Doris I. Hanson's TestimonyI was born in a family who were members of a group of fundamentalist apostates from Mormonism. The only difference between them and Mormons is about 100 years! My family is polygamist, and my mother was a second wife.
Since my mother was the second wife, our family was necessarily second best. Most second families are considered and treated as second class citizens and live under poverty conditions.
I never knew the love of a father; I didn't even know who he was until I was about ten years old. When we were children, we would wonder where our father was and why we never saw him. A story was fabricated that he was a truck driver, that he worked days and would only come home at nights. We always wondered why he never cared enough to want to see us. I recently learned from my youngest sister that she had been told our dad had been killed in an accident.
During the '50's, the state of Utah decided to prosecute suspected polygamists. When a law is broken, a lie is born: we were grilled incessantly not to talk about our lives. We were instructed what lies to tell to school classmates or teachers. Except for school, we were never allowed to associate with anyone outside of the "group".
We were severely warned that if we ever said anything that resulted in the "Kingdom of God" being found out, that person would be damned to hell as a "Son of Perdition!" We were God's chosen people and we had to be protected. We had to live in secret or we would be prosecuted and then God's work wouldn't survive.
NO ONE in the whole world could go to heaven unless they were in our group. Only we were the holders to the "Kingdom Keys." I never realized until now how selfish, self-exalting, and flesh gratifying this religion is. Never can I remember that they glorified Jesus or God. Self is all that matters. Self to godhood, self to the lusts of polygamy, they even exalted self in church. Jesus didn't die for us, He died for self so He could become a god. I'm still amazed about how little basic Bible doctrine they know, understand, or teach. God's Grace is unknown to them.
Polygamy rages! Some men literally take dozens of wives. Some girls are married off as young as 14 years old. Most women have their children at home, and a lot of us don't even have birth certificates. The more wives a man has the closer he is to godhood. Our eternal destiny is totally dependent on the marriage one entered into while here on earth!
All money and property was turned "in" to them and they dealt it back as they saw fit. Yes, they lust after money too. They have to build a strong kingdom so the world can never destroy them. So they buy businesses - and they have a lot of them.
Heaven was something we earned and godhood was ultimately elusive, but if we were "good enough" here, we would have a chance to become a god after we died. Each deed and thought was judged by God and if it was bad, our name in the book in heaven received a big black mark.
Being good of course included giving everything to the group and living polygamy. Most girls and a lot of the boys are encouraged to drop out of high school. Education is not important if you're doing God's work. Secrecy, fear, guilt and threats of Divine retribution, God's rejection, and punishment are their tools of bondage.
I developed a rebellious attitude at about 12 years old. The older I got the more rebellious I became. By the time I was 16 I knew I was going to run away when I turned 18. I didn't care how or where to; I just knew that I would - and I did!
I had been so brainwashed that when I did leave, I knew I had committed the unforgivable sin. I was convinced that God had always hated me because I had never been good enough, and now He was really angry at me. I was full of guilt and fear. Because of my cautioned and cloistered upbringing, I found it difficult to relate to the outside world. I couldn't confide in anyone. It was so imbedded into me that even now I still find it difficult to do so.
So I wandered in darkness these 27 years, living my life thinking God was perpetually angry with me. Guilt about leaving the group finally left me and I came to believe anything remotely associated with Mormon doctrine, new or old, was wrong. I definitely believed in God, and Jesus - but naturally I had a very distorted view of them. I knew somewhere something was right, but I didn't know what. And I never searched.
During the summer of 1989, a friend loaned me a book called Mama, Mormonism and Me by Thelma Geer. I was reading the book as a mere pastime when a peculiar phrase leapt up at me from the page: "GOD LOVES YOU!" Tears sprang to my eyes. I actually started to cry. I had never heard of God's love before. God loved me? How could this be? I was intrigued - I read on.
I finished the book and was disgusted with the history of the Mormons but needed to know more. I began reading all the literature I could get my hands on regarding Mormonism, and learned all about their deceitful and questionable beginnings. I read Mormonism, Shadow or Reality by Jerald and Sandra Tannner, again given to me by a friend. And then God's Word, Final, Infallible and Forever by Floyd McElveen was also given to me - and that did it!
Ephesians 2:8-9 was the verse. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." I was stunned. Not saved by works? Romans 10:9 told me what I had to believe and I had always believed that! "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Then I came across the sinners prayer - and I couldn't say it. The next day I picked up the book and was pulled back to the prayer. My resistance to saying it this time was weaker. The next day I said the prayer!
I had no idea what had happened to me, not really. I know I devoured the Scriptures. I spent hours and hours, day and night reading the Bible - it absolutely fascinated me. But I didn't really know what had happened to me.
After several weeks, I started having a need to go to church on Sundays. The need became overwhelming - but I was afraid, I was fearful I would choose a church that didn't teach the Bible. After finding out so much about Mormonism, I had a great fear of getting into another kind of false teaching.
I recognize now that the Holy Spirit was causing all my hunger and thirst for God and His Word - and also that it was Him who caused me to need church. It was the Holy Spirit who told me one day to go see Sandra Tanner and seek her advice on which church would be safe.
Four months after my conversion, I attended a real church for the first time in my life - the Christian & Missionary Alliance. It was the Christmas season, and when I walked into the sanctuary the music team was singing Christmas songs - about Jesus! I just stood there and cried and cried. I remember well my thoughts: this is home, I had finally come home. And I was disappointed that all these years I had been missing out on this glorious business of knowing who Jesus REALLY is.
Up to this point I hadn't known any Christians at all. The only one I had even spoken to was Sandra Tanner and that was briefly. Every step of my conversion was done through the work of the Holy Spirit guiding me to the books I needed, to the Christian literature I needed, to the Bible I really needed, and to the church where He wanted me to be. And He guided me to the Lord whom I had never known which is also where He wanted me to be. Praise God!