Hi James, In your book, "Beyond Mormonism", you said that at the time of your conversion you "still believed Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon was true" (p. 115). You were a "born-again Mormon elder" (p. 118).
I'm sure that there are many who were converted to the Lord whilst in the LDS church, and who later left the church, as you did. But, do you think that one can be converted and yet remain in the LDS church?
Yours in Christ,
You ask: Do you think that one can be converted and yet remain in the LDS church?
Two answers: 1) yes; 2) not for long.
The whole process of becoming born again is mysterious. It is a black box to me. I don't know how it works, or the time-frame it may encompass. It is a movement from one kingdom into another. In some respects, it must be instantaneous. On the other hand, how long does it take for the individual to realize what happened to him, and what implications attend his experience.
In the long run, I do not believe a person can stay in the Mormon Church as a born again person. Oh, he may stick and hurt, for a season, but he will find himself trying to live in two worlds.
My _experience_ with those who claim to be born again Mormons leads me to believe that they are Mormons who understand Mormonism is not biblical. They may even know what the real Gospel is, and they may be attracted to it. But the very definition of conversion means to leave family and lands for His sake. If one is unable to bear the cost of full commitment, can we really say he is born again. Over and over I talk to Latter-day Saints who tell me they are converted but cannot leave the Church for this or that reason. This reminds me of those invited to the wedding feast that had this or that to do, which prevented them from attending. Their heart wasn't really in it.
I know what I am talking about, because I left my family for Christ. Praise God, He gave them back to me, but He certainly did not have to do that.
Often, people tell me they are staying in the Mormon Church to be a witness to their family, or because they don't want to hurt their family. My response to that is "to thine ownself be true." If you cannot stand up for what you believe, what really do you have to offer your family. Conversion demands, I think, martyrdom. If, Jesus said, your family is more important than He, "you are not worthy of me."
Thanks for a great question:
Thanks for your interest in Through the Maze Ministry.
If you send me your postal mailing address, I will send you an information pack, a couple of tracts, and a couple of pamphlets.