I come from a family of eight children (a much later addition made it nine). From early childhood we were made to attend church every Sunday. My earliest memories take me back to the time when I would make my first communion. I can remember being very excited, because I too can now have the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ just like the grown-ups. I can remember Sister Peter having us children practice with those little round candies to show us how we were to accept Jesus into our mouths. We had to be careful, because we did not want Him to fall on the floor. I was under the impression that would be a grave sin.
When it was time to make Confirmation, I was excited about this too. I had learned in the Catholic school that Confirmation was necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. Through this special occasion I would be more bound to the Church and enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. I realized I would be sealed with the Holy Spirit as the Bishop would anoint me with oil.
My mother told me I would have to see the priest at the church in order to get my confirmation lessons to understand it more fully. I was to go each Saturday morning to see him. However, the subject of Confirmation I did not learn. This priest was sexually molesting me. I was shocked because I had never had anything like this happen before. I was scared. Since good Catholics were suppose to obey their priests, for they are in higher authority, I submitted though I was frightened. Each Saturday I had to go face this priest and didn't dare tell a soul what was happening. This lasted for about six to seven weeks.
But in spite of what I went through, I still kept going to church and learned all the doctrines of the Roman Catholic church. We had Catechism each week and learned what was necessary in this life and to make it to heaven. When I was about 16, I wanted to enter the Convent. There was only one problem. I didn't finish high school. I had just quit that summer. Most of the orders required that a girl have her diploma. But I finally found one that didn't require it. The order was the Sisters of St. Martha. At the time they were located at La Salette Shrine in Attleboro, Massachusetts. I wrote to the sisters and told them I wish to be a nun. She wrote back and wanted to know why. My simple answer was, " I wanted to serve the Lord."
I was to meet Sister Germaine, the Mistress of Novices at the Shrine. After my interview she decided I could enter. My mother was not very happy about losing her daughter, but my father was very proud there was going to be a nun in the family. I had learned my father always wanted to be a priest.
I can remember my mother coming short of tears as she saw me board the bus leaving for La Salette Shrine in Enfield, New Hampshire. I waved good bye as the bus departed.
I had learned the Sisters of St. Martha was a domestic order. The Seminary itself was a school for high school boys . The Priests and the Brothers took care of these boys and their education. On the other hand, the Sisters prepared their meals, three times a day. On Saturdays? That was laundry day. We had to do the laundry for the Priests and Brothers, besides our own. The following is a schedule I adhered to while in the convent.
At 5:15 in the morning the bell would ring to wake us. We had fifteen minutes to get washed and dressed. At 5:30 we had to be down in the chapel for morning prayers. This consisted of reciting certain sections of the Psalms. One group would read about three verses, then the other half would read three verses. At 5:45 we would go back to our bedrooms. Between 5:45 and 6:00 a.m., the priest would hear confessions before he did the Mass in our chapel. One by one each nun would take their turn.
Mass would be over about 6:30 and we would make our way to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for everyone. By 8:30 a.m. we would start preparing for lunch, and the time for silence would begin at 10:00 a.m until the lunch meal was served. We were forbidden to talk. We were to concentrate on God. If I had any questions, I had to whisper to the cook. It wasn't long before I learned how to use sign language.
The sisters had their own dining room. Before we could have our meal, we all had to stand by our assigned seats. Every day each nun would have her turn reading a section from the "Imitation of Christ." Then we would say grace, and thank God we could then talk!
By the time the meals and dishes were done, it would be about 2 to 2:30 in the afternoon; from there we would say the rosary together. Whatever time was left after that, we got to rest in our rooms. At 3 p.m. it was time for Vespers and then to the kitchen again preparing for dinner. All would be over with about 6:30 p.m. and it was back to the convent. We were allowed to watch T.V., but were only allowed to watch certain programs. That was "Hogan's Hero's" and "The Waltons". After the Walton's, myself (Postulant), and the two Novices, along with the Mistress of Novices had to spend an hour together in the basement for quality time. My quality time consisted of playing pool with the two Novices, Sister Joan and Sister Judy, while the Mistress of Novices did sewing or whatever needed to be done. At 10 p.m. the lights had to be out. On Saturdays? As I said, that was laundry day and Sunday was a day for rest. This was my schedule.
