B1 Intermediate AU 1718 Folder Collection
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I’m so happy all of you are here. You have no idea what a light you all bring to such
a dark place, and how horribly, horribly sad we are when you all leave. So if you guys
wanna, like, move and find jobs, and, you know? I’ll run support services; I’ll,
like, you know, find you a place to live and try to help you find a job and stuff… no?
no takers? I wouldn’t come here either, but that’s just me.
So, my husband, if you ever get a chance to talk to him, he’ll talk to a small group.
He doesn’t do big crowds. To him, this is a big crowd, so… He has an amazing story,
and he’s fun to talk to, so if you can get him and get a few of you together, he’ll
talk to you; he just can’t do this. He goes mute. Which is weird, ‘cause he’s never
mute. But, so, I’ll try and keep it upbeat and happy, ‘cause if I cry it’s ugly.
I cry like Lucille Ball. It’s not graceful and pretty, so…
I was a fourth-generation Mormon, and I did it all wrong the first time I got married.
I didn’t marry a returned missionary, against my family’s wishes; attributed the long
road of, uh, not a good marriage to, largely to that; there were some other issues. But
that marriage finally ended after twenty years and four children, part because he just wasn’t
on board with the LDS path, and part because of some other stuff. So I left, I took my
children, and I started over. That’s where I met my present husband, Steve, who was a
returned missionary and we dated. My children adored him, and I thought, “okay, cool,
I’m gonna do it right this time.” So it was all in order, so we kind of had a whirlwind
romance, we get married, we build a house, together we have seven children. And about
a year into this, we were now settled, and I have it all lined up. I have the returned
missionary, I have the priesthood holder, um…
Back a little bit, when I was married previously, I lost a daughter at birth. K? So, she is
some somewhere. In my Mormon world, she’s now floating in the great abyss. K? So, I
now have my priesthood holder, so we can go to the temple. We’re now going to be sealed,
and I’m gonna have my forever family -- which, to a Mormon mom, that’s the ultimate thing.
‘Cause I get to have my kids, and I get to raise my daughter in heaven. The catch:
if I don’t, they’re going to give her to a worthy Mormon family to raise in heaven,
and I don’t get to. So there’s really not an option here. K? So my, my ducks are
all in a row; we’re gonna start temple classes.
About this time, my husband gets witnessed to at work, by the man that will eventually,
for all sakes and purposes, “ruins my life as I know it.” Ken Gilbert. They’re not
here, huh? An amazing holy boldness man, I adore him now; he’s one of my dearest friends,
but it, at the time, he, he, he’d ruin my life. He gets with my husband, my husband’s
going to get him back into the Mormon church. He is, in turn, going to teach my husband
about Jesus. So they start talking, they exchange literature. That’s where my first, my husband
first came in contact -- it’s his first “anti-Mormon stuff.” So he… so he sneaks
it into my house, literally hides it, and waits for me to leave, so that he can watch
it. And that’s kinda where his story begins. It kinda continues in this secretive thing,
his degree’s in anthropology and archaeology.
So, the DNA versus the… Steve’s. So my husband’s. So, that’s kinda where his,
the DNA versus the Book of Mormon was earth-shattering for him. And so he’s studying on his own,
and I -- I had questions, K, I wasn’t this perfect little Mormon girl, I had questions,
things that didn’t make sense, but I was completely convinced that I’d find the answers
within the Mormon church. That it was my lack of understanding, not that the church was
wrong. I really thought that it was just me.
So, he starts to search, and we’re preparing to do this big path, and the more he searches,
the bigger the hole gets. Things start to fall apart. So he’s still talkin’ to Ken,
and he starts to come to me with small things. Kind of feeling the waters to see how it would
be perceived. Met him with complete resistance and anger, fear. I was afraid and, at first
it was like “ha ha, yeah, that’s funny,” but then I started to see a seriousness about
him. And that’s kind where it kinda turns really, really ugly. And, it kind of escalates
into a situation where I find the anti-Mormon stuff. It was like finding porn in my house.
I threw it across my bedroom, I felt completely betrayed. Uh, I felt like he had deceived
me, and it was uh, it started the beginning of a year-long civil war within my house.
And I do mean a civil war. Mormon women typically aren’t submissive, K? That’s kind of a
four-letter word; it kinda means you’re a doormat, because we don’t understand godly
submission. It means that the man has complete and utter total power over you, and we’re
like, “no he doesn’t.” And so, it was a clash-- it was clash of the titans. It was
horrible. And I’d only been in a year, so I’m thinking “I can fix this. It would
be another divorce, but I have to get back on the path somehow. I can’t be called out
of the grave unless he knows my name. He’s not gonna know my name, unless he goes to
this temple to learn my name. I can’t have my family unless I have him sealed to me.”
K, so I had to choose now between him -- my marriage -- and my daughter, and my children.
As far as I was concerned, he was going to outer darkness; he’s now an apostate.
‘Cause it finally escalated to him, to where he, he denounced the Mormon church. So, he’d
walk in a room; I’d walk out. Uh, we have a family cabin that we’d go to, it was like
our little place; it’s where we were married. I wouldn’t go there with him anymore. He
went alone. It was not good. There was no friendship left. I was fearful; was so close,
so close to leaving, I had a plan, and one call to the Mormon church, just one call,
they would’ve swooped me and my children up, they would’ve helped me relocate, and
they-- they would’ve paid my way. Not only that, his family would’ve helped me, against
him. If I would’ve called them and said, “He’s, he’s an apostate; he’s leaving
the church,” they would’ve taken my side against him.
