Responding to a commenter
Renae commented on a previous post:
I find your new-found passion and love for the Catholic Church admirable. That joy is something every soul seeks and finds residence.
I'm not sure what kind of a place the Mormon Church had in your heart or what place it has now, but please, in your enthusiasm, don't degrade/disrespect something thought by others to be sacred, holy, and profound. I have spent quite a bit of time sitting in front of the tabernacle of Catholic churches, but all my profound spiritual experiences tell me the Mormon church is true. I would never intentionally say anything to disrespect or degrade that which is held so dear by so many. (Although, I'm sure I do it unintentionally plenty.)
May God only continue to bless you and bring you closer to him.
Thank you for your comment, Renae. You brought up a very good question - what place does the Mormon church have in my heart?
I guess to start, I should tell you how I originally fell away. Now, I lost my testimony the first time in the church at 21. I was in a bookstore and picked up an anti-Mormon book. I realized the minute I read it why the Prophet and leaders of the church strongly discourage members from reading them. They contain truth and fiction in varying amounts, but they are very persuasive. The thing I remember at that moment is that it was the first time in my life that it occurred to me that there was a possibility that the Church was not what it said it was, and that it was false. Before that moment, it had never even crossed my mind that the church of my youth was anything other than what it said it was.
Once that testimony was shattered, I never could quite get it back the way it was. Oh, I tried, boy howdy did I try. But it was such a struggle, for years thinking, "If only I paid perfect tithing, if only I went to the temple more, if only I prayed more, if only I read the scriptures more, if only I fulfilled my callings more, if only I beared my testimony more, I would be given a witness of Christ." But it never came.
So to get back to the original question, what place does the Mormon church have in my heart? Well, I think in some small way I will always have the Mormon culture in my heart. I can tell you right now it would be easier for me to walk into a new-to-me Mormon church and go through the services than to go to a Catholic Mass in a church I've never attended before. My mother is still Mormon, as are many members of my family. I love the Mormon people profoundly. Many of the Mormon people are truly good people, who give genuinely and who are kind.
BUT ... when I was Mormon, I found that many times my kindness had an ulterior motives. I found that I was kind to non-members in hopes that they would see what a good person I was and would want to join the church. I would fellowship inactives and treat them with great kindness, but only up to a point. I would always have in the back of my mind that I would hope that my influence would help them to join the Church. I've heard that type of action called "love bombing" before.
Looking back on it, I realize that I never hoped that people would find Christ, or find the solace of being embraced by the loving arms of God. I found that I hoped that they would become baptized and become a Mormon. Christ didn't have anything to do with it at all.
I remember coming back to the Mormon church in 1998, when I was 27, after a very long absense. I had hit rock bottom and knew I had to make some changes in my life. I did not like the person I had become. I was very sinful and self-centered. And I was lonely. In my weakness and vulnerability, I went back to the comfort I knew as a child. Something odd I found though is that throughout my time as a re-activated Mormon, I was either treated like a "special spirit" (for you Catholics, that translates to "good personality") in the Singles Ward, and as a pet project for the Relief Society in the Family ward I attended.
I was always sad, because I was never "love bombed" when I fell away. I wasn't expecting it, I was hoping I wouldn't get it, but I was honestly a little surprised that in the 5 years I've been away from the Church, I've received one phone call. No visits, no e-mails, no lovingly baked cookies on my doorstep. Nada.
So, in a nutshell, I have always and will always love Mormon people. The culture has some points which are admirable. But I also have found many documented facts which show Joseph Smith deceived people and was not who he claimed to be. I also, with gratitude from others who have done much research on the matter, have found many inconsistancies in the Book of Mormon that do not match the Bible, or even current Mormon teachings. It also saddens me greatly that the Mormon people continue to spend hundreds and thousands of hours every year doing work for the dead when there are living people who are hungry and needy all around us. Almost every act of charity I saw in the Mormon church (Bishop's storehouse, etc.) was done for Mormons, by Mormons, unless it was included in a "love bomb" meant to convert people.
And more than anything, I pray for Mormons to investigate outside of the church about the history of Joseph Smith. I'm not talking Ed Dekker, or even the Tanners. There are places where people have done research, people with great investment in the church, who have found the truth and decided to share it with people.