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A Mormon's Unexpected Journey: Mormonism to Grace, #2

A Mormon's Unexpected Journey: Mormonism to Grace, #2

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A Mormon's Unexpected Journey: Mormonism to Grace, #2

ratings:
5/5 (1 rating)
Length:
466 pages
8 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 9, 2015
ISBN:
9781507006825
Format:
Book

Description

The sequel to Carma Naylor's first book, Volume 2 is more than a captivating story; it contains critical insight into the surprising origins of LDS scriptures and the roadblocks that make it difficult for a Mormon to doubt Mormonism. Carma also sensitively reveals the secret ceremonies of Mormonism out of a genuine desire for Mormons to find freedom in Christ.

Pastor Chuck Smith (founder of the worldwide Calvary Chapel movement) said the following about this sequel to A Mormon's Unexpected Journey, Vol. 1: "…a must read for any who have wondered what Mormonism is all about."

Publisher:
Released:
Jan 9, 2015
ISBN:
9781507006825
Format:
Book

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A Mormon's Unexpected Journey - Carma Naylor

A MORMON’S

UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

Finding the Grace I Never Knew

_________________________

Volume 2

____________________

Written by

Carma Naylor

LIGHT OF TRUTH BOOKS

Beaumont, California

A Note to my LDS Readers

There may be many members of the LDS Church today who have not heard or no longer believe what their prophets have taught in the past. You may be one who says, I don’t believe that.

My response is, Why would you follow men who taught and believed doctrines that you disagree with? These men are sustained by the LDS Church as prophets, seers, and revelators. Even if the LDS Church doesn’t teach certain doctrines anymore, why should these teachings change if God spoke to these men?

On April 9, 1852, in the Salt Lake tabernacle, Brigham Young made the following statement in the same sermon in which he preached that Adam was our God, as quoted by Chuck Smith in his endorsement of this book:

Now, let all who may hear these doctrines, pause before they make light of them, or treat them with indifference, for they will prove their salvation or damnation.

Journal of Discourses, Vol. I, p. 51

Brigham Young said the following in a speech delivered in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on January 2, 1870:

I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture. Let me have the privilege of correcting a sermon, and it is as good Scripture as they deserve. The people have the oracles of God continually.

Journal of Discourses, by Brigham Young, Vol. 13, p. 95

Brigham Young’s statement, I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture, was published in 1870—sixteen years after he published his Adam-God doctrine in Journal of Discourses Vol. I, and sent it out to the Saints in all the World. Sixteen years was ample time to correct a sermon if he didn’t mean what he said. (See Supplemental Materials: A Comparison: Can Mormonism be Considered One with Biblical Christianity?)

The following was stated in a conference talk in the Salt Lake tabernacle in 1945, by Marion G. Romney, (who was president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and a member of the First Presidency):

Today the Lord is revealing his will to all the inhabitants of the earth, and to members of the Church in particular, on the issues of this our day through the living prophets, with the First Presidency at the head. What they say as a presidency is what the Lord would say if he were here in person. This is the rock foundation of Mormonism . . . So I repeat again, what the presidency say as a presidency is what the Lord would say if he were here, and it is scripture. (See endnote #27.)

It is my prayer that you, the Latter-day Saint who is willing to read this book, will be honest about your leader’s teachings (past as well as present) and compare Mormon doctrine with the Bible, the true Word of God, as the Bereans did when they heard Paul’s teachings.

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

—Acts 17:11

Introduction

As I look back over my journey from Mormonism to God’s grace, I acknowledge God’s hand over my life. The following is a simple illustration of the way I now view my journey down this path.

Let’s say the desert represents man’s present condition of separation from God. A beautiful mountain in the distance represents Jesus Christ—the only way to God’s presence (John 14:6). A person desiring to reach the mountain would obviously take steps in that direction. As he gets closer, he would reach the foothills with beautiful plants and streams of water. There are many people in the foothills proclaiming different ways to reach the mountain. Some even believe that the foothills are the mountain. It is easy for one to believe that falsehood because the foothills are so wonderful compared to the desert. In addition, the foothills now block the view of the mountain of God.

Those who do not believe that the foothills are the mountain and press on in the right direction will reach the mountain. Others are content to find pleasures in the foothills and they don’t even seek the mountain. Still others believe the falsehood and think the foothills are the mountain. Therefore they never reach the mountain, although that was their goal.

I was born in the foothills. I was thankful I wasn’t in the desert, but I couldn’t see the mountain. I loved the foothills and thought that others I was following were leading me to the mountain.

