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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 into the church."

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 indeed 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. The job was less than fulfilling because the business had many questionable practices that spoke against what I believed in. I moved from dealership to dealership looking for one that dealt honestly with its 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 asked if I would give him and a friend of his 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 and the children we would have. But all the while guilt kept growing inside me, 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 so they could share as equals in the church's blessings.

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.  

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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. They claim he 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. They completely ignore what the Bible says, that "You are saved by Grace and not by works, lest any man should boast." 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." Or in plain words, He would never permit his truth to be removed from the Earth even if it meant only "a remnant" was aware of it at any particular point in time. 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." That kingdom was established by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ during His ministry among us. In the dream the metaphor God uses is "a rock that will never be moved." How is it possible for something to be "restored" if it can "never be moved?" If the gospel had been removed as the Mormons teach then God would be a liar and we know from Scripture that "He cannot lie" but I'm getting ahead of myself. 

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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," 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 a 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 can accept this or not I tell you the truth from the bottom of my heart. The Lord spoke to me. He literally spoke to me. Three words. "Welcome home Bill." I will never forget that moment as long as I live.    What a journey we have been on ever since.

The Lord has spent many months showing me how 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 wtehooper@home.com 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 reserved 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, by His Grace

 

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