Why I Stay

There have been too many “high-profile” LDS folk taking their stories to blogs, social media, and to traditional media, for me not to address the topic of popularity, right now.

I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have been my whole life. Lest you think that is somehow a disqualifier for my experience, let’s add that I walked away from church pretty early, at ~13 years old. I didn’t go back for years, and the LDS church was the last place I went. As a teen I styled myself the god of my world. I had an arrogant distain for believers, and when they popped up in my life I verbally beat them down with my cynical logic and twisted reason as often as I could. It doesn’t take long of that kind of treatment to have a person either sympathize with you or leave your life. I made some of my own converts in the process. This went on for years.

Then, as so often happens, the “carefree” and falsely independent bubble of youth popped, and I found myself alone on an hour plus bus ride confronting a heart wrenching death. I had received some news, terrible news at the time, and I couldn’t bear it. Not even a little. As I slumped down in my chair and rested my knees on the bench in front of me, my heart slowed. Enough to scare me. Enough to think that perhaps my life was in danger.

I wondered what could be done. I was on a bus with two other people and the driver. I didn’t think to say anything or try to get help. It felt like all perceived meaning and goodness had been stripped from my life. My breath slowed to the point of feeling nonexistent. My poor heart muscles were taking the lion’s share of whatever chemical cocktail my mental state was producing. And I was slipping away in the process.

An idea came to me. I had been taught to pray. Why not give it a shot? “It can’t hurt. And if God isn’t there, nothing changes. But maybe He can help”, I thought.  To be clear, even the idea of praying was muddy. It wasn’t some brilliant flash of light that crossed my mind, it was a desperate, feeble, last-ditch idea that I figured had little chance of helping.

At the ripe age of 21 I confess I had only said one sincere prayer before that, to my memory, when I was 12. The forms had left me (not that I think they matter much in situations like these), but the content was clear. And honest. Maybe honest for the very first time.

“God, if you are there, just let me live ten more minutes. And if you’ll do that, I’ll do whatever you want for the rest of my life.”

Immediately, immediately, I felt better. Still in pain? Yes. In danger? No. Was it a hallucination? No. I had experienced hallucination. This was real.

I wasn’t alone! And I was going to be ok.

Since I had promised, I started looking for Him. Everywhere. Buddhism, Taoism, New Age philosophers, old christian texts, wherever. But not with the Mormons. There was no way I was going to pay any attention to them. I had already proven them naive and sheep-like, mindless followers of fragile and incompetent men, in so many ways and on so many occasions, why would I bother?

As my search continued, I finally acknowledged that my current inquiries weren’t getting me far, and that I would at least have to try out the Mormons at some point. I had to find Him so I could keep my promise.

I spent a little of my pay check on an old baggy suit from a second hand store and set out to check out the Mormons. I’ve written about that experience elsewhere. For the first handful of times being with them, I didn’t feel a thing. No glimpse of truth, no feeling like I belonged or even a feeling of familiarity. It was foreign to me.

Praise God for it, my best friend had started on a similar journey around the same time, and invited me to go up to Weber State University to the LDS Institute to a meeting one night. Reluctantly I came. How wonderful it is that I went.

This building will always be dear to me in a very personal way.

This building will always be dear to me in a very personal way.

It was a somewhat non-descript meeting. An older gentleman was talking about different experiences he had that were faith promoting. I don’t remember perceiving a coherent thread to the speech. Somewhere around the halfway mark, the room went silent for me, and what felt like a joyous lightning in my bones coupled with flashes of unearthly clarity burst all over me.

It was true. All of it. 

The bible stories, the Book of Mormon, the history of Joseph Smith, the modern restored church. It was all true. Gloriously true. Magically true. And it was clear to me in a way I’d never experienced in any situation. It wasn’t an epiphany, I’d experienced that many times. It was pure knowledge being poured in to my soul at a level that made the rest of the meeting almost unbearable. I was sitting in a pressure cooker of joy and knowing. I wanted to jump up and shout, “It’s true!”

But I didn’t. I just sat there, quietly smiling, waiting for a chance to say something to someone who would understand.

The meeting ended and I more or less grabbed a cookie at the mix and mingle and dragged Chad outside and shouted in his face, “Dude! It’s true! All of it!

More or less unaffected, Chad responded, “Yeah, I know.”

“No man, you don’t understand! It’s all true! The whole thing!”

“Yeah, I know.”

This could have gone on for hours. Chad had long since had his own witness of the truth, and as happy as he was for me, and he was happy for me, my experience was mine in that moment and try as I might I couldn’t share it to the same effect.

Over the next 18 months my whole life changed. Thanks to some great new kind and patient friends, and some accepting old friends*, I cleaned up my life and left on a two year mission to spread the gospel.

And that’s why I stay.

I stay because I know it is true. Time has dimmed my memory just a little bit, and I don’t always have present the feelings of that night, and life certainly has thrown a number of curve balls in my direction, but I stay because I know it is true.

And I made a promise. A promise I intend to keep.

I acknowledge that any organization, even Christ’s organization on the earth, is made up of men, fallible men. I acknowledge that histories are sometimes cloudy and circumstances are almost unrelatable to just a hundred years later. I acknowledge the stumbling and the reaching and the mistakes of the organization, without detracting from the truth that this is God’s church, that I know it, and that He knows I know it.

I stay because I have felt indescribable joy on more than a handful of occasions during religious service. I stay because my life is easier when I take the time to pray and have a relationship with my Father in Heaven. I stay because the Book of Mormon, just reading the words even if I’m not thinking about them particularly hard, calms my mind and soothes my soul. I stay because I made promises and covenants I have no intention of breaking. I stay because every week when I attend our meetings and participate in the reenactment of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, I feel a renewal, a physical and emotional renewal. I stay because I know that my sins have been forgiven because I no longer feel the sting of guilt for them. I stay because even in dark hours of difficulty and pain, I’ve never been left alone again.

I stay because I can’t pretend I don’t know these things. I know them. Leaving, and saying I don’t know them, would be a bald-faced lie.

I acknowledge that my experience isn’t typical and that many of us have serious doubts and real problems. I acknowledge that many of you might be dealing with pressures and problems I don’t understand and can’t understand.

To any of you struggling because you haven’t had these kind of faith building experiences, or haven’t had visions, or inspired dreams, or experienced a surety like I describe, I say:

Don’t give up.

9 Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.

And remember what the Lord said to Thomas?

29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

I haven’t seen with my eyes either, and I feel like I am blessed along with those who believe. You can have that same blessing.

One of my close friends told me recently that she hadn’t ever really had a clear answer to prayer, except to feel peace. My testimony to her and to you is that God gives peace, the world doesn’t. As someone who never felt any real or lasting peace for the majority of my youth, I testify that God is the author of peace, and no one else. If you feel peace, you feel God. What clearer answer do you need?

When you are doubting, look for the ways that God influences and participates in your life instead of counting the places you feel He is missing. Be believing,  even if you have to believe someone else’s testimony.

The Lord makes a promise to those that believe on other people’s words and experiences:

2 And again, more blessed are they who shall believe in your words because that ye shall testify that ye have seen me, and that ye know that I am. Yea, blessed are they who shall believe in your words, and come down into the depths of humility and be baptized, for they shall be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and shall receive a remission of their sins.

I haven’t seen the Lord like the Nephite disciples. I haven’t had a vision of God and the Son like Joseph. But I am a witness of the truth of His message and His messengers. I have felt the Holy Ghost and have received a remission of my sins. God inspires men, and he can inspire you, too. Don’t give up. Don’t let the wagging tongues get you down.

It’s worth it.

It’s all worth it.

If you are a believer, and want to share why you stay, use #whyIstay when you share so I can hear from you. Thanks!

 

*Special thanks and shouts to my brothers Chad Zaugg and Keith Neville for being my company and my guide so long ago, and to my sister Tracy for being a great example of being a believer and practicing forgiveness. To everyone who ever attended the Bair Canyon Branch in 1996-2000 you’ll always have a piece of my heart (it’s where I left from to go on my mission and where I met my wife!). To Tyler White and Royce Jacobs thank you for the priesthood ordinations.

107 Comments

  1. Jonathan February 8, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    Well said, Tyler. We all have and up and down times in the church but it is still the best route we can take.

  2. TY February 8, 2015 at 11:14 am #

    I had a very similar experience regarding the knowledge that Joseph Smith was a prophet. No matter what happens I cannot stray because of that. When I have distanced myself, each time I pick up the Book of Mormon, I am brought home again.

  3. Christy Parry February 8, 2015 at 11:43 am #

    Tyler, thank you.

  4. Greg February 8, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

    Very nice, thanks for sharing.

  5. Marci February 8, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

    Thank you for your heartfelt story. You are awesome.

  6. Tom February 8, 2015 at 6:08 pm #

    i had similar experience in 1974. I was gone for 6 years before I was miraculously lead back.

  7. Julie February 8, 2015 at 6:25 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this. It is not easy, especially at this time, to open your mouth and open yourself to ridicule from others. Thank you so much.

  8. Melissa February 8, 2015 at 7:44 pm #

    amen and amen!

