JOHN LOPEZ'S PERSONAL STORY
In April 2005, I started reading "The Sealed Portion of The Book of Mormon." I immediately recognized Moroni's "voice." I could not put it down.
After years of searching for the truth, it didn't take me long to recognize it.
The following is a description of some of the experiences I have had to prepare me for when The Sealed Portion came into my life.
My search actually began on June 3, 1939, in Needles, CA. I was born two to three months prematurely. Now, when the country doctor arrived at our house, he delivered me, determined that I was "dead," wrapped me in a newspaper, placed me on a couch, and then proceeded to take care of my young mother. I was basically "thrown away."
An aunt thought she had heard a kitten. The doctor looked at me and said, "Oh my god, he's still alive, but he won't make it."
I wonder what I was thinking while I was wrapped up in that newspaper, but I think that the experience triggered an extra strong desire to survive, and at least, wanting to outlive that doctor :-) This was the beginning of my personal mission to figure out this thing called mortality.
If you know Needles, CA, in the Summer; the heat became my natural incubator.
My paternal grandmother took charge of me and took me to her home to care for me. She raised 500 canary's and was used to caring for little creatures.
At about 2 years of age, I spent a few months at Children's Hospital, in Los Angeles. I was there without any family.
I learned to live with loneliness, and to rely on myself to make sense of myself and my circumstances.
For the first five years of my life, I was nurtured and raised by my paternal grandmother, who guided me into the catholic church. When I was five years old, I permanently joined my father, mother and a younger sister. I went from a spanish language world, east Los Angeles, to an english language world in Burbank, CA.
By this age, I had learned to adapt, to integrate with my circumstances and surroundings, and to find peace, wherever I happened to be.
During my preteens, my mother joined the LDS church. So, I attended catholic services with my grandmother, and the LDS church with my mother.
I was raised by my mother to be tolerant of the beliefs of others. She never forced me to decide which church I should choose.
However, in spite of my teenage LDS peers, I accepted the LDS missionary lessons, when I was 19 years old.
I was able to see through the "stumbling blocks" created by the failings of humans, and accept Joseph Smith, Jr, as a prophet, and The Book of Mormon as a testament of Jesus Christ.
However, I was uneasy with some of the teachings of the LDS church.
"Do not date or marry persons that are not LDS." I knew that all of us on earth are Heavenly Father's children. There are no"untouchable's" in His family, such as in a caste system. We are all equal.
At age 25, I married my wife, a catholic, in the catholic church. The catholic priest approved our marriage by considering me as a "fallen catholic brother." However, we needed a catholic bishop's special dispensation because my best man was a Jew. I didn't bother to tell him, that my wife's sister, the maid of honor, was not a baptized catholic. He had already stopped talking to me from our first meeting. I think we had a total of 6 pre-marriage counseling discussions, from someone who had never married. From this experience, my wife knew that I loved her and respected her and her beliefs.
I, again, was attending both catholic services and LDS meetings. I had very busy Sundays. A lot of meetings, where I mastered the art of sleeping, while sitting upright:-)
My wife eventually joined the LDS church and we raised our eight children in this religion.
The LDS doctrine of celestial marriage has some problems for me. How can mortals make decisions for the celestial kingdom? How can unhappy couples be celestial couples sealed for eternity? It seemed to me that our goal is to find our own happiness first, and then whatever will happen, will happen.
LDS families being sealed as family units from one generation to another generation doesn't make much sense either. Heavenly Father is our father, he is not our grandfather. All who have lived on earth are members of one generation.
I attended the LDS temples for many years, seeking further "light and knowledge." I did not find the truth I was seeking.
In 2003, I started a serious search for the origins of the LDS church, Joseph Smith, Jr. and The Book of Mormon.
Just before April 2005, one of my sons said that someone in his LDS priesthood meeting had announced that, "The Sealed Portion of the Book of Mormon" was to be presented at a conference on April 6th."
I have never found out who said that, or anyone else who heard it.
I immediately went to the internet. I found www.thesealedportion.com, and ended my search, because I had found what I was looking for.
While reading The Sealed Portion, I had an awareness that I would have believed Joseph Smith, Jr, if I had lived when he translated the Book of Mormon.
Because of my life experiences, I had no problem in immediately recognizing the truth contained in The Sealed Portion.
However, when I wanted to share The Sealed Portion with my family members, I quickly learned that what I had to say would be rejected, and met with hostility.
My question became, should I suppress what I have found, and continue living within the confines of the LDS church or leave it?
I pondered this problem for a day, and then decided to "sleep on it." I have done this in the past, to allow my subconscious mind to help me resolve a problem.
That night I dreamed that I was terrified of a lion that was chasing me. He appeared everywhere I went, and then he finally caught me. Instead of being mauled, the lion gently held me. I then felt love and was impressed with the words, spoken or unspoken, "don't be afraid of the "Lion of Judah." I took this to mean that I should be true to myself, that I need to follow my heart, and follow Jesus Christ, no matter where it takes me and what the consequences will be.
I quickly prepared and sent a letter to the President of the LDS church, Gordon B. Hinckley. I wrote him that I had accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as contained in "The Sealed Portion of the Book of Mormon," and that I wanted my name removed from the LDS church records. The local bishop visited me, to take care of "the problem." I was told that I would be brought before a church court. I eagerly agreed, because I would be able to share what I learned to the 17 members of the court. I think they figured me out and informed me that they would remove my name from the church rolls, instead of having a court. The irony is that I was the membership clerk in the ward.
When I told my family of my decision, I was told that because of my decision and action, I was hated and considered as "dead." I was excluded from the family loop. In fairness to them, they believed that they already had the truth.
I was now back to where I started. I have been declared "dead" and "thrown away" again, however, I already know how to survive this -- I've done it before. :o)
I hope that my family (and all of my siblings in the world) will seek further light and knowledge and find true happiness, and that they know that I love them. I know that hearts will be softened and in some ways they are being softened now.
When I "lost" my family I realized that my heart was now open to accept my real family--everyone one earth. We are all one family. We are all children of a loving God.
I invite everyone to be teachable (to have a broken heart and contrite spirit) and to have the courage to read "The Sealed Portion of The Book of Mormon." Your life will change, and you will have the opportunity to find peace and happiness.
I encourage all to ignore all the "stumbling blocks" that keep you from finding the truth.
I am happy that "that" little baby didn't give up on June 3, 1939. Because of him, I have had the opportunity to hear a true messenger's voice, to read The Sealed Portion and the other books of "The Marvelous Work and A Wonder."
John D. Lopez
WHAT IS THE VOICE OF THE 'ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS' TELLING US? Ask Him Yourself!
© 2005 A Marvelous Work and a Wonder Purpose Trust