It has been just 6 months short of 20 years now and some of the details are but an unpleasant and fading memory but I think it is just as valid today as back then.
I was raised in the Mormon Church, six generations on both sides of my family. One of Joseph Smith's wives was my fourth great aunt (Desdemona Fullmer). John Taylor was my father’s uncle, I don't know how many greats in there, but my grandfather was named after him. For over 28 years I faithfully believed that the Mormon religion was true.
I fell in love at the age of 16 and 3 years later married my high school sweetheart. He was a non-member. He was raised in a church that believed in salvation by baptism and so was also un-saved. I had decided that it didn't matter that we didn't believe the same things until our first child came along and there was a conflict as to how we would raise him spiritually. It became very important to me suddenly.
My husband (David) also was disturbed by the problem and began searching for God. He had many voices from all different religions telling him that they were the only way; Mormons, Catholics, Buddhists, Seventh Day, etc. He was very confused. He was also an alcoholic from the time he was about 14. He restrained himself from drinking but had a strong desire to drink.
Because he was practicing Judo at the time, another testimony altogether, his thinking was clouded. Judo is not a sport in any sense of the word, it is a religion. Anyway to make a long story somewhat short, I began studying the Mormon scriptures to know what I believed and then the Bible to prove Mormonism to my husband. I went to my bishop at that time to confess my sins and to ask him what I could do to convert David. He just said to me “Would you consider divorcing him?”
The man was supposed to be inspired! He didn’t know that we had been through hell together and came out loving each other even more. I had gone through seven pregnancies by then and had only 3 living children. Two of the pregnancies ended in miscarriage and two were full term babies that died of unrelated causes. Both of the full term babies had been given a “priesthood” blessing and we were assured that they would live. Praise God that they didn’t! David said that he would join the Mormon religion both times if they did live. Then my best friend (a temple married Mormon) tried to destroy our marriage and tried to seduce David. When he rejected her she spread lies that almost destroyed us, but God is faithful even when we aren’t.
The bishop telling me that there wasn’t any hope and that my children would be raised by another man that I would be given to in the hereafter, was a big mistake on his part.
In the mean time I was still studying the Bible and the Word, truly, doesn’t return void. David hired a believer to work for him and they began listening to gospel radio. He heard the true gospel for the first time and believed in the saving Blood of Jesus. He began praying for me without telling me that he was saved. I went through an entire year of torment. I felt spiritually torn apart, as if God and Satan were on either side of me pulling.
During that time we went to California for vacation. It was in March and so the beaches were closed (no lifeguards) we went swimming (David and I) and got caught in a riptide. I had been through seven pregnancies in seven years and had just had my last child cesarean section six months earlier so I was physically very weak. David was helpless to save me and we kept getting swept farther out to sea. The waves just kept pulling us down. He told me to float on my back since I am rather buoyant and so I did but to no avail, I cried out to God.
The God that answered me was not the Mormon god.
I sensed a presence that was so far beyond anything Mormon that I was stunned. I passed out just as a hand grabbed me and the next thing I knew was that I was on the beach throwing up seawater and crying out “ Oh God” over and over again. I had hypothermia and had swallowed gallons of water but all that I could think of was my encounter with the living God.
There just happened to be a guy with a surfboard and another guy with lifesaving equipment on the beach. They just happened to see us and save our lives. It was a year and a half later before I understood who the true Jesus was, and what He did for me.
The Mormons send out two elders each month to your home to check up on you and it was June of 1982 when they came to my house as usual. They proceeded to reprimand me for not going to church and asked my why I hadn’t been going, I proceeded to tell them that it was emotionally devastating to me to attend since I had to go without my husband and children and as I sat there alone while everyone else sat with their families, it tore me up inside. I would spend the whole time in tears and pain and when I got home I would start a fight with David. I explained that I only had weekends with my husband and children and that I wanted that to be a time of peace.
The one “elder” just coldly said to me, “That is no excuse, it is a commandment that you be in church!” At that moment I went into shock and was just staring into space when David came in and shook me out of it, the men had left and I had been thinking how I had read in the Bible that where two or three are gathered together… and that the whole thing about the Mormon church is families and that my family wasn’t as important because they weren’t Mormons etc. I just said to David, “I can’t be a Mormon anymore, I want to know the truth!” He took me aside and opened my Bible to Ephesians 2:8-9 and explained to me the Gospel that isn’t of endless works but by the Blood of Jesus. I instantly had my eyes opened and believed.
For the next year (actually ever since then) I had my face stuck in the Bible. For the first time I could understand every word and wondered how God had actually changed it.
David had been different but I hadn’t been able to put my finger on how. He was also delivered from the desire to drink alcohol. The craving was gone. He isn’t a dry alcoholic, he is a non-alcoholic. God is so able to change us.
The Saving Blood of Jesus is all that we can rely on for entrance into God’s kingdom. To find out that it wasn’t about endless good works that you could never know were good enough was such a relief. It set me free to know that I could know that I was saved. Tell the people that they are sinners and that the only way to be reconciled to God is by the works of Jesus. His Blood is sufficient to save.
Yours, in Christ Jesus,