The difference between life and death

Katrina Marti is an ex-LDS friend of mine. She and her husband, Steve, are currently serving with New Tribes Mission as Christian missionaries in Mexico. In mid-December (2008) Katrina read a blog article written by Baptist pastor Tim Wade titled, “Are Mormons better Christians?” Originally posted on Pastor Wade’s own blog on December 2nd, Katrina found it republished on the blog.

“Are Mormons better Christians?” praises several aspects of LDS society, taking today’s Protestant churches to task for a general lack-luster approach in some areas of their faith. Mormons love it. At you’ll find comment after comment from appreciative Latter-day Saints.

But Katrina left a different sort of comment, getting, I think, at the heart of the matter. I reprint it here for your edification – and discussion.

Katrina Marti // December 19, 2008 at 4:41 am

Tim, I haven’t the time to read all the comments here, so maybe what I have to say has already been said. . .if so sorry for the repitition. From what I’ve seen however, I have a bit of a different take on it–the perspective of someone who has been on both sides of the fence.

Yes, I’m an ex-Mormon who is now a Christian. My family goes back to the beginnings of the Mormon church, and about 10 years ago I went from being a temple going, active Mormon to knowing Christ, and the power of His work in my life (and attending Christian churches)–and honestly the contrast couldn’t be bigger.

While I was LDS the focus of my life was on myself, on what I could do, and what I had to do to “please” God. I loved Jesus Christ, or thought I did anyway but didn’t really know the Jesus of the Bible. The Jesus I knew was a far different character, a man who was better behaved than I, and further along in his progression towards becoming God. He was my older brother (as [is] Satan), and as such that’s kind of what I thought of him–like you would an older brother whose somewhat of a hero to you. And, my relationship to him was always based on my performance–had I done some good thing to please him (like wearing my sacred underwear faithfully, going to the temple, fulfilling my calling or job in the church, not smoking, drinking, etc., and more).

Since becoming a Christian I’ve come to know Jesus who IS God and is so amazing and awesome that I’m left without words when I think about Him. I honestly can’t describe Him–not that He can’t be described, but that my words seem puny and insignificant when I try. And, my relationship to Him is on such a different basis–it’s on the basis of a God who did all that needs to be done for my salvation, and who I am eternally grateful to, but not just grateful, but who I owe my very life to–in fact, He IS my life. And, of course because He is my life I do certain things–many things like I did as a Mormon–and many more things I wouldn’t have even considered as a Mormon, like giving up all the world has to offer to become a full-time missionary–devoting my life to reaching the lost.

But, my focus is far, far different. My focus is on the God of the Universe, and not on myself and what I can accomplish (I’m afraid if that was my focus I’d have gone home by now! :{ ). . . and what a difference that makes. I no longer serve a God who was once a man, and who wants me to learn to be a God myself, but instead serve a God who ALWAYS was God, and who loved me enough to do everything necessary for me to come to Him in faith, be adopted as His own dear daughter, and have free access to Him, and not only free access, but the right and priveledge to come into His awesome presence anytime–even when I’ve really messed up and to have the confidence that He’ll forgive me because He loves me, and loved me enough to die for me while I was STILL His enemy. . .

So, in the end, for me, I can see so clearly that there’s a wide, vast gap between us and them, and it’s not just in doctrine, it’s the difference between life, the Vinelife, or the life of a Christian who’s walking in a faith relationship with God–doing as He says, learning from Him, being corrected by Him, and walking in faith day by day as opposed to a religion that’s focused on man, on what man has to do, on what he has to achieve, and on what man can become with help from god of course. . .

It’s my sincere desire that people can see that difference. In my opinion it’s the difference between life and death. Feel free to write me if you have any further questions. I’d love to help you see, from an insiders perspective what it’s really like.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Christianity, Personal Stories and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

117 Responses to The difference between life and death

  1. mobaby says:

    Thanks Gundek – I concur completely. Your description of the Reformed faith and our practices is great. I would highly recommend anyone to read the Westminster Confession of Faith for a through explanation of true Biblical faith. The Westminster Confession is thoroughly sourced with Scripture. God has reveal much in the Bible about His nature and character – anyone who contradicts this revealed truth should raise the question – who am I going to believe, Isaiah (Moses, Peter, etc) or this person?

