrine of plural marriage (it condemns it), baptism at age 8, etc… Almost every current doctrine and practice is missing from the Book of Mormon.
As I began to process all of these things in my mind, I admit I had the momentary thought that hey! I believe all this stuff the Bible teaches so I can accept Jesus as my Savior and I’ll be saved through Christianity but I still kind of believe the stuff I’ve been taught and lived for the last 30+ years as a Mormon (and let’s face it, leaving didn’t seem like an option), so I can be covered by both religions. Dual protection. Perfect!
But God didn’t see it that way. He continued to make me feel uneasy at my LDS church meetings. He continued to make me ask questions in the temple, he continued to make me feel like something was missing. He kept reminding me of the powerful spirit I’d felt at that Christian church and made me wonder why I wasn’t feeling it like that in the LDS church or temple. He made me wonder why my Christian friends talked about Jesus the way they did. They praised his name, they worshiped him, they seemed to have a relationship with him that I didn’t have, but that I desperately wanted. (Yet, the LDS church teaches or taught (the doctrine changes on a regular basis) that we don’t worship Jesus, only the Father.) I prayed every day for more than a year that I could feel God’s love for me and I could feel love for him in return. I was hungry to have a real relationship with Him, and this is the journey he sent me on to find Him.
He showed me the difference between the truths of the Bible and the LDS claims, and convinced me that the LDS god does not have the power to save because he is merely a man. I chose to put my trust in the one true living God, the one who has always existed who said there were no other gods before him and no God but him, who never was a man. The God who created the earth and all things in it. The God who showed us through the Old Testament that we can never earn our salvation no matter how hard we try, and then came down to earth in the form of a man to be salvation in our behalf, not demanding perfection in return, but as a gift of love. The God who wants us to know him, to worship him, to praise him, to LOVE him. The God who wants my actions to be motivated out of love rather than trying to earn my own way to heaven.
Putting pieces of the puzzle together
One of the books we read for homeschooling- Trial & Triumph had biographies of the early saints starting immediately after Jesus’ death until the present day. There were accounts of hundreds, even thousands of people who suffered for Jesus’ name as they spread the gospel to the world. There was no “total apostasy” as I had been taught happened with Christianity after Christ’s death (not to mention the irony in the LDS belief that Jesus would finish his greatest work of love, visit the America’s to kill all the wicked people and then leave the rest of the world in darkness for 2,000 years- kind of defeats the purpose of his redemption doesn’t it?)
Reading John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (another of our homeschool books) there seemed to be so many similarities between the Book of Mormon: the Celestial City, the land Bountiful and Desolation, the story of Faithful’s martyrdom sounded an awful lot like Abinadi’s story in the BoM. Also, I started to notice that so many of the names from the Book of Mormon are also in the Bible and many of the stories seemed to be taken directly from the Bible and just rewritten a little.
A few other things that didn’t quite add up: It seemed strange to me that the Book of Mormon tells about people being baptized in the name of Christ and calling themselves “Christians” when they were actually Jews bound by the law of Moses- they would not have had the practice of modern baptism then. Also, the term “Christian” wasn’t used until after Christ’s death. Why would Jesus appear to the people in America and kill all the wicked just after completing his great act of Mercy to those in Jerusalem? And, IF the three Nephites and John the Beloved are still roaming the earth then the gospel wasn’t completely removed from the earth, was it? IF the LDS church was supposed to restore God’s “one and only true church”, then why, instead of unifying the denominations, did it create even more denominations? More than 400 mormon offshoots to be exact…
I discovered that most of the LDS doctrines and practices are based on “revelation” with little or no scriptural basis. Most of the ones that are from “scripture” are based on the Pearl of Great Price which has been proven to be a false translation of an Egyptian funerary text! (keep reading for more info on this) Revelation should verify God’s word, not contradict it and certainly not change as often as I change my laundry.
While attending the temple one last time in hopes of getting some answers and telling God that if this really was his church he needed to tell me and I would drop all my questions and doubts and continue on as I had for the last 18 years. Instead, I had two thoughts enter my mind. 1) if we are performing these ordinances for the dead- why are we asking them to make covenants to give all their time and talents and money and to remain sexually pure, if they are dead? and 2) The Masons. The image of the Nauvoo sunstone came to my mind and the idea I’ve heard that the temple has overlaps with the Masons. After exiting the temple I did a google search for Mormon temple & Masons. What I found was the final straw in my testimony of the church. The temple ceremony is an exact replica of the Masonic ceremony, just a few words changed! Joseph Smith had become a grand master mason just weeks before introducing the endowment to his people (which explains why it was not introduced at all in the first temple in Kirtland).
