April 2008


To Love and Cherish

Doing Apologetics

Christianity: The Basics

What is Wrong with Social Justice

Christianity and Secularism

Evidence for the Bible

Testimony IV

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My first exposure to Mormonism occurred fairly early in my odyssey to find God, during the period that I was exploring the New Age Movement.  While on a trip that took my wife and me through Salt Lake City, we decided to stop at the Mormon Temple.  The visitors’ center was very nice and did a very good job of explaining the origin of this religion.

I have to say that the story of Joseph Smith struggling with how to determine which religion was true; his asking God for guidance; and how God answered his prayer struck a cord with me, as at that point, it had only been a few months after my answer to pray, that God existed.  In addition, the whole story of the corruption of Christianity and the Bible, the aspects of secret knowledge, the history of central America as revealed in the Book of Mormon, and the account of how the book of Mormon was written on Golden plates that were discovered by Smith, fit in well with where I was at the time, as criticism of Orthodox Christianity, secret knowledge, and different views of history were very common in the New Age Movement.  And after all where would a poor boy get all that Gold.

As such toward the end of the tour, I was beginning to think that the trip to the Temple was more than a spur of the moment stop, but that perhaps I had been guided here.   However, that did not last long as near the end of the tour, someone asked where the golden plates were now, and we were told that they had been taken up into heaven.  That just seemed all too convenient to my sense of evidence.  The one thing that really would have supported his claims, the one thing that he really could not have faked, was gone and could no longer be check. So as we left Salt Lake City to continue on our trip, while we had a generally positive view of Mormonism, the missing gold plates caused me to question all of their claims.

My next encounter with Mormonism occurred while I was at Tech school in the Air Force.  There was no base housing for married people at my rank, so my wife and I lived in a rented small single wide trailer, in Rantoul Il. We became friends with Dean and Nancy, another young couple at the trailer park, as Dean was also in Tech school.  After Tech school I was transferred to Great Falls, Mt to work on the minuteman missiles, as was Dean, though after awhile he left to become and officer.  During the time we knew them, we learned a lot about Mormonism, not in a theological sense, but from watching a couple live out their faith.

Last time I described my eventual disillusionment with the New Age Movement, and my discussion with Christians, including a key one with an officer. From time to time during this period we had some contact with Mormons, either through friends at work, or missionaries stopping by. But not much came of it, until shortly after my meeting with the officer. I was for the first time giving Christianity serious consideration.  I am not sure whether the missionaries just stopped by, or were if a Mormon friend at work offered to have them stop by, but they did start visiting our house on a regular basis.

They started by going through their normal presentation, but I pretty much already knew all of that, so before long we were into my specific issues and problems. Some of these dealt with Mormonism, but most dealt with more general problems of God, good and evil, and salvation. In fact after a while Mormonism ceased to be an issue at all.

At some point my wife and I started attending the Mormon Church and my wife became involved in church’s Relief Society a Mormon women’s group. In fact, except for the fact that I could not go to the priesthood meeting, we were effectively in the church.  We did not officially join because I never received and answer to prayer that the Mormons say you should have.  As I described in part one, I had had a clear answer to prayer before and thus knew what an answer to prayer was.

After awhile, the Missionaries became more friends than missionaries, sometimes just stopping by just to talk, or to bring me a new book to read and I read a lot, not just the Book of Mormon and the Bible, but the Mormon prophets, writers, and books on thing like the Mormon view of archeology of Central America.

After many months, I think the Missionaries were getting some pressure to get me to make a decision.  One day they suggested that I try three days of prayer and fasting, and I agreed.   However, I had never fasted before and failed miserably. Rather than focusing on prayer, all I could think about was food and how many hours or minutes I had left before I could eat again.

But the missionaries were pretty good about it and suggested that I try again. And once again, I agreed.  Next Time I’ll describe how God, once again answered my prayers.

This is Elgin Hushbeck, asking you to Consider Christianity: a Faith Based on Fact.

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