A former Brigham Young University professor is sharing the story of how she and her husband, along all of with her children, left Mormonism for Christianity through God’s work of grace in their life.
Lynn Wilder is the author of the book Unveiling Grace: The Story of How We Found Our Way out of the Mormon Church, released in late August of this year. Until March 16, 2008, Wilder was a professor at Brigham Young University and a dedicated member of the Latter-Day Saints.
In a recent article in the Daily Beast, Wilder provided a condensed overview of her personal testimony, which occurred over a two-year period as God worked in the hearts of her family members.
Wilder states that in 2006, she and her husband Mike decided to visit a Christian church, but were careful to choose a gathering two hours away where no one would recognize them.
“We were paranoid, worried that if someone from Brigham Young University saw me at a non-denominational Christian church, I would lose my ecclesiastical clearance and my job as a professor,” Wilder wrote. “Only at BYU would someone lose their academic position for finding salvation outside the Mormon church.”
During this same time, Wilder’s son Micah became a born-again Christian. He announced to his fellow Mormon missionaries that he did not believe that men are saved by the works that Mormons require, and was sent home as “unworthy” to be a missionary. Just days later, Micah began serving a Christian organization in missions instead.
In the time that followed, Lynn Wilder began searching the Scriptures for answers. She states that the word of God opened her eyes to the truth.
“I read my Bible, sometimes hours a day, and truly felt I was being washed,” Wilder explained. “In its pages, I met a Jesus who was able to save me from my life of working to be ‘good.'”
Writer Sharon Lindbloom of Mormonism Research Ministry also notes that Wilder’s was impacted when she read 2 Corinthians 11:4, which states, “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another Gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”
“Another Jesus!” Wilder said to herself. “That’s exactly what we have.”
The movie Luther, which focuses on the life Protestant reformer Martin Luther and his repudiation of the requirements imposed under the Roman Catholic religion, hit home for Wilder as well. She knew full well of following man-made requirements under Mormon rules.
“I was simply overwhelmed by the Spirit,” she said. “I went face down in surrender to Christ.”
The Brigham Young professor then set out to buy herself a cross necklace to show her love for Christ, but there was one problem—crosses were taboo at the university.
“Mormons don’t revere the cross. They see it as an instrument of death, not the place where Christ became the savior,” she stated. “[I]f I was caught, I would be called in by my superiors and lose the ecclesiastical clearance I needed to work there.”
So, Wilder hid it under her clothing with the hopes that no one saw.
Months later, Wilder requested a leave of absence and took another job in Florida. On March 16, 2008 (3/16/08), she submitted her resignation in honor of John 3:16. Both Wilder and her husband had renounced Mormonism and turned to Christ.
“We lost a religion, but we gained Christ,” Michael Wilder stated in the 2011 documentary Unveiling Grace. “And that’s a good trade.”
When word broke, Wilder says that she received a lot of criticism, but states that her joys outweigh her sufferings.
“I was stupid, a liar, an adulterer, a drug addict, and had committed gross sins,” she said. “Despite the rejection I faced from 30 years of friends, despite the fact that I lost status, position, money, might lose children and our home, I walked away and never feared again.”
Now, Wilder is sharing her story with the world in spoken word and pen, and several of her children are likewise sharing the Gospel through the music ministry Adam’s Road—including her son Micah.
“Words cannot describe the feeling of finally knowing the Lord Jesus Christ in a way that you’ve always wanted to,” he said, becoming tearful. “Reading His word for the very first time and being washed clean by that word and understanding what his Gospel really was–that’s what changed my life. … I’ll never be the same.”