Home > Freedom, God, Grace, Jesus, Mormonism, Salvation, Teaching, Testimony, Worship > This is My Story, This is My Song

This is My Story, This is My Song

January 18, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

While sitting at my desk this morning I looked at my calendar and realized that today is my 3rd Birthday. January 18, 2009 was the day I became a Christian and more specifically, the day I stopped running from God and gave Him control of my life.

In a previous post, I wrote about the need to have a definitive salvation experience. I don’t believe it is necessary to remember the date, time and where you where when it happened but I do think everyone should be able to say without a doubt that they have received the gift of grace Jesus offers you and be able to articulate the ways in which it has changed your life. Sharing such a story is what Christians call a testimony. A testimony is not so much a statement of beliefs but rather a declaration of God’s faithfulness, how we came to accept Jesus as Lord and the tangible results exhibited in our lives as a result of forgiveness and grace given by Him. This is my testimony.

I was born and raised in an LDS home and Mormonism was the only religious system I would really experience for the first nineteen years of my life when I would spend 2 years on a LDS mission in Spain which is predominantly Catholic. As a result of this, I grew up really only knowing what Mormonism teaches, and even then I only knew what LDS leaders wanted me to know. The works-based aspect of the religion makes life as a Mormon not easy by any stretch of the imagination. To some, this is a badge of honor but to others like me, it is more like wearing weights around our ankles…it makes it hard to run the good race and fight the good fight. When you are leaden down with a littanany of “to-do’s” it is hard to find time and energy to work on a true relationship of Jesus.

There is so much I could say about my 30 years as a Mormon but let me fast-forward to 2007. It was in this year that my exhaustion got to the point where I basically gave up on the Mormon system. No matter what I did, it was never good enough and at no point did I feel close to God. In fact, it was just the opposite, God felt more distant every day. It was not until just a few months ago that I realized this was due to pride. Every work performed as a Latter-day Saint was done in an attempt to earn my own salvation, which is presumptuous to say the least. James 4:6 says “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” I was distancing myself from God because of this attitude of pride that had been imbedded in me from birth. I perceived the space between Him and me to be so big that I began to doubt His very existence.

Needless to say, I was tired, distant, lost and miserable. It was in that state of mind that my LDS Bishop approached me. In no uncertain terms, he made it very clear that unless I got my act together and started to tow the company line, I would not be able to baptize my daughter that following year when she turned 8. This got me to look back at my life as a Mormon and ask the serious question of, “if I had to do it all over again, would I?” The answer was a resounding “NO!” If that was the case for me, why on earth would I put my daughter into that same position?

In December of 2007 I walked out of the local LDS church building and never went back.

I would be lying if I said that decision made things better. In truth, it made things worse. I became Agnostic in my beliefs on God and I searched in just about every place I could think of for peace and truth. It was a very hard year. I must say here that if it were not for some outspoken Christian friends, neighbors and acquaintances that God put in my life, I would have continued down that path.

One of these people sent me a video called The Bible vs. The Book of Mormon which opened my eyes to not only the validity and trustworthiness of the Bible but also a side of Mormonism I had not seen before or at least did not dare question. It was pivotal in both my desire to read and learn more about the Bible and Christianity as well as my quest to learn everything I could about Mormonism, good and bad.

For the next 6 months I ate, slept and breathed Mormonism. I read everything I could get my hands on supporting and disagreeing with doctrine and history. My mind was blown away. I could not believe so many teachings and historical facts were withheld from me. I felt hurt, angry, sad and vengeful. I had come to understand that for 30 years I had been lied to directly and indirectly. I had not been entrusted with facts that were questionable because no one respected me enough to present information and let me make my own informed decision. As a result of the hurt, I lashed out. I’m not proud of that but none the less, it happened. I created a blog (not this one) where I posted all of the disparaging or “non faith promoting” things I found. I was abrasive and at times purposefully antagonistic which in turn hurt a lot of people and burned some bridges I would love to re-build today.

Why do I bother writing about this? Because I firmly believe that it is an integral part of my story. I look back at some of those old blog posts and at my heart in this period of time and can see how spiteful I was.

