from Dennis & Phyllis Barnes
Hello to both of you,
God sold our home on September 15th and we are moving on October the 6th
Paul we can not thank you enough for your teaching God's word in Sunday School. We are so very appreciative of the knowledge you imparted to us concerning the heresy of Joseph Smith. We will continue to pray for your ministry to not only Latter Day Saints but all who are seeking the truth.
Love you both,
Dennis & Phyllis Barnes
from a grateful inmate
Not many people know that we have a ministry to inmates in various prisons across the country. We correspond & frequently provide books & other literature free of charge. Below are encouraging excerpts from an inmate letter we received recently. Names, addresses & phone numbers have been removed.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dear Mr. Trask,
Greetings, my brother in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our Rock and Redeemer. Peace be with you and may our Triune God bless you richly………
I hope and pray all is well with you. You and your ministry are constantly in my prayers. I am doing very will and about to be released from this prison and into society. I am maxing out my sentence on 11-9-13. Thank you for all your love and support for me and my Mormon/RLDS friends. Your ministry as well as others have equipped me to share the True Gospel to those who are in the snares of the teachings of Joseph Smith. Thank you especially for the package I received from you last night. You must have put a lot of time and effort in finding and providing me with the books and other materials that you sent to me. It was by the grace of God that I received the books because of the new policy set by the PA DOC, which states that inmates are not allowed to receive used books. The package would not have gotten to me if it weren’t for the person who searched the package for any contraband, who I found out is a Christian and also ex RLDS. She included a note with the package that said that she is risking her job by letting me have the books, but God spoke to her heart and told her to let me have the books for they are going to be used for His Glory. So getting the books was indeed a miracle. Praise the Lord!
Another thing that God is doing is leading Mormons/RLDS inmates to my cell block, which is a unit for inmates who have a lot of “Hole”, time due to misconducts. The program on my cell block is to help get people with at least 2 years Hole time earn their way back into the general population. The Mormon/RLDS brothers are acting up and receiving many misconduct reports because there is no Mormon/RLDS services in PA DOC available to them. So a lot of them attempt to start riots and then they are put in the “Hole” with years of disciplinary time, thus and are placed on my cell block, (SSNU). There are now about 12 Mormon/RLDS inmates on my cell block at this time. The materials you and other ministries have sent me have helped immensely in sharing Christ and His true Gospel with them. God has definitely worked every thing out for His good and His purpose. God has given me the gift of teaching them the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Praise God! I have lots of material to work with. God has called me to be a missionary to bring people out of the cults of Joseph Smith. On thing I have noticed is that the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants of the LDS is much different of those of RLDS. Why such a big difference? I just recently started reading “RLDS Church Is It Christian?” Great book!!! Your books “Part Way to Utah” and “The Long Way Home” were very helpful. One inmate that I have brought out of the RLDS church is presently reading “The Long Way Home”. He isn’t a Christian yet, but he is studying your book………
I love Jesus with my whole being without reserve and my greatest desire is to be a living sacrifice, holy, and pleasing to God. I want everything I do and say to never cease to glorify God, my Savior.
I thank God for your ministry – you are changing many lives. Keep up the good work, Brother Paul!!! I love you, my Brother in the Lord Jesus Christ!!! AMEN!!!
I am being released on November 9th of this year. I will be keeping in touch. God bless you!!!
Jesus in me loves you!!!
In Christ’s Love,
from Judy Meikle
I have had questions many years ago and followed my son to a Baptist Church.
At first I was angry because I felt like I was lied to all my life.
I have learned so much since accepting salvation.
A friend shared this web site.
Thanks for helping.
from a "Silent Supporter"
To Whom It May Concern:
I just wanted to write and encourage you to continue your web site (lifeline2rlds.org and help4rlds.com). I also want to thank the people who have submitted their testimonies. They have given me encouragement and along with God, strength to stand firm in the truth the Holy Spirit has taught me and opened my eyes to.