Earnestly seeking Truth
Up to this point I had steered clear of “anti-Mormon” literature because we are strongly warned against reading anything that is not published on the official church website. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any real answers on the official website. In contrast, whenever I had a question about what a particular passage in the Bible meant to Christian’s (particularly one in which Mormons use to back up their doctrinal claims) I was able to do a google search and find a very clear and logical answer (usually on gotquestions.org). I finally realized I had gotten as much information as I could on the LDS websites and it was time for me to branch out. At this point I no longer believed the church was true but I still clung to some ideas and really wasn’t sure where to go from here. But I was determined to find the truth no matter the cost.
I had been reading The Book of Mormon my whole life and practically had it memorized. It is supposed to be the only “correct” book on the face of the earth. I needed to know how did nonbelievers disprove it? Turns out, it wasn’t too difficult. My earlier hunch about similarities between it and Pilgrim’s Progress wasn’t far off. Pilgrim’s Progress was one of the most widely read books, next to the Bible in Joseph Smith’s day. He plagiarized this and half a dozen other books in the writing of the Book of Mormon. Not only were hundreds of names and dozens of stories copied from the Bible, (Alma the Younger=Paul, Jacob 5=Romans 11:17, dozens of verses directly copied from KJV Isaiah, the story of Nephi slaying Laban was taken directly from the Apocrypha in the Catholic Bible), but paragraph after paragraph was also copied from books like View of the Hebrews, The Late War, The First Book of Napoleon and more.
An excellent summary with side by side copies of the original text next to the text in the Book of Mormon is available here starting on page 89. Seeing the side by side comparisons it is impossible to believe that Joseph Smith “translated” this book. This is an excellent chart showing just a few of the ideas, phrases and even full verses copied from the Bible https://www.biblebelievers.com/Mormon1.html
The Book of Mormon was clearly compiled from several other sources. Joseph Smith was a masterful, creative writer, but that doesn’t make his book any more true than Harry Potter or the Chronicles of Narnia.
Not only is there a huge amount of evidence that the Book of Mormon was almost completely plagiarized, but there is absolutely no historical evidence (by respected scholars that is) for any part of the Book of Mormon. None of the civilizations in the Book of Mormon have been discovered even though hundreds of thousands of people died in massive battles (if the so-called accounts of people finding hundreds of arrowheads were true, at least one of them would have surfaced by now). There are dozens of anachronisms- things that just simply didn’t exist during those times in those places (like horses, chariots and honeybees). And of course, there are no manuscripts available because the original was taken up to heaven. There is not a single shred of evidence to validate the Book of Mormon. In contrast, there are over 10,000 Old Testament manuscripts and over 25,000 New Testament manuscripts. There are also writings of the early church fathers which cite the New Testament over 36,000 times in the first centuries after the writing of the New Testament. Scholars have proven that the Bible actually is extremely accurate despite LDS claims of it being corrupted over time. Also, evidence of real places and people from the Bible exist, such as Solomon’s Temple, the city of Jericho, the Hittites, and King David. The people and places written about in the Bible actually existed.
I also discovered that the Pearl of Great Price in which the LDS church teaches unusual doctrine regarding God the father living on another planet (Kolob), the pre-existence of man, the war in heaven happening between God’s spirit children, the plurality of gods, and the “courage” of Eve to disobey God and eat the fruit; is actually a mistranslation of an Egyptian funeral text. The original scrolls were sent to the Museum of Art in NYC and translated by Egyptologists. They are nothing more than Egyptian funeral texts- which IS pretty cool, but the translation Joseph Smith gave was, unfortunately, incorrect…
I had always been taught that Joseph Smith was an uneducated farm boy with only a third-grade education and that is why he could never have written the Book of Mormon. Yet, here I was reading books by authors like John Bunyan and Charles Dickens neither of whom had much of a formal education and who suffered from extreme poverty, yet who wrote some of the most widely read and eloquently written works of all time! A third-grade education two hundred years ago was very different than a third-grade education today.
Another thing I discovered is that in Joseph Smith’s original first vision account, he never claimed to see God the Father and Jesus Christ- he claimed only that he saw an angel or the Lord. Click here for a concise summary of all the different first vision accounts. It wasn’t until 20 years after his vision occurred that it was even written about. Also, all the early saints including Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, and John Taylor all recorded accounts- as late as 35 years after Joseph’s death- 59 years after his vision occurred- they were still recording that Joseph saw an angel or the Lord. Not God. Not two beings. Not only that, but many other people in the surrounding regions were having similar visions- almost word for word! (see Letter for My Wife for excerpts) men such as Norris Stearns, Elias Smith, Asa Wild, Billy Hibbard, and John S. Thompson. (The LDS church is finally admitting there are 3 versions of the first vision, but fail to provide the actual visions for members to read and see the glaring omissions from each).
