Skip to comments.Utah Pastor Moves, Admits Preaching to Mormons Drained Passion
Posted on 01/05/2012 2:42:03 PM PST by colorcountry
The pastor of a successful church in Utah is moving his family to back to Ohio with no specific plans, admitting that leading a Christian congregation in a predominantly Mormon community has taken a mental and emotional toll.
Pastor Charles Hill planted One Community Church in South Jordan nearly three years ago in an area estimated to have about 90 percent of its residents belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church congregation grew to be as much as three times larger than other Christian churches in Utah, Hill said.
Hill once felt led to reach out to Mormons, the dominant religious preference in Utah, but now feels that God is calling him back to Ohio in a state where he was the pastor of a multi-site church.
The decision to leave One Community Church and move began about three months ago, Hill told The Christian Post Monday as he was driving his family and all their belongings to Ohio.
He said it was a progression of realizations that began as the result of discovering that not only his wifes depression, which she had been struggling with for the last 18 years, had escalated during the three years in Utah, but he himself had bouts with depression which manifested itself in a loss of passion.
There is a lot of factors involved. We didnt start talking about it until about 14 weeks ago, Hill said. My wife (Tiffany) came to me and said, Hey, this depression is really getting a lot worse.
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In the process of discovering his wifes depression had worsened and deciding that both of them needed to see a counselor, he discovered that his lack of passion was also a sign of depression.
I was really having a struggle with a form of depression as well and that manifested itself in a lack of passion, he said. Its so subtle that you dont realize you have it until you look back.
Hill, who is an avid runner and outdoor enthusiast, said that his depression did not set him back physically and he was scheduled to run a marathon before the decision to move.
In his last blog entry where he announces his move, he clarifies, There is NOTHING juicy, NOTHING sinful, NOTHING crazy. If there were, we would list the reasons because you cant keep gossip like that from flying around. Our marriage truly is stronger than ever. Our family is stronger than ever. There are some things that we both have come to terms with in knowing who we are as a couple, as a family and what we feel God is asking us to do in this next season of ministry.
It really came down to making this decision on behalf of our family. If we are feeling this way even though things are going great (at One Community church) then maybe God is speaking something into our souls, Hill told CP.
There was no a-hah moment. It started with my wife and how Im wired, he said.
Hill said he came to realize that although he loves the Mormon people and made many friends in the community, having a long-term commitment to South Jordan and the surrounding area was not something he desired.
In Utah, its a very long process to sit down with someone [to evangelize], he said, admitting that it was a very tough spiritual area. My counselor said that Im not wired to spend 10 years walking a Mormon through why the Book of Mormon is different than the Bible.
Also, during this awakening process over the last few months, Hill said that it became clear that he and his wife felt led to return to Ohio, where she was born and he went to high school.
It became really evident to us that we have such a passion for Ohio. Not necessarily from the area we are from, but the entire state, he said. We started feeling this burden for Ohio. If God would have called us to China or Africa we would have gone, but for whatever crazy reason we are going to the middle of Ohio (Columbus area).
Hill said that although he has a rental home lined up, there isn't much else planned ahead of time for Ohio.
"I have no job. We just hauled our stuff. We have nothing but seven weeks pay. We are going to just sit and listen to Jesus," he said.
Hills time in Utah did not come without controversy. In April of last year, he launched a "Beer and Bible" meeting in a pub in South Jordan to reach the unchurched. However, a group that agreed to support his new ministry suddenly pulled its financial backing and fired him.
He was allegedly let go because he drank half a beer in public during the "Beer and Bible" meeting.
"It's troubling," Hill told The Christian Post at the time. "We're out here trying to reach people as Jesus would.
"It's still baffling to me that when your boss has given you permission that you can still get terminated for something such as that."
During a gathering of Mormons in Salt Lake City, for their 181st Annual General Conference in April this year, Hill also countered an antagonistic Christian group that regularly pickets the event. He led Christians in offering free hugs and Jesus style love for the Mormons.
"Jesus didnt scream and hold signs at the Samaritan well," Hill said in a statement. "We are called to love each other."
One Community Church is now being led by Pastor Tony and Shanda Simoncini who moved to Utah over a deep desire to live in a place where the workers are few. Their desire is for more people to come to know Jesus Christ and for more evangelical churches to rise up in the Salt Lake Valley.
The BOM truly IS different from the Bible. One of them is a lie straight form the pit of hell.
Living in the southwest, I have talked to walls, and I have talked to Mormons. There is no difference.
He had been raised in an Israeli kibbutz prior to WW II. I don't know the details of how he ended up in the Air Corps in WW II. I knew him when he was on the Ohio State faculty.
How very sad. The mission field is great in Utah, many more will be broken before it is opened to the Word of God.
Being fired for Beer and Bibles - wow how narrow minded and legalistic can people be. Really, sponsor an event then fire a person for participating in that even.
I wish him well. I spent 7 years in northern Utah (student and part-time biologist). Loved the area & loved the people, but it can be a demanding mission field.
One key is to remember it does no good to tear down Mormonism by itself. If you proclaim Jesus Christ, and your church lives the truth of the Gospel, that is far more powerful than just attacking Mormonism.
When attempting to proselytize non-believers, I have to remember the scripture about shaking the dust off your feet. You don’t keep pounding on the same people over and over. You present the message, they accept or reject, and you move on to the next.
I’m Baptist, but we’d win more to Christ if we didn’t act like Muslims at times. It is possible to share the Gospel over a beer. I wish more folks realized that.
Totally agree. Legalism is a killer.
My sister is forever saying there would be more Christian if it weren’t for Christians. She may be right.
I believe I am kept safe from Mormon missionaries by my mezzuzah.
