My Interview with Pastor Todd.....Leaving Mormonism... by Pam Miller, Idaho Falls, Id.

(I have decided to share my on-line interview I had with Pastor Todd. My interview was about my choice of leaving the LDS church and the struggles, tears, and joy that followed.)

HI4LDS Interviews With Previous Mormons - Pam October 8, 2007 by Todd Wood

TODD: Pam and her husband, Don, became members of our church family this summer. I know Pam's parents and respect them. I tip my hat to them because they have reared a fine daughter. With any interaction that I have had with them, I hope that all of Pam's LDS family can see the Lord's love in me. But I have also come to rejoice with all my heart in Pam's sincere faith in Christ as defined by Scripture. Please listen to Pam's story.

Pam, could you introduce our readers to just how far back in your family generations the LDS faith travels?

PAM: Hi Pastor Todd. Thank you for asking. I am a 7th generation (ex) Mormon. My ancestors go all the way back to the days of Joseph Smith. Though I am not related to Emma and Joseph Smith, my ancestors were very close to the Smiths: one being his personal body guard.

TODD: Pam, that is amazing. So before we delve into the wonderful story of how you became an evangelical Christian, is there anything about your early LDS family and upbringing that you appreciated? What can you look back on and be thankful for about your cultural heritage? Or perhaps, there might not be much to suggest as good. Feel free to share what you think.

PAM: This is a very good question as many LDS members seem to think that anyone that leaves Mormonism must have had a bad experience. To think that, it would not only give them comfort that nothing was wrong with their doctrine, but also makes it difficult for them to understand why anyone would want to leave w/o having a bad experience.

Well, I didn't really have any kind of bad experience that made me leave. Simply, the answer is that the Lord delivered me out of bondage upon my asking for HIS truth.

Let me answer your question on my upbringing and having appreciation for that culture.

My grandmother on my mother's side, you might say, was the "glue" of our family.

Let me back up and share that she had ten children (9 girls and 1 boy). My grandmother would spend Saturdays getting all of the dresses ready for Sunday. The 9 girls would have their hair done up in curls. The one son had that part easy. LOL! My grandmother loaded up the car with the kids and placed a picnic basket in the trunk. After many Sundays after church, they would sing all kinds of family songs while driving to their picnic areas.

Sadly, after about one half of the kids were off and married, my grandfather left my grandmother. (They were Temple Mormons).

My Grandma continued to rear the remaining kids at knee, teaching LDS Doctrine and living the ways in which they believed. They continued to press forward after losing the farm. They hit hard times many times. She canned goods, loved gardening, knitted, crocheted, mended, cooked and pressed for all of her kids to be educated. She believed whole heartedly in her scriptures and was an avid reader.

When I was still a Mormon, I referred to my grandma as the Family's Wise Owl. Everyone turned to her for advice for almost everything.

Now having had her for an example, gave her daughters (which has given the grandkids) that same "drive" to make it through the hard times.

I said she was the "glue", as she held the family together in many ways. She started up the Family Reunions and pressed for them to be successful. Family gatherings on holidays were another joy she passed on. She was adamant on the importance of family and having a Heritage.

From my Mom, she also showed me, through life's experiences the importance to press on when times were tough and not to give up. She may not have canned as much, but she can make a mean salsa! My Mom also taught me sewing, crocheting, some cooking, and also taught me the importance of morals and values. All of these things have made a big impact in my life, especially now that I am older and raising my own children.

I am very thankful for my family and "family traditions". I also appreciate family gatherings with loved ones, and having the "drive" to move forward when things get tough.

Now having said that, one would ask with all of that love and positive family influences, how could I leave?

Truth is, it wasn't easy, nor were they receptive upon my leaving Mormonism. They haven't been able to separate the family strong holds from the religion part. Even though the family values and the love were there, the LDS doctrine left me empty inside. These entirely wonderful "Family Traditions" and Heritage given, it still left me unsaved.

