Why I Stay

Title image Why I Stay

Over the past few years, I’ve seen a lot of public declarations from people who’ve left the LDS church. I wanted to make my own public declaration about my relationship with the LDS church. A lot of it hinges on an experience I had somewhere around April 6, 2002 (that only lasted a few moments) and the message that came with the experience.

Let me back up a bit. I was raised in a devout LDS home, the fifth child of nine. My father owns a local health food store in coastal southern California. Serving a customer base and being surrounded by people who, on the surface, seemed like they lived contradictory lifestyles from us was normal, yet I never felt any tension that’s not felt by just about anyone growing up in any faith-oriented home.

I was expected and encouraged to go to a church-owned school and a church mission. I can’t say I felt any undue pressure from those expectations. Those were things I wanted as well. My parents and community did a great job selling me on how wonderful those things would be. And they were right, they were adventurous, difficult, and wonderful! I had a lot of church responsibilities in my young men’s and youth groups, and my dad was our bishop during my older teenage years. While I felt some mild pressure to be good and righteous from these things, I never felt overwhelmed by any of it.

Our family vacations included campfires loaded with religious campfire stories and even mini-services on Sundays, when appropriate, where we took the time to keep the Sabbath day as best we could in the woods and mountains of the high Sierras of California. Some of these I still remember as extremely “spiritual” and notably emotional. We had Family Home Evening most weeks, and we had family prayers and “Scripture Time” most mornings.

My dad’s family were converts to the Church and modern-day pioneer immigrants to the USA from Denmark. My mom’s family has pioneer family lines associated with Joseph Smith and handcart treks across the plains to the Salt Lake Valley. The stories about how admirable and brave and courageous my ancestors were are plentiful.

I attended an EFY camp at BYU and had a number of “spiritual/emotional” experiences there. I remember telling my mom as a kid that I could feel the “Spirit” during some of our church hymns. I remember praying to know if the Book of Mormon was true and having “good feelings” while doing so. These are the kinds of things I leaned on for my “testimony” as a kid and teenager and young adult. They were how I “knew” that how I was living my life was good.

Facing Doubt As a Missionary

graphic for Why I Stayed

As a missionary in British Columbia, Canada, I was exposed to all the problems of the world, as well as its virtues. I was exposed to books and literature that attacked the Church, especially the temples. I’d only been through the temple a few times before my mission and didn’t have access to one as a missionary, so it was difficult to refute what was true and false. However, I tried not to let those things get to me, so I didn’t . . . mostly. I didn’t have a whole story, so I didn’t have to make up my mind at the time anyway.

I’d been exposed to plenty of anti-Mormon stuff as a teenager anyway, and most of it had no substance, or was unfounded or laced with half-truths. A girl in high school tried to tell me, “Did you know that Joseph Smith renounced the Book of Mormon on his death bed?” It took me an hour to remember that Joseph Smith didn’t die on a death bed. (I’m not the fastest thinker in the world.)

I was exposed to this even more as a missionary by well-meaning but misinformed members of other religions. Interestingly, it was the Wiccans and self-proclaimed “Pagans” of British Columbia that could carry on the best conversations and heartfelt discussions about spirituality and the peaceful feelings our church associates with the Holy Ghost. It was a witch, a touch-healer, who tried to convince us of how profound and incredible 2 Nephi 2 was when we read it with her!

A member of another Christian faith gave me an article written by his faith about our church. He challenged me to make any corrections needed and return so we could discuss it. I highlighted every statement that was untrue or partially untrue, and by the time I finished the article, between a third and half of the article was highlighted bright yellow.

There were just too many things to even address a part of them, and all intermingled with things that were true. A single sentence could switch from true, to false, to true again. Like a messy soup. But most people don’t want you throwing away their soup. They like their soup because it is theirs, and it tastes better than uncooked raw fresh vegetables. When we returned to discuss the article, this person claimed that there couldn’t be any falseness to the article since it was written in a widely spread publication, and no valuable discussion followed.

Fighting Doubt with Faith

graphic fighting doubt

Then a few years later, a bolus of controversy started surrounding the Church regarding its policies about women, homosexuals, and its history. I wasn’t too emotionally involved in these battles but would engage with others (sometimes extensively) online when I felt the Church was being unfairly attacked. There was a lot that was brought up that wasn’t new to me and what was new had the same flavor as the article I mentioned above. Many friends and family members left the Church over these things and more still leave, but most of my friends and family in the Church have stayed.

It’s easy to see the negative and put all of our attention on it. When a pond is still and silent and a leaf falls onto the surface and spreads ripples across the water, overall, the pond is still and calm. In fact it’s the stillness and calm that makes such small ripples so noticeable. All is not well in Zion, just ask any person that’s in a church leadership position. There are struggles and troubles everywhere, below the surface, since most people don’t like to air their dirty laundry out for the world to see, but it’s always there. Even still and silent ponds have a flurry of activity constantly going on under the water, but overall, beauty and life is what dominates.

When Doubts and Anger Surface

Doubts and Anger graphic

I had to go through a divorce that I didn’t want to go through, and it happened faster than I could have imagined. All I could do was hang on and try to survive. It was partly my fault, and there were things that I could’ve done better as a husband, but just about all of my life’s decisions were my attempts to build an eternal family as promoted by our church, and it all crashed down and fell apart outside of anything I could do. I lost everything of value in this life except for my education and most of my relationships. I felt the Savior close by me through this ordeal, in a way I had never felt before.

When my new wife and I got engaged sometime later, there were a few people who were really angry at me who told my bishop and stake president a number of half-truths about me, which made both of these leaders uncomfortable with approving my application for a temple sealing. We were told we would have to wait for the sealing ceremony until things calmed down between these other persons and me, all while being told that ultimately, they could not hold up our sealing.

When we moved to another state to be a little closer to my older kids, the pattern followed, and rather than meeting my new bishop and stake president as strangers, I was called into their offices to defend myself from false accusations as a first introduction. My job where I was working ended after just six months, and so we moved to Utah to be close to the kids — jobless, homeless, with hardly anything in our bank accounts, expecting our first child and unable to get medical insurance, but with some generous help from extended family and anonymous gifts from our new ward.

We managed to get to our bishop first this time, and he was ready to help us with our sealing application, but the congregation was divided and reorganized before he could complete the process, and the new bishop was approached by these angry people before we could meet him. After months of meetings, we managed to convince our new bishop of our worthiness to be sealed, and then the ward was divided again and a new bishop assigned. We had to start over, again.

Even after we won this bishop to our side, the stake president refused. For whatever reason, he seemed to give more weight to their story, despite any evidence we could give him of our faithfulness. We followed every bit of his counsel and advice and direction he gave, at times at GREAT sacrifice to my new family, and still, each time our request to send in our application was denied. He gave us reasons and justification for doing so, but none of them felt real. In the end, he just “wasn’t comfortable” with it. All of our years of prayers and fasting for a righteous desire were not working.

My anger at the situation boiled. I wanted to vent and yell at our stake president. I wanted to quote his own handbook to him to convince him that he was doing his job wrong. We were doing our absolute best to live the gospel and its commandments so that my new wife and I could be sealed. My wife had waited and worked and sacrificed her whole life to be sealed to someone, only to be told she couldn’t, and it was completely out of her and my control.

I felt my faith end. Completely. My faith in my church leaders and the church structure was gone. They weren’t guided by the Spirit, they weren’t behaving appropriately. I was free to choose my own way. To live the kind of life I wanted to live. No pressure now. It was scary and exhilarating. I could do what I wanted with no guilt. My life was mine to choose without restraint. I was Free. Were social pressures enough to keep me going? Nope. Were family pressures? No. What about all those other spiritual experiences and good memories associated with church activity? Not important enough anymore, except for one . . .

Remembering Faith in Challenging Times

Graphic Remembering spiritual experiences

On an early April morning in 2002, while reading the Book of Mormon as a missionary, marking and underlining any and all references to the Savior, like I’d been doing for a few months, a feeling engulfed me that I’d never felt before. Separate from my body, I felt my spirit become engulfed in a blue fire (I don’t know why blue, but that’s what it felt like) and my soul lit up in what I can only describe as PURE JOY. A taste of a celestial heaven. I was just sitting at a desk in a dim apartment near the water’s edge in Campbell River, BC, reading a book of scripture that I didn’t understand all that well, but something inside me was ablaze like an Angel of Glory.

