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Former Baptist Church Member


"Something Stirred Inside of Me"

By Mark Davidson

I have believed in God my entire life. Actually, from my point of view, I have believed in God and in Jesus Christ longer than my mortal body has known life. But, having grown up in a household that at least was familiar with Jesus, and having been going to Church all of my life, when I was 9 year old, a commercial I saw on television peaked my interest.

It was a commercial made by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I remember clearly the entire dialog of the commercial, and I remember my dad's reaction when I asked him if we could visit that Church. "That's not a Church, Mark. It's a cult." Case closed? Not really.

There were numerous occasions throughout my childhood that questions arose about that strange "cult" that I wasn't supposed to visit. I remember watching the movie at Church called "The Godmakers" when I was 12. If you've never seen that movie, I don't recommend it, unless you like spiritual pornography. It painted a very disgusting and untrue view of the Church and of Church members.

However, I didn't know any better than to believe it. I became a hardcore anti-Mormon at the age of 12. I went on to teach seminars on the subject when I was a teenager. I would pick fights with LDS missionaries when I saw them walking or riding their bikes down the road.

I tried to "witness" to an LDS friend of mine when I was 13, and he gave me a Book of Mormon. I skimmed through it and said a half-hearted prayer, just so I wouldn't be lying when I told him I did what he challenged me to do.

I continued throughout high school wanting to engage Mormons in debate. I wanted LDS missionaries to come and give me their best shot, but my older brother said it was a sin to even let them in your home because they brought evil forces with them. So, as much as I wanted to, I never got the whole message straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

I was a very outspoken Christian in high school, and went on to Free Will Baptist Bible College where I was surrounded by lots of people who believed the same way I did about Mormons.

After my second year of college, I went with my singing group all over the country, and that included Salt Lake City. We got a tour of the temple square and Visitors Center there, and something stirred inside of me. I was way too scared to share that feeling I got there with any of my friends, but it was the Spirit.

I did not act on it, though. I buried it. I returned to Nashville and to school that fall to work on my degree some more. After school, I took a ministerial position in Texas. I had some very bad experiences there working under the Pastor of the Church.

He left such a bad taste in my mouth that I packed up in the middle of the night and went back to Nashville. My world and my idea of what Christianity was all about had been completely turned upside down and it was time to regroup.

So, I went to work full time at Ford Credit in Franklin. There, I found out that a supervisor that worked nearby me was LDS, and he was a returned missionary. I began having friendly debates with him, and then one day I was prompted to ask him to send the Missionaries over to teach me what they call the "Discussions," which is a 6 step presentation of the basics of the LDS faith.

I was ready to have a Bible bash with them at first, but my friend requested that I remain respectful and open to what they had to say. I knew that I wasn't going to be converted. Even if I felt that what they said was true, it would mean so many changes. It would mean that everyone I knew and had gone to school with, and also many family members would probably disown me.

It would mean that I would no longer be considered a Christian by nearly all other Christians that I knew or would ever meet, and would probably be subject to persecution.

When all was said and done, I sincerely prayed to our Father in Heaven, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ to know if the Book of Mormon were really the Word of God, and if Joseph Smith had been a prophet that God had used to restore many things that had been forgotten and lost for a long time.

The Spirit testified to my soul that those things were true. I then concluded that, with that foundation, all of the rest of the teachings and doctrines must be true. It was just a matter of stepping out on faith and knowing that God would help me understand them.

I knew that I had to be baptized into the Church, even though it meant all of those things that I feared. It was the right thing to do, and it would be sin to me if I hadn't.

The bottom line is, many Christians don't even want to know the truth about the teachings of the Church. They come from so many preconceived notions of what they were taught and what their fathers and grandfathers believed that they won't give it a fair chance. In my opinion, that is pride and it is a sin.

If more people truly wanted to know if there was something more for their eternal soul than what they are already aware of, I truly believe more people would investigate the LDS teachings and would conclude through earnest prayer that it the Church is true.





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