And so, Satan had the hugest opportunity to destroy my family, completely destroy it.
And everyone’s like, “well, what did it? What did it?” It was just a process of things.
So during this year-long war, he would, he would give me tidbits. Uh, things that he
knew would matter to me. Like, Joseph Smith had thirty-three wives. He knows how I feel
about polygamy. He knows how I feel about old man sleeping with young girls, as Susan
and I have talked about. It just isn’t okay. So he gave me this tidbits, he’d kind of
lure me to a safe place where I would think that he wouldn’t talk to me, and then he’d,
like, drop a bombshell on me. Then I’d freak out, and like go and slam doors, and … eventually,
I’m going to the Mormon church, K? Every single Sunday. He’s now following me to
the Mormon church, in a purple shirt, with a Christian Bible. For those of you who don’t
know the Mormon culture, it can’t get much worse, K, it just doesn’t. You wear a white
shirt, and a tie, and you don’t bring a Christian Bible. You bring your quad, or your
various Mormon… Mormon books. Back to the purple shirt and how that came about: right
at the end of where he’s ready to say “I’m not doing this anymore,” uh, he went into
priesthood with this purple shirt on, K, and he, he, he still was, hadn’t said no more
yet. They gave the lesson that day on “if you, you’re not a godly man unless you wear
this white shirt, because it represents your obedience to God, and your willingness to
submit to God.” So there he sits in a purple shirt, the only one not in a white shirt out
of probably twenty-four men. He meets me in the lobby; he’s furious. He has two fingers
in his tie that he’s now ripping off, in the foyer with everyone around; he’s livid.
And he said, “This is so stupid, like it matters what color of shirt I have on.”
K? I’m, like, dying. And I’m thinking, “Okay, you’re crazy. I’ve had it with
you.” I make to the vehicle, I’m gonna leave him. I’m gonna show him. So I’m
gonna get into the vehicle, I’m gonna lock the doors, I’m gonna drive home, make him
walk. (It’s not that far. It’s like two blocks.) Anyway, I’m makin’ a point here.
He knows me. As soon as he sees me hightail it outta there, he thinks “she’s gonna
leave me.” So we have this race to the vehicle. Mormons are everywhere, K? I don’t make
it. I get in, I shut the door, I hit the thing just as he opens the door. I’m screaming,
“Get out! Walk home. I don’t want you near me.” He’s like, “I’m not getting
out.” He gets in, shuts the door, he says “let’s go home.”
Every morning, we would have the same screaming match in my closet. I would say “please,
just stay here. Please don’t go to church with me. Please.” And he said, “you’re
my wife. I’m going where you go.” And I said “but you don’t even believe it!”
He said “neither do you. You just don’t know it yet.” So, away we’d go, with him
in his purple shirt and his big fat Bible that Ken gave him, the guy who ruined my life…
so, where we would sit in Gospel Doctrine class-- this is the day that was really good.
They wrote “The New Covenant” on the board, and underneath it in parentheses they put
“(the Book of Mormon).” He went nuts. He’s flipping through Scripture, he’s
pointing, he’s sliding it across to me and he’s pointing. Now everyone’s no longer
at who’s teaching; they’re turning around, looking at us. I’m wanting to die.
So from that day forward, I said “you can’t do that to me anymore.” I said, “that’s
not okay.” He said “okay, you’re right. That probably wasn’t okay.” And he said,
“so, when you go, what are you looking for?” And I said “Jesus.” He said, “Okay,”
he said, “well do they teach about Jesus?” I’m like, “it’s the ‘Church of Jesus
Christ’; are you a moron? Of course they teach me about Jesus.” He said “Do they?”
He said “Here,” he said “just, I want you to be just a little bit more observant.
If that’s what you’re looking for,” he said, “then from now on, I just want
you to just be aware of how much Jesus you’re getting.” I’m like okay, that’s fair.
So as I keep going, he lays off on the pointing and the… he doesn’t lay off on the weird-colored
shirts and the big fat Bible, but he lays off on the pointing and the antics and the
things in the foyer, and stuff of that nature.
And, so I went for another three months: there’s no Jesus. There’s no mention of him except
for in prayer. That’s it. We touched on everything else -- everything else imaginable
-- but there was no Jesus. And so, by this time I’m wearing down, I’m hungry, and
I’m empty, and I feel alone, and I’m scared, and I don’t know what I’m gonna do, and
my only answer is I have to end this mess, and try to start over again. Somewhere along
here he kind of changes his antics, and it’s because God had changed him. I look, in hindsight
I look back and it’s because he was becoming a new man. K? I didn’t understand; at the
time, I just thought “well, he’s getting it.” He started to approach me with way
more love. Instead of dive-bombing me, he was, he was telling me in love when he was
saying things like “this is, I love you so much, the last thing I want to do on this
earth is hurt you, and the last thing I want you to do is leave me.” And he said “I
just, I need to, there’s all this stuff that I know, and I need somebody to talk to.”
And I didn’t listen for a long, long time.