  2. gundeck says:


    I am not sure I would say the desire to follow the Law of God is selfish. We would need to define desire. If by desire you mean the heartfelt desire not to sin because you are grateful unto your salvation (JOH 8:34-36) then I would say it is not selfish. If on the other hand you have the desire or perform “good works” to be rewarded then I say that is sinful.

    There are two Covenants the Covenant of Law and the Covenant of Grace. The Covenant of Law requires perfect obedience (Gen 2:17; Gal 3:10). The Covenant of Grace is salvation by Jesus Christ freely given to sinners who believe; that belief or faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit and not a work. (Gen:3:15; Eze 36:26; Gal 3:11; Rom 6:14)

    I agree that the Ceremonial Law is not binding (Col 2:14) but the moral Law given to Moses on Mount Sinai is still very much in effect. Those under the Covenant of Law, people who do not have faith given by the Holy Spirit, are required perfect obedience (James 2:10).

    Those under the Covenant of Grace are to follow the Law because it is the will of God (Rom 7:12). This obedience is not done for any reward (Rom 3:20). The only reason that the faithful are able not to sin is by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 15:4-6) and the only reason that any of our good works , corrupted though they are (Heb 11:4; 1 CO 13:3), are accepted by God is they are accepted and given by Christ (Eph 1:6; 1 Pet 2:5). Our lifelong struggle of sanctification is not done alone (2Thes 2:13; Rom 6:14) but is
    also a gift of the Holy Spirit in union with Christ. (Eph 3:16-19).

    Christ has done everything for us (Rom 4:25; Gal 2:16). There is nothing we can do for ourselves (Jer 17:9; Rom 3:10-18; 1 John 1:10). Even repentance is a gift from God not a work that we do (Acts 11:18).

  3. gundeck says:

    Sadly much of the language that we use changes or becomes so amorphous that it becomes difficult to follow. Sect is generally used to denote a splinter group from a denomination, usually used to signify that the “sect” does not hold to orthodoxy and is seen as an insult. It has been used in this way against the Churches of the Reformation for centuries.

    This can also be seen in the change of words like evangelical and fundamentalist, that today have no resemblance to their original meanings.

  4. jackg says:


    You took my words out of context. So you don’t have to try and figure out what I believe: Yes, repentance from sinful behaviors is necessary as evidence of a Spirit-empowered life. Yet, don’t get confused thinking that your repentance saves you. What saves you is the blood of Jesus Christ and your faith in that. Repentance is our response because the Spirit has entered our hearts to work the work of sanctification. No repentance means no faith. I pray that you will respond to the Holy Spirit as He works to enlighten your mind and heart with the truth of the good news of Jesus Christ. I’ll be praying for you.

    Peace and Grace!

  5. faithoffathers says:


    I don’t mean to take your words out of context. I do try to understand what you are saying.

    I must disagree that repentence is always the result of the Spirit entering our souls. It is possible, and possibly most common for a person to hear the gospel and simply believe they need to change, so they repent and try to change their life. As they do so, the Spirit enters their life and changes them and their hearts.

    Like Christ said, “If any man shall do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, etc. etc.” Repentence isn’t always in response to God’s intervention. Sometimes a person simply wants to believe in God, and that is enough for them to act. In fact, I believe the smaller the stimulus required to move a person to action, and the more meek a person is, the more beautiful the soul.

    Bottom line- I do not believe that repentence is the evidence of somebody being saved. Christ’s atoning blood is applied to those who repent, accept Him, and follow Him.

    If I undestand correctly, what we are disagreeing on is which comes first, grace or repentence. Don’t know how much it really matters. I believe a person must repent, keep the commandments, and follow Christ to be forgiven of sin.

