Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Precious Trust Given to Us

“It’s going to cost a (LDS)  person an awful lot to be (out). . . because once they’re (out), they don’t know who they’re going to be on the other side and they don’t know what they’re going to end up losing cause chances are they probably will lose something. It may not be what they think they’re going to lose, but chances are they’re probably going to lose something because their life up to this point has been based on (a false belief system) and they didn’t realize that and didn’t understand that. Their entire environment they live in has been made out of unhealthy decisions (a false belief system) and once you get healthy, some of those individuals in that environment may not like you anymore, or may not like the fact that you’re now part of their world and now you’re stuck with each other. Because once a healthy person comes into contact with an unhealthy person the healthy person becomes a mirror and they have to make a decision. And, that may not be the time they want to make those decisions.  If they even want to make that decision period.  Plus I’m now having to learn healthy tools, and I’m probably at an age where that’s embarrassing. . . reality is messy, reality is hard. . . " Teresa Liebscher from Sozo Advanced Training Series

I was listening to a training tape by Teresa Liebscher and came across the following quote (with some additions and changes in brackets). The original quote was talking about people with severe mental illness, but as I listened I thought about how this quote really does fit in the LDS context. On Facebook, I’m following several groups and individuals who have been witnessing to LDS folks in Utah. The outreach they were part of was a fun one, and there’s quite a bit of jubilation and exhilaration over a “job well done.” 

Teresa’s quote though reminds me that there’s a very real cost in the work we’re doing (witnessing to LDS folks), that for them, this change we’re asking them to make is hard, really hard. We tend to think of the Gospel as something that is going to instantly make someone happy, healthy and whole, but at least in the beginning the Gospel comes in like an unwelcome intruder. It comes in by tearing down barriers. It comes in breaking down walls. It comes in ripping, gouging, even slashing away false, and yet familiar belief systems.  

Most of all it is painful: tearing, ripping, gouging pain. Speaking as a former Mormon,the two-edged sword of God’s Word cuts, and tears, and rips away parts of us that we like: parts we’re fond of, parts that are familiar to us. It challenges our suppositions. It makes us think. It makes us wonder about beliefs we hold so dear to us that we’d die for them. In fact, we have already invested much into them: we’ve sent our children on missions, we’ve gone on missions, we’ve invested our money, our time, our talents into this church you’re now challenging. We’ve invested our pride, our reputation, our sense of integrity into its claim to truth. We’ve studied, we’ve learned, we’ve worked so very hard, all for a system that is being ripped away from us, one precious truth at a time. 

You’re asking us to turn our back on the incredible sacrifice of our ancestors: they gave up literally everything they had for the LDS church. You’re asking us to tell our friends we’ve been wrong, even worse to tell our friends they are wrong. You’re asking us to step out of our comfort zone and step into something that’s not only is uncomfortable, but in our minds, downright wrong. You’re asking us to turn our back on something we’ve held precious our entire lives. . . to take a chance on eternal damnation even. 

All that to say, that this trust given to us who know the biblical Jesus, and His way, is a precious trust. . . a solemn trust, something that is holy even. We are given the precious trust of sharing with someone the most amazing thing in the universe, and yet we’re also given the trust of caring for them and realizing the terrible cost to them in reaching out to that trust. It’s worth it—oh so worth it, but it is not easy, and it is not something to be taken lightly. It’s something to be approached with fear and trembling, it’s something to be approached with respect, love, and compassion, and lots and lots of prayer.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Real, lasting, biblical fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  (Galatians 5:22)

I’m sitting at the hospital with my mom tonight. She went into the hospital on Monday for a “routine” brain surgery and had some complications. The complications have been frightening and traumatizing for all of us. Mom went from being a healthy, stubborn, independent adult to needing help to even get out of bed.  To say that it’s been a rough week for me and my siblings would be a real understatement.

