Former Mormon Testimonies

We hope that watching our testimonies will be informative to you. We were both active Mormons, who eventually realized our need for grace and a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. We still have a love for Mormons, but we also know that obeying religious laws and ordinances isn’t the answer. Everyone needs the grace and forgiveness of our Father through the sacrifice of His Son. Everyone.

Author and former Mormon, Carma Naylor, was recently interviewed about her testimony:
Carma Naylor testimony

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hj1OFvhuQF4


Her husband Charles Naylor, also a former Mormon, also recently gave his testimony:

Charles Naylor testimony

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CRrhCsBboc


Thank you again, for watching our testimonies.

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Martin Handcart Company

For those interested in the pioneer history of the Latter-day Saints (Mormons), here is a brief article about Author Carma Naylor’s ancestor as he migrated to Utah as part of the Martin Handcart Company (excerpted from A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey, Volume 1, Appendix A):

From the time of the church’s origin its leaders were very devoted to missionary work. As a result they gained hundreds of proselytes from England. These early converts were counseled to “gather to Zion.”

Zion was first designated at Kirtland, Ohio, the city where the LDS Church was located after leaving New York. Because of troubles in Kirtland, the Saints had gathered to Independence, Missouri, where Joseph Smith dedicated a spot for the building of the temple and the establishment of a New Zion. The Saints were driven by the populace from Independence and were given land in Caldwell County. Here, once again, Joseph designated Far West to be the location of Zion and dedicated a plot of land for the building of the temple in the last days.

At Joseph’s request, the Saints gathered to Far West, believing they were establishing Zion. The two pieces of property (in Independence and Far West) can be visited as historic Mormon sites, but a temple has never been built on either piece of land, nor was Zion established at either place. From Missouri, the Saints were driven to Illinois. Lastly, following the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Mormons who followed Brigham Young as the succeeding prophet made their famous trek across Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and the Rocky Mountains into the Salt Lake Basin in Utah.

The first group arrived in 1847. Utah then became Zion—the new gathering place for these Saints. Several splinter groups started at this time and went in different directions geographically and theologically. The largest splinter group followed Joseph Smith’s son as the new prophet and remained in Illinois. Some remained in Missouri and still believe that the temple will be built on the land known as the Temple Lot, which Joseph Smith had prophesied would be the place to which Jesus would return. Members of this splinter group, known as “Church of Christ (Temple Lot),” are today still waiting to build a temple there; they presently do not have the funds to do so.

In a letter addressed, “To the saints scattered throughout the earth,” dated September 22, 1851, all LDS saints were admonished by Brigham Young to come to Utah, even if they did not have the necessary equipment to get there:

“O ye saints in the United States, will you listen to the voice of “the Good Shepherd”? Will you gather? Will you be obedient to the heavenly commandments? Many of you have been looking for and expecting too much; you have been expecting the time would come when you could journey across the mountains in your fine carriages, your good wagons, and have all the comforts of life that heart could wish; but your expectations are vain, and if you wait for those things you will never come . . . and your faith and hope will depart from you.

. . . Some of the children of the world have crossed the mountains and plains from Missouri to California with a pack on their back to worship their god—gold! Some have performed the same journey with a wheelbarrow, some have accomplished the same with a pack on a cow . . . and can you not do the same? Yes, if you have the same desire, the same faith!” (A Comprehensive History of the Church, B. H. Roberts, Volume 4, pages 83 and 84.)

B. H. Roberts tells us that another general epistle from the first presidency was sent out in October, 1855, giving definite instructions on the suggested method of immigrating: the wooden handcart. The Perpetual Emigration Fund Company was to help in providing the means for poor saints abroad who could not raise sufficient funds on their own to “gather to Zion.” Eight ships were made available to English Mormons for coming to America. From Boston, New York, or Philadelphia, the emigrants were to travel by rail to Iowa City, then the terminus of the railroad.

The saints were to receive their handcarts in Iowa City, along with a few cows for milk and beef cattle, as needed for food. They were then to walk the distance from Iowa City to the Great Salt Lake Basin. This was intended to save expenses and reduce problems that earlier pioneers had encountered. The following is a quote from the Epistle of the First Presidency:

“Let the saints, therefore, who intend to immigrate the ensuing year, understand that they are expected to walk and draw their luggage across the plains, and that they will be assisted by the fund in no other way” (ibid, page 85)

The saints in Europe responded, and the following year, 1856, the immigration was unusually large, amounting in all to 4,326 souls. Among these immigrants was William Stimpson, my great-great-grand-father, who had joined the church in 1849. He left Liverpool, England, on May 25, 1856, with his wife and two young sons, ages four and two. On arriving at Iowa City they had to wait for the handcarts to be made. They were organized into a company of 576 persons, 146 handcarts, 6 wagons for supplies, 6 mules and horses, 50 cows and beef cattle. Edward Martin was their leader.