  9. Gage February 8, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

    This is one of the most manipulative pieces of writing I have seen in a long while. Perhaps we are all simultaneously confused about what brains do while deprived of oxygen?

  10. CS Hughes February 8, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

    Great work Tyler. And I love your description of pure knowledge (intelligence) pooring into you. That is much more accurate “fruit” of the spirit then Paul describes to the Galations. There is a seemingly endless list of problems, incongruencies and flat out terrible historic events which challenge the faith of even the most faithful Saints. But in the end, as you say, the GOSPEL IS TRUE! Not perfect…. Far from it. Just true. 🙂 I pity those who leave, for whatever reason. Where do they go to find a more sensible & rich theology? Were I ever taken from the church, I wouldn’t go to any church. None has or could capture my heart. On second thought, I’d rock some Joel Olsteen! He’s just a personal development speaker who throws a whole lot of Jesus in his talks. If I were to lose the LDS doctrine, I could easily rock some Joel Olsteen cotton candy. And I say that with lots of love and respect!! He’s the man!!!

  11. Big Cow February 8, 2015 at 9:00 pm #

    This came up on my facebook feed and I decided to take a look; I usually don’t follow faith-promoting links from my facebook feed since I am no longer a spiritual person and I haven’t been an active Mormon for probably 10 years now.

    I guess I found this interesting since I was just having a conversation with a friend this week about why Christians generally believe the Bible is “true” as we would say in Mormonism. This post embodies the typical Mormon response to the question of “why do you believe in the Book of Mormon/God/the Church generally” – and that response is something along the line of “because I felt something”. Something good. Something peaceful. Something comforting.

    I suppose you could say that epistemologically speaking Mormons are OK with the idea that you can discern truth through feelings. There are many implications to this – not the least of which is that the truth claims of Mormonism are impervious to reason, because one’s beliefs, while perhaps (though by no means necessarily) supported by reason, are not fundamentally based on reason. One’s beliefs are based on how one has *felt*.

    There are other implications to this however as well, which I have only occasionally countenanced in Mormonism. The primary of which to me is, how is one supposed to interpret negative feelings? Why is it that when you feel peace and love and joy in Church or reading the Book of Mormon but when you feel awful or confused or alone in church or reading the book of Mormon, these negative feelings are not indicative of truth? What do you say to someone who sits in church and thinks “This is a stifling, repressive cult and I can’t believe I didn’t see it before, and I need to get out now?” You can of course submit evidence against the truth claims as to whether the LDS church is in fact repressive or cultlike (whatever those ideas may mean to you), but, like your beliefs, mine are not necessarily subject to reason. That is simply how I feel.

    Why is it that your feelings indicate truth but mine do not? Or is it really the case that feelings are not a good method of determining truth? Didn’t Jesus feel abandoned when he was on the cross? Do you think God really had forsaken Him? Or did he just feel that way? If your answer is that God did in fact abandon him for that time he was feeling abandoned, does that mean that I have been abandoned by God for many many years, since I have felt such?

    I remember years and years ago I think it was in a talk by Richard G. Scott at conference, where he mentioned that a testimony is not emotion, rather it is the culmination of years of correct choices made through faith or something like that. That was news to me, and I don’t think that’s a terribly popular notion in Mormonism. To some extent I think Moroni’s promise is the foundation of Mormon emotional epistemology, although I also don’t think Joseph Smith really pushed it that much.

    In the end, I think Mormons would be better off not relying on these feelings they have had in the past of some kind of transcendence. Because one day the darkness will come and then what do you have? You now have an emotional testimony being challenged by emotion – like a new, irrepressible contrary fact invading an argument you thought you had already won. I think there’s a reason the first principle of the gospel is faith and not knowledge. Faith is not dependent on how you feel or have felt or will feel. To have faith is a choice that you can make, a choice to believe. To faith, all the claims of truth really don’t matter at all, because a choice really isn’t about being *convinced*, it’s about being *committed*.

  12. Amy Graham February 8, 2015 at 9:28 pm #

    I appreciated your words so much. It seems much more “in style” nowadays to talk about the doubts and skepticism we have rather than the experiences that have strengthened our faith. I too have received my own witness from God of His love, of His Son’s divine mission and the church’s truthfulness. And I chose to trust God’s witness more than man’s opinions. :). Thank you again! I shared this!

  13. CS Hughes February 8, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

    Very well thought out reply. Smart. I think you are right. Too many in the church are guided by emotion, when sometimes the spirit may be present in conjunction with that feeling, and sometimes not. I think the D&C does the best job of describing “fruits” of the spirit. Pure intelligence. When I’m “feeling” the spirit, my mind is quickened and enlightened, knowledge downloads into my mind without exhaustion of effort or time. I have had these experiences in my study of the restored gospel, and I’ve never had them in the study of another churches dogma or doctrine. I do not chose Mormonism because of “a feeling.” I chose it because of the Spirit of God led me here and the Spirit of God keeps me here, even in the face of all the silliness and errors and historical incongruencies and blemishes.

  14. Karen February 8, 2015 at 9:48 pm #

    Thank you for articulating and sharing this. I add my testimony to yours. It is true, and God wants only peace and happiness and love for us. Those who aren’t there yet will argue and criticize, but God loves them, and we love them, and hope they will find the simple truth that it’s all true. Some of us were there at one time, more or less. 🙂

  15. Josh February 8, 2015 at 9:56 pm #

    I agree with big cow. The same peaceful, calming feeling that affirms your faith also affirms the faith of billions of adherents of other faiths. Feelings aren’t a reliable yard stick.

  16. Timothy February 8, 2015 at 10:01 pm #

    Thanks you so much for sharing this! Your story really touched me. I was wondering though, what does the article have to do with the topic / concern you brought up in the first paragraph? “There have been too many “high-profile” LDS folk taking their stories to blogs, social media, and to traditional media, for me not to address the topic of popularity, right now.”

  17. Big cow February 8, 2015 at 10:07 pm #

    I am curious then, if it’s not a feeling that you feel, how have you determined that the intelligence you find coming into your mind is from God, and not Satan, or schizophrenia or Minerva? And of what benefit to you is this intelligence? Is it telling how to better love your neighbor, honor your parents and be a home teacher or is it telling you dates and locations of obscure Joseph Smith revelations? And how do u know that this intelligence is correct? Or don’t you? What exactly is the spirit doing to lead you and keep you if not making you feel a certain way? Are you seeing visions or signs instead? I don’t mean to be snippy or facetious – it’s been a long time really since I thought about this kind of thing.

  18. Mike johnson February 8, 2015 at 10:31 pm #

    After reading your article intently I just want to thank you for sharing your point of view. Your conclusions do not resonate with me and after 10 years of study, prayer, and humble contemplation my conclusion is that the church is not true or divine. My wife and were married in the Salt Lake temple and both served missions and are of pioneer stock. It took courage to leave with so much peer pressure to stay but we honored our pioneer heritage and did what we knew to be right.
    I honor your decision to stay. It is my hope that the readers of this article will realize that it is possible to come to the opposite conclusion from a perspective of strength. After all we should “do what is right let the consequence follow.”

  19. Allison February 8, 2015 at 10:58 pm #

    Dear “Big Cow” (Curious about that nickname… :)),

    Sure, we’ve all had spiritual experiences where we “feel” the church is true, but it goes way beyond that. We reason all the time — we have questions and we search for answers. We study scriptures and ask questions and discuss with our families and in Sunday School and so on. And we find answers. In books, in talks, on our knees, and so on. I have two friends in my ward right now. One is a university professor, another a college student. Both spent about two years studying the church. Studying, reasoning, and praying, until they came to a knowledge of the truth.

    We have dark times. We question…”what if this isn’t true?” And we think and ask and pray and reason, and we find answers and the Spirit testifies it is true, and our testimony is stronger and our faith builds…. I’m not saying all this well, but it’s all just so much bigger than just a feeling. It’s hearing a voice in my mind in the temple, and knowing my best friend who was in a scary situation was in the Lord’s hands and I needed to change what I was praying for. It’s having a relationship with Heavenly Father and feeling His love. It’s repenting of sins and feeling them lifted (a physical feeling of bricks taken off my shoulders) and knowing the Savior is my Redeemer. It’s having a prompting and knowing when my Dad was in the hospital far away that I was to jump on a plane the next day. It’s not just in the heart — it is also in our minds. It’s reading the scriptures and gaining knowledge. It’s going to the temple and literally feeling my eyes opened, and gaining a deeper understanding of the doctrine and plan of salvation.

    Feelings alone don’t tell us something is true. We have to search and pray and ASK GOD.

    Now after saying all that, ultimately the Holy Ghost testifies of truth, and for some crazy reason those experiences are more powerful than seeing with our eyes. I can tell you of times I’ve been overcome by the spirit. Can’t remember dates and names and facts but I can remember that feeling. Why is it so powerful? People all through the scriptures see and don’t believe, but feel the Spirit and are converted. It’s interesting to me that’s how the Lord works.

    Didn’t quite follow your comments on faith. But when we believe, then the evidence comes (Hebrews 11:1).

    Sorry to feel you’ve felt abandoned by God. Do you pray to Him? Ask Him for help? Sometimes help does not come quickly, for me at times it’s been at the last minute, but I know it comes.

