I have only written a few blogs. But today I feel like expressing my feelings about the Mormon Church. This morning I was studying in the New Testament. I got caught up on a few verses and spent more time than I had allocated to study on those verses alone. I began looking for information in the traditional Mormon places; LDS.org, BYU religion class textbooks and manuals, and other various books. Still unsatisfied, I decided to look on the internet for any insights I could find from perhaps none LDS (Latter-day Saint) sources. Interestingly, I ended up on what are considered anti-Mormon websites. This is nothing particularly new to me. I don’t frequent websites that are anti-anyone, but occasionally I will come across anti-Mormon sites and spend a bit of time searching and reading them.
I am particularly interested, when on these sites, in the stories of individuals who were members of the LDS church and decided to no longer affiliate themselves with the church. I have noticed a variety of patterns for deciding to no longer be part of the Mormons. Many finding supposed fault in leadership, doctrine, history, or the like. Many of these so-called “ex-Mormons” express such feeling of liberation and relief for having withdrawn their name from church records and involvement. Before I continue, I would like to speak frankly that it is not my position to judge anyone one chooses to believe and dedicate them self to what they believe to be true. This is even true within the LDS doctrine according to Article of Faith #11 which states that; “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” So with that in mind, I do not condemn nor judge those who choose to believe differently than I do, and ask that you will extend that same respect toward me. As I share with you what I know to be true and how I have come to this point.
I was born into a Mormon family and have continued and will continue in that faith, come what may! It has not been without difficulty or disappointment. I have had things said and done to me and my family that were uncalled for, to say the very least. I have been confronted with all manner of arguments to refute the doctrine, history and leadership of the church. I have been challenged as to the churches so-called “political” stances. I have been mocked, spit on and threatened for my beliefs, and not just as a missionary. I have “sacrificed” my time, talents, and means for the church's behalf. Some of the greatest pains in my life have come, whether directly or indirectly, due to my involvement with the Mormon Church. Spit in my face, threaten my life, mock and ridicule me. I will not deny or even express doubt for what I know to be true! Here’s why, as best as I can express in these forum.
To start, is my knowledge of the prophet Joseph Smith. To some this is one of the easiest parts of Mormon history to expose. To me it is laughable and even pathetic the attempts that are made to “expose the con-man.” I will not give any specific claim or point of dispute, what I will do is say that Joseph Smith was a man. A man like unto Moses, Adam, Peter, or any of the other prophets of God. Joseph Smith was a man, a man of God. He was not perfect; he had his faults, just like these other men. He gave everything to the Lord, including his own life! I challenge any of you who are struggling in your testimony of, or your investigation of the prophet Joseph Smith to keep in mind that propaganda, slander, and false testimonies/accusations were as real then as they are today. But more than that, judge him according to his works.
One of the other major reasons for my faith and claim on the Mormon Church is a work of Joseph Smith, namely the Book of Mormon. Instead of my words, I will share with you the words of Jeffery R. Holland, a member of the LDS church’s quorum of the twelve apostles.
My faith is multi-faceted; however, I would like to focus on only one last item. That is that I know the church to be true according to the “tender mercies” of God. Let man conjure in the mind and heart what they will. I have had, at times, inexpressible confirmations of my faith. Simple things from “aha” moments to moments so special that I have only shared them with maybe two or three persons. These specific, special, intimate expressions of God’s love have brought me to a point to which I can stand confident before man and God in a clear and precise declaration of my faith.
I know that Jesus Christ is the son of our Almighty God. I know that he accomplished all that is necessary for the rest of God’s children, to enjoy the same privileges and blessings that He receives. I know that the institution that holds the authority of God, was once again setup through the prophet Joseph Smith and that that establishment continues today as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. God, in his mercy has given the Book of Mormon as a second witness to the divinity and mission of his Son. I would challenge all that wonder to turn to God, your Heavenly Father to know concerning truth. Man’s truth is relative at best. Seek truth from Him from whom truth resonates. Understand that doubt is overcome by knowledge. Seek understanding and you will find it. Know however that God requires all, Job, Peter and all the ancient apostles, Moses, Joseph Smith and millions of unnamed servants have realized that and have not been found wanting.
I am not a “special witness” but I am firm enough in my testimony and knowledge that I will use Bruce R. McConkie’s testimony to sum up my feeling. Enjoy…