As a school teacher, I’m required to prepare Progress Reports every nine weeks to chart the academic growth of my students. So when I hit the nine week mark (March 2015) of the collapse of my LDS testimony, I decided to evaluate the progress I’d made in my quest for the knowledge of God’s truth. I wanted to identify the concepts I’d learned, and am continuing to learn. I sent this report to a couple of Christian friends to verify that my understanding was an accurate reflection of biblical teachings. I passed! So now I can share it with you:
It’s been nine weeks since my world came crashing down around me and shattered in a way that has left me forever changed. I woke up that fateful morning thinking it would be like every other Saturday, filled with chores to do, errands to run, lesson plans to prep, and anything else I could squeeze into that one precious personal day of week.
No one is more surprised than I am at the transformation that is taking place in my head and heart. Weeks of crying, rejoicing, grieving, praying, shaking, raging, reading, writing, talking, and praising God have left me physically and emotionally exhausted. Gratitude floods my heart at the truths I’m learning that are rooting up the falsehoods to which I’ve steadfastly adhered. It’s been a painful process with moments of peace that sustain me as I continue to ascribe to truth and release the untruths of a lifetime.
First and foremost, I’ve learned that the Bible is the Word of God and IS translated correctly! The freedom that comes from knowing I can trust the words of Christ, and the words of His prophets and apostles without fear of being deceived is awe-inspiring. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matt 24:35). Isn’t it logical that the God who created this world and all that is in it, would have the power to ensure that His word endured FOREVER? That thought had never crossed my mind. Because of this game-changing reality, everything else falls into place as everything hinges on this marvelous truth! So what have I learned as I’ve read and studied the word of God with new eyes these last nine weeks?
- I am saved by grace…and grace alone! Nothing I do will EVER make me “worthy” of His grace. Laws, ordinances, and works of man are all for naught in regards to salvation. I’m not working toward a future salvation for I am saved by Him today. It is a gift from Him because of His great love for me. (Ephesians 2:8)
- My sins were nailed to the cross and covered in His blood. Not only have I been washed clean by the blood of the Lamb, but have been made whole…healed from the wounds of this world. I am covered by Christ and He claims me as His own in this very moment. Therefore, I am clean and whole NOW. (Isaiah 53:4-6)
- There is no such thing as “baptism for the remission of sins.” We are washed clean through the atoning sacrifice of Christ and baptized by the Holy Spirit. Baptism by water is simply an outward expression of an inward commitment to God. (Mark 1:8)
- I have direct access to God! No one stands between us. The temple veil that was torn at His death is symbolic of the veil between God and mankind which was removed when the Atonement was complete. ALL are invited to come to Him, and Him alone. Being covered by Christ allows me to commune directly with God the Father and learn of His will for me. I don’t need a prophet, priesthood leader, or any other person to tell me what God wants me to know. God tells me directly when I ask with an open heart and a willingness to follow Him.
- All who belong to Christ will live eternally with Him. There is no “sealing” by priesthood power that will bind families together in the hereafter. Those who come to Christ will dwell with Him forever as His sons and daughters. (John 3:36)
- Jesus Christ is the only living High Priest. The line of priesthood authority begins and ends with Him. (Hebrew 4:14)
- God doesn’t give contradictory commands. Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden because they sinned against God’s command. They were removed from His presence because of their deliberate decision to commit sin. We are all sinners and stand in need of a Savior. Because of God’s great love and mercy, He gave His Son to redeem us.
- WE are the temples of God…not buildings of brick and mortar. (1 Cor 3:16-17, Acts 17:24)
There are still some “philosophies of men mingled with scriptures” that are difficult for me to release as they have been ingrained in my mind for decades as “the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” I pray for God’s grace and mercy in gently removing those falsehoods that remain so that I may see clearly. Christian theologians may not give me “high marks” for my first Christian Theology Progress Report, but I’m hopeful that Christ knows the desires of my heart and will lead me to truth, and give me the grace I need to accept and embrace it…in His time.