by Joan Morrone
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II Corinthians 11:3-4 “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety (very skillful in deceit), so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, who you have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him.” And II Corinthians
!3-15 “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
I write with tears in my eyes for myself and for you who are not grounded in the simplicity of the gospel
of Christ. This is my testimony of how I got involved in false teachings and believed every Jesus, every spirit and every gospel. And it was so easy! For the first 30 years of my life I was a strict Catholic. I was brainwashed into believing everything I was told. Wherever you are now, you are what you are because of your
early upbringing whether you were taught right or wrong. You were still brainwashed.
I was raised by fear not love. I didn’t dare question anything I heard. I didn’t dare question the authority of the Pope; he was infallible and could not err. I couldn’t question the priest and what he was telling me. I couldn’t read the Bible; the interpretation of it could only be given by those in authority, never laymen.
Being a curious child and wanting to learn new things, I would sneak the Big family Bible (for show only) out and read it. I didn’t understand much. All I got out of it was that in the old testament, as long as the Israelites obeyed God, everything went well for them. When they didn’t obey they had big problems.
Yet without knowing the truth, when I would play with neighbor girls, they would try to push their Jehovah Witness gospel on me. I defended my faith, though it was wrong , too. I sent the girls home crying because I got the best of them. The gospels were read every Sunday. I especially enjoyed Luke’s version of the birth of Jesus. In spite of catechism, I never really understood just what the Catholics stood for except for the fact they were the only ones who would get to heaven. I walked with my nose up in the air.
No, they say, they don’t worship Mary. What do you call it when especially the whole month of May, you make an altar and place a statue of Mary on it? It was in my bedroom. A candle was placed and lit on both sides of it. Flowers surrounded it. Then I had to kneel down and pray to her. I gave my requests to her. Because of her motherly influence, she begged Jesus to talk God into answering my prayers. I don’t recall whether any of my prayers got answered by God or not. I was never good enough. I Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Why was it necessary for Mary to be a mediator also? Wasn’t Jesus powerful enough by himself?
I was made to go to confession every Saturday so I could go to communion on Sunday. I didn’t think I was really bad enough that I had to go to confession. Out of fear of my mother if I didn’t go, I went but I made up a few minor sins just for something to say. (I thought I could hide my lies away from God. How wrong I was) “Say one Our Father, 10 Hail Mary’s”. I was O.K. until the next Saturday. If I died and didn’t commit any “mortal” sins like murder and such, I still didn’t have to worry. I would go to Purgatory for a while until I paid the price for my sins (Jesus wasn’t involved in paying the price just my own works) or someone bought “indulgences” for me to get me out sooner. It wasn’t so hard being a Catholic, now was it?
You get the idea of what I believed. Only one thing I was taught and is still with me today is the catechism question “Why did God make me?” The answer: “To know Him, to love Him and to serve Him in this life and forever in the next.” That was just rote. It didn’t mean much but it stuck with me because it is the truth. I didn’t know God; only a punishing God, never a loving Father.
When I was 22, I got married. My husband was in the service and I followed him to his base. I found a Catholic Church. Two ushers stood at the doorway and almost dared you to go in without putting money in the collection. It seemed like I had to pay my way in to a “house of God”. I didn’t have much money and I got kind of dirty looks for my small offering. And also because I wasn’t dressed as well as others were.
Appearances were important. Something I never did before in my life, I quit going to church still afraid of going to hell. We went back to our home town. When I was 30, I took instructions in a Lutheran church. My mother just about disowned me. Our 4th child was baptized in that church. I sent the older 3 children to Sunday school but I didn’t attend myself. We had two more children after that, also baptized Lutheran.
Forty years later my husband and I got divorced, a mutual agreement.
Circumstances beyond my control, the kids stayed with their Father. I almost had a nervous breakdown.
