“I have decided for myself that the church isn’t true.”

No active member of the LDS Church would want to receive a letter or email that contained that phrase, especially from a family member or close friend. The recipient would almost certainly feel a sense of remorse and wonder as to what caused such a change and would probably petition the Lord as to best how to answer them and get them back on track, if possible. It would also be a test of their faith and cause them to wonder what they could have done better to prevent such an action.

Sadly, there have always been those who have dissented from the truth in all ages and times, even before this world began. Satan cleverly convinced 1/3 of God’s premortal spirit children to follow him instead of God who they were with right in front of them. They all knew the truth and left it anyway thinking they could do what they wanted and still achieve the desired outcome of Eternal Life on their terms.

Satan and his minions are now our source of opposition and temptation and have great control over those who do not hearken unto the commandments, especially those who break solemn covenants.

Dissenters of all ages have wrought havoc on believers and been the cause of the most despicable of crimes. Cylon, a dissenter of Pythagoras killed the great leader and sought to have them follow him. Judas, tempted by the same adversary we are, sought to gain some monetary advantage by betraying the very creator of this world, even Jesus Christ. There are people in our day who have fallen away and have even sought the deaths of the modern prophets and apostolic leaders. They are also the means of much deception in our modern online world of Facebook and Twitter. They seek those unsuspecting souls foraging into the new realm of instant access to vast knowledge without effort or verification of the claims made.

Now that the church has issued a change in the Handbook I as to how to deal with those involved in Same Sex Marriages and having to restrict the children of such marriages from baptism by having them wait until they are 18 years old, it has almost become fashionable to “announce” that someone is leaving the church. The claims try to outdo each other and stack one untruth upon another to try and make their way to the top of the heap to get noticed with emotional stories and clever writing. A recent one in the Huffington Post is a prime example (I can’t find the link to it).

People who have been baptized as members of the LDS Church take upon themselves certain covenants, among them being to stand as a witness of God at all times in all places. Breaking those covenants brings serious consequences. As a person progresses beyond baptism, even greater covenants are received and with them greater blessings and greater consequences if broken. Satan gains control over those who break these greater covenants and he then runs their lives. They are no longer in control of their actions (D&C 1:35).

To me, if I knew that I was not in control of what I was doing and someone else was pulling my strings, I hope that would be enough to shake me from any sin and addiction I was in and get me back on track. I would much rather be truly free than controlled in such a manner.

This post is an attempt to outline a number of things that I have seen and will hopefully help anyone in a similar situation, both for those who have fallen away and those trying to deal with their friends or family who have and also all those who find it so fashionable to announce their decisions to the world. All of these suggestions are from my own observations and are not to be taken as actual church doctrine even though I believe I’ve kept to what the church teaches. In the spirit of fasting and prayer I share the following. It has taken me many hours to compile this.

I also want to recognize the wonderful words of President Dieter F. Uchdorf in a landmark speech about this very issue. I don’t have a single disagreement with that enlightening presentation. He is emphasizing that many members have left for reasons that aren’t that obvious. I am pointing out the obvious, or at least things that I have seen. His talk is better than my attempts to outline something I see and I recommend his words over mine. He is an Apostle. I am a Scoutmaster. There is a big difference (in more ways than one).

If you have decided to continue, welcome.

Lets first consider the premise of the statement in the note above: “I have decided for myself that the church isn’t true.” There are a lot things going on here with this statement. Does anyone really decide that the church is true or not? Of course we all have to make decisions about what we do and what we are going to believe, but this statement does not seem to cover everything very well. Does this mean they are the ones who know everything and we are to listen to them? Have those who have taught them these principles since birth (if that is the case) been now summarily condemned as teachers of falsehood and deception in their eyes? How does everyone else who believes in the church still fit in? Is the church on trial or are we?

The intended meaning of the statement should probably be stated, “I have decided that I am not going to follow the teachings and principles of the church and I am going to do what I want to do. I am not able to live the covenants I have taken upon me and I am going to do as I wish.”

Isn’t that exactly what those who followed Satan said in the premortal realm previously mentioned, as they “know a better way”?