    Best,
    Allison

  20. Cassandra February 9, 2015 at 12:12 am #

    Thank you for sharing your story, my 14 yr old daughter is struggling with doubts and I pray that I can reach her. Every week we have the missionaries over! I really love your story and I intend on sharing it with her:)

  21. Dan February 9, 2015 at 12:32 am #

    For me, I know that it is from God because as I receive the knowledge and follow it, it brings me happiness. That is also the same reason it benefits me. As I continue to seek knowledge through study and prayer, I gain greater understanding line upon line and it brings me greater joy and happiness.
    Sure it may be connected to a feeling. However, I have felt negative feelings and in some cases followed where they led me but I did not experience happiness. In the end it’s a choice, do I want to feel happiness or otherwise? If we are honest with ourselves, I think we know if we are truly happy or if we are just trying to convince ourselves that we are.
    It’s also not to say that someone of another faith can’t experience that happiness either. Any true seeker of truth can experience it. That is how you can know it’s truth.

  22. Chavez February 9, 2015 at 1:16 am #

    So you had a feeling of “joyous lightning” in your bones and therefore, “It was true. All of it.” I’m not doubting that you had a profound experience, but this is such a non sequitur. It’s the epitome of illogical. And it’s why billions of people around the world are convinced their mutually contradictory religions are true. “All of it.” See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycUvC9s4VYA&t=26s

  23. Jen February 9, 2015 at 1:43 am #

    Thank you for the poignant reminder of my own conversion, similar to yours. I was 13 when I disregarded all teachings of this church and their members, mostly because of the people and their behavior. I was almost 20 when I had a similar experience in the midst of a major crisis and heard a voice tell me to pray. I admit, I scoffed at the idea, but when one has hit the bottom, anything is worth the try. I had the most spiritual experience of my life that night, one I will never forget or deny. It took a few years to bring me back around to the faith of my mother, the LDS Church, but I haven’t looked back. I continue to struggle and my daughters have had a rough time in the youth program, but we continue to press forward and attend our meetings and hold our heads up knowing that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father, that he wants us to be there and he is watching over us.

  24. Annette February 9, 2015 at 2:59 am #

    Try this: taste a strawberry then explain to someone what it tasted like or felt like or smelled like. Can’t do it? Me neither. It is an experiential thing that can’t really be shared, even if two people taste the same strawberry. Our experience is our own. Kind of like trying to share the experience of receiving pure knowledge from God. It is great! It is true! And we want to share the experience, and we try so diligently! And perhaps our encouragement will help someone seek their own experience, either with strawberries or God… sometimes we have keep tasting till we find a sweet one, home grown, not genetically modified to look prettier or last longer… just a real strawberry, or a real whisper, a real feeling, a real warmth, a real hug from God. And when you’ve tasted it, you know it!

  25. secchione9 February 9, 2015 at 5:18 am #

    You’re in good company! Press on! 🙂

  26. Mary Ewer February 9, 2015 at 5:52 am #

    Thank you for sharing! I think it can be so easy to get caught up with social issues surrounding us, that the basic truths get buried. I felt the spirit strongly as I read your testimony.

  27. Cindy February 9, 2015 at 7:16 am #

    Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

    Beloved, feel your feelings and pray your prayers, but test them all against the scriptures.

    Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11

  28. Ben February 9, 2015 at 7:45 am #

    I wouldn’t be too hard on those who believe in Christ but have lost all faith in the institutional church. Much of the sentiment can be summarized in our own scriptures in juxtaposition with the church’s January address.

    “If you want to see the light of heaven, if you want to feel the inspiration of Almighty God, if you want to have that feeling within your bosom that your Heavenly Father is guiding you, then follow the prophets of God. When you follow the prophets, you will be in safe territory.” (Ensign, Jan 2015 First Presidency message)

    Now contrast that with what our owns scriptures say:

    2 Nephi 4

    34. O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.

    2 Nephi 28

    5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;

    Many of these popular bloggers are doing their best to give warning to those inside the church following their leaders despite so many warnings against us in our own scriptures about the dangers of following men instead of God.

    When a blogger sees wrongs committed by church leadership, he/she has a right to point them out. It can’t hurt us to rethink the implications of following after these men. The church leadership cutting off any criticism from within the church should serve more as a warning sign than anything. I know I personally owe a lot to these bloggers.

  29. kristin February 9, 2015 at 8:07 am #

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments – I appreciate them greatly. I agree that through the easy access of social media many are finding the thoughts and testimonies of those on both sides of the Church of Jesus Christ, both inside the faith and outside, displayed in great number every times they open their eyes. I think for almost all inside the Church, they would agree that life is better, the world is better, the joy is more full, their lives feel more fulfilled with purpose inside the Church than outside the Church. Almost all have received some sort of spiritual witness that is personal to them, a special gift for them that they received from a loving Heavenly Father who knew their needs, knew their hearts and sent a witness through the power of the Holy Ghost to testify and continue testifying to the truth of gospel principles.

    I also know that there are still many out there seeking. Many who are seeking and don’t know where to find the answers that are personal for them. I hope they find the answers they are seeking. I know that faith is a belief, encouraged by a spiritual witness that comes from a source outside of oneself. I know that faith requires both action and practice. It requires an effort to focus on Godly things, spiritual matters. I don’t believe it is possible to obtain a witness, belief or faith in spiritual matters, Godly matters without seeking from a source higher than the worldly knowledge of men. If you are seeking such a witness through the knowledge of men, you will not find it.

    I myself have received such a personal spiritual witness of the truth of gospel principles of the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I can never deny it. To deny it would be a lie. I have heard my Heavenly Father’s voice speak to me in a very personal way . . . I can never forget it or deny it. That doesn’t mean I don’t struggle every day to maintain and support the knowledge that I do have. I have a great testimony of the strength of the scriptures, the counsel of the prophets, and the influence of personal inspiration and revelation on a daily basis as I seek it and act worthy of the gifts of the Spirit.

    To those who are seeking . . . I hope and pray that you will find the spiritual knowledge that you seek.

    Kristin

  30. Marty February 9, 2015 at 8:23 am #

    I like Big Cow’s comments from the perspective of a believing Latter Day Saint. Knowledge can be upended. Feelings change and conflict. Faith is a choice and you choose it every day. That is why it is so powerful and so flexible.

    I think that our culture creates problems when we are conditioned to say that we “know” and especially ” beyond a shadow of a doubt.” Everything that we know is either inaccurate or incomplete because “where these two facts exist, there shall be another fact above them” Abr. 3:8.

  31. brettm February 9, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    Tyler, please watch this video. It will help you understand what happened to you.

  32. secchione9 February 9, 2015 at 9:54 am #

    Thank you for proving my point just that much more.

  33. Kindness February 9, 2015 at 10:01 am #

    I love the thought that none of us are getting out of here alive. We are all one breath away from knowing. I believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am a Mormon. I know that I have done my best every day living my Faith and when my last breath is gone I will know all the truths we all debate in the world we live in. I for one look forward to knowing but on the other hand I love to live life enjoying all the creations and beauty Our Father in Heaven has given us. Life is glorious! Thank you for sharing your story.

  34. Jeff Whillhite February 9, 2015 at 10:07 am #

    I’m reading a lot of paranoia here.

  35. lj February 9, 2015 at 10:18 am #

    As Christ followers, I recommend we start seeing things as inclusive not exclusive. Really, we need to start seeing that this is what Christ was all about! Did Tyler have a spiritual experience where Gods Presence/Love was real, to him? Sure he did. You can argue all you want about feelings, emotion or logic – It was real to Tyler. The challenge is, these experiences happen to other people, in other faiths, across the globe. Are those experiences not real to them? I believe (and yes i was raised mormon) that God is a god of possibilities. No favoritism. No true and only church. Just – Im here! When you’re ready to listen, you’ll know (but that could be anywhere!) I have had similar spiritual experience listening to a dear, former Stake President give a powerful talk, or stumbling into a cathedral on a rainy night in new york city seeing the homeless have a place to sleep. Is one telling me something different, than the other? Your conclusions, Tyler, could similarly take me to becoming catholic, not a mormon. Im not knocking your experience, im sure it was genuine. But maybe, just maybe, all God wanted for you to know is he loves you. Regardless, it led you to a better place where you are more at peace with God. Just be careful that you realize others are just as justified in theirs (through a similiar experience).

    The lord ascended – his spirit decended! For the benefit of a small group? Nope. For a particular set of people with priesthood power. Nope. For the catholic church? Nope. All men! Now that’s a God that is ahead of us…..A God of possibilities.

  36. Stacey February 9, 2015 at 10:34 am #

    I grew believing in my mother’s testimony. It was pure, strong, and undeniable, and she was soft spoken, Christ-like, and loving. I started to develop my own testimony through many moments that were the result of inexplicably answered prayers. One of which was myself, 8 years old on my bike, alone and lost. In desperation, I prayed for help. My mom, mid conversation with my dad, received a vision of me afraid on my bike.. lost in a place she’d never seen, but suddenly knew how to get to. She jumped up and left and soon drove up to where I was. I blinked in amazement as I saw my answer to my prayer appear before my eyes in the greatest form a child could have hoped.. I was rescued by my mother! I couldn’t conceive of how she knew, and asked her that question. She told me her experience and as I told her I had prayed, I was overcome with the spirit of the Holy Ghost confirming to me, that, YES I am loved! Heavenly Father loves me and He knows my name! He loves all of His children and I was no different!

