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Leaving the Faith of My Fathers

In an issue of CT magazine, Lisa Brockman shares her testimony of leaving the Mormon Church and became a born-again Christian:

As a sixth-generation Mormon girl, I believed that the Mormon Church was the one true church of God. I believed Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. By age six, I was convinced that having a temple marriage and faithfully obeying Mormon laws would qualify me to spend eternity in the highest heaven—the Celestial Kingdom. There, I would exalt into godhood and bear spirit children. This was my greatest dream.

But there were temptations to resist. Throughout high school, Mormon friends of mine began drifting into the world of partying. Alcohol seemed to release them from the striving and shame that comes with performance-based love. For three years I resisted, feeling like a pressure cooker of unworthiness waiting to explode. As a senior, I gave up resisting, I jumped into the party world with the same passion I brought to the rest of my life, funneling beer without restraint.

Yet even as I felt liberated from Mormon legalism, I didn’t waver from believing that the Mormon church was God’s true church. During my freshman year at the University of Utah, I met Gary. Gary told me he was a born-again Christian—I’d never heard of one. For the first month of our relationship we avoided the subject. Then, on a wintry December day, Gary cracked open the door of this conversation.

Gary asked, “How do you know Mormonism is true?” I had never heard this question before. He continued, “Have you looked into the historicity of Mormonism? How do you know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God? How do you know the Book of Mormon is God’s Word?” More questions that had never crossed my mind. Within minutes, my unease turned into terror. What had felt like a firm foundation was dissolving into quicksand.

Nevertheless, our affection for each other was growing, and we knew this lingering division needed to be addressed. So we agreed to study the Bible together. It only took one Bible study to send me into a tailspin. I was shocked to find several crucial disparities between biblical and Mormon teachings. For five months I battled with Gary and the Bible, defending Mormonism with passion. But my fortress began to crumble as I compared the historical authenticity of Mormonism and Joseph Smith with that of the Bible.

This was devastating and infuriating. At the same time, it opened my mind to the biblical view of my nature—sinful, not divine. It also opened my mind to better understand God’s nature—three persons in one God, the Father being Spirit instead of flesh and bones. The Mormon God was a man who worked his way into godhood. The biblical God had always been God, unchanging. I struggled to wrap my mind around this.

I saw, too, that God was inviting me to walk into his kingdom through trust in Jesus. Covered in Christ’s righteousness, I would always be worthy of the Father’s delight and presence. But rejecting the faith of my forebears and risking the wrath of my family terrified me. I wanted further assurance that I was right to take this plunge.

After five more months of research, I was still wrestling with the idea of a Trinitarian God. One day, as I sat in bed conflicted, God drew near to me in a vision. I saw a sea of people around Jesus, who sat on a throne. They bowed before him, singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. Who was, and is, and is to come.” As they worshiped, I fell to my face and wept. I received Jesus into my heart and walked into his kingdom. I was free of the shame that had suffocated me for 18 years.

On my 21st birthday, after consuming large quantities of alcohol, I spent the night fending off drunk guys who wanted to take me home. I steadied a friend’s forehead as she vomited into the toilet of a urine-soaked bathroom. I craved a different kind of life.

That same December night, I returned home and fell face-down before God. With fists clenched and tears streaming, I offered each addiction to him, inviting him to have his way in my heart, my mind, and my body. I asked him to free me to live fully surrendered to Jesus, the One who gives life.

When I awoke the next morning, I felt born again, as if God had performed a total heart and mind transplant. I was released from my addictions, and peace filled my entire being. The Mormon girl inside me breathed a sigh of relief. Set free from the burden of proving myself worthy, I rested in the arms of the One who had loved me enough to cover me with worthiness all his own.

Editor’s Note: Lisa Brockman is currently a staff member of Cru.

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