    Thanks for praying for me. I need all the help I can get!

    keep the faith


  6. Ralph says:

    I read an interesting little thing yesterday in a book about religions, sects and cults. I do not remember the original person’s name that said this but it goes along the lines of – If you believe in it it’s a religion; if you disagree with it it’s a sect; if you are scared of it it’s a cult.

    It had in the book that the words ‘sect’ and ‘cult’ were once one and the same in meaning but these days ‘sect’ means a disagreeable off shoot and ‘cult’ is now a derogatory term used to slander something that one does not like or does not understand.

    So question – if this book says that ‘cult’ is a derogatory word these days and you wish us not to use the “A-word” because it is seen as derogatory these days, can you see why many LDS on this site do not like you referencing us as a cult?

    Fair’s fair is it not?

  7. faithoffathers says:


    Ditto- hope you find this response to your post!

    Yes- I can understand why you have the perception of us that you do. But although there is certain appeal or perceived objectivity to getting information from somebody who has been on “both sides” of the fence, there are problems with relying on those points of view as well.

    There are hundreds of thousands of former protestants and evangelicals in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Yet, my understanding of what you believe is based on what you say, not what they say. Would you want me to base everything I think about you on what LDS who have been on the “other side” of that fence?

    I am convinced that the vast majority of people who leave the church on “intellectual grounds” have a hidden axe to grind. This is very often very obvious is their tone, not to mention their claims. What they say is simply so inconsistent with what is reality in our church. You can say, “well, they all say the same thing.” But that is predictable of people entering the same general community (LDS critic community) and who seek acceptance and reassurance. They know what to say to get the response they desire.

    I am not saying any of this to win an argument. I am truly interested in understanding this whole process of “leaving.”

    As far as feeling God is so demanding in our religion, I think a scripture from Mosiah is appropriate which says essentially that God blesses us by giving us life and breath. He owes us nothing, we owe Him everything. Any effort we exert to follow and obey Him results in our receiving additional and disproportionate blessings. He takes every opportunity to shower us with underserved blessings. But, yes, He does ask a lot of us, not by His standards, but by ours. A wise friend of mine lives by the motto “if you do not try to do more than you can do, you are doing nothing.” Basically, shoot for the stars- that is the only way to achieve everything you possibly can.

    The high expectation thing results from our philosophy- eternal growth through effort and grace, all based on the atonement of Christ. Think of it like investing money (I know- a gross comparison). If you knew (through legal means of course) of a good company that would grow exponentially forever, would you be satisfied investing just a little of your extra money in that company? Why not invest everything you could afford to invest and reap the eventual, exponential profit? (I know this sounds greedy, but Christ very often used money to teach spiritual principles).

    I suppose you could view that as selfish, but we believe it is God’s program and is based on His goodness and mercy. And yes, not everybody gets that all the time. Some people get to feeling guilty for a lot of things. But the Lord’s program and gospel are perfect, not the people.

    The LDS culture has its own meanings for phrases and words. Outside critics really do twist, or at least use their own definitions of these words, resulting in a very unrepresentative view of who we are and what we believe. I know from your perspective this may hard to see or believe. But listen to general conference- all of it. Do this for a few years consistently. Read the Book of Mormon, over and over. That is how a person can “know of the doctrine.” There really is no other way.

    peace brother!


  8. DaveyMike says:

    I relate so much to your kind words. The difference in my life after truly understanding (and receiving) God’s grace is hard to describe; but you have made a valiant attempt.

    I too was an active, temple-worthy Mormon (with a stake calling). Like you, I have a firm grasp on the Mormon theology. I have studied it, taught it and defended it. I left the LDS church not because I had a problem with the church’s history or doctrine or culture or because of serious transgression or because of being offended. I left because after more than 40 years of trying to overcome trials and burdens (many of my own making) the Lord showed His love unconditionally.

    Then, I experienced a renewing of the mind that melted away so many of the apologetic arguments that tried to justify Mormon doctrines and practices. Of course, such a change included getting into God’s Word through His Holy Spirit. (Yes, many non-Mormons can and do base their testimonies on a divine witness in addition to exercising their God-given intellect).