    Building upon this, and many other experiences, I had my own undeniable testimony to add to my mom’s.

    Years later, I made some mistakes that me feel ashamed and somewhat unlovable. I allowed this feeling to prevent opportunity and hinder my repentance and spiritual growth. While I my testimony still kept me near the line I should follow, I believed that I did not deserve the good that others got and this was a very self deprecating way of thinking. Thankfully, I finally opted for true repentance and allowed myself to take on the Christ-like belief that I was worthy of forgiveness. I certainly loved Him enough to extend my hand in sincere prayer and strive to be forgiven. Weeks and weeks went by, as prayed, continued to attend church and take refrain from taking the sacrament – willingly but not shamefully anymore. One Sunday as the sacrament tray worked it’s way through the meeting, I asked the question in my heart.. “is it time? Am I forgiven?”.. in answer to my question, it was as if the the roof had been lifted and glorious light filled in and surrounded me! I felt lighter! I felt peace and happiness unlike anything else! It was not just a feeling, it was a knowing! I knew I was, without a doubt, forgiven of my sins! Tears streamed down my cheek as I partook of the sacrament.. knowing I was cleansed of my spiritual burdon.

    My testimony can not be researched. One can not read and be certain the words are true.. there is no guarantee. We can know, by asking, being patient, and being available to receive the knowledge through the Holy Ghost. It is this that has helped me remember.. the church is of God, through Jesus Christ. It is not the church of the people.. they are imperfect. Christ is prefect and it is His teaching, and His words through the scriptures and through our Prophets that we can gain knowledge and direction.. and the Holy Ghost that can help us know what is true. I stay – not for Sally or Sam in the congregation, but because it’s true.

  37. Janene February 9, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    Tyler, your post popped up in my Facebook feed from a friend in Texas. I saw your name and wondered if you were the Tyler Seamons I knew about. When you mentioned Keith Neville, I knew. I grew up a couple streets away from you and my last name was Tuttle. You probably know my older brothers…

    Thank you for sharing your experience. We all have our own reasons for staying, and I truly enjoyed reading what your experience was. Sometimes it’s hard to share because these experiences are little pearls that we have that others may or may not appreciate or understand. Thanks for sharing.

  38. Terri February 9, 2015 at 11:30 am #

    Big cow… like the author, I experienced the profound joy of knowledge that what I was hearing was true. I was 14 and had been searching many churches and come away disappointed. I never knew what I was searching for exactly, but I just knew I hadn’t heard it. Through a series of what I’m sure were God-orchestrated events, I found the Mormon missionaries and invited them to come teach my mother and me. It was the day they were teaching the plan of salvation that I had my experience. It’s hard to explain, but it was like my soul recognized the truth and just shouted with joy that I had found the truth and completely overwhelmed me with indescribable joy. What they were saying was what I already KNEW and my soul recognized it. I’m far from perfect and make so many mistakes and I’ve been weak at following the commandments just like everyone, BUT I could never deny what I know to be true, not even in the face of death, because my testimony is so rooted in my heart and soul that I can’t deny it. As far as other people just knowing things are true in other faiths…Other faiths have truth and they can receive personal testimonies of those truths. Those, however, who use their religion to kill, maim, or hurt others in ANY way, and those who think they have received revelation with a foundation of hatred or contention or anger, you can guarantee it is not of God. God”s revelation being happiness and PEACE to our heart and soul. Any other feeling is not from God but from themselves or another source.

  39. secchione9 February 9, 2015 at 11:39 am #

    Hey Janene! Your mom was my den leader, and I had a mean crush on her (I was 9)! 🙂 I’m glad you reached out. Pearls is a great metaphor. And I’m glad you have some of your own.

  40. secchione9 February 9, 2015 at 11:45 am #

    I appreciate your paragraph, and I’ll keep this brief. I know what I know, and it stands where it stands. I didn’t write this for you. I wrote it for people who want to stay.

  41. secchione9 February 9, 2015 at 11:47 am #

    I appreciate your wagging tongue. 🙂

  42. secchione9 February 9, 2015 at 11:47 am #

    Too many are loudly proclaiming why they are leaving. I decided to loudly proclaim why I stay.

  43. Lori February 9, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing. It’s especially relevant with all the negativity out there. Like you, I stay because I know it’s true; I’ve had powerful experiences reinforcing that and those are things I can never deny. Thanks for being such a great voice!

  44. Mark February 9, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

    Hi, Tyler

    I just want to say I do appreciate your message and for having the courage to share it. That ‘enlightenment’ moment was pretty astounding, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit envious of it. I’ve been a member for my whole life so far: went church, went seminary, served a mission. However, I feel like I haven’t really gotten any concrete answers to prayers. That’s not saying I haven’t gotten answers, but they have been vague feelings, nothing like an outpouring of enlightenment you received. I’m not really sure why I’m sharing all this, maybe it’s just to make sure you appreciate the answers you’ve gotten. I’m at a pretty dark place in my life right now and so here’s to hoping that there’s light somewhere. Thanks for the message.

  45. secchione9 February 9, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    Mark, you aren’t alone, man. Hang in there. There’s light.

  46. Michele February 9, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    If you have ever felt the spirit, you will know! It can not be adequately described that’s how amazing it is. There is something so powerful when you have a spiritual experience.
    Also I just have to add that the reason so many other people of other faiths feel the spirit is because THEY HAVE! The spirit testifies of truth! I went with a friend to another church a few months back and felt the spirit because they were teaching of Gods love. That is truth!

  47. Spencer February 9, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

    Thank you so much I am inspired by your story. The majority of the people who were around Jesus while he was here on earth rejected his message so much so that he was killed for it. The opposition to what I believe to be true only validates to me that there is a truth that is only discernible by the subtle but ever present Holy Ghost. I struggle to live all the standards I believe to be true but I am a better human being for living and learning from my mistakes. Slowly but surely I am progressing. I have peace and I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for everyday I live.

  48. Chad Shattuck February 9, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

    It felt good to read your story. Glad a friend of mine posted a link to it on FB. It brought back sweet memories of my own experience of clear confirming divine revelation that I will always rely on too. I feel strengthened by reading your story. Thanks, and may our Heavenly Father continue to bless you and yours.

  49. Douglas February 9, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    Big Cow, your questions are completely valid, but you fail to offer alternatives for how God might speak to us as individuals. From what I have come to understand, there is a language of the Spirit that we learn just as we learn any language: through experience, practice, failure and attention. And that language uses both feelings and reason to communicate.
    The argument used to discredit “spiritual” experiences as nothing more than subjectively produced emotions with no supernatural significance isn’t new. Sometimes I may agree that someone may just be feeling emotional. But I don’t think we are left with emotion alone to discern God’s hand in our lives. Reason, experience, counsel from others, and other forms of revelation may all assist us. In fact, I notice that emotion plays into only some of my spiritual experiences, and often only in a secondary way.

  50. Mandy February 9, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

    I came across this post on Facebook. Thank you for sharing your experiences! your testimony and experiences are beautiful. I was raised LDS, and I had a very strong conviction of the church for most of my life up until a few years ago. I still have a conviction of so many of the teachings! Most specifically those that are aligned with things Christ taught, love, forgiveness, charity, prayer, kindness, not judging others. So much of the church really is structured around these teachings, and gives members a pathway to learn about them and to opportunities to be better people.

    So even though I no longer am believing that the church is “true” I believe in these beautiful truths. A lot of the other unique LDS teachings actually don’t make as much logical or spiritual sense to me as they used to. I have had a tough time completely dismissing science and historical facts just because it feels really good. One thing that has bothered me in the truth debate, is the notion that either logic or spiritual witness rules the other. I’ve always felt like both can exist! Even in the LDS church, members are taught to be well educated and to use reason along with the spirit to discern truth. So I think both have a place for sure. I really wish there was a lot less absolute wrong or right to spirituality and belief. I wish there were simply more focus on goodness.

    LDS arent the only ones with a patent to testimony and that powerful feeling of something feeling right and true. So many others in different religions certainly express the same feelings about their church and beliefs. To me that feeling is goodness, is being around others who are Christ-like and kind and serving. I honestly feel like it really is fantastic when members do understand the science and history completely, but can consolidate it all and still believe more strongly than ever. But I also wish on the other hand, that there would be more kindness and tolerance to those that don’t want to harm or oppose the church, still have a testimony of many of the good things it does, gives, and provides… but just simply cannot consolidate it as being the “only true”. I actually think it’s kind of weird that a lot of LDS don’t even want to learn the history or science. I don’t think it’s anything to fear at all. I feel like spirituality and logic have a place together, and there should be a healthy balance of both. I wish that those who are more on the logical side of things, can stop harassing believing and faithful LDS as “mindless sheep” like you said. And I also wish that faithful LDS could be less fearful of science and fact as part of religion (and also those who are interested in the facts but not meaning any harm). And just realize that knowledge is a tool! Yes, maybe it will lead to some doubts, but maybe it will also lead to not only greater faith, but also more love, compassion, and tolerance for those who have some good reasons to not believe or struggle, rather than assuming they are weak or being deceived or anti.

    That is my biggest hope. I feel like I am still the same good, kind, loving person I was before. It’s so difficult when others look at me as completely loosing my faith in God, or having been deceived or lost the spirit. I have never openly opposed the church or even spread my doubts or the logic. But regardless, I have actually been met with some really unkind assumptions and judgements.

    I wish there was more tolerance on both sides of the street of the faith-logic debate. Because bottom line, the notion that it’s all or nothing on either side is creating problems in families. Marriages are collapsing over behavioiors on both ends that are very intolerant and un-Christlike.

    I do love your story, and that you have been in both places, pure logic, and also pure raw witness feeling the spirit to testify the truth to you. I hope it can foster more open communication and less criticism and fear.

  51. Emily February 9, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

    Thank you for this post. It’s so refreshing to read. You’re awesome!

  52. secchione9 February 9, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

    Thanks Emily, you’re awesome too!

  53. Matt February 9, 2015 at 7:24 pm #

    Forwarding this post to my dad, who was in Bair Canyon Branch presidency from 1989-2002. What a great story.

  54. secchione9 February 9, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

    Who is your dad??

  55. Ralph J February 9, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

    congrats on finding your way. It’s interesting to think that for many of us who live a portion of our lives where we are the center of our own universes, we all tend to think the same erroneous thought, “it’s my life, I can do, think, believe and say what I want. I’m not hurting anybody else.”

    That’s one of the adversary’s big lies. As you noted in your post (you referenced attracting “converts”), we influence people for good or for evil based on what we do and say, every day of our lives and more often than not, we are blind to the good or the damage we do.

    I think back to my first great ancestor that joined the LDS Church and moved to Nauvoo. He joined with his mother and some of his brothers. They eventually trekked west with the Saints and settled in Ogden. I often wonder if he had any inkling of the blessings he would provide to thousands of his posterity when he felt a desire to listen to missionaries (or travelling preachers) from the fledgling LDS Church and then acted on the Spirit he felt from their message or did he just think about what he was experiencing in the moment with no thought on his future posterity or the eternities.

    I’ve done a rough count of his posterity and figure as many as 1500 people in his posterity (most were born and raised in Utah) have had, or could have had the opportunity to have the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives. Undoubtedly some were likely foolish enough to believe they didn’t need the Gospel in their lives, believed the adversary’s great lie (“they’re not hurting anyone”) and fell into disbelief, breaking the Gospel chain for their future families.

    Its a blessed thing to read that you are raising your family in the gospel and extending those blessings to your 4 children. I am a father of 7 and the thought that laziness or slothfulness on my part could lead to the gospel chain breaking with my children motivates me. The example of my Great-Great-Grandfather and what he first provided for his children, grandchildren, etc on down to me resonates deeply with me and gives me the desire to make my link in that chain as strong as I can. I “feel” my future posterity and know they are counting on me to do my part.

    Thanks for sharing and may the Lord bless you and your family for sharing your testimony for others who may struggle with finding their way in this life.

  56. Amy February 9, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

    While good, peaceful feelings and and an enlightened mind and joy are not “proof” the gospel restored by Joseph Smith is true, they are certainly compelling evidence that it is. But Christ gave us another way to check the veracity of claims to the true Church:

    “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

    18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:17)

    I imagine this is not meant to be an exhaustive list of the blessings and wonders with which the believers are blessed. As a believer myself, I have experienced many of these signs, personally, either as recipient, or witness. While some may write these experiences off as mere coincidence, they are yet more evidence of the truthfulness of Joseph Smith’s claims, and reason enough to press forward in the faith.

  57. Ginny February 9, 2015 at 9:05 pm #

    Bless you! I felt the spirit in your words and I too, know it is true!

  58. Chris February 9, 2015 at 9:37 pm #

    Amazing story brother. I used to be one of those “lost sheep” at times persecuting or “cloak holding” instigating others to throw stones at faithful members. I tried to deny the faith as well and at times was so bitter at God and decided I wanted to forever leave the LDS church. That didn’t go so well, something in my soul could not let go even when I had told me myself I was going the other way. Then some strong force came crashing into my life and broke my heart, as it broke, the ground was prime for The Lord to plant the seed or at least let the seed sprout that I would try to extinguish.

    You are so right, so many times I tried to find distraction in the world doing things that I knew were not right. I pretended to be happy when in reality I was covering for my broken emotions and flaws. When I decided to start praying and come back to church, I finally found the peace that you mentioned! Something that I never felt while doing other things even though they may have been worthwhile as pertaining to the world.

    The Savior healed my soul and I’ve felt that sweet forgiveness of sins also. I cannot deny that is true. I know it deep in my heart. I just wanted to share this because you are not the only one who has felt what you have mentioned or tried to leave the faith.

    Things are not magically amazing in my life since I’ve come back to embrace the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, I still have many challenges. But as I’ve chosen to “stay” true to the faith and testimony of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the influence of the Holy Ghost, I’ve come to know that this is truly the path that God has set out for me.

    Thank you for being brave enough to share with the world your awesome experiences. I hope they can help others in that are in that predicament. If anything at all, this story shows others that God is truly there and He exists and we are all His children and no matter what your faith is, across from the many choices we have in the world, God will always let you know you are His!

  59. Cindy February 9, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

    Amazing story and testimony! Even being raised in the church, we all have to become converts to know the truthfullness of the gospel for ourselves. I was not raised in the church so when the missionaries came to me it was the missing link and felt like the light had just been turned on. I now have a husband and we were blessed to have one beautiful daughter whom we were able to raise in truth and righteousness. Up until she was 18 she was the kindest, most caring, sweet, innocent and hilarious young women. Then one day we found out she had been lying to us for about 9 months, about most everything in her life. She is dating a non-member and is doing everything she can to be with him. She has given up all she believes in and her values for him. When she finally came clean to us she was so distraught that she was crying uncontrollably and throwing up. The first thing she said was that she has been a terrible daughter and she then left our home. Before this happened we were closer than any mother/daughter I knew. She would come tome with everything and we would also laugh and have fun together. She had so many dreams for her future that she’s letting slip away. It is so hard to watch but all her father and I can do is fast and pray for her because we know she will have to find the truth herself and in her own time. Thank you for the post, I will send it on to my beloved daughter, Taylor.

  60. joanna February 9, 2015 at 9:58 pm #

    It’s fine that you feel like it’s true to you, but having an emotion isn’t enough for a lot of people. I think for some people believing in the Mormon church is right for them because of the way they feel, but I don’t think it’s right for everyone. Some people have really looked into the history of the church and don’t believe because a lot of the contradictions. People need more proof then just a feeling. I believe the feeling people get from thinking they believe in it is just like you can get emotional at a movie. I myself believe in a deity, but it doesn’t mean I need to or do believe in the morman church.

  61. JJ February 9, 2015 at 10:29 pm #

    It would be very nice if I could believe in a religion, any religion, but at the age of 50 I’ve never seen any example of any kind of spiritual realm and don’t believe it is going to happen now. My relatives say, “Go to church. They’ll be supportive.” I left the church as a teenager because I couldn’t handle all the teasing I got in Sunday School and Mutual. I knew I couldn’t ever be the kind of person they thought I should be. Today, frankly, there isn’t room in the Mormon church for a single, childless, atheistic 50-year-old divorcee with liberal politics. All the current excommunications prove that. The missionaries came over one night recently with a member of the ward. the member of the ward and I got into an argument over whether the United States should be a Christian nation.
    I really do wish Mormonism was as it is advertised.

  62. G. February 9, 2015 at 11:41 pm #

    Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  63. Catherine February 9, 2015 at 11:53 pm #

    “… what felt like a joyous lightning in my bones coupled with flashes of unearthly clarity burst all over me”. We all have experienced beautiful spiritual moments where we feel a deep connection to a higher power. But I still don’t understand how that makes any religion truer than another. I don’t believe that any one religion has been singled out over others. I have had many people swear that their way, and only their way is the truth. How is it that everyone else is wrong? I feel there are many paths to God. It is rather spiritually arrogant to assume otherwise. Maybe through religion God is testing us to see how tolerant we can be of each other. Man created rules, rituals and myths around the various religions as a means of connecting with our higher power.

  64. Dion February 10, 2015 at 12:57 am #

    My comment is what you described is what all people have available to them if they simply have faith and believe God is with them. I’ve seen many people receive amazing blessings and are part of many different faiths. Yes, your church is true for you or for those who need that particular faith at this time in their life. Just as many others who will say the same. God knows that one faith can’t convert everyone if he is to allow agency. If he wants everyone to become more, he would have to allow many paths to him or let most of his children parish and suffer endlessly.

    If you think about who God really is, you will discover God is LOVE. And love is something that is provided to all. No God would only bless 15,000,000 people with special rights, thus leaving (several billion of his kids) 99.999% of the Earth with less. To suffer without being able to bless their loved ones, or those who have died or to be able to have the ability to be with their families forever. I testify to you that God will and has blessed millions of people outside of the members of your faith with the ability to manifest miracles and healing and to be with their loved ones.