Even though I couldn’t see God, He saw me and drew me step by step through paths of single truths amongst a forest of untruths until I could see the mountain and leave the deceptive foothills behind.

These two volumes are my journey from the foothills to the mountain.

Summary of Volume 1

In Volume I of A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey, Carma tells of her Mormon upbringing and her sincere and deep devotion to the LDS Church and to the Mormon lifestyle. This life was her everything, she explains. She had it all—a strong Mormon husband, a large, beautiful family, friends, and fulfilling church involvement. Despite her full life, there was something nagging her mind. If she had the ideal family, why did she feel depressed and burdened? Worst of all, why did she have what she described as a constant, gnawing fear that she would not make it into the Kingdom of God?

This fear continued, and so she did all she could to be worthy of exaltation. A huge turning point occurred when she felt compelled to give Tobie, her close Jewish friend and neighbor, a Bible, and asked her to read the Book of Matthew. Tobie read Matthew in one night and came to Carma’s door the next day in tears, acknowledging that Jesus was the Son of God! Tobie quickly began her own spiritual journey, which led her to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This was alarming to Carma, who had always believed that the Jehovah Witnesses were very deceived; so her quest was to save her friend from deception. She believed with all her heart that she could convince Tobie, from the Bible, that the Witnesses were wrong and the Mormon Church was the true Church of Jesus Christ. What ensued between Carma and Tobie were months of discussion and debate, seeking the true meaning of the Scriptures. Carma’s staunch Mormon beliefs slowly began to crumble as she realized she had been taking Bible passages out of context, and that the teachings of Joseph Smith were different and often contrary to the Bible. Further investigation into Joseph Smith’s life and writings brought her to the stunning conclusion that he was a false prophet.

Volume 1 contains in-depth scriptural analysis and study, where Carma investigated not only the Book of Mormon and other important LDS literature, but also the validity, truth, and reliability of The Holy Bible. She finally concluded that the Bible, as we read it today, was true and trustworthy. That conclusion could only mean that Mormonism was false. This was not the end of her story, however! Knowing the facts and following the current leadings of the Holy Spirit was one thing, but changing a life that was so deeply rooted in Mormonism was another. Her husband and children were happy as Mormons, and Carma’s questions and discoveries were threats to their peaceful way of life. Carma’s greater family and friends were Mormon Church members, also, and not happy with her questions, either. She faced reproof at every turn, yet she couldn’t ignore what the Lord had shown her. She now knew the truth—and there was no turning back. She realized this meant she could lose her family and all she held dear, which was a frightening thought, but a thought she grew to accept with a peace that only God could provide as she continued to seek and trust Him.

Carma’s newfound trust in a God of grace was put to the test when her son Lance prepared to go on his two-year Mormon mission. Everything within her cried out that he should not go on this mission, but she knew she had to set aside her worries and let God control the situation.

Lance left home and entered the Missionary Training Center in Utah as he had planned, while Carma silently prayed that God would teach him the truth. She wanted to cast her anxieties on the Lord, but nothing could prepare her for the phone call she was about to receive that would dramatically change her life, and the lives of her loved ones, forever.

SECTION 1

_____________________

The Light of God’s Word

that Gives Hope

_____________________

CHAPTER ONE

Breaking Point

Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.

—Psalm 86:6, 7

Leaving our son, Lance, in the Missionary Training Center was one of my most difficult steps of faith. I trusted I was acting in God’s will and that He was going to do something. I returned home to California and waited anxiously for a letter from Lance. Over a week passed. No letter. I was extremely eager to hear how he was doing. Early Friday morning the phone rang. It was Nancy, our oldest daughter. She was attending Brigham Young University, located next to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah. Her soft, cautious voice suggested something was wrong. She had gone to the MTC early that morning with some homemade cookies and a card for Lance. Knowing that she would not be allowed to deliver them personally, she was waiting at the front desk when an elder happened to walk up and notice Lance’s name on the envelope. The unknown elder looked at Nancy and spoke.

Lance isn’t here.

Thinking he was teasing, Nancy responded cheerfully. Oh, do you know Lance?

With over nineteen hundred elders in the MTC, it was rather amazing that she would meet one at 6:30 a.m. who was acquainted with Lance.

Yes, the missionary said. I was his companion. As I told you, he isn’t here.

His expression and tone of voice stunned Nancy as she realized he wasn’t joking.

"But my mom left him here ten days ago. What do you mean, he isn’t here?" she asked with surprise.

