** I received a free copy of the novel from Cedar Forts, Inc. in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
As some of you may know, this year, I’ve had some challenges with my faith. One thing that has hurt it was the knowledge that there has been an influx of Mormons leaving the Church this past year. Some of my friends have even left the church. So, I’ve been trying to refocus on the plain, simple, pure, and true center of the Gospel–Jesus Christ. I’ve been reading books written by Mormons on topics such as grace, faith, Christ, testimony, and overcoming trials of faith.
Since I was born in the Mormon Church, and have never known any differently, I’ve been really interested in converts to my church and their reasons why they left another religion to come to ours. So, when I had the opportunity to read and review From Baptist Preacher to Mormon Teacher by Wain Myers, I was excited and really interested. I had lived about 8 years in Virginia, where the Baptist church flourished. Although I personally never encountered any hate from baptists there, I have had friends who have. One Mormon friend of mine was invited by a Baptist friend of hers to a local baptist church’s “Bring a Mormon friend night” youth activity. The Baptist friend thought it was going to be a bonding experience. But, it turned out to be a Mormon-bashing experience. The Baptist friend profusely apologized to my friend. So, knowing that Myers was a Baptist preacher who turned Mormon really intrigued me!
First of all, let me just say I love the way this is written. It is so conversational. Myers isn’t afraid to share his personal revelations and heart-felt heart-conversations with Heavenly Father. He also isn’t afraid to let his culture, heritage, and fun-filled personality shine through in his writing. There is definitely some Southern humor, as well as Baptist preacher mannerisms in it, which makes it a fun, quick read.
Myers was born to a church-hopping mother in a ghetto area, with a non-present father. But, at a young age, after a sermon at a Baptist Church, he had a clear vision that he was supposed to start teaching the Gospel. So, he spent his life working toward that goal. He became a Baptist Preacher, and he was a dang good one, too. He loved preaching, he loved sharing the word of God. But, he was being paid for it, which never set well with that. And, he believes because of that payment (manna, or temptation from Satan), his life started to spiral down. He was a preacher on Sunday, but during the week, living not how he was supposed to. He finally left his Baptist Church and moved. He met a woman who just emanated the Spirit from her and he had another personal revelation that she was to become his wife. Sebrina was a recent convert to the LDS Church, and he started becoming interested in the Church as he felt God was leading him to it.
Although there were issues Myers felt with the Church, especially the topic of blacks not being able to hold the priesthood before the 1970s, he trusted in God and allowed God to speak to him and let him know the church was true. He related an experience he had before he even thought about the LDS Church similar to Joseph Smith’s first vision: going to a secluded area and asking God which church he was to join. God answered to him none but that He would lead Myers to His true church. When Myers heard the Joseph Smith story, that was an affirmation that the LDS Church was the church he should join.
There were a few quotes that really helped me because they reflected the issues I’ve had with my church recently: