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My name is John, I was born and raised in the Mormon religion. I received most of my memories of the early Mormon teachings from my mother and primary church program. In many primary classes and senior primary classes, I was chosen to be president. I was baptized at the age of eight and received "The Gift of The Holy Ghost". I was an active cub scout earning most every award. Eventually I made it to the arrow of light which is the highest rank in cub scouts. At age 12, I went to the Deacons quorum and received the Aaronic priesthood. From that point on through age 16, the Bishop found me worthy to attend the temple and baptize for the dead. From there, I grew into many leadership positions in the church, and in the scouts where I was the senior patrol leader. It was said in priesthood meeting that J.P. was 14 years of age going on 40. Many people thought that I was mature for my age. At age 16 I made it to eagle scouts and received my eagle scout award.
At the beginning of my Freshman year I entered Jr. High seminary. At that time the seminary was teaching the Book of Mormon. My teacher was one I respected a great deal and looked up to him as a spiritual mentor. I began to get psyched about the mission that I was already planning for. I took notes highlighting the Book of Mormon and kept all of my handouts. I recieved the 120 day consecutive reading award and was looking forward to holding the Melchisedec priesthood that my seminary teacher held. He told many stories about being on his mission and how the priesthood had helped him in his life which made me even more excited. Soon after, I graduated from the Book of Mormon program.
In my sophomore year the Old Testament was being taught. This seemed boring to me as I had been taught that the Bible was filled with errors. My next seminary teacher was the coolest teacher I ever had. In High School, I encountered a different kind of Mormon that I learned bad habits from. I had always been referred to as a "Molly Mormon". After being made fun of, I started becoming more of a "Jack Mormon". However, I still followed the Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, and all other regulations that the church taught.
In my Junior year the New Testament was being taught. I didn't really like my seminary teacher and the thing I didn't like the most is that he graded on spirituality and picked favorites. We often did not see eye to eye and when he gave me an F for the quarter for ignoring his teachings and putting my head down. I then went to the seminary principle. I decided to try harder as a Mormon and as a result passed the class.
In my Senior year the Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and Church History was being taught. My seminary teacher was once again, my favorite. Keeping in mind this is my Senior year and I liked to play hookey, I came to seminary when I wanted. During this time I was the first assistant to the Bishop in the priest quorum. I was hoping that my eighteen and half year checkup with the Bishop would find me worthy to be ordained to the office of an elder, receive the Melchezidek priesthood, take my endowments for the first time at the temple and prepare for my mission.
I met the most wonderful girl who was not of the LDS faith. She showed me some of the doctrinal differences between true Christianity and Mormonism. We got into some gruesome arguments as she attended my church and I hers. She began to think that maybe Mormonism was right because of the family unity that it teaches and all the good things that surround Mormonism. But there was one thing that would not change. She had already been saved and knew the doctrinal differences. She was able to discern the false teachings from what the Bible taught. I was talking to my Mother in my room one day and she was telling me how my grandfather was sealed to two women in the temple yet had four wives who died one after another with his last wife being sealed for time on earth. The question that popped into my head was how can you be a polygamist in heaven? My mother began to tell me that God is all knowing and that it is his decision what goes on there. So then I went to my Bishop and asked him the same question. About four minutes later, looking into his Bishop handbook in how he should answer questions and sacred doctrines such as these, he just read me that you can be a polygamist in heaven as they believe that polygamy will go on after death. I continued asking questions about Mormon doctrine and Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith that were shown to me by Pastor Tim Thompson and Jim Robertson of Concerned Christians.
I read these doctrines thoroughly to make sure that nothing was taken out of context. I then asked my bishop questions such as Joseph Smith's documented false prophecies, Elohim, which is heavenly father, had sex with Mary creating Jesus, Alma 7:10 Jesus being born in Jerusalem, Alma 18:26-28 saying that God is a great spirit and D&C 130:22 saying that god is flesh and bone. 1 Nephi 11:13 virgin Mary was fair and white. Also, 2 Nephi 27:23 God is unchanging in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg 347-348, God is progressive. The books and verses in the Bible regarding false prophets and a different gospel, revealed the falseness of Mormonism. My bishop's response to this was to read the scriptures and pray about it, pointing me to Moroni, a feeling if it is true and to know if Mormonism is right.
Shortly after being taught and doing personal study, I came to the understanding that Mormonism was not right and Christianity was true. Right then and there, in tears, I drove to Pastor Paul Thompson's house and in August of 1998 he led me to Christ and we went over the Romans road. He went over the promises that Jesus has for us and set a date of 1-17-99 for my Christian baptism. Now Jesus is the center of my life and I try to be a good example to others and learn more about Christianity and witness to members of a religion that was going to send me to hell.