(Pastor Todd, I did want to add one area that needs to be emphasized about having the "drive" to move forward. Before I was a Christian, having that "drive" during hard times is very different than being a Christian. As a non-believer, I worked hard to get through those hard times. I did it because I had to. I could count on "myself" and on my "family". Becoming a believer, there is a very different outlook to hard times. Though that "drive" is still there, when I turn it over to God, there is more security by not depending on "myself" to do it. There are things in life that "we" as humans can't fix and need HIS guidance and HIS mercy. Becoming a Christ follower doesn't mean the days are easy. When the cross is too heavy to carry through the storm, "JOY", "PEACE" and "HOPE" by leaning on HIM is found.)

TODD: Sometime, Pam, I will need to try some of your mom's "mean salsa." But I am warning everyone—it doesn't take much pepper to have me cryin' like a baby. My wife spent a summer in Mexico; she makes me look like a wimp when it comes to tangling with the red and green stuff.

Ok, Pam, here are some more big questions. As you personally studied scriptures, what could you not reconcile with the LDS faith and practice that saturated your life? And secondly, may you explain for me and our readers how you went from "unsaved" to now saved?

PAM: Pastor Todd. These questions are important as they are things God brought to my attention for discernment. The LDS Doctrine can not go over looked. It is dangerous for anyone to be passive and /or accept it as truth. LDS doctrine totally contradicts the Bible. There are many areas in the LDS faith that can not be reconciled to, nor accepted. The LDS teachings can not be backed up by Biblical scripture.

One of the concerns is that the LDS teachings have no room for "Saved by Grace" and John 3:16 is overlooked with Temple works.

Another major contradiction, the Mormon Doctrine teaches no salvation without Joseph Smith: Joseph Fielding Smith, Mormonism's tenth president, went on record as saying that there is "no salvation without Joseph Smith" (Doctrine of Salvation 1:189).

In his article entitled "Joseph Smith Among the Prophets" printed in the June 1994 issue of "Ensign" magazine, Mormon writer Robert L. Millet quoted second LDS Prophet Brigham Young, who in 1859 stated:

"From the day that priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding up things of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are – I with you and you with me. I cannot go there without his consent" (Journal of Discourses 7:238). See also Search These Commandments, 1984, p. 133).

John 14:6 says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." ("Me" refers to Christ, as Joseph Smith's name has never appeared in the Bible at any time). John 5:22 declares, "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." It is the righteous judgment of Jesus Christ the Mormon must fear, not Joseph Smith.

Considering Joseph Smith is the foundation of all of Mormonism, it falls like sand through fingers knowing Joseph Smith is/was a false prophet. Many times he said, "Thus saith the Lord," and his prophecy never came true. Deuteronomy 18:20-22 exhorts,

"But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death. You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD? If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him."

Ironically, Joseph Smith had over 50 prophecies that never came to pass. Some he prophesied in the very generation, yet never happened. It only takes one prophecy to not come to pass to be a false prophet.

Also, we have the blasphemous false teaching about becoming Gods and Goddesses. Satan was kicked out of heaven for the same desires!!! Isaiah 43:10-11 shares,

"You are My witnesses," says the LORD, "And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was not God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there is no savior."

Isaiah clearly states that there are no other Gods, therefore the Mormon God does not have a Daddy. And we will NOT become Gods!! Also, it states that besides HIM (God) there is no other savior because the only Savior is Christ and He is ‘I Am' . . . ONE GOD, the Alpha and Omega!

Obviously, this rules out the pre-existence notion that we are HIS brother along with Satan. This is NOT Biblical. To believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers demeans God. To say we are worthy enough to be God's brothers (sisters) is a bit puffed up. We are not from Kalob planet, born as a spirit to be born again on earth. Joseph Smith was biblically illiterate and had no idea what born again meant.

Another major area that can't be ignored is that either Joseph Smith either forgot what he wrote, or he was attempting to change who the Creator was in his teachings. He obviously couldn't keep his story straight, writing The Pearl of Great Price. This is totally amazing, and many never see it. Why? Many LDS don't read all of their doctrines like most Christians. Take a look in The Pearl of Great Price. In Moses chapter 2, it states, "And I, God, said . . ." The Book of Abraham chapter 4 teaches about multiple Gods involved in creation, "AND THE GODS CREATED." No, it was not a typo. There are a couple of pages with verses after verses declaring that THE GODS created the earth. Now, that certainly isn't biblical, and it takes away from the One God of the Bible who is the real Creator.