They see it on my door frame and flee.
Have done that before and it is the best witnessing I have ever done. People shut themselves out to someone, who by virtue of the nature of the conversation, seem to hold themselves up to be morally superior. I know that is not the intent, but is easy for someone you are witnessing to to get that impression. When you have a beer with them, you are just like them and you are seen as less pretentious. I know alcohol abuse can be a terrible thing, but we evangelicals somehow got our wagons hitched a little too tightly to the prohibition movement, and it is a very real obstacle to winning souls to Christ.
this church is still here in Utah - and there are several newer Christian churches in this area that are drawing in both ex-Mormons and soon-to-be ex-Mormons. I know several families personally that have left Mormonism. It is much more a situation of making a Christian church available and letting those with a spiritual hunger stop by and see the alternative.
Joseph Smith drank beer and wine (and expressly not for sacramental purposes according to the LDS History of the Church).*
Section 89 of the LDS Doctrine & Covenants (generally called the Words of Wisdom and 'revealed' in 1833) discourages the consumption of wine (excluding sacramental wine) or "strong drinks." As interpreted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, this means alcoholic beverages are forbidden, including beer.
To this non-LDS, firing him for drinking a beer seems a step beyond a 1970s Southern Baptist church looking down on a man with long hair, while the stereotypical painting of Jesus with flowing locks hung on the sanctuary wall.
*Beer: Millennial Star, vol. 23, no. 45 p. 720 (9 November 1861) (there was previously a .pdf of this volume in the Brigham Young Digital Collections here, but it's been moved or deleted)
Wine: ("Called at the office and drank a glass of wine with Sister Jenetta Richards, made by her mother in England . . ." ~ Note of Joseph Smith); History of the Church (June 27, 1844), vol. 6, p. 616; ("Dr. Richards uncorked the bottle, and presented a glass to Joseph, who tasted, as also Brother Taylor and the doctor . . . "); History of the Church (June 27, 1844, vol. 7, p. 101 ("Sometime after dinner we [John Taylor and other prisoners at Carthage Jail] sent for some wine. It has been reported by some that this was taken as a sacrament. It was no such thing; our spirits were generally dull and heavy, and it was sent for to revive us[.]. I believe we all drank of the wine, and gave some to one or two of the prison guards."
Why, oh why, oh why, oh,
Why did I ever leave Ohio?
Obviously the Pastor didn’t fit in with the rest of the rabid psuedo-Christian anti-mormons in Utah as stated below:
During a gathering of Mormons in Salt Lake City, for their 181st Annual General Conference in April this year, Hill also countered an antagonistic Christian group that regularly pickets the event .... “Jesus didnt scream and hold signs at the Samaritan well,” Hill said in a statement. “We are called to love each other.”
If Mormons are non Christian, than why do they act so Christlike .... and if rabid Anti-Mormons are right ... then why do they act so un-christian?
Ministry to Mormons is a difficult one, more difficult than others in some ways and less difficult in others (you are in Utah not the jungles of Africa).
Most days it is like beating your head against a brick wall but when you get through to one of them, the days, weeks, months, or even years of frustration just disappear.
There are two parts to reaching the LDS. First extracting them from Mormonism and then you can love them to the Lord.
So very true.
Constantly being pounded over the head about what was wrong with Mormonism is what got me to really look at, to try to prove the ‘antis’ wrong. That is what got me out.
Those who thought they could just ‘love me to the Lord’ and not challenge my Mormonism or those who didn’t bother, I may have liked but I didn’t respect and they never would have reached me. Many other ex-mo’s say the same thing.
First you have to get them to see something is wrong with Mormonism, then you can tell them what is RIGHT about Christ.
I worked as a bartender for awhile. I had more opportunities to witness as a bartender than I had with any other job.
Amen. I have spoken to several in Utah who say there is a real revival going on there and LDS and exLDS are flooding the churches.
That is very instructional. Thanks.
Out of curiosity, how much “brow beating” did it take before you started doing your own investigating?
Out of curiosity, how much brow beating did it take before you started doing your own investigating?
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Quite a bit. There was a Christian bookstore in Provo at the time (I was going to BYU) and would go in there to get books I couldn’t get (and they wouldn’t order) at LDS bookstores like a KJV Apocrypha or the Chronicles of Narnia books.
Every time I would go in, the guy was pleasant enough, but he would always ask me questions about LDS history, doctrine, why the didn’t believe things, how many wives Smith had, questions about LDS doctrine vs. the Bible. It got to the point that I was going to ‘show him’ and PROVE that he didn’t know what he was talking about and that Mormonism was true and I could prove it.
So I started doing research and found out what the ‘antis’ were saying (like Smith taking wives while denying polygamy, or that he died in a gun battle and not a martyr, or that Blood Atonement was practiced) was true. Then I started reading the Bible to prove Mormon doctrine correct and found out that it was contrary to the Bible.
But he worked with me for several months and he kept beating me over the head and kept demanding I answered his questions. Finally he got me mad enough to try to prove him wrong and I thought myself out of Mormonism.
It is OK to show the faults of Mormonism. However, there were times all I thought about was winning the debate, which didn’t help anyone in the long run. I was better at showing someone why the LDS church was wrong than I was in showing them Jesus Christ in my life.
Both are required, not just one or the other. People who thought they were showing me Christ without confronting the errors of Mormonism just validated my view that Mormons were Christians. Those who confronted me about Mormonism also showed me their concern was because of Christ in their life.
If it becomes purely academic, that is when ex-mormon atheists are born and no one wants that.
Maybe I need to hang a Crucifix on my door.
There is no lie in the Bible.
I am glad we agree.