I was born and raised in a cult--a group of people who practiced polygamy as their way to heaven and to eternal exaltation. All my life I was taught that the "god with whom we have to do" was a tyrant with a celestial whip ready and anxious to punish, hurt, and humiliate those who don't always please him--and he was very hard to please.
When I turned 18 years old, I packed a couple of boxes and slipped out of the house in the middle of the night and ran away. Sometimes I think I jumped from the frying pan to the fire because I had been raised up completely ignorant of the outside world, was naive to the extreme, and was totally incapable of making decisions for myself. My life was a mixed-up mess for years. Fear and guilt are Satan's tools, and this cult used them well. Fear and guilt haunted me through the years.
I lived most of my adult life fearful and wondering what if "just maybe" the beliefs of that cult were correct after all. And the most horrible thing I could think of was that when I died I would wake up on the other side finding out "they" had been right after all. I wondered a lot about "religious" things but never searched, only ran from the idea, as all I knew about God made me afraid and hateful toward Him. I had been brainwashed as a child. I believed God hated me and was out to get me. Who wanted a God like that?
But then the kindness and goodness of God my Savior appeared into my life. He knew exactly what I needed to know and when I needed to know it, and it was that He indeed loved me with an everlasting love! It was many, many years after I had run away from the group, a grown son and many broken dreams later, that one day as I was reading a book, three little gigantic words brought tears to my eyes: God Loves You! How sweet those words were. How they changed my life.
I couldn't believe it, and I wanted to know more, so I started digging. And did I ever find out the truth about God. He showed me very early on in my Biblical studies that this cult was in no way THE WAY to heaven. All my life I had been taught that the Bible was corrupted and unreliable being mistranslated so many times and that the truth didn't exist any longer and a new revelation had to be given. But, He showed me that indeed He had promised to preserve His Word and He DID!! Isaiah 40:8. From that moment on, I was devouring the Bible.
It wasn't long before I came across the verses that He would use to save my soul. They were Ephesians 2:8-9: "For it is by grace you are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift from God, NOT BY WORKS so no one may boast . . . " Then Romans 10:9-10: "That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved . . . "
I was in shock. Saved by grace--not by works? No one can imagine the glory in that verse unless one has been "under the law" and the law of polygamy no less. I still glory in the simplicity of God's salvation. I had always believed that Jesus was Lord and that He had come back from the dead, but I had not known that Jesus is God, which is exactly what that verse means. As I learned and studied, I was so excited to finally discover the truths of God's Word. I discovered that those who claim the Bible is not trustworthy do not themselves study the Bible to find out for themselves.
I learned that God's love is so deep and wide and high and long that no one can humanly fully understand His great love, but what an adventure life is discovering new depths of His love daily.
I studied Scripture day and night. I just couldn't get enough of God's precious, delightful, healing Word. I had to wash out the old lies to make room for the wondrous truth. I discovered the truth which replaced many false doctrines. I found out that Jesus Christ is God Himself, not Satan's spirit brother. I discovered that only God pre-existed. I now could see that the Trinity is indeed a solid, Biblical truth and that there is really only one God now and forever, anywhere and everywhere. I learned that Jesus Christ died for ME on that Cross that day and not for His own exaltation.
God began to teach me through experience as well as through His Word, and He allowed me to go through many difficult, faith-building times before He had me ready for Ephesians 2:10, "the works" He planned in advance for me to do AFTER He saved my soul. At first, I merely taught a Bible study one night a week. Then He called me to a full-time ministry. When God puts us to work, it is FULL time. I love the work I do ministering to homeless women and children in the name of Jesus Christ. God has given me a heart to disciple new Christians and to tell others about His Good News of salvation by grace, not by works. God's salvation is free to us, but it cost Him so very much. How can anyone exalt himself so highly as to think he can outdo Christ's work on our behalf which He did on the Cross?
God has blessed me so much. He has saved my son and my two granddaughters. God has shown me He alone is my security in life. God is Savior, and nothing I can do will save me or save anyone else. I just need to be faithful to live my life in His power giving and living His message.
My heart hurts for all who continue to cling to false religion, believing their "rules and doctrines" have salvation when it is Christ alone for salvation and the Bible alone for doctrine and the sweetest thing on this earth is to know and walk with my God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus warned us in Mark, Chapter 7, that "religion" lets go of the commands of God and holds to the traditions of men. I learned that man's doctrines are trouble but that God's commands are a delight and sweet to the soul.
I pray daily for the souls who are blinded by Satan to believe in anything except the simple and pure doctrine of salvation by grace alone. I pray that this, my testimony, will be used by God as a trophy of His grace in saving a lost soul such as mine was. In His great mercy, He reached down from Heaven, grabbed ahold of me, and placed me on the solid rock of Jesus Christ, my Lord, Savior, Master.
"And they overcame him (the devil) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony," Revelation 12:11.