Sunday, December 21, 2008

Just When I Needed It Most...

I am constantly amazed by God's Grace and Mercy. The past couple of weeks I have been struggling spiritually as my resolve to follow Christ has been tested.

Today, in my Sunday School class, God gave me an answer to my recent prayers. I walked in our class late this morning after struggling whether to even go at all. The class was discussing Luke 21:12-17. As we discussed being persecuted for Christ, I realized that if I cannot be faithful to Him in the small trials that I am facing, how am I going to be faithful when the real persecution starts? Or am I going to buckle when being faced with losing a family member or even my own life?

There are people who are currently being persecuted and killed for declaring the word, who continue to stand strong and true to Christ. (See Voice of the Martyrs) And here am I, comfortable in my faith and the minute a negative breeze swings in my direction, I buckle. What good am I then for Christ? What a wake up call for me!

But how gracious and loving is Christ that He would remind me of this. He could have simply let me continue my downward path and let me quit. But no, he gently reminded me that I am His and that the trials that I am facing were promised to me the moment he claimed me as His own. And how much more wonderful that through my trials, a person has come to a better understanding of who God is! Who am I to minimize this victory by selfishly focusing on the trials instead of focusing on God and His Greatness?

"In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?


But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:26-39

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Twilight Follow Up

I wanted to post a follow up regarding my previous post about the book Twilight.

At the time I posted this, I was considering reading the book to understand what the hype is about, but the more I research the book, the less I want to read it. Yes, it is fiction. And yes, if we are teaching our children between good and evil, they will know the difference between fact and fiction.

However, personally, I don’t want to put anything into my mind that will cause me to stumble. And by stumble I mean cause even a momentary doubt or shadow to cross my mind. If I were to read this book, knowing full well that it is about vampires and written by a Mormon. I would be opening myself up to fall once again. This may seem harsh, but is it? Compare it to a Victoria’s Secret ad for a man who is tempted by pornography or to a piece of chocolate cake for a woman who is on a diet.

Satan’s strongest tools are persuasion and tolerance. Persuasion as in persuading a person that evil is not in fact evil (see Isaiah 5). Tolerance as in building up a person’s tolerance for evil. For example: “It is only an apple” (funny how that is the cover of the first Twilight book, isn’t it?) Or “it is only has one/two/three curse word(s).” This quote reminds me of a story I heard on the radio the other day:

Dad's Brownies---Great lesson!!
A father of some teenage children had the family rule that they could not attend PG-13 or R rated movies. His three teens wanted to see a particular popular movie that was playing at local theaters. It was rated PG-13. The teens interviewed friends and even some members of their family's church to find out what was offensive in the movie. The teens made a list of pros and cons about the movie to use to convince their dad that they should be allowed to see it.
The con's were that it contained ONLY 3 swear words, the ONLY violence was a building exploding (and you see that on TV all the time they said), and you actually did not "see" the couple in the movie having sex - it was just implied sex, off camera.
The pros were that it was a popular movie - a block buster. Everyone was seeing it. If the teens saw the movie then they would not feel left out when their friends discussed it. The movie contained a good story and plot. It had some great adventure and suspense in it.
There were some fantastic special effects in this movie. The movie's stars were some of the most talented actors in Hollywood. It probably would be nominated for several awards. Many of the members of their Christian church had even seen the movie and said it wasn't "very bad".
Therefore, since there were more pros than cons the teens said they were asking their father to reconsider his position on just this ONE movie and let them have permission to go see it.
The father looked at the list and thought for a few minutes. He said he could tell his children had spent some time and thought on this request. He asked if he could have a day to think about it before making his decision. The teens were thrilled thinking; "Now we've got him! Our argument is too good! Dad can't turn us down!" So, they happily agreed to let him have a day to think about their request.
The next evening the father called in his three teenagers, who were smiling smugly, into the living room. There on the coffee table he had a plate of brownies. The teens were puzzled. The father told his children he had thought about their request and had decided that if they would eat a brownie then he would let them go to the movie. But just like the movie, the brownies had pros and cons.
The pros were that they were made with the finest chocolate and other good ingredients. They had the added special effect of yummy walnuts in them. The brownies were moist and fresh with wonderful chocolate frosting on top. He had made these fantastic brownies using an award-winning recipe. And best of all, the brownies had been made lovingly by the hand of their own father.
The brownies only had one con. The father had included a little bit of a special ingredient. The brownies also contained just a little bit of dog poop. But he had mixed the dough well - they probably would not even be able to taste the dog poop and he had baked it at 350 degrees so any bacteria or germs from the dog poop had probably been destroyed.
Therefore, if any of his children could stand to eat the brownies which included just a "little bit of foreign substance" and not be effected by it, then he knew they would also be able to see the movie with "just a little bit of smut" and not be effected. Of course, none of the teens would eat the brownies and the smug smiles had left their faces. Only Dad was smiling smugly as they left the room.
Now when his teenagers ask permission to do something he is opposed to the father just asks, "Would you like me to whip up a batch of my special brownies?" (Copied from the following link:

