My Search for Truth
My parents took me to my Grandparent's
church in Keizer, Oregon when I was very young. My mother wrote in my Baby Book
that I began saying my prayers before I was four years old. While I was still
quite young, I began praying for the Lord to save me before going to bed. I
would go to bed feeling "saved" but the next night I would feel the need to
pray the same prayer again. After a while, I accepted what I was told that
having said the prayer, and meaning it, that I was saved.
After we moved from town (Salem, Oregon)
to the outskirts, or the "toolies" as we called them, we began going to a new
Baptist church in town which was started by our new next door neighbor, Rev.
I was baptized by the next pastor, Rev.
John R. Turnbull, in that church, and became a church member.
Our third pastor was Jet S. Turner. He had
been a missionary in Italy for a while, and also a chaplain in the U.S. Navy.
His wife, Pat, was a professionally trained singer.
Our fourth pastor was Warren Fleishman.
His wife, Shirley, was a nurse.
All four of these pastors had a great
influence on my life. I knew they loved the people in the church, and
especially the youth.
I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ in a
gathering at a revival meeting in the First Baptist Church in Salem.
When in High School, I decided to go to
college and seminary to become a pastor like the pastors I had.
In college (a Baptist College, though they
had members of other denominations attending there), I came to know for myself
that the Bible was the word of God, and that it wasn't just because I was
raised to believe it. God gave me peace both of heart and mind that it is true.
While at the same college, with the
knowledge that the Bible is true, I came to the conclusion that one
of the doctrines I had been taught growing up, namely, "Once Saved, Always
Saved," is not supported by the Bible. I later realized that I could not
conscientiously be a pastor in a church where I would be expected to teach
something that the Bible did not support.
After looking around a bit, I joined the
Salvation Army. It had thirteen statements of faith that were required for
membership, and at the time I accepted them. I was bothered by the
fact that they did not baptize, but there was no statement of faith on that
While in the U.S. Army, I was dissatisfied
with the Army Chapels, as they seemed too wishy-washy. I needed more spiritual
meat. On Okinawa, I went off-base and found a Pentecostal Servicemen's Center
where I learned about the Gift of the Holy Ghost in a way that I had not known
before, and it seemed to have a Biblical basis. I prayed for the Gift of the
Holy Ghost with the tongues, but never received it. In that I returned home
My first wife was Roman Catholic, and we
were married in an ecumenical wedding ceremony, both the Corps Captain and her
Priest officiated. She was taking a class preparing her to join the Salvation
Army when she died.
While she was alive, Jehovah's Witnesses
came to our door, and we, at my wife's insistence, did not invite them in.
After she died, however, I let them come in, and listened to them. They brought
up the fact that the Bible does not support the Trinity doctrine, that is, that
God is somehow three persons in one, inseparable, a mystery. I studied with
them for a while, but left them finally, because they do not believe that Jesus
has a body, that when he showed himself to his disciples after the
resurrection, he did not really have the body he showed to them. The Bible does
not support that view. But I did leave the Salvation Army over the Trinity
I checked out some Pentecostal Churches, a
Seventh-Day Adventist church, the World-Wide Church of God, and others. Each
had some things the others did not that were Biblical, but none had all of the
pieces together. I began to be discouraged. I thought I might have to start my
own church to preach what the Bible teaches without consideration for some
creed of man.
Then, one night while working at the
Y.M.C.A., one of the residents asked me what I thought of the Book of Mormon. I
told him (as I had been taught as a youth) that I thought Joseph Smith
probably believed what he wrote, but that he was deceived by the devil. He then
said that I would have to read the Book of Mormon, pray about it, and ask God
if it were true. That stopped me in my objections, for I had needed to do that
with the Bible, and I knew that God would answer my prayers and would tell me
if it were true. So I did. I read through the entire Book of Mormon, while
praying, and then began reading the Doctrine and Covenants. Halfway through
that book, I received my answer while walking down the sidewalk. Suddenly all
the questions I had had about the Book of Mormon were settled, like the pieces
of a jigsaw puzzle settling into place. I had knowledge in my mind and peace in
my heart on the matter. That was in 1975.
I was baptized by the Bishop about a month
later. I have been through many changes in my life since then, but I have never
had any reason to question the testimony that I received that day. I have
learned a lot more, and understand that it is my responsibility to continue to
build on that initial testimony, testimonies of more truth that will help me in
my life and in eternity.
-- David E. Sawyer --