Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith

December 8, 2014

Dear family,
This week was super tough. Two weeks ago, our recent convert John went to the temple and helped do baptisms for his two deceased brothers and his mom. It was super awesome to get to hear him talk about the temple and answer his questions about temple work. But John is very curious and always wants to know everything. On Wednesday, John asked us some pretty deep questions about the temple and wanted to know about the ordinances and what exactly goes on inside the temple. We explained that this stuff is sacred and that in a year he could go through the temple and learn for himself then. We gave him a temple prep booklet, and we thought that was the end of it. But I could tell something was wrong. He wanted answers to his questions and he wanted them now.
On Friday night, John called the Bishop and said that he wanted his records removed and that he didn't want contact from anyone in the church. A few minutes later, John sent us a text saying, "This text is to let you know that I am resigning from the church. It's not the messenger, it's the message. Bye."
I was ticked. After 5 months of working with John, a goodbye over text just wasn't going to cut it. The next day we went over to John's apartment and knocked on the door. John opened the door and was genuinely surprised to see us. He said, "I truly wasn't expecting for you to come by. I thought after I sent you my text that that would be the end of it." And Sister Haynes said, "Oh John. Don't you know us by now? We care about you too much to just let you walk out of our lives."
Immediately as John started talking to us, I could tell that he didn't have the spirit with him. He told us that he had gone on the internet and started researching the temple. We had warned him against anti-Mormon misinformation, but that's exactly what he found. He told us that he didn't even sleep one night and just looked up "information" against the church for 24 hours straight. As missionaries, we hear everything about anti-Mormon material. We hear the most ridiculous lies to the most subtle lies. John had read everything. He had done thorough "research" and told us every lie about Mormons that I had ever heard on my mission. IT was awful to hear him deny what he knew to be true.
John has always loved and had a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. From the get-go, the Book of Mormon has been his favorite part of the gospel. So I asked him, "Do you believe the Book of Mormon is true, John?" He sat there for a long time and finally said, "No." I couldn't control it, I broke down and sobbed. I have never cried so hard on my mission. Then John said, "The best people I have ever met have been in the church. I'm really going to miss everyone." He went on the express his gratitude for Sister Haynes and me. At that moment, even John cried.
Ugh! It was the worst. You could tell John was so different and that Satan had quickly gotten a hold of him. Within 24 hours, Satan's work was done.
Don't be stupid and go searching online to find answers to the gospel. Anti-Mormon misinformation is poison. It destroys faith. Hold on to your testimonies of the Book of Mormon. I'm truly heartbroken that John-who did baptisms for the dead two weeks ago-has fallen so far. Being a missionary and watching this happen is heartbreaking. I feel true sorrow for John right now. But I know that Jesus Christ suffered for every pain and sorrow that we will ever experience. Everything wrong in this world will be made right through the Atonement. So I'll just keep on keeping on!

Hermana Angus