Imagine 576 people, from infants to the aged, weak, as well as strong, starting a trek of more than a thousand miles by foot, with rivers to cross and mountains to traverse! They didn’t even have wagons to sleep in at night!

The Martin Handcart Company was the fifth company to cross the plains with handcarts that year. The first three companies of saints arrived in the Salt Lake Valley with great rejoicings in late September and early October, suffering the fatigue and toils that would be expected on such a hard journey. The last two companies, the Willie Company and the Martin Company, met with many more disasters and sorrows.

Because of the delay in waiting for the handcarts to be made (which should have been completed upon their arrival from England), they got off to a late start, leaving Iowa City on the twenty-eighth of July, 1856. Also, the construction of the handcarts was faulty because they had rushed in building them and had sacrificed durability for lightness, replacing iron axles and wheels with wooden ones. As a result the trek was delayed even more by broken handcarts along the way.

They arrived at Florence, Nebraska, on August 22. Here a debate ensued as to whether to venture on so late in the season to Salt Lake or to camp for the winter at some available location in Nebraska. One leader, who was acquainted with the country, was convinced, “that a mixed company of aged people, women and little children . . . could not cross the mountains so late in the season without much suffering, sickness, and death.” (ibid, p. 89) He was overruled, however, by the other leaders, and submitted to their decision—with the promise to go and even die with them if necessary. One narrative says, “No man worked harder than he to alleviate the suffering which he had foreseen, when he had to endure it.” (ibid, p. 90)

Unaware of the hazards and dangers that were before them, the emigrants trusted the judgment of their leaders. The influence the leaders had in this decision is clearly stated in B. H. Roberts’ history:

“But it had been represented to these saints in the handcart companies, and, indeed, to all the saints in Europe, that a special providence would attend this method of migration, and hence they would be apt to discredit any warning that might be given concerning dangers that might overwhelm them. ‘Know ye not,’ wrote Elder John Jacques, assistant editor of the Millennial Star, ‘Know ye not that it is the holy ordinance of the Lord revealed through his prophet, Brigham Young, for the redemption of the humble, faithful poor, and that it will be blessed and sanctified of him to the Salvation of thousands who are not too proud to be saved in his appointed way, while many who will despise that way will be left to perish in Babylon. The Lord has promised through his servant Brigham Young that the handcart companies shall be blessed with health and strength, and be met part way with teams and provisions from the valley. And I am not afraid to prophesy, that those who go by the handcarts, and continue faithful and obedient, will be blessed more than they have ever dreamed of.’ Religious enthusiasts imbued with these ideas of blessing and favor, would, of course, vote to continue the journey ‘to Zion’” (A Comprehensive History of the Church, B. H. Roberts, Volume 4, p. 90 and 91, quote from the Millennial Star, Volume xviii, p. 370)

They left Florence, Nebraska, on their treacherous journey at the end of the summer, August 25, and arrived at Fort Laramie on the eighth of October, still five hundred miles from the Salt Lake Valley. This part of the journey was extremely hazardous, crossing icy waters and rough mountain terrain ranging between 6,000 to 8,000 feet.

Severe snow storms and biting winds created an overwhelmingly helpless condition. Many of the already weak, starving, and fatigued emigrants did not survive. In order to lighten the loads of the flimsy handcarts on rugged mountain trails, they sacrificed bedding that was desperately needed in the freezing snowstorms. Nevertheless, for the months of October and November they struggled on. To summarize their struggles, I quote from a brief family history about William Stimpson, my great-great-grandfather, written by one of his descendants, Joseph H.Stimpson:

“As seen from this narrative, the early snows made the roads almost impassable and their journey most difficult. Their son, William B., died about the time they crossed the Platte River (October 19, 1856). Their food was getting low and the record says that their rations dropped to four ounces of flour per day per person. When they reached the Independence Peak on the Sweetwater River in Wyoming, his wife and a prematurely born child died and were buried near Fort Bridger. Relief trains were sent out from Salt Lake City to meet them. They found them undergoing extreme suffering. Half a slice of bread, or possibly a cup of flour mixed with water, was all the food they had to sustain him and his son for a day at a time. Finally they reached Salt Lake City on November 30, 1856. The experiences of this trip were of such a nature that William Stimpson refused to talk very much about them. The ground was frozen so that it was almost impossible to dig graves in the ground to bury those who died and they feared that they would be eaten by coyotes even before they could proceed further on the journey.” (Sketch of the Life of William Stimpson, by Joseph H. Stimpson, September 22, 1945)

This excerpt is from A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey, Volume 1, by Carma Naylor

AVAILABLE IN TRADE PAPERBACK AND E-BOOK VERSION FROM MOST MAJOR BOOK RETAILERS WORLDWIDE.

