.:BRENDA’S EX-MORMON TESTIMONY
As a young mother, lonely for friendship and a substitute “family,” I joined the LDS Church. I embraced Mormonism and all that the LDS Church had to offer. My life was full of Church activity, but yet so empty. Why? What was missing? I wondered. When my only child committed suicide, I did not find hope and healing in the LDS Church, but in a personal relationship with the true Jesus of the Bible.
I was in my early 20s, honorably discharged from the Navy, happily married, and had my first child. My husband and I were living away from home, and we soon clicked with another young couple that lived next door. We learned that they were LDS. Until that time, the only exposure I had to Mormons had been Donnie and Marie Osmond, who had a weekly TV program during the 70s.
Our new friends started bringing our daughter to primary with their kids and eventually we were fellowshipped into Mormonism. I was not raised in the gospel and knew nothing about the Scriptures. My ignorance and vulnerability made me a prime target for the missionaries. I had very few questions to ask and I blindly believed what they taught about Mormonism, and I was told to accept on faith what I did not understand. I was told Mormonism was not Christian, but simply the only true church and only way to eternal salvation, that all other churches were false and created by Satan to deceive us and keep us away from the true church (Mormon church).
My husband and I both came from dysfunctional families, and we were lonely for friendship and a substitute “family.” I think it was those emotional lures that attracted us to Mormonism. After we were baptized and our daughter Kimberly was blessed, our lives were totally consumed by obedience to Mormon Church’s expectations, doctrines, and callings. Our lives were no longer ours.
MY TEMPLE EXPERIENCE
As we approached our one-year anniversary in the church, we were told that we should start preparing for the temple. This was an entirely deeper level of doctrine that I was not told about by the missionaries before they baptized me. The temple décor was absolutely beautiful. I remember being surrounded by a pool of smiling faces from our ward. I did not like being separated from my husband while I was there because I was unable to whisper to him about what I was being exposed to, nor talk to him about the strange signs and tokens.
I remember feeling a mixture of horror, fear, and huge discomfort. Those feelings were compounded by the guilt I felt because I thought there was something wrong with me for feeling that way. All the “seasoned” temple-goers were so happy for me, and they shared how much they loved doing temple work. Why didn’t I feel that way? I tried to convince myself otherwise and even made myself go several more times. The 24-hour wearing of my newly acquired temple undergarments constantly reminded me of something amiss — but what?
THROUGH LOSS – FOUND CHRIST
I had no one outside the Mormon Church to talk to about my experiences, so I continued to exist in something that was at least familiar with me. It was a result of the 1992 suicide loss of my only child where I found and received Jesus Christ through on-line internet support groups for parents who lost children to suicide. I learned that God of the Bible was not once an “exalted” human and that I was saved without works or rituals. I found peace in learning more about the Biblical God and in knowing that I have eternal salvation.
If I had not experienced the turmoil and pains of Mormonism and the difficulty from trying to leave it, would I have thirsted as I now thirst to bring Mormons into the light of Jesus where their agony would be replaced with joy, peace, and love for their newfound Jesus of the Bible? Would they be able to find the way to true eternal salvation?
The Biblical God will continue to be with me throughout all my trials. I am so thankful that I am alive for time and eternity, and you can be, too!