But Truth is usually not the standard by which people leave the church or admit what is really going on in their lives. Oddly enough, many claim that they have come across some weird historical fact or doctrine of the Church that they just can’t believe in any more and caused them to doubt the things they thought they knew. They claim that because of this “newfound truth” they are leaving the church and that is the reason.

It isn’t. Here’s why.

The first thing that Cain said soon after he killed his brother Abel was, “I’m free!” The first thing that Bruce Jenner said soon after he declared himself as Caitlin Jenner was, “I’m free!” I have seen it written in various places online and actually had members tell me directly to my face that, “I feel so much better now that I stopped going to church. I don’t feel the pressure anymore. I don’t feel the stress of it all. I don’t have to try to live the way other people think I should. I feel free!”

One of the most important things to recognize is the diabolical nature and tactics of Satan, our adversary. Remember, he will do anything to destroy us. There is no tactic that he will not use and he has great power in order to drag us down if we will let him. We as mortal humans in a telestial existence are not able to withstand all of Satan’s powers and control without drawing upon the power of God to help us when we face difficulties or temptations. Yes, those who have physical bodies have power over those that don’t (Joseph Smith) and the act of making promises and covenants is a way for us to draw upon that higher power. Exercising our faith during difficult times will also manifest that power.

Breaking covenants will cause that higher power of God to be removed and that is when Satan gains power over us. That is what he always wanted to do from the premortal beginning: control others.

When Cain said, “I’m free!” he was in reality in worse bondage than ever before. Somehow, I believe, when we commit such actions, large or small, Satan lets off his influence for a time and causes us to feel that feeling of freedom. It may come ever so imperceptibly and the Scriptures describe it as thin, soft threads gently wrapped around us until they become unbreakable cords or even chains (this applies to sin and addictions too). Of course they are not absolutely unbreakable, because repentance and change through the atonement of Jesus Christ can break any bands, but we by ourselves cannot break them.

If someone takes the first step of doing something against what they know they should do such as attending church, reading their Scriptures, performing promised service, saying daily prayers and a host of other good things, Satan uses his influence to make us feel good about that decision by removing the pressure to not do them, that he put on us in the first place in tempting us not to do them. That lack of doing something then leads to the lack of doing something else until complete inactivity in the church becomes the norm.

The struggle we face everyday to do the right thing, to give of ourselves, to attend church and read our scriptures is necessary for our growth. Its like a spiritual muscle that grows only when there is resistance. Once we give up and stop working it, we become lazy. Its so much easier to NOT do it and we lose something of great value.

A bad habit is formed and more bad habits soon follow.

Once Satan gains control over us and causes us to commit sin in any degree, he gains more control over us until we break our covenants and he has complete control.

What is the final result? In the case of Cain and others who have broken serious covenants, they may lose their eternal possibilities. If they try to repent (and even if they don’t) they undergo the “buffetings of Satan.”

Elder Bruce R. McConkie, a latter-day apostle, explained that to be “turned over to the buffetings of Satan is to be given into [Satan’s] hands; it is to be turned over to him with all the protective power of the priesthood, of righteousness, and of godliness removed, so that Lucifer is free to torment, persecute, and afflict such a person without let or hindrance. When the bars are down, the cuffs and curses of Satan, both in this world and in the world to come, bring indescribable anguish typified by burning fire and brimstone. The damned in hell so suffer”.

This video clip of the Hulk in his confrontation with Loki who demands his worship and allegiance is a similar allegorical example of what I think the buffetings of Satan are like (the Hulk represents Satan and the Proud sinner by Loki):

The Buffetings of Satan are Something Like This

The Buffetings of Satan are Something Like This

What people don’t know is that people who are under the control of Satan try to find excuses for their actions and even make such claims like the church isn’t true because of something that happened 180+ years ago. They dig up some strange story or twisted interpretation of doctrine and claim that the church can’t be true because of it. Then they go about committing great sins and this justifies their actions?

Does this make sense? Of course not, but to those who are under the control of the adversary it somehow does. They have been blinded and are wandering around in the dark.