It wasn’t like the other spiritual experiences I’d ever had, and not like any other rush of emotions, endorphins, or dopamine I’d ever felt from other exhilarating or emotional experiences. This was something completely different. It was more REAL to me than anything has ever felt real before. It became my new standard for reality. As if everything I’ve ever seen, felt, and experienced before in this life on Earth was more like a fuzzy, hazy dream compared to what I was “seeing” and “feeling” then.

And there was a message that came with the feeling. No words were spoken, but they were seared on me somewhere inside like a brand on cattle; indelible and every bit as REAL as the joy I was already feeling: 1) Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World, and 2) the Book of Mormon is True. Unmistakably, this was the message of the experience. I KNOW these two truths, and all I have to do is look inside myself and see those two facts there, permanently.

I’ve read a lot of psychology, I’ve studied physiology and anatomy and neuroscience. It is part of my career, and it’s the kind of thing I do when I’m bored. I understand the power and effects of hormones, substances, and neurology. What I felt and experienced does not mesh with any other known occurrence or effect I’ve ever come across, except for similar experiences shared by other spiritual peoples, with similar messages, and never has anyone or their reported experiences contradicted what I felt that day.

Since then, I have also been “branded” through other experiences with the truth that what I know to be the priesthood is a real power and force of the universe similar to gravity, similar to the nuclear forces and electromagnetic force. I don’t have much control over it but I am an instrument for its application and use in this world.

What Made Me Stay?

Why I stayed graphic

When I felt my faith in everything end, and I had come to that fork in the road to act in any way that I felt was right for me, I had to address this experience and memory and how it would apply to my life. Was I going to live in a cognitive dissonance for a while, fighting off and pushing down that burning memory, or was I going to embrace it for what it was and live up to its message?

The Gospel and the Church are true, I could not deny it. The people who run it are still just people, at all levels. There is no doctrine of infallibility in the LDS church, but there is a promise that God will not let the prophet and president of the Church lead the Church astray. That is a subtle but important distinction. Everyone makes choices and sometimes mistakes, even huge ones, and when you are called to lead others, your choices can and will impact many, many lives. Whether a choice or decision is a mistake, really, can only be answered by that person and God. Whether a church or prophet is God’s church or prophet is determined solely by God, regardless of what we think of their actions.

People leave this church for all sorts of reasons: intellectual, emotional, social, and physical. I’m not going to put down or disregard any of these reasons, I don’t know what they know, and they don’t know what I know. Depending on what we are taught to value in this life, we will find enough rationale for backing up our decisions, whatever the reason (and though we don’t like to admit it, most often, our decisions are environmental and hormonal).

There is healthy debate with plenty of “proof” about this church on both sides. And often what gets touted as irrefutable “proof” gets “disproved” after more careful study, by both sides. It can be fun and interesting, and what cannot be refuted or denied is worth serious thought and study. But almost none of it really matters in the end or interferes with what our church teaches is important for salvation.

I was tempted to leave this church because of what I thought was a mistake, or several mistakes made by what I believed were inspired leaders being misled by those who were angry at me. It was a stronger temptation than I thought I’d ever have to face. If it weren’t for a gift of undeniable knowledge given to me by Heavenly Father, a gift I didn’t do anything to deserve, I would have left. But that key bit of heaven-sent knowledge and the memory of it made ALL the difference.

I still don’t know whether my leaders were wrong in making me wait, but in my anger, I wanted to think they were. I learned just a bit better that patience and faithfulness pays off, eventually: Earlier this year, my wife and I, and our two beautiful daughters were sealed in the Oakland Temple by my own dad, and it was an amazing, incredible experience for everyone there. That angry moment is now fading into the fog of time, but that burning knowledge about the Savior and the Book of Mormon and the priesthood is still bright and new.

