Calvin and Joyce Cotton. . .and Rixon Smith

Calvin Cotton dialed across the radio dial. Cal was troubled. He was a Mormon High Priest who taught Gospel Doctrine classes in the Eagle, Idaho ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But he was struggling with a vague sense of uneasiness: something was wrong, he just couldn't quite put his finger on it.

Recent events in Mormon circles had troubled him. A very popular Mormon General Authority--one Cal had particularly admired--had been publicly disgraced when it was discovered that the inspiring stories he told in General Conference were dramatically embellished. How, Cal wondered, could such deceptive practices be part of a life of genuine faith. As a young man, Cal had wandered from Mormonism but had come home to the faith of his youth after his wife suffered a major debilitating illness and nearly died. The Church had gathered around them. When she experienced a seeming miraculous recovery, Cal decided the Mormon religion was responsible.

Cal is a manof action. The Cotton's had made--and lost--a fortune in manufacturing. They had lived high--flying around the world on business and for pleasure. Cal now owned a video production business in Boise. As he dialed the radio, for some reason, Cal stopped to listen to a local call-in show. Amazingly, the host was talking about Mormonism--and not in a positive light! Cal turned the volume up, intrigued that someone would have the audacity to criticize Mormonism within the boundaries of Mormondom.
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I had been doing the talk show every Friday for a couple of years on KSPD in Boise. Often the subject was Mormonism. I never had any idea how many were listening, or what the make-up of the audience was. I certainly had no idea Cal was listening or that had decided to come to the Mormonism seminar I was advertising. Neither did I realize that the combination of the radio show, the seminar, under the direction of the Holy Spirit would lead Cal out of Mormonism. Joyce followed almost immediately.
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Another young man came to that same seminar. He too, heard me on the radio. Rixon Smith had recently returned from his Mormon mission to the Central California area.

I was surprised to see a young man coming down to the front of the Church sanctuary after the first night of the seminar. He was blind, but negotiated adroitly with a white cane. He good-naturedly sneered at me. "You're really funny!" he said. "You should be a comedian." I told him that I was glad he got something out of the seminar, even if it was a laugh, and invited him back for the second night.

The next night he was a different man. He was extremely agitated after the meeting. "You have destroyed everything I believe in," he said. I told him that the first step to finding Jesus was being delivered from false religion. I invited him to come back for the third and final night.

That was a Tuesday night. After the meeting, he came forward to give his life to Christ. He also met Cal and Joyce Cotton who were dedicating their own lives to Christ.
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Cal, Joyce, and Rixon went through tremendous spiritual agony breaking free from Mormonism. I remember the night Cal called me obviously distraught because of an encounter he had with the Bishop of his ward. Likewise, Rixon went back to Mormonism, came out, went back, and now, several years later is finally a stable Christian, attending (the last I knew) a Bible College in the Midwest.

I have had the pleasure of becoming a close friend to Cal and Joyce. They are very supportive of my ministry. The other night I had dinner with them and I told them about the spiritual challenges I was facing.

"Jim," Cal said, "I know one thing. You have a tremendous anointing for what you do. Joyce and I would not be serving God today if it weren't for your bold, loving, and very reasonable way of talking to us through your radio show, your seminar, and your books. And I know a young blind man who wouldn't be serving Jesus if it were not for you."

I heard from Rixon a year or so ago. He was home at Christmas on vacation from an Evangelical Bible School. I have lost track of him since then so maybe someone who reads this will put him in touch with me.

Note: In 2001, I found Rixon again. He is still serving the Lord, active in an Evangelical Chruch. Praise the Lord! Cal and Joyce continue to be close friends and attend my Wednesday night Bible study class.

Contact Cal and Joyce