In 1 Nephi 15:24, Nephi’s brothers, Laman and Lemuel had asked him a question regarding the interpretation of the rod of iron in the dream of the tree of life that had just been revealed to them. Here is his response:

24 And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.

When I read this verse a few months ago I was struck with a powerful memory. A friend of mine named Hal Hurst and his family was playing darts in their garage. His sister Connie came out of the kitchen into the garage and got one of those darts thrown into her left eye. She had to wear a bandage for many months and if memory serves me correctly, she did recover.

What’s interesting in this verse is that Nephi inserts an element that is not revealed in the dream: fiery darts. Fiery darts are something that was used in ancient warfare whereby a wad of fabric or material was attached to the front end of an arrow, which was then dipped in oil or fuel and lit on fire. This arrow was then shot towards the walls, buildings or supplies of the opposing army. Not only would the people in those buildings be struggling to fight the oncoming army but now they had to deal with fire which could destroy the very structures that they were in and the supplies that supported them. It caused tremendous havoc and is an extremely powerful weapon.

Fiery Darts of the Adversary

Fiery Darts of the Adversary (photo credit: “Son of a Parson”)

According to this verse Satan would want to take those fiery darts and shoot them into each of our eyes, not by hand, but from a bow or crossbow only a few feet away traveling hundreds of miles per hour. He would gladly blind us in both eyes and cause us to lose our way.

According to this verse, Satan cannot blind those who hold onto the iron rod. That is our protection-we must keep holding onto the rod.

What are some of those actions that would be equivalent to holding onto the iron rod? I believe a few of them are as follows:

  1. Reading scriptures every day
  2. Saying our prayers every day
  3. Attending church every week
  4. Partaking of the sacrament every week
  5. Performing acts of service such as home teaching and visiting teaching
  6. Performing our duties and our callings
  7. Paying our Tithing and Fast offerings
  8. Fasting
  9. Reading and pondering our Patriarchal Blessings
  10. Listening to the advice of bishops and stake presidents
  11. Listening to the advice of parents and spouses
  12. Watching General Conference
  13. Heeding all the words of the general authorities, especially the Prophets and Apostles.
  14. There are other things that could be considered but I think the principle is that we do them every day and every week and every opportunity.

The mist of darkness covers the earth and requires us to walk by faith. Faith is one of the most important things we can possibly develop in this life. Many people have heard that phrase but they don’t know why it is so necessary, and for some reason many have never pondered such a question. Faith is not something that is popular in our increasingly intellectual and secular world. The powerful technologies that we enjoy today that measure things in almost infinite detail are all just empirical devices that give us readings upon what we can see, feel, taste, hear and smell. Faith is spiritual in nature and requires spiritually attuned senses to feel and understand. The greater the faith, the better it is understood.

Those who hold onto the iron rod eventually make it to the Tree of Life whereby they partake of the fruit that is most joyous to the soul. Those who let go of the iron rod wander away and fall into the raging, filthy river below. We are told that the path that follows the iron rod is strait and narrow. To me this means “difficult to pass” as it is not spelled “straight”. This image below claims to be from “the scariest hike in the world” located in China. Maybe the path to the iron rod is actually something closer to this.

Is this more like the Path to the Tree of Life and the Iron Rod?

Is this more like the Path to the Tree of Life and the Iron Rod?

When someone steps off this path they fall for thousands of feet. When someone falls off the path towards the tree of life, they fall thousands of spiritual miles. They feel free for a time, until they hit the bottom.

Notice the two aspects here: we are walking in the mist of darkness and Satan wants to blind us with fiery darts. Both have to do with walking on a daily basis in the dark or with limited visibility. Our faith increases as we hold onto and progress along the iron rod towards the ultimate goal. Our sight is blinded when we let go of the iron rod and fall into the depths of sin and temptation.

I once had one young man tell a friend of mine that when he stands before God he’s going to tell God exactly how He should’ve done it! Mind you, this person followed the path of getting involved in anti-Mormon literature and fell away from the church and now declares himself a, “secular humanist.” Now he’s boldly telling others what he’s going to tell God when he meets him face-to-face. I find the premise quite interesting, but here’s what he said anyway, “I’m going to tell God that he should not have had everything be so hidden. Everything should have been more open. We should have seen more things and You should’ve shown us all of this.”

