What follows is a heartrending email I received from an Equality Time reader. Mike (not his real name), who was a returned missionary, married in the temple, and active member throughout his adult life, became disaffected with the LDS church and sent his family a respectful letter informing them that he would no longer be an active participant in the LDS church and explaining some of his reasons (doctrinal, historical, logical, etc.) In response, Mike's father sent an email to all of Mike's brothers and sisters and did not include Mike on the distribution. Fortunately, one of Mike's siblings forwarded the email to him; otherwise he might never have known his dad's true feelings.
One might expect a church that claims to be the one true church of Jesus Christ to instill the principle of unconditional love in parents. Members of the LDS church often point to the "fruits" of the restored gospel as evidence for the church's truthfulness. Read the following letter Mike's dad sent to Mike's siblings. Witness the fruits of the gospel in action. And judge for yourself what they may tell us about the church's truth claims.
Mike's letter does not come as a surprise to me. I have been watching him for many years moving towards this point in his life. In this case, he has allowed his personal mistakes, his frustrations, and his personal weaknesses to cloud his mind. And as the leader of his family, he has made the biggest mistake that he has ever made in his life. He is wrong. Very wrong. And I couldn't be more disappointed. Heartbroken beyond comprehension.
To the rest of my children, I want you to know how I feel about it.
Mike made two major mistakes. One, he never sought nor achieved that conversion of the spirit that is spoken of in Moroni 10:3-5. "And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." Had he ever received that conviction of the Spirit, this would never have come to pass. I could give you instances in Mike's life that shows that he was never truly converted, but that is not necessary.
I received that witness of the Spirit. And all of you know that I have had many challenges in my life. Many of which I am ashamed of, because some of them directly impacted you, my beloved children. But never have I ever doubted that the restored Gospel was true. Nor will I ever.
Secondly, he got himself involved in anti-Mormon websites and literature. They are slick and written by very learned people. However, they are evil and misguided. The Church has never hidden from its past. The most recent book on the Prophet Joseph Smith, "Rough Stone Rolling" is a great example. Sure there are interesting and unusual events that happened while the Church was forming in its early days. And yes, there are similarities to other religions and Joseph Smith made some personal choice mistakes, maybe. But if you do the proper research, and look at it with an open mind and heart, you will see that it is the weaknesses of man that are talked about by the anti-LDS group, not the weaknesses of the Church.
Intelligent, well read scholars have tried since The Book of Mormon was published to disprove it. No one has been able to. To the contrary, as historians, language experts, archeologists, etc. continue to discover, the validity of the Book of Mormon continues to be proven time and again. There is a reason as to why it is called the keystone of our religion. Our modern day prophets tell us that if the Book of Mormon is not true, then the Church is not true. And... if it is true, then the Church is true. There can be no "in between." I know personally that it is true, and each time that I read it, I feel that same sweet spirit that testified to me so many years ago as to its truthfulness.
Mike needs our love now more than ever. He has let go of the iron rod and has fallen victim to and joined the hoards of people pointing and mocking at those that continue along the trek. We must reach out to him with our love. However, I exhort each of you to be aware that you should never get too close to a man that is drowning in the oceans' waves. For if you do, he will grab you in desperation and the two of you will usually drown together. You only throw life preservers or extend a life saving device, so that you are not caught and become a victim yourself.
I want each and every one of you to know that I love you. I love my son, Mike, and will always love him. I disapprove of this action and the subsequent fallout that this action will have on my two grandsons in his care.
I have never doubted the Church. I have completed years of research into the church, including those anti-Mormon claims. Each and every claim of those so called scholars is just a smokescreen to divert would be believers. The vast majority of the claims usually stem from a disillusioned believer who has a personal ax to grind. Very few, if any, are non-biased scholars.
I have received a personal witness to the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While I make mistakes, and will most likely continue to make them, I will never doubt. I cannot, for I cannot deny the witness that I have received. I know that by doing so, I will bring upon me the damnation of eternity. I also know that by following the Gospel, I will live once again with my family members who have passed before me and who will pass after me that have held onto the iron rod and persevered until the end. Only those that remain faithful until the end will live with their spouses, their loved ones, their children, and their ancestors together as a family. And I want to do that. Don't believe anything to the contrary, and don't believe that because the Lord is loving, that he will make exceptions. He will not. He cannot. For he has declared the path and provided us the way. He cannot make exceptions to the rules that he has provided.
The only true happiness to be found in this life and the next is through the Gospel of Jesus Christ found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Life is full of challenges, misery, heartache, questions, and problems. Let the Gospel be your anchor as it is in mine.
All of you are in my prayers day and night. Those of you that have children are learning the breadth and depth of love that can be experienced with your own children. You have also learned that it grows every day. Imagine how much love you will have for your children after it has grown for 30 years. That is what I feel for each and every one of you. Mike included.
Finally, let me close with a scripture from the Book of Mormon. It was written by a prophet in 550 BC. 2500 years later it is still true. And 2500 years later, it is as relevant now as it was when it was originally inscribed onto plates of gold, which were then translated by the prophet Joseph Smith through the spirit of the Holy Ghost.
2 Nephi 9:27-29
27 But wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!
28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.
All my love,