When I had those quiet times in my room, I remember one time trying to read the Bible but found it very boring. I was in the convent for almost two years and I can only remember picking up that Bible that one time. We never read the Bible together outside what we had to do for morning prayers when reciting the Psalms, but even that wasn't in the Bible. The Psalms were in a book by itself. We did a lot of praying to the saints when we didn't have our time in the basement. We would often make Novenas and kneel by the statute when doing so. People would ask for prayer, and that is how we did it.
I began to question myself of why I was there. I can remember thinking, "Do I want to do this for the rest of my life?" But something happened that made me very angry and sad. Sister Judy was told she could not make her final vows. Needless to say, she was very broken hearted. She cried and I cried too.
Sister Judy got to go home and visit her family before she had to leave the convent for good. During this time, while working in the kitchen, I couldn't help but cry. The head cook wanted to know what was wrong. I told her it wasn't fair that Sister Judy couldn't serve the Lord. But she smiled and said, "Well, many are called, but few are chosen." That statement hit me like a ton of bricks. I got angry with God. If God loved us so much, why would He not let someone serve Him? Later, Sister Judy told me why she couldn't make her final vows. It was due to an illness she had as a child.
It wasn't long after Sister Judy left, I left too. I couldn't see going all the way to making my final vows for something that didn't make sense to me. "Many are called, but few are chosen," rang in my ears for a long time. I considered myself as one of those who was not chosen for this kind of life.
However, I did not leave the Catholic Church. I prayed my rosary still, prayed to Mary for help, and continued to go to church. I was still searching and wanted something deeper with God. I had an emptiness that kept going further and further down. There were times I felt like I had to climb up just to reach bottom. I kept going to the La Salette Shrine in Massachusetts. I would say my rosaries there. I felt like I was closer to God there. There were times I would look at the statue and ask, "Mary, why don't you show yourself to me? I need you." I would often look up in the sky trying to find her. Maybe, just maybe, she would appear to me. I would crawl up the stairs on my knees while saying the rosary, praying, and hoping that the pain I was enduring would help me to heaven. [Editor's note: this self-inflicted pain is called penance in Romanism. Some even beat themselves until the blood flows to show sorrow for sin instead of calling on the Lord.] After all, who belongs to God unless you are willing to suffer physical discomfort? I must prove I am worthy. I must pray my way and suffer in order to get to heaven. I didn't want to go to purgatory, but heaven.
I would often go to La Salette, but I will never forget the last time I was there. It was in the evening and they were having a prayer service. I stood at the door staring because I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I saw the priest laying hands on people and they were passing out cold on the floor. The music was beautiful, but I didn't understand what was happening. I stood there for a long time observing when a nun began to walk by me. I stopped her and asked what was happening. She said, "They are experiencing the slaying of the Holy Spirit." She didn't explain, she continued on. I decided I would walk up and get prayer too. I remember the priest laying his hands on my head. I closed my eyes and listened to him pray. I felt like God was touching my head. I felt peaceful. At that I was on the floor myself. I didn't lose consciousness, but yet I couldn't move. Finally I was able to get up. I went home that night not knowing what exactly happened to me.
Time went on and the depression was getting worse. There were two times I attempted suicide but failed. I was still empty and still climbing and reaching nothing. I decided that maybe if I moved out of the state of Rhode Island, that would help. I traveled all the way to...California but only lasted two days in a hotel room. Then I thought about my mother. At that I was headed for [her mother's].