He’s in the hospital. He’s been there since Monday night, was his answer.

As Nancy told me this over the phone, my heart sank. Why hadn’t we been notified there was a problem, as they had told us we would be? I had been so concerned about him since we parted at the MTC.

What happened? Is he sick? What has he got? I impatiently asked my daughter.

Nancy’s voice was subdued and slow.

Mom, he’s in the psychiatric ward at the hospital. I called to find out if he was really there, like his companion said he was.

What! I felt myself getting sick and angry at the same time. I could hardly speak; my thoughts were racing so. What had Lance been going through? My heart hurt for him. Why hadn’t someone called from the MTC to let us know there was a problem? We should have been notified that Lance was struggling! Why had everything been kept a secret? Why couldn’t he have called us and talked to us? How could they just put him in the hospital, the psychiatric ward no less, and not even ask our permission, or, even worse than that, not even inform us!

I was outraged! And to think that he had been there since Monday, and this was Friday. I wondered if Lance had been wondering why we hadn’t called him. I was engulfed with the emotions of sadness, pain, anger, and confusion.

I’m coming up there right now! What in the world is going on? I said. The whole thing was an outrage. I was beside myself!

Nancy responded, No, Mom. Don’t come up yet. Nancy informed me she had an appointment to meet with the psychiatrist at the hospital in a few hours. She would call me back immediately after talking with him.

I started making plans to go to Utah. However, my husband tried to talk me out of it. He knew I was upset, and he felt it best if I stayed home. He, too, was deeply hurt, but he didn’t often outwardly express his feelings and show them, as I did. He would usually withdraw and become very quiet. I couldn’t believe he was telling me I couldn’t go to Provo to see Lance and find out what was going on. I wanted to get Lance out of there and bring him home. He needed a chance to seek God and not be under such pressure. He needed to understand the truth!

My culture had taught me to obey my husband, even at the cost of suppressing my own feelings. However, this was one time when I was not going to suppress myself. After all, hadn’t I tried to show respect to Charles and his beliefs and feelings? Hadn’t I suppressed my desire to try to stop Lance from going on this mission? Yes, I had tried to have conversations with him and share some of the things that I had learned, but in obedience to what I believed to be God’s leading I had not argued or forced my opinions on my husband and children, since they didn’t want to hear and it only caused quarrels. I had even stepped out of the picture and let Lance make his own decision about this mission. Now he had been hospitalized without our knowing! It was no longer time to suppress myself. I couldn’t believe Charles expected me to keep silent and even to stay away! No way! I had to go!

Nancy finally called back. The doctor offered very little explanation or information, but Nancy had been allowed to see Lance. Her voice verified she was more troubled now than before.

There’s really something wrong with Lance’s head, she said.

What’s he like? I asked.

Before she could answer I said, I know. Lance is probably just pretending something is wrong in order to get out of the MTC.

I knew Lance liked to play the clown and could be quite a comedian.

No, Mom. He’s not pretending. There’s something wrong! She had urgency, yet a poignant sorrow in her voice. I knew she was very troubled.

Well, what? What is he doing? What is he like? What happened? I don’t understand.

I was hurting and very frustrated at the lack of information, as if we had no rights as parents. Did they think they owned Lance? Why couldn’t somebody tell us what had happened? Why did I feel like I was dealing with some big secret, or something?

Her answer, again, was slow but gentle. He’s just different, Mom. He’s . . . he’s . . . strange. He’s not himself. He keeps talking about Jesus coming back soon, as if it is going to happen any minute and he is very frightened that he is going to get burned up. Like . . . like he looked out the window and saw a big, fluffy cloud, and insisted that meant that Jesus was coming back in the cloud and he was about to be destroyed.

Nancy, are you sure he’s not just pretending? I persisted.

No, he is not pretending. Something is wrong with his head. The firmness in her voice left me with a cold, sick feeling.

I’m coming up there right now. I’ve had enough of this. I wasn’t staying home one more hour. I had to see him and get him out of there.

I was shocked that even Nancy tried to talk me out of coming. She suggested that she ask the doctor first if it was alright. I told her not to waste her time. I didn’t care what the doctor said. I was coming up there—and nothing was going to stop me!

Once again, Charles tried to tell me I couldn’t go, as he looked at me with his stern blue eyes. He wasn’t used to me opposing him, but he could see I was determined.

I didn’t force my beliefs on Lance and prevent him from going on this mission, I said. I can’t suppress my feelings any longer. I didn’t interfere. I gave him his freedom to choose. Why couldn’t they?