When I began to understand what Christ did for me on the cross—His death, burial and resurrection, and that I was a sinner who needed a Savior, my love and passion for God and my relationship with Him blossomed. He transformed my heart. I could hardly contain my praise and my love for Him. I understood the true meaning of grace—grace for salvation and day-to-day living. I understood that it is by faith only and not by works. As God slowly opened my eyes to this knowledge, He also opened my eyes to RLDS teachings that contradict the truth and that are not biblical. I struggled as I continued to see discrepancies and I also became bitter and angry—I had been lied to. This bitterness and anger was over a period of about 4 years and then I found your web page. I found comfort in knowing that I wasn't the only one who had struggled and I wasn't the only one in the RLDS faith who had a "saved" experience.
Thank you so much. Someday I will send in my testimony, but I am not able to yet. I desire to leave the Community of Christ church, but I am staying to support my spouse who is a staunch supporter of the church and all it encompasses. It is difficult attending "spiritually dead" services and hearing false doctrine being preached from the pulpit, but God is giving me strength and He continually assures me that He is with me. I am also finding strength and encouragement in reading the testimonies from your site. Please continue this service, especially for others like me.
A Silent Supporter
from Todd H.
What a great resource you have here!
It had occurred to me a while back that there were some interesting parallels between Joseph Smith and Mohammed.
- A new "gospel" or a "new" new covenant (warned about in Galatians by Paul)
- Message Delivered by an Angel (warned about in Galatians by Paul)
- A new holy book to complement (i.e. replace) the Holy Bible
- Addition tradition that becomes as important as "scriptures"
- New priesthood instituted to replace biblical NT priesthood of all believers
- Historically, the use of violence to start the religion
- Justification of Polygamy from the Patriarchs, although highly discouraged in the NT as pagans came out of polygamy.
- Founder involved in the occult including spirits and "sacred rocks"
- One true faith splits into denominations (LDS/RLDS, Sunni/Shiite) based on disputed leadership succession
- etc, etc.
Then I came across your site and found this additional information and quotes from JS himself.
It was like finding some puzzle pieces that had fallen under the furniture!
May the Lord bless you in your work,
from Derek Noftzger
The preacher at my church lent me this book a couple of weeks ago. I just completed it tonight. Just needed to say THANK YOU so very much for taking the time, exerting the energy, doing the research, and spending the money it took to produce this. I had already left the RLDS faith (really, one of the RLDS splinter groups which was founded by a false prophet, Marcus Juby, in 1991) back in 2005. Nonetheless, after spending nearly three years being taught Biblical truth, with my “blinders” off, and THEN reading your book, I’m finally able to cast off the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith once and for all. I was definitely one of those you wrote of who were holding onto the last few layers of onion, unable to peel them away. I’m so eager to share your book with other family and friends…in the right time of course. My mother, who is fervently carrying around a few more layers than I had been [yet who left the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ (another RLDS splinter group) a few years ago], will be reading this book next. So very anxious to discuss her thoughts on the book once she’s completed it.
Thank you, thank you, and thank you. God bless you in your ongoing ministry of teaching Biblical truth.
from Sandy Scheffler - Las Vegas, Nevada
I am in the process of studying Mormonism (LDS) and had never heard, until now visiting your website, about RLDS. Can the same arguments against the RLDS church be used against the LDS church?
For what it's worth, I am certain that the Holy Spirit led me to your website. In addition to the time I have invested studying and meeting with LDS missionaries, I have been praying for Truth about Mormonism for months now. The Spirit revealed to me one day after I had prayed for a long time the word "Melchizedek" over and over again. I couldn't find what this meant until I found your website and I knew immediately that this is the information the Lord wanted me to read. Furthermore, of all the information I have learned of that discredits the LDS church, I had never heard of the controversy surrounding the priesthood. This leads me to know without a doubt that it was truly the Holy Spirit leading me to this information because it hadn't previously existed in my mind!
I must say that I am so excited to know that your ministry exists. I feel that God is going to use me to expose the Spirit of Error that has deceived so many LDS members, but I don't know how and I have been feeling overwhelmed wondering how I can make a difference. Your personal testimony and your ministry have given me a renewed hope that all of the LDS members can find the truth.
from Rev. Brian Rihner - United Presbyterian Church, Keokuk, Iowa
Thanks for your website and book(s). I was ordained a priest and then an elder in the RLDS church in the 1980's. As I read the Bible, and started to understand it better, I started to preach "grace alone" which concerned some of the priesthood in the Des Moines area. It was through many Christian friends that prayed for me and a couple of pivotal incidents that I left the RLDS church and eventually came to the Presbyterian Church. A few years later I went to seminary in Austin, Texas and am now an ordained minister in the PC(USA). As an evangelical Christian I sometimes struggle in the PC(USA) but, unlike the RLDS, the doctrine is solid; however, some in our denomination don't pay attention to it all that often. "Sola scriputra", "sola gratia", "sola fide", and "sole Christus" are certainly always key for me as a Christian leader.