There was one day when there’d kind of been a truce. We’d agreed to disagree, and tried
to stop fighting. For the children. And he’d called me on his way home from Salt Lake,
and he said “I’m gonna go fishing at the cabin. Will you please come with me?” He
said, “I promise I’ll be good,” he said “I-- just come with me.” And I said “okay,
I’ll go with you.” Well, he stopped at a Christian bookstore, and he prayed in the
parking lot. He said “God, just give me something to reach her that won’t offend
her, that won’t drive her farther away from me, that’ll open her heart,” and so he
went in, and he, he picked a book by John Hagee, it was written by him and his wife.
There was like, it’s like a two-sided book; you flip it upside-down, she wrote half, he
wrote half. So we went up and our thing was, he fishes and I read out loud to him, whatever
we’re reading at the time.
So, we go down fishing, and he gets it out of his backpack (poor man, he must’ve been
scared to death), and he just said “I, I got a book for us to read together.” And
he said, “it has nothing to do with Mormonism.” He said “it’s just a Christian book.”
And he said, “will you just read it?” He goes, “if you hate it, we don’t have
to read it.” I said okay, so we started with her side, and I’m sitting on this rock,
and my man dressed in, I don’t know, ragged sandals and yucky shorts and a tank top, and
he’s fishing, and she’s describing what a godly man is. And I’m looking as I’m
reading, and it’s standing before me.
And it doesn’t have on a white shirt, and a pressed tie, and slacks, and shiny black
shoes. And it was profound to me, because that’s the first time in a year that I had
ever looked at him as being even remotely in God’s realm. K? From that point, he was
being led by Satan, he was hanging out with Satan’s friends, he was listening to Satan,
and he was as far away from God as, as I felt he could possibly be at that time.
I would say that that was, uh, the, the beginning of a new beginning for us. I was subdued that
day. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t angry. And so, from that, I started
to just look at him with new eyes. I started to see him like God saw him. And I started
to see him get up every single morning, into Scripture, ‘cause he wanted to. Not only
was he into Scripture, but he was studying. And he’d have several things out. And he
was actually, uh, comparing what he was learning. It was actually like this really well thought-out
process, not just another path to take. ‘Cause before that, I thought he’d taken the high
road. I said
well isn’t that easy. He’d tried several times to explain grace to me, and I’d tell
him “there’s no such thing as a free lunch, Steve. There just isn’t.” It didn’t
make any sense to me at all. So I started to soften, I don’t know that I started to
listen to him, but some. In here, there were things that I would tell me there’s no evidence,
like six hundred years of a civilization of people that there’s no evidence for. The
church doesn’t actually come out and say that there’s evidence, but they allude you
to believe that there’s evidence. K? So I started to search. Now I’m doing my own
thing when he leaves the house. I look and see when he’s gone down the road, now I’m
looking. I was a good girl, though. I stayed within the church websites. And the more things
I looked up, now my hole starts to get bigger. I validated the stuff with Joseph Smith, I
read the quote where he claims to be better than Jesus, that he could keep the church
together and not even Jesus could do that, and that he has so many reasons to boast.
Even in my most Mormon world, that quote sickened me. It wasn’t okay.
My testimony, by this point, of Joseph Smith is now pretty gone. Not that it was ever super
strong, K? Joseph Smith was never, I would never sing “Praise to the Man.” Never
felt like he was a man that needed to be praised, never really got that. He was just a prophet,
like any other prophet. He, but he was a man. So now Joseph Smith’s over here, but I’m
still gonna, it’s the Church of Jesus Christ, not the Church of Joseph Smith, so I’m still
okay, for all rights and purposes. As I look, my hole starts to get bigger, I’m confused,
I’m going to church, there’s no Jesus. I’m becoming more empty, and more lost,
and more broken than I’d ever been in my whole, whole life. In hindsight, he was leading
me to the desert. He was. He wanted me to famine. He wanted me empty that he could fill
me. And that’s exactly what he did.
There was one day when he stood between me and the door; I couldn’t get out. And he
just said “Tell me what you believe.” I said “it’s none of your business what
I believe.” He said “I’m your husband; it is business what you believe.” He said,
“If you’re so sure what you believe,” he said, “just tell me.” So I rattled
my best, whatever I rattled, it was something to do with Jesus and something something.
He just, he started to laugh and he said, “That’s the heart of Christian woman,
not a Mormon woman.” If I could’ve hit him with something, I would have. ‘Cause
that wasn’t a compliment at the time. And he just said, he said “It is all about Jesus.”
He said, “But he’s all you need.” And then he just proceeded to ask me, he said,
“will you please just listen to me? Please.” He said, “you’re my wife, you’re my
friend. You’re all I’ve got.” He said “I have nobody. I can’t talk to my coworkers,
I can’t talk to my family, I can’t talk to my friends.” He said “I can’t talk
to our children.” He said, “I have no one.” He said “And it’s your job! You’re
supposed, God says you’re supposed to be my friend. And you’re supposed to listen
to me.” And I knew he was right.
And I said “Okay.” I said, “You get one shot.” So I sat down, I shut my mouth,
and I listened. K, if anyone knows my husband, he probably won’t remember your name, and
some days he doesn’t remember mine. That’s just him. He recited Scripture like it was
before him on a paper. God worked through him; he remembered everything. He remembered
everything he’d ever studied, every answer he’d ever found, how he found it, where
it was, and every Scripture to back that up. How, how he had came to the knowledge that
he could trust the Bible, how he had came to the knowledge that he couldn’t trust
the Book of Mormon, K, and it, this was constant talking, took about, probably about half hour.