When I was settled...I began looking for a church. I found "Our Lady Of Lourdes" and attended the evening Mass. It was similar to what I experienced at the La Salette Shrine. These people were on fire for the Lord. I found out they called it a Charismatic Mass. However, the one thing that impressed me at the time was when it was time to give each other the sign of peace. I was shocked. The priest got off the altar and started shaking hands with the people. I never saw a priest leave the altar during a Mass.
I also noticed the music ministry and liked their music. After the Mass I went up and asked if I could practice with them since I played the guitar. They told me they met on Friday evenings, but it was a prayer meeting. One of the men gave me the address and I was there the following Friday. Everybody was so friendly. They were also ready to start their prayer meeting. I noticed they started speaking in different languages, or at least that is what I thought it was. I didn't know, but figured it had to do something with their faith. It was very strange to me. I thought I got myself in a house with a bunch of koo koo's, but here I found myself staying because I needed something.
After the meeting one of the sons took me in the back room to explain Jesus to me. I thought to myself, "What is this guy going to tell me what I don't already know? After all, I've been in the convent, and there is nothing new he is going to tell me." But he started talking about Jesus and he talked about Him as if He were real. He talked as if he knew him personally. I wanted that! He gave me the gospel message. He asked me if I wanted to receive Jesus, and I said yes. We went right into the living room and he had me sit in the chair in the middle of the room and everybody surrounded me and started to lay their hands on me. It was there I accepted and confessed Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour.
However, I didn't feel any different. But I do remember going home that night and as I walked in, my mom was watching television. I could remember the awful feeling I got from what she was watching. It had never bothered me before, but his time it was like I could see the darkness in the program. I said nothing but went straight into my bedroom. I began to read my Bible. It was then it was not the same. As I read, the words seem to come off the pages. It wasn't boring like it was in the convent.
A few weeks later I was baptized in [a] pool. The prayer meetings were large for this small house, but we managed. It was during one of these meetings I was now about to experience the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I can remember standing with the others singing a worship song. It was at the end of this song I began to feel this tingling sensation in my feet. It worked its way to my ankles, then my knees, belly, neck, and finally my head. When I went to say "Thank you Jesus," nothing came out but another language. I realized I had gotten the gift of tongues (more on this later). I looked around to see if anybody was watching me. I was kind of embarrassed. I was also confused. I knew what I had was the gift of tongues, but I began to doubt. I approached Mr. Walsh at the end of the meeting and told him of my fears. He gave me a book to read on tongues which explained why we shouldn't doubt it. I was also led to another book "The Holy Spirit and You." I believe it was by a Rita Bennett and her husband. I read these books and they fascinated me. From there on I began to read everything I could concerning the Holy Spirit, but as I think back, I read everything except what the Bible had to say about it. I realize now the word of God was not"rightly divided."
We continued to have our Bible studies, but I never searched the Scriptures to see if what they were teaching was true or not. I assumed they knew what they were talking about and I needed them to learn. Little did I know I was getting a lot of false doctrine.
As we had these prayer meetings, we also continued to attend Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes. There was a problem beginning. After the Charismatic Mass a whole crowd of us would meet in the next hall for our Sunday prayer meetings. However, there began disputes about Catholic doctrine and the Bible. The question of Mary came up, confession, praying to the saints, etc. The order from the priest was set forth. If there were any who didn't agree with the Catholic church, they had to leave. He was not going to allow division. So some left, but I stayed. Those who met at the [leaders] all left and started their own church. I was going to their service in the mornings, and went to the Charismatic Mass in the evening each Sunday. I was too afraid to leave. To leave the Catholic church would be inviting myself to hell for all eternity. Salvation, I learned as a little girl, was through the Catholic church. It was a sin to step inside another. It was for these reasons I didn't want to leave the Church, but I also didn't want to lose the other friends I had made. But as far as I was concerned, I was safe attending their services for they were held outside at Tomoka Park. Finally, my conscious began to bother me and I stopped it all together, even the Friday prayer meetings. I stayed faithful to the Church.