Christian is a mix of just about everything. Son of a Danish Immigrant and All-American Pioneer, grew up in a very conservative home in a liberal area, thinks there's room for science and religion in everyone's life, is educated in alternative and modern medicine, spends just as much time indoors as out, and is a closet writer who enjoys public speaking.
  • HappyAllDay

    Sir, your experience with the Holy Ghost (Blue light) is exactly what I felt. I describe it as if my body was glowing with the brightness of the Sun in every cell of my body. What was I doing? I was 18 yrs old about to go into the MTC and just exited the temple from a session and walking back to the parking lot. My answer was that the Missionary service that I was about to embark on was true and of God. A couple weeks later when I got into the MTC I felt the same spirit in bed as it witnessed to me again that Missionary work is of God.

    The Church is true and I have been given the gift to know that….now I need to be the light house for my wife who has left the church 5 years ago.

    • Christian Lassen

      Wow. Sounds like you’ve been through some rough times but that you also have a solid anchor to lean against. Thank you for sharing. I wish you luck, and I like your screen-name 🙂

  • jeff harley

    I think the two hardest things to remember about the church is (1) it’s members are all human, and in no way are perfect, and (2), we are on this earth to learn, and some of us learn the hard way.
    My wife and I were concerts to the church back in the 90’s. Both of us were married, had kids, and divorced. I think for us, personally, one obstacle we encountered is that the majority of members are members from birth, and are married to their first spouse forever. There is a lot lacking for those of us that have fragmented families. Sometimes that can be very frustrating. With the number of “broken” families increasing, I wish the church would be more accepting.

    • Christian Lassen

      It can be weird, especially if you’re in a ward made up of mostly stable families right now and you feel like you’re a minority. Our current ward has a LOT of broken, mixed, and blended families in it, so we fit right in and can all support each other. It’s kinda nice, actually.

      I’ve also learned that there are a lot of people who are on their second marriages and you wouldn’t realize it until you get to know them, or they find out about yours. That’s been a big surprise.

  • Edith Wherton

    I didnt stay. It was the biggest mistake of my life. The damage i did on leaving is incalculable. My daughters are not members . My heart breaks because of it. I had a fit of temper and if i had just ridden out the storm…. The good news is I have been rebaptised.

    • Christian Lassen

      I’m sorry and glad to hear about what you’ve been through. I hope your daughters can learn from you. I know that Heavenly Father and the Savior can make up for a lot, or, all of our deficiencies, and they will, someday. Thanks for sharing the good news!

    • Randall Brower

      I am in your exact same boat. I have left with my wife (gone inactive) for the past 2-3 years. WE have 6 teenage daughters (blended family) and only the youngest wants to return. I do feel like I let them choose what they wanted to do but did verbally vomit all of the church history stuff I learned and felt betrayed about. I would be careful labeling it as DAMAGE to your kids. If anything, you are letting them find their own path through life. If Mormonism in the future rings true to them, they may refind their faith, if they never find a church or organized religion, at least they have a set of good christian values. I think it is damaging to train your children to think that the only way you can be happy is in Mormonism. It becomes a self fulfilling prophesy.

  • Awakened

    That was an amazing read! I know this part of the blog isn’t really the point of it but I must ask about it anyway. though ^^;

    You say that you met with and were able to have a gospel talk with Wiccans/pagan believers and a touch-healer? Could you please tell me how that all came to be and how it ended? I have talked to a few practitioners of magick myself and they’ve all been what seemed to be good people BUT very paranoid of Christian believers and rightly so, considering how much hate they usually have to endure once they’re found out.

    • Christian Lassen

      A lot of them would try to scare us away if they saw us coming. “Don’t bother, I’m Pagan!” To which we would respond, “That’s great!” and just try to get to know them. None of them joined the church, but a few of them would have great conversations with us once we showed them we weren’t afraid and loved them all the same. One person, not really a pagan or wiccan, but a very spiritual man who was against organized religion told us, “I don’t believe in a Heaven, but it’s more of a source of energy that I’m trying to return to.” (which sounds very Hindu/Buddhist). I told that man, “Wow, that’s kinda like what we believe, we believe we’re trying to return to a family of glory that we belonged to” He was impressed with a few other similarities we shared. He did meet with missionaries after I got transferred away and many years later did join the church.

