Over a year ago, I wrote a post called “Why do People Leave the LDS Church?” It has since become one of my most frequented posts and recently received a comment from a sincere seeker of Jesus who has just left the LDS church. She has started a blog called Musings on Mormonism that shows her sincerety as a seeker of Jesus and her story of being a Mormon and chosing to leave the LDS church, yet devoting herself to following Jesus. I respect her choice and also commend her for following her heart and pray that she brings people closer to Jesus.
Her experience was very similar to the experience the experience of Shawn McCraney’s. Recently I read his book called “I was a Born Again Mormon.” In this book, he describes his experience as an LDS elder and missionary and also is conversion to Christianity and leaving the LDS church. I didn’t agree with a lot of what he wrote, but one thing I did agree with was that it is important to be born again. His definition of what a born again Mormon is and mine are drastically different, but I do agree with him in the fact that we as Mormons (and everyone for that matter) need to be born again.
I feel that it is unfortunate that many of our fellow Christians feel that we are not truly born again and believers in Jesus. No one is perfect, but if we are not doing things out of the love we have for Jesus, then we need to repent and become truly born again.
In John, chapter 3, Jesus tells Nicodemus one must be born again to see the kingdom of God. In the Book of Mormon in Alma, chapter 7 it states we need to be born again through repentance and baptism as well. There are many other scriptures in the Book of Mormon and Bible for those who want to study being born again. Clearly it is something necessary and something that we as LDS should be talking about and thinking about.
In 2007, Elder Bednar, one of the Apostles for the Church of Jesus Christ, gave a great sermon called “Ye Must be Born Again.” In this sermon, he discusses the importance in being born again and accepting Jesus:
We are instructed to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny [ourselves] of all ungodliness” (Moroni 10:32), to become “new creature[s]” in Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), to put off “the natural man” (Mosiah 3:19), and to experience “a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2). Please note that the conversion described in these verses is mighty, not minor—a spiritual rebirth and fundamental change of what we feel and desire, what we think and do, and what we are. Indeed, the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ entails a fundamental and permanent change in our very nature made possible through our reliance upon “the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah” (2 Nephi 2:8). As we choose to follow the Master, we choose to be changed—to be spiritually reborn.
I would like to share with you when I experienced a “mighty change in heart” and was born again as a new creature in Jesus.
During a proselyting mission in Frankfurt, Germany I had had many discussions with non-believers and people who challenged my faith of if there was a God and if Jesus was real. I struggled with my faith for awhile and questioned if there was a God and if Jesus was really the Savior.
During this time, I would sometimes feel angry with myself for feeling this way and viewed myself as a hypocrite. I concluded that if I really wanted to know Jesus I would need to immerse myself in His word and pray, which is exactly what I did. In order to know Jesus, I decided I would read the book Jesus the Christ, by James Talmage along with the New Testament. I studied and prayed for over 8 months and learned a lot, but never did receive a “born again” experience. I actually wasn’t really looking for a sign and had the faith that God would reveal truth to me in His own time and way.
One morning, it happened. As I was praying, I felt completely overcome with a love and joy for Jesus that I had never felt before. Words to a poem, which I may share at some later point entitled “I’m With You ’til the End” came to mind and I dictated as the Spirit of God spoke to me through my writing. As I watched the words fall onto the paper describing who Jesus is and what His mission in life was and how He’s always there to help me, I felt my heart change and my love and desire to share the good news of the gospel overcome me. I wept in gratitude as God had answered my prayers.
That experience was more than 12 years ago now, but it is etched into my heart. I’ve made many mistakes since then, but I am a drastically different person since becoming a new creature in Jesus than I was before. I know that I have the opportunity to daily give my heart to Jesus and that He’ll lead me in all I do. As I try daily to give my heart to Jesus then I notice that I gradually become more like Him in my desires to serve others and to love as He did. Life, relationships, and everything becomes more meaningful.
Those of us who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ should always remember that in all we do nothing matters unless we do it unto the Lord. Our fellow Christian brothers and sisters should never feel that we as Mormons are not born again and new creatures in Jesus, for without Him, nothing else matters.
If you are a Mormon, how would you describe your “born again” experience?
Also, if you are a fellow non-LDS Christian, feel free to share your born again experience as well.
For more good posts on Mormons being born again visit:
LDS Alive in Christ (this one is a beautifully written testimony by the author of the site of how he became born again. Highly Recommended)