Something inside of Charles melted as his stern countenance changed. He looked down and spoke quietly: I’ll go with you.

He did talk me into waiting one more day so we could make proper arrangements for leaving the other six children at home.

A Grievous Visit

I tried to look calm and composed, despite my shaking body and sick stomach, as Charles and I walked down the corridors of the Provo Valley Hospital and asked for directions to the psychiatric ward. We tried to give each other confidence as we rang the buzzer at the entrance to the big, locked doors.

A nurse ushered us in. Down the hall was a young man, hunched forward, moving very slowly and stiffly, shuffling toward us. His gloomy face was broken out in an extreme case of acne. His pathetic expression was glum and sorrowful, with a faraway stare in his glossy, bloodshot eyes. I had never seen anybody look like he did.

As we drew closer to this young man, my heart started beating faster. It couldn’t be! It just couldn’t be! Was this Lance? He was hardly recognizable. I was aghast. What had happened to the tall, handsome son I’d left at the MTC just eleven days prior to this? Lance never had acne, and his walk had been with energy and confidence. Was this real? Was this really happening?

As he looked up from staring at the floor I expected him to be excited and surprised at seeing us. However, his downcast, oppressed look was unchanged as he stammered slowly.

I was just going to ask if I could call you.

He was talking and looking at us, yet he didn’t seem present. He was without emotion and seemed somewhere off in space. How thankful I was that we were there. Why hadn’t they let him call home? I thought the Church stood for family, not isolation! Why couldn’t they have let him go home if he had wanted to go—before he got in this condition? The least they could have done was to let us know what had been going on!

Charles and I were speechless at seeing our son like this. We could hardly believe that it was really Lance. At least it was sort of Lance, but definitely not the Lance that I had left at the MTC just a short time ago.

I was still finding it hard to believe that the mission leaders had taken it upon themselves to lock him behind the doors of a psychiatric ward and sedate him with heavy medications without even discussing it with us. I was heavyhearted, depressed, and infuriated! Still, I tried not to show the fury raging inside of me as I gave Lance a hug. I was just wondering why his eyes looked so red and watery when he spoke.

Mom, why do your eyes look so bloodshot? Does that mean you’ve got the spirit? He hugged his father and asked him if he had the spirit. He was very concerned about getting the spirit.

You can’t teach without the spirit, he said.

It was pretty obvious what kind of a spirit had possessed him. Even Nancy had asked the psychiatrist if he thought Lance was possessed. The doctor responded with a shocked look and said nothing.

Most people today reject the reality of demon possession. Years before, while on my mission, my companion and I experienced two encounters with an evil spirit. Both experiences occurred after visiting with a Buddhist lady in her home. I knew these spirits existed, were real, and were not limited to the days of Jesus’ ministry. They are still battling for our hearts and minds today!

Lance took us to his room and slowly started apologizing for not mailing a letter yet. He pulled several papers out of his drawer. There was one letter on his desk, which he had been trying to write. His penmanship had deteriorated to scribbles. He explained that he had started many letters but could never finish them. His first letter had a smiling Ziggy® cartoon face drawn on it. Lance was very good at drawing cartoons, and Ziggy® was his favorite. In his second letter, Ziggy’s smile was reconstructed to a frown, and in the third letter Ziggy had tears falling down the page.

As Lance was showing us around his room, he suddenly stood on his bed and looked anxiously out the window. In a very concerned and worried manner, he cried out: Oh, no! Look what I’ve done now!

Charles and I had no idea what he was referring to.

Look, don’t you see it? he asked us, very agitated. I’ve made the destroying angel come. See it over there in front of the mountain?

A cloud of smoke and smog coming from the Geneva Steel Mills had settled low at the base of the mountain. I had often referred to the California smog as the destroying angel because of the affect it had on my lungs. I got the connection immediately. We tried to explain to Lance what it was, but to no avail. He just knew he had done it. It was the destroying angel, coming to destroy the wicked before Christ came. He burst into tears and became very fearful. He wanted to be saved with us, but was convinced he was going to be destroyed.

The intensity with which he believed and felt these things was unbelievable. Lance was full of fear and guilt. He thought he was bad. He had tried so hard to be good. He had been true to his priesthood calling and tried to keep himself worthy for his mission. He had achieved the honor of Eagle Scout. He’d experienced many of the teen problems and struggles that normal boys experience while growing up, but Lance wasn’t guilty of any great sin to cause him to feel this way. Yet it was evident that he was burdened with the guilt and fear of being destroyed by fire, while he believed his father and I were going to be saved.