So, not only is there all this misinformation about the early church, but there are also contradictory doctrines that are trying to be swept under the rug and pretend never existed or are proclaimed false by a more modern prophet. Everything from the doctrine of Polygamy (some taught it was essential for exaltation, now it’s not, some taught that God has many wives in heaven and that’s how we all exist and when we are exalted and have our own world we will need more than one wife to populate that earth)… Then there’s the Adam God Doctrine where Brigham Young (2nd prophet of the church) taught that Adam is actually our God and the father of our spirits and Jesus was his firstborn in the flesh and that he brought one of his wives’ Eve to earth. There are the teachings by Joseph Smith on the Plurality of God’s from his King Follet Discourse where he stated that God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man and that we have got to learn to be gods like him so he (God) can take a higher exaltation and Joseph Smith can take his place and become exalted himself. And of course, the racist doctrines taught by Brigham Young (and others) that black skin is a curse from Cain and “if the white man…mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty under the law of God is death on the spot. This will always be so” and denying them the priesthood (even though they don’t have a blood lineage to Aaron either). Another is the Blood Atonement doctrines that teach some crimes are so heinous that the atonement of Jesus doesn’t apply to them and they have to be killed as a sacrificial offering (Mountain Meadows Massacre?). The rejection of the virgin birth- it is taught that Mary conceived Jesus the way all humans conceive children. McConkie (among others) taught that we only worship the Father, not Jesus. The many changes in the temple ceremony removing the blood oath of vengeance and blood oath/death penalty. The idea that animal sacrifice will be restored (Doctrines of Salvation). The rejection of the cross, (Mormons believe Jesus suffered for sins in the garden of Gethsemane). The recent “changing” of the name of the church and saying the name Mormon is a victory for Satan, when Joseph Smith and President Hinckley taught that Mormon meant “more good”. I’m sure there are many more, these are just a few examples. There are too many contradictory statements and doctrines from one prophet to the next, either the previous ones were false or the current one is!
The Bible warns against false prophets over and over! The Bible also says God is unchanging. If the LDS church were “the one and only true church” as it purports, it would not have ever-changing and contradicting doctrines. I also hear people say “the church is run by imperfect men”. I certainly agree, however, if you claim to follow a prophet, the test of a prophet is pretty clear in scripture. According to Deuteronomy 18:20-22 he must 1) speak in the name of the Lord, 2) his message must be in accord with God’s revealed truth in scripture and 3) his predictions of future events must come true exactly as predicted. What does the Bible say should happen if you encounter a false prophet? Well…read Deuteronomy 13… Yes, prophets have always been imperfect, but if they are speaking for God, their prophecies WILL come true! Here is a list of failed prophecies of Joseph Smith.
Now, if it were just one thing, or maybe even half a dozen things, I could close my eyes, bury my head in the sand and just continue to have faith that even though it looked like God was trying to trick us, he really wasn’t. But there is SO MUCH evidence that I cannot close my eyes. I cannot bury my head in the sand. I cannot put my doubts on a shelf. I DID doubt my doubts and then I used my mind along with my heart and compared it to the Word of God (the Bible) and discovered the truth. Jesus is the only way and the Bible is true, not just bits and pieces of it, the entire thing is the word of God.
I hear so many people say they can’t leave the church because of the feelings they have had. God tells us that “The heart is deceitful above all things…” Jer. 17:9-10. We are to use our minds to lead our hearts, not our hearts to lead our minds!
“…set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God” (1 Chron. 22:19);
“…be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God” (Rom. 12:2-3);
“my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also” (1 Cor. 14:14-15)
“If they repent with all their mind and with all their heart…” (1 Kings 8:48-49)
So many ask, how did I simply discard the spiritual experiences I had as a Mormon? First, I believe that many experiences I had were manipulated simply by the way the church gets people to “feel the spirit”. We are told one of the ways we gain a testimony by bearing it. Wait…what? That’s right. Fake it ’till you make it. This is a fascinating video about how religious organizations (specifically JW’s, but it has many parallels to LDS) use mind control to condition their members from a young age what to believe and what to feel. This is also a great deconstruction of the way LDS leaders manipulate members to ignore the facts.
Second, I believe God loves all people and he gives them his spirit based on their faith. I was sincerely following what I was raised to believe and God blessed me for my faith. Then he slowly led me towards him and because I knew what his spirit felt like, when I felt it 10 times stronger than I ever had before, I knew it was Him leading me, and not me being deceived. In fact, if you hear testimonies from LDS, RLDS, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Islam, you probably won’t be able to tell them apart, because they all sound the same. Skeptical? Watch this. This is why we must use our minds to lead our hearts, and our conclusion must agree with scripture. Feelings can easily be manipulated and I have felt similar warm fuzzies reading good books, watching good movies and having good conversations with loved ones. God expects us to wisely put our faith in that which we have learned with our minds AND our hearts, and that faith should be based on truth.