It was nearing the year 1984 when I decided to move....I got involved with a group that was not Catholic, but part of the Vineyard movement. I soon left that because it seemed to controlling in personal matters. It was not too long after I found myself involved with the Lamb Of God Community. This was another Charismatic group and mainly Catholic.
I had met my husband before I joined the Lamb of God. Father Joe was one of its leaders, but I heard they had certain rules for dating. Tom and I were engaged before we joined. If you were engaged before you joined, you were fine. Tom and I were married in a Catholic Church by Father Joe on November 30, 1985.
Lamb of God was associated with the Word of God Community in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There were many things going on at that time, and division started taking place.
We were informed that there was a split at the Word of God Community. The co-founders, Ralph Martin and Steve Clark had a parting of the ways. We, in turn, had a split here in the Lamb of God Community. It concerned excessive control over its members, which I agree. We were "encouraged" a certain way to dress, what roles we played in the family as who took out the trash, cut the lawn etc., the matters concerning faithful attendance to the meetings, authority, etc. My husband and I found ourselves not going to the meetings anymore. We never talked about it much, we just didn't go.
After the first three babies were born, we were still attending church on Sundays. I have four children and all of them got baptized into the Catholic church. But church attendance also began to fade in the background. We got to the point where we didn't attend church at all.
In 1991 I received a computer as a gift by my brother-in-law. I began to learn how to use it and then found myself writing to other people in Bible conferences. I conversed with a number of Jehovah Witnesses. I tried to prove Jesus is God and so forth. The messages seemed endless. I wasn't getting through to them, but the whole activity was getting me involved in studying the Bible for myself. I would wake up very early in the mornings typing away at the computer trying to prove different things from the Bible to tell my Jehovah Witness friends.
Then there began a need to get back in church. I was feeling empty like I had before. I missed all the fellowship I had at one time. However, after studying the Bible for a while I noticed certain things of the Catholic doctrine that did not line up with the Bible. It concerned the Lord's body and blood, eternal security, and the church. Though I knew I needed to find a church, I had made up my mind that I would not go back to the Catholic church knowing what I knew now where it concerned the Lord's body and blood. Why should I believe in something that profits nothing? Where it concerns the Lord's body, we never hear John 6:63 read before communion, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:"
The Church doctrine and the Bible were in conflict and I struggled and asked many questions. How many times do we need to be saved? If I receive Jesus Christ at communion time, what happens to Him during the week that I have to go back and receive Him again? And why should I drink blood when blood is forbidden before the Law (Genesis 9:4); Under the law (Lev. 17:14); and in New Testament times (Acts 15:29; 21:25)? The Bible says Blood is off limits, we are to abstain from blood, but in the Catholic church we are to drink it!
I never admitted I didn't really believe the Eucharist was actually the body and blood of Christ, for if I did, I knew I would be condemned to hell by the curse pronounced by the Roman Catholic church. But I praise God now, because I know no curse will keep me out of heaven.
I told my husband I was going to start going to church again, but also let him know I would not go back to the Catholic church. I was still a little uncertain though. I thought to myself, "What if the Catholic church is really right and I'm wrong." In the back of my mind, eternal security was always the question. In the Catholic Church you had salvation through the sacraments, but even that wasn't a sure thing. Purgatory always lingered over my head. I didn't want to suffer in purgatory and wait for the prayers to get me out. For that matter, the Catholic church has yet to say how many prayers are needed to get one out of purgatory. However, what if I were wrong about all this? I don't know, but I took my chances, I left for good.
It so happened I found a Baptist Church. I thought to myself this church would really be something if these people could only be baptized in the Holy Spirit and experience tongues like I had and practiced. But regardless of what I thought they lacked, these people were joyful even without the so-called baptism of the Holy Spirit in the Charismatic terms.
