Sunday, April 22, 2012

From Bondage to Freedom: The Story of Kassy Merilatt (Co-founder of Ephesians 2 Ministry)

As a team member of Ephesians 2 Ministry, I would like to share my story of how I came out of Mormonism and the impact Jesus has had on my life since then.

While I was still in diapers, my parents were meeting with Mormon missionaries and going through the discussions to become a part of the LDS Church. We were all sealed together as a family in the temple, and went to church frequently up until my parents divorced (when I was at a young age).

When my parents divorced,  my dad left the church and my mom had decided to stay a member. My younger brother and I lived with my mom most of the time, therefore went to church with her on a consistent basis. We were very involved with the church, going to Young Men and Young Women meetings, and also having the missionaries over for dinner at least once a month. My mother is the only one in our family that is still a member today.

When I was 20 years old, I had met a man named David while attending LDS Business College. We had started dating and became engaged soon after. Later that year, we were married and expecting our first child, a little boy. We named him "Junior", after his dad. When "Junior" was born we lived in Ogden, Utah,  in the Northern part of the state.

While we lived in Ogden, I worked at a theater just down the street from our home. My whole world came crashing down on me -- while I was at work, I received a phone call saying that I needed to come home due to an emergency regarding my son. I rushed home, and my son was rushed to the hospital not breathing. I was asked to go to the police station to talk to a detective. While there, I was notified that my son had died on the way to the hospital -- the paramedics were not able to revive him. At this point I had headed to the hospital to see him and found out that my husband, "Junior's" father, was being booked after confessing to hurting my son and causing his death.

During this time, I was under a constant watch with friends and I also had family support -- along with the support of David's family --  until I read the confession statement three days after my son had died. When I read his confession statement, I asked for a divorce and a restraining order to protect myself in case he were to be released.

The week that I was planning my son's funeral and figuring out where I was to live, I had a lot of support from many members of the church. I was also was just trying to get through this difficult time and trying to not let the media take control of the situation. My son was put to rest a week after he passed away.  Shortly after, I had many members tell me to stay active no matter what the circumstances and also say that if I did not stay true to the standards of the church, I wouldn't see my son again. This upset me dearly, so much so I ended up not going back and doubting what I had been taught for 20 years.
While I growing up in the Mormon Church, I felt that I wasn't getting all of the information a lot of Mormons at my age would have already had put into their minds. I did have a testimony of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, which at the time was Gordon B. Hinckley and of the church. I don't think I truly understood what having a testimony meant until much later when I came to the know my Lord and Savior.

While a Mormon, I was accepted into LDS Business College in Salt Lake City, Utah. I left the school, however, because I was not doing things that the church agreed with. This is when I first started having doubts; but, having been engaged to a Mormon and connected to his Mormon family, I knew that I needed to try and move beyond all of it. I attended church occasionally and then very regularly after my son was born -  up until he passed away.

Four months after I had stopped going to the LDS Church, I was invited to a church (by the man who is now my husband) that was very different from what I had been used to. I was incredibly overwhelmed with the love and passion displayed when I walked into that church and after I walked out. I continued to go to this church for a month and finally took the steps of what it meant to have a true relationship with Jesus Christ.

At this point, I began to research and became aware of many things that most Mormons aren't aware of, and soon developed the desire to share with them how to develop a relationship with Christ as I did. Soon after, my husband and I decided to start Ephesians 2 Ministry.

I have now been Christian for a little over three years, and I am glad to put my faith in Jesus alone -- knowing it has nothing to do with anything I have done, or am supposed to do. Through a relationship with Jesus, I've been able to overcome so many obstacles with losing a son, and I have learned the true meaning of love and forgiveness in God's eyes.  To include knowing that God is the judge of my ex's actions, and that me harboring any anger, will only affect my relationship with God. No matter what obstacles I go through, God is there every step of the way, and will not give me anything that I can not handle -- He will always help me find the right path to go down.