I was a Utah-born-and-raised, 5th generation Mormon. One of my ancestors helped wire the Salt Lake City Temple for electricity. My grandparents were close friends of President Thomas Monson. My parents are BYU alumni, my father is employed by the LDS Church, and the majority of my relatives have served missions, had high callings in their wards, and are devout Mormons.
So why am I writing for a newsletter that my family would call “anti-Mormon”? They would say it’s because I’ve always been a rebel, the black sheep of the family. They might even say it’s because “those crazy evangelical born-again Christians” have gotten hold of me. I would say it’s because God, in His mercy drew me to the true gospel of Jesus, and then showed me the truth about the LDS church.
I became “inactive” in the LDS church during my teenage years, mainly because I had “Word of Wisdom issues.” (The Word of Wisdom is an LDS health code that prohibits tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine.) Even though I was inactive, I still felt in my heart that the LDS church was the “one, true church” and that one day I’d be “good enough” to follow it. After college, while my cousins served missions and got married in the temple, I left Utah for a job in Texas. When I moved to Texas, I had every intention of attending the local LDS ward. I saw it as the perfect opportunity to start over and finally become a good Mormon.
Thankfully, God had bigger and better plans for me.
After settling in Texas, I never once visited the local ward and never had a visit from missionaries, Visiting Teachers, or members of the Bishopric. But, I did make a friend who introduced me to Jesus. Through many late night discussions, he showed me that even though we both called ourselves “Christian,” we had different ideas about the Bible and God. I thought that because I knew about Jesus and had been baptized in the LDS Church, I was a Christian. My friend told me that being a Christian involved having a relationship with Jesus Christ. Through His crucifixion and resurrection, He provided our only way to God. We started visiting different Christian churches and I started reading the Bible. While visiting a local Church on a beautiful evening in October of 1999, I asked Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of my life.
But as a baby Christian, I still couldn’t see the true colors of the LDS Church. Even though I understood that their teachings differed from “traditional” Christianity, I became very defensive when I heard people refer to it as a “cult.” I felt very guilty about leaving “the Church” and turning my back on my heritage. I still retained hope that Mormonism was a Christian denomination, and that I could find a place for both in my life.
And then in the spring of 2000, I discovered Evidence Ministries. A mutual friend took me to hear their “God is not a Man” presentation. This friend thought it would be beneficial for me to meet Keith and Becky, but I didn’t think we had anything to talk about. However, they were very friendly and seemed genuinely interested in me and listening to my story. Becky invited me to join an Evidence Ministries Bible study that compared the basics of the Christian faith with Mormon teachings.
I joined that bible study a year and a half ago, and Keith and Becky have been discipling me ever since. We have spent many hours together studying the bible, memorizing verses, and examining the doctrines of the Mormon Church. Through my time with them, I have come to understand that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a Christian denomination. As a result of my study, I no longer consider myself Mormon, and I now know why I will never be Mormon again.
Although there are countless reasons why I am not a Mormon, I have three main objections to LDS theology:
- My main argument with Mormonism is its attitude towards the Bible. The majority of Mormon teachings are unbiblical. In fact, the Mormon Church is almost anti-Bible, teaching that it is incomplete, has translation errors, and cannot be trusted. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that the Bible is God’s Word. It is infallible and unchanging, and it stands forever (Isaiah 40:8).
- My second objection is the Mormon doctrine of salvation. Mormon salvation is a combination of faith, baptism (in the LDS church only), and works – the goal being perfection and godhood. From the Bible, I know that salvation cannot be earned. It comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior (Ephesians 2:8-9). In contrast to the Mormon goal of becoming a god and being worshiped, I know that I will spend eternity worshipping the only true God.
- My third objection is with the Mormon belief about the priesthood. The Mormon Church teaches that the “Aaronic” and “Melchizedek” priesthoods were restored to Joseph Smith. Through these priesthoods, worthy men have the authority to perform ordinances of the gospel (preaching the gospel, baptizing, temple marriage, the sacrament, etc.). Only worthy priesthood holders have the authority to speak and act for God. This teaching is absolutely heretical because we know that through the work of Christ on the cross, He eliminated our need to rely on the Law and the work of priests to intercede for us. He made it possible for us to have a personal relationship with God. As Hebrews 7:24-28 states: “but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need-one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.” These verses are my assurance that I can rely on the one perfect High Priest, Jesus Christ. I do not have to look to weak men to intercede for me.
I no longer feel guilty about leaving Mormonism. I do have some anger toward the Mormon Church for misleading me for most of my life and for continuing to control my family. But, I now also have hope that one day my family will recognize that Mormonism is a cult. I pray that they will praise Jesus Christ, who is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6), and maybe, someday, they will be able to join me in proclaiming:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:20-21)