And then he took a deep breath and he said “That’s all I got.” And I said “That’s
a lot.” I said “okay.” He said, “Thank you for listening to me.” And we parted
ways. As, as friends at this point, and that’s where I started, started my real study. That’s
where I started to… I thought, “he’s serious about this. This isn’t him taking
the high road. This isn’t him trying to, uh, get out of jail free. This isn’t him
trying to just take-- get a free lunch and go ‘isn’t this great? I get something
for nothing.’” So I started to look and I went through and figured out how I can trust
the Bible. And that’s where I had to start, ‘cause I needed something tangible in my
hand, so I knew where to begin, so I had to know what to trust.
And so once I figured out that I could trust the Bible, about the same time, we had agreed
to read John before bed every night. He just said “can we read John? At night before
bed?” I’m like, “sure.” How do you say “no” to that? Really? So he was, he
was giving me the Word. And I’m studying the Word. And, slowly, it’s, it’s coming
off. I’m starting to, like, see. And I’m starting to see that there’s something to
the things that he’s saying. My last Sunday in the Mormon church, I’m sitting in Gospel
Doctrine again, and I’m praying, “Just mention his name. Just say his name. Just
do something!” And they didn’t. And it was so far away. I don’t even remember what
the lesson was on that day, but it was irrelevant to everything.
It didn’t, it didn’t touch me, didn’t move me; it wasn’t food for me. And I left,
and I was in pieces. We got into the car and he said “are you okay?” And I said “no,
I’m not okay.” We went home, there was something on for dinner and I just said “I--
I can’t.” We have seven kids, and he said “it’s okay, I’ll do it.” I said “I
can’t.” And I’m falling apart. So I went in my room, and I bent to my knees, leaned
over the ottoman on the bottom of my bed and I cried harder than I’d probably ever cried
before. And I said, “God, I don’t know what to do. I need you. Wherever that is,
I need you. If it’s in the Mormon church, I’ll do that. If it’s out of the Mormon
church, I’ll do that. Do you want me to follow my husband? I’ll do that. But I need
you.” And I was empty. Nothing huge happened that day, K? I didn’t have some big, profound
revelation. I didn’t, it wasn’t… but I was empty. Empty. I was like, uh, oatmeal.
I had no thoughts, I had no feelings, I had nothing. I was blank. And I was blank for
the next several weeks.
And he just said “are you okay?” And I said, “I d-- I don’t know.” And he said
“Do you want to go to church?” and I said “no.” He’s like “okay, well, what
do you want to do?” And I said “I don’t know.” He said, “well, do you wanna just
stay here and read Scriptures with the kids?” So we did, we did that for a few Sundays and
somewhere in here he asked me if I’d watch the DNA video with him. And I do. And then
I watched the Bible… what, what was that? Oh, the Book of Abraham was out at that time.
I watched that one, and kind of came to the conclusion that that wasn’t the way to go.
And that was sad. It was like a death I… all over again. I didn’t understand at that
point how I was gonna get my daughter. I didn’t understand how I was gonna be with my children.
Most of my family was dead: my dad, my brother, they had all died. I didn’t understand how
I was ever gonna connect with them again. My head was a mess. And, somewhere in here,
I, uh, I read the Scripture, it’s… think it’s Galatians 2? Two twenty? Two twenty
and two twenty-one. Um. And I would say a lot of the Scriptures were totally profound.
All, uh, your First John, all those work. They administered to me. This one is the one
that rocked my world. “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes
through the Law, then Christ died in vain.” How do you reconcile that? If you’re justified
by the law, Christ died in vain. There’s no way around that.
I called my very Mormon sister, to tell her about my profound revelation. Didn’t go
over very well. She thought I was crazy. She asked if she should, like, send someone, where
the kids were, if I needed, like, some type of help, she said “I’m at work; this is
making me very uncomfortable.” And I was just like “well, Robyn, he did it. He did
it all. Christ did it. And if he didn’t do it, then he died in vain, and we have to
do it, and so, how do we do it? We can’t do it.” And it was my first, uh, drop of
what grace really, really meant. Later, my little sister followed me out. And that was
only part of what it was, but she watched my family. She watched us, she watched the
fruits of the Spirit. And she watched my family change.
And Steve was talking to my brother-in-law, her husband. Had give him the boot movies,
which he watched in secret so then he talked to her -- kind of the same type of story,
a lot of anger, she almost left him, she didn’t tell me though. So she’s leaving, and she’s
not telling me, because she doesn’t want me to say “ha ha, I told you so.” So she
comes to my house and she’s nursing her baby, and it’s just us girls, so it’s
like, she’s nursing her baby and there’s no garments. And I’m confused. And so I’m
like, “Okay, that’s weird.” My daughter goes home with her and I said “you need
to go spy on her. She’s not wearing garments and I need to know why.”
So my daughter, my daughter -- she’s in getting dressed -- my daughter knocks on her
door. She’s like, “I’m getting dressed! But that’s okay!” So my daughter goes
in, she’s just got a camisole on, she’s getting dressed. So my daughter leaves, goes
out in the bushes and calls me; she’s like, “negative on the garments. Negative.”