Briefly, the two incidents. 1) I was still in the RLDS church, but struggling with it's version of the "truth." In a dentist office I picked up a Christian magazine and saw an ad the was entitled, "How do you talk to your non-Christian friends." In the text of the add it said that they had material to use to talk to non-Christians: Buddhist, Hindu, Mormon... That floored me. I had never thought of Mormon's or RLDS as "non-Christian" and I set out to find why people were saying this. In that search, I re-dedicated my life to Christ. 2) The most significant thing I found in my search may seem small but it was telling. I was given a "Book of Confessions" to read by a Presbyterian pastor and for some reason first turned to "The Heidelberg Catechism" written in the 1560's in Germany. The first question is: "What is your only comfort, in life, and in death?" The answer; "That I belong - body and soul - not to myself but to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ." Possibly for the first time, even though I believed in Jesus Christ, and had given my life to him, I realized that it was ALL about him. That my life truly had to be "Christ-centered." And this catechism had nothing to do with anything but pure Christian Bible truth. No plates, no visions, no "feelings," no "restored gospel" that trumps the Bible. Just the truth of Jesus Christ as outlined in his revelation to us. (Note: The "confessions" of the PC(USA) are always secondary to scripture. They are simply time-bound faith statements that help us understand scripture, but they are NEVER to contradict or supercede God's word.)
Please add me to your email list. My other information, if needed is below.
In Christ's service,
Rev. Brian Rihner
United Presbyterian Church, Keokuk, IA
from Jerry Sooter - Columbia, Missouri
While sitting at my computer, I often times reflect on my life over the past almost 10 years (since leaving the RLDS.) Thought I'd share them with you.
JUST SHARING MY THOUGHTS
"In my office I have a framed picture of a man on a thin, roped bridge crossing a broad chasm in a snowstorm. Underneath the photograph it reads . . . 'The Courage of Integrity: The highest courage is to dare to be yourself in the face of adversity. Choosing right over wrong, ethics over convenience, and truth over popularity. These are the choices that measure your life. Travel the path of integrity without looking back, for there is never a wrong time to do the right thing." (The above was written by Jerald Tanner.)
I've given considerable thought about the principles involved in Tanner's statement printed above. The decision to resign priesthood and withdraw membership from the RLDS (Community of Christ) was extremely painful at the time. That was nearly ten (10) years ago.
Yes, I was required to pray almost continuously; read and study daily; and do considerable comparisons between the Bible and books that I, for 57 years, had always believed to be 'scripture.' (The study continues on an ongoing basis.)
When I reached the point where I could no longer stand behind the pulpit representing my beloved Church and its' scriptures, without feeling extremely guilty ... I had to make a choice.
Knowing that my actions would cause adversity with long time friends and family, I had no choice but to be myself. If adversity was to exist, I would be greatly disappointed in people who pretended for 57 years to be friends . . . and, of course, even more so with family members.
Just 'hanging in there," continuing to write the monthly articles in the Church newsletters about Peace & Justice together with just keeping my thoughts private would have been more convenient and safe.
To enjoy peace of mind, I could no longer protect my personal integrity . . . could no longer enjoy the popularity of being a High Priest writing praise worthy articles for the District newsletters. Well, I guess I could have done those things. However, any thoughts I would have had about my personal ethics would have placed me totally in the gutter. Yes, there is never a wrong time to do the right thing.
My personal relationship with Jesus Christ is closer now than ever before.
I'm so very grateful for the Holy Spirit who, without question, led me on my journey from bondage into freedom.
The above are just thoughts that I had this evening while sitting at my computer. It's always good to write them so I don't ever forget.
May God continue to bless you in your ministry.
from Darla Keely - Oxford, Michigan
I didn't keep your direct e-mail address after our previous correspondence, so I had to come through the web site to contact you.
