Testimony of former Mormon

John Farkas

t is an early morning late in February 1984. As usual I am reading the scriptures while eating breakfast. I am in the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 18:25. This verse mentions the cow, ox, ass, horse, goat, and wild goat. This morning is a little unusual, though, in that I find myself questioning how some of these animals could have been in the New World. Didn't the experts (historians, paleozoologists) say that full-size horses were not in the New World until the European explorers and settlers arrived? This thought had occurred to me at least once before, I think while I was investigating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But this time the questions stayed with me and I found myself thinking about other questions that I apparently had suppressed in the past. I now had become teachable and open, a necessary prerequisite to the receiving of productive witnessing.

Starting with the late February period when I questioned the presence of certain animals in the New world. and continuing for about two months, I seldom had a complete night's sleep. Almost every night I woke up to study for one or two hours, in addition to using all of my free time for the same thing. By the end of February I had shared my doubts with my resident Mormon expert, my born-again Christian wife, Phyllis. In 1975 when I had joined the LDS Church. she became a Christian and started her studies of Mormonism. I had gone on to become the elders quorum president of the Fairport Ward (1981- 1984), and in early 1984 of the newly reorganized Rochester 1st Ward, both in the Rochester, New York Stake, while Phyllis became an expert in Mormon studies and acquired a very extensive library. When I asked her for certain information, I almost always had it within minutes.

By March 15th I had made up my mind to leave the Mormon Church. I knew it when I woke up that night and removed my temple garments. I felt free! My drive to study and learn continued, this time to grow in depth and breadth in Mormon studies and about the Bible and Jesus Christ.

On March 20, 1984, I sent Stake President Dale Dallon My letter of resignation. The reasons I noted in my letter were: changes in the Book of Commandments versus Doctrine and Covenants; changes to the Book of Mormon; conflicts between early and present-day teachings, and the translation of the Book of Abraham. I said that "Joseph Smith was a fraud and has pulled off one of the greatest hoaxes ever" My name was formally taken off the Church rolls at a Church court on May 10, 1984.

How did I get involved with the Mormon Church in the first place? It was my wife's fault. I now say that partially in jest. In 1974, when I became concerned about the food supply chain and saw a need to have a long term supply of food at home, Phyllis said. "The Mormons do that sort of thing. I'll send them a letter in Salt Lake City:' Well, she did. and the LDS missionaries brought the answer to us. We both took the missionary lessons. As result I joined in July 1975. Phyllis became a Christian. (Growing up amidst the tug of war between Christian and Mormon parents was hard on our son Alan. Children suffer in such conflicts.)

During that time I asked a very significant question without realizing how significant it was. I said to Phyllis, "If we are both praying to the same God, how come we are getting different answers?" Now t realize that the Mormon gods are not of the Bible. Mormonism is not Biblical Christianity. When I left the Mormon Church on March 15, 1984, I was left essentially with the beliefs that I had held in 1974 before I joined the Church. I was still a spiritual infant. I believed in a supreme being, a God, but I did not accept the Bible as the Word of God and I did not accept Jesus Christ as his Son and my Savior. I had a desire to know. so I studied the Bible and books about the Bible, associated with Christians, and attended Christian Sunday services and Sunday school. Through this I came to know that the Bible is the Word of God. and I came to know the real lord Jesus Chrlst. But even at this point I didn't know I was "saved."

Only after prayerful reading of John 3:16 with my friend Ross Amico - the founder of a group that was to become Berean Christian Ministries. an organization dedicated to exposing cults - did I fully realize the truth of John 3:16 and that I was the "whosoever" mentioned in this verse. The promise that I could claim was the important thing. Ironically. I accepted Jesus in the Palmyra. New York, Christian church that is adjacent to the Mormon chapel where I had been baptized nine years earlier to the very week. These are both 35 miles from my home, therefore I believe it was God's wisdom for it to happen there. On Sunday, July 19, 1984.1 answered an altar call at a Webster. NY Christian church and made public my faith in the real lord Jesus Christ. Now I know of the simplicity and beauty of his gospel.

I also had a drive to share my newfound knowledge and faith with others—both Mormons and non-Mormons. It is interesting that I had never had any thing like this drive to share Mormonism with others. I had not been a good member missionary. In fact, in my last four to six months of Church membership my feeling against missionary work surfaced. This became evident to me as my bishop attempted to increase missionary activity in our ward. and I only gave him passive support; but I didn't understand it then.

The Mormon people are a great people. They and their church have many characteristics that I found appealing. They are hard-working, conservative. successful, well organized, and they give great socials. They are good people in a worldly sense and should have the real Jesus Christ of the Bible. Using the Bible. they present some convincing arguments that appear to support their doctrine, It is important for Christians to know the Bible and to know the real Lord Jesus Christ. A weak Christian is no match against the Mormon story; it is very appealing. It is easier to keep people from joining the Mormon Church than to get members out.

Groups like Berean Christian Ministries perform a multifunction service in comparing the false, non-Christian teachings of the Mormon church and similar groups. They help to educate Christians, Mormons, and others; they organize activities that individuals could not handle; they provide support for those trying to get out from under the control of Mormonism and similar organizations.

For over seven years, I have coordinated the Berean Christian Ministries outreach at the Mormon Hill Cumorah Pageant held annually in July near Palmyra, New York. It is the largest outdoor pageant in America, and up to 100,000 people attend each year. Over 13,000 pieces of Christian literature have been distributed each year.

I am a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering, and I am a licensed New York State professional engineer. From 1962 to 1991 I worked at Xerox Corporation as a project engineer and project engineering manager. My wife, Phyllis, is editor of the Berean Report.

One of the reasons I share the Items in this last paragraph with you is to illustrate that worldly accomplishment and Intellectual capability are different from spiritual capability, I have often been asked how an intelligent person could believe Mormon doctrine, and I can understand why the question is asked. But, when the Mormon missionaries came to our house, I was a spiritual baby, and they only taught the milk of the Mormon "gospel," The meat comes later. As Hebrews 5:.114 says, I was not "of full age": "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil," I was not able to discern the real gospel of Jesus Christ from the "gospel" the Mormon missionaries had.

Through the prayers of concerned Christians, including my wife, who persevered through a rough situation, I became teachable and then "of full age." I hope and pray that the Biblical Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior as he is mine.