I’m Mitz Nelson, and I’m an Ex-Mormon

I’m so happy all of you are here. You have
no idea what a light you all bring to such a dark place, and how horribly, horribly sad
we are when you all leave. So if you guys wanna, like, move and find jobs, and, you
know? I’ll run support services; I’ll, like, you know, find you a place to live and
try to help you find a job and stuff… no? no takers? I wouldn’t come here either,
but that’s just me. So, my husband, if you ever get a chance to
talk to him, he’ll talk to a small group. He doesn’t do big crowds. To him, this is
a big crowd, so… He has an amazing story, and he’s fun to talk to, so if you can get
him and get a few of you together, he’ll talk to you; he just can’t do this. He goes
mute. Which is weird, ‘cause he’s never mute. But, so, I’ll try and keep it upbeat
and happy, ‘cause if I cry it’s ugly. I cry like Lucille Ball. It’s not graceful
and pretty, so… I was a fourth-generation Mormon, and I did
it all wrong the first time I got married. I didn’t marry a returned missionary, against
my family’s wishes; attributed the long road of, uh, not a good marriage to, largely
to that; there were some other issues. But that marriage finally ended after twenty years
and four children, part because he just wasn’t on board with the LDS path, and part because
of some other stuff. So I left, I took my children, and I started over. That’s where
I met my present husband, Steve, who was a returned missionary and we dated. My children
adored him, and I thought, “okay, cool, I’m gonna do it right this time.” So it
was all in order, so we kind of had a whirlwind romance, we get married, we build a house,
together we have seven children. And about a year into this, we were now settled, and
I have it all lined up. I have the returned missionary, I have the priesthood holder,
um… Back a little bit, when I was married previously,
I lost a daughter at birth. K? So, she is some somewhere. In my Mormon world, she’s
now floating in the great abyss. K? So, I now have my priesthood holder, so we can go
to the temple. We’re now going to be sealed, and I’m gonna have my forever family — which,
to a Mormon mom, that’s the ultimate thing. ‘Cause I get to have my kids, and I get
to raise my daughter in heaven. The catch: if I don’t, they’re going to give her
to a worthy Mormon family to raise in heaven, and I don’t get to. So there’s really
not an option here. K? So my, my ducks are all in a row; we’re gonna start temple classes. About this time, my husband gets witnessed
to at work, by the man that will eventually, for all sakes and purposes, “ruins my life
as I know it.” Ken Gilbert. They’re not here, huh? An amazing holy boldness man, I
adore him now; he’s one of my dearest friends, but it, at the time, he, he, he’d ruin my
life. He gets with my husband, my husband’s going to get him back into the Mormon church.
He is, in turn, going to teach my husband about Jesus. So they start talking, they exchange
literature. That’s where my first, my husband first came in contact — it’s his first
“anti-Mormon stuff.” So he… so he sneaks it into my house, literally hides it, and
waits for me to leave, so that he can watch it. And that’s kinda where his story begins.
It kinda continues in this secretive thing, his degree’s in anthropology and archaeology. So, the DNA versus the… Steve’s. So my
husband’s. So, that’s kinda where his, the DNA versus the Book of Mormon was earth-shattering
for him. And so he’s studying on his own, and I — I had questions, K, I wasn’t this
perfect little Mormon girl, I had questions, things that didn’t make sense, but I was
completely convinced that I’d find the answers within the Mormon church. That it was my lack
of understanding, not that the church was wrong. I really thought that it was just me. So, he starts to search, and we’re preparing
to do this big path, and the more he searches, the bigger the hole gets. Things start to
fall apart. So he’s still talkin’ to Ken, and he starts to come to me with small things.
Kind of feeling the waters to see how it would be perceived. Met him with complete resistance
and anger, fear. I was afraid and, at first it was like “ha ha, yeah, that’s funny,”
but then I started to see a seriousness about him. And that’s kind where it kinda turns
really, really ugly. And, it kind of escalates into a situation where I find the anti-Mormon
stuff. It was like finding porn in my house. I threw it across my bedroom, I felt completely
betrayed. Uh, I felt like he had deceived me, and it was uh, it started the beginning
of a year-long civil war within my house. And I do mean a civil war. Mormon women typically
aren’t submissive, K? That’s kind of a four-letter word; it kinda means you’re
a doormat, because we don’t understand godly submission. It means that the man has complete
and utter total power over you, and we’re like, “no he doesn’t.” And so, it was
a clash– it was clash of the titans. It was horrible. And I’d only been in a year, so
I’m thinking “I can fix this. It would be another divorce, but I have to get back
on the path somehow. I can’t be called out of the grave unless he knows my name. He’s
not gonna know my name, unless he goes to this temple to learn my name. I can’t have
my family unless I have him sealed to me.” K, so I had to choose now between him — my
marriage — and my daughter, and my children. As far as I was concerned, he was going to
outer darkness; he’s now an apostate. ‘Cause it finally escalated to him, to where
he, he denounced the Mormon church. So, he’d walk in a room; I’d walk out. Uh, we have
a family cabin that we’d go to, it was like our little place; it’s where we were married.
I wouldn’t go there with him anymore. He went alone. It was not good. There was no
friendship left. I was fearful; was so close, so close to leaving, I had a plan, and one
call to the Mormon church, just one call, they would’ve swooped me and my children
up, they would’ve helped me relocate, and they– they would’ve paid my way. Not only
that, his family would’ve helped me, against him. If I would’ve called them and said,
“He’s, he’s an apostate; he’s leaving the church,” they would’ve taken my side
against him. And so, Satan had the hugest opportunity to
destroy my family, completely destroy it. And everyone’s like, “well, what did it?
What did it?” It was just a process of things. So during this year-long war, he would, he
would give me tidbits. Uh, things that he knew would matter to me. Like, Joseph Smith
had thirty-three wives. He knows how I feel about polygamy. He knows how I feel about
old man sleeping with young girls, as Susan and I have talked about. It just isn’t okay.
So he gave me this tidbits, he’d kind of lure me to a safe place where I would think
that he wouldn’t talk to me, and then he’d, like, drop a bombshell on me. Then I’d freak
out, and like go and slam doors, and … eventually, I’m going to the Mormon church, K? Every
single Sunday. He’s now following me to the Mormon church, in a purple shirt, with
a Christian Bible. For those of you who don’t know the Mormon culture, it can’t get much
worse, K, it just doesn’t. You wear a white shirt, and a tie, and you don’t bring a
Christian Bible. You bring your quad, or your various Mormon… Mormon books. Back to the
purple shirt and how that came about: right at the end of where he’s ready to say “I’m
not doing this anymore,” uh, he went into priesthood with this purple shirt on, K, and
he, he, he still was, hadn’t said no more yet. They gave the lesson that day on “if
you, you’re not a godly man unless you wear this white shirt, because it represents your
obedience to God, and your willingness to submit to God.” So there he sits in a purple
shirt, the only one not in a white shirt out of probably twenty-four men. He meets me in
the lobby; he’s furious. He has two fingers in his tie that he’s now ripping off, in
the foyer with everyone around; he’s livid. And he said, “This is so stupid, like it
matters what color of shirt I have on.” K? I’m, like, dying. And I’m thinking,
“Okay, you’re crazy. I’ve had it with you.” I make to the vehicle, I’m gonna
leave him. I’m gonna show him. So I’m gonna get into the vehicle, I’m gonna lock
the doors, I’m gonna drive home, make him walk. (It’s not that far. It’s like two
blocks.) Anyway, I’m makin’ a point here. He knows me. As soon as he sees me hightail
it outta there, he thinks “she’s gonna leave me.” So we have this race to the vehicle.
Mormons are everywhere, K? I don’t make it. I get in, I shut the door, I hit the thing
just as he opens the door. I’m screaming, “Get out! Walk home. I don’t want you
near me.” He’s like, “I’m not getting out.” He gets in, shuts the door, he says
“let’s go home.” Every morning, we would have the same screaming
match in my closet. I would say “please, just stay here. Please don’t go to church
with me. Please.” And he said, “you’re my wife. I’m going where you go.” And
I said “but you don’t even believe it!” He said “neither do you. You just don’t
know it yet.” So, away we’d go, with him in his purple shirt and his big fat Bible
that Ken gave him, the guy who ruined my life… so, where we would sit in Gospel Doctrine
class– this is the day that was really good. They wrote “The New Covenant” on the board,
and underneath it in parentheses they put “(the Book of Mormon).” He went nuts.
He’s flipping through Scripture, he’s pointing, he’s sliding it across to me and
he’s pointing. Now everyone’s no longer at who’s teaching; they’re turning around,
looking at us. I’m wanting to die. So from that day forward, I said “you can’t
do that to me anymore.” I said, “that’s not okay.” He said “okay, you’re right.
That probably wasn’t okay.” And he said, “so, when you go, what are you looking for?”
And I said “Jesus.” He said, “Okay,” he said, “well do they teach about Jesus?”
I’m like, “it’s the ‘Church of Jesus Christ’; are you a moron? Of course they
teach me about Jesus.” He said “Do they?” He said “Here,” he said “just, I want
you to be just a little bit more observant. If that’s what you’re looking for,”
he said, “then from now on, I just want you to just be aware of how much Jesus you’re
getting.” I’m like okay, that’s fair. So as I keep going, he lays off on the pointing
and the… he doesn’t lay off on the weird-colored shirts and the big fat Bible, but he lays
off on the pointing and the antics and the things in the foyer, and stuff of that nature. And, so I went for another three months: there’s
no Jesus. There’s no mention of him except for in prayer. That’s it. We touched on
everything else — everything else imaginable — but there was no Jesus. And so, by this
time I’m wearing down, I’m hungry, and I’m empty, and I feel alone, and I’m scared,
and I don’t know what I’m gonna do, and my only answer is I have to end this mess,
and try to start over again. Somewhere along here he kind of changes his antics, and it’s
because God had changed him. I look, in hindsight I look back and it’s because he was becoming
a new man. K? I didn’t understand; at the time, I just thought “well, he’s getting
it.” He started to approach me with way more love. Instead of dive-bombing me, he
was, he was telling me in love when he was saying things like “this is, I love you
so much, the last thing I want to do on this earth is hurt you, and the last thing I want
you to do is leave me.” And he said “I just, I need to, there’s all this stuff
that I know, and I need somebody to talk to.” And I didn’t listen for a long, long time. There was one day when there’d kind of been
a truce. We’d agreed to disagree, and tried to stop fighting. For the children. And he’d
called me on his way home from Salt Lake, and he said “I’m gonna go fishing at the
cabin. Will you please come with me?” He said, “I promise I’ll be good,” he said
“I– just come with me.” And I said “okay, I’ll go with you.” Well, he stopped at
a Christian bookstore, and he prayed in the parking lot. He said “God, just give me
something to reach her that won’t offend her, that won’t drive her farther away from
me, that’ll open her heart,” and so he went in, and he, he picked a book by John
Hagee, it was written by him and his wife. There was like, it’s like a two-sided book;
you flip it upside-down, she wrote half, he wrote half. So we went up and our thing was,
he fishes and I read out loud to him, whatever we’re reading at the time. So, we go down fishing, and he gets it out
of his backpack (poor man, he must’ve been scared to death), and he just said “I, I
got a book for us to read together.” And he said, “it has nothing to do with Mormonism.”
He said “it’s just a Christian book.” And he said, “will you just read it?”
He goes, “if you hate it, we don’t have to read it.” I said okay, so we started
with her side, and I’m sitting on this rock, and my man dressed in, I don’t know, ragged
sandals and yucky shorts and a tank top, and he’s fishing, and she’s describing what
a godly man is. And I’m looking as I’m reading, and it’s standing before me. And it doesn’t have on a white shirt, and
a pressed tie, and slacks, and shiny black shoes. And it was profound to me, because
that’s the first time in a year that I had ever looked at him as being even remotely
in God’s realm. K? From that point, he was being led by Satan, he was hanging out with
Satan’s friends, he was listening to Satan, and he was as far away from God as, as I felt
he could possibly be at that time. I would say that that was, uh, the, the beginning
of a new beginning for us. I was subdued that day. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t happy, but
I wasn’t angry. And so, from that, I started to just look at him with new eyes. I started
to see him like God saw him. And I started to see him get up every single morning, into
Scripture, ‘cause he wanted to. Not only was he into Scripture, but he was studying.
And he’d have several things out. And he was actually, uh, comparing what he was learning.
It was actually like this really well thought-out process, not just another path to take. ‘Cause
before that, I thought he’d taken the high road. I said well isn’t that easy. He’d tried several
times to explain grace to me, and I’d tell him “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,
Steve. There just isn’t.” It didn’t make any sense to me at all. So I started
to soften, I don’t know that I started to listen to him, but some. In here, there were
things that I would tell me there’s no evidence, like six hundred years of a civilization of
people that there’s no evidence for. The church doesn’t actually come out and say
that there’s evidence, but they allude you to believe that there’s evidence. K? So
I started to search. Now I’m doing my own thing when he leaves the house. I look and
see when he’s gone down the road, now I’m looking. I was a good girl, though. I stayed
within the church websites. And the more things I looked up, now my hole starts to get bigger.
I validated the stuff with Joseph Smith, I read the quote where he claims to be better
than Jesus, that he could keep the church together and not even Jesus could do that,
and that he has so many reasons to boast. Even in my most Mormon world, that quote sickened
me. It wasn’t okay. My testimony, by this point, of Joseph Smith
is now pretty gone. Not that it was ever super strong, K? Joseph Smith was never, I would
never sing “Praise to the Man.” Never felt like he was a man that needed to be praised,
never really got that. He was just a prophet, like any other prophet. He, but he was a man.
So now Joseph Smith’s over here, but I’m still gonna, it’s the Church of Jesus Christ,
not the Church of Joseph Smith, so I’m still okay, for all rights and purposes. As I look,
my hole starts to get bigger, I’m confused, I’m going to church, there’s no Jesus.
I’m becoming more empty, and more lost, and more broken than I’d ever been in my
whole, whole life. In hindsight, he was leading me to the desert. He was. He wanted me to
famine. He wanted me empty that he could fill me. And that’s exactly what he did. There was one day when he stood between me
and the door; I couldn’t get out. And he just said “Tell me what you believe.”
I said “it’s none of your business what I believe.” He said “I’m your husband;
it is business what you believe.” He said, “If you’re so sure what you believe,”
he said, “just tell me.” So I rattled my best, whatever I rattled, it was something
to do with Jesus and something something. He just, he started to laugh and he said,
“That’s the heart of Christian woman, not a Mormon woman.” If I could’ve hit
him with something, I would have. ‘Cause that wasn’t a compliment at the time. And
he just said, he said “It is all about Jesus.” He said, “But he’s all you need.” And
then he just proceeded to ask me, he said, “will you please just listen to me? Please.”
He said, “you’re my wife, you’re my friend. You’re all I’ve got.” He said
“I have nobody. I can’t talk to my coworkers, I can’t talk to my family, I can’t talk
to my friends.” He said “I can’t talk to our children.” He said, “I have no
one.” He said “And it’s your job! You’re supposed, God says you’re supposed to be
my friend. And you’re supposed to listen to me.” And I knew he was right. And I said “Okay.” I said, “You get
one shot.” So I sat down, I shut my mouth, and I listened. K, if anyone knows my husband,
he probably won’t remember your name, and some days he doesn’t remember mine. That’s
just him. He recited Scripture like it was before him on a paper. God worked through
him; he remembered everything. He remembered everything he’d ever studied, every answer
he’d ever found, how he found it, where it was, and every Scripture to back that up.
How, how he had came to the knowledge that he could trust the Bible, how he had came
to the knowledge that he couldn’t trust the Book of Mormon, K, and it, this was constant
talking, took about, probably about half hour. And then he took a deep breath and he said
“That’s all I got.” And I said “That’s a lot.” I said “okay.” He said, “Thank
you for listening to me.” And we parted ways. As, as friends at this point, and that’s
where I started, started my real study. That’s where I started to… I thought, “he’s
serious about this. This isn’t him taking the high road. This isn’t him trying to,
uh, get out of jail free. This isn’t him trying to just take– get a free lunch and
go ‘isn’t this great? I get something for nothing.’” So I started to look and
I went through and figured out how I can trust the Bible. And that’s where I had to start,
‘cause I needed something tangible in my hand, so I knew where to begin, so I had to
know what to trust. And so once I figured out that I could trust
the Bible, about the same time, we had agreed to read John before bed every night. He just
said “can we read John? At night before bed?” I’m like, “sure.” How do you
say “no” to that? Really? So he was, he was giving me the Word. And I’m studying
the Word. And, slowly, it’s, it’s coming off. I’m starting to, like, see. And I’m
starting to see that there’s something to the things that he’s saying. My last Sunday
in the Mormon church, I’m sitting in Gospel Doctrine again, and I’m praying, “Just
mention his name. Just say his name. Just do something!” And they didn’t. And it
was so far away. I don’t even remember what the lesson was on that day, but it was irrelevant
to everything. It didn’t, it didn’t touch me, didn’t
move me; it wasn’t food for me. And I left, and I was in pieces. We got into the car and
he said “are you okay?” And I said “no, I’m not okay.” We went home, there was
something on for dinner and I just said “I– I can’t.” We have seven kids, and he said
“it’s okay, I’ll do it.” I said “I can’t.” And I’m falling apart. So I
went in my room, and I bent to my knees, leaned over the ottoman on the bottom of my bed and
I cried harder than I’d probably ever cried before. And I said, “God, I don’t know
what to do. I need you. Wherever that is, I need you. If it’s in the Mormon church,
I’ll do that. If it’s out of the Mormon church, I’ll do that. Do you want me to
follow my husband? I’ll do that. But I need you.” And I was empty. Nothing huge happened
that day, K? I didn’t have some big, profound revelation. I didn’t, it wasn’t… but
I was empty. Empty. I was like, uh, oatmeal. I had no thoughts, I had no feelings, I had
nothing. I was blank. And I was blank for the next several weeks. And he just said “are you okay?” And I
said, “I d– I don’t know.” And he said “Do you want to go to church?” and I said
“no.” He’s like “okay, well, what do you want to do?” And I said “I don’t
know.” He said, “well, do you wanna just stay here and read Scriptures with the kids?”
So we did, we did that for a few Sundays and somewhere in here he asked me if I’d watch
the DNA video with him. And I do. And then I watched the Bible… what, what was that?
Oh, the Book of Abraham was out at that time. I watched that one, and kind of came to the
conclusion that that wasn’t the way to go. And that was sad. It was like a death I…
all over again. I didn’t understand at that point how I was gonna get my daughter. I didn’t
understand how I was gonna be with my children. Most of my family was dead: my dad, my brother,
they had all died. I didn’t understand how I was ever gonna connect with them again.
My head was a mess. And, somewhere in here, I, uh, I read the Scripture, it’s… think
it’s Galatians 2? Two twenty? Two twenty and two twenty-one. Um. And I would say a
lot of the Scriptures were totally profound. All, uh, your First John, all those work.
They administered to me. This one is the one that rocked my world. “I do not set aside
the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died in vain.”
How do you reconcile that? If you’re justified by the law, Christ died in vain. There’s
no way around that. I called my very Mormon sister, to tell her
about my profound revelation. Didn’t go over very well. She thought I was crazy. She
asked if she should, like, send someone, where the kids were, if I needed, like, some type
of help, she said “I’m at work; this is making me very uncomfortable.” And I was
just like “well, Robyn, he did it. He did it all. Christ did it. And if he didn’t
do it, then he died in vain, and we have to do it, and so, how do we do it? We can’t
do it.” And it was my first, uh, drop of what grace really, really meant. Later, my
little sister followed me out. And that was only part of what it was, but she watched
my family. She watched us, she watched the fruits of the Spirit. And she watched my family
change. And Steve was talking to my brother-in-law,
her husband. Had give him the boot movies, which he watched in secret so then he talked
to her — kind of the same type of story, a lot of anger, she almost left him, she didn’t
tell me though. So she’s leaving, and she’s not telling me, because she doesn’t want
me to say “ha ha, I told you so.” So she comes to my house and she’s nursing her
baby, and it’s just us girls, so it’s like, she’s nursing her baby and there’s
no garments. And I’m confused. And so I’m like, “Okay, that’s weird.” My daughter
goes home with her and I said “you need to go spy on her. She’s not wearing garments
and I need to know why.” So my daughter, my daughter — she’s in
getting dressed — my daughter knocks on her door. She’s like, “I’m getting dressed!
But that’s okay!” So my daughter goes in, she’s just got a camisole on, she’s
getting dressed. So my daughter leaves, goes out in the bushes and calls me; she’s like,
“negative on the garments. Negative.” And I’m like, why? And then she’s like
“I don’t know.” She goes, “But, we’re going to church with them later.” She said
“this oughtta be interesting.” She goes “When we get there,” she said, “maybe
I’ll just say ‘why aren’t you wearing garments anymore?’” I’m like “Okay,”
I’m like, “do that.” She’s like “Yeah, I’m sure you want me to do that!” So they
go to church with them later that day; they pull into a Christian church. This was my sister’s way of having my kids
tell me that they had left, so she didn’t have to. Yeah. But my little sister’s out;
they’re saved, they have a little boy that they… took them ten years to get, and he
loves Jesus, and won’t ever know who Joseph Smith is, and it’s all a good thing. In
my broken state, I can’t say there was ever an “aha!” moment. Chip and all these people would talk about
their “aha!” moments; we’d have XMA, which is Ex-Mormons Anonymous, where we got
around, and it was like Alcoholics Anonymous, we’d like vent and cry, and we’d like
be crazy and stuff, and they’d all tell about their “aha!” moments. So I was wondering
if I was saved. I’m like “I didn’t get an ‘aha!’ moment.” It really was a process.
And I think with most people who are in a cult, or have been brainwashed, I think it
is a process. I don’t think too often they get that one, big “aha!” moment. But it’s
a process. And that’s what you guys have to remember. You’re part part of that process!
K? Just because someone doesn’t have that “aha!” moment with you, doesn’t mean
what you did wasn’t completely profound in their life. My daughter was prayed with at Pageant, oh,
four years before we left. A Christian woman tried to talk to her; she wasn’t really,
really getting was she was saying, but then she just said “Can I pray with you?” And
she prayed for her. It stuck with my daughter, K? Didn’t pull her out, didn’t change
her entire life right then, but it was part of that process. God used that woman to pray
with her then, which just validated her later, to where she had those things to look back
on. So, don’t get frustrated. Be bold, and remember, they’re captives. And they’re
all, they’re the beautiful walking dead. They– they are. It’s a beautiful religion.
It’s a beautiful people. It’s a beautiful organization. But they’re dying. And you
guys know the only Physician that can heal them. And so, that’s your job, is to try
to get them to the Physician that can heal them. And if all you do is get ‘em to take
one step forward, that’s one step forward that they hadn’t taken before. And so, him watching me, I would call him,
I finally let go of my pride and I’d call him and I’d say “Did you know…?” And
he was nice and he always said “no.” And he’d listen to me, and he’d be as excited
as I was, and, we told the kids; after I’d watched the movies and decided I couldn’t
go back, we told them that, that we were going to leave. I have a really dark sense of humor.
I ran an ambulance for eighteen years. I learned to laugh at things that just aren’t very
funny. And I didn’t know what to say, so I’m in my pajamas, it’s eleven o’clock,
we again haven’t gone to church, and they’re wondering why. And they’re sitting and LaKan
eating and Cashae standing and she’s like, “So, why aren’t we going to church?”
And I said, “You know, I don’t know what Joseph Smith was doing in the forest exactly.
I think he might’ve been smokin’ bark.” She’s like, “huh?” as the cereal runs
out of her mouth. And she said “So. You’re saying that you don’t think Joseph Smith
is a true prophet?” I said “That’s what I’m saying.” And she’s like “okay,” and they look
at each other, and they’re like, “well, now what do we do?” I said “I don’t
know. I don’t know what we do.” I said, “but I want you guys to search it; I want
you guys to know for yourselves. And I think we might try the Christian church.” And
they’re like “What Christian church?” And I’m like, “It’s the one Dad sneaks
to to pray with Christians.” And they’re like “okay.” So the next Sunday we went
to the Christian church and we went there ever since. And it was [inaudible] ago, at
Pageant time, that we got baptized, out at the local lake as a family. And it was amazing. It was super. So if God moves mountains — and
my story isn’t any greater; I know: I’ve heard some of your stories and they’re amazing.
And my story isn’t any greater than any of yours. I think just here, it might be a
little more relevant, because of where we are, what we’re doing today, and so, he
moves mountains. And he can move me? He can move anybody! ‘Cause I knew what I knew,
and I was on a mission, and I was, I was determined. And I wasn’t nice about it. And I was stubborn,
and I was arrogant, and I was prideful, and I was self-righteous, and was all of those
things, that, that you’d think couldn’t be– but God is good, and he is huge, and
he deals with me with a strong hand. He does. Like, about two years out, two and a half
years out, I say “God, I’m tired of being your poster child. I don’t wanna be your
poster child anymore. I wanted to be just a regular Christian girl. I don’t wanna
be your little ex-Mormon, your little poster girl, okay?” He said, “okay.” So he
sent me the book of Job, again and again and again. It’s like when you’re gonna go
buy a new car, and you’re looking at that car, and then you wait to buy it, and everywhere
you go, that’s what you see. It’s kinda like that. No matter where I went, it was
Job. And he was showing me, “Honey, that’s the ultimate poster child. You’re not Job.
Be, be, be grateful you’re not Job.” So about that time me and my, me and Janelle
go to Idaho Falls to speak at their local church, and (which I love to do). And I walk
in their local church, and, guess what. Yeah, I know. I scream out loud, I jump backwards,
run. He’s up there, the pastor, he’s like “what is the matter?” He thinks I’ve
seen some horrible spider or something. And I’m just like, “That’s a really big
poster.” And he’s like, “Do you want me to take it down?” And I’m like “Not
if God’s the one that told you to put it up there.” So, I guess I am kind of his
poster child, and that’s good, because I have… he did an amazing work in me. And
if I can use that to encourage you, then that’s what I’m supposed to do. And I can do that. And it, it’s getting easier, the, the two-brain
thing and all the little triggers are getting easier. Is it all better? No. Is it easy?
No. Is it worth it? Absolutely. It is. And so… you young ones, who’s, who’s not
got a chance to share their faith on the streets yet? Anybody? Just wh- just, just one in the
back? That’s okay. That’s okay. It’s just ‘cause you just got here, or it’s
just ‘cause they won’t listen to you? Just got here, okay, that doesn’t count.
You know what? Here’s some things that if someone said to me, because people tried to
witness to me at the Pageant. That was me. I was mean and I put ‘em in their place.
I was like “I can’t believe you’re here. We don’t come to your religious gatherings;
why are you here? Why are you doing this?” K? Yeah. You haven’t? Yeah. Here’s some
things that if somebody said this to me, it would’ve put me in my place and made me
much, much nicer. If they’d’ve simply said to me, “Are you always this mean, or
just to me?” I would’ve been like “Oh.” K? ‘Cause we are representing our corporation.
It’s okay if you think I’m mean, but you can’t think my corporation’s mean. K?
“The church.” Another thing they could’ve said to me is, “you belong to the only true
church, right?” I said “right.” And they said “well, truth is truth, and it
can’t be changed, right?” I’d’ve said “right.” And they’d say “Okay, what
are you afraid of then? Anything I say can’t change truth. So why won’t you talk to me?
Why are you so afraid?” That would’ve brought my defenses down, and probably made
me talk to ‘em. Because it’s true. If I have the only true
church, then what am I afraid of? With these mean Mormon, Mormon teenagers, use their mama:
ask them, “If this is what a Mormon child is raised to be?” If their mama, if this
is the way their mama raised them to behave, they’ll change that fast. Whatever you can
use to tame the, the hostility and the ignorance, because you know what? We, we, we… we have
the same standard. If we’re behaving that way, I would hope someone would look at us
and say “is that what a Christian is? Because if that’s a Christian, I don’t wanna be
one. If that’s the way a Christian behaves, then I don’t want to.” And so as we represent
Christ, they’re representing their church. And I would call ‘em out on it, if they’re
being mean. At least so they’ll talk to you. And if they are mean, don’t take it
personal. It’s not you. It’s because they’re fearful. It’s because they’re, they’re
full of fear. And people, and if the only thing you get
to do is share your faith, and if you get ‘em to the point — and this is a good thing
— if you can get ‘em to the point that they break into their testimony, because it’s
all they got, you touched ‘em. You backed ‘em into a corner and they don’t have
anything else. Let ‘em. Let ‘em tell you their testimony and then say, sweetly, “Can
I tell you mine?” And you share your testimony. And then you thank ‘em, and then you sweetly
walk away. It’ll be profound. And if all you do is bring ‘em this much closer, you’re
just part of the process. And if you have a good thing — Romans Road and the Impossible
Gospel — all those are wonderful, huge things. If you guys don’t know all that yet, and
you’re new and you don’t know the Mormon doctrine, that’s okay, ‘cause you know
Jesus. And that’s — share Jesus with them. Share what grace is. Share what he’s done
to you because a lot of them attribute things that have happened in their life to the church.
But if you can say “well, all these things happened in my life, and I’m not a Mormon,”
they won’t know how to explain that. And they need to see that God loves us and
works in our life, not because of the label that we put on our head. It’s not because
we, whatever we choose to call ourselves. It’s because he loves us, individually.
That was the other thing that saved my little sister. She was molested for eight years by
her stepfather. And while it– the Mormon church had paid for her to go through counseling.
So she always was convinced that, had it not been for the Mormon church, she wouldn’t
be whole. She wouldn’t be who she is. And then one day, all by herself, driving in the
car, he said to her, as loud as he could, “I didn’t do that because you were Mormon.
I did that because I love you.” And she got it. It’s just the means that God used to heal
her. Not because she was Mormon. And that’s what they need to understand. So be brave.
Persevere. Come for support, you know? And just remember they’re blind. And… where’s
Rob? Is Rob here? He always says you wouldn’t beat on a blind person, right? It’s true.
They’re blind, so just love ‘em. Love ‘em and love all over ‘em. Let ‘em see
that it exudes from you. Let them just feel that love. And they won’t know what to do with it.
I didn’t know what to do with it. My husband — how am I on time? Oh, I’m good. I’ll
tell you about the retreat. Somewhere in here, Chip had gone– er, Steve had gone, and they
had prayed, and he was talking to Chip, and at one point he says, “Chip, she’s gonna
leave me.” He said “I really think she’s gonna leave me. It’s not going well.”
And Chip told him what, exactly what he should’ve told him: “Count the cost. Pick up your
cross daily.” And he said, “Is your God first? Because if he’s not, it’ll never
work. And never wavers. God has to be first. And we’ll keep praying for your wife.” So he came home, and about three days later,
when I had mentioned again that I really wanted to leave, he said to me, “I love you, and
if you left me it would break my heart. It would tear my world apart. But God comes first
in my life. It’s first God, and then you, and he said it has to be that way.” He said
“because without God, we don’t have a godly marriage. We don’t have anything.”
On one hand it broke my heart, ‘cause I wanted to be first. But then after thinking
about it, I really didn’t want to be first. I really did want God to be first. And what
it did is it took the control from me, which, I shouldn’t’ve had the control at that
point ‘cause I was abusing it. And it took the control from me and gave it to God. And
so knowing that he was willing to let me go, because of his love for God and my unwillingness
to listen, was huge. So sometime after that, he had lured me into the college house, for
coffee. And I came in, Chip was working, and I wasn’t very nice to Chip. No, for one,
you don’t play with Chip Thompson. As a Mormon, you just don’t go there. So, there
I am, I’m in there, Chip’s there, and I’m like, “well, he doesn’t look that
evil. And he’s making me coffee.” So he makes me coffee, and Steve says, “Ask him
questions! Is there something you wanna ask him?” And I said, “You guys take sacrament?”
And he said, “Well, we call it communion. It’s unleavened– unleavened bread and grape
juice.” And then he told me what it means to them. I said “oh.” I said “What about
baptism?” He told me what baptism meant to them, and I thought, “that’s lame.”
So I was like, he’s like “that’s it?” I’m like “That’s it.” I take my coffee
and I head to the door. He chases me. He’s like, “hey!” You know, he’s like,
“Our women are going on a retreat. You should go.” I said “I should not go.” And I’m
looking at Steve like “we’re going now.” He’s like “no, you should go!” He goes
“It’s just the women and they go and they just have fun” and I’m like “I shouldn’t
go” and he said “And you should talk to my wife Jamie.” I said “I shouldn’t
be talking to anybody.” Jamie calls, like right then. So he answers the phone and he’s
like “Jame! Hey! Uh, Steve. Do you remember Steve?” He’s like, “His wife’s here,
and you should take her on the retreat” and he’s like “here, you should talk to
my wife.” So I’m talking, I’m like “Hello?” She’s like “Hi! You – you should come
to the retreat!” And I’m like, “no, no I shouldn’t go to the retreat, and I’ve
gotta go now, but thank you! Thank you. Okay, I’m going now.” And I give him the phone,
and I go and Jamie walks through the door. I’m like, really? Will somebody just let
me out of here? Really? And she’s smiling! She had this big smile and these dangly earrings
and she’s all happy, and I’m like, how do you be mad at Jamie? K, you can’t! And
I’m like “okay, but I’m going now.” And she’s like “really, you should just
come, and it’ll be fine,” and Steve’s, like, doing the whole head nod and “she
should go.” Somehow, we were on our way to Walmart, and we don’t go to Walmart.
We go straight back home. Where Steve’s packing my bag. Now, he’s gonna tend seven
kids; he’s never did that before. Ever. And he’s telling me, “We’ll be fine.”
And I’m thinking “you will not be fine.” He’s like, “Do you want these pajamas?”
And he’s packing my bag. And he’s nice, he takes my Mormon scriptures, he puts my
Mormon scriptures in my bag for me. I’m like, “I’m not going!” and he’s like
“you are.” I was like, “You can’t make me go.” He’s said, “I can.” He
goes “it’ll be good for you!” Drops me off on the college house lawn and waves,
and drives away. I’m like, “okay. This is so weird.” Then all these people come
up, none of them I know. And I’m like, “Oh, you know, I can’t go. I get carsick. I get
really carsick.” Jamie’s like “cool, you can drive!” I’m like, “it’s a
minivan. I don’t drive minivans. I’m cool!” I’m driving a minivan full of Christians
up the freeway. And I am scared to death, and they are talking this talk that I don’t
understand; they are, uh, words, music that I’ve never heard before is playing. And
I just don’t get it. We get there, we eat, then we go… and we sing. And we sing, and
we sing, and we sing and we sing and I’m like “really. These people sing a lot! And
they, everyone knows all the songs! This is so weird!” And the two girls playing: cute.
Granola girls, long hair and… I’m watching them, now I’m really confused. ‘Cause
there’s like all this love, just exuding from them. I don’t know where to put it.
K? So I put it this way. I’m like, “So they are… whoa. So anything goes at this
church.” Because I don’t know what to think about it. I didn’t know all this love
coming out of them, where it was going. I didn’t get it. So I asked Jamie later
if they were… and she’s like “no. No!” So, later, I think later that night, or the
next day, I have a breakdown. I can’t handle any more. This is weird. We have Adeena, cute
little Adeena, she falls to her knees, her hands are in the air… I think something’s
wrong with her. I’m like, is somebody gonna help her up? Is she gonna have a seizure?
I’m an EMT, after all, K, what’s wrong with her? Then there’s another one. Like,
I think it was Penny, and I’m like, okay, what is wrong? They’re dropping like flies!
I don’t get it. And they’re singing and then they start talking and the lesson goes
on and I flip out here somewhere, and they’re praying in the most irreverent manner I’ve
ever heard a prayer prayed. You don’t pray like that! They’re like, talking to God
like he’s, like, some person, like, their friend! Not God, the unapproachable wizard
that’ll zap you dead with his wand. And so, I break down, I go out of the conference
room, and I call Steve. And I’m like, “Get me out of here.” I’m sobbing. I’m crying.
And he’s like, “What is the matter?” And I said “I want out. What’d you, where
did you send me?” And I said, “this is like a third-world country. I don’t understand
any of it.” And he’s like, “What are they doing?” He’s thinking, you know,
did they go Pentecostal on her? Like, what’re they doing? And I’m like, “They’re praying!
And they’re praying in this irreverent manner, and they’re, like, wearing jean shorts and
tank tops,” and I’m like, “the whole thing is, it’s irreverent.” He said, “Mitz,
just because it’s not the way you’d do it doesn’t mean it’s wrong.” And he’s
like “I can get somebody to come sit with the kids.” He said “I’ll come get you.”
I’m what, an hour and a half, two hours away? Like he’ll come get me. I have an
out. I’m strong. They can’t really hurt me,
can they? So I stay. I don’t wanna make him drive. I feel like a wimp at this point,
so I stay. It doesn’t get any better, really. It just kinda gets weirder. They’re nice!
They were nice. So I go home, I’m in Jamie’s, uh, driveway. They’d been having a board
meeting. One of the board members — he didn’t know — walks out, meets me, nice to meet
you, he’s like “So, we’ll see you in church on Sunday?” I’m like “no.”
So I leave [glitch] said “Oh, no, she’s, she’s Mormon.”
So that was like one big thing that I look back on, and it was funny, but it was huge.
I didn’t talk for three days. Steve was trying to get me to talk to him; I couldn’t
talk for three days. ‘Cause I couldn’t process it. I had no idea what I’d seen,
what I’d heard, what that was all about. But I started listening to Christian music I went and I started to buy Christian music.
And it started to administer to my soul. It started to soothe me. And when I couldn’t
listen to him anymore and when I couldn’t do anything else, I could listen to that.
And so all these things, even if they get offended and angry, it’s not at you, and
whatever you can use… invite them! Invite them to your things. Reach out to them; invite
them for dinner. Whatever you can use, and let them see you living your life out for
Jesus. Let the, show them that you have something that they want, that they don’t have, ‘cause
they think they have everything you have, and more. I’ll give you one more about Steve’s cross.
It’s the same cross he wears when he’s on the street. Tucks it in his shirt. Somewhere
in here, Ken and him had talked, and he had gone north and went to the Silver Loft, and
there was this cross, pretty little cross, and it had a red dot in the middle, which
to him symbolized the blood of Jesus. And so he bought this cross. And this was at probably
one of my most angriest times, and he would wear it in his shirt. I have a Christian friend,
we’d been friends for about eleven years; we’d finally agreed to disagree — she couldn’t
deal with me anymore. She’d grown tired; we just loved each other. But she’s like
“okay. We can’t talk about this anymore.” So we just didn’t. I’d bring her home
cute laminated things from my church and she’d say thank you, and, I’m sure, throw ‘em
away as soon as I left, but, we’re sitting knee-to-knee in my bedroom on the couch, just
talking and he’d come home from work. And he leaned over to kiss me, and his cross fell
out of his shirt. K, I thought I was going to sear a hole through my, my corneas, for
real. And the closer he leaned to kiss me, the more I backed away, and he’s trying
to figure out “what is wrong with you?” And then it hits him. He’s like “oh, no.”
And he reaches down and he feels it and he puts it back in his shirt. I was furious.
I felt betrayed. How could you bring that in my home? How could you wear that on your
body? And I left the house. Slammed the door and left. Well, my friend looks at him and
says, “Good job. What were you thinking?” He’s like “What?” He goes, “I just…”
and she’s like “Dude, that… that didn’t go over very well.” I looked for the cross for days. He hid it.
Like, he didn’t sleep in it, but he hid it. I couldn’t find it. ‘Cause I was gonna
throw it away. Because I didn’t understand the whole cross. Until he shared with me the
Scripture: “For the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who
are being saved it is glory of God.” I sat on that for about three days and thought “okay,
maybe the cross isn’t so evil.” But then I, still thinkin’ I can still be a Mormon
and he can still wear a cross, and… anyway. That was just one more thing to show you that
the fear in me, K? It, I was so fearful of all these things, but it was because that’s
what I was told from the time I was this big. I had my testimony whispered in my ear from
the time I was this big. I was told what I believed. And then I was supposed to believe
what they told me I believed, and I, and I did… to a point. I, I did the rhetoric,
I was able to regurgitate the rhetoric, but in hindsight, I didn’t believe anything
I was saying. ‘Cause they didn’t stand on anything. It didn’t stand, it was on
fallow ground. ‘Cause they, it didn’t stand on the Rock. There was no Cornerstone.
There was no truth in it. And so, that was another thing I — he picked apart my testimony
bit by bit. He said “okay, you ‘know’ this church is true. How do you know? You
‘know’ Joseph Smith was a prophet. How do you know? Do you know, or do you think
you know?” And the difference in what was given to me as a testimony and my testimony
now is not even the same thing. And that’s why if you get a chance to share your testimony,
so that they can see that your testimony is not about a corporation, you’re not, your
testimony, you’re not testifying about a building, or an ordinance, or a feeling, You’re testifying about the blood of Jesus
and what you know that he did for you. And that’s huge. And they need to hear that.
And that might anger ‘em. That’s okay. Sometimes they need to be anger– angry. Sometimes
anger is the first step to the whole rest of the process. So be brave. I’m so thankful
all of you came. It’s such a blessing and if any of you wanna stay for a long, long
time, I have extra rooms. And thanks so much.

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