The Store Front Church
Sherri L. Volkening
A small ad at the bottom of the page caught my eye, “The Truth about Mormonism”. I was stunned to see this type of presentation advertised, in the small community that I lived in. I read the name and address of the church that was holding the meeting. It was a Bible church. I was puzzled that it was a church that I never heard of before, located on a street that I traveled every day. I knew I had to check the church out. Would I have enough courage to go to this meeting?
The church was located on a main Road only about 7 blocks from the center of town. As I approached the address, I loudly groaned to myself, “this church is a “store front”. I had wondered about store front churches. From the outside they usually seem to be located in undesirable areas. Some where that, I thought, the homeless would attend. They usually had a dark appearance. This one was no different. I only had a few days to decide if I would attend the meeting.
I had never attended an “Anti Mormon” meeting. What kind of people, I wondered, would attend a meeting like this? Would there be others who left Mormonism? Would there be some who were beginning to doubt the Mormon faith? Maybe, I would meet people who had practicing Mormons in their family and they wanted to learn more about this religion that seemed to have such an influence on people.
The day of decision arrived. I knew I had to go – after all, I could sit in the back, leave if I was uncomfortable – surely no one there would recognize me. I drove past the church, twice, trying to get a glimpse of the people inside. All I could see was the back of a couple men, in white shirts. My gosh, are the missionaries there? I told myself, even if the missionaries were there, (highly unlikely) it had been several years since I had attended the local ward, and so I would not be recognized.
With my heart pounding in my throat, I parked my car and walked across the street. As I entered the church, I saw literature on a table. The literature professed Mormon beliefs and explained difference in the Mormon faith and Christianity. The church had a center isle with about 50 folding chairs on each side. It was a sunny day, but even with the window on the street side, it seemed somewhat dark inside. About 30 people were scattered about the room. Many of them seemed to know each other. From what I could hear, it appeared that none of them were Mormon.
One of the Pastor’s gave a brief introduction. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce some of the Mormon beliefs. The leaders of the Bible church wanted to equip those attending the meeting with knowledge when discussing religious beliefs with Mormons. The Pastor then introduced a member of the church, who could speak more intimately on Mormon beliefs. He had been a member of the Mormon church for a number of years. The speaker talked about the “hold” the Mormon faith can have on a person. He spoke of the struggle to break free of a religion that teaches that they are the only “true” church, having been restored in the last days. There was no “bashing”, but words of truth that echoed in my head, resonating to my core, as I realized, “I am free, I am a Christian”. Those in attendance were amazed as the Mormon beliefs were revealed to them. There were many questions and comments. Without wanting to, I found myself raising my hand. I spoke of some of my experiences as a member of the Mormon church for 30 years. It was clear, the attendee’s were intrigued with the facts of Mormonism. I was so energized as I finished speaking! I felt such passion in discussing my experiences.
As the meeting ended, the senior Pastor came and talked to me. He was excited for my experience and the ability I had to free myself form the environment of a cult.
The Bible church was anticipating a similar meeting in the winter. The Pastor asked me to be involved in the next presentation. WOW! This was my first taste of someone being interested in my conversion to Christianity. Unfortunately, I moved before the next presentation.
My view of “store front” churches has certainly changed. No matter where we meet, when 2 or 3 are gathered, in His name, He is present. (Mt 18:20)