July 22, 2010
From the pits of Hell to the Highest Heaven
I come from an old older Mennonite home, known as the plain people. Ever since I was a little kid I had questions about God. I often wondered what he was like. Why was I alive? What is the purpose I’m alive? And many more questions went through my mind. I was taught that most of the people that didn’t belong to the plain people would burn in hell. I didn’t believe that because I saw people in the outside world that lived a better Christian life. But Mennonites were supposed to know all about God so if I questioned what they taught me, they thought I was being deceived. If I told them that the outside world had just as good of a chance to go to Heaven as they did, they thought I was insane; that is the kind of attitude they had.
I didn’t start to question the Mennonite ways till I was in my teens. I would often look at the outside world and wonder what they were like. I often dreamed about going all over the world to see God’s wonderful creation, but I couldn’t do any of that; I was under the authority of the plain people and all their rules. We were supposed to be God’s chosen people, to live a better life then what the rest of the world did, and I believed it till I got older and started to see that all the things they told me about, the rest of the world was not all true. For example, that if I didn’t where plain cloth, drive a horse, or live in their rules I would probably go to hell. And if I would listen to music, watch television, or have internet, I would probably end up in hell. That is the kind of picture that the plain people put in my head.
When I was eighteen years old I accepted the Lord in my heart. I was baptized into the Mennonite church, and I was told that if I would leave the church I would be breaking my vow to God. And if I broke my vow to God, my soul would be lost. I tried my very best to obey their rules, but I was not happy at all; in fact, I was so unhappy that I thought the only way out was to kill myself. But I couldn’t do that, because if I killed myself, I would be saying that God isn’t good enough for me, so I would be calling God a liar by taking my life in my own hands. Because God said he would never leave nor forsake me, and if I killed myself that would make God’s Word untrue.
In the next two years I was in the Hospital at least seven times, due to Bipolar. I tried to kill myself a couple of times, but I couldn’t do it; I knew that I couldn’t give up on God, and that he still had a purpose for me. I ended up going to three different homes; they were homes where they help people with mental illness. Two of the places were run by the plain people, and they tried to heal mental illness by praying, but that didn’t work, because if a person is ill physically you do more than pray. You do whatever it takes to get that patient healthy again; including prayer, not just prayer.
Things only got worse so I ended up in the Hospital again and from there they sent me to a home run by the outside society. When I was there I started to see that what they were telling me was not all true. I then started to question the plain people more, to the point where I knew if I wanted to be happy I would have to leave them behind. However, I still believed the lies they told me about, and that was, if I left them, I might end up in hell.
The next two years were total hell for me because I wanted to leave them, but if I did I would be shunned. It would have been easier if they would have just left me alone, but they tried to tell me, if I don’t go back I might not be saved.
I would look around at my family and friends and look at their lifestyle, and I saw that they were not what you call a true Christian church anymore. Because a true Christian church would shout the love of God to the whole world and they wouldn’t be ashamed to talk about their innermost feelings about the Lord. But the only person I ever heard pray out loud was the preacher at the church. We would pray a silent prayer before we would eat but I never knew if they actually prayed, or if they did it only to look as if they did.
I look at the plain people as a house in a storm; they build these walls around them from the rest of the world. They sit inside these walls with their candles looking at each other and seeing who has the brightest light. But the sad part is the way that the majority of the world does not even know what a Mennonite is, so how can they spread God’s word if they have these walls build around themselves. Don’t get me wrong they have their good points; for example they don’t have the divorce rate like the rest of the world. And they don’t have as much violence in their Communities. But the overall church is just as deceived as the rest of the world.
I didn’t know what it meant to be truly born again till I left the Mennonites; yes they told me that I had to change my lifestyle, if I want to be baptized. But what they meant by that is that I can’t drive a car or have the things that the rest of the world has. Because that was sin, I never realized that in order to be born again I have to be baptized with fire of the Holy Spirit. I think the main reason I was not born again was because I thought that it meant obeying the rules of the culture, just as much as the God.
It has been six months since I left the Mennonites and I have found peace and joy that I had never known within the Community. It is a peace that comes directly from God, not through culture rules. I would never go back to where people mix culture up with spiritually. The peace and joy that I found since I have taken the culture out of the Word of God is indescribable. I know now that I’m saved, because I now have God in my life completely, and that I know now what true repentance is. And that I have the Lord Jesus Christ in my heart completely. I wish the blessing of God in all of your hearts and may God be with you always. Amen.
--Stephen Zimmermancomments powered by Disqus« Back to News