Within minutes another experience revealed more fears. They were remodeling the hospital and huge machines were breaking up cement outside, making loud rumbles and causing Lance’s room to vibrate. Lance’s eyes filled with terror as he was sure it was the big earthquake coming—the one that was going to destroy the world—and that he was doomed.

From Weakness to Strength

I wanted so much for Lance to find the transforming love of Jesus and experience freedom from guilt, self-condemnation, and fear of God’s judgment. I wanted Lance to find Christ’s easy yoke and be set free from the burdensome yoke of religion as I had. I wanted to get him out of the hospital and away from the Missionary Training Center and all the pressure this mission was creating for him. I wanted to get him home, where we could read the Bible together and he could seek God’s truth freely and honestly.

However, when I tried to talk to him about my new faith, it went over his head. Lance was not in touch with reality enough to follow a serious Bible conversation. Was it too late? Had I done the wrong thing by submitting to my husband and letting Lance go on this mission? I had really believed that the Lord had told me to let Lance make his own decision about this mission. Had I misunderstood God?

I was filled with regret, sorrow, and confusion. I stepped out of his room and burst into tears. I couldn’t take anymore.

I am weak, God, but you are strong, I prayed. I thought I was doing the right thing when I refrained from trying to stop him from going on this mission. Instead I had encouraged him to seek Your truth and read the Bible. I hope it was the right thing to leave him at the Missionary Training Center. Right now, I need some kind of reassurance from You. I do trust that I gave him to You and that You must be behind all of this, but it is so frightening and depressing to see him in this condition. Dear Father, if it is Your will, in Jesus’ name, please give me strength and understanding.

He did give me strength and understanding in that moment. I was able to regain control over my emotions as I remembered a familiar story from the Old Testament that now deeply impressed me. In the fourth chapter of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a huge tree that was cut down. He wanted to understand the meaning of his dream. Daniel interpreted the king’s dream and told him that he was the tree that was cut down. The meaning of the dream was that the king would be driven from his kingdom and would eat grass like oxen and grow feathers like an eagle (Dan. 4:32). Daniel’s interpretation came true. The king lost his sanity and was given the heart of an animal (verse 16). [1] He remained in this condition for seven years and was restored to his right mind when he acknowledged that, the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses (Dan. 4:25 NKJV). King Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity and kingdom were restored to him when he praised the true God and gave Him glory instead of glorifying himself (verses 34–37).

From Panic to Peace

As I stood in the hallway sobbing, this story became very meaningful to me and gave me strength. I had hope that God would heal Lance of this mental illness when he found the truth, just as King Nebuchadnezzar had been healed. I wanted to explain everything I knew to him, but Lance was so out of touch with reality he couldn’t comprehend it now. It was difficult to have any rational conversation with him at this point.

I had prayed for over four years that God would teach my husband and children the truth. I believed that somehow God would use this horrible tragedy for good. I didn’t understand why or how, but it was enough just to know that He was Sovereign and in control. I couldn’t see the future. We had no medical assurance that Lance would ever be normal again, but God had given me His love and peace. Once again I needed to just let go and take one step at a time, trusting God.

The comfort I received at this time gave me the strength I lacked within myself through some extremely difficult and painful times to come. When I was close to panic and despair I hung on to the assurance God had given me that day in the hospital hallway. When I listened to men and forgot that promise, I would become extremely anxious and depressed. However, as long as I kept my focus on God and exercised faith in Him, I was filled with a tremendous love, strength, and peace that were far beyond my own. As the days of Lance’s illness continued on I went from panic to peace, depending on whether I focused on our circumstances or on God.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

—Isaiah 26:3

CHAPTER TWO

Hanging on to Faith

Uphold my steps in your paths, that my footsteps may not slip.

—Psalm 17:5 NKJV

Charles and I stayed several days in Utah, spending as much time as possible with Lance. We were eager to take him home, and he was expecting to go home with us. However, we soon learned that once a person has been admitted to a hospital psychiatric lockdown facility, they become subject to the doctors’ authority.

We had no influence in being able to get him out of the hospital. The doctors would not release him—no matter what Lance or we wanted. We prolonged our stay in Provo as long as we could, hoping he would show enough progress to be released, but to no avail.

At the End of My Rope

Our talks with the doctors were not comforting, nor did the psychiatrists seem to be compassionate toward our situation. They talked to us once, explaining that Lance’s diagnosis was an acute psychotic break. We were told that some people never come out of this state. Once this happens most are in and out of it all their lives, but a few come out of it and are OK. We were also told that Lance would now be on medication for years, if not for the remainder of his life. Once people got started on these drugs, the psychiatrist said, they usually need them the rest of their lives.

