The all-consuming love of our Savior Jesus Christ blesses all of us who call to Him. My name is Britnie Nakai. Married to my high school sweetheart, I am a thirty-year-old mother of two beautiful children. Together, we are celebrating our journey with Christ.
I am amazed at the journey we have been on, and am forever grateful for a loving God who is mindful of all His children. With His loving embrace He has held me during many challenges in my life:
almost losing our son to an infection,
getting through my divorce from my first husband,
comforting me through the death of family members.
I have always felt His love amongst hardships.
Though I felt His presence in my everyday life, I truly did not know Him. Four years ago, I was praying to really have His presence and direction in my life. He called me and my family out of the darkness, and my life has never been the same.
I was born and raised in the LDS (Mormon) church, baptized at eight, and went to church every Sunday. I was active in several church roles. However, after some family trauma at sixteen, I left the church for a season . . .
but my desire for truth drove me to continue searching.
Several years later, when I married my husband, I returned to the church. Desiring to be right with God, we attended for a couple of years and pursued right standing with God through expected rituals.. Throughout this time, I felt sinful and unworthy because of my failure to adhere to the “rules” of the denomination. That was a very hard experience for me: I mistakenly believed that the spiritual discomfort I felt was my own fault and sin. Instead, I now recognize Christ’s loving guidance.
We thought the only way to strengthen our marriage and family was to receive the “blessings” of the temple ceremonies.. The experience was not what I had expected. I was disappointed and very confused after one session, but I tried to be as open-minded as possible. A week later my husband and I were “sealed together” with our daughter, a ritual that would secure our being together for time and eternity.
I remember feeling lost.
I didn’t understand why I never felt God’s presence in these rituals but could feel Him so strongly in my room, or while driving.
Whenever I called out to Him, He was always there.
This question consumed me for over a year. I went again for a couple of ritual sessions after thinking, “It must be me,” but finally I left and never went back.
He wasn’t there.
I was determined to find out why.
My longing to understand the truth of His presence couldn’t be quelled. One Sunday, several years later, as my husband and I led a class for children, I stopped our lesson, turned to my husband and said out loud, “I cannot teach this!” I remember the Spirit telling me very clearly, “This is not of Me. I do not require ceremonies or covenants to be with My children.”
I was in turmoil; something felt terribly, terribly wrong.
The voice of truth within me was growing louder, declaring to my hungry spirit that the simple gift of His presence was rooted in faith alone. And yet, our church taught otherwise. We found ourselves caught in the middle, so confused.
As I reviewed the written tenets of the church’s beliefs with fresh eyes, I was disgusted. The sacredness of Christ and His atonement was being sickly twisted and thwarted. It was so contrary to the Christ whom I had personally come to know through the Bible, that I knew that every word was a lie.
Finally, I addressed my concerns with our church leadership. They told me they had “no issues” with the lesson material and I needed to have faith in the church and the modern-day prophets.
Have faith in the church!
Have faith in prophets!
An electric bolt shot through me!
Why were our leaders not saying to have faith in God and ask Him?
As I met their eyes, looking around the church building, the products and acts of this religion, I knew that God was not there.
He could not be contained within a building, a ceremony, or a set of rules.
I had convinced myself that this religion was God’s true religion. I was upset, scared, worried about my future. I was connected with more than a religion; I was a part of a culture that touched and affected every aspect of life. I was worried about how drastically my life was going to change. As I look back on it now, my eyes well up with tears of gratitude.
Despite my fears, God’s loving embrace was around us all.
God is good, and He didn’t let me go through anything alone. A close friend witnessed my struggle and recommended some reading that revealed the hidden truth of the church’s foundations. As my husband and I worked through the materials, we quickly realized that the average member has no clue about their church history. My search for truth continued, and I went on to uncover even more disturbing facts, including lies, manipulation, and occult practices.
I was devastated.
I felt completely duped.
I had fallen for an enormous and complex lie.
My husband and I left the church the next week, formally turning in our resignation papers. I will never forget the following weeks: it was like taking off goggles and seeing the world for the first time. We were disgusted with, and embarrassed by, our membership in our former church, but we learned that God is so good, greater than the devices of men.
He began a work of restoration within our lives.
Here we are a year later, blessed to have found a wonderful home church and hungry to learn everything we can about Christ and who He really is. Many loving fellow believers have reached out and helped us through the process of “deprogramming” all the lies. I’ve found even deeper community through starting an online women’s Bible study, which enables us to grow together on our journey with Christ. Experiencing the real Christ for the first time was like stepping out of a storm into a sunny meadow with His loving embrace.
His glory is beyond description and His gospel is the very breath of life.
I am so humbled and in awe of everything the Lord has done for our family in such a short time. We have cried at how the light of our Savior has touched everyone in our lives. I owe everything to my Savior, without whom I would truly be lost.
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