    For example, Mormonism teaches that “the Lord…should not come to redeem them in their sins but to redeem them from their sins because of repentance” (Helaman 5:10-11). And Mormonism requires you to forsake your sins before it is considered repentance. Hence you are not redeemed until you stop sinning. I was on the spiritual treadmill never feeling like I could achieve the goal.

    How beautiful is God’s true grace where we can be redeemed while we are still sinners (Romans 5:8) and be saved unto good works (Ephesians 2:8-10) which follows true faith (not precede it nor qualify us for that grace).

    Now, I don’t intend to rekindle the works versus faith debate. Although Mormons think that the question is simply semantic and the LDS church shares the traditional Christian orthodoxy on salvation, the day-to-day living that results from the traditional Christian approach is incredible. You have to experience it to understand it. And obviously you have, Katrina. Praise God for that.

    A senior missionary couple visited the other day and asked me “Knowing everything you know, how could you walk away?” I told them I did not feel that I was walking away from something; I was walking toward something. What an understatement!

  9. falcon says:

    Katrina Marti got it right and Jackg expounded on the theme of salvation by grace and not by works. Mormonism has flipped the program so that their works or deeds of righteousness will lead them to become a diety. I guess I’d be working like crazy too if I thought I could become a god. But that’s the Mormon program. It has nothing to do with Christianity so it’s a discussion better left to Mormons. I pity the poor Mormon woman who marries some dud who isn’t making the grade and moving-up the ladder. The whole Mormon family is at risk if the head of the family is falling short.
    But Mormons don’t really get Christianity, so they aren’t going to understand what Katrina Marti figured out and Jackg talks about here. Mormonism makes sense only in the context of Mormonism, not in the context of Christianity. Mormons tell themselves lies continually about Christianity and one of the whoopers is that Christians don’t believe in repentance and think they can lead lives of total debauchery and still be guaranteed eternal life. We’ve debunked this Mormon falsehood so many times on this site that it’s reaching the point of being laughable. This is the deceptive nature of Mormonism.
    The bottom line: in the Mormon system, the Mormon man does his works of righteousness in the hope of becoming a god. In Christianity, the believer recognizes his hopeless sinful condition, understands that the Blood of Jesus Christ is the only sufficient payment for that sin, repents and receives the gift of eternal life that God provides by His own grace and mercy. The repented sinner, in gratitude for what God did for him, responds to the Holy Spirit and begins the life changing process of sanctification. Because we fail to live up to the ideal, God continually cleanses us from our unrighteousness as we confess our sins to Him. That’s Christianity. Mormonism is something else. So please Mormons, don’t argue with us about what it (Christianity) is. Get yourselves born again, recognizing who God is. He’s not some lowly plebe human that caught the wave and made it to godhood. He is the living God. The great I am. There’s only One. Not a bunch of them having conference calls and organizational meetings out around Kolob.

  10. mrgermit says:

    FoF: you wrote

    There are hundreds of thousands of former protestants and evangelicals in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Yet, my understanding of what you believe is based on what you say, not what they say. Would you want me to base everything I think about you on what LDS who have been on the “other side” of that fence?

    well, to determint what GERMIT believes, you have to talk to GERMIT, BUT here is a simple question for you:

    suppose one of those hundreds of thousands who’ve left USED to believe like GERMIT: who then has a clearer understanding of that particular church, GERMIT who remains, or the refugee, who now sees things thru the lens of all that God has revealed in these end times. Who has the better, clearer, picture ??
    Hope this doesn’t seem like “baiting” to you, I think it’s a legitiamate question…..but of course I would, i just typed it …..!!

    Maybe another way of saying it: didn’t JS really understand the state of protestantism better than the protestants, even if he didn’t know the minutae ?? If you recognize this as possible, then couldn’t it be true that the defectors of YOUR faith know more if the tables are turned, and the real deal is what those defectors are headed toward ???