These were hard words to hear, but I hung on to my faith and to the story of King Nebuchadnezzar. The belief that God had given me an assurance that Lance was in His hands, and that if it were His will He would heal Lance, was my only comfort and hope. We had so many questions, and there was so much we wanted to understand—but were told that they really didn’t know a lot about the human mind. Lance’s doctor didn’t seem to want to talk to us at all after the initial visit.

I wasn’t ready to settle for so little information. I wanted to know how Lance was acting before he was taken to the hospital and given some very addictive medications—and why we were never notified. I knew Lance’s missionary companion’s name and requested to visit with him. I was shocked when told by the leaders at the MTC that we would not be allowed to visit him. Was this a church, or the CIA? It was as if we were probing into top secret information or something. What did they have to hide?

Our son had literally gone crazy since we’d left him at the Missionary Training Center, and now we were being treated with little or no compassion. Just what was wrong with talking with Lance’s companion, who had been with him the entire time until they took him to the hospital? Didn’t Charles and I have some rights as parents? This certainly wasn’t living up to the Church’s statement that the family comes first, I thought. It was as if Lance had become the Church’s property, and we were a bother.

I needed to know what had happened, and I didn’t think they had the right to withhold information from me any longer.

An Open Door

The missionaries were divided into groups called branches, so we met with the branch president that had been over Lance’s group. He was kind and compassionate, and he arranged for us to meet with Lance’s missionary companion at the MTC. Lance’s companion was a very mature young missionary who expressed himself well. I’ll never forget our visit.

How was Lance acting? was my first question after we got acquainted with each other. He responded in a very thoughtful, caring tone of voice.

Lance was different from most of the elders. We all respected him, actually. He took his mission very seriously. Unlike some of the guys in here, Lance would not pretend. He wanted to know the truth so much that he went three days and nights without sleep. Then he put on one dress shoe and one tennis shoe, and put the wrong suit coat on. We knew then that something was seriously wrong. He seemed to be really stressed and wanted to talk a lot about getting a testimony. We all felt really bad about what happened.

"What did happen?" I asked.

They told Lance they were taking him someplace to get a hamburger and some rest. Then they took him in the van to the hospital.

I knew the young elder really did respect Lance. We thanked him for his time. I wanted to hug him, but that was against mission rules.

No Excuse

We still needed answers to our questions: Why had no one notified us? Since Lance had been struggling; couldn’t they have called us, as they’d said they would? Couldn’t he have had a chance to rethink going on this mission instead of being put under such pressure?

Charles and I insisted on an appointment with the president of the MTC. No one else seemed to have answers, so we went to the head, President George Durant. He would see us the following day.

After we had waited for thirty minutes he ushered us into his office and handed us a handwritten letter in pencil, apologizing that his secretary had been too busy to type it. He wanted us to believe he was going to mail it to us, but even Charles was suspicious that he had quickly written it while we had waited. The letter was a very brief apology for our son’s current condition, ending with a statement that this happens occasionally. I was shocked at his casual, nonchalant attitude.

Charles was silent, so I spoke up first. We want to know why we were not notified.

I felt like I was concealing my anger pretty well and being quite calm and respectful, considering how I felt inside. President Durant’s answer was brief.

Oh, we did try to call you once or twice, he casually commented. I had been home the entire week that Lance was in the hospital, except for running a few errands. I had taken the week off from my part-time bookkeeping job to stay home and get some much-needed tasks completed for the family. It would have been very easy to contact us at home.

It was difficult to sit quietly and listen to his excuses. I really wanted to give him a piece of my mind, but I didn’t. I’d had enough of these stuffy priesthood-holders, who seemed more like dictators than compassionate, loving, caring men. I wanted to get out of there and get my son away from their influence. I was hoping the Lord would use this to open Charles’ eyes.

Charles and I walked sorrowfully out of the MTC in silence; I wondered what was going on in my husband’s mind. He was downcast and quiet.

Once outside the building, Charles expressed his grief to me. He, too, had seen through the pretense. He knew I had been home all week. There was no excuse for them not to call. They simply had not cared enough to communicate with us. Charles also had had enough!

No More Walls

It wasn’t easy for us to return to California and leave Lance in the Provo Valley Hospital, but we had no choice in the matter. Charles was never the same after this experience. For the first time in over four years my husband and I could talk openly and

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