I recently saw a story on CNN about an apostate leaving the Church. He has now decided to make it his life’s goal to bring down the truth and attack the simple faith of his former brothers and sisters. This has sadly been a common pattern for those that reject the truth. His actions are part of a larger effort against faith which has resulted in frequent bad press over the past few months. Much of this has been the result of our stance on marriage, with people who don’t really understand our doctrine criticizing us for being frauds or even evil.
This is a pattern prophesied in the scriptures. God’s one true Church on earth will be attacked and criticized, our leaders slandered and sometimes jailed. But God must try His people. Our faith must be tested.
Many of our trials will not make sense to us. One trial for me was when I learned about our prophet marrying 12 year old and 16 year old girls. Some people said that his intimacy with them constituted pedophilia. When these events are taken out of context, they can be shocking or disturbing to the uninformed like they were to me.
But in reality, these things shouldn’t matter to us. For the faithful, our prophet is God’s spokesman on Earth. If God commanded it, then who are we to question its morality? As members fall away over these single events, they forget the goodness that the Church has brought them. They give up the light in their lives and choose darkness by letting go of the Iron Rod and wandering towards the great and spacious building to mock and laugh at us. Thus we see the true separation of the wheat and the tares – people can leave the Church, but they can’t leave it alone.
I acknowledge that it is hard keeping faith when so many “antis” are attacking our beliefs. Remember: doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. Lean on the miraculous and powerful evidence of the Book of Mormon. It is evidence that Joseph Smith truly was a prophet, and that the authority to lead and guide was passed down to Brigham Young who led the Saints west, then to John Taylor, who revealed God’s will in the 1886 revelation. The Book of Mormon is unique to our faith, and it is the cornerstone that I lean on when modern Gadianton robbers come knocking.
Besides, what would happen if I leave? What would happen to the precious truths of the gospel, like eternal families, modern-day prophets, and the atonement of Jesus Christ? We see through glass darkly. Are just a few stumbling blocks worth giving the precious things up? We don’t have the whole picture about these events, but don’t give up your whole testimony for simply lacking answers. Leaving the Church over the actions of its prophet will never be a problem if your testimony is rooted in the foundation of Jesus Christ.
No matter how difficult it gets, no matter how tough persecution becomes, I know that this is is Jesus Christ’s Church. Everything else is just side noise, and all of this is fundamentally about Him. Because of my faith in him, I will always stand by His prophet, Warren S. Jeffs. I know that the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s one true Church. I know this by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have taken Moroni’s promise and tested it. When I prayed, my chest burned with a sure witness that NO ONE can ever take away from me. This is His Church. This is His will. And even when I can’t understand the whole picture, I will always choose to believe.