Through it all though, I have been incredibly blessed by a true spirit of peace, joy, and yes, love for my stubborn, independent mother—healthy or not. The thing is that I know this is a peace that’s outside of me: a contentment and compassion that far surpasses my own abilities, and is truly the fruit of the Spirit who is living inside me.

Biblically speaking, the fruit of the Spirit is something that we as Christians should show. It’s a fruit that we in many ways can’t learn, can’t practice, can’t try harder, or even choose to “choose the right,” but instead, it’s a fruit that comes to us in the most unexpected times: in times when situations are beyond ourselves, in times that we just can’t do one more thing, and when we give our burdens up to God and let Him carry them.

John 15 talks about our relationship to God and compares it to Him being the vine and us being the branches. Branches are a great analogy because just like when the branch of a vine is disconnected from its roots and dies, the same thing is true of us. When we’re disconnected from God, we too wither up and die spiritually. John 15 verse five affirms that “without me ye can do nothing.” What's most important about this analogy is that a disconnected vine simply cannot bring forth fruit, no matter how hard it tries.

The Christian life isn’t a life of try, try, try, or even a life of choosing the right, but instead, is a life of God working through us. It’s a life where I acknowledge that the things that originate in “me” are messed up. What originates in me is anger, resentment, depression, hurt and more! (See Galatians 5 for the whole laundry list of things that I bring about) The Christian life on the other hand, is resting in the truth that One resides within me, who IS peace, love, joy and much, much more. It’s a life where that One acts through me to bring the fruit of His Spirit into my life, and really I’m just a conduit for Him. 

Thanks for your prayers for my mom, and also for me as I allow God to love her in His perfect way through me. (Doctors are optimistic that she’ll have a complete recovery but it’ll take some time).

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lies Straight from the Garden

It’s a beautiful rainy day here in Northern New Mexico where I live. Since that’s a rare occurrence around here, we’re all enjoying the cooler temperatures, and of course the moisture—especially my garden!

This morning though, I was thinking about Adam and Eve and what it might have been like in the garden. We know that God created it, and that it was very good because Genesis 1 tells us that after God got done creating everything He declared it “very good.”  I have to assume there was the right amount of moisture, not too much, and not too little. Unlike the high desert, and also unlike those places that get a lot more moisture than we have, it was just the right amount and I’m sure the plants were growing like crazy with that personalized “God-care.”

Also, in the garden it seems that Adam and Eve didn’t have to work overly hard—maybe they had time to pursue their hobbies (naming all the animals is something that Adam did), or relax. One thing we know for sure is that they had the time and energy to “walk with God” regularly in the garden. We know that because the biblical text tells us that right after the fall God came down to do what He regularly did which was to walk and talk with them.

Then entered the serpent.  .. dum, dum, dummm, duhhhmmmm as my kids would say. He starts off by asking Eve a question. “Did God really say?” I sure don’t have to think very hard to think of examples of Satan asking us the same question here today. The attacks on the Bible that are quite easily found on the Internet are one example of that. The attacks on what the Bible actually teaches are another one. (Did God really say that He hates homosexuality?)

Then Eve complicates the matter by adding on to what God said the phrase “you must not even touch it.” That too is something that religions do: add onto what scripture teaches by adding on rules and regulations that supersede what God has actually said. One example of that is the rule that many religions put on religious people that says they can’t drink alcoholic beverages. What God’s Word actually says is that a person shouldn’t get drunk, and also that nothing should enslave the Christian (that would include an addiction to alcohol). These “additional” rules were actually what Jesus was fighting against most often when He interacted with the Pharisees.

The next lie Satan tells is of particular interest to those who have studied Mormonism because what Satan tells Eve next is that she won’t actually die, but instead her eyes will be opened, and she will become “like God.”  It’s not actually a lie that’s unique to Mormonism, it’s just that Mormonism so blatantly teaches it. Most other systems of belief though, that elevate man, and bring God down to the level of a man are in essence teaching that mankind is “like God.”