Let me move on to January 18, 2009. By this time I had been going to church with Amy who was amazingly supportive in this difficult stage. After visiting a few churches for a number of months, we had settled in at Gateway Church where we are still to this day. I woke up that Sunday morning with this pulling in my heart. I don’t know how else to say it but I felt compelled to go to church even though we had already gone Saturday. I woke Amy and told her I needed to go to church and went alone. I arrived just before the 10:45 service and sat in the back row. Worship started and God stated to work on my heart as well. I had been running from Him for a few months now but He met me right where I was. The second song that day was “Beautiful” sung by Kari Jobe. The words could not have been more perfect for my situation. Having spent years in pride and self-reliance I broke as I sang and confessed these words to God.

Here, before Your altar, I am letting go of all I am
Of every motive, every burden
Everything that’s of myself
And I just wanna wait on You, my God
I just wanna dwell on who You are

Beautiful, beautiful, O, I am lost for more to say
Beautiful, beautiful, O, Lord, You’re beautiful to me

Here, in Your presence
I am not afraid of brokenness
To wash Your feet with humble tears
O, I would be poured out ‘til nothing’s left
And I just wanna wait on You, my God
I just wanna dwell on who You are

Holy, holy, holy, You are

I remember this day so vividly that even as I write this I can see, feel and sense it all over again. While singing, it was as if God stood right before me, put His hands on my shoulders and spoke clearly into my heart. “If you will lay down your life, your pride and your reliance on your own works, I will take care of you. I want to be your source. I want to be who you come to first. I know all the junk in your past and I still love you and want you to be my son. I have great plans for you if you will follow Me.” Without hesitation, I said YES! Who could resist such a promise from such a great God. I did just what the song said and laid all my baggage at the altar and in brokenness cried till I had nothing left. I gave my life to Jesus.

To this day I am still surprised at how much joy I felt. What a weight lifted off my shoulders when I realized that Jesus took everything I gave him and in return gave me peace and assurance of my right standing before God. Because of that moment, I no longer have to question my eternal destiny. I know that I will be with God because when He looks at me, He sees that I have been washed clean by the blood of Jesus.

It has been 3 years and the Christian journey is a wild one. I have had trials and I have had great successes. Through it all, I have had peace and joy. No matter the circumstance I know that God is for me. That He is faithful to fulfill His promise to me despite my failures.

As I have walked in this new life filled with grace and the Holy Spirit, the Bible has come alive. I have new eyes and ears to hear His voice more clearly. What a difference that has made.

My heart used to be calloused and hard as a rock. Now I am filled with compassion, forgiveness and empathy toward others. I see this manifested as I read through my old blog about Mormonism in comparison to this one. I no longer feel bitter or angry toward the LDS church or those who follow that religious system. Instead, my heart breaks for them. Many are in the same situation I found myself in with no real hope.

God has redeemed my time in the LDS church and I now spend as much of my time as possible educating others about the teachings of Mormonism from a Christian point of view. It is my hope that other Christians will feel equipped enough to reach out to their LDS friends and family around them just as someone did for me.

Advertisements
  1. January 18, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    AWwwwwww! I’ve heard this story … just not from you 😉 Amy was in my small group her first year at Titus 2 (like 4yrs ago ‘crazy’) and we had been praying. Your wife was amazingly precious. I will NEVER forget this season as it was very encouraging to me as well as we watched miracles unfolding weekly in each one of you in your family. And hello!!! Look at you guys now and the growth and maturity taking place in your lives and FREEDOM … so much freedom!!! And NOW the developing of a gracious yet firm voice … it’s so HIM and such a testimony of the ONE who is faithful. LOVE and more love. Keep writing and sharing and expressing truth … you were made for it!!!

    Great Love! ~Marissa Star

    • January 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm

      Thanks Riss! I still look back at a Titus 2 dinner we had at La Hacienda Ranch and remember very clearly some of the things you and Yuri prayed over me. I can see many of them coming true in this stage of my life. It is amazing to see God’s timing. We are so blessed to have you in our lives.

  2. January 19, 2012 at 7:51 am

    I also was getting to know Amy during the months leading up to this day. Your family was in my prayers frequently. I’ve heard this story from Amy’s perspective, but to see your telling of the story is amazing. I’m so happy about what God’s done in you and your family. I love your family and am blessed by your friendship.

    • January 19, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Renée we love you guys too. I am always overwhelmed when I take a step back and see who God used and still uses to influence my life. You and Corey are on that list.