I think the experience will be quite different than he anticipates. When his (and our) life story is broadcast in ultra 3-D (or multidimensional) visuals for all to see on the Day of Judgement, he will recognize just how often the spirit tried to work with him, how often he made mistakes, how often he succumbed to Satan’s temptations, how evil his thoughts were, etc. Everything will be visible and open for all to see. He will not be telling God anything but he will slink in despair and guilt and wish that the mountains could fall upon him and hide him from His presence. And that will be the case with all of us who have not repented and rejected the opportunity taking advantage of the atonement of Jesus Christ offered to all mankind.

So back to the question of faith. Why is there such an emphasis upon developing this characteristic? We are told that the worlds were created by faith (Lectures on Faith 1:14). Faith is power (Lectures on Faith 1:13). Our faith must be put in Jesus Christ, the creator of this world, the finisher of our faith, the rock of our salvation. Yes, we must develop Faith in ourselves but it is only through Him that we can accomplish all things. This life is a testing ground for us to exercise faith in smaller, more controlled areas. We must exercise our faith to accomplish a task, finish a job, plan for the future, build a business, run a race and raise a family. Faith is Mental Exertion (Joseph Smith).

All of these experiences can lead us to become more like God if we do them with Him in mind.

We’re promised that those who keep their covenants will receive all that God has and become like Him. We are told that the righteous will be received in the morning of the first resurrection and raised up with bodies like Him. Those who have developed their faith in this life will become like Him. Then the faith we have will be true power within ourselves with which we will also do what He does and continue on the process into the eternities.

Yes, Faith is one of the most important things we can develop in this life. Also included in that is hope and charity and love and service and education and a host of other things. But faith is the first principle of the gospel for a reason.

Yet sadly, we still see people who have been deceived in such a fashion and have left the church. The church recently published a number of articles on the website clarifying a number of things have happened in past church history. Some of these don’t fit the way we think things should be. In our intellectually sophisticated and advanced society, it would be improper to expect the same attributes to be put on cultures of the past. Michael Otterson of the church public affairs department recently gave a wonderful speech and calling such actions, “Presentism“, and quoted the Webster Dictionary definition as, “an attitude toward the past dominated by present-day attitudes and experiences.”

Joseph Smith was commanded to live the law of polygamy and even had an angel with a drawn sword warn him that if he did not live it, his life would be taken. That line alone is so offensive to many people of our day that it is not possible to even discuss much beyond it. Yet the Lord had His reasons for doing this and I believe it is possible that one of the major reasons for doing so was to test us in our day. The Lord’s ways are higher than our ways and it is sometimes very difficult to understand the reason he does things.

Nephi was told to make a second set of plates, but was not told why. Mormon was told to include that set of plates with that which he had already engraved, but was not told why. Moses asked the Lord to reveal to him why and how he had created all these things he had just seen in vision, yet the Lord told him No. Abraham was commanded to offer up his son as a sacrifice. This had to have been the most difficult thing Abraham had ever done since he, as a child, was also almost offered as a sacrifice upon the altar. But Abraham ended up learning something about Abraham (Neal A Maxwell). All of these great prophets still had to develop more faith. Abraham has now gone on to his exaltation and is doing the things that God does.

Are we better than Abraham? Are we better than any of these great Prophets with whom the Lord helped increase their faith? I think not.

To put it bluntly, those who have left the church because of some unusual history or twisted take on doctrine, have been blinded by the adversary. And the reality is they are most likely caught in the snares of Satan’s grasp by committing sin and breaking covenants. They are not telling us the truth. They claim that they left the church because of these things, but in reality they are caught in sin and are trying to cover it up. They are unwilling to repent and therefore will someday suffer the aforementioned “buffetings of Satan” if they don’t.

The purpose of anti-Mormon literature is to cause doubt. Doubt and faith cannot exist at the same time the mind. As President Dieter F. Uchdorf once said, “Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.”

