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How I became a Mormon

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  • Apocalypse please Bluffdale, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 1:32 p.m.

    I find these kinds of anecdotes pretty fascinating, and kudos to the young lady for getting to a better place mentally/spiritually. The interesting thing to me is that people all over the world are having these kind of experience under different contexts. Profound, personal, spiritual experiences are causing people everywhere to declare "I am a Mormon or Jehovas Witness or Catholic" etc. The psychology behind us whole religious experience is very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  • J.D. Aurora, CO
    Nov. 22, 2013 4:19 p.m.

    @Apocalypse please

    I thought the same thing as I read this. What's interesting is the unusally large number of former Mormons who are saying they are in a much better mental and spiritual place outside of the faith than they were within it. I guess that tells us to find that place of peace wherever it is, but don't expect it to be exclusive to any one group.

  • Sasha Pachev Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 5:04 p.m.

    I am a member of the LDS church, a convert since 1992, joined at the age of 19. I consider my experience as something much more than psychology. Rather it is a process of solid refinement, character building, and developing a solid vision of life guided by God through His church. Something that can never be understood by an unbeliever. I know because at one point I was an unbeliever myself having grown up the Soviet Union. Because of my daily experiences over the last 21 years I know that no man on earth could have written the Book of Mormon. These experiences are of a profound nature for anybody who develops a testimony, they are sacred. You cannot study them with mere curiosity, that does not do them justice.

  • J.D. Aurora, CO
    Nov. 22, 2013 7:25 p.m.

    @Sasha Pachev,

    I think you missed the point "Apocalypse please" was making. WIth the satement you just made about our faith a Jehovah's Witness would make the same claim about their religion. When you say the Book of Mormon could not have been written by men, Islam claims the same thing about their holy book the Quran. I am happy you found peace in this faith, but our religion is not any more exclusive (or special) than any other. The fact that DN is moving toward promoting the Christian collective over the LDS singular is a testament to their changing to this view as well. Have you ever seen more evangelicals talked about (in a positive way) in the faith section of DN than you have in the last year?

  • Physics27 Cedar City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2013 11:24 p.m.

    J.D .
    I think you are missing the point. It is amazing how our "learning" can affect our faith. We start to listen to the voices around us rather that the one within us. It is important that we learn and make ourselves aware of the world Around us but it is also important that we do not forget the voice within us.

  • The5thHorseman Tucker, GA
    Nov. 23, 2013 1:41 a.m.

    J.D. your comment raises an interesting point. The Mormon church clearly is trying to build bridges with other faiths. In doing this they appear to tacitly admit that those churches are also inspired by (what mormons consider) the truth.
    And yet Sasha Pachev's testimony of the one true church seems to undermine the attitude displayed in this bridge building. Sasha claims to have a knowledge of god's truth (his ONE truth) that cannot be understood by a non-believer.
    But the mormon church's new christian friends are really nonbelievers in the mormon's view of god's truth. They don't except the notion that the book of mormon is divine. Their faith, in something then that is NOT true, cannot be as profound or sacred as Sasha's. For if it was, what reason would Sasha have to believe his religion is the true one?
    And if these new christian friends have such superficial experiences that have not led them to the truth, why be so disingenuous as to pretend to be united by faith?

  • Morrison ,
    Nov. 23, 2013 3:09 a.m.

    I have been thinking over the first post for a while. The psychology is actually pretty simple -- people are searching for a meaning in life, and religion provides a framework for understanding one's place in this world. The Mormon perspective is powerful in that regard: to believe that one is a child of deity with a potential far beyond anything we could possibly imagine; to rise above one's sins and weaknesses through the help of the Son of God; to become as God is, to do what he does, to know what he knows. It is gratifying to see that others, including this young lady, find hope and peace through that message -- one that is certainly found to varyinging degrees in other Christian religious perspectives.

    The more fascinating question for me is what makes a person really believe that their religious tenets are true? The various religions, Christian and non-Christian, cannot all teach the whole truth, because their doctrines contradict each other in fundamental ways. If there is a spiritual reality, it follows that some religions must reflect it better than others. It is how individuals make those choices that fascinates me.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 6:34 a.m.