And I’m like, why? And then she’s like “I don’t know.” She goes, “But, we’re
going to church with them later.” She said “this oughtta be interesting.” She goes
“When we get there,” she said, “maybe I’ll just say ‘why aren’t you wearing
garments anymore?’” I’m like “Okay,” I’m like, “do that.” She’s like “Yeah,
I’m sure you want me to do that!” So they go to church with them later that day; they
pull into a Christian church.
This was my sister’s way of having my kids tell me that they had left, so she didn’t
have to. Yeah. But my little sister’s out; they’re saved, they have a little boy that
they... took them ten years to get, and he loves Jesus, and won’t ever know who Joseph
Smith is, and it’s all a good thing. In my broken state, I can’t say there was ever
an “aha!” moment.
Chip and all these people would talk about their “aha!” moments; we’d have XMA,
which is Ex-Mormons Anonymous, where we got around, and it was like Alcoholics Anonymous,
we’d like vent and cry, and we’d like be crazy and stuff, and they’d all tell
about their “aha!” moments. So I was wondering if I was saved. I’m like “I didn’t get
an ‘aha!’ moment.” It really was a process. And I think with most people who are in a
cult, or have been brainwashed, I think it is a process. I don’t think too often they
get that one, big “aha!” moment. But it’s a process. And that’s what you guys have
to remember. You’re part part of that process! K? Just because someone doesn’t have that
“aha!” moment with you, doesn’t mean what you did wasn’t completely profound
in their life.
My daughter was prayed with at Pageant, oh, four years before we left. A Christian woman
tried to talk to her; she wasn’t really, really getting was she was saying, but then
she just said “Can I pray with you?” And she prayed for her. It stuck with my daughter,
K? Didn’t pull her out, didn’t change her entire life right then, but it was part
of that process. God used that woman to pray with her then, which just validated her later,
to where she had those things to look back on. So, don’t get frustrated. Be bold, and
remember, they’re captives. And they’re all, they’re the beautiful walking dead.
They-- they are. It’s a beautiful religion. It’s a beautiful people. It’s a beautiful
organization. But they’re dying. And you guys know the only Physician that can heal
them. And so, that’s your job, is to try to get them to the Physician that can heal
them. And if all you do is get ‘em to take one step forward, that’s one step forward
that they hadn’t taken before.
And so, him watching me, I would call him, I finally let go of my pride and I’d call
him and I’d say “Did you know…?” And he was nice and he always said “no.” And
he’d listen to me, and he’d be as excited as I was, and, we told the kids; after I’d
watched the movies and decided I couldn’t go back, we told them that, that we were going
to leave. I have a really dark sense of humor. I ran an ambulance for eighteen years. I learned
to laugh at things that just aren’t very funny. And I didn’t know what to say, so
I’m in my pajamas, it’s eleven o'clock, we again haven’t gone to church, and they’re
wondering why. And they’re sitting and LaKan eating and Cashae standing and she’s like,
“So, why aren’t we going to church?” And I said, “You know, I don’t know what
Joseph Smith was doing in the forest exactly. I think he might’ve been smokin’ bark.”
She’s like, “huh?” as the cereal runs out of her mouth. And she said “So. You’re
saying that you don’t think Joseph Smith is a true prophet?” I said “That’s what
I’m saying.”
And she’s like “okay,” and they look at each other, and they’re like, “well,
now what do we do?” I said “I don’t know. I don’t know what we do.” I said,
“but I want you guys to search it; I want you guys to know for yourselves. And I think
we might try the Christian church.” And they’re like “What Christian church?”
And I’m like, “It’s the one Dad sneaks to to pray with Christians.” And they’re
like “okay.” So the next Sunday we went to the Christian church and we went there
ever since. And it was [inaudible] ago, at Pageant time, that we got baptized, out at
the local lake as a family. And it was amazing.
It was super. So if God moves mountains -- and my story isn’t any greater; I know: I’ve
heard some of your stories and they’re amazing. And my story isn’t any greater than any
of yours. I think just here, it might be a little more relevant, because of where we
are, what we’re doing today, and so, he moves mountains. And he can move me? He can
move anybody! ‘Cause I knew what I knew, and I was on a mission, and I was, I was determined.
And I wasn’t nice about it. And I was stubborn, and I was arrogant, and I was prideful, and
I was self-righteous, and was all of those things, that, that you’d think couldn’t
be-- but God is good, and he is huge, and he deals with me with a strong hand. He does.
Like, about two years out, two and a half years out, I say “God, I’m tired of being
your poster child. I don’t wanna be your poster child anymore. I wanted to be just
a regular Christian girl. I don’t wanna be your little ex-Mormon, your little poster
girl, okay?” He said, “okay.” So he sent me the book of Job, again and again and
again. It’s like when you’re gonna go buy a new car, and you’re looking at that
car, and then you wait to buy it, and everywhere you go, that’s what you see. It’s kinda
like that. No matter where I went, it was Job. And he was showing me, “Honey, that’s
the ultimate poster child. You’re not Job. Be, be, be grateful you’re not Job.” So
about that time me and my, me and Janelle go to Idaho Falls to speak at their local
church, and (which I love to do). And I walk in their local church, and, guess what.
Yeah, I know. I scream out loud, I jump backwards, run. He’s up there, the pastor, he’s like
“what is the matter?” He thinks I’ve seen some horrible spider or something. And
I’m just like, “That’s a really big poster.” And he’s like, “Do you want
me to take it down?” And I’m like “Not if God’s the one that told you to put it
up there.” So, I guess I am kind of his poster child, and that’s good, because I
have… he did an amazing work in me. And if I can use that to encourage you, then that’s
what I’m supposed to do. And I can do that.
And it, it’s getting easier, the, the two-brain thing and all the little triggers are getting
easier. Is it all better? No. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Absolutely. It is. And
so… you young ones, who’s, who’s not got a chance to share their faith on the streets
yet? Anybody? Just wh- just, just one in the back? That’s okay. That’s okay. It’s
just ‘cause you just got here, or it’s just ‘cause they won’t listen to you?
Just got here, okay, that doesn’t count. You know what? Here’s some things that if
someone said to me, because people tried to witness to me at the Pageant. That was me.
I was mean and I put ‘em in their place. I was like “I can’t believe you’re here.
We don’t come to your religious gatherings; why are you here? Why are you doing this?”
K? Yeah. You haven't? Yeah. Here’s some things that if somebody said this to me, it
would’ve put me in my place and made me much, much nicer. If they’d’ve simply
said to me, “Are you always this mean, or just to me?” I would’ve been like “Oh.”
K? ‘Cause we are representing our corporation. It’s okay if you think I’m mean, but you
can’t think my corporation’s mean. K? “The church.” Another thing they could’ve
said to me is, “you belong to the only true church, right?” I said “right.” And
they said “well, truth is truth, and it can’t be changed, right?” I’d’ve said
“right.” And they’d say “Okay, what are you afraid of then? Anything I say can’t
change truth. So why won’t you talk to me? Why are you so afraid?” That would’ve
brought my defenses down, and probably made me talk to ‘em.
Because it’s true. If I have the only true church, then what am I afraid of? With these
mean Mormon, Mormon teenagers, use their mama: ask them, “If this is what a Mormon child
is raised to be?” If their mama, if this is the way their mama raised them to behave,
they’ll change that fast. Whatever you can use to tame the, the hostility and the ignorance,
because you know what? We, we, we… we have the same standard. If we’re behaving that
way, I would hope someone would look at us and say “is that what a Christian is? Because
if that’s a Christian, I don’t wanna be one. If that’s the way a Christian behaves,
then I don’t want to.” And so as we represent Christ, they’re representing their church.
And I would call ‘em out on it, if they’re being mean. At least so they’ll talk to
you. And if they are mean, don’t take it personal. It’s not you. It’s because they’re
fearful. It’s because they’re, they’re full of fear.
And people, and if the only thing you get to do is share your faith, and if you get
‘em to the point -- and this is a good thing -- if you can get ‘em to the point that
they break into their testimony, because it’s all they got, you touched ‘em. You backed
‘em into a corner and they don’t have anything else. Let ‘em. Let ‘em tell you
their testimony and then say, sweetly, “Can I tell you mine?” And you share your testimony.
And then you thank ‘em, and then you sweetly walk away. It’ll be profound. And if all
you do is bring ‘em this much closer, you’re just part of the process. And if you have
a good thing -- Romans Road and the Impossible Gospel -- all those are wonderful, huge things.
If you guys don’t know all that yet, and you’re new and you don’t know the Mormon
doctrine, that’s okay, ‘cause you know Jesus. And that’s -- share Jesus with them.
Share what grace is. Share what he’s done to you because a lot of them attribute things
that have happened in their life to the church. But if you can say “well, all these things
happened in my life, and I’m not a Mormon,” they won’t know how to explain that.
And they need to see that God loves us and works in our life, not because of the label
that we put on our head. It’s not because we, whatever we choose to call ourselves.
It’s because he loves us, individually. That was the other thing that saved my little
sister. She was molested for eight years by her stepfather. And while it-- the Mormon
church had paid for her to go through counseling. So she always was convinced that, had it not
been for the Mormon church, she wouldn’t be whole. She wouldn’t be who she is. And
then one day, all by herself, driving in the car, he said to her, as loud as he could,
“I didn’t do that because you were Mormon. I did that because I love you.” And she
got it.
It’s just the means that God used to heal her. Not because she was Mormon. And that’s
what they need to understand. So be brave. Persevere. Come for support, you know? And
just remember they’re blind. And… where’s Rob? Is Rob here? He always says you wouldn’t
beat on a blind person, right? It’s true. They’re blind, so just love ‘em. Love
‘em and love all over ‘em. Let ‘em see that it exudes from you. Let them just feel
that love.
And they won’t know what to do with it. I didn’t know what to do with it. My husband
-- how am I on time? Oh, I’m good. I’ll tell you about the retreat. Somewhere in here,
Chip had gone-- er, Steve had gone, and they had prayed, and he was talking to Chip, and
at one point he says, “Chip, she’s gonna leave me.” He said “I really think she’s
gonna leave me. It’s not going well.” And Chip told him what, exactly what he should’ve
told him: “Count the cost. Pick up your cross daily.” And he said, “Is your God
first? Because if he’s not, it’ll never work. And never wavers. God has to be first.
And we’ll keep praying for your wife.”
So he came home, and about three days later, when I had mentioned again that I really wanted
to leave, he said to me, “I love you, and if you left me it would break my heart. It
would tear my world apart. But God comes first in my life. It’s first God, and then you,
and he said it has to be that way.” He said “because without God, we don’t have a
godly marriage. We don’t have anything.” On one hand it broke my heart, ‘cause I
wanted to be first. But then after thinking about it, I really didn’t want to be first.