As one last example about tolerance, simply consider the difference in the shows our parents watched on TV or in the movie theaters compared with today's shows/movies. The topics that were such a big deal when Three's Company was shown on air are no longer even discussed thanks to the show paving the way for shows such as My Two Dads, Friends, or How I Met Your Mother.

Here are a few more links that you may find interesting:

For a fairly decent review of the first book by someone who has read it, see:

This is the author’s blog about how she came up with the idea for the book:

This article is an additional viewpoint about Twilight:

Which links to the following article from my last email (in case you didn't have a chance to read it):

This article is not about Twilight, but I thought it was a good article about discerning how a true work of the Holy Spirit can be distinguished from a false work:

In conclusion, I am quoting the following Bible passages to show a small portion of the Bible’s viewpoint on how Satan operates (please try not to take these verses out of context by applying them to Twilight – in that it is a work of fiction):

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:1-4

so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes. 2 Corinthians 2:11

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10

I would love to hear your viewpoints on this topic!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

God is Great!

Tonight, I am rejoicing in the Lord. He is Great and Mighty to Save. He has worked such a work in my life. He has grasped hold of me and pulled me from the jaws of hell and made me His own. The trifles that I write will never begin to describe His Mighty Goodness. He has led me to His Son, Jesus, who died that I might live. What more is there? Nothing can compare to Him, and for that matter, why would we want to compare Him to anything anyway?

"Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty,
Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name;
Worship the LORD in holy array.
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters;
The God of glory thunders,
The LORD is over many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful,
The voice of the LORD is majestic.
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
Yes, the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
And Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the LORD hews out flames of fire.
The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;
The LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD makes the deer to calve
And strips the forests bare;
And in His temple everything says, "Glory!"
The LORD sat as King at the flood;
Yes, the LORD sits as King forever.
The LORD will give strength to His people;
The LORD will bless His people with peace. "
Psalm 29

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mormons and Atonement

Okay, this morning while I was listening to one of my radio podcasts, the host stated that Mormons do not have an atonement. I have to clear this up a bit, because the way that Mormons use the term atonement is different than the way that Christians use the word Atonement. Here is what I was taught about the word atonement:

Atonement: To be "at one" with Christ. I was raised believing that the atonement meant in one aspect, while Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, He experienced every sin that anyone has ever committed. This meant that He could sympathize with us and help us through every struggle that we had as we were striving to become perfect. According to the Mormon belief, Jesus took on the sins of all other mortals which caused him to bleed from every pore suffering in both body and spirit. (Mormon's Doctrine and Covenants 19:18, "Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink— ")

"We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. " (Mormon's Article of Faith #3)

For an idea of what the Mormons teach, you can review the Atonement of Jesus lesson plan or this more detailed atonement lesson plan on their website.

One thing that struck me as interesting as I was thinking about this earlier, is the fact that according to Mormons, through the atonement, you can become at one with Christ just as He is at one with "Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost" -- Three personages, One purpose.

At this point I need to tell you that even though most of you who read this information will see the fallacies in the teachings, as I delve into the material to post, I struggle to keep Mormon beliefs separated from Christian beliefs. Even now, after being free from the Mormon church, if I spend too much time reviewing their theology, it starts to seem familiar again... remind you of a bible verse? (hint: "familiar spirits").

The things that Mormonism teaches can so easily seem right ("There is a way that seems right to a man..." Proverbs 14:12), but they are fallacies twisted with just enough of the truth to confuse and send you off the narrow way.