    It's always so sad to read the comments of people who try to rationalize away someone else's testimony in order to make themselves feel better. I've never known a person who left the Church who was happier, no matter how much they try to claim they are.

    I know the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is true because I have received personal revelation that it is. I cannot deny this. I would be held accountable before the judgment bar of Christ if I were to do so. The only way to find true happiness and joy is through Christ and his restored gospel no matter how many try to claim otherwise. Thank you, Sasha, for your testimony.

  • byufootballrocks Herndon, VA
    Nov. 23, 2013 7:28 a.m.

    @JD,

    Just because you have a different opinion, please, don't try to suggest to others that their experience is not fully true and just as exacting as they express it. Don't try to lump their faith in with any other set of beliefs.

    I know, from sacred experiences, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is exactly what it proclaims itself to be: "the only true and living Church on the face of the whole earth" (D & C 1: 30). I didn't say this, the Lord did. I know that Jesus Christ leads this church. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that the Book of Mormon is true.

    I did not obtain my knowledge from anything earthly - I went to the source of all truth.

    Anyone is free to leave the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as they please; they are subsequently free to criticize it all they wish. They are not free to change absolute truth, for that is not possible.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 8:41 a.m.

    Born and raised but have my own thoughts. I doubt Jesus wanted the competition amongst his believers. I like the idea You Matter, that being the spirit of things, we all matter no mater what your name is.

  • timpClimber Provo, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 8:40 a.m.

    Some of us struggle at various points in our life with belief not just with LDS doctrine but with a basic belief in God. I've become a Mormon at least six times the most recent upon the death of a valiant little great grandson. I had blessed to live and felt so sure he would but he was taken. In my deep sorrow I began to question God and if my life following LDS teachings was a waste of time. My dear wife reminded me of the trials of my proud and stubborn great grandfather so I got on my knees and prayed. After several days my heart softened and deep peace flowed into me and that night I was given a beautiful dream unlike any I had ever had. I knew that my beloved great grandson was being cared for by dear relatives who had preceded him in death and that all is as God promised. I'm thankful for experiences such as this, when their past, as they broaden my view and understanding of what life is really for.

  • ImABeliever Provo, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    This is a great story. Those that cannot see this don't have the spirit.
    It reminded me when I was a 20 year old backward, homesick missionary from Northern California at the MTC in Provo, Utah in 1980.
    One of the instructors challenged us to pray for 20 minutes and uptil then I have never prayed that long. I didn't have a testimony but seeds were planted where I grew up. I grew up to be non-hyprocrital so I I couldn't go to the Bolivia-La Paz Mission being a hypocrite without a testimony. The prayer I had with the Lord that was so sweet when I gained my testimony that I didn't want to stop praying. And as they say the rest is history.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 10:43 a.m.

    RE:ImABeliever, Those that cannot see this don't have the spirit?

    Regeneration to the(Born again) Christian faith VS religion. The first sign involves an awaking of conscience of a conviction of sin. A classical example is Isaiah’s vision of the LORD(YHWH) lifted up high and mighty, which inspired Isaiah to cry out woe is me… for I am a man of unclean lips (Isa 6:5)
    An awareness of the great gulf between sinful creatures an a absolute holy being.
    The second sign involves one’s esteem of Christ , this leads one to confess an orthodox Christology(Tri-une), Holy holy holy) the LORD(YHWH)Almighty.
    Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus'glory and spoke about him.(John 12:41 NIV)

    The a greater regard to the Holy Scriptures and establishes the more in truth and divinity is certainty of the spirit of God.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 10:56 a.m.

    I know that somebody up there is watching out for me.
    About 10 years ago my house burnt down. everything was flat and black, lock stock and barrel burned. There was nothing to save. Ya I had a few words to say to the Lord. I had a dream one night. The dream was about the tike I wore around my neck for years. I found it in a junk store years earlier. In the dream, a Hawaiian King was old and knew that his time on earth was soon to end. His people starter to speculate on who would be the next king. The King had a sword that was made of jade, the people thought who ever the king passed the sword to would be the king.The King heard the rummer so he took his sword broke it in little peaces, on each little peace carved a face on it. He gave a peace to every person and said You all matter to me as much as I matter matter to you, That's the great spirit of things.

  • J.D. Aurora, CO
    Nov. 23, 2013 12:00 p.m.