I’m always fascinated by these three falsehoods because I think that they form the foundation for most of the temptations Satan throws at us today, and probably throughout history. The question for us is, are one of these issues facing us personally today?

Did God really say?
Not only that, but you also must. . . 
You can become like God.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Prophets and the biblical standard

This morning in my daily Bible reading I read Deuteronomy 13 which says something to the effect of if you have a prophet come to you who shows miraculous signs and wonders, and those signs and wonders come true, but he teaches you a different God than the one you have been taught (this is Moses talking) than you should avoid him. In fact, later on in the passage it says that you should actually kill him (see verse 5).

Yeah, that’s a bit much for me. I’m so thankful we don’t have to live under the Old Testament law and kill our false prophets. The principle though, I think is an important one. If an Old Testament prophet who taught a different God was to be killed, then surely, we as New Testament Christians should at the least, avoid prophets who teach a different God.

Moses taught quite a bit about God in Deuteronomy. He used this book, in fact, as a final time to tell his people—the people he had shepherded for more than 40 years—more about who God was, and what He wanted from them. Here are a couple of the main points he makes about God:

There is, and always has been, only one God (and Lord):
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:”(Deut 6:4)
Also: “Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.” (Deut 4:39)

That one God, has been God eternally:
“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.” (Deut 33:27, see also Genesis 21:33)

Compare that to what LDS prophets have taught from the time of Joseph Smith, that God was once a man (see King Follet Discourses), and also that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are different, and in essence three gods. (See Joseph Smith history in the Pearl of Great Price).

I’m pretty sure that there’s a rationalization for what the LDS prophets (all of them) have taught. The guys at FARMS at the least have surely come up with some explanation of why Moses didn’t really mean what he clearly said. In the end though, it seems to me that the Bible is pretty clear about who God is, and there’s no room left to argue those points.I'd be interested though to hear what a LDS person thought--seriously. If this particular point were serious enough in the Old Testament that a false prophet was killed, surely it's serious to us living in the New Testament.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Feedback on Making the Journey

I thought I'd share some feedback I got on Making the Journey from Mormonism to Biblical Christianity today. I love this feedback because it captures the heart of what I was attempting to do in writing it:

 "Read your book. It was the best book about Mormonism that I've read so far. Most of the questions I had, your book answered those questions. You did a wonderful job with writing it. You never ran down the church or the members. You just compared what the bible said to what Mormons believe. This is an excellent book for people leaving the church, questioning what Mormons believe or if Christians want to understand the LDS church better. I will be reading again and using as a reference books as I continue to read my bible."

Praise God that He used this book in this woman's life to help her in her transition! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My Story--short version

I thought maybe it was about time to share my story, so here in condensed version is my "testimony." 

My search for truth started in about 1993 when I had a spiritual experience that propelled me back into activity in the LDS church. I had been raised LDS, but had been inactive for a number of years. But, after this spiritual experience, mainly because I didn’t know anything else, I ended up back in the LDS church. For three and one half years I was about as active and as dedicated as anyone can be. I attended the temple, held Family Home Evening, prayed, and read the Book of Mormon with my children, served in the Primary, on the Ward Newsletter, taught Sunday School and was in Young Womens. At the same time I had a passion to find out all I could about Mormonism (I was a LDS apologist in the making), and about what God had to say. Because of that I read all the Standard Works several times over.

In the meantime, my marriage fell apart, and I met and married my present husband. He was raised LDS too, had been out of the church, but came back about the time I met him. I thought we were headed for the Celestial LDS life. However, God had other plans for my life, and about one month after we got married my husband got saved and shared with me he could no longer attend the LDS church.

This, needless to say, caused some difficulty in our new marriage, and we spent hours in discussion trying to come to some consensus on what truth was. He and I literally spent hours and hours in prayer trying to get truth the LDS way (by praying and getting a testimony). We searched the scriptures, rationalized, and more. Through it all though God was working. I can’t tell you the times God brought me back to peace: telling me that there was truth, and that in His time, He’d lead me there.