I am going to wrap this post up with one last thought about Mormon's beliefs about the atonement... According to Mormon belief, our sins are our spiritual debt and without Jesus we would pay for our sins with a spiritual death. Oh, and one last thing, Mormons believe that Everlasting Torment, etc. is temporary. How do they explain it? Well, Everlasting is a name for God, therefore it is Everlasting's Torment... make sense...?

P.S. for more information, CARM has a great article about Mormons and the Atonement.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving. I will be posting later tonight about Mormons and their view of the Atonement (due to a radio podcast I am listening to this morning).


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Family and Community... with an Evangelistic Message thrown in...

If you have ever visited Utah, no doubt you have noticed a difference from "the rest of the world." One thing that I do miss about Mormonism is their focus on their families and communities. Everyone in a certain radius attends the same church every Sunday. Monthly visits by the visiting and home teachers are expected, as well as Monday night Family Home Evenings. It is no wonder so many people find it difficult to leave Mormonism. Leaving Mormonism means leaving family, friends, neighbors, etc.

Wouldn't it be amazing if this is how Christ's church operated? Isn't this how Christ's church is supposed to operate? Visiting, sharing, ministering, guiding (after all, these are all things that the Mormon church focuses on in its good works driven theology) all with the glory of God in mind and with a heart for Christ (and not trying to work our way into heaven).

Regarding Previous Post about Purpose of Marriage...

After my previous post regarding marriage, I have been worrying that it may have come across as aimed at husbands. This was not my intention at all. When I listen to sermons such as the one that I posted by Paul Washer, I attempt to listen to them with an ear for how I need to change, or what applies to my life per biblically sound principles. The passage of scripture that I posted at the end of the post was what my husband radiated yesterday. I am so proud of the growth that he has gone through over the past year.

On the way home from work today, I was listening to another sermon by Paul Washer. In it, he mentioned how we have a tendency to overlook what I'm going to call the good factor in our spouses. I know that I am very guilty of this. My husband does not physically or verbally abuse me. He is not out running around on me. In fact, if I had one complaint, it is that he spends an excessive amount of time ministering to others and not me. Of course, that is the selfish part of me that I am working on ridding myself of. How much more blessed could I be than for God to give me a husband that I don't deserve, who genuinely cares for others more than himself, and who is so focused on Christ, pretty much everyone who knows him knows what his beliefs are and feel comfortable coming to him when they have a question about religion, Christianity, etc.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Truth Matters

TRUTH MATTERS: Prayer and Help For My Mother, Carol

A request has come from a brother in Christ. His mother has been diagnosed with cancer. You can learn more here:

Purpose of Marriage...

Once again, I have learned that I am not perfect (not that I need much help being reminded of that!). You would think I would get it after the first hundred times. But no, pride keeps rearing it's ugly head. Fortunately for me, I have an amazing husband who knows exactly what to say to diffuse the situation. The best part about it, is that most of what he says in these situations, he backs up with scripture. The worst part about it is the fact that I am having such a struggle with pride. God is so good! He has given me such a good man who despite my failures continues to love me even when I am being prideful and want to just quit.

Paul Washer on Marriage:

Today, God showed me who my husband is becoming through Christ. I am so amazed by how gracious He truly is and am equally awed by His work in my family's lives. There is hope for the rest of my family (the mormon side) yet!

"For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless." Ephesians 5:23-27

Friday, November 21, 2008


A couple of years ago I bought a book for my oldest daughter, who thankfully has been blessed with a gift of discernment. At the time, Twilight was an almost unknown series. I figured since it was written by a Mormon it should be okay, meaning no sex or major violence. During the past couple days full of hype about the movie, I have changed my mind.

Here is the thing. The author (a self-proclaimed Mormon) has stated that a lot of her basic beliefs are ingrained in the story. "Meyer, a wife and mother of three from Phoenix, who is a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and graduate of Brigham Young University, says she has become accustomed to people asking her, “What’s a nice Mormon girl like you doing writing about vampires?” But as she told one Mormon-themed Web site, “Unconsciously, I put a lot of my basic beliefs into the story.”"