    @byufootballrocks

    You state the following about me "Just because you have a different opinion, please, don't try to suggest to others that their experience is not fully true" but then you go on to say that the "the only true and living Church on the face of the whole earth" is the LDS church. In doing so you are suggesting that other people's truth experiences about their religion being true is actually false. Why, because you say so? Do you not see how you are arguing against the platform you are standing on.

    Your argument in a nutshell is that the LDS church is true because I say so, and everyone else's church is untrue regardless of what they say. This view is ludicrous!

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    Nov. 23, 2013 12:04 p.m.

    I get really tired of life-long members thinking that their waking up at some point in their teens and realizing that the Church is true somehow allows them to empathize with those of us who were not raised in the Church at all…

  • J.D. Aurora, CO
    Nov. 23, 2013 12:04 p.m.

    @Physics27

    Are other people's experiences (or voices within them) inferior to an LDS person's experience? How is the voice within you superior to the voice of someone who says the watchtower bible and tract society is God's voice on earth?

    Do you not see the problem with the worldview that your way is the only exclusive way, because of how you feel about it?

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    Nov. 23, 2013 12:13 p.m.

    Two of the things which I have learned in my spiritual/religious journey are as follows: (1) Whatever I may think of another person's theology or religious, beliefs (good, bad, or indifferent), I do not presume to judge or dictate where that person stands before their maker, or where they may currently stand in the eternal scheme of things. God knows a lot more about those kinds of things than I do.

    (2) Likewise, while I may ask questions (including sharp ones) about another's beliefs, I do not presume to tell or dictate to people of another faith what kinds of spiritual enlightenment, guidance, blessings, or direction they will or will not get from their respective religious faiths. That is between them and God, not between them and me.

  • Rikitikitavi Cardston, Alberta
    Nov. 23, 2013 12:35 p.m.

    Let's all be perfectly clear on one thing: the LDS Church "outreach" effort to enter into meaningful dialogue with other faiths in no way signals a move away from our firm commitment that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Kingdom of God on the earth and is the only true Church on the earth. This Church is indeed lead by the Savior Jesus Christ Himself who speaks to man through His Prophet Thomas S. Monson. What has begun to happen more frequently of late is the fact that other denominations have been a bit more open towards us as falsehoods, myths, half-truths, and outright lies about the LDS Church are proven to be exactly that. Our leaders have always attempted to be civil in the public arena and have always encouraged us members to do likewise but all too often have been met with unkindness in response. We are all aware that our assertion of being the one true Church on earth will always be a major bone of contention we will face.

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 2:19 p.m.

    Here's one thing I simply cannot wrap my mind around. Jesus Christ HIMSELF commanded His disciples, in The Bible, to be perfect even as God is. Yet, I don't know a single church, except for one, that believes/teaches this core tenet (after all, what is the grace of God if it can't even deliver me from my own sins and make me whole?). In reality, many, even most faiths actively deny this, as if they get to decide what the grace and power of God is able to accomplish and what it isn't. No wonder such harsh language was used to in response to the honest question 'what church should I join?' by a young Joseph Smith. Paul knew well these days would come, where so many teachers of religion would deny the power of God.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 3:42 p.m.

    The self-assured arrogance of many Mormons is not only off-putting but contrary to everything Jesus taught.

  • ? SLC, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 4:42 p.m.

    antodav:

    What difference should it make how and when someone was converted to the gospel, raised in the church or not? For whatever reason, where you grew up can be an issue for some folks, too.

    Why can't we recognize a brother or sister in church as just that regardless of the circumstances of one's conversion or their life experiences?

    If you are a convert who came into the church later in life and you have children, grandchildren or maybe even great grandchildren who may now fit the description of being raised in the church, thanks to the legacy you paved for them, how would you want others to treat them?

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 11:50 p.m.