I got a rebellious streak and did some things I would have never done if I were in my right mind. I met a man
through a pen pal club from the south. I barely knew him but I took off in my car to go and meet him. It was for a fishing trip with his mother, stepfather and his son. I was afraid to drive 17 miles to work before that. At this point I didn’t care if I lived or died. I never lived alone before and didn’t know how to make decisions. In fact I almost wished someone would kill me and I’d have no more problems, so I thought. We traveled back and forth a few times then we got married.
He was an alcoholic. I didn’t know what that was. He just told me he liked a “cool one” once in awhile.
No big deal, I thought. It turned out to be a BIG deal. Because of him, I got fired. My boss hated Yankees.
But God had his hands on me. I had one week’s pay coming to me and no hopes for another job. I had just enough to pay $20 for a motel room for a week and get a few non perishable food items. I thought my life was over. I was too proud to go back home.
Before I left my husband, I remembered a man who used to stop and try to get us to go to his church. I called, they came and got me and my few belongings and took me to a restaurant., then to their home. They prayed for me there and I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. They took me to church the next day and I went to the altar for a public commitment. I didn’t understand it all but I felt so close to Jesus. I even wrote a song to him “I love you, Jesus” and didn’t know a thing about music. I could even sing the tune.
Wednesday I went to a little store where I owed some money. I don’t know how I did it but I told her I would pay her as soon as I got another job! That was O.K. Then she told me about a woman whose husband just died and was afraid to stay by herself. Maybe I could go there. I went right away and moved in on Friday just as my week ran out and couldn’t pay another week’s rent. That was definitely a miracle. God gave me a place to live just in time.
It wasn’t the most pleasant place to live. She looked down on me like I was nothing. She bought me clothes from the little store because she was ashamed to be seen with me. All I had to do there was drive her anywhere she had to go. The rest of the time was mine. She gave me an old Gideon Bible with pages scribbled on or ripped out. I stayed in my room and read it through several times.
I was searching for truth but the church (an Assembly of God group) had no answers for me. “Wait until you are here for 15 or 20 years then you will understand.” they told me. I wanted the answers now! All they were concerned about is getting me to speak in tongues. They hit me on the back and shouted at me to receive the Holy Ghost while playing loud repetitious music. I was so emotional from all the racket I passed out in the front seat mumbling something. They got excited thinking I was speaking in tongues. I knew I wasn’t.
I went to the library to get a bunch of religious books to learn more. I had no truths to compare with what I was reading . I believed them all. All sounded reasonable to me. I began to church hop. At first they seemed right but the Holy Spirit would let me know it was a cult or false teaching. I’d leave only to get into another. I just learned enough to know a few of their basic doctrines but not to get saturated with them.
For 70 years I walked the wilderness trail. I would go to church but I lost my first love and I felt lost and going around in circles. I’m 71 now and I am getting it back. I don’t know how many times I back slid in spite of the many miracles. Because of the times we are in, I know God can use all of my experiences to hopefully keep others from falling into the same traps; especially the younger people and kids. They have so much to contend with; listen to lies and believe them to be true---“Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!.” Isaiah 5:20
In another writing I will say more about all I’ve been involved in---Mormons, mind over matter programs, Bai Hai’s, just to name a few. All about another Jesus, another spirit and another gospel. I was ready to join the New Agers but God put a stop to that. It was either or. Serve Him or Satan. No fence sitting. I wanted the best of both worlds. THERE IS NO BEST ON THE WRONG SIDE! It looks good and soon goes sour.
I once looked down on all Catholics and Mormons and all members of all the cults. One day God reminded me where I came from. I have to love and pray for them to be set free from their bondage. They were
blind victims just like I was. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Whosoever means every one. God will forgive if they are really sorry. Take it from one messed up soul who knows. God bless you.
A short update. I’m 75 now and so much more has happened. God is faithfully using my bad experiences to help others. Never give up if you think you are worthless. God is the potter. He can remold us into something new and beautiful inwardly in His time. We then become a tool He can use.
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The Catholic Church has its problems but it is not a cult. All believing denomin ations attest ot the Apostles Creed. All cults deny Jesus is God in the flesh and deny the personhood of the Holy Spirit.