      • Awakened

        Cool! Thanks so much for the reply. 🙂 One more question. Did the pagan/wiccan believers ever say that anything was unusual about you or other missionaries? Like an aura they noticed or something?

  • Roundy

    I knew your sister in Hawaii. She made us the best treat platter for Christmas we’d ever tasted. I’ve been thru some similar stuff in my life and also came to a crossroad. Like you, I remembered the feeling I had as a teenager that the BOM was true. Later I remember have another strong feeling to go on a mission. Those feelings were unearthly and completely spiritual. All the wrongs that had fallen upon me and my family by leaders of the church didn’t matter. I knew what I knew. I often reflect on the knowledge I have of Christ’s love for me (us) and the truths found in our scriptures, especially when leaders of our church are having very human moments. You must have had a little mustard seed still tucked away inside you when you made your choice to stay. So, brother Lassen, I get it and I really appreciate you sharing it. B. Roundy

    • Christian Lassen

      Thank you for your testimony! It’s so nice having something so solid to rely on when other things are going wrong! I love seeing a few comments like this from those who know my family and had good experiences with them, too! You must be awesome for Else to make the platter for you! 🙂

  • John

    I really appreciate this article. My wife of 20 years who was raised in the church, temple marriage etc, has confided in me that she no longer believes in the church. The reasons range from church history, time consuming church callings and meetings and the list goes on and on. There was resentment of church callings given that took away from our family needs (which were extensive) at the time. The argument “if these men were so inspired then why did they call you to this when we needed you…” I understood then that these men had good intentions but were not perfect. I still love the church and I am a member but my wife is not. We struggle on what we will teach our children now. Thank you for sharing your struggle and triumph. Look forward to reading more.

    • Christian Lassen

      I feel for you. I really do. I know others who are going or have gone through similar things. It’s so hard. Heavenly Father knows us all and what we are feeling. And even if fear and doubt overcome us for a while, I truly believe that those who sincerely desire the right, will find it, even if they can’t see it right in front of them right now. I hope you figure out how to make it all work and I hope your wife can learn to see the truth, too. And I truly believe that Heavenly Father will show mercy and love to your children and take care of them, too!

    • Elder McCarl

      Sometimes we are asked to do things that don’t make sense to us now or that extremely difficult. We to remember Nephi and the getting of the plates. Going to King Laban to confront him for the plates would be seen as suicide to the people of that time especially after having tried twice and almost having been killed. Nephi trusted that the lord would not ask anything of him that he would provide a way for him to accomplish that task. So he went and with god’s help the plates where delivered into his hands. It wasn’t easy through the whole ordeal, but because his willingness to act on faith his people had the words of the lord to guide them for many years to come.

      Our best example on how to live is Always Jesus Christ. If we stop for a second and look at the atonement I’m sure you will see what I’m trying to say. Christ went through unfathomable pain and sorrow as part of his atoning for our sins. Anyone who would this was easy for him is a liar. He never did anything wrong. The blessings that came and will continue to come forever from this act have affected the whole of mankind. It is the greatest gift ever given! He did what was asked of him by his father even though unimaginably difficult, he did it.
      Remember when God asks something of us he always give back to us gifts far more wonderful and beautiful than anything that our time put else where could give to us. Remember God loves all his children. I hope and pray that your wife reconsiders the church and the lord’s plan of happiness.

  • Thank you for this post Christian, I read the whole thing through and relate well to it. I’m in the middle of a divorce, and I feel so much the pain of it, and the pull in moments of time when I think “I can be anyone I want to be” but at the end of the day I have an abiding testimony of the savior and the Book of Mormon, and my relationship with my Heavenly Father is so important to me as I go through this experience, that I just can’t choose anything but to follow him and trust that he has a plan for me and my broken family. Thank you for your strength and for being willing to share it.

    • Christian Lassen

      You’re welcome. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with that. It’s awful. I’ve found there’s a lot of life after a divorce, even if it’s a bit “exciting” at times. I’m still waiting to see what His plan is for us as it slowly unfolds, but I have a lot more faith in his Plan than I used to (most of the time 🙂 Having the Savior and the Book of Mormon as anchors has helped immeasurably.