While it may be a "decent" book, I have not yet read it myself, therefore, I can only discuss here the following points that I feel are important:

First, everything else aside, the book is about vampires. Are these not considered to be demonic? We are already raising the status of witches to acceptable, are we also going to raise demons to good creatures? Oh, wait, that was a different charming tv show...

Second, the book is laced with Mormonology. While that may seem harmless, the more you are exposed to the beliefs the more they make sense until soon what seemed so wrong previously starts to seem more like fact. This indoctrination is what scares me about this book. Mormon missionaries are taught that the first step to "bringing the gospel" to a person is to build relationships of trust.

Think about it. This means that with the popularity of this series, Mormon missionaries now have an "in" with anyone who is a Twilight fan. All they have to do now is go up to your child and say something like, "Hey have you read Twilight? Isn't it great? Did you know the author is Mormon? Yeah, she reads this book (holding up the Book of Mormon). Would you like to read it too?"

Okay, yes, this is a poor dramatization, but I'm hoping that if you are reading this you get the point. Here are a couple other links on this subject that I recommend reading:

"And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. " Philippians 1:9-11

Thursday, November 20, 2008


It is interesting how much has happened in the two weeks since I posted my testimony on this blog. I started posting with the hope that even one person in my family would read the post and turn to God. It seems that God has something else in mind, however. Through my posting, God is showing the areas in my life that need improving. For example, I am currently in a season of life where I have to work outside of the home. My heart has been yearning to come home to raise my children, especially with Kaesi starting Kindergarten next year. I have let this desire consume me during the past week enough that I have had a lot of trouble focusing at work.

Although I have completed my work, I have done it begrudgingly. I have even started to think about ways that I could end my job. Here is the thing, I gave this burden to God the last time I started to feel this way (months ago). This past week I tried to take it back from God. He "gently" reminded me today that I gave this burden to Him and that I couldn't have it back. The interesting thing is, he used something almost unrelated to show me the truth.

I was looking for a way to "politely" tell someone to guard their tongue, and instead found the following verse:

"...and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:27-32

As I read these verses, God opened my eyes to the fact that by not working wholeheartedly while at work I was in essence stealing. And by holding on to the bitterness that I was quickly stockpiling because of issues at work and home, I was/am grieving the Holy Spirit of God. Ouch!

It reminded me of Romans where Paul struggles with wanting to do good, but failing because of his humanity. Please forgive my paraphrase, here is the Bible passage: Romans 7:14-25 And you have to read Romans 8 when you are finished with that...

Since I am unable to say it any better than Paul, I will end this post with this: Though I am weak, God is sending me through the refiners fire and will make me strong in Him. He is creating in me a new person through Jesus Christ His Son.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Regarding Good Works and Having Your Best Life Now...

We were discussing Paul and his conversion (Acts 9) in our bible study class this morning, and it hit me how great and awesome God is. He didn't have to pull me out of Mormonism, but He chose me as one of His own. I have been reading a lot of posts lately about people berating others for thinking so low of themselves and/or teaching their children to believe that they are wretched sinners. All I can think is how deluded we who call ourselves "Christians" have allowed ourselves to become. When did Christianity become all about "me"?

I am the worst of sinners and was once like the people who hold self-esteem so high and self-righteously cling to their good works. But as Paul was changed on the road to Damascus, God plucked me out of Mormonism and created in me a new person. Here is the amazing part of all of this. I do not need to tell myself that I have a purpose or that I am a good person. I do not need to listen to men speaking about how to have a better life now. I am a worthless sinner whose offerings are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). However, through Jesus Christ, I am clean.

My best life is not in this life but in the life to come and my time is best spent right now raising my children for God that they may serve Him someday and also in sharing my story of how God changed me, with the hope that even one person who reads it or hears it may come to know Jesus Christ who lived a perfect life, took on the sins of the world, died on the cross, rose again, and is seated at the Right Hand of God!

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; " Romans 5:1-4

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mormons are Christians Too... Really?