Another area that can not go unnoticed is the satanic symbols on the temples. The pentagram for one can't be denied. They are satanic and are used for such purposes.

The LDS Doctrine is false. It can not go along as a companion to the Bible, God's only true Word. The God of the Bible is Everlasting to Everlasting. He was not once a man that the LDS make claims for HIM to be. To say he was once a man and had to work out His own salvation would be saying He was a man of sinful nature.

It's very scary to know that so many lives are in danger by whether or not a testimony (that was changed a few times) of a 14 year old boy is true. We are not to place our faith upon man's testimony alone. It must be backed up by the Bible. Joseph Smith's testimony can not be backed up with scripture because it's unbiblical.

LDS teachings can not be accepted as truth. It is not biblical but very corrupt. These teachings will lead one astray into everlasting darkness. There are not second chances once a person dies.

As you can see, the bondage that many Mormons are caught up in is very delusional. I am very concerned for the Mormon people that are in bondage to a religion that offers devastation and separation from God. My heart breaks for them. I know those fears of leaving Mormonism. But coming out of Mormonism and into Christianity, I know that my God is strong enough to see anyone through.

TODD: Pam, I didn't really know this about Moses and The Book of Abraham in The Pearl of Great Price; I have only read the Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants. But since we have started a Sunday evening perusal of Genesis, I would like to personally explore these issues more and read for the first time the Joseph Smith Translation on Genesis. I do want to see for myself how Joseph intersects with the "beginnings" in the KJV.

And in conclusion, could you now share your salvation experience?

PAM: I was a Mormon for 27 years before I decided to do a full investigation on the LDS Church. Most Mormons that are born into that church have no reason to think it may be wrong. It's easy to go along with it, as your parents and probably all or most of the family members are LDS, too. Nothing much to question . . . ummmmmm until one begins to ask God for HIS True Word and having the desire to really know what is true and what is a lie. HE then helps you to find HIM. (SEEK HIM and there you shall find HIM!) "But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and all your soul" (Deut. 4:29).

I have been accused many times (and some still may do so today) of my setting out to look for the church to be in the wrong. NOPE! They were so wrong in their hurtful statements of false accusations. The truth is, I actually set out to become the "Temple Girl". I took classes to become "Mormon enlightened," taught by a missionary in the young adults ward. I wanted to be worthy in that church. I wanted to marry a temple worthy man and be sealed for time and eternity. I believed the Book of Mormon was true, even when I hadn't read it.

During my little journey of becoming temple worthy and taking Mormon classes, things began to change. My sister worked for a chiropractor. He was a Christian and began sharing things about the Bible. A Bible study was starting soon. We were both invited to go. We signed up while we were still attending the LDS Church. Ironically, the class was starting on "The Book of John!"

"In the beginning was THE Word . . . and the WORD was with God, and the word WAS GOD." WOOHOOOO, a wake up call! Then came John 3:16 – "For God so loved the world that HE gave HIS ‘ONLY' begotten Son, that whoever believes in HIM should not perish but have everlasting life!!!!!

WOW! HIS ‘ONLY' Son, meaning that Satan is NOT Christ's brother . . . and believing in Christ that He died on the cross for MY SINS and rose again on the third day, believing that HE IS MY ONLY LORD AND MY SAVIOR . . . I AM SAVED! (A gift from God, not works, so no one can boast!) How intense this class became. Now I was really reading HIS Word! I began asking more questions, praying more, shedding tears, standing all amazed, yet wondering how this can be. Understanding what was meant by "SAVED BY GRACE" and "MERCY"—I was learning a new language.

I asked God to show me the truth. A few questions about Joseph Smith didn't add up!! Why was he so important? Was he a true prophet? I wanted to know if he was a true prophet or not. I didn't ask to see if the LDS church was false . . . I simply asked God for ‘the truth' . . . THE TRUTH SET ME FREE!!! The harder I looked to find Joseph Smith truthful, the more God showed me he wasn't. I thought well then, either Joseph Smith is a true prophet or he is false.

On a Sunday morning, I asked the LDS missionary teacher in my class about these "personages". I was basically told to be quiet, don't ask, and just believe what they say! I apparently moved the missionary out of his comfort-zone, and he had no answers.

