Toward the end of my military service, I joined the Mormon church. When my enlistment was ended I re-entered civilian life and soon married and began to raise a family. My reason for joining the Mormon church was simple from the outset; for I was led to believe that in a church which claimed to be led by true prophets and apostles, I would come to possess a true knowledge of God at last.
But as will so often happen in life, my hopes were soon to clash with reality, for once I became a member of the Mormon church I found out that what was expected of me was a rigid compliance to church authority. This, my friends and family assured me, was the greatest virtue a man could have. But, in truth, I had little of such virtue. I began to realize that the bad opinion of any church leader was likely to outweigh my own good opinions in the mind of the average Mormon churchgoer. It did not take long before I came to be viewed by church authorities as someone dangerous to the established order; and soon afterwards my family and friends began to criticize me for daring to challenge the doctrines of a church which they dearly loved. Yet, despite these things, my need to find God, to reach out and touch the eternal mind, to secure at last the benevolent attention of the Heavenly Father became more and more acute.
However, despite the sentiments of my heart, church officials - in conjunction with my friends and family - began to exert pressure against me in an effort to curb my inquiries regarding the relationship of God and Man, and of the church to God. The time eventually arrived when I could no longer endure the loneliness or the ridicule heaped upon me by those who professed the most to care about me; and seeing that I did not have it in me to abandon my efforts, I decided at last to forsake all else, even to the extent of offering up my own life if need be, in order that I might know God and commune with him face to face. Being thus resolved, I determined to go alone into the wilderness to see God or to die.
It was there, on the top of a high mountain located deep in the wilderness that an event occurred which was to change my life forever; an event so extraordinary, so wonderful and sublime in nature, that had I not experienced it for myself, I would not have endured the subsequent scorn, contempt, and persecution heaped upon me as a result of my testimony regarding it. For I state boldly and without hesitation that I saw God and that I spoke with the Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother of all mankind, face to face.