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Book of Mormon Maps

Are there any official LDS maps, showing the physical places and locations described in the Book of Mormon? No, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) do not have any maps that they currently recognize as the official maps for Book of Mormon sites. There have been some past, semi-official locations indicated, including in South America and Central America, but none have been finalized as the official Mormon position.

Frankly, the location of Book of Mormon lands has been an area of contention for decades even among Mormon scholars. The geographical locations for where the Nephites supposedly lived and fought is still uncertain.

Great Lakes Location: One intriguing theory, known as the Vernal Holley Theory (after the man who proposed it), provides some interesting Book of Mormon maps, placing the book’s events in the Great Lakes area of North America. See the maps below (permission to replicate the maps given by Vernal Holley)

Holley Book of Mormon Map cropped 2

Holley Map of Actual Place Names cropped2

To read more about the Vernal Holley Theory, click here.


 

This excerpt is from A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey, Volume 2, by Carma Naylor

AVAILABLE IN TRADE PAPERBACK AND E-BOOK VERSION FROM MOST MAJOR BOOK RETAILERS WORLDWIDE.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE OR TO BUY TODAY.

Book of Mormon Locations and Places

Where were the actual physical places and locations described in the Book of Mormon?Secular and non-Mormon historians and archaeologists see this book as a work of fiction, for they have been unable to find any city ruins or geographical settings that match what is described in this book. Frankly, the location of Book of Mormon lands has been an area of contention for decades even among Mormon scholars. Latin America: A location some Mormon scholars have tried to fit into the narrative has been Central America. The map will help you to visualize how these scholars envision it fitting into what is described within the Book of Mormon:

Map 1 Problems with this site: As stated in Volume 2 of A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey, “We looked at a map and discussed the popular LDS supposition that the Book of Mormon ‘history’ took place in Central America, specifically Southern Mexico, Guatemala, and the Yucatan Peninsula. In this proposed setting the Isthmus of Tehuantepec becomes ‘the narrow neck of land.’ “However, this stretch of land is 125 miles wide at its narrowest point. The Book of Mormon states that the narrow neck of land ‘was only the distance of a day-and-a-half’s journey for a Nephite’ (Alma 22:32). Another place in the Book of Mormon says it was a day’s journey (Helaman 4:7). It also states that this journey was by foot. That pretty much eliminates the view that the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is the ‘narrow neck of land’ in the Book of Mormon. “There is also another major problem with this theory. The Isthmus of Tehuantepec divides water on the North and South. This is the wrong direction. The Book of Mormon is clear that ‘the narrow neck of land’ divided water on the East and West. One has to literally turn the map so that north and south become east and west in order to make this theory fit the Book of Mormon’s geographical description of the land. “Another theory held by some LDS scholars is that the Isthmus of Panama is ‘the narrow neck of land.’ However, this theory has problems as well. While the Isthmus of Panama is narrower than the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, it is 300 miles in length. This long distance between the Land Northward and the Land Southward doesn’t fit the setting of the Book of Mormon story.” (Read more in A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey, Volume 2, Chapter 16.) North America: Another possible location for the Book of Mormon places and locations has been proposed. That location is in eastern North America, in the Great Lakes area. This location is proposed in Vernal Holley’s  Book of Mormon Authorship: A Closer Look. Here are some maps to help you visualize these locations: Holley Map of Actual Place Names cropped2   Holley Book of Mormon Map cropped 2   Problems with this site: As stated in Volume 2 of A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey: “In Holley’s proposed setting, Lake Erie would be the Sea West and Lake Ontario the Sea East. They are divided by “the narrow neck of land” which connects “the land Northward” (Canada) and “the land Southward” (United States). This fits the Book of Mormon geographical descriptions nicely. This “narrow neck of land” that divides Lake Erie and Lake Ontario narrows to twenty miles—so it could be crossed from sea to sea in a day or day-and-a-half on foot. “Holley included on the Great Lakes map names of real towns and places in the area. (See first map below) These modern locations are surprisingly close to names of towns found in the Book of Mormon. Holley placed the Book of Mormon names on a second map, matching similar names with similar locations. (See second map below.) Charles found the comparison of the two maps fascinating, as I had previously done. “We concluded there were two good reasons why the Church doesn’t promote the Great Lakes area as the location for the Book of Mormon story since it is such a good fit. First, the early Church leaders taught that Lehi’s family landed along the coast of Chile, and the church has promoted Central or South America as the location because the Inca and Mayan ruins are there.” (Read more in A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey, Volume 2, Chapter 16.)