  3. January 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Pivital Doug. That’s how I feel about our Savior Jesus. THAT is what we are who love and follow Christ. AMEN to being Christian. –you are right about trials and generally “life” and challenges that really challenge our character. With God all things are possible for them who believe in Him. I will always remember sweet little 5 year old Megan and her singing “I am a Child of God ” all 3 verses. Music sings what the heart cannot say.
    Love always to you and your family.

    • January 19, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      Sarah, while I appreciate your comment and support, I have to point out that the Mormon song “I am a Child of God” that you mention supports the LDS teachings of works based salvation (“teach me all that I must DO to live with Him someday”) and that we lived in heaven with God before we came to earth in the plan of eternal progression (“He has sent me here”…”I’ll live with Him once more”). It also ignores the amazing principle of adoption that is taught so clearly in the Bible. Much of what is in that song is not compatible with biblical Christianity.

      So I respect the fact that you see yourself as a Christian but I would challenge you to do three things.
      First – start to read the Bible as a child would, with no bias or agenda. Especially Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, Romans, Hebrews and John (in no particular order)
      Second – look deeper into LDS doctrine and theology and compare it with what traditional Christianity teaches. If you have questions about our doctrines, please ask me and I will help you understand them correctly.
      Third – read through this blog if you have not already.

      I think if you do those things you will see that “LDS Christianity” is not compatible with traditional Christianity.

      My next blog which is almost finished addresses many of the LDS doctrines that are not supported by the Bible. It may give you a better glimpse into why I am no longer Mormon.

  4. January 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Love your testimony Doug! It is so awesome that your daughter will grow up in God’s grace demonstrated so sweetly by you and Amy. I pray that the Lord would continue to open doors for you to speak and teach. I declare God’s favor on your life and that the Holy Spirit would lead you into deeper revelations. I sense that you treasure His Word and take great delight in knowing His secrets. You guys are a blessing to us. You inspire and encourage us. 🙂 Abundant blessings to you beyond anything that you could ask or think.

  5. Leslie Brown
    January 22, 2012 at 3:12 am

    Amazing testimony Doug!
    I don’t know you but I can sure relate. Though I was only a ‘teenaged convert’ and ‘Church’ attendee for about 5 years, I picked up enough erroneous doctrine to influence my understanding of God and to prohibit me from coming to know Him. I thought I had to get my act together, before I could go back to church. Never feeling worthy enough, I stayed away. The whole Jesus movement passed me by! But the seed of God’s word was planted in my heart by an evangelizing hippie. John 14:6 ❤ Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.

    Then, when God in His time and according to His great mercy and love revealed Himself to me ..Oh what joy! What understanding! I always think, 'The Holy Spirit turned the lights on!' I once was blind but now I see. His Word came alive and I could understand it for the first time. The invitation to 'come just as I am without one plea, but that His blood was shed for me'…was an offer too good to refuse!

    I started listening to the late Dr. Walter Martin's radio program, "The Bible Answer Man" and learned more from him about Mormonism than I ever did from 'the Church!' Oh, and I got angry too, I'd been duped! Lied to! Who lies about God? Well I may have been a naive teenager, but I was going to make sure everyone I knew, knew the truth of Mormonism. Looking back I could have been a lot more tactful. In time, I too softened, of course realizing that they had been lied to as well. It's a spiritual battle, and prayer is the weapon of our warfare! And speaking the truth in love as we have opportunity. Salvation is of the Lord, and they need the same God Who commanded light to shine out of darkness into our hearts, to give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. ~ Lovingly, Leslie

    Sharing my favorite quote with you: "A God who can take all "evil", even the mistakes and sins of a penitent child of God, and by the alchemy of His divine grace so transform them that they boomerang against Satan, enhance the character of the saint, and rebound to the glory of God, is worthy of unceasing praise." ~ Paul E. Billheimer

  6. February 29, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Doug, I was in Madrid doing a Christian outreach during the temple open house in 1999. Were you there? What a blessing to read your testimony and see what God has done–and is doing–with you and your family, according to His infinite mercy and riches in grace. What an awesome God we serve!

    • February 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm

      I was there for the actual dedication but not the open house. We traveled with our Ward or Branch on a charter bus. It was a lot of fun because it was outside of our mission boundaries. I went through it at the end of my mission when my parents came a picked me up. I hope to go back one day and share my story with the LDS there.
      Thank you for your comment. I love what you do over at Mormon Coffee!

  1. February 4, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: