You are hereI Was a Mormon: Tara Sivulka
I Was a Mormon: Tara Sivulka
I just wanted to share with you my story of grace so you can more fully understand why we do what we do. Rob Sivulka is definitely more on the truth end of things and I am on the grace end, but whatever the approach our goal is the same. I pray that you would read my testimony and not go by emotions, but by the facts. I know some of what I say will well up anger or frustration in some of you (it did in me when I was first confronted that Mormons are not Christian), but please see past those feelings. To set the tone here, I would like to share with you this verse: "but the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith" (1 Timothy 1:5).
I grew up in Utah, and came from a solid Mormon family. My mom worked at BYU, and my dad went on a mission and served in the Church. When I was 15 I had the shock of my life when my father was killed in an accident. I stayed active in the Church and served in my Young Women's class, but inside I was a mess. I didn't understand why God took my dad and why I was not receiving comfort from God. I grew more and more bitter, and eventually I became so rebellious, I ended up pregnant at 17. I then found myself in a horrible marriage, and by the time I was 21, I was going through a nasty divorce. I moved to Dallas, Texas and knew I needed to get right with God, so I went to the local Mormon Church. That Sunday I was so broken and needed comfort. I went to sacrament meeting, but not once was Jesus mentioned... except at the end of prayer. Relief Society was all about how to serve your husband well. Needless to say, it wasn't really what I needed at the time.
I had a friend named Molly Winebrenner (now Ansley) who invited me to her Christian church (Northwest Bible) and I thought, "Well, I am a Christian," so I went. Well the whole sermon was on having a personal relationship with Christ that was independent of one's worthiness to be in it.
This was a whole new concept. Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie said,
"We worship the Father and him only and no one else. We do not worship the Son, and we do not worship the Holy Ghost." McConkie went on to say, "Our relationship with the Father is supreme, paramount, and preeminent over all others. He is the God we worship. ...Our relationship with the Father is one of parent and child. ...He is the one to whom we have direct access by prayer, and if there were some need--which there is not!--to single out one member of the Godhead for a special relationship, the Father, not the Son, would be the one to choose. Our relationship with the Son is one of brother or sister in the premortal life and one of being led to the Father by him while in this mortal sphere." Then McConkie chided those that "[i]n an effort to be truer than true they devote themselves to gaining a special, personal relationship with Christ that is both improper and perilous. ...Another peril is that those so involved often begin to pray directly to Christ because of some special friendship they feel has been developed. ...This is plain sectarian nonsense. Our prayers are addressed to the Father, and to him only."
And the Book of Mormon claims that "we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do" (2 Nephi 25:23, emphasis added).
But after listening to the sermon at the Christian church, I thought, "Wow, I can do this." I was looking for the quick fix, but found myself still living in rebellion. It took about 4 years and the failing of a serious relationship to humble myself and really see my sinful nature and my deep need for Christ. On October 9th of 2003 I gave my life to the Lord, and it is through my relationship with Him that I have found healing and hope.
Once I gave my life to the Lord I knew I was different, but I wasn't sure what exactly was different. I knew it was different though, and I wanted to share it with the everyone, but mostly my family. I tried to talk to my mom, but was constantly reminded that "the Mormon Church is the only true church" and that Mormons were Christian. The more I studied the Bible, the more I was convinced that Mormons weren't Christian, but I was still confused on exactly why. Well, I have a great Christian friend, Bekah Self (my shepherd at Watermark Community Church), who referred me to Rob's website (MormonInfo.org), and I began to be able to clearly communicate the differences between Mormons and Christians. I also came to find out the Book of Mormon, unlike the Bible, had no historical basis. None of the New World places mentioned in the Book of Mormon have ever been found, there were no artifacts to support the Book of Mormon, and even the DNA evidence of Native Americans being Jewish was not in line.
Also, Joseph Smith did have a good reason to make up the Book of Mormon... for fame and glory. Mormons elevate him above any other prophet. See, in our sinful nature we have a desire to elevate ourselves. Smith even went on to say that if you are worthy enough, you can elevate yourself to becoming a God. But the Bible says that there are no Gods formed before or after the Lord (see Isaiah 43:10).
As a Christian, I struggled with the thought that when I was LDS, "I felt the Holy Spirit" and "I saw miracles." See, the Mormon Faith is based on "good feelings;" that's how you know it's true. You are told to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. I had done this as well, and I knew it was true. As I studied the Bible though, I noticed time and time again that people were deceived by what they "felt in their heart," and I realized that my faith could not be based on feelings alone. It needed to be rooted in truth. Then the Holy Spirit would convict me of my need and convince me of truth. My faith is now based on historical proof as well as the convictions from the Holy Spirit.
The Mormon Church is very attractive with its commitment to families, good works, following the commandments, but at the root, it's empty. Jesus is not at the center... even though it is called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Bible warns that even Satan transforms himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
I want you to know that I am telling you all these things because that is what God has commanded us. "Go therefore make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20). My desire is to draw you to the Lord and to let Him convince you of the truth. May God direct your path and may you truly have a relationship with Him.
To watch my video testimony, click here.