It is my hope that the posts that I make on this blog will not be construed as being against people who are Mormon. I am merely against religions that hide the truth from their followers. Not too long ago, a family member joined a group that went by the title Mormons are Christians Too. At first, I was sad that she thought that way (as most Mormons do). However, as I started to think of the recent trend in Christianity to misconstrue who Christ is, I realized there may be something to what she and other Mormons think. Maybe Mormons are more like Christians than we think. After all, when we twist the truths of the Bible to become relevant and/or politically correct, aren't we merely creating our own version of who Jesus Christ really is? Then aren't we guilty of the same sin as Mormons in following a false god? How far must we go before we turn our version of Jesus into someone who is not the same as the Jesus in the Bible?

While reading in Ephesians this evening, I came across the following passage in Chapter 5:

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. Ephesians 5:1-13

What is Paul's concern in these verses? I believe that his concerns are the same that we should have today. With much of "Christianity" becoming silly and vain, how much more should we who know the truth warn people against these things. How can we bring those stumbling around in the darkness into the light? There are so many people, like my family, who have been deceived with the "empty words" or empty promises (i.e. "you shall not surely die, but shall become as gods") of the men they follow. I know there are times when I have been more afraid of man than of God when it comes to speaking the truth, especially when it comes to witnessing to members of my family. According to these verses, the times when I succumb to my fear and joke or make light of the things of the spirit (isn't this considered a form of blasphemy?) are times when I have looked silly or foolish to Him. Which is worse? Looking foolish to men, or looking foolish to the Almighty God, the One who gave you life?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Self Righteousness and Making your Calling and Election Sure Mormon Style

I was thinking a little bit today about how it seemed so easy to knock on doors and talk with people while I was on my Mormon mission compared to trying to witness with people now. I think part of it is that I struggle with trying to figure out whether the facts that I know from the Bible are really facts, or the twisting of facts that were ingrained in me while I was a Mormon. The other part could be because I was so swept away in my self-righteous all-knowing attitude that if I didn't know the answer, I would make up an explanation that sounded correct and state it as fact.

Imagine for a minute being told your entire life that you were to become a god and that Jesus would help you get to heaven after all that you could do. The struggle I find in this is that you doubt that you are going to make it to heaven because you keep breaking the rules, so in order to make yourself feel better, you focus completely on the rules you keep well and the things that you do to make up for the areas in which you falter. This in turn makes you start looking at other people like, "well, if I can keep this rule, why can't you?" and the cycle goes on and on until you are so caught up in the sin of self righteousness that you deny that anyone else could be right about any subject that you have even a smidgen of knowledge in.

The only thing that you have left to strive for at this point is making your "calling and election sure." For more of an idea about what the Mormons think about this concept, please review the following article (with a grain of salt knowing that it comes from the Mormon Church) in the Mormon Church's Magazine (The Ensign) titled, "The Accepted of the Lord: Making your Calling and Election Sure." My friends and I believed this to mean that after you have done everything that you need to do to become perfect your calling and election will be made sure and that you will be translated like Elijah was "in the twinkling of an eye."

It is no wonder that Mormons struggle with depression knowing that with every sin, they fall farther and farther from their goal of making their calling and election sure. How great is our God that He has sent His Son to bridge the chasm and cleanse us of our sins if we turn from them and trust in Jesus, and that he is preparing a place for us in heaven without "all we can do!"

"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputes not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
"I acknowledge my sin unto you, and my iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
"For this shall every one that is godly pray unto you in a time when you may be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come near unto him. Your are my hiding place, you shall preserve me from trouble; you shall compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go: I will guide you with my eye. Be not as the horse, or as the mule which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto you. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusts in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, you righteous: and shout for joy, all you that are upright in heart." -- Psalm 32

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thoughts on past conversations and regrets...

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." -- Matthew 7:21-23

My aunt and I would talk about various things when she was alive. Sometimes when we were talking about my grandpa, she would say that he used to tell her that a lot of people in our family were going to be surprised when they reached the other side (meaning after they die, of course). I always wondered what that meant. Until recently, I didn't quite get it. It makes me wonder if my grandpa figured out the truth about Mormonism before he died...

Another conversation my aunt and I had was regarding the Temple ceremonies. When she first went through the temple with my grandpa, there were additional ceremonies that were removed before the first time I went through the temple. We were talking a bit about the first experience of going through the temple. She said that while the ceremonies were taking place, she felt uncomfortable and thought that it wasn't right. However, she looked over at her father who had taken her there and thought that if it wasn't right he wouldn't be doing it. Oh, how right she was at being uncomfortable about the ceremonies.