There have been many times in my life when I have had a question about something that I didn’t understand. If, during my research, I couldn’t find the answer, I discovered that the best thing to do is just put it aside for a while (I can’t remember which prophet suggested that tactic, maybe Pres. Kimball). Eventually the answer will come.

This experience just happened to me a few months ago. I had had a question that had been in my mind for many years but I have learned not to let them bother me. Then, out of the blue, through a very small and subtle experience, an answer came to me very clearly and in a way that I would never have anticipated.

But if we do the opposite thing and allow these doubts to destroy our faith, Satan begins to take hold until he causes us to sin and break our covenants. Then, oddly enough, those caught in sin use the very same things that cause their doubts to justify their actions.

There are also those who pray to God and demand an answer right now. They don’t want to wait. They have their timetable and expect God to adhere to it. It doesn’t work that way. We have to wait upon Him, and not tell Him how things need to be. That requires Faith.

We don’t know everything about the early history of the church. Someday all will be revealed and there will be many who wish they had not let the incomplete knowledge or false teachings to sway them into unbelief and eventual damnation. I recently read of a man who claims to be a former Bishop who now goes around teaching against the Church because once he learned these things, he claims he was deceived all of his life and so he got himself excommunicated.

Something is very fishy with this story. I actually saw him at the Manti Temple Pageant this past summer (I didn’t realize it was the same man at the time) and he was quite vocal about his position. Many people were surrounding him and listening to his flamboyant speech and loud demeanor. But I am here to tell you, something is fishy. Those who follow the true Lord and God do not exhibit such anger and it’s my personal belief (I have no proof) that he is hiding something. He has committed some sin and has gone against the church to cover up the guilt that he feels. Its the same pattern I have seen before. Yes, it is possible that he may be like those mentioned in Pres. Uchdorf’s talk that I linked to earlier, but the anger part is a giveaway that he is not in control and that usually only comes from breaking covenants and having Satan run your life.

When Satan takes control of someone he will continue to bring them down. At first, as mentioned above, we may feel good for a time and even “Free!”, but it will not last. I have seen people who follow this path commit terrible sins and even crimes. One young man even had a Mission call, but sadly, committed murder about a month before he was scheduled to leave! Satan doesn’t care what he would have you do, just as long as you are in his power. He will continue to drag you down to the depths of hell. The chains get larger and longer and he exercises more and more control over you. Korihor’s terrible fate is an example of what awaits those who fail to repent: in the end, Satan will not support those who follow him (Alma 30:60).

All of us have weaknesses and fallibilities. All of us can be caught in his snare and mine scare me to pieces. The church recently published a series of videos for those in the addiction recovery program. They are good for anyone at any level of the church. We all have things we are trying to overcome. We all have bad habits. The principles espoused in the addiction recovery program can help us.

The first principle is to be Honest. Be Honest with ourselves. Admit we have a problem. Admit we have sinned and maybe are addicted to something. Take upon ourselves the responsibility that we have made a mistake. Tell others the real reasons we have fallen away and not be dishonest about our actions, publishing emotionally charged but incorrect stories and bring others down with you! Be humble and go to your Bishop and be honest with what you have done. Addictions are powerful things and the only reason we don’t overcome them is because we don’t want to do what is required. It’s a difficult principle but there is no way to return without being honest.

And the only way to progress is to continue to hold onto the iron rod.

In April 1986 President Benson gave a warning to the church that they were still under the condemnation that had been given in 1832 regarding how they had not heeded the words of the Book of Mormon and the Bible. They had taken lightly those things and it caused this condemnation to come upon them (D&C 84:54-55). President Benson’s words struck me deeply.

I had been a member since I was 8 years old. I had gone to seminary and on a mission. I had been through multiple religion classes at BYU and had read the Scriptures several times. I had fallen in love with them many years prior, but something hit me that day. I realized I had not taken them as my own guide or Liahona. I had not used them in the personal way that the Lord had intended.