    God doesn’t abandon us when we mess up (sin), you know why? Because he loves us all. We are the ones who abandon him not the other way around. For example, if you have a child, and you tell them to never run across the street because it’s against the law and even your law/rules. One day you find out your child has been running across the street anyway. You become upset at them and ground them. Then the next week, you look outside and see your kid running across the street again. But this time they are hit by a car and you can see are seriously hurt as a direct result of not following your law/rules. What would you do? Turn around and walk away and say, “I’m withdrawing my help and presence because you didn’t obey me!” Or would you run out the door of your home as fast as you could to help your injured kid?

    You know you would run out like 100% of all “normal loving” parents would. Yes, you will be upset they didn’t listen BUT you will assist them to recover from that mistake because you love them. Anyway, I’ve come to believe and have had a confirming spiritual experience that my former membership in the church was what I needed at that time and it wasn’t completely all 100% true but many great things are. They helped me at a time of need and served the purpose God needed the church to provide me. I am grateful for the wonderful people who treated me well. I didn’t like the many who didn’t and caused much suffering and hurt. I believe now, those people couldn’t help it because they had been told the reason my skin was brown was because I was cursed. Cursed for something I didn’t even do.

    I have come to find out that I have been blessed by God with color in my skin, just like all humans. We all have a shade of color to protect our skin form the sun. Since my ancestors lived near the equator that makes sense why a loving God would help us become brown or a darker brown than others. There are no people with “white” or “black” skin. Your skin isn’t white like a sheet of copy paper. And my skin isn’t black like a black sheet of paper. So, it’s obvious we all all different shades of brown or color but not white or black.

    For me, I know God or a higher power lives, I know he blesses ALL of us if we simply accept him into our lives. We are here to love God, ourselves, and help others. If we simply do that, then God is well pleased. I love that you have found something to help you. I love that many people believe they aren’t alone. For me, I have found something that I believe is a better fit, something without all the judgement, guilt, pain, hurt and disappointments and frankly misleading and indifference. I don’t believe it’s wise to simply ignore all the misguided hurtful teachings without a full replacement or correction of those teachings. We must require those who lead us to stay true to their promises.

    Remember, to Love God, Love ourselves and help others. To love god is to say, “sorry, this isn’t true and in fact it should be this or that.” Like the Germans did with their sins of WWII, they simply said and to this day, say, “We are sorry and ashamed for what we did. We will teach (correct facts) our kids, employees and citizens to respect and accept other peoples and to never let this happen again.”

    Where would the LDS Church and our country be today if we all did that? Or at least the leaders did that instead of delaying of decades. I doubt we could do the same without major consequences.

  65. Elynn February 10, 2015 at 6:24 am #

    Tyler, thank you for the inspiring words! It is good to know you and Rebecca are doing well. Bair Canyon was good times 🙂

  66. Eddy February 10, 2015 at 7:43 am #

    Mandy – Thanks for sharing your comment. I aspire to be more like you. I have left the church and still have a hard time with some of the churches teachings and some of the people in the church. It can lead to bitter feelings, but I don’t want to have bitter feelings towards the church. I have a lot to be thankful for being raised LDS. At the same time it is a hard adjustment when you discover that many of the things you learned in church didn’t actually happen the way they are presented in Sunday school. You end up feeling lied to and what makes it worse is that if you try to bring it up with a faithful church member they often don’t recognize your frustration or confusion and automatically assume you’re reading anti Mormon literature or that your sinning and have lost the spirit. I think compassion and understanding on this subject is greatly needed in the church. It is also needed on the other side. I personally can’t believe the church is true just because of feelings, When there is so much evidence pointing to the contrary. I am trying not to be a bitter ex Mormon because those feelings aren’t doing me any good. I really enjoyed your comments and love your compassion toward both sides.

  67. Mark February 10, 2015 at 8:42 am #

    Great to read your re-conversion story. Thanks for sharing.

  68. secchione9 February 10, 2015 at 8:46 am #

    Elynn! Thanks for commenting!

  69. Fejj February 10, 2015 at 8:49 am #

    Thanks Tyler this was amazing – I have intellectual friends and family mired in doubt, enmeshed with the various prominent bloggers who doubt and seem unwilling to read the voluminous work by highly credentialed LDS scholars who have not only thoroughly rebutted the many issues our critics throw up but have published literally volumes of work regarding the authenticity of the Book of Mormon that has not been effectively answered by critics. The various witnesses of the Spirit I have received sustain me above all else but my inquiring mind has led me to this material that people like John Dehlin by his own admission refuses to read.

  70. Todd L. February 10, 2015 at 10:23 am #

    Thank you for sharing. This was a blessing to me today.

  71. Mike February 10, 2015 at 10:52 am #

    I’m glad for you, Tyler, that you have found peace and joy in the church. I was raised LDS and am still active, even though I no longer believe in most of the things that you know to be true. I serve in my calling. I do my home teaching. I sign up for service opportunities when the sheet is passed around the High Priests Group. I attend scout camp with my son and visit girls’ camp with my daughters and my wife. We read scriptures together as a family. I do all the things that an active, believing member of the church is expected to do, but I do not believe in that the church is “true” as you say, or the Book of Mormon, or Joseph Smith, etc, etc.

    I keep my unbelief mostly to myself, though my close friends and family know how I feel. I don’t talk about it at church because there is no place to talk about it at church. There is no place for someone to stand up in fast and testimony meeting and proclaim, “I don’t know if I believe in God, and I think the Book of Mormon is a 19th century creation, but I find value and a measure of happiness in participating at church all the same.” There is no place for someone to stand up and say, “I think the church is wrong in the way that we treat our LGBT brothers and sisters, and I hope that will change.” There is no place for me to be authentically myself in the church.

    I don’t begrudge you your belief or your spiritual experiences. I do wish that we (as a church) could learn to be comfortable saying “I believe” rather than “I know”. I think the latter is used to satisfy cultural expectations more than from any true knowledge. The things that I “know” have to do with values like charity, integrity, diligence, service, etc. We see through a glass darkly, and knowing is not a requirement — in fact it’s counterproductive. The things that I “know” have more to do with values like charity, integrity, diligence, service, etc. Faith is what we’re supposed to be learning, right?

    I also wish that we could be more tolerant towards those that don’t fit the Mormon mold. Singles. Gays. Doubters. Sinners. People who wear colored shirts. And yes, even the critics. When a member of the church, like John Dehlin or Kate Kelly, stands up and publicly says, “we have a problem here and it needs to be addressed” — we should welcome that kind of feedback. It doesn’t mean that leaders need to kowtow to every criticism they hear. But why do we need to kick them out? Why do we need to attack them on social media? Why do we make assumptions about ulterior motives? It’s petty and barbaric. And it’s harmful to the church. It fosters intolerance and stagnation.

    So having said all of that, this is “why I stay” in the church: I stay because it’s my culture. I stay because it’s important to people that I love. I stay because for all its flaws, it does a lot of good in the lives of its members (including me). I stay because I hope that I can make a positive contribution towards the things that I believe in. I’m not alone in this — there are many, many other people like me, probably even in your own ward. We don’t believe all of the things that you do, and we’re sometimes frustrated by the assumption and expectation that we all believe and think and act the same as everybody else, but we love you anyway and we hope that one day, we’ll be able to feel welcome in our own church without having to compromise our beliefs (or lack thereof).

  72. Tiffany February 10, 2015 at 11:49 am #

    Thank you for the article Tyler! I appreciate your story. I was reading through some comments and feel the need to say something.
    For those of you who struggle with the need to have a testimony over things of reason and facts are never going to find it. First, practice faith. Faith is a verb and a noun. It takes a lot of hard work in finding the answers and it is first found by faith. In a world that wants to get the answers asap for everything, it seems time consuming and difficult to get a testimony of Jesus Christ and many give up too soon. We are told to search the scriptures and pray–two simple things to build a testimony but do those of you who don’t “rely on feelings” do those things? It takes faith to believe those things will help you come to know God. God speaks to us through his Spirit and tells us if it is true. That is how Tyler knows. That is how you will know. The Holy Ghost will tell you all things you should know. You may regard it as “feelings” but they are not from you. I dare not give myself such credit as my own “feelings” giving me peace.
    Our Savior Jesus Christ organized his church in his mortal ministry. Read the New Testament and look for a church today that follows His teachings including having 12 apostles, a prophet and the priesthood and you will find the LDS church. The scriptures testify of Him and the Spirit has given me that “burning within” that it is true. I pray that those of you struggling to find answers will someday find the sweet peace the gospel brings.

  73. secchione9 February 10, 2015 at 11:54 am #

    I think any reason to stay is a good one. I have a friend that stays only for the sense of community. That’s as good a reason as any. I’m glad you continue to participate.

  74. Hall February 10, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

    Many and Eddy, I love the church and I love science. I an stretching my brain to think of where there is any conflict.

  75. secchione9 February 10, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    Dear commenters, I’m all for an open and honest discussion, but this is my blog and not a democracy. This post is written specifically to give power to people who need an extra boost in their faith. I’m going to be, and have been, deleting any comment I think doesn’t have a place in my world.