This document along with the CES Letter outline just about every piece of evidence I’ve discovered about Mormonism. This is not “anti-Mormon” literature. It is simply the facts, compiled into one document. Make of it what you will. For me, the evidence is overwhelming. It covers everything from the different first vision accounts, to the Kinderhook plates, to plagiarism of the Book of Mormon to the false translation of the Book of Abraham.
The reliability of the Bible
I knew I also had to put Christianity to the test just as I put Mormonism to the test. Obviously, my emotions/feelings had deceived me in the past, so I couldn’t rely solely on my feelings. Also, the Bible says to base our faith on evidence. I had to investigate Christianity with the same level of scrutiny I was measuring Mormonism with. Two books that helped solidify my faith in the reliability of the Bible are The Case for Christ and Cold Case Christianity. I highly recommend them if you are questioning the Bible. As discussed previously, unlike the Book of Mormon, there is plenty of actual evidence for the Bible with thousands of manuscripts that are constantly being reviewed for accuracy. Not only that but there is actual archaeology evidence to support the Bible. The real history and doctrine of the Bible and early Christianity is nothing like the history taught by the LDS church. We can’t just pick and choose what parts of the Bible are true and discard the rest, either it’s true or it isn’t. This is a great video comparing the validity of the Bible to the Book of Mormon.
Unfortunately, the majority of members who encounter the facts about Mormonism and have the foundation of Joseph Smith crumble beneath them, also let the foundation of Jesus Christ and the Bible crumble with it. Most turn to atheism or agnosticism. I thank God that he led me to him through the Bible before my foundation of the church crumbled.
Another misunderstanding by LDS about Christians is their concept of church. I don’t have time to go into all the nuances here, but in LDS culture the church is everything. In Christian culture Jesus is everything. Yes, church is important, but choosing a church based on solid Biblical teaching is what’s important rather than the denomination or beliefs that are not essential to salvation. So I didn’t leave the LDS church for another church. I left the LDS church to follow Jesus and the teachings of the Bible.
Jesus is the only way
I have never felt such peace and joy in my life as I have since discovering the Jesus of the Bible. He has truly set me free from sin death and I am eternally grateful! I have peace and assurance that I have received salvation NOW, not at some future time IF I am righteous enough. He has given me salvation not of anything I have done or could do, but because of what God in his infinite grace and mercy has done for me on the cross. I’ve learned that the gospel is not about me, but about HIM. It’s not “after all I can do”, He already did it all for me. He is the foundation of my faith, not a church, institution, or organization, but Jesus Christ himself. Jesus alone is enough for salvation. Nothing I can do of myself will earn me a place (or a higher place) in heaven because I am a sinner. Only through the cleansing blood of Jesus am I saved.
I have finally learned what it means to worship, and finally feel like I have a real relationship with God. I am learning so many things in the Bible that I never knew before. Sure, we “studied” from the Bible in the LDS church, but it was only select passages- mainly the gospels- and anything that seemed contradictory, well there was a revelation or a Joseph Smith “translation” to change it. I will always treasure the experience of reading the book of Genesis for the first time and actually believing what it said rather than thinking it was a mistranslation or only a partial truth. There is such power in God’s word and I am loving finally learning how to really dig in and study the Bible and making connections between the Old Testament and New Testament and really seeing the beauty of God’s plan in fulfilling his covenants through Jesus Christ.
Following Christianity has also made such a positive impact on every aspect of my life, this last year has been one of the best years so far! God is good and I am so grateful that he loved me enough to show me the truth and didn’t give up on me despite my stubbornness in clinging to tradition and habit. It has not been an easy journey by any means. It is quite an emotional process to re-learn and re-examine everything you have ever been taught. It is very humbling to go from being a person others came to for spiritual advice and support to now feeling like a child who doesn’t even know the basics of the Bible and Christian doctrine. But I wouldn’t trade the relationship and testimony I have gained of Jesus and the peace of my salvation for anything!
Legalistic rule following of commandments will not save us. Nothing we can do of our own will save us. We are all sinners and need the free gift of salvation offered by Jesus Christ when we confess his name and commit our lives to following Him alone. Jesus alone is enough for salvation. The church has many good things to offer, but only Jesus can give the assurance of eternal life with God. This video provides a great overview of what the gospel really is and the ways it gets misunderstood.
If you are going down a similar journey or have questions and need someone to help process, please feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org. I am not interested in debating beliefs, but am happy to help answer sincere questions.
P.S. This video helped me along my journey, I hope it helps you as well: https://www.adamsroadministry.com/unveiling-grace