    More later, blessings on you and yours. GERmIT

  11. faithoffathers says:


    Good question and point. But there is something funny about religion. It is almost impossible to get a clear, objective perspective about a particular church or religion outside of that church. It is such a highly-charged arena.

    You must decide if former members of the LDS church are reliable in their representation of what happens inside the church. Doing so is placing a lot of trust in a third party, even if they used to be members. I have known many people who left the church for “intellectual” reasons. I know too well the “behind-the-scenes” details of their stories, and they NEVER openly disclosed things that I would have thought were key to understanding why they left. Who do you trust? I suppose each must decide for themselves.

    Would you trust a Christian-turned-athiest to provide a fair description of Christianity?

    Consider the sower and the tares. Are you getting the story from folks whose seed/plant has been choked by the tares?

    The common claim that people felt over-worked in the LDS church- would not a person want to make themselves feel better about leaving a faith that required so much? Wouldn’t they try to justify moving to a faith that maybe didn’t require as much? What better way than to claim we were basing all our efforts and focus on a false Christ. Pretty convenient if you ask me.

  12. mrgermit says:

    FoF: you wrote,

    Would you trust a Christian-turned-athiest to provide a fair description of Christianity?

    Consider the sower and the tares. Are you getting the story from folks whose seed/plant has been choked by the tares?

    I think we are agreeing about a major point here, the difference being who is operating from a clearer pool of discernment and revelation. The quick answer to the above is “NO”, tho that person may have many of the particulars correct, their over-arching interpretaion of those facts will be colored and skewed by their philosophy. Some have said: “Sin makes you stupid.;….” and I believe that ideologies that have sin as their foundation (there is no God……) make people stupid, even though they may appear otherwise, and the world may deem them otherwise (see Richard Dawkins, who has won every imaginable award across the Atlantic, or Christopher Hitchens)

    Let me state it another way: IF in fact traditional , orthodox christianity is what Joseph Smith said it is, then the followers of that collection of tainted creeds , and that would include ME, are not likely to give anyone a clear view of the LDS religion, having been delluded about their OWN>

    Prior to getting anyones views on their religion, culture, science, or anything else, a great starting place is (this will sound bigotted) “Do they know Jesus” and in this case, the stories of Katrina, Arthur, MikeDavey, etc,, ring true for me about Jesus…..
    someone who knows Jesus, and is following Him, is not likely to steer me wrong about the other stuff in their bio, or the bio or their church, whatever church that might be.

    Of course, the LDS counter with THEIR stories about those that follow Jesus, and those stories are NOT feigned or false…..they just involve a different, and I believe false/inneffective JESUS.

    hope this helps GERMIT

  13. gundeck says:


    I honestly have no problems with the language you choose to use. My point simply is that use of the word “sect” can be seen as divisive. This is not my site and I do not set the rules. My only recommendation is that you follow the rules for this site.

    I was commenting about the word “sect” so that people who choose to use it will understand the baggage attached to the word. Words have meaning and there is generally a reason people use a particular word. In conversations concerning religion I try to choose my words carefully, and I hope that if I use conflict-ridden language someone will inform me. You will note, I do not use the word “cult” when referring to the Mormon Church. I have found that by softening my tone, but maintaining my principals, people seem to respond more favorably. Not that I think my comments have changed anybody’s mind but I am coming away with a better understanding of the distinct differences between Mormons and historic Christianity. My hope is that by reading my responses you will have a more nuanced view Protestant beliefs in general and a better understanding of the Reformed Faith in particular.

    As I stated above words, especially words used in a religious context, seem to be going through a metamorphosis. “Evangelical” no longer means what it used to, people of the gospel. “Fundamentalist” has lost its original meaning, Christians who hold to the basic fundamentals of the faith. Although some are trying to revive this meaning, unsuccessfully. “Cult” is not clearly defined in common use. I read an objective check list of what it takes to be a cult, but as you pointed out there is nothing objective in its general use. “Sect” brings up the worst of sectarian divisions and I would use it accordingly. The language you decide to use is of course your choice but it does tell people as much about the messenger as the message. Because fair is fair, do not be surprised when people respond in a hostile manner to antagonistic language.

