I was not raised in the mainline Mormon church, but in one of the smaller splinter sects of Mormonism with a somewhat different system of doctrine. When I abandoned the Book of Mormon as a historical document and as the Word of God, it wasn’t just because we lack the “golden plates” upon which it supposedly was written. It wasn’t because history records that Joseph Smith produced the text not by reading the plates, but by looking through a “seer stone” in his hat. It wasn’t because of the nine conflicting accounts of his First Vision experience. It wasn’t because he later married a 14-year-old girl or any of the other similar reasons.
I was convicted of the truth of the Bible and became a Christian. It became clear to me that I was saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, evidenced by works (Ephesians 2:8-10). I knew that the gospel is truly “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
As a consequence, I eventually saw the Book of Mormon for what it is: a work of fictional history that hosted and embedded a very carefully disguised but lethal distortion of the biblical gospel. My departure was about these words in black and white versus those words in black and white, irreconcilable, that both claim to be inspired by God the Holy Spirit. It’s impossible in this space to detail these categories, but a thorough treatment may be found at my comparative doctrinal study upon exiting the religion: The Book of Mormon: Redefining Biblical Salvation, An Apologetic for the Holy Bible.
Though I was raised with belief in the so-called Restoration and the Book of Mormon, and it was an important part of my life, I thankfully was not personally and spiritually devastated at the realization that it is false. I was overwhelmed with joy at God having delivered me from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son — not merely a kingdom of false religion, but of my own sin and self-induced misery — being given redemption and the forgiveness of sins. God opened my eyes to the truth of the gospel, and thus He enabled me to recognize a false gospel. I walked away from it. It was glorious. I remember falling to my knees, knowing I had to repent and ask God to forgive me for believing and even teaching the lie of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. The Lord forgave me and I have never looked back.
The process of integrating to orthodox Christianity was not without struggle. Thankfully, I had already found a good Christian church and had been building new community. I knew I had to delve deep into the Scriptures in order to correct a lot of bad theology touching essential Christian truth, which to the praise of God’s name, came relatively quickly. I also had to work through some indignation at having been deceived (either deliberately or inadvertently) by the organization for my first 25 years. Any anxiety I felt in the aftermath was not for myself, but for many family members and friends whom I love, still caught in the matrix. It was and still is hard to watch frustrated and confused people make the choice to languish in a false belief system and ignore Christians like me, who understand where they are and persist in offering something better: the way to find eternal peace with God. It’s also hard to watch Mormons in online forums vent their grievances about every conceivable social and policy issue in the LDS church, except for the root issue of its fundamental works-based-salvation teachings that are an affront to the Christian gospel of grace.