Now, I shall share what happened from there when I discovered what was happening to God's word. I'm not talking about the "Incarnate Word," Jesus Christ, but His "words." I shall excerpt one of my own writings to explain:
"My husband had a visit from an old friend whom he hadn't seen in years, along with his wife. At the time of their visit they were both in a drug treatment program to kick the habit. During the course of the evening I began to witness to the couple. During this time I had pulled out at least 6 to 8 different versions of the Bible. The husband stopped me in the middle of a conversation and asked me, Which Bible is the true Bible?' His questioned stumped me. The question made such an impact on me that I began to wonder myself! From then on that question stayed with me.
This incident took place in the early part of November of 1995. It was several weeks before this time I had decided to leave the Catholic church. I had been a Christian for 20 years and had remained in the Catholic Church all that time. Something was missing in my life and I couldn't pin-point the problem other than that I missed Christian fellowship. I missed the fellowship like I had when I lived in Florida. Down there I was very involved in the Charismatic movement (Don't worry, the Bible straightened me out on the tongues business).
It was near the end of summer of 1995 when I started attending a Baptist Church, and it was the end of November I decided to join. New members were required to take membership classes which took place in the Pastor's office each Sunday. About the third Sunday of my visit I noticed a book on his desk. I asked him if I could borrow the book. It was titled, New Age Bible Versions,' by Dr. G.A. Riplinger. That night I started to read her book and was brought to tears just after reading the first two chapters as I saw what was happening with God's words. About a week or two before I borrowed that book, I had purchased for the first time in my life a King James Bible, therefore, I was able to compare the versions as I read her book."
It was from here when my life was actually changed concerning the Bible, the Catholic church, Catholic doctrine, the so-called Baptism of the Holy Spirit, tongues and so forth.
When I compared these versions, I did notice how these other bibles lined up with the Roman Catholic bible. No wonder I was still in confusion! In these modern bibles, salvation is shown as a "process" which requires good works. All this is brought out by the straining of the tenses in the modern bibles. Let me show you exactly what I mean. When you read the following, please do notice the straining of the tenses:
With all the unnatural straining of the tenses, and the teachings of the Catholic Church, no wonder I didn't know if I was truly saved!
From there the King James Bible became the final authority in my life. In that Book I knew I would get the truth. It straightened me out on a lot of doctrines concerning tongues, baptism of the Holy Spirit, eternal security, about heaven and hell, the saints, purgatory, and many other things. When I used these other bibles, they led me nowhere but in confusion and frustration. Doctrines such as the Deity was hard to prove to a Jehovah's Witness. Now I know why! I don't have that problem any more with a King James Bible. I've had Mormons at my door and Jehovah's Witnesses, and when I get the King James out, all of a sudden every body gets Greekitis. I tell them I don't know Greek, and therefore there's not a lot of sense going through it. But there's one thing I do know and have, and that is the Holy Bible. I don't have to apologize to anyone for having the truth in my hands. It's either believe it or reject it. No need to turn to man's teachings, the Catholic church, traditions, the Greek, Another Testament, or other bibles to disprove the LIVING ONE.
I know a person can't be born again twice, but that's what it seems to me. My eyes have been opened. I no longer walk in darkness. I no longer hang by the rules of the Roman Catholic church. When I began to study from the King James Bible, I saw how the Roman Catholic church is really an enemy to God's word. When reading from the true word of God, God will also give us back our common sense. For instance, let me share with you the following concerning Original sin. As a Catholic, we were taught we needed baptism to free us from sin. But yet the Roman Catholic church does not believe that chapters 1-3 of Genesis is real history. What they have actually done is call Jesus a liar.
Jesus Christ quotes Genesis 2 and 3 as a strict, straight history. "And Jesus answered them, For the hardness of your heart he (Moses) wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female" (Mark 10:5-6). Jesus also quotes Moses verbatim from Genesis 2:24 (Mark 10:7-8). Jesus said, "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words" (John 5:45-47).
