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Today's feature of
A Living Testimony
by William T.E. Hooper

For almost twenty years I lived under a curse pronounced upon me the day I was excommunicated from the Mormon Church. Twelve grave men sat in a room and condemned me with the words: "This day, by the power given us by Almighty God we are striking your name from the Lamb's Book of Life."  

They told me many things that day among which were the following statements: "The Holy Spirit would no longer be my constant companion; that I could never tithe again; that if I chose to attend church I could not speak to anyone; that my baptism was now null and void; that I was to remove the temple garments I wore twenty-four hours a day, garments I once swore in the church's Salt Lake Temple to wear all the days of my life when I agreed to give the Lord two years of my life as a missionary and finally that the only way this curse could be removed was through a broken, contrite heart by repenting before God of my sin and being re-baptized."

Before I go any further I want to say that I have forgiven those men. They did what they thought was right because I had fallen into sin.   
About a year after returning from the mission field, living on my own I was desperately lonely. I had gone to work as a car salesman because I felt I needed a car to drive if I was ever going to meet someone to date. The job was less than fulfilling because the business itself had many questionable practices that spoke against what I believed in. I moved from dealership to dealership looking for one that dealt honestly with their customers.  

Though I attended church I was gnawed by doubt, not about God Himself but rather the church and its teachings. When I asked questions I frequently got told off about my lack of faith rather than receiving the answers I was looking for. I stopped praying regularly. Then one night, a man who lived just down the hall from me at the YMCA where we were staying asked if I would give him and a friend a ride to the local university campus. I had no idea when he asked that his friend was a beautiful young woman from Trinidad.   I think I fell in love with her that very night. I was twenty-two at the time and she was nineteen.

Less than two months later, after spending nearly every free minute of my time with her we made love for the first time. We were both virgins on the night we consummated our love and from that moment on we could not bear to be apart. My conscience told me from the start that what I was doing was not right but I ignored the warning and rationalized my behavior. Was it wrong to make love to someone you loved I asked? Could something so wonderful be wrong? What difference did a marriage license make anyway?  

When the school year ended she flew back to Trinidad for the summer break. I longed for her to return. While she was away I applied and was accepted to the same university. When she finally arrived I left my job to go to school and convinced her to give up her apartment and come live with me. I continued to attend church but my conscience nagged me incessantly, condemning me as a hypocrite. I was constantly worried that someone from the church would find out but continued to rationalize my actions.

Before the second semester began I asked her to marry me. She accepted but we didn't set a date.   Her mother flew to Canada to meet me and my family. I spent a great deal of time thinking about our future together, the children we would have but all the while the guilt inside me grew and we began to fight.
I talked to her about God. She was not a member of the church but consented to attend a social function with me one night, a dance. The reception she got was polite but frosty. This was many years before the church's leader claimed to receive a revelation about God in His Grace giving His consent for blacks to be welcomed into the Mormon priesthood and share as equals in the blessings in the church.

Not long after that night I literally could not deal with my conscience a minute longer. I surrendered to it and presented myself to the local church leaders and freely confessed my sin. I was excommunicated not long after. Our relationship did not survive the test.  

I was baptized a Mormon at eight years of age and knew nothing about God except what the Mormons taught me. They claim to be the only true church on the face of the earth. They claim the gospel was taken from the earth shortly after Jesus was crucified and restored by a modern prophet in the 1830's, a man by the name of Joseph Smith. They do not focus on Jesus at all but rather on their living prophet, a man they claim receives direct guidance from God for the membership. A man they claim who holds the "fullness of the priesthood" which has been passed on from the days of Joseph Smith who they claim received it from Peter, James and John in a divine visitation. They have "a form of godliness but deny the power thereof!"  

For nearly twenty years I believed with all my heart that unless I humbled myself, and went back to the Mormon church, I was going straight to hell on the day that I died. What I didn't know was that the Lord, my God, had moved upon the heart of my wife Debbie to pray for me, for my salvation - a call she faithfully obeyed, bless her heart, for more than ten years. My moment arrived about six months before my forty-fifth birthday.  

