I choose to remain anonymous online for the time being, going by the name LDS Watchman. By selecting this name I am not suggesting that I consider myself to have any sort of special calling from the Lord. Rather I hope that in spite of my overwhelming weaknesses I may to some small extent sound the warning voice and point people (especially myself) towards the word of God in the scriptures. I feel duty bound to enlighten my fellow man to the degree to which I believe I have been enlightened.
The reason I have decided to remain anonymous for the time being is so I can have the freedom to speak plainly and not hold anything back. I make no excuses for what the word of God says, even though the word of God is sharper than a two edged sword and flies in the face of the wisdom and teachings the of the world.
In the politicaly correct and backwards world we live in today, boldly defending the word of God and denouncing the wickedness and foolishness of the world can get one into a lot of trouble. I see no reason to cause myself or my family any unnecessary trouble at this time.
It’s really not important who I am and the reader should not take anything I write as the gospel truth. It is up to the reader to follow the admonition of Paul and prove all things, by comparing every claim I make, or anyone makes, to the word of God found in the scriptures and through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Have said that, here is a brief introduction of myself and my perspective:
I am a life long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My parents are both converts to the church. My parents are very faithful members of the church and wonderful people who did their best to raise me and my siblings to be good moral people who have faith in the Lord and strive to keep His commandments.
Though my parents weren’t (and still aren’t) perfect, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to them for their examples of serving others and the efforts that they put forth to teach me to have faith in Christ, pray, repent, be honest, work hard, read the scriptures, attend church, serve others, and so on. Though I am a flawed human with many shortcomings and follies I will be eternally grateful to my parents for the foundation which they laid for me.
Growing up in the LDS church in an area with a large LDS population, my experience has been what I believe is pretty typical for most LDS or Mormons.
We prayed regularly in my family and often read scriptures and had family home evenings.
I was baptized at the age of eight by my father. When I was twelve I was ordained a deacon and did the usual things such as passing the sacrament, collecting fast offerings, going to Boy Scouts, etc. At fourteen I was ordained a teacher and prepared the sacrament and went home teaching with my father. At sixteen I was ordained a priest and blessed the sacrament.
In my youth I attended mutual weekly and was blessed with wonderful youth leaders. I also attended seminary all four years of high school.
After high school I served a full-time mission in Germany. The time I spent in the missionfield was two of the most cherished years of my life.
After I returned home I married my high school sweetheart, who had waited for me own my mission. We were sealed in the temple.
We have 4 children and have always been active at church. My wife has spent most of her church service in the primary. I have spent time in primary as well and have also served in several leadership positions, including two stints as elder’s quorum president.
Overall I believe my life was pretty typical of the average active church member. I had my struggles and shortcomings of course, and in many ways I fell way short of my religious ideals and convictions.
In spite of my short comings I considered myself to be a more or less righteous person on the path to salvation.
One thing I never questioned was that I was a member of the Lord’s one and only true church, which was divinely led by the Lord Himself through prophets and apostles. I assumed, as I believe most active members do, that as long as I was a relatively faithful member of the church, who did what other active members did, and tried to do what the first presidency and quorum of the twelve apostles said, I was on the right track. I thought this was all there was and I was content with this.
Something was always missing though. I couldn’t put my finger on it. Overall I was happy and really didn’t give my eternal salvation much thought, but deep down something just didn’t quite feel right.
No doubt a big reason why I was not fully fulfilled in my life was that I was not as dedicated to my religion as I should have been.
But there was something else, too. Every once in a while the church would do or say something that made my head scratch. Things that just didn’t make sense for a church claiming to be led by a living prophet, who is led directly by revelation from the Lord.
At the time some of these issues seemed very small and I didn’t lose any sleep over them.
Then one day my perspective began to change. A brother in my ward, who I home taught, brought up some uncomfortable questions and made some, what I considered to be apostate, remarks one night while my home teaching companion and I were visiting him and his family. He more or less expressed the viewpoint that the church was on the wrong path and that the presidents of the church from Brigham Young onward were not true prophets, at least not in the same way that Joseph Smith had been.
I was very concerned for him and prayed for him. Then I began discussing some of the issues he raised about the church with him, in the hopes of helping him see the light.
For weeks we emailed and texted back and forth. He would raise concerns about church history or the current state of the church and I would do my best to refute him. It was pretty intense, but also very invigorating. I studied the scriptures and pondered the gospel more fervently than I had in years (perhaps ever in my life).
I had some success refuting some of my friends concerns, but I was left with more and more questions and things I just couldn’t answer.
At one point I had enough and told him I was done and that I was afraid he was just some bitter apostate headed down the wrong path.
The truth was that even though I was tired of him being a thorn in my side, our discussions had awakened something in me. I was determined to more fully live my religion and also get to the bottom of some of the questions I had.
Some of the questions were things my friend had raised, which I had never previously thought about, and others were ones I had long had and always supressed. I figured the truth was there to be found as long as I studied things out. I fully expected the answers to the tough questions to be out there and that in the end the church’s current teachings and practices would be validated.
I began a feverish study of the scriptures and church history. I also kept in touch with my friend, with whom I was now very much enjoying discussing the gospel with. Before too long I discovered for myself that something was indeed seriously wrong with the current state of the church. I discovered more and more current church teachings and practices that just did not square with the scriptures or previous church teachings and just could not be explained or reconciled.
The only explanation was that the church had fallen into a state of apostasy. This was very hard for me to accept, but I humbled myself and asked God if the church was in a state of apostasy. The answer I received confirming that the church was in deed in apostasy was overwhelming. I can’t explain it, but I know that the Holy Ghost revealed that truth to me. In that instant I was changed and haven’t been the same since. It was like I woke up from being asleep. It was as if I had a veil of darkness removed from my mind. I also realized more than ever that I am a sinful man in need of repentance and the atonement of Christ.
This experience happened about 3 years ago as of this writing.
Since then it’s been a roller coaster ride as I’ve searched and searched for the answer to what to do about the church and how to find favor with God.
I’ve investigated quite a few different avenues and perspectives, and several times I thought I may have finally found the truth, but I always found contradictions and problems with every path I investigated.
It may very well be that I’m still too wicked and prideful to see the truth clearly, but I have faith that I will find it if I continue to press forward in faith. It’s not easy as the demands of raising and supporting a family are overwhelming at times, and it is still very challenging to overcome the natural man and become truly meek and submissive.
At the end of the day I believe that seeking and finding the Lord and the truth are meant to be very difficult. The savior said that the road to eternal life is straight and narrow and few find it, while the way to destruction is broad.
I still have a long way to go.