It was the winter of 1999-2000 that I was presented the "good news". My husband, a general contractor specializing in remodels, was hired by two Christian couples to do extensive remodeling on their homes. My husband, being the faithful LDS that he is, wanted to have these couples over for dinner and share the "gospel" with them. We did end up having one of the couples over, and enjoyed a visit with them. They also homeschooled their children , so we enjoyed similar interests. I was later invited over to their home for a play date with the kids. At that time I was presented the good news. The obviously knew I was LDS and they gently shared with me the message of Jesus. I wasn't offended at all, but rather I pondered what she said. At that same time period, I had been called to teach R.S. and was going to be teaching about the the LDS prophets - in particular the teaching of Joseph Fielding Smith. A manual was given to me, and in my desire to learn more about this LDS leader and prophet, I purchased some biographies and also a video about his life. What I thought would help deepen my faith in LDS leaders created a dilemma! Joseph Fielding Smith practiced "plural marriage". That is polygamy. I was under the impression that this was lived in such a way: a man had to have the approval of his first wife in order to be married /sealed to another woman. As I watched the video on this man's life -- I soon realized that his first wife refused to share her husband with another wife, and as a result they divorced. Joseph Fielding Smith was committed to the principal of plural marriage and would not abdicate it's practice, even if his first wife disagreed.
As I researched this out and studied what the LDS scriptures state about plural marriage, I read the following in the Doctrine & Covenants, a book of LDS scripture written by Joseph Smith.
" And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood ( plural marriage) if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and he espouses the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to not other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him, for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and none else. " 132:61
"And again verily verily , verily I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood ( plural marriage) as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God, for I will destroy her, for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law. ( plural marriage) 132:64
"Therefore if shall be lawful in me, if she receive not this law, for him to receive all things whatsoever I the Lord His god, will give unto him, because she did not believe and administer unto him according to my word and she then becomes the transgressor, and he is exempt from the law of sarah, who administered unto Abraham according to the law when I commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife." 132:65
These saying were shocking to me! Why had I not noticed them before? Had I just skimmed over them before and just ignored them because plural marriage was no longer lived in the LDS church? Why hadn't I seen this before?
I was deeply troubled that Joseph Fielding Smith had divorced his wife, simply because she would not accept a plural wife and that she would be "destroyed".
I began to do more research on plural marriage and the LDS history of it's practices.
What I uncovered was more disturbing than my heart could bear.
I was told that these men married widows and women who were left destitute because of the trek west ... when I did research I found this not true. Also It stated in the D & C that men were only allowed to mary "virgins" but yet many LDS men took wives who had been already married, and some to faithful LDS men. They surely weren't "virgins" as outlined in the LDS scriptures. I also found that LDS leaders not always married within their "age range". Many of these men married women who could have been their daughter and in some cases their grand-daughters! You can do the research on www.familysearch.org and type in the genealogy of the LDS leaders and do the math and see for yourselves that these men did indeed marry women who had been already married, and some of them very young at that!
This was all deeply troubling. I had been told that plural marriage had been lived by few and because their were so many widows in Utah. I was also confused by the conflicting passages of scripture above to the ones written by Joseph Smith in the same book of Scripture:
" Wherefore it is lawful that he should have one wife and they twain shall be one flesh" D&C 49:16
At one point Smith taught that a man should have but "one" wife and then later he commands men to take another "virgin" ..... and if the wife does not agree she shall be destroyed?
Then the remark about Abraham being "commanded by God to take Hagar to wife"... upon further study of the Bible I found the following to be in the bible:
" And sarai said unto Abram, behold now the Lord hath restrained me from bearing, it may be that I may obtain children by her, And abram *hearkened to the voice of Sarai. "
God did not command Abram to take hagar! Sarai did -- big difference!!!
At this point I was deeply disturbed. I shared my concerns with my husband and my bishop. Their response, was "don't worry about it" .. it's not a requirement for this earthly life........ this answer simply did not satisfy me.
I decided it was time to hear what the Christians had to say about these things. I'll never forget knocking on the door of home of one of my husband's clients. "P" answered the door. She welcomed me into her home warmly. She was a seasoned believer, a daughter of Christian missionaries, who had spent years in the word and knew it well. I sat down with her and shared my concerns and feelings. She listened, did not judge, did not become angry, just listened. After I was done she asked me if I wanted to hear about Jesus. I said, yes I sure did, I have always wanted to know Jesus. She then proceeded to tell me the "good news" that Jesus died for me and that it is thru His grace I am saved and receive eternal life. I listened to what she had to say. She then encouraged me to pray and ask Jesus into my heart. I did just that. I went home and did the same.
I really wanted to know Jesus. I have always wanted to know Him and follow Him.
I came back home and prayed again and left it at that. I sincerely gave my life to Jesus.
I didn't really know what to expect at this point.
I continued to attend my LDS meetings. I really didn't think I needed to leave the LDS church or anything of the like. I did attend my friend's church a few times. My husband kids attended with me. My friend would call me and ask me how I was doing. She invited me to a bible study fellowship. I attended. My husband was fine with it all, as I was continuing to attend my meetings and such. I really didn't dawn on me that accepting Jesus had anything to do with leaving the Mormons........
Well, what I didn't figure on was what would occur in the following 7 yrs...........
God did an AMAZING work on my heart and mind and soul!
Looking back, I honestly believe I was saved in the winter of 2000. I just didn't realize it!
But God did , and He promised us that " they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand". John 10:28
Jesus had saved me, and He wasn't about to let me perish.
I remained active in the LDS faith for 7 more years, but during that time period God lovingly and mercifully removed the scales from my eyes and healed me of my blindness.
That is what I will be sharing next,