RON FERGUSON'S PERSONAL STORY
20 November 2010
After high school I attended BYU. I went there as a Presbyterian. Two years later I had converted to the Mormon church. I'm not really sure why a so-so Presbyterian would end up as a gentile at BYU, and I guess that my decision to "convert" to the LDS faith was not as spectacular and "spiritually fraught" as others who have joined this church. But I did, and that decision set me on the course of life that brings me to where I am today.
And this is where I am today. In December of 2005, Pat, my wife, and I returned from a trip to Mexico where we had celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. Several months prior to that time Pat had come across The Sealed Portion and had finished reading it. In fact, she expressed how much the message within those pages resonated with her soul. She was a the verge of tears with joy at having found something she had longed and searched for over the years. I decided I had better look into this TSP as she referred to it.
And so she got me a copy (she would not give up her own) and I started to read, and read and read. And then we began to talk. The TSP resonated with me as well. It confirmed many feeling I had had during my sojourn in the LDS Church. So, In December of 2005, we began to talk seriously about the implications of what this knowledge meant, given the obvious discretions it brought to light concerning what had been our current professed belief system. This was becoming a serious matter in our house.
Prior to and during this time some other things transpired in our household. Several months earlier I had been released from my church assignment as an LDS Bishop. My assignment had been cut short a year and a half early because of boundary changes. I had no calling after my release, partly because we had moved into another ward. Things just seemed to open up to make it possible to really look at and delve into the TSP. I was asked to take a calling later on, but because the counselor in charge of the calling didn't get around to bringing me the information I needed to move forward, I changed my mind, and declined to accept.
When we came to the crunch time, I had to confront my stake president with whom I worked closely in my employment, and tell him that Pat and I were leaving the Church. My words hit him like a bolt of lighting, but he managed to say "Submit a letter of request to your bishop. We did. And that act was one of the most freeing feelings I have ever experienced.
When I reflect on what has transpired these past two years I consider what was lost and gained in the balance. What has been lost is a mixed bag. This certainly separated us from some friends. It created a hole in how we spent some of our time, energy and resources. It gave some of our family members a degree of discomfort and confusion (how could you endanger your eternal soul, and betray the true church and all of its trappings) and on and on.
But in the balance what was gained was far greater. We learned about Truth. We recognized that our common sense, when unclouded by all of the traditions of our fathers is sufficient to help us learn the lessons that will prepare us for whatever will bring us joy and happiness. We found that the Kingdom of God is within each of us. Lost friends who turned out to not be so friendly when we left the faith, were replaced by others who are learning and growing and seeking in a similar fashion as Pat and I are. We learned that God is no respecter of persons, and that we don't have to belong and contribute to an organization whose main purpose, besides controlling the lives of its members is self perpetuation. What we gained was freedom and an understanding that the one great commandment is to do unto others as we would have them do unto ourselves.
Because Pat and I have taken the steps we have, we have seen both our world-view and our eternal perspectives change and broaden. We've been more capable of recognizing that these challenges and experiences are part of expanding knowledge of who we are and what will bring us joy. After having read the TSP and having begun to gain some small smattering of understanding of what is in store for us and this world, we have found more joy in our marriage, our own personal lives and our relationships with others.
One does not need a paid prophet to prescribe how one should live, act or think. Once we understand that we have been given what we need to proceed, it truly is a refreshing, freeing, exciting time. Just keep it simple. I am reminded of the story of the children of Israel, who were told to look upon the brass serpent held aloft by Moses should they be bitten by a poisonous serpent. If they did so, they would be healed. Many didn't and perished. Why?
Because it was too easy. They knew that there had to be something more. They needed elaborate directions and performances to justify healing.
If you've read The Sealed Portion you will know what you need to do. There may be challenges-- -but it is all good.