  14. Ralph says:


    I think I understand your view on ‘spiritual warfare’ and warfare in general, but if you go to the LDS website and search the gospel library you will find many references to us being in a war ourselves. We are fighting a war against Satan and his followers to win souls unto Christ. M. Russell Ballard gave a talk in conference in 2004 which explains all this.

    Wilford Woodruff said “I say to my brethren who bear the Priesthood, we have got a mighty warfare to wage with these spirits.” This is in the “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church – Wilford Woodruff” Priesthood manual. So yes we are at war and we are to fight to save souls from the Devil and give them freedom, not subdue them. So we are liberators – which is another form of/reason for war, not just compelling submission.

  15. Ralph says:


    I think you’ll find that some of the comments made by LDS critics on this site are them requoting past LDS leaders’ comments but turning it around to mean the LDS church not Christianity.

    For example – “”Brother Taylor has just said that the religions of the day were hatched in hell. The eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and then kicked on to the earth.” (Brigham Young, JD 6:176)”

    Yes it’s annoying to see out religion discussed in such a way but one thing to do is to remember that these are not personal attacks – even if they try and make it personal by singling you out. They don’t know you so it’s never a personal attack. Just make your point about the truthfulness of this church, correct any incorrect statements that you can prove are incorrect. But there’s no point in trying to argue that we are right (ie God’s only true church) and they are wrong because they perceive it the other way and it just turns into a slinging match.

  16. GRCluff says:

    I know a number of Mormon converts who would quickly tell the same exact story in reverse.

    For example:
    “Since becoming a Christian I’ve come to know Jesus who IS God and is so amazing and awesome that I’m left without words when I think about Him.”

    is MORE often phrased like this:

    “Since becoming a Mormon I’ve come to know the witness of the Holy Spirit –it is so amazing and awesome that I’m left without words when I think about Jesus, and his sacrifice for me”

    Exactly the same experience in reverse. For every one person who finds God by leaving the LDS Church, there are 50 who find God by joining the LDS church.

    This is a failing effort–so get used to it.

    The difference is the Holy Spirit. It really IS found in abundance in the Mormon Church.

  17. falcon says:

    I guess some people have a testimony of what is true and some people have a testimony of what they believe is true. Both can generate feelings with accompanying expressions of delight and satisfaction. It is said, for example, that the subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between an actual experience and one that is vividly imagined. That’s the basic idea behind creative visualization with the accompaniment of intense emotions with the result being a created reality. Mormon missionaries are very good at creating an ambiance that leads a prospect into the deception of Mormonism. The person feels great, but the feeling is based on a created reality, not on the truth of the Mormon “product”. I was recently in a prayer meeting where a prophesy was given. Later, one of the atendees reported to me that when the prophesy was given, she felt a tingling from the top of her head all through her body. So, did that physical and emotional reaction testify to the truth of the prophesy? In-other-words, did the Holy Spirit provide that physical manifestation or was this a physical reaction as a result of an intense emotion. I don’t know. I know the prophesy was true because the words related to the shed Blood of Christ and how the Blood protects God’s people. The point here, of course, is that everything needs to be tested by God’s Word, the Holy Bible. For a religion that discounts the Bible and holds revelation in high(er) esteem, the margin for error is enormous. So I know that Joseph Smith is not a prophet, I know that the BoM is false, I know that the Mormon church is not God’s restored church and I know the Mormon prophet is not a true prophet of God. How do “I know” all of these things. It’s really not that difficult to figure out. However, for people that have been seduced by a deceiving spirit and captivated by false teachers, it’s tough to escape. But thanks be to God, for those who are willing to open themselves up to the grace and mercy of God, their is an escape hatch. It’s the Cross of Christ. Taking it leads to eternal life in the next world and peace in this one. Mormonism, guided by a deceitful spirit, may provide some emotional rewards and a form of a testimony now, but no eternal reward later. That’s the difference between that which is true and that which is thought to be true. One is a created reality. The other IS reality.

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