I really did want God to be first. And what it did is it took the control from me, which,
I shouldn’t’ve had the control at that point ‘cause I was abusing it. And it took
the control from me and gave it to God. And so knowing that he was willing to let me go,
because of his love for God and my unwillingness to listen, was huge. So sometime after that,
he had lured me into the college house, for coffee. And I came in, Chip was working, and
I wasn’t very nice to Chip. No, for one, you don’t play with Chip Thompson. As a
Mormon, you just don’t go there. So, there I am, I’m in there, Chip’s there, and
I’m like, “well, he doesn’t look that evil. And he’s making me coffee.” So he
makes me coffee, and Steve says, “Ask him questions! Is there something you wanna ask
him?” And I said, “You guys take sacrament?” And he said, “Well, we call it communion.
It’s unleavened-- unleavened bread and grape juice.” And then he told me what it means
to them. I said “oh.” I said “What about baptism?” He told me what baptism meant
to them, and I thought, “that’s lame.” So I was like, he’s like “that’s it?”
I’m like “That’s it.” I take my coffee and I head to the door. He chases me.
He’s like, “hey!” You know, he’s like, “Our women are going on a retreat. You should
go.” I said “I should not go.” And I’m looking at Steve like “we’re going now.”
He’s like “no, you should go!” He goes “It’s just the women and they go and they
just have fun” and I’m like “I shouldn’t go” and he said “And you should talk to
my wife Jamie.” I said “I shouldn’t be talking to anybody.” Jamie calls, like
right then. So he answers the phone and he’s like “Jame! Hey! Uh, Steve. Do you remember
Steve?” He’s like, “His wife’s here, and you should take her on the retreat”
and he’s like “here, you should talk to my wife.” So I’m talking, I’m like “Hello?”
She’s like “Hi! You - you should come to the retreat!” And I’m like, “no,
no I shouldn’t go to the retreat, and I’ve gotta go now, but thank you! Thank you. Okay,
I’m going now.” And I give him the phone, and I go and Jamie walks through the door.
I’m like, really? Will somebody just let me out of here? Really? And she’s smiling!
She had this big smile and these dangly earrings and she’s all happy, and I’m like, how
do you be mad at Jamie? K, you can’t! And I’m like “okay, but I’m going now.”
And she’s like “really, you should just come, and it’ll be fine,” and Steve’s,
like, doing the whole head nod and “she should go.” Somehow, we were on our way
to Walmart, and we don’t go to Walmart. We go straight back home. Where Steve’s
packing my bag. Now, he’s gonna tend seven kids; he’s never did that before. Ever.
And he’s telling me, “We’ll be fine.” And I’m thinking “you will not be fine.”
He’s like, “Do you want these pajamas?” And he’s packing my bag. And he’s nice,
he takes my Mormon scriptures, he puts my Mormon scriptures in my bag for me. I’m
like, “I’m not going!” and he’s like “you are.” I was like, “You can’t
make me go.” He’s said, “I can.” He goes “it’ll be good for you!” Drops
me off on the college house lawn and waves, and drives away. I’m like, “okay. This
is so weird.” Then all these people come up, none of them I know. And I’m like, “Oh,
you know, I can’t go. I get carsick. I get really carsick.” Jamie’s like “cool,
you can drive!” I’m like, “it’s a minivan. I don’t drive minivans. I’m cool!”
I’m driving a minivan full of Christians up the freeway. And I am scared to death,
and they are talking this talk that I don’t understand; they are, uh, words, music that
I’ve never heard before is playing. And I just don’t get it. We get there, we eat,
then we go… and we sing. And we sing, and we sing, and we sing and we sing and I’m
like “really. These people sing a lot! And they, everyone knows all the songs! This is
so weird!” And the two girls playing: cute. Granola girls, long hair and… I’m watching
them, now I’m really confused. ‘Cause there’s like all this love, just exuding
from them. I don’t know where to put it. K? So I put it this way. I’m like, “So
they are… whoa. So anything goes at this church.” Because I don’t know what to
think about it. I didn’t know all this love coming out of them, where it was going.
I didn’t get it. So I asked Jamie later if they were… and she’s like “no. No!”
So, later, I think later that night, or the next day, I have a breakdown. I can’t handle
any more. This is weird. We have Adeena, cute little Adeena, she falls to her knees, her
hands are in the air… I think something’s wrong with her. I’m like, is somebody gonna
help her up? Is she gonna have a seizure? I’m an EMT, after all, K, what’s wrong
with her? Then there’s another one. Like, I think it was Penny, and I’m like, okay,
what is wrong? They’re dropping like flies! I don’t get it. And they’re singing and
then they start talking and the lesson goes on and I flip out here somewhere, and they’re
praying in the most irreverent manner I’ve ever heard a prayer prayed. You don’t pray
like that! They’re like, talking to God like he’s, like, some person, like, their
friend! Not God, the unapproachable wizard that’ll zap you dead with his wand. And
so, I break down, I go out of the conference room, and I call Steve. And I’m like, “Get
me out of here.” I’m sobbing. I’m crying. And he’s like, “What is the matter?”