I made a promise to myself and God that day that I would read my Book of Mormon every day from that day forward. That was 29 1/2 years ago and I have only missed about 52 days so far. Of course, some days have been rather quick for a variety of reasons, but I’ve always tried to read for at least 15 minutes a day.

It is impossible tell you how many wonderful experiences I’ve had reading the Book of Mormon! I look forward to it every day. It’s my favorite part of the day. There are times when I look at the clock and say to myself that I can read for the next 30 minutes. The next thing I know an hour and a half has gone by and I have no desire to quit!

I also notice that if I don’t feel like reading, something may be amiss in my life. The Book of Mormon is a fantastic “Spiritual Barometer” in determining our current state and if we need to do better.

This daily act of Scripture reading has built up a giant tree within me as strong as possible and able to withstand anything thrown at it. Yet, I am tempted every single day not to read. You would think that after 29 1/2 years that Satan would give up. He doesn’t. I have to make that decision every day and set aside the time to do so. Because of this testimony, I have been able to withstand any false ideas or deceptions that are thrown at me. I can smell an argument based on falsehood a mile away.

But I also must be diligent and recognize that I have my own weaknesses. If I fell from the position I’m in, I would receive the most severe of condemnations. I look at people in high positions that have fallen and pray that this never happens to me. I have many things I need to overcome and I’m greatly concerned that I stay on the path.

I have followed the example given in Alma 32 of planting a seed, watering it, fertilizing it and watching it grow. I know it is true. Yes, anyone can fall by not watering it, and then chop it down when it’s dead. Some go so far as to get a stump remover to finish it. Here is a video of an amazing device that tree removers now use to quickly remove a tree:

How would someone get that far to rip out their testimony that they had built over the years? The simple answer: doubts that beget sin. And once they get to that point I usually see people start demanding proof or signs in order to bring them back.

It seems that everyone demands proof in our secular world. I always find this interesting. The very first temptation that Jesus faced as recorded in the Scriptures was Satan urging him to turn the stones into bread IF he was the Son of God (Matt 4:3). Then he was tempted to prove to the world that he was the Son of God by jumping off the temple in front of all these people (Matt 4:6). The last temptations that he faced were two thieves begging him to prove he was the Son of God and to save them also (Luke 23:39).

Anytime someone demands proof of anything of a scriptural or religious nature, it’s instant sign to me that Satan has taken over their lives. God does not work this way. He wants us to develop faith but faith can be destroyed by doubts and sin and breaking covenants.

There is also a terrible warning for those who have broken covenants and turned from that which they knew to be true.

Alma 24:30 And thus we can plainly discern, that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things.

Sadly, I have seen this to be true. I saw one young man return from off his mission and within weeks, fell away into past sins and has never returned to church. I saw another take a few years to fall completely away after his mission, but now you can hardly recognize him. He looks terrible. He smokes and drinks and does who-knows-what and has a terrible darkness about him.

Many who fall away turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to “feel something” after the loss of the Spirit they once had. Sadly many turn to sex as a way to get some pleasure in life and pornography can become a constant addiction. One man lost his family due to porn and he has never returned to activity 25+ years later. He is now over 60 years old and as far as I know, no desire to change.

I know a woman who fell away because of a confrontation she had with a church leader. She took it personally and angrily fell away from the church. I recently saw her at the store at least 10 years after the event. She said, “Hi” to me but I didn’t have a clue as to who she was. I politely said “Hi” back, but it wasn’t until I saw her husband come up next to her that I realized who she was. She doesn’t look at all like I remember her.

I know one man who got despondent over the loss of his wife. He let that fester and eventually lost his job, his home, his children, his membership in the church and then got into drugs and lost all of his friends and family as he stole from everyone to support his habit. His parents have no idea where he is to this day.

I saw a good friend with whom we had worked together in callings for years and had fallen away. He came by my house to get something and there was a visible shadow over his face that frightened me. I kept looking around as to where that shadow was coming from as it was in broad daylight. It was almost as if he had a baseball cap on, but he had nothing on his head. It stunned me to see this and I later found out that he had been excommunicated. He had such a dark countenance about him that I never forgot the experience. The good news is that he later repented and returned to activity in the church. But all of his children are now outside of the church.