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Review of A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey, Volume 2

Back in March 2011, Entertainment Journalist Mary Nichelson did a thorough review of A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey, Volume 2  at her website marysworld411.com. Here is an excerpt from that review:

“For Carma Naylor, a lifelong Mormon, it’s taken a pilgrimage of sorts to get from what she had been taught from birth to what she now believes to be truth. It is not uncommon for someone to question their religious roots. A browse through any online bookstore will reveal many memoirs written on the subject of experiencing a spiritual awakening. However, Naylor’s publication is not confined to her memoir only.

“In her book A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey Volume 1, Naylor conveys a classic tale of awakening with a gentle voice of authority. She does not define Mormonism and proceed to destroy the establishment; rather, she eloquently shares her personal story, reminding the reader often that her observations aren’t meant to cause division. She merely attempts to build on what’s right by correcting the inconsistancies and contradictions. It is very obvious, and touching, that she wants to prevent isolation from those still within Mormonism. In fact, she loves the members enough to want them to learn the truth as she has.

“In A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey Volume 2, Naylor continues to tell her story as it relates to family members and how her new insights influenced them. We are introduced to her son, Lance, and live vicariously through his many struggles and addictions. Naylor confronts mass contradictions within the church’s credence while watching her son work through his own awakening of sorts. Complacency is not her style, which is apparent as she lays out many areas that should provoke questions within the average Mormon.

“Volume 1 undoubtedly provided the ground work of her trial and error in reconciling her personal convictions, while Volume 2 is where she lays out the substance of her research. There are numerous charts illustrating the differences and parallels between the Mormon’s propaganda and Christianity. Her extensive and expansive research as it relates to Joseph Smith is impressive. Her presentation is not given with a critical spirit, but instead, she enthusiastically reveals the result to her exploration. Mature believers within the church (or elsewhere) will appreciate her commentary and will be compelled to reflect on personal convictions as well as challenged to go on their own quest for truth.

“The greatest accomplishment of Volume 2 is the consistent theme that grace is not earned through benevolence. We are saturated in it according to our need. The comprehension of that isolated fact alone would be enough, yet, Naylor offers so much more. One could not assign A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey to one book genre. It is multi-purpose and multi-faceted. Naylor has taken a familiar concept-confrontation of her religious declaration-and has compiled a memoir and reference manual all in one. Just as I could not classify the book in one word or less, it would be short changing Naylor to imply A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey Volume 2 would appeal to Mormon’s only. It is for anyone disillusioned with religion.”

(Review by Mary Nichelson of Marysworld411.com (at her previous site, marysworld411.blogspot.com). Click here to read the full review.)

From Mormonism to Grace

Volume 1 cover1

Read the inspiring story of Carma Naylor, a woman who has hungered to know God.


 

From Religious Laws and Ordinances to the Cross

It has been said, “If you want to know the truth about the Mormons, then ask a Mormon what they believe.”

Would it not be even wiser to ask one who had experienced being both a devout Mormon and a born-again Christian for a fair, honest comparison of the differences?

If you really want to comprehend the Mormon experience and understand a Mormon’s hear and thoughts, you don’t want to miss this compelling story written from a compassionate woman’s heart.

Her love for Mormonism, as well as her love for the truth and God’s Word are clearly evidenced in these two books that are thoroughly researched and richly packed with the Word of God.

Read about A MORMON”S UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

 

“Thy word is lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
– Psalm 119:105

 

 

A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey: Volume 2

Volume 2 cover

Finding the Grace I Never Knew.

Picking up where she left off in Volume One, Carma Naylor continues her compelling story as she compares Mormonism to the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey is a riveting testimony of a woman’s search for truth when her strong religious convictions were reversed by God in a surprising way. This unique book on Mormonism will help you understand the powerful, spiritual experiences behind a Mormon’s testimony.

If you are burdened by trying to make yourself acceptable to God through righteous efforts, and you want to replace guilt with grace, you need this book.

A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey is a concise theological treatise that walks you through the Mormon doctrines step by step and challenges each one with the truth of Scripture.

“A must read for any who have wondered what Mormonism is all about.”

-Pastor Chuck Smith
Founder of the worldwide Calvary Chapel movement
author of several books
heard daily on the nationwide radio program “The Word for Today.”

 

“Carma loves Mormons. Her greatest desire is for each one to hear the truth and to know the Eternal Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, God come in the flesh.”

-Dr. Walter Price, Baptist Pastor
author of God Focus

 

“Her love for Scripture, her love for Mormons, and the depth of her studies are clearly evidenced in this incredible, true story. Highly recommended!”

-Kelly Pinkham
Freelance Writer and Editor

 

 A MORMON’S UNEXPECTED JOURNEY: VOLUME 2

Buy a copy today! Available at major bookstores and online retailers, including:

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Also available from  Scribd subscriptions, and Inktera,

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Carma Naylor’s riveting story started in the first part of two volume book. Click here to find out more about A Mormon’s Unexpected Journey: Volume 1.