After about a year of this turmoil, while praying, God spoke very clearly to my heart, telling me to follow my husband when he finally made up his mind. As far as I could tell, this seemed to agree with LDS teachings, and with biblical teachings, so I agreed with God. Of course I really believed that God would bring us together–LDS style! A month or so later my husband made up his mind, but it wasn’t for the LDS church. What a shock!

I can’t tell you the anguish I went through as I prepared to go to my Bishop, hand in my temple recommend, and resign from my calling with the Young Women (1st Counselor). It was only my implicit trust in God that got me through it. Leaving the church was possible the most difficult thing I’ve ever done–and even then I hadn’t really left in my heart–I was just going through the motions.

The first Sunday after I left, my husband and I visited a little Southern Baptist Church in my hometown. I was scared to death! I wouldn’t even let my husband sign a visitors card, I was so sure those Baptist were going to attack me. I look back now though and can see God’s hand on the whole thing, from our accidentally visiting that church because they just happened to have the latest service and our daughter was up all night long, to my accidentally having Wednesdays off when they had a ladies Bible study, to a friend from college accidentally attending that church and even being in charge of the ladies group ... well, maybe you’re getting the picture. God had His hand on every detail of our transition.

After leaving the LDS church I continued to study, study, study, but this time I used only the Bible as my study tool. I had to determine for myself if what it taught contradicted LDS doctrine or not. In my mind that was the only criteria that counted. (I refused to even look at the historical evidences against the LDS church; the Book of Mormon stuff, the Book of Abraham controversies, or any of the rest that is sometimes used by those seeking to get LDS folks out of the church).

In my search for truth, the biggest issue for me was the issue of the trinity. I simply could not believe it! So, I set out to do a dissertation about this very issue. I started reading the Bible from the beginning, making note of every single reference that hinted at the nature of God. After I had done that as thoroughly as possible, I read Talmage’s "Articles of Faith" which explains in great detail the LDS perspective of who Jesus is and who God is, read what the Church had on the internet about God (the internet was in its infancy then, so not much was available online yet), and in various Sunday School books, and then I read some Christian books, including the various Creeds to try to at least understand what Christianity believes, and why. What happened next amazed even me! As I looked at my list of Bible passages, what I came to see is that the Bible teaches the traditional Christian doctrine of the trinity, and not the LDS view. It was a shocking moment, but against overwhelming evidence I had to bow to what the Bible taught.

In the meantime, at the Ladies Bible Study I had started to attend (at the invitation, and the welcome of this Christian friend from college), I saw other things as well. There were lots and lots of passages in the Bible that I had struggled with, trying hard to understand just what they were saying from a LDS perspective–passages that did not make sense when looked at from LDS doctrine, that this study explained in a simple, understandable manner, and most importantly in a way that made sense of the whole passage, or whole text.

Suddenly it was if blinders came off my eyes. I was able to see–really see! And, most importantly, when looked at from the perspective of traditional Christianity, the Bible made sense!

Since that time, I’ve had years to spend studying the scriptures more, and I have to say it just gets better and better. My walk with God is more passionate, more amazing, and more gracious than its ever been. And, the really amazing thing for me is to realize that my walk with Him every day is not dependant on how I feel–but on rather, who He is. And, He, above all else is worthy, and faithful. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Making the Journey is here!!!!

After all this time, Making the Journey from Mormonsim to Biblical Christianity is out and available for sale. You can buy it from me directly by sending an email to, or you can buy it from Amazon here:

Here's some early reviews: I finished your book this afternoon. What a treat. The chapter on who Jesus is was especially good. I highly recommend to all,

I just started the book, but was already brought to tears by the way you so lovingly described your relationship with the Lord...I am so touched by your mercy to the mormons and love for them.thanks so much

I'm just starting it too, and ditto . Your love shines through. Somehow I can't imagine you enduring all those singles dances like I did. We did have fun but they were awful!