One major regret that I have is this: I had the opportunity to share the truth with my aunt before she passed away and I did not do it, because I was afraid what my family members that were in the room with me would say. I also wasn't born again myself at this time, only thought I was (although this is not an excuse). However, all that aside, I will always regret not speaking up. The lesson learned is that every opportunity I have to speak to someone about Jesus Christ, I must speak and push past my fear of man.

"Fear not, for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yea, I will help you; yea I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold, all they that were incensed against you shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with you shall perish. You shall seek them, and shall not find them, even them that contended with you: they that war against you shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I the Lord your God will hold your right hand, saying to you, Fear not; I will help you." Isaiah 41:10-13

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Testimony

I have been asked by a number of people to write my testimony down. I have not written it down prior to today because, first, I did not know where to start, and second, I did not feel like I had a story, finally, I am afraid of what my family (95% Mormon) will say. However, after a conference my husband and I attended a couple weekends ago, I have decided that it is a story that needs to be told. So here is my story:

My name is Teri Campbell. I grew up in a 5th or 6th Generation Mormon home. I am not quite sure how far back it ran in our family, but that is not important. I was baptized into the Mormon religion when I was eight years old. I received my patriarchal blessing when I was twelve. I temporarily rebelled when I was eighteen but returned to Mormonism when I was nineteen. I served a Mormon mission in Novosibirsk, Russia when I was twenty-one. And I finally left Mormonism when I was twenty-seven. How? It started while I was on my mission. Surprised? It is all by the grace of God.

During my mission, I truly felt blessed to be able to share the "gospel" of Jesus Christ with people who had previously not heard of Christ. While there, I was confronted by a woman who was also from the states. When I said to her, "what does it matter what religion we are from, we are bringing the knowledge of Jesus Christ to people who have never heard of Him," she turned to me and said, "your Jesus is not the same Jesus as my Jesus Christ." With that we separated company and went our separate ways. Her words, however, continued with me.

During the year and a half I was in Russia, I read the Bible for the first time from cover to cover. I had questions, but didn't ask anyone. After all, the Bible was fallible... that is to say we believed in the Bible as far as it is translated correctly. I figured my confusion was merely mistakes in the Bible. There were other instances during my mission that I found confusing.

One that stands out is that while we were visiting with a family who were interested in the church, I asked them to pray to find out if Mormonism was false and God would tell them that it (Mormonism) was true. I had read an article in the Ensign (a Mormon publication) that spoke about that being effective in sharing the "gospel" with people. I got in so much trouble for asking them this question. I couldn't understand why we couldn't ask something like this...

After my mission, I continued on strong in the church for a while, but questions kept coming up especially the more I studied the History of the Church, and other Mormon books. I finally left the Mormon Church after sitting in front of a counsel of men, where I confessed my sins and asked for forgiveness. After being sent out into the hall while they deliberated on what to do with me (all of which I was able to hear from where I sat), I began to become more and more angry with the fact that these men who were as fallible as I am were judging me, which I believed was God's job. As a side note, I know that anger was leading my judgment with them at this point, but this is what made me leave the church for good. I was called back in and disfellowshipped. This is what they do prior to excommunication. It meant that I could go to church but I could not participate (i.e. not allowed to pray, give a talk, take the sacrament, teach a class, etc.)

The next two years after I left the church were full of pride and rebellion against all of the rules that the Mormon Church had held me under for years. Then, I decided I was going to chase my dream of singing and headed to Tennessee. After moving to Tennessee, I visited a Mormon church off and on. I now call it "getting my fix" of Mormonism. I would go, feel better, and then do what I wanted until the next time I needed my fix.

Fast forward to a few months after I met my future husband, at this point, I felt like something was missing and I was beginning to search for what it was. My future husband took me to my first Baptist church. I was so amazed that I could "feel the spirit" in a place that wasn't a Mormon church. Little did I realize at this point that emotions are deceptive and do not mean that something is of God.

After a couple of visits, I decided that I wanted to be Baptist. I think I mainly wanted this because of my future husband and not because I was saved. I prayed the sinners prayer with the pastor at the church and walked a way being told that I was saved.