And I said “I want out. What’d you, where did you send me?” And I said, “this is
like a third-world country. I don’t understand any of it.” And he’s like, “What are
they doing?” He’s thinking, you know, did they go Pentecostal on her? Like, what’re
they doing? And I’m like, “They’re praying! And they’re praying in this irreverent manner,
and they’re, like, wearing jean shorts and tank tops,” and I’m like, “the whole
thing is, it’s irreverent.” He said, “Mitz, just because it’s not the way you’d do
it doesn’t mean it’s wrong.” And he’s like “I can get somebody to come sit with
the kids.” He said “I’ll come get you.” I’m what, an hour and a half, two hours
away? Like he’ll come get me. I have an out.
I’m strong. They can’t really hurt me, can they? So I stay. I don’t wanna make
him drive. I feel like a wimp at this point, so I stay. It doesn’t get any better, really.
It just kinda gets weirder. They’re nice! They were nice. So I go home, I’m in Jamie’s,
uh, driveway. They’d been having a board meeting. One of the board members -- he didn’t
know -- walks out, meets me, nice to meet you, he’s like “So, we’ll see you in
church on Sunday?” I’m like “no.” So I leave
said “Oh, no, she’s, she’s Mormon.” So that was like one big thing that I look
back on, and it was funny, but it was huge. I didn’t talk for three days. Steve was
trying to get me to talk to him; I couldn’t talk for three days. ‘Cause I couldn’t
process it. I had no idea what I’d seen, what I’d heard, what that was all about.
But I started listening to Christian music
I went and I started to buy Christian music. And it started to administer to my soul. It
started to soothe me. And when I couldn’t listen to him anymore and when I couldn’t
do anything else, I could listen to that. And so all these things, even if they get
offended and angry, it’s not at you, and whatever you can use… invite them! Invite
them to your things. Reach out to them; invite them for dinner. Whatever you can use, and
let them see you living your life out for Jesus. Let the, show them that you have something
that they want, that they don’t have, ‘cause they think they have everything you have,
and more.
I’ll give you one more about Steve’s cross. It’s the same cross he wears when he’s
on the street. Tucks it in his shirt. Somewhere in here, Ken and him had talked, and he had
gone north and went to the Silver Loft, and there was this cross, pretty little cross,
and it had a red dot in the middle, which to him symbolized the blood of Jesus. And
so he bought this cross. And this was at probably one of my most angriest times, and he would
wear it in his shirt. I have a Christian friend, we’d been friends for about eleven years;
we’d finally agreed to disagree -- she couldn’t deal with me anymore. She’d grown tired;
we just loved each other. But she’s like “okay. We can’t talk about this anymore.”
So we just didn’t. I’d bring her home cute laminated things from my church and she’d
say thank you, and, I’m sure, throw ‘em away as soon as I left, but, we’re sitting
knee-to-knee in my bedroom on the couch, just talking and he’d come home from work. And
he leaned over to kiss me, and his cross fell out of his shirt. K, I thought I was going
to sear a hole through my, my corneas, for real. And the closer he leaned to kiss me,
the more I backed away, and he’s trying to figure out “what is wrong with you?”
And then it hits him. He’s like “oh, no.” And he reaches down and he feels it and he
puts it back in his shirt. I was furious. I felt betrayed. How could you bring that
in my home? How could you wear that on your body? And I left the house. Slammed the door
and left. Well, my friend looks at him and says, “Good job. What were you thinking?”
He’s like “What?” He goes, “I just…” and she’s like “Dude, that… that didn’t
go over very well.”
I looked for the cross for days. He hid it. Like, he didn’t sleep in it, but he hid
it. I couldn’t find it. ‘Cause I was gonna throw it away. Because I didn’t understand
the whole cross. Until he shared with me the Scripture: “For the cross is foolishness
to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is glory of God.” I sat
on that for about three days and thought “okay, maybe the cross isn’t so evil.” But then
I, still thinkin’ I can still be a Mormon and he can still wear a cross, and… anyway.
That was just one more thing to show you that the fear in me, K? It, I was so fearful of
all these things, but it was because that’s what I was told from the time I was this big.
I had my testimony whispered in my ear from the time I was this big. I was told what I
believed. And then I was supposed to believe what they told me I believed, and I, and I
did… to a point. I, I did the rhetoric, I was able to regurgitate the rhetoric, but
in hindsight, I didn’t believe anything I was saying. ‘Cause they didn’t stand
on anything. It didn’t stand, it was on fallow ground. ‘Cause they, it didn’t
stand on the Rock. There was no Cornerstone. There was no truth in it. And so, that was
another thing I -- he picked apart my testimony bit by bit. He said “okay, you ‘know’
this church is true. How do you know? You ‘know’ Joseph Smith was a prophet. How
do you know? Do you know, or do you think you know?” And the difference in what was
given to me as a testimony and my testimony now is not even the same thing. And that’s
why if you get a chance to share your testimony, so that they can see that your testimony is
not about a corporation, you’re not, your testimony, you’re not testifying about a
building, or an ordinance, or a feeling,
You’re testifying about the blood of Jesus and what you know that he did for you. And
that’s huge. And they need to hear that. And that might anger ‘em. That’s okay.
Sometimes they need to be anger-- angry. Sometimes anger is the first step to the whole rest
of the process. So be brave. I’m so thankful all of you came. It’s such a blessing and
if any of you wanna stay for a long, long time, I have extra rooms. And thanks so much.
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I'm Mitz Nelson, and I'm an Ex-Mormon

1718 Folder Collection
Pedroli Li published on February 28, 2016
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