I grew up in the Mormon faith in Utah and was taught, as thousands of others have been, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) is the ‘True Church’. All other denominations, we learned, were guilty of apostasy, as Joseph Smith said, ‘an abomination’ in God’s sight. (The Pearl of Great Price, 1943 ed., p. 48) According to my instructors, eternal salvation depended on baptism and obedience to the ordinances and discipline of our church, and upon a life of good works.

Under the teachings of the Mormon Church, ‘God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man …. All you have got to learn is how to be gods yourselves, the same as all gods have done before you’ (Journal of Discourses, Vol. I, p. 50).

As a young man, this teaching disturbed me more and more. It was a dual burden to my youthful idealism that my God and Creator was only an exalted man and that I must attain to being a god. I did not feel godlike. I was bitterly inadequate for such an assignment. But more persistent than this was the longing for a God who was greater than any man. It is popular today to call Mormonism the ‘religion of young men’. How many of these young Latter Day Saints realize as I did that they fail in godliness, and yearn for a God Who is not at all like any man, a God Who has never been like any man?

In my youthful restlessness I came to California and there I met a fine Catholic girl. Soon I loved her deeply and I did not allow the difference in our religions to trouble me. I was still convinced that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was the only true church, and so I asked permission from my Bishop to marry out of our faith. I received his blessing, with the understanding that we would all try to convert my wife to Mormonism.

Although we shared a great love for one another, we also shared a sense of emptiness in our lives. Regardless of the happiness of our marriage, we realized that there was something missing from our activities. We went to worldly amusements which failed to amuse, tried many pleasures which did not please. I asked my wife: ‘What is it all about? Isn’t there more to life than this?’

She suggested that we attend church together and was willing to attend the Mormon Church and to take instruction from two Mormon missionary ladies.

My brother William, who had followed me to California, had begun to read the Bible. The Holy Spirit, with no human instrument, had brought him to a saving knowledge of Christ through the written Word. At his prompting I read a Christian magazine in which, for the first time, I read a message concerning the new birth.

God was moving in people and circumstances around me. A man who was employed by me told me that he had accepted Christ and had been saved. I questioned him about his presumption in saying that he was saved, for I had been taught that no one could be ‘saved’ until the great Day of Judgment. He suggested that I attend meetings being held nearby by the ‘Crew of the Good Ship Grace’.

On the night of the meeting we decided we would go, but when we arrived, the church was so full we had to sit on the platform, with other latecomers. Sitting so close to the speakers, as I listened I was convinced of their sincerity and the reality of the assurance they possessed. Even the music thrilled me and the message of Truth led me to accept Christ as Savior that night.

As the Mormon missionaries were coming to complete my wife’s instruction, preceding her being baptized, I realized there were many things which we must have settled. We turned for counseling to an evangelist who was in the city. When I went in my car to bring him to our home, I surely did not expect the Mormon missionaries to be there upon my return. I had invited them to come but they had said they doubted they would be able, and so I did not mention them to our visitor. When my wife opened the door of our home, to my surprise I found the room filled with Mormon people. Before I could make any explanation, immediately after the introductions, the evangelist began to speak, ‘Brother Anderson has asked me about the Mormon Church, and I want to explain it to him’.

Through my embarrassment and confusion I was amazed to hear the Mormons question him, ‘Where do you get your authority?’ ‘Have you read the Book of Mormon?’ At every point of Scripture he gave they interrupted with many questions.

Of course by this time he realized that they were Mormons, but during the discussions many of the questions that had been troubling me had been resolved. My guest made no disparaging remarks about the Mormon Church, but proved clearly that no church could save: only Christ alone. God was marvelously using this unusual situation to clarify for me and my wife His great plan of salvation. When I told them all that I had heard enough to be convinced that Mormonism was in error, we brought the meeting to a close.

Our evangelist friend left with us a tract by Dr. H. A. Ironside, the late pastor of the Moody Memorial Church, which compared the Mormon beliefs with the Word of God. Through it, the glorious simplicity of Titus 3:5 was born anew in my heart, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us”.

At last I could stop trying, and trust. Just a few days before my wife was to have been baptized into the Mormon Church she too accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. For us, Ephesians 2:8 and 9 made all things clear, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast”.

My God was great enough!

 

Einar Anderson, Inside Story of Mormonism, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, Second printing 1974, pages 13-15

 

 

Index