    A Scientist,

    Some LDS are bold in speech, yes, if that's what you mean. I have the utmost faith and every confidence in my God. I believe with all of my heart that He not only wants me to achieve what the world teaches to be impossible, He has commanded me to do it. Additionally, He will provide a way for it to happen, through His almighty power. This is despite my countless sins and incorrigible weaknesses. To God, nothing is impossible. These are not my words, they are The teachings of Jesus Christ Himself. If it is arrogance to believe in His own words, then I am most guilty of arrogance. To quote a Book of Mormon prophet, 'I will boast of my God, for in His strength I can do ALL things' (emphasis added). I know absolutely that He has the power to save me from everlasting destruction. That means He can and will forgive ALL of my sins, if I desire and believe in it. On the other hand, salvation will never come to me if I lack the faith or desire to be saved.

  • Shelama SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 6:20 a.m.

    I became a former Mormon – a Formon – and former Christian, when I finally actually read and studied the Bible more honestly and seriously and critically.

    Although there was with a sense of loss, the gain was greater. Including the much increased enjoyment and appreciation and love for the Bible itself. And an infinitely greater appreciation for, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

    Although no longer religious, to the degree I have a physical, brick-and-mortar spiritual home, it's in the Synagogue. Both for what it is and what it's not; for what it teaches and what it doesn't teach.

    Visiting Mormon churches now is a pleasure as a place to hear the laughter of children and feel some warm-fuzzy nostalgia related to a few songs.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 9:25 a.m.

    RE: Killpack, this core tenet (after all, what is the grace of God.

    For it is by Grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is “not from yourselves”, it is the Gift of God— Not by Works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.(Eph 2 8-10).

    Jesus is theanthropos (theos = God and anthropos = man. Kenosis
    Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.( Phil 2:5-8 NLT)

    @,quote a Book of Mormon prophet? 'I will boast of my God, for in His strength ‘I can do ALL things'
    I can do all things through Christ] who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)

  • John M RExburg, ID
    Nov. 24, 2013 2:08 p.m.

    Although I affirm that the LDS church is the one true church, what that doesn't do is give anyone a reason to look down on another, or assume that their faith has no validity. God is the father of us all, and because of that he will listen and care for each of his children, whether or not they have found or understood the full teachings of the gospel. This church is amazingly unique. Although we believe it to be the one true church, we will undergo the required ordinances (such as baptism) by proxy for those who pass on without accepting it, giving them the opportunity to accept the teachings in the afterlife. When we claim this is the one true church, that never diminishes the value of all individuals, regardless of their beliefs, before God.

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 3:42 p.m.

    sharrona

    Mercy cannot rob justice. If I choose to reject the salvation the Lord has so gracefully offered me (and it is my choice), I will not be saved in His kingdom. That is an impossibility. I have no doubt that salvation is a gift from God, and it is offered to me regardless of my own actions. The gift will have no effect I do not choose to accept that gift, however. It would be totally unjust to force upon me Lord's salvation, against my own will. I must choose it for myself. Only then can the impossible even begin to happen, that is being saved. And, until the Lord has totally and completely delivered me from my sins, through my own acceptance of that deliverance, I am not nor ever will be saved. God is perfect and any deviation from His perfection cannot dwell in His presence. We cannot be saved even in the slightest of sin.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    Nov. 24, 2013 6:49 p.m.

    @J.D. re "What's interesting is the unusually large number of former Mormons who are saying they are in a much better mental and spiritual place outside of the faith than they were within it." Of course they say that. How many people, religious or not, say "I was much better off in the past."?

    Re. "Islam claims the same thing about their holy book the Quran." True, but the claim doesn't make them right, or Sasha wrong.

    @Shelama ... You rejected the Bible as inspired of God and gained a "much increased enjoyment and appreciation and love for the Bible itself" after deciding it was fiction?

  • G L W8 SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 8:15 p.m.

    Interesting conundrums coming out of these comments but instead of relying upon man's philosophies and reasoning, why don't more people go to the source? Only God himself can solve these riddles. Those who go to him through his prescribed order have arrived at the same conclusions: that the Book of Mormon is true, that the LDS Church is his kingdom on earth, that all are his children but he gives them agency to act as they will and will reward them with the glory they've obtained through obedience to various of his commandments; but in order to achieve the highest, they must be obedient to all. Is that possibly why some get different approbations in their different courses in life? Obtaining the same results through prayer and obedience are not just faith-based, they also satisfy the scientific requisite for peer review.

  • G L W8 SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 8:34 p.m.