  • Danny

    Thank you for sharing. Your experience is a blessing to us all.

    • Christian Lassen

      Thank you! I’m glad it helps!

  • David

    Well written. I had a similar experience with leadership on my mission, and am just now (over 20 years later) just starting to see how much that experience taught and has supported me since then. God is not blind, nor does he turn a blind eye to our struggles. There is a reason why we go through the pains and struggles that we do. I sometime envision God dragging us kicking and screaming to our salvation. We hate the pains of growing so much that we would do anything to avoid them, but at the same time, pray for Him to essentially lead us to them.

    • Christian Lassen

      Amen to that!

  • Nadine

    So happy to read your inspiring article. How wonderful that you have faith and patience to remain firm and now be so blessed. Several years ago when I was a tour hostess at the Beehive House, a sister & her elderly mother lingered after guests left through the side door of Brigham Young’s store out into the herb garden. She said, “Did you used to teach Relief Society in Huntington Beach?” When I said, “Yes” and we renewed our acquaintance after not seeing each other for about ten years, she stated, “Because of that I want to thank you for an inspired comment you made that has kept me and my family in the Church now that we live in the South. Do you remember saying ‘If ever you become hurt and/or offended and think of quitting/leaving the church over it, you never had a testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith being the prophet to usher in the last dispensation prior to the Savior’s Second Coming?'” Of course I did not but testified to the importance of attending ALL our meetings hearing from teachers who prepare and then pray for inspiration through which words can come to help the listeners determine how well they will follow the prophet through thick or thin, have the faith and fortitude to be patient and exercise long suffering to remain faithful no matter what! How that experience warmed my heart. I was so thankful to hear that when bad things were said of them and they experienced heartache, they too remained strong in the Gospel. Thanks for sharing your testimony of this also. My heart is broken that some members of my own family are choosing to no longer follow the prophet and take other paths. You’re an inspiration!

    • Christian Lassen

      You are an inspiration, too! Thank you for your comment!

  • Eckhard Hensel

    There is a simple way to gain a testimony of the Gospel and the church, by the Spirit of God. Follow the example of Clayton Christensen and others: Read in the Book of Mormon every day for 20 or more minutes. Then pray and ask Heavenly Father if the Book of Mormon is true. You will receive an answer from God, as surely as the rising of the sun each morning.

  • Dave

    Thanks Christian. Like you I’ve had some difficult times in my life. It can be easy to blame or question God. I think we all have times in life where we say those familiar words, Oh God where art thou? In times of uncertainty I too can harken back to powerful unmistakable spiritual experiences that seared the truthfulness of the restored gospel in my heart and I find the strength and reassurance to keep up the good fight and trust God in good things to come. With the restored gospel we have more answers but not all the answers. At times we have to let go of the unknown and trust that God knows what He is doing.

    • Christian Lassen

      Yes sir! That is a hard place to be, but so crucial to our growth, isn’t it?

  • Diane Rainville

    Christian and family, God has indeed blessed you in your new conversion of faith in the Savior and the trust in yourself to follow through fragile times that I know was very hard for you and your family to endure. It is not easy to go through what you have had to, but you saw the Lords hand in guiding you through this time of your life. God knows you and loves you very much. Gods love helped you get thru the trying time and there was and is a reason for it as well which He will reveal to you soon and then it will be much clearer to you and your heart will be filled with the Spirit and how joy will you feel then. God is the most important in our lives. God Bless you and Yours, He is with you all, Your Sister in the Gospel of Jesus Christ,Amen Diane Rainville

    • Christian Lassen

      Thank you!

  • Brenda

    Powerful and real – thank you for sharing. Your experience in the earlier season was for a specific reason – just evidence that the Lord knows the end from the beginning. It is like He blessed you with the reward for your faith – first!
    Our family has been through similar experiences. Some have not been as strong as others.
    I’m going to share this.

    • Christian Lassen

      Thank you! I hope it helps!

  • Glen Danielsen

    My gosh, Christian, what a powerful story. Thank you for your courage in writing it and putting it ‘out there’ for all of us. God bless you, our brother.

