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Few things in life are harder to handle than betrayal. The impact of shattered trust seems to completely permeate hearts and minds, making it difficult to ever trust again. As bad as that is, betrayal is compounded when it comes from a trusted spiritual leader. If that is why you have come to this page, we hope to offer some understanding and suggestions.
At Mormonism Research Ministry we often hear from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are struggling in the aftermath of betrayal. Realization that their church has not been wholly truthful about Mormon Church history and the doctrinal teachings of Mormon leaders, many Latter-day Saints respond with hurt and anger and a myriad of questions. “Why did the church deceive me?” “Why couldn’t my bishop be honest with me?” “How could I have been so easily fooled?”
Anger is a natural reaction in this situation. Unfortunately, many become so disgusted that they throw the baby out with the bath water. Feeling vulnerable, they may think, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” The idea of finding another church and religion is daunting – and scary. If Mormonism is false, they reason, why trust religion at all?
Throughout your life as a Latter-day Saint you have been taught that the only true church is the LDS Church. It’s only natural, then, that you have been conditioned to view the claims of traditional Christianity negatively. This is another factor that makes it difficult for people separating from Mormonism to find new faith. Traditional Christian teachings are often never even considered or given a chance; for if the “only true church” isn’t true, that leaves no spiritual truth at all. Giving traditional Christianity a fair hearing, then, is prevented by pain and fear.
Hopefully, the confusion you are experiencing will not cause you to drift unnecessarily into agnosticism or atheism. To throw all faith away because Mormonism proved to be false is like abandoning all health care because you were once the victim of medical malpractice.
Think about this. Does the disappointment and pain caused by the LDS Church’s deception have any bearing on whether Jesus was a real person who actually rose from the dead? You might have your disagreements with how some professing Christians have behaved (we all do) and you may even have some disagreement with some aspects of the Christian faith itself, but do those issues really outweigh the greater issue? In other words, does it make sense to completely reject Christianity if Jesus’ bodily resurrection is based in actual fact?
Struggling with faith issues can be a very emotional experience. While it may be easier and less threatening for you to dismiss the truth claims of the Christian faith outright, our prayer is that you would take the time to understand what traditional Christianity really is, and what it has to offer.
In his book, Choosing Your Faith, author Mark Mittelberg notes,
“I’m convinced there’s nothing more important than choosing your faith – intentionally and wisely. But I’m also certain that making a good decision about your faith requires not only certain facts and information, but also careful considerations about how that information will be processed and weighed.”
If you are like most Mormons, you probably joined the LDS Church having spent very little time examining the claims of the Mormon faith. You may have been encouraged (perhaps even rushed) to pray a prayer to know if Mormonism was true instead of making an effort to thoroughly investigate LDS teachings. Because you had some sort of positive feeling you associated with your prayer, it is likely that you automatically assumed it was “The Holy Ghost” confirming truth to you. This may have seemed right at the time, but if that’s your story, then what you basically did was take an unbiblical path to a conclusion. Prayer is certainly an integral part of living out a life of faith, but prayer was never meant to be used alone when searching for truth. Please, don’t make the same mistake twice. Chances are you wouldn’t use this method when it comes to spending thousands of dollars for a new car or house, so why do less when decisions of an eternal nature are at stake? Choose now to make intentional and wise decisions about your eternal future. We believe the following resources will help you recognize that Christianity is a compelling faith, its truths grounded in reason. Though the list may at first look intimidating, please remember that these issues are of the utmost importance. May God bless your search for His truth.
Books and other resources that you may want to consider:
Is Christianity worth considering?
- Choosing Your Faith in an Age of Spiritual Options, Mark Mittelberg
- The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, Timothy Keller
- Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from It’s Cultural Captivity, by Nancy Pearcey
- Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, by William Lane Craig
- Also see Craig’s arguments for the existence of God at the Defenders – Series 1 podcast
- The Missing Gospels: Unearthing the Truth Behind Alternative Christianities, Darrel Bock
- What’s So Great About Christianity?, by Dinesh D’Souza
Is the Bible worth trusting?
- The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable?, F.F. Bruce
- Misquoting Truth: A Guide to the Fallacies of Bart Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus”, by Timothy Paul Jones
- Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels, by Craig Evans
- A General Introduction to the Bible, Norm Geisler, William Nix
- The Canon of Scripture, F.F. Bruce
- Is The Original New Testament Lost? :: A Dialogue with Dr. Bart Ehrman & Dr. Daniel Wallace (YouTube)
Is agnosticism or atheism a religious alternative?
- I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, Norm Geisler, Frank Turek
- On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision, William Lane Craig
- The Dawkins Delusion? Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine, Alister and Joanna McGrath
- The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretentions, David Berlinski
- There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, Anthony Flew, Roy Abraham Varghese
- Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case – Frank Turek
- There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind – Anthony Flew
Is Darwinian evolution based on true science?
- The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God, Lee Strobel
- Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth? Why Much of What We Teach About Evolution is Wrong, Jonathan Wells
- Darwin on Trial, Phillip E. Johnson
- The Creation Hypothesis: Scientific Evidence for an Intelligent Designer, J.P. Moreland
- Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe
- God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? – John Lennox
Was Jesus a real person and did He really rise from the dead?
- The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation into the Evidence for Jesus, Lee Strobel
- The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ, Gary Habermas
- The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, Gary Habermas
- Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels As Eyewitness Testimony, Richard Bauckham