    With only 200 words available; it's difficult to describe God's "prescribed order", so here are a few points that need consideration: {paraphrased for brevity)
    James 1:5-6: God will answer liberally those who lack wisdom, yet ask in faith, nothing wavering.
    [Book of Mormon] Moroni 10:5-6: God manifests the truth of the Book of Mormon, and all things, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
    Joseph Smith: The Holy Ghost may fall upon a man, yet not tarry with him (presumably LDS and Non-LDS alike. No room to summarize here, but the scriptures are replete with references that the Holy Ghost cannot dwell where unholy conditions exist).
    John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
    There are many more; but one must seek them out and put them all into place.

  • Shelama SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 9:07 p.m.

    @Moontan, but I didn't decide the Bible was fiction, only that it was totally and purely and only a human invention. That happens to include a lot fiction.

    btw, I also have "enjoyment and appreciation and love" for the works of Shakespeare. Some of which, just like the Bible, also contains a mixture of fiction and history and poetry and prose and invention. Or not: ...the pure fiction of Shakespeare is also great.

    I also love the fiction of Mark Twain.

    I'm hoping you've not impoverished your own life by rejecting all fiction : )

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 9:17 p.m.

    J.D.,

    If you are correct about the increased openness and ecumenism of the LDS Church, we should expect to see a more balanced approach - instead of just stories about how people have come to embrace Mormonism, we should see articles about how former Mormons embraced evangelical Christianity or Scientology, and stories of how Mormons embraced atheism, and how Baptists became Jewish, and how a Catholic embraced Islam.

    Where are such stories?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    RE: Killpack,We cannot be saved even in the slightest of sin.

    Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned,

    V.19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

    Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. We inherit sin.

    God based salvation on His own will in predestination for His own glory. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (Eph 1:5-6,12)

    16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. (Rom 9:16).

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 10:49 a.m.

    sharrona,

    Destiny, grace, the will of God are ALL fundamental to my salvation. Certainly I would never be saved if I wasn't destined for salvation, by the grace and will of God. And, as you've pointed out, those facts are backed by scripture. Mercy, however, cannot rob justice. Destiny cannot rob freedom. Moral agency is as much a part of salvation as destiny and grace. Though it is God's will that I be saved, He would never force His plan for salvation on me. To say otherwise is neither Biblical nor logical. If I succeed, I most certainly did so by the grace and will of God. If I fail, however, that was NOT God's will.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 2:41 p.m.

    As I have had many friends who have "left" the LDS church, perhaps the DesNews should have a series focused on why people leave the LDS church so that others can better understand what leads one to no longer believe and instead leave.

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    Nov. 25, 2013 5:45 p.m.

    Sasha Pachev,

    My testimony along with 20,000 other members is that WE KNOW The Church of Jesus Christ (WHQ: Monongahela, PA) is the only true succession of the Restored Gospel, and the only church on the face of the earth that correctly interprets the entire Book of Mormon and the KJV BIble.

  • southmtnman Provo, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 6:20 p.m.

    "Mercy cannot rob justice."

    Says who?

    Many religions hold that deity’s mercy is always exercised at the expense of its justice.

    For example, in Islam, Allah may grant mercy to an individual, but it’s always done at the expense of his justice, effectively laying aside the requirements of the moral law in order to be merciful.

    In Christianity, God exercises His mercy _through_ His justice. The doctrine of penal substitution states that sin and injustice were punished at the cross of Christ, and only because the penalty of sin was satisfied through Christ’s sacrifice does God extend His mercy to undeserving sinners.

    Paul explains: “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:24-26).

  • cval Hyde Park, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 11:28 a.m.

    @Killpack: Perfection is a long term, not a short term goal. We are not exempted from that commandment. We do, however, recognize that the only way we can ever accomplish it is through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We will never be able to become perfect through our own efforts.

    The difference between Mormons and other Christians in this regard is that Mormons believe the atonement does not excuse us from trying... from doing our best to do good works.

    I would rather be the person who keeps trying, sometimes fails, but doesn't give up than the person who sees that they can never be perfect, and thus stops trying.

    To say I believe, but not try my best to live the Gospel and serve my fellowman seems a bit dishonest to me. Without Christ, I will never be perfect. I show my belief by my efforts, knowing that my efforts will never be enough with out his grace.