I was raised in Salt Lake City, Utah as a Mormon for most of my life.  My family, friends, and entire culture were “Mormonized.”  I honestly was not aware that there were so many other options outside of Mormonism growing up.  Neither was I concerned about it, though, since I thought I was secure in my own religion.

In the summer of 1988, I was invited to attend Hume Lake, a non-denominational Christian camp in California.  I was sixteen years old and going to be a junior in high school.  My friend invited me to come to California to attend the Christian camp.  I had been raised as a Mormon with no thought of ever changing to another religion.  However, at this time I was very broken and had been using drugs for the last several years as a result of finding my “belonging” in a wrong crowd.  But still there was no desire to change religions, as I still understood Mormonism to be the “one true religion” regardless of whether or not I lived it.  My thought was that our heavenly father was still a loving heavenly father and would forgive my wrongdoing regardless.  I was bound to end up in one of the degrees of glory, so there was no urgency for repentance.  I simply didn’t want, nor did I feel the need, to change.  It was my heritage for six generations!  If it were not for the appeal of my being able to spend the entire summer on California beaches (the bargain given by my friend’s father), I probably would not have attended the camp at all.

I arrived at Hume Lake without any expectations.  If anything, I suppose I was looking for girls and a good time, but certainly not God!  What a surprise!  I heard a message given by Dave Moore on the topic of “Hell.”  For the first time in my life I understood my need for forgiveness.  Devastated and in tears, I realized I was a sinner and could not merit forgiveness.  I was doomed without Christ!  My fear of leaving what I thought was the truth in Mormonism, was minimized by seeing Christ’s love through people for the first time in my life.  Although growing up in a religious environment, I never experienced God’s love until I met these people and then met their source, Jesus Christ.  He was truly a “breathe of fresh air.”  Because of my feeling of acceptance and love by these people, I asked my mother if I could live in California for the next year.  She approved and I packed my bags and moved to California for the next year where I was baptized and discipled.  I went back to Utah to graduate from High School.  I found fellowship with some young and passionate Christian friends.  We spent many nights “street preaching” in Salt Lake City by the Mormon Temple, even being physically carried out by the security guards (The good ol’ days!)  It was about this time that I began leading a Bible study with some friends and they suggested that I pursue the ministry.  Within a few months, I received a phone call from my former youth pastor in California asking if I’d consider interning under him.  It was an answer to prayer and a confirmation of God’s call on my life.

At this time I recall feeling confused as to whether or not I’d done the right thing.  My memories of being a Mormon began surfacing and I had thoughts such that, if I were wrong and had left what was indeed the true church, then I was now an apostate, which gave me no comfort!  Further, if Mormonism were found untrue, then does it follow that my newfound Christian faith is not just another deception?  After all, I had been deceived once before?  How was I to know that the Bible was God’s Word or that He even exists?  How could I know that some other major world religion was not correct?  Many thoughts like this shook my faith and caused me to dig deep and wide.  I developed a love for the truth, and in particular, for Christian apologetics.

I decided to attend Multnomah Bible College in Portland, Oregon.  While there, I started a para-church ministry teaching church youth groups and college groups about Mormonism and cult apologetics.  After a little over a year I left Multnomah to marry my wife, who I knew from high school in Utah, and with whom I now have two incredibly wonderful children.  We lived in Utah for three years, where I was a lay pastor in a church, while continuing to work toward general education and Greek to transfer back to Multnomah some day.  In 1997 we returned and I finished a Bachelor’s degree in Bible/Theology, as well as a Master’s degree in Biblical Studies, while working as a Jr. High youth pastor.  Following this I transferred down to Los Angeles to attend Talbot’s M.A. Philosophy program, which I completed in December 2001.  After teaching and being involved in pastoral ministry for a few more years, I entered a PhD program in philosophy at Purdue University in 2004 in order to gain credentials from a good secular university for the possibility of teaching and influencing the secular university from within as a professor.  During my time in the program, I taught 30+ classes at Purdue and Indiana universities ranging from communications and logic to comparative religions and ethics.  Hostile forces precluded me from finishing during the final stretch of the PhD, so I subsequently came on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ.

Since my conversion out of Mormonism (and drugs, ironically), I have had the desire to see two things occur in the world: people’s understanding of the Truth, and a further commitment to Christ.  I have a passion for both discipleship inside the church and evangelism outside.  God is calling me to continue being equipped in the area of ideas so that I might thoroughly equip the saints and aggressively evangelize the world, their false ideas and attending commitments.   God has been gracious to me for the last twenty-one years and I eagerly look forward to what else He has in store!