    So, if you are going to bother typing out a post to break down other people’s faith or argue about whatever, I’m going to delete it, so it’s probably best not to write it. You’ll be wasting your time. I’m moderating every comment that comes through.

  76. Mary February 10, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

    I was in a similar situation 13 years ago. I had been an active, devout Mormon from the time I was 14 (I was the only person in my family to convert). I had held every calling imaginable, taught seminary for 2 years, and had been through the Temple. To sum up, I started having a “crisis of faith” (for lack of a better phrase), and I stopped going to church. I flopped around like a fish out of water for over a year making horrible decisions. Finally, lost and broken, I begged–BEGGED–God to help me and show me what to do. This is where our stories differ. The Lord let me AWAY from the LDS Church. I was a little surprised to tell you the truth. It is too long of a story to go into, but suffice it to say that after months of praying and one major event that kind of smacked me in the face, I learned that it wasn’t true. It was very hard for a while, because I WANTED the Church to be true. I really did. But when it is as clear as it was to me, then I couldn’t continue testifying of something that I knew wasn’t true. Any thoughts as to why we got different messages? Please no hate remarks, folks. I love the Church and all that it meant to me for so long (and still does to this day). I just find it interesting how two people who are genuinely seeking out the truth are led down two different roads.

  77. Catherine February 10, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    Just once I would like to see some solid evidence about so called truths in religion. Sadly there isn’t any. But that is your path to walk and I will respect that. If it gives you peace of mind I guess that is good. I am surrounded by Mormons and other religions on a daily basis. Please just share with me if you will why one is more valid than another. I have always wondered why. I would need some very compelling evidence. No one has ever been able to provide that. I am an older (65) woman inquiring. – not a kid. I understand you will delete this and that is fine. But when you go out into the community to recruit members I hope you have a stronger story to share.

  78. Todd February 10, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

    Tyler,
    Thanks for your thoughts about your spiritual journey. Our spiritual journeys are uniquely ours. Our spiritual journeys are the sum of our experiences, educations, perceptions and all we choose to make part of our lives. I’m personally inspired by reading about your journey, thanks for sharing.
    Being a believer for me takes constant commitment. It’s much like how regular exercise builds our bodies and learning grows our education. It’s a process that takes time, patience and commitment. As I regularly take in goodness my understanding increases and I become more spiritually aware. In our world of quick learning, easy convenience and plentiful entertainment it takes dedication to not be distracted.
    Thanks for inspiring me!

  79. Eddy February 10, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

    Hall,

    There is a lot out there and I’m not sure this is the forum for it, but there are plenty of websites that address them.

  80. Dennis /Juliene Scott February 10, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

    So good to read this about you and remember the branch. Dennis was your branch president when you got reactivated and went on your mission. You are an inspiration to all. So fun to catch up on you and your family. May Heavenly Fathers greatest blessings be yours.

  81. HighNoon February 10, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

    Fejj, I agree with your comments!

    Tyler, thanks so much for sharing your story! It allowed me to reflect on why I continue up the road of faith. I feel content, happy and enjoy sharing also.

    I have enjoyed reading everyone else’s comments as well, some of them made me think of the differences between feeling/emtions and reason. I think we often forget we are incapable of having one without the other.
    Can humans completely separate emotion from reason? No, there isn’t really any such thing as non-emotional “reason”. Science and studies have shown this over and over, their are endless popular movies about how our culture deals with this this truth. Yet, we continue to deny it. It is one of the most beautiful things about being human, we can not reason without emotion!

    I have read and searched for days upon endless days, about the history of the this church. I have felt real fear and doubt, but they have always gone away, learning is that way, rather it be about a church, life or sciences. Learning also has much joy and light bulb moments. I have had powerful moments of such enlightenment studying physics and gospel spiritual experience that have both left me with physical feelings, emotions and thoughts that I have never forgot and have changed me. When things I read seem opposite to what I believe I have witnessed, I dig deeper, I look from all angles I can find, if I find no solution I put it on a shelve if possible. I have often found knowledge years later, that either keeps it on the shelve or removes it. The reason I can shelf items at all is, I often find no urgency and the truths I do know are so expansive and beneficial I find no reason to drop them all for some doubts.
    I find no need to pretend. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has helped me know Jesus Christ and His pure love and He has changed me when I have put faith in Him and his teachings. I know the those who claim to be His prophets in the formentioned church know Him because I have seen the Him greater in my life the closer I stay to their guidance. I allow them faults just as I allow for faults in my own reasoning. I don’t get hung up on a one liners and I try to look at the whole picture and so far it looks far better than any picture I could paint on my own.
    I have traveled and studied many religons. I find teachings on pre-earth life and after life to be amazing in the LDS church, they are so inclusive, fair and yet just. Note I am talking about missionary shared view, the big picture view. It helps me love everyone on this planet with a greater hope and Christ like love today. It allows for everyone to receive their true desires and continue to progess tomorrow.
    I stated earlier I allow myself faults, I am open to learn. I find myself saying if I was wrong, would I have any regrets in this path I am running on? I find no regrets in the core beliefs , so I continue, on my path.

  82. secchione9 February 10, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

    What kind of evidence would you accept?

  83. secchione9 February 10, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

    I don’t pretend to know the answer to your question, but I sympathize. I’m glad that you still love the Church though. I was led in a lot of different directions and each step brought me just that much closer to my first real spiritual experience. I learned and felt good about a lot of the teachings of Buddhism, but that wasn’t the end of my journey, just like my outpouring of the spirit wasn’t the end of my journey inside the Church. I’m glad you have something to hold on to, whatever it is! And I hope you have joy in whatever it is. Be sure to keep showing up for some green jello sometimes! 🙂

  84. Catherine February 10, 2015 at 5:47 pm #

    Tyler-imperical evidence. But it doesn’t exist in religion.

  85. secchione9 February 10, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

    I guess why that is we we call it faith!

  86. secchione9 February 10, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

    Absolutely! Bless your husband! He barely knew what to do with me when I came in and told him I needed to go on a mission.

  87. Jacob February 10, 2015 at 10:30 pm #

    Bravo, Tyler. Chills, tingles and warm fuzzies – all in one! So many lines that left a mark – my favorite: “God gives peace, the world doesn’t…If you feel peace, you feel God.” I want to take MY promises as serious as you one day…thanks for your passion and willing to share! -Jacob

  88. Christiane R. Woerner, Ed.D. February 10, 2015 at 11:45 pm #

    Thank you for this blog post. I have a similar experience. Your first paragraph sounds very much like my life. You’ve encouraged me to journal about my experience and put it on our family blog.

  89. Cody Erekson February 11, 2015 at 7:51 am #

    Thank you for this article.

    We have the same story. Though the details differ, the impact is the same. I too was lost, alone, facing the dark pit. The vague idea of prayer came to me, and I grasped at what seemed like straws. I know now that was the Savior; He left His ninety and nine to find me.

    It required two more years for me to receive that witness of truth and return to church. In my case it was a chance hearing of one of His apostles bearing witness of His divinity and mission during a replay of a conference address on KBYU one afternoon when my TV remote momentarily malfunctioned. I was drawn like a magnet to The Book of Mormon, which upon reading just the first chapter of First Nephi I received the same burning confirmation that you did.

  90. Catherine February 11, 2015 at 8:28 am #

    True. You know Tyler it is good up have faith in something. I would not/should not discourage it. That would be wrong of me. That is your path and it works for you. Please if you would remember though that there are many people also walking their own paths. They too should be given the same respect because they too feel just as strongly about their faith. My husband is ex-Morman but I am not. We each walk our individual paths that we feel called to and honor each other’s spiritual choices. I feel good about that. May you be blessed on your path. You seem like a good young man. Have a very nice day.

  91. secchione9 February 11, 2015 at 8:57 am #

    I agree. Thanks for your comments.

  92. Jodi February 11, 2015 at 10:11 am #

    “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” I Fell away for a few years, but I always believed and knew I needed to go back. I came back stronger in the gospel then when I left. I love the gospel more than I know how to explain because of this. I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus for brining me back into the truth and back on a path home to them!

  93. John February 11, 2015 at 10:19 am #

    Amen! Thanks.

  94. Em February 11, 2015 at 10:34 am #

    Good post. I grew up in a somewhat troubled part LDS family. When you have more struggles, the light can be clearer. I had an early witness so I had a strong testimony early on and luckily good friends in the gospel to be guides to me. This week we had an RM speak. He was the baby of a great respected LDS family. Frankly, the epitome of a good kid. He bore testimony of the fact that he didn’t know what this meant: “I know that God lives” before his mission, but “now I know what that means.” I felt like because he’d probably had a pretty good and loving upbringing, he didn’t have to ever really dig deep until his mission. I think this happens a lot. It was one of the best talks I’ve ever heard from a return missionary. I think my husband is the same way. He had good faithful parents and came from a low drama environment, but life has dealt us some challenges and I believe his faith is slowly blossoming. I don’t really think “the church” is for everyone, but I know it is for me. Thanks for sharing your story.

  95. Amber February 12, 2015 at 7:20 am #

    I remember you from high school!! Somebody posted your story on fb. You might remember me as Amber Allred, I think you hung out with my younger brother sometimes. I am really happy for you finding God. I read your story, that is fantastic especially knowing you in your teens. I also choose to believe. I think there are definite problems in the church with people being mistreated and exercising unrighteous dominion over others, and maybe some other stuff. But the Book of Mormon, the scriptures, the gospel — pure goodness and love. Nobody else has that, my hope is that over time, the downsides will be minimized and the problems dealt with well. I don’t blame anybody for taking a break or leaving, but it is sad when they throw out the good or misunderstand the true, loving nature of God because of bad behavior or bad experiences with people who profess to be His servants. We definitely have room for improvement in the org.

  96. Catherine February 12, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    Thank you for your words, very uplifting. Faith is a struggle even when you have had wonderful experiences, somehow you forget them or allow them to fade. Religious faith requires diligent daily effort and often great efforts to overcome self indulgence, distractions and the ways of the world. I am LDS and have been active all my adult life since I joined at 20 but find that sustaining my faith is like sustaining fitness: it requires daily effort such as study, prayer and a living of the commandments. The key is also repentance and seeking to be more Christlike each day.
    I believe the church to be true and cannot deny it. I find that generally Mormons are tolerant and kind people and have to deal with many dilemmas and unanswered questions.For example, I would love it if we could be more ‘accepting ‘ of LGBT lifestyles but the law of chastity is drawn from sacred scriptures which we are not at liberty to change . However, we should be doing all we can to extend the hand of friendship, love and tolerance to all people no matter their opinions, sexual orientation or politics. I am hoping the Church will evolve in this direction to make it a more comfortable place for people from all walks of life and I applaud the work that has been done in this on the Church website but more is needed at local levels. I hate the feeling that some people who have posted here feel excluded and there is no place for them at Church. While the Lord taught that the way is straight and narrow and few there be that find it, He spent His whole time on earth with’sinners’ which is just about all of us, Mormons included!

  97. Katie February 12, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

    I needed to hear this as I have been troubled in putting in words about how I feel when people leave Christ’s church. I could never leave, there is too much at stake. I loved this. Thank you.

  98. Mark February 12, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

    What a great and true message. I relate to it quite well. I served a mission and had a very strong testimony of the Gospel. When I got home, I went down some “forbidden paths” as referred to in Lehi’s dream. I looked for happiness in all of the wrong places for about 13 years. 15 years ago, I decided I would read the Book of Mormon cover to cover 1 time, which I had not done since my mission. Since the day I made that commitment, I have not missed a day of reading it. A week ago, I finished it for the 32nd time in 15 years. My life has been completely transformed. The Gospel is true. I know that personally from my own experience by the power of the Holy Ghost. There are many things I do not know, but my Redeemer lives. Of that I am certain!

  99. Rachel February 13, 2015 at 12:35 am #

    Tyler,
    Thank you very much for sharing your story. I was feeling down tonight, having a moment where I wished that time machines existed and I could go back around a decade and change a choice in my life. I have always attended church and loved the gospel. However, I never thought as a teenager that some of my greatest future trials would be connected with members of the church. I grew up where there weren’t a lot of Latter Day Saints. I explored and researched and sought out several religions while still attending mine. Many of them have wonderful fruits of the Spirit within and many good principles to learn from. I couldn’t feel complete however and yearned to be in my church meetings. Perhaps if I didn’t know anything at all concerning the Book of Mormon I would become a Messianic Jew or Buddhist or a Nazarene, or possibly a Methodist. However, I have read through The Book of Mormon over 47 times in my life(the Bible over 23 times. The Book of Mormon is a lot shorter, only a few hundred pages:). If you read a half hour a day everyday it’s actually not too difficult. The Book of Mormon as stated within it’s pages, was written for our day, by ancient prophets who foresaw our day. Joseph Smith translated it in less than 88 days total. There are ancient chiasmic structures and very different writing styles with each author. There is absolutely no way that Joseph Smith could have written this and in such an extremely short amount of time. The Book of Mormon was written for our day because among many things, it helps us understand what was meant to be understood in the Bible so that there doesn’t have to be several different interpretations of the same scripture. It is also a strong additional companion witness to the Bible that our Savior Jesus Christ was truly more than a great Rabonni. He was literally the Son of God, our Eternal Father. The Bible speaks primarily of the account of Christ’s dealings with the old world, and the Book of Mormon, the new world of the ancient Americas where Christ visited shortly after his resurrection. The Doctrine and Covenants explains much of the History of the restoration of this church in these Latter Days. The Pearl of Great Price shares much of ancient Egyptian papyri concerning the Books of Moses and Abraham and clarifying and growing our understanding of the book of Genesis etc that much more. And it isn’t adding to or taking away from the Bible because that warning in the book of Revelation is specifically speaking about the book of Revelation itself. The Books in the Bible are not written and compiled in full chronological order. There are many books that are not in chronological order. And even the prophet Nephi in the Book of Mormon witnessed much of what John the Revelator witnessed but was commanded very strictly not to write it down because it was assigned to John to write and record it. I’m sharing this because it isn’t just a feeling as some commentators have mentioned as to why I stay in this gospel. If anything many times especially the past almost decade, it would have seemed much easier to leave with the type of tailored trials that showered at times from specific people within the church where as the Book of Mormon warns, pride creeps in. I know this Book was written by ancient holy prophets under God’s instruction and was specifically saved to come forth in our day. Besides very precious gospel truths and beautiful image ties and faith promoting journal entry like stories, it also has warnings. It warns us of becoming ripe in pride from within the church. It warns us how it wasn’t the Lamanites who caused the main problems but the Nephite dissenters who then would stir up the Lamanites against the Nephites. It’s a warning of the pride cycle that can destroy societies. It’s also an invitation to partake of the fruits and principles of the gospel that will help us live the plan of happiness that has been created:). There are many different gifts of the spirit as mentioned in the book of Corinthians in the Bible and also the Book of Moroni in The Book of Mormon. I not only have a feeling, but a knowledge, which is one of the gifts of the Spirit mentioned, that the Book of Mormon is a pure, true book meant for our day to help leD us back home. This anchor of testimony and knowledge has been an iron rod that has gotten me through some very challenging bitter cups and dark mists etc as I’ve chosen to cling to it’s teachings and inspiring examples mentioned within, and words. It was the Book of Mormon that converted the early converts 7 generations back now. It wasn’t cultural traditions or because mom and dad were Mormons etc. These were all Bible reading pioneers from the 1800s who then also read the Book of Mormon and knew that it was an inspired book written by God’s prophets of the ancient Americas, a companion to the Bible and second witness to our Savior’s mission. It is the stick of Ephraim prophesied about in the Bible concerning the stick of Judah and the Stick of Ephraim becoming one. When the pioneers of the 1800s read from the Book of Mormon it provided such a deep conviction of truth in their hearts that they left homes, many were disowned by family members, etc, and they crossed the US in the dead of winter to find refuge to worship in peace without continued mob violence against them still. The Mormons have had their own trail of tears with many graves along their path until finally reaching Utah. It was worth it to them because of the restored truths found within the Book of Mormon that helps us to understand more clearly why we are each on this earth, where we are going, our purpose, the plan of happiness prepared for us, why Adam fell, so that man might be, and so that we can have joy, how amazing our mother Eve truly was, etc, the need for opposition in all things. There are many restored truths. These truths have been an anchor to me. Without the Book of Mormon, I would have left this church a long time ago, but it is truly the keystone of our religion, and it truly testifies and brings to life our Savior Jesus Christ’s teachings! :). I am so grateful for having the privilege and opportunity to be able to read it often because it helps me understand what is meant in the Bible:). I often have them both opened at the same time while reading. I love both books, the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I know that they are both prepared for us from a loving Father in Heaven who desires to speak to us. He often does this through his written word. We can’t afford to wrest the scriptures. They are our maps and guide posts in our day. They are God speaking back to us oftentimes after heart felt prayers. They have been prepared for us and I am very grateful for the guidance that the scriptures provide.

  100. Lance February 13, 2015 at 7:20 pm #

    Tyler. I am 59, been a member all of my life. And I must say, that is the best testimony I’ve ever heard.
    Thanks, buddy.

  101. Kim February 17, 2015 at 7:21 am #

    thank you so much for sharing this! It was refreshing to read and I hope you don’t mind if I share it with my seminary class.

  102. secchione9 February 17, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    That’s fine with me! Share away.

  103. Jen February 19, 2015 at 9:01 pm #

    Thank you!!!

  104. susan March 3, 2015 at 7:26 am #

    Thanks for sharing. I have a son who I’m hoping will read this and not feel so alone!

  105. Jeni March 3, 2015 at 11:56 am #

    I loved this!

  106. Scotty Mac March 11, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    Amico Mio!

    This is some solid writing and such a great experience. It’s truly awesome to see how understanding and loving God can be, even as the ebbs and flows of life can take us off His path, and He is still there for us. Always. Thanks for your words.

  107. Bob Smith April 16, 2015 at 10:20 am #

    Tyler,
    Wow – thanks for sharing this heart-felt expression of your testimony. I didn’t know you went through that experience. Happy for you in so many ways. Glad I had a few years to know you in the VF Stake too! You have a great family – warmest Regards, Coach Bob

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