    • Christian Lassen

      You’re welcome! And thank you!

  • Pepe Quintero

    I am a convert. May I offer a suggestion ? Study the life of Jesus Christ more than the BoM. Not many members know of the Saviors miracles, their settings and affect on people. Read McConkies’s books. The Church is only a vehicle that helps us develop Christ-like attitudes through service. The members – fromGeneral Authorities to Elders Quorum Presidents-are just like you and me. Imperfect. We are here to forgive and forget ( isn’t what the Servior did? If leaders do what, in your opinion.is not right go about your life and trust in the Lord. He will fix everything. Live your life fully according to what you know, but do learn what is expected of you-from the Savior, not from imperfect people. Study the course on the church tools section about the Savior. The best part of the BoM is when He appeared in the Americas. Good luck, my brothers and sisters. Don’t give Satan the satisfaction of living with the Savior in the next stage of our development.

  • thank you for your article I was a new convert but left the church for a lady from another faith we where going to get married and she refused because of my church . we are no longer together and iwill get re-baptise this year

    • Christian Lassen

      I bet that journey would make for a fascinating story! Good luck this year!

  • Deborist

    Over thirty years ago, when I first joined the church, I got dinged with one of those dings that got you! It was a real female dog to get through, and I was totally brand new about one month baptized, but I stayed , it’s just because I knew somewhere inside of my being that that was where I belonged . I studied the BoM fervently that year with a Brother Talley, and I was in the nursery, your sister Ditte is a reason I’m still here , LDS. She use to come into the nursery and look into my eyes/ heart and she would talk this jibberish language to me as if trying to comfort me, she did it to me constantly, but it was the look in her eyes that told me it wasn’t jibberish, that child was there for me! I love you, I love your family, and I’m glad you’re here and I’m here too! Great article !

    • Christian Lassen

      Wow! That’s so great, and kinda funny too! I bet Ditte would love to know that she did some good! Thank you

  • Leslie V

    Thank you so much for sharing. There are some bishops and stake presidents that I have had, that challenge my faith and challenge my ability to love and forgive. Some of my friends and family not been strong enough to know that our leaders are human and can do a great deal of damage. Others never had a testimony and are looking for reasons to leave. I sometimes question my own testimony, but like you I remember the spiritual times that fed me and now continue to sustain me. The Book of Mormon is full of “Oh remember” It is a Book that was written for our time because sometimes all we can fall back on and build on are our memories of Inspiration.

    • Christian Lassen

      it is an AMAZING book. I’m so glad we get to know it and have it. Thank you

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  • Spencer Heisel

    I just wanted to say thank you for writing this down. I don’t have that witness you speak of, but I hope to have it someday. I wish you well and hope you can fix your relationship with these “angry people” In your life.

    • Christian Lassen

      Thank you! You know, these relationships have gotten much better in the past year! I hope you can find the witness you are looking for.

  • Lark T

    Great article! The author’s dad did my patriarchial blessing soon after I converted. Special amazing family!

    • Christian Lassen

      Thank you! That’s so cool! They would love to know that they’ve done some good and helped you. I’m sure they would say that you helped them in return.

  • MaryAnn

    Thank you for sharing this. I feel it is more than relevant and needed.

    • Christian Lassen

      You’re welcome, and thank you! I hope it helps!

  • Lisa Clegg

    Christian, I want to thank you for sharing this experience. My husband and I are going through something very similar to this and I, too, have questioned and hurt, considered leaving the church, and doubted the “spiritual decisions” made by those local leaders. I honestly was thinking we must be the only couple who would be denied the ability to request the ultimate goal of every member of the church! Reading your article has made such a positive impact on me, and I hope we can have the same faith and perseverance you and your wife had. Congratulations on your new eternal family, and I pray that the Lord will continue to bless you all.

    • Christian Lassen

      Thank you. No, you’re not alone in having to wait for this. We weren’t either. I pray that you’ll be able to enjoy it soon! It was hard, maybe even harder for my wife at times. But it was soooo worth the wait and effort. I hope you can feel the strength you need to keep going!