THIS CALLED FOR a full investigation of the teachings of the LDS church! The Lord directed me to HIS Truth and sent wonderful Christians my way. They were all such a blessing! (And patient with me, too.)

I began to compare scriptures (Bible to BoM). I also had received a gift from my sister for Easter, as we were both searching by this time. The book, my sister gave me was called Beyond Mormonism, an Elder's Story by James R. Spencer. James (Jim) shared many things of Darkness that the LDS teachings hold. The book gave reliable references as well. I was able to further my research and see that the LDS Doctrines contradicted themselves with their own doctrines.

I went through heart ache, anger, and fears and then back to anger knowing that I had been deceived by the LDS teachings! I was lied to! Joseph Smith lied many times and so did Brigham Young! Joseph Smith was/is a FALSE PROPHET! The LDS church was and still is teaching false doctrines! (Many innocent Mormons are lost and have no clue.)

The Bible doesn't say, if you do all of these ordinances, tokens, believe that Joseph Smith is a true prophet, be sealed in the Temple, don't defile your garments, know the secret handshakes, pay up all your tithes, stay worthy (we are filthy rags by the way), keep the word of wisdom, do aaaaaaallllllll of these things, etc., etc., and etc., then you will have everlasting life. Though "God's right hand man" Joseph Smith should say so . . . NOT SO! If all of these things are required for salvation, that would say that Jesus died on the cross in vain. That would also say that God isn't a Redeemer, if we all have to earn our way and have second chances by proxy.

Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Joseph Smith has no part in my life and needed not in anyone else's life for that matter. It's all about Jesus NOT Joseph Smith. This was a whole new world for me. There were tears of joy, knowing I was on my way out of bondage!

I then had to make that final decision. Which Master did I want to follow? The God of the Bible who is Omnipotent reigning or the one who leads to everlasting burnings. On my knees, I asked the Lord God (as revealed in the Bible) to forgive me for my sins and to be my One and only Lord and Savior.

After I spent time in prayer with the Lord, I soon knew I needed to be rebaptized. And so I did. I was baptized in the Pacific Ocean.

After moving back to Idaho, my home state where I got married, I sent in the letters to have my name removed from the temple/church records. Ever since I left Mormonism, I have had such a strong desire to help others, including my loved ones out of bondage. I pray one day every Mormon will be delivered out of darkness and receive the true gift of salvation in Christ.

A couple of years ago, my husband and I started a Mormonism class. It was a Study/Discussion group. We used the Mormonism 101 book by Bill McKeever. By doing that class, I knew that's exactly where the Lord wants me to be. Sometimes the topics were heart-wrenching, but having HIS drive and serving HIM is what it's all about. Another blessing was through our class, we were able to have Jim Spencer come to Idaho Falls for a 2 day seminar. Many were blessed.

Dennis and Rauni Higley have been another blessing to me. They have been a true inspiration in my life and I am grateful for their continued support in their Ministry. Their love for the LDS community is humbling.

There have been many Christians that the Lord has brought into my life. My husband, Sister, Brother-in-law, friends, and ministries, all of which are for HIS Glory!

It's incredible how the Lord brings people together across the miles, helping one walk those last hard miles and helping each other over the ridged cliffs in HIM. I am so grateful to be out of bondage and saved by Christ Jesus. HE has blessed me so much! Though there are many trials I still go through, Jesus is right there with me every step of the way. He is Sovereign!

TODD: Some time, I would like to meet this guy, Bill McKeever, and the Higleys, who you have mentioned. I don't know much about their lives or their stories.

With all your capitalized letters, I sense loud and clear you are passionate about your experiences in Christ, Pam. J Jesus Christ is eternal God of very God, but now man, too. Reminds me of an old phrase, translated today in English, which Jesus impresses to our hearts: "I am what I was, God. But I was not what I am now, Man. I am now both God and man."

He is omnipotent. He is our Creator. He is Sovereign. He is Salvation. He is the father. He is the husband. He is the brother. He is the holy temple. He is the high priest. He is the Prophet. He is sufficient. He is the fount for absolutely everything we need for our lives to work. Forever. Pam, I appreciate your time spent in writing. Thanks for your public interaction on HI4LDS.