I grew up in a family which came from a long line of Mormons. My parents grew up in Utah, though I was lucky enough not to. Starting in my teenage years, I did not want to go to church. I did anyway because that is what was expected of me. I kept wondering why I didn’t have this conviction that the Church was true that others seemed to have. I couldn’t bring myself to really read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it was true like you are supposed to do. I can’t really say why I could never bring myself to do this, except that I was living a life filled with fear, and I was afraid of both outcomes of praying for Book of Mormon truth. What would I do if I didn’t get an answer, which is what I really expected because I didn’t think I was worthy enough to receive one. Where would I go then? What would I do? What would I do if I did decide the Book of Mormon was true? I would have to keep living my life of fear. I was “repenting” every night, desperately trying to remember every sin I may have committed during the day and throwing in a “please forgive me for anything I forgot” for good measure. I was scared to death I would forget to repent of something and that I would die a sudden death and not make it to the celestial kingdom. I was taught you must repent of every sin and follow all the other steps, which can take time before you are forgiven. How would I manage? Also, I was afraid to delve into the scriptures because if I learned something, I would be responsible for it. I didn’t want to learn anything, that way it would be easier to accomplish being perfect. If I didn’t know about it, I didn’t have to worry about following it or believing it.
Obviously God does not want us to live like this. I met a wonderful man in high school who quickly became my best friend, and eventually my husband. After moving out of my parent’s house, and not feeling the pressure to go to Church with them, I started attending a real Christian Church with my husband. It was there that I started to learn about the Bible. As we were singing praise songs one day, the lyrics really struck me. “Let the river flow, Holy Spirit come, move in power.” I just thought YES! God is power. I didn’t have to try to do everything for myself anymore. I accepted Jesus’ FREE GIFT that day, and a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I learned I didn’t have to try to remember to repent for every little thing every day because Jesus already forgave me for ALL my sins, past present and future. I don’t have to worry if I am still “working on repentance” if some unexpected misfortune happens to me. It is not my work and effort that frees me from sin, but having accepted Jesus. I can’t say I am fear free, because life is always going to come with some fears; but I know I am forgiven and I do not have to fear what will happen to me after this life. I no longer fear learning the scriptures, but look forward to bible studies and learning what God’s word can teach me. Leaving the Mormon Church freed me in so many ways. I pray every Mormon can experience that same freedom for themselves. I am so much happier now knowing that God and Jesus are on my side.
J.H.Former Mormon I was born and raised in the Mormon Church. My family was very active during my childhood. Although I attended with family and participated in all the programs, even holding callings, I always had lots of questions to ask the leaders and was rarely fully satisfied with their answers. As I grew up and left home I went through cycles of inactivity which were always accompanied by a great deal of guilt, followed by periods of strong involvement and activity in the Church. I was just sure that if I tried hard enough, had enough faith and followed all the commandments, I would find the elusive joy and satisfaction that I was seeking. Unfortunately, my doubts about all the rules and requirements the church had followed me relentlessly. I decided maybe the problem was that I wasn’t truly, fully committed. I decided to go through the temple and take out my endowments. I was more confused and frustrated after that experience than before! Even though I was determined to stick with it, God had other plans for me. About 2 years after attending the temple for the first time, I met the man that I would marry. He was all that I had said I did not want. Namely, he was a Christian. He had no desire to become Mormon but we shared a common love for God and a desire to follow Him.
About five years into our marriage we moved from the city we both grew up in to a place where we knew no one. I was desperate for friendship and felt a spiritual void in my life. I attempted to go (by myself) to the local ward but the doubts I had about the Church came back full force and I was not comfortable there. Through a series of divinely orchestrated events, I became involved in a weekly women’s Bible study at a Church near our home. Two years later, God had softened my heart and stirred up my belief system so much that I was willing to finally submit to WHATEVER His will was, with no qualifications. It was at that point that He reached down and miraculously made me a new person. When I submitted to Him and accepted that the sacrifice His Son made was enough to wash all of my sins away, that there was nothing I could add to it that would make me clean, I was transformed.
That event sent shock waves out from my life that continue to this day. Some of them are difficult, but all of them are miraculous and totally worth it! As a Mormon, my only hope was that I would someday get it together enough to be acceptable to Christ. As a follower of the true and living Christ, my hope is in Him alone! I know now that all of my efforts to be good and righteous are as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6) in comparison to the work of Christ. I now worship someone who is truly worthy of all of my worship and praise (1 Chronicles 16:25).