I had a lot of other spiritual experiences [on my mission] and over the years since then. I won’t take up any more of your time but I share them with you so that you can understand why I am a member of the church as well as many others. I really am not one for religion but I know this is the Savior’s restored church and he wanted me to join it. What else could I do?
It’s important to understand that for more than 180 years a lot of lies have been circulated about the church. It’s only to be expected that Satan would mount a campaign against it. If your information about the church comes from those sources then of course you will have a negative perspective. You seem like a fine person. I hope you will ask the Lord for guidance; I know He will give it to you. He is quick to hear the prayers of His daughters. You can be filled with that love that is precious beyond measure, be baptized and have all of your sins washed away, and marry your sweetheart forever in one of the church’s beautiful temples. And then when your turn to step into eternity comes you will be ready.
Thank you for sharing your story with me. It sounds like you have had some amazing spiritual experiences in your life, as have I. While I understand first-hand how powerful these experiences can be, I also know that they cannot be the arbiter of truth. All religions have miracles. Even the magicians in Egypt were able to deceive Pharaoh and his people by turning sticks into snakes. Pharaoh’s sorcerers and magicians duplicated one after another of God’s miracles, but there was one thing they could not do: reconcile sinful people to the all-holy God.
Jesus also talks about false miracles in Matthew 7. He warns that even if prophecies and miracles are attached to His name, they can be fraudulent. The result of being led astray by these deceitful workers will be the Lord saying at the last day, “Depart from me. I never knew you.”
Therefore, it’s important that we heed God’s Word and not trust our experiences or our feelings to determine what is true. God tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that the heart is deceitful above all things. We can actually be led away from truth by following our hearts.
When someone close to me began investigating (and eventually joined) the LDS Church, I went to the LDS bookstore and bought a triple combination and The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I prayerfully read them all and went back for more. I read Jesus the Christ, The Articles of Faith, The Doctrines of Salvation (vols 1-3), Mormon Doctrine, The Gospel Through the Ages, etc., etc. What I found, beyond a shadow of a doubt, was that Mormonism teaches people to worship and serve a different god than the God of the Bible. I had a choice to make: Follow my heart (that wanted desperately for Mormonism to be true), or remain loyal to God as He has revealed Himself and His instructions in His Word. On paper it looks very black and white, but you can imagine the turmoil I went through as I wrestled with the ramifications either choice would bring. In the end, I chose God over Mormonism. And though it cost me dearly, God has been faithful to me. And now, 20+ years later, He has even restored what I lost when I chose Him and His truth over what I wanted to be true.
When I began my investigation of Mormonism, reading these first books, I did ask the Lord for guidance (as you have suggested). Now and then, as I read, and as I heard the tender testimonies of Latter-day Saints, I would feel overwhelmed and would think, “Maybe this is the true Church. Maybe what I’ve been taught in my Christian faith is wrong.” But each time I would immediately sense God asking, “But who do they say that I am?” I always came back to that question, that extremely important question.
Ben, whatever eternal promises the LDS Church makes, if they are not rooted in the one true God, they are worthless–no matter how much we may want them to be true. For the one who follows a false god, there will be no forever family; there will be no cleansing from sin. Instead, this person will stand before Christ and be told, “Depart from me. I never knew you.”
My prayer for you, Ben, is that you will long to know God as He truly is; that you will pant for Christ as a dear pants for water; that you will seek Him with all of your being; and that you will love Him with all your heart, might, mind and strength.
“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:14-15)
Praying you will choose the one true God,