I know one woman who fell away and left her spouse, claiming that she is now a “lesbian”. Satan’s power know no end for those caught in his grasp.

The only hope that we all can really  have is that anyone who has left the church will someday return to what they know to be true. This talk by Elder Brent Nielsen talks about this very subject: Waiting for the Prodigal. We all need to have hope that they will return and not be like those mentioned in Alma 24:30. As parents and friends of those who have fallen away, sometimes all we can do is love them until they have gone through enough buffetings that they realize what they have done and want to come back.

Those who follow this path of leaving and then returning are often left with some difficult problems because of the time they were “inactive” that may last for the rest of their lives. The worst I have seen is the effects upon their children and other family members who followed their example and did not return.

President Holland told a touching story of a friend who was on his deathbed and could not be consoled because of the knowledge that he had left the church 50 years earlier and would soon have to face his mother after he died. He could not bear that thought.

My prayer is to all those who have fallen away is to try and remember the spirit you once felt as a member of the church. It may be very difficult as the loss of the spirit can result in a loss of  memory, but if we truly desire the happiness we once felt, the spirit can bring all things to our remembrance (John 14:26). Reading journals can help in this area as all of us should keep a journal for just such a purpose-to keep us on the strait and narrow path. 

If you need to repent of something you have done, be humble and recognize that God will forgive you if you turn unto him. It may be embarrassing and there may be difficult times ahead, but this is the day we need to repent. If we wait we run the real risk of losing that chance.

I once knew a man who became very wealthy and left the church. I asked him why he did so and he replied that he had “grown past it” and was onto better things. One day he got scratched by his cat and died the next day. He never repented and will now suffer God’s punishment for what he has done and most likely will lose the eternal standing he once had.

Here is a short list of things to do to get your life in order, take control of your destiny and receive the blessings of God again:

  1. Be humble and recognize what you have done and where you are
  2. Be Honest and don’t avoid what you know is right
  3. Get back on the path by doing those things that helped you gain your testimony: Read, Pray, Attend Church, etc.
  4. Consult with your Bishop and Parents (if they are members) to help you get back on track
  5. Please don’t become one of Satan’s minions and seek the destruction of others. If you have fallen away, your loss of testimony will affect others. Persuading other members to leave the church will cause the greatest of pains in the years ahead.
  6. Avoid those things that brought you down. Put away the false writings, the people, the situations that you know will cause you to fall again.
  7. Avoid those things that bring “false” feelings such as alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, etc.
  8. Turn to the Lord and ask Jesus Christ to save you. He will answer you in ways that he seems best.

Let me end with this powerful video from the Church about someone who fell away and eventually returned:

I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church of God on the earth today. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the Prophet on the earth today and the one to follow him will be the one God chooses to fill that position. I know the Book of Mormon is true and I pray that all the world will someday know what I know and partake of what I have tasted and felt.

To those who have fallen away, I pray that you will do what you need to come back. If this isn’t the true church, what is? If this doesn’t have the truth, who does? You will determine how far you fall before you “hit bottom”. It is up to YOU! Just remember that some never make it back and lose the eternal blessings once offered. How will you be different?

President Oaks said, “When a spouse or a child rejects what we know to be true and strays from the path of righteousness, we experience particularly stressful pain, just like the father of the prodigal son in Jesus’s memorable parable (see Luke 15:11–32).” Will you not come back, at least for your parents sake (if they are members) and ease their pain?

Someone who fell away once told me that he didn’t know it was true any more, but wished that it was because he didn’t see anything else that could be.

Please recognize the perilous situation you are in and that someone is controlling your actions. Please come back. Please know that your eternal destiny is not what it once was and that you will not receive the promised blessings held out to the faithful. God’s word cannot be denied and we must follow His ways in order to receive His blessings.

This I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

About The Author

Kelly Smith

Kelly Smith is an inspirational speaker and motivational persuader. He loves to lift others to greater heights and see them improve and grow. He loves to serve others and seeks to help them see the best in themselves.

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