I really didn’t know much about the Mormon religion before reading this book. Oh sure, I had seen pairs of Mormon missionaries in public, either knocking door-to-door witnessing or using the library internet stations to e-mail home. I was invited to the wedding of a neighbor that was Mormon some years ago, and did attend. What I remember about their church was that there was no cross and no image of Jesus, and it almost didn’t seem like a church. Having said that, the Mormon folks were very welcoming and friendly to me.
When my friend mentioned this book to me, I was afraid it would be a boring theological book about various points of doctrine that the author disagreed with. Instead, this book turned out to be a fascinating read about Lynn and her tight-knit family, covering a span of about twenty years. She describes how she and her husband jumped into being members of the Mormon church without really knowing much about it, how they became more tangled in it as the years went by, and how nearly impossible it was to leave. Each of their four kids also wrestled with the issue of whether to stay in the church they’d grown up in and felt secure in, or to break free and start over.
The book gave me a front-row seat into the lifestyles and habits of the Mormons. Some of their practices seemed noble, like spending two years as missionaries, and having an extremely strong work ethic. But many other things were troubling. It was rigid and oppressive, and to disobey them meant you weren’t getting into heaven. If you were ready to confess your sins, you didn’t pray to Jesus to forgive you. Instead, you visited your minister, or a committee, and you were told if you would be forgiven. Wow, I thought, this sounds a bit like the dark ages. I kept reading. It turns out that their church believes Jesus used to be a mere mortal, but was able to work his way up to being a god. He can only be in one place at a time. No wonder he’s too busy to hear people pray for forgiveness! Thankfully, the book wasn’t just a dry recitation of church beliefs, but described their daily lives, their jobs, and so on. Enough of the church beliefs were woven into the story-line to get a good picture of church doctrine.
I love the ending of the book. Instead of saying that they hated the Mormons and their church, Lynn and her family have a great love for their former church members. They want them to know the real Jesus, and that you don’t have to be a slave to a bunch of legalistic rules. Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit are one God, they can be everywhere, and yes they can forgive your sins and bring you to heaven!
Lynn’s grown children began a ministry called “Adam’s Road” to reach out to Mormons who are looking for a real relationship with Jesus. They understand how difficult it is to leave the church they grew up in, or even to question the authority of the church. This book shows the patience of God and His tender heart, and how important it is to read the Bible ourselves so that we know the truth.