Brent was raised in the church and served faithfully. Over time his shelf items overloaded his testimony. He was particularly distressed after leaving to find out that issues he dismissed as anti-mormon lies were confirmed to be true by the church gospel topic essays. He left the church with his wife and joined his 4 children who had already left!
Born in Salt Lake City, raised in a small, Southern Idaho Mormon community. Descendent of Mormon Pioneers. I served a mission, later married in the temple and served in many callings, from nursery to first counsellor in the bishopric. I was a Mormon.
When I was serving as the 1st counselor, the bishop at the time challenged everyone in the ward to read the Book of Mormon. I was on board and excited about the chance to strengthen my testimony about it and dove in head first to that challenge. I encouraged all my family members to participate as well. My attitude and heart were right, but as I read, my logical mind took over and I found myself doubting the validity of it. I had a few specific, but strong issues with it that I struggled with but I put them on a shelf in the back of my mind.
A few years later, in a High Priest Group meeting the lesson was about the translation of the Book of Mormon. After that lesson I was convinced that my doubts were unwarranted and that Joseph Smith truly did receive inspiration from God to translate. I was having a testimony roller coaster ride.
For many years a close friend of mine has discussed with me a lot of topics that I considered anti-Mormon. This friend is one that I respect and admire, but I rejected everything he told me. I will never make a judgment about anything important like that unless I hear firsthand from unbiased witnesses without an agenda. The things he told me were unverifiable even though he believed them to be true and he was convinced that the LDS church was not true. I stood firm to my beliefs.
On a flight I sat next a Baptist Minister. I decided, contrary to my normal behavior on an airplane, to have a real conversation with a stranger. He told me about the Baptists’ “Young Earth” beliefs and when I asked him about dinosaurs, he told me that carbon dating didn’t work. I still remember my thought when he said that; “boy those Baptists sure expect their members to believe some silly stuff. Wait, so does my church”.
Soon thereafter, I decided to revisit those issues I had with the Book of Mormon. I determined that I was going to figure it out on my own with church-approved material and taking in to account the experiences that I have witnessed in my own lifetime. Long story short, I came to the conclusion that what I believed in my heart about the nature of God was contradicted by many things I read in the BOM.
In my lifetime I had personally witnessed many major changes in the church. I honestly do believe that all those changes make it better, however, I had been taught that the fullness of the gospel was restored by Joseph Smith so why did it need to be changed? I still shelved my issues. I wasn’t quite sure what to do at that point in time.
Then one day I got some very terrible news about a member of my family. My life has not been short on adversity and this was one of the most adverse things that had ever happened. I was really angry at God, feeling picked on, ready to throw in the towel. Honestly, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was a hard thing for me, but I decided that I could no longer count myself a believer of the LDS church. Not even a believer in God.
Not many months later, the church published an essay confirming the facts that my non-believing friend had told me many times before, about Joseph Smith’s polygamist marriages to underage girls. So many “anti-Mormon lies” of yesterday, are confirmed truths today. My wife and I stepped away from the church. Our 4 children were out of the house and out of the church at that time as well.Brent
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