I grew up in Ireland, Catholic. My family and most of my friends were what we call ‘lapsed Catholics’ – we went to church for special events, weddings and funerals, and that was that.
In the late eighties, Mormon/LDS missionaries knocked at my door. They came in, we got talking, and before they left, they asked me to pray. I didn’t know if I liked the sound of that, but they asked what I thought I should pray about. I said I’ll ask if the Book of Mormon is true, and after that I just felt like everything was right about the Book of Mormon.
I started going to the Mormon/LDS church, but I couldn’t figure out how the Book Of Mormon fit in with the church. For example, they condemn all these synagogues and the Rameumptom, but they were doing it!
The second time the missionaries came, they asked me to go to church. I did and met a lady there I knew, from the PTA at my daughter’s school. She gave me a book called A Marvelous Work and a Wonder by LeGrand Richards, (which is a reference from the Book of Mormon). It talked about the temple. Both my parents, my brother and my nephew had all died in a short period of time, and I liked the sounds of being sealed to them, so I went there.
The missionaries asked if I wanted to be baptised. I said yes but I didn’t want to be a member. They said I would be a member if I got baptised, but I said no, the Book Of Mormon just said you have to be baptised – it didn’t say you had to be a church member. I didn’t want to be a crazy religious person!
I got baptised six weeks after the missionaries first knocked at my door. My first few years in the church were fun, exciting and busy, so brushed a few issues I had away.
I knew something wasn’t right ..
I would get upset – things didn’t match what the teachings were in the scriptures. I had that conflict.
In Sunday School class I would ask about the things that didn’t make sense. They would tell me this was not the place to ask my questions.
I thought, well where can I ask questions?
One day I was with some members talking about Joseph Smith’s wives. I brought up how many he had, including the fourteen year old. I didn’t understand this – it didn’t feel right to me. There was a lot I didn’t understand about him back then. Joseph was always my problem – I wouldn’t go into the Sunday School lessons when they were teaching from the Doctrine and Covenants. I couldn’t cope with him!
Anyway, I was with these member friends, discussing Joseph. Unfortunately I accidentally offended one of them, which I was sorry about, but my confusion was not resolved.
I read Joseph’s diaries in an old 1970s Ensign. That changed my mind a little, about him. I had an issue with the commandment against loud laughter, but Joseph said if you can’t laugh, you’ve lost the image of your creator. Something like that. After that, I had a soft spot for him, but the story the church gave on him never added up..
The discussion of Joseph led to me searching online. On Youtube I found an interview with Christopher Nemelka on something called Heart of the Matter. I heard him talk and I felt like I was reading the Book of Mormon! It moved me, it made sense.
This led to me finding more things online, on Youtube and other stuff. I found a man called Dominic Larkin who followed Christopher’s work. I listened to his interview.
I found Christopher’s Marvelous Work and a Wonder website.
I saw pictures of supporters, including Dominic Larkin! I remember his flowery shirt and cowboy hat. He had his phone number there, so I called him up! My kids thought I was nuts, phoning up someone from the internet! We chatted for hours! He was from Ireland, and we both knew some of the same people!.
I found out Christopher did a radio show. I tried to read all of what he wrote too but often struggled to keep up. I kept in touch with Dominic and would ask him questions sometimes. I was very sad when he died.
I read Joseph Smith’s autobiography that Christopher had had published. I finally understood Joseph! I love reading Christopher’s books, I love listening to ‘Coffee With Chris’.
His work has changed me – it helps you not to be pulled to and fro, nobody can mess you up mentally. Now I have peace, a sense of peace. I love the freedom from guilt! I do what I want to do.
I used to have that conflict with Mormons/LDS saying things that don’t make sense, but once I found Christopher’s work, it didn’t bother me. People can believe what they want. When you know what’s true, you understand people. They don’t teach those things because they’re mean, it’s because of what they’ve been taught.