If Jesus were here in the flesh, He would say the same thing to the Catholic Church who tells me Genesis 1-3 is not straight history. They have made Jesus a liar. Genesis tells how the world began (Gen. 1), how human beings began (Gen. 2), how they fell (Gen. 3).
And this is what I mean by common sense. The Roman Catholic church fails to remind us that between chapters 1-3, is the fall of man. Here is where Original sin began! If the Roman Catholic church does not believe Genesis 1-3 is not real history, then why, from A.D. 500 to 1997, were all those babies baptized for!!!?
And what about the saints whom we were taught to pray? Every good Catholic should read his Bible. The Bible says that God puts no trust in His saints (Job 15:15). "Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints;"
If God doesn't put any trust in His saints, why should I?
And what about Blessed Sinless Mary? The Bible says, For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). This means Mary too! Even Mary herself knew she needed a Saviour and went through purification for sins as the Jewish law required. Mary said herself, "And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour." (Luke 1:47).
Mary needed purification from sin, "And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord.....and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." (Luke 2:22,24).
The fact is, Mary is a Jewish woman following the Law handed down to Moses. Read Leviticus 12 my friend. Mary, a sinner, had to make a "sin-offering" (see Lev. 12:8). We must ask ourselves, why does the Roman Catholic church insist she was sinless when the Bible says she was not? Mary had to make a sin offering, and they were so poor they were not even able to offer the required sacrifice for Mary's cleansing as all females were to do in obedience to the law. Mary was so poor she and Joseph could not bring the required LAMB for sacrifice (see Lev. 12:8 again). They could only offer a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons (Luke 2:24). However, Mary didn't need the lamb, she held Him in her arms! She had the Lamb who could save her from her sins! A Saviour her heart rejoiced in!
The Catholic Mary no way resembles the Jewish Mary of the Bible. Even in the days of Jesus people tried to elevate Mary in a position that was not her's. "And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked." (Luke 11:27). But Jesus immediately corrected the woman and said, "Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it." (Luke 11:28).
Jesus was way ahead of the Roman Catholic Church. We are not to sway from the word of God and put our trust in Mary or the saints, but in Jesus Christ Himself.
I could cry when I think of all the years I have wasted and abiding by these false doctrines. If only I had known sooner. But I thank God I have come at least this far. The truth certainly has freed me indeed! Put your trust in Jesus Christ and His infallible word. With those words in your hands, the Holy Spirit shall lead you and guide you into all truth.
As of this moment, I have four children (ages 9, 8, 6 and 4), homeschool, and attend a King James Bible Believing Church... I pray the Lord will use me with the little time we have left before the Rapture.
May you find peace and eternal life by inviting Jesus Christ into your life. Don't let anything stop you from receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and enjoying eternal life with Him. God gave His only begotten Son for you. Christ died on the cross for you. He shed His blood for you and me. Oh, what love! We deserved the death Jesus endured for us on the cross, but He paid the price for sin and said, "It is finished." He rose again the third day conquering death.
Nobody has to work for salvation. It is finished! Sacraments will not save us. The saints cannot help us, and Mary cannot be our mediator. There is only one mediator, and that is Jesus Christ, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;" (1 Timothy 2:5). Obey Jesus. Hear the word of God and keep it (Luke 11:28). The word of God tells us, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9)
The Roman Catholic Church had me doing just the opposite, works. Sacraments, saints, purgatory, and traditions do not save. Jesus Christ saves! It is a gift and a gift is not a gift until it is received. And if anybody says you can lose your salvation, then again, they choose to call Jesus a liar, but you shall know better. You turn them to John 10:28. For Jesus said about those to whom He gives eternal life, "and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." You may walk out on God, but God doesn't go back on His promises. What He said is true! Once you are saved, you are saved forever. His hand is bigger than your faith or lack of it. Don't depend on your feelings, stand on the promise of God.
"But as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." John 1:12.
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