I wanted to let you know that I have been led by the Holy Spirit to leave the Community of Christ church. I have been attending a non-denominational Bible-based church since February of this year and I have never been happier with my spiritual life. It took awhile for me to break loose, but I know I am in the right place and I wanted to thank you for our phone conversations and for the book you sent me. They were helpful with making the decision.
My reasons for leaving were not entirely because of church doctrines, but they were part of it. I read information on both sides of many issues and decided that it would take me a lifetime to research things for myself to be completely sure one way or the other and I don't want to waste time doing that. I realized that what is most important is my true relationship with Jesus Christ that creates eternal salvation and I don't have to belong to any particular "church" or "denomination" to insure my final destination.
The main reason I left is because I was not being challenged at my congregation to grow as a Christian and I was being stifled from developing my dramatic and dancing gifts. My new church has about 1000 people that attend and it is growing so much that we are adding a 3rd service on Saturday evenings and building a new 2 million dollar establishment in order to accommodate everyone. There are so many things going on and I have the options available to learn and grow in the areas I've longed for. I have really jumped into this new church feet first and have joined so many groups. Its a bit overwhelming, but I love it and I have a calm assurance that only comes from God.
So, keep up the good work as you strive to help RLDS members change their lives.
from Mike Scheffer - Temple, Texas
I contacted you sometime in 2002 about my experience of marrying an RLDS girl in 1986, and joining the RLDS in 1987. I became a teacher soon thereafter. I grew up in the Lutheran church.
I don't want to rehash everything, but wanted to let you know that I ordered both your book, and Ms. Hanson's.
My wife is a strong-willed person who was the last "holdout" of her siblings. I had begun to have serious doubts about the RLDS in the early 90's, but didn't take responsibility to learn and study as I should have. That's why I'm extremely thankful for the books you and Ms. Hanson both have written....you put everything together in one place to be studied.....you made it easy on me!
I read Carol's book first, while my wife read yours. I've just finished yours too, but my wife is still working on Carol's.
Because of the straight-forward presentation of the facts in both of your books, my wife was an easier convert away from RLDS than I could have imagined.
She studied a lot (and in my estimation knew much more than most priesthood members). As she read your book, she told me that she had come upon many questions in her previous studies that sparked a light bulb inside her head......but she never really connected everything...until your book.
We've been able to completely turn away from the RLDS, and learn the true joy of the knowing the real truth of Christ, and following Him and His gospel alone.
I think your son was "right on" when he suggested your ministry to RLDS.
from a College Sophmore
(name withheld for privacy)
I am a sophomore in college and found your site through a search engine. My best friend whom I met in school last year belongs to a Community of Christ congregation. Before meeting him, I had never heard of RLDS. After hearing him talk about his church (which I do not think he is a terribly active member in), a myriad of thoughts crossed my mind. "This isn't good." "How do I help him?" "SHOULD I try to help him and risk making him defensive, thus pushing him farther away?" Because I had seen so many well-intending Christians smother non-believers with their beliefs, I was afraid that I would ruin any chance of helping him. We never talked that much about religion anyway because I didn't want to scare him off. I also thought that gradually witnessing to him might harm our friendship since he is as stubborn as I am. So, I decided that letting my life show that I was different was enough. He would see that something made me different and want that too, I reasoned.
Then, for about two weeks in a row, I had a recurring nightmare. This was strange to me because I am normally not given to recurring dreams. In this dream my friend stands before God who sends him away. My friend becomes frantic shouting that his best friend knew the truth but never told him. With each night I dreamt it, it became more real. I felt as if it were God prodding me do act on the matter. Any doubt that I had that this was something I was supposed to do ended with my pastor's sermon the next Sunday morning which outlined how people are given chances to minister to others in one way or another, and how anything from a blessing to a soul may be lost in not acting on what God is telling you.
This brings me to the point of my letter. It may sound trite. I am sure you have heard it before. It may not even stand out from the rest. But I just want to say thank you for your ministry. It took me a long time to find a site with testimonies from former RLDS members and information that will help me in witnessing to my friend. I wanted to gather some facts and get a better idea of where he was coming from before I really talked to him about it. I have every faith that God will hear my prayers and reach my friend's heart and give me the words to speak with him. He is only one person, but he's the world to me and I genuinely feel in my heart that God has great plans for him. Thank you. These are small words, yet quite heartfelt. God bless.
