For 30 years, Michael and Lynn Wilder lived, loved, and promoted the LDS Church. They held temple recommends and served in many leadership positions. Their four children were all active in the Church, with their three sons serving missions in Russia, Denmark, and Florida.
In 1999 the Wilders moved to Utah when Lynn was offered a prestigious position on the faculty at BYU. Then, in 2006, everything changed.
Come hear their gripping story about the events that led them to disengage from Mormonism to pursue a living relationship with Jesus – as recounted in the book Unveiling Grace.
Friday, October 3 @ 6:30 p.m. Sunday, October 5 @ 6:00 p.m. Alpine Church, Layton Campus Alpine Church, West Haven Campus 254 W 2675 N, Layton 4433 S 3100 W, Roy
What impresses me about the Wilders is how gracious and kind they are. They have no anger or bitterness toward Mormonism. Their approach is winsome and positive. They are promoting a deeply personal relationship with Jesus and experience of God’s grace. Their story is suffused with God’s living presence and activity.
To learn more, see my review of the book Unveiling Grace.
Also, check out www.unveilinggracethebook.com and http://unveilingmormonism.com/.
Not long ago I met with a young man who is on his way out of the LDS Church. Through some friends, he and his wife came to our church recently. I met with them for several hours to hear their story and to share insights I have learned over the years about the journey out of Mormonism into a biblical Christian faith. Much of that time was spent just answering questions that they had accumulated on their journey so far.
With about 1/3 of people raised LDS eventually leaving their childhood faith, this scenario is becoming more and more common. This young couple faces certain issues that I have run into over and over again.
- First, they have been ostracized by family members. They are wounded by how certain family members have treated them since their decision to leave Mormonism.
- Second, they are confused about the new landscape of religious options that has opened up before them. They now have to navigate the process of how to make choices for themselves, instead of having their religious life dictated by the LDS Church.
- Third, they are trying to sort out what they believe, and why. Now that Mormonism is not the default setting, they must work through and evaluate where the ideas in their thinking come from, and whether each idea is valid.
Like many people transitioning out of Mormonism, this young couple has retained a belief in God and Jesus Christ, and has held on to a loyalty and trust toward the Bible. Others follow different paths, into atheism or self-defined spiritualities. It seems that perhaps those who look to the Bible often do so because of an early exposure to sources or friends that use the Bible as the authority for belief and practice. I find it an important goal in assisting former Mormons to help them transfer their trust from an ecclesiastical institution to God and his Word.
I have a lot of hope that this young couple will make the journey successfully. They are earnest and sincere. They seem pretty united in their journey. They have encountered loving and sensitive Christians who, rather than bashing on their Mormon ways, have pointed them toward positive literature about the Christian life and faith, and have invited them into their own lives and into the Christian community.
This is the model for how churches can successfully enfold those persons who have chosen to disengage from the LDS Church.
- Be patient. Give them time.
- Answer their questions.
- Don’t dwell on the negatives of Mormonism or stimulate anger and bitterness.
- Do offer positive encourage in moving forward.
- Connect them into healthy relational networks that provide support and prayer.
From time to time the question comes up, “If a person wants to know more about Mormonism, shouldn’t they just ask the Latter-day Saints?”
Sometimes the point is raised as a critique, as if no one else has a right to comment on Mormonism except Latter-day Saints. It’s an attempt to invalidate any outside perspective.
But every faith group has the right to evaluate other faiths and their claims from within their own specific view of truth and reality. We can show respect to others when we do so. We can also get the beliefs of others correct even as outsiders to their experience. But it is legitimate to express a different perspective. For example: if you were thinking of buying a Ford truck, would you only ask the Ford dealer? Probably not. Why not? Because you might suspect that the Ford dealer’s view of his own products might not be completely objective. The Chevy dealer’s view of Ford trucks won’t be completely objective either, but his evaluation might help you get a better idea of the issues and questions.
A couple of years ago the LDS Institute (a campus center for Mormon students) at our local college was offering a class on Protestant Christianity. I called the teacher and offered to visit the class to explain some things about Protestant Christians that Latter-day Saints would probably not understand, and to answer any questions they might have. I figured that if they wanted to learn about Protestant Christians, who better to ask than a Christian pastor? The Institute teacher declined my offer, stating that they preferred to follow their own curriculum.
Is there a bit of a double standard at work? Probably. But I wasn’t offended. I figured that the Mormons have the right to make sense of Protestant Christianity from their own point of view – just as I have the right to interpret Mormonism to people who share my point of view.
We should ask people about their own beliefs and values before we assume we understand them. But it is also legitimate to evaluate the beliefs and values of others in light of our own perspective on truth.
Someone recently posted a link to a blog arguing for the practice of polygamy, and asked, “I thought the Bible condemned polygamy?” Check out my analysis of why Bible-believing Christians as a whole have always rejected polygamy. It starts like this:
I saw a joke recently: “You know you might live in Utah if…you get a divorce and still have a wife.” As many as 60,000 people in Utah and the surrounding region live in a lifestyle of polygamy. Although repudiated by the LDS Church, they see themselves as the true successors of Joseph Smith. Smith introduced polygamy to his followers as a practice essential to eternal exaltation (see the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 132). Based on this teaching, the Latter-day Saints practiced polygamy openly and officially until 1890. The LDS Church now disavows plural marriage as a temporal practice (in spite of Section 132). Yet it is still considered a valid and essential principle for life in heaven.
Many recent events have brought the subject of polygamy out of the closet and squarely into the public spotlight. Anti-polygamy activists point to the issues of incest, statutory rape and child abuse which are associated with polygamist communities in some cases. But what about polygamy itself? Is it wrong, from a biblical perspective, for a man to have multiple wives? The Bible never directly condemns polygamy as a general practice. In fact, some of the most prominent Old Testament characters had numerous wives, apparently without censure from God.
Read the rest of the article HERE.