A note about my husband (my rock through my struggle with Mormonism): He grew up in a little town in Idaho, which is 95% Mormon He had many friends who were Mormon and had many opportunities to learn about Mormonism first hand. In his own words, “I personally love the Mormons and wish we as Christ’s church could emulate the fellowship love within the LDS (“Latter-day Saints” aka Mormons) walls.” Despite his background and proximity to Mormonism, he was never drawn into their ranks and is adamant against the false teachers and doctrine that lead these sheep away.

Even after my husband and I married, I kept feeling a pull back to the Mormon Church. While I was pregnant with our daughter, I went back to the Mormon Church twice, behind my husband's back. While there, I was told I needed to divorce my husband since he was not Mormon. This was after two visits... Anyway, I finally broke down and told my husband what I had done. He was upset and concerned about the fact I had gone to the church (rightly so since I had gone behind his back) and after a long conversation, I promised I would not return to the church again.

A couple months later, we moved to a church that was closer to our house that has an awesome children's program. We became very active with the children's program. After attending this church for about a year, I realized that I had not truly made a commitment to Christ. Instead, I had been going to church for the wrong reasons, mainly because I felt important at church. At this point, I decided that it was time that I was baptized in the Baptist church. I had not been baptized previously, because up to this point, I had felt that my Mormon baptism had been me showing my commitment to God. Plus, I still had one foot in Mormonism. The following Sunday, I walked the aisle and asked to be baptized.

At this point in my story, I need to pause to say how great God is. There are so many times when He could have decided that saving me just wasn't worth it and struck me down. He could have let me continue in my sins and not show me the way, but He didn't. He sent His Son to die for me, the wretched sinner that I am, because of His great Love for me, although I do not deserve it...

Again, following baptism, I was renewed. I became more active in the church, doing all of the things I felt I was being called to do. Then I became pregnant again. I began to burn out. I started to find people to take over the things that I was leading, claiming that it was because of the pregnancy. Around this time, my husband found "The Way of the Master." The girls and I would get so irritated with him playing the radio program every time we rode with him. Mainly because he would play it so loud, the radio host would grate our ears.

One day, I had a couple errands to run, and my husband had left his IPod in the van. I decided to listen to the program while I ran my errands (at a decent volume level). I started to get hooked. After a couple months, my husband got irritated with me listening to his podcasts when he wanted to, so he got me my own IPod and downloaded the program onto it for me. Whenever I could, I would listen to the program.

Then, one day, a lady called in, I think her name was Katie. She was searching for assurance that she was saved. I had doubted my salvation for a while. This program gave me the courage to send an email to the ministry. They directed me to a couple of links which I had already listened to, so again I decided that I was saved and I was okay.

At this point, I really started struggling with my life. I joked around saying that my hubby turned 40 and I had a mid-life crisis. On the outside, I tried to keep everything together, but on the inside, I just kept getting worse and worse. God was showing me all of my sins and how worthless I really was, and I didn't want to see it. My pride was getting the best of me. I kept worrying about what everyone else would think knowing that I was a false convert. And I did not want my husband to know that I had not been saved. Because (strangely enough) I did not want him to rejoice if I became saved. My selfishness and anger at my husband had caused me to be so prideful God had to break me to bring me to Him.

The fact that my husband and I were registered for the Deeper Conference (hosted by Living Waters) was the only thing at times that kept me from walking away from my marriage or my job. This was because my selfishness was blinding me to what I have: A faithful husband who has been right beside me even when I have been downright mean to him and four beautiful children who are my life and my joy. That weekend at the Deeper Conference, changed me.

After the conference, I realized the reason I struggled with sharing my testimony, was because I wasn't sure I had one. I began reading my Bible, listening to podcasts of Paul Washer, Johnny Hunt, The Way of the Master, etc. I finally gave up. I began praying. Of course, I choose the worst times to pray. I was driving down the road on the way to pick up the kids from daycare. I gave it all to God. I asked that He forgive my pride and arrogance. I also asked Him to search my heart to rid me of any unclean thought and wash me in the blood of Christ. I know I am a wretched sinner who does not deserve the great love of God, that He would send His Son to suffer in my place because He wanted me with Him on that final day. He has saved me! This is my Testimony of Jesus Christ in me and of the Greatness of God that He would save a sinner such as me.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16