[Name withheld by the sender. Permission was granted to post this letter, as long as it was posted anonymously, which we completely understand and appreciate.]
from Shirley Bulen - Blue Springs, Missouri
I can't believe I didn't know about this web site! So glad I found it! - I was 5th generation RLDS. My great-grandfather was Joseph Luff. About 1989, after several years of disappointment, questioning, and searching, I decided I needed to find out the truth. I decided to go to the earliest books I could find on Joseph Smith and what he truly taught. I chose "Joseph Smith and His Progenitors" by Lucy Mack Smith. Though it is an RLDS book, there were enough discrepancies there to concern me and raise further questions. My next book was "Trouble Enough" which I found at the local library. Fortunately it was well written and each historical item was footnoted and sources cited. I did other reading as well. Then I spent approximately 16 hours at the RLDS temple library looking up the original sources. I was appalled, angered, and grieved! It took me 2 years to accomplish my search which left me feeling completely lost.
Thankfully my life commitment was to Jesus Christ, not to Joseph Smith or a church. Faith in Jesus saw me through and I have become part of a Bible believing church. At the time I didn't know anyone else who had struggled through this, and I certainly didn't know that there were books containing the information I spent so long searching out! Since then I have read these books, and attended some of the summer picnics, but had no idea there was a web page! I grieve that I was 40 years old when I was able to make my clean break....had to try to undo the things I had taught my children...my daughter is also now an evangelical Christian ...my son has joined Islam...another self-proclaimed prophet...pray for him. I am so thankful to have found this web site.
Blue Springs, Missouri
from Shauna Brentana - Missouri
My name is Shauna Brentana - and my husband and I left the RLDS church about a year ago. I was a priesthood member, and we both worked with youth for about 5 years. I was raised in Blue Valley Stake (Beacon Heights/East Alton primarily) and my husband was raised in Grand Rapids - his dad was regional president for quite some time, and pastor at the Union Avenue Branch for many years. When we left the church, we had been attending the Lee's Summit Congregation for about 7 years. We now attend First Baptist Church of Lee's Summit, where we were baptized together Memorial Day weekend.
Please feel free to post our email address on your resource page. We are anxious to talk to anyone interested about the church.
Both Carol's [Hansen] materials, and your book were very helpful in our ability to sort through the "junk" and come to Biblical reasons why we needed to reject the church, and as a true Christian now - I am utterly amazed at the depths of darkeness I was in previously, without even knowing it!
Anyway - just wanted to share with you our permission to use our email addresses on the website.
from John Milholland - Missouri
I left the RLDS church and all of its doctrine (past and present) about four years ago. It has been placed on my heart to write to some people that are still involved. I have purchased two of your books and have passed them out. One is being read right now by a person who has questions. Your book does the best job of explaining the priesthood structure. I would like permission to print some of your 'Closer Look Series' materials from the internet and pass them out with my letter. Nothing will be changed after it is printed from the internet site. The 'Refiner's Fire Ministries' logo will stay the same.
I will understand if you do not want to grant me permission. I have experienced a complete renewal in faith since I left. My relationship with Christ was severely hampered by the false doctrine I used to believe in. I wish that for other people.
from Bill & Carolyn Freel - Cascade, Wisconsin
Dear Mr. Trask
Thank you so much for your book and the research that went into it. Part Way to Utah was an answer to prayer.
My husband and I are 3rd & 4th generation "saints." For a few years we have known that the RLDS church was not God's chosen church but could not put our fingers on it exactly. We knew they were not reasoning from or reading their bibles, and also that women in the priesthood was wrong, to name a few items. What a burden lifted from us as we have renounced all allegiance etc. to the RLDS church.
Now comes the difficult part, enlightening our families. Thankfully, your book will help. Please send us 4 copies of the book Part Way to Utah, Study Edition and any info/brochure on your ministry. Enclosed is a check for $60.00 to cover the 4 books.
Praise the Lord for using you in this manner. The world needs to know about the RLDS and how to minister to them.
In His Love,
Bill & Carolyn Freel