For years I had sensed what I can only call a deep hole in my heart, a God sized hole I knew only He could fill. I occasionally watched sermons from Billy Graham and others but continued to believe the lie the devil planted in my heart as a child. Only Mormons get God's best, the so-called celestial kingdom. Mormonism teaches that other Christian denominations are blinded by the devil to the truth and so end up in something they call the terrestrial kingdom, a decision God makes (they say) based on how well these people did what their respective churches taught. The Bible says "You are saved by Grace and not by works." Their missionary program is devoted to opening people's eyes to the truth of their restored gospel when Scripture teaches that the Lord, our God, always "reserves a remnant for Himself." The prophet Daniel in chapter 2 taught King Nebuchadnezzar from his dream that "the God of Heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed" but I'm getting ahead of myself.  

On a cold Sunday morning in January of 1997 I was flipping through channels on the TV when I came across a sermon on forgiveness. As I said earlier, over the years I had from time to time watched that kind of thing and decided to listen for a few minutes. Something stirred in my heart as I did and, when the sermon ended, I got out the TV guide to find out if it was a regular broadcast. When I realized it was, I made a mental note to watch it again the following week. The Bible says "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.. and how shall they hear without someone to preach?"  

On the following Sunday I almost forgot to watch but the thought came to me in the nick of time. Once again, I felt a stir in my heart. It was sufficient to move me to set up our VCR to tape the show just in case I forgot. This went on for nearly five weeks. Around the third week I happened to mention what I had been doing to my wife who held her peace. I can't explain this next part very well but when this minister turned to the viewing audience in that fifth week and said "if you don't know Jesus and would like to come to know him now, then stand up wherever you are and pray this prayer with me." I stood up, on my own, in the middle of my living room and began to weep uncontrollably. "You can forgive me, you can forgive me" I wept as I turned to the Lord and asked Him to come into my heart. That day, I was born again. I didn't know it at the time but my life has never been the same since. That day, the Lord filled me with an ineffable sense of joy and peace beyond my ability to find words to describe.

One day not long after I was on my own again, expressing my joy to the Lord for His forgiveness and whether you accept this or not I tell you from the bottom of my heart, it's true. The Lord spoke to me, He literally spoke to me. Three words. "Welcome home Bill." I will never forget that moment.   What a journey we have been on ever since.

The Lord has spent many months showing me how the Mormons have been led astray. If you are a Mormon reading this, put aside your Book of Mormon for a while. You say, in your faith, that the Holy Bible is one of the four standard works. Please, please read it. Read it out loud (because faith comes by hearing). Read it exclusively for a season. Ask the Lord to show you His truth. Pay specific attention to Romans 10 verse 9. Your church does not teach this.   Neither does it teach what Jesus told Nicodemus. "You must be born again or you cannot enter Heaven." Until you "confess with your mouth and believe with your heart," as a little child would, that Jesus is Lord and that you want more than anything else for Jesus to come into your heart, He won't.   Until you do this, the words "born again" are just words on a page. Until you EXPERIENCE the new birth, like Nicodemus, you will always wonder "can a man re-enter his mother's womb." Remember "all Scripture is God breathed" and the Lord our God said in His Holy Word "there is only One mediator between man and God, the man Christ Jesus." Your way is closest to the way of the Old Testament where a prophet was necessary because Christ had yet to die for our sins. Jesus said "unless I go you cannot receive the comforter (the Holy Spirit)." The Word of God says, speaking about the Holy Spirit, that "He will show you things to come." That is the whole point. The sacrifice Jesus made for you gives you the right to "go boldly before the throne of God." without the need to consult what the Old Testament refers to as "the man of God." Prophecy, the New Testament teaches, is one of the gifts of the Spirit. These gifts are not for one man, or even a group of men, but for all men and all women - if they receive Jesus Christ as Lord and BELIEVE, praise GOD!!   Your prophet is a false prophet and God Himself will be more than pleased to testify of this to you.

If I can help you at all, in any way, by showing you the Scriptures the Lord has shown me, Scriptures that bear witness you are on the wrong path, then email me at and I will be honored to help. If you prefer to speak to someone other than me, people who have not been excommunicated but left the church of their own free will then look for a group called Ex-Mormons for Jesus.   For anyone who reads this I bear you my witness. Jesus is alive and well. God our Father is a good God who will forgive ANYTHING if only you will approach Him through the shed blood of His Dear Son. It doesn't matter what you've done there is a drop of His Blood just for you. God loves you more than you will ever know.. so much He has given you this absolute right - "Choose this day, life or death.. but choose life."    

William T.E. Hooper August 1999 A son of the Most High God His Grace

Testimonies collected are submissions from readers (unless otherwise noted).
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January 16, 2000

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