Janice Le Tellier is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and resides in Arizona.
Looking For Jesus Christ’s Church
And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it-In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children-and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.
And…he went forth among the people, waving the rent part of his garment in the air…saying:
Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and enter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord God may bless them. (Alma 46:12, 19, 20)
Surely the Lord requires that his church be insistent in defending freedom. The constitutional “principle of freedom…belongs to all mankind,” said the Lord. In the United States many feel impelled to speak out for and become active in promoting this great foundation principle in order that the Constitution and our free republic may endure.
In many instances these people are drawn to the Lord’s true church on earth, with its emphasis on free agency and freedom. Such was the situation with Janice Le Tellier-it all had a familiar ring.
It seems appropriate that I write my story in July, 1976, as the testimony it contains was born largely as a result of my great interest in the Constitution and my love of true freedom. Perhaps this is one more way that one of the promises in my patriarchal blessing will be fulfilled-“…you shall have influence among an ever-widening circle of our Heavenly Father’s children, an influence for righteousness and peace and for good.” I pray that this message will penetrate the hearts of many others who are searching for something that they innately know exists. “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (1 Cor. 2:5.)
For as long as I can remember I had a childlike faith in the Lord which was instilled by my good parents. My father and mother joined the Congregational Church as a merger for their respective Lutheran and Methodist faiths. Although the family were not regular churchgoers until I was in the sixth grade, we children had been baptized as infants, we said grace at mealtime, we learned the Ten Commandments, and we had our bedside prayers. “Now I lay me down to sleep,/I pray the Lord my soul to keep./If I should die before I wake,/I pray the Lord my soul to take.” This was a simple little prayer that taught me to trust the Lord, and I prayed to him regularly.
Our Congregational minister required us to write a five-hundred-word theme on why we wished to join the church, and without any further commitment we were then members. This did not satisfy my desire for a demanding faith, but the Lord was showing me the beauty of simplicity in worship and, though the teaching was rather vague, I understood that God and Jesus his Son were separate persons. I admired my Catholic friends who attended Mass and confession regularly, “fasted” prior to receiving Communion, and observed Lent, a practice which I adopted because I wished to show the Lord that I would sacrifice for him too.
In 1944, while enrolled at the University of Minnesota, I began a determined quest for a satisfying faith as I started investigating the various Protestant denominations each Sunday. Upon graduation I accepted a teaching job in Long Beach, California, where a neighboring Catholic family encouraged me to make a complete study of their faith. I read books, attended Mass and evening services, and took a long examination which entitled me to be recommended for rebaptism in the Roman faith. The main idea that emerged as truth from that intense study was the insistence that there was only one true church on earth, but was this it?
Subsequently I met my husband-to-be, Parks Le Tellier, who was an adamant Protestant. There were some things that bothered me about Romanism, but it did seem to me the most logical of all the doctrines I had investigated. Thus we were married in a small ceremony in my home by our Congregational minister, hoping to reaffirm our vows on a later anniversary in the church of our choice. (Little did I realize then that what I desired was a temple marriage.) We joined another Christian church as a compromise, but I always knew it was to be a temporary home (eleven years). I was very pleased that we could take Communion each Sunday, which satisfied one of my requirements. We attended regularly and had each of our four children baptized there and were active in church functions.
My husband completed his medical residency, and we purchased our first home and got busy decorating it, gardening, and caring for our first three children (Scott, Randy, and Cindy). But while I was braiding rugs and refinishing antiques, my intellectual pursuits lay dormant. Our fourth child Nora was born, and I was a happy mother completely enveloped in my home when I learned that I had a dupuytren’s contracture and would no longer be able to braid rugs and do some of the heavier work with my hands. Although I did not consider it so at the time, this was a great blessing, as it dramatically channeled me into a reading pattern once again.
The next step in the Lord’s plan was to have me placed in a Sunday School class as an observer preparatory to becoming a teacher. When this wonderful Southern churchwoman taught she quoted the scriptures and constantly challenged the youth to read the Bible and to have their parents read it also. This was my first exposure to someone who believed in, treasured, and searched the scriptures-I was her most appreciative pupil.
When she assigned me to teach a lesson on the Ten Commandments, I read Ex. 20, became interested, and finished the book. Imagine my surprise to read in Chapter 24:10 “they saw the God of Israel,” and in Ex. 33:11 “the Lord spake unto Moses face to face”; statements that simply did not square with what I had been taught. I was perplexed, realizing that I was illiterate as to biblical doctrine. My children and I were reading Egermeier’s Bible Stories,and I had read the Psalms, Proverbs, and the Gospels and some other parts of the New Testament. Now I awakened to the painful fact that I had busied myself for years in studying church doctrines, i.e., the doctrines of men. How sad that the shepherds often are not leading their flocks!
My family were just getting settled into our second home when a friend called rather breathlessly one evening and said she had to bring an important book over for my husband and me to read immediately. As a result of that book we were stunned into action and catapulted into a completely new type of existence. We learned that America had great internal problems and that the Communist conspiracy had made unbelievable inroads into our government. Now we began to attend study groups, at one of which we heard a record by Cleon Skousen, beautifully setting forth the important idea that the Ten Commandments were totally incompatible with socialism. This gave us the spiritual impetus to continue our vigorous stand for freedom. I did not know he was LDS, or that I would later study his political and religious books with great interest. Since that time he has become a good friend of ours. He’s a great patriotic leader, and I’m pleased to be a pledged member of his Freemen Institute.
Everything that pertained to the battle against communism and the anti-Christ became of supreme importance to me, and I read voraciously. In 1959 I joined a patriotic society, and the members all chose topics on which we could address various groups. My two areas of interest were “Free vs. Socialized Medicine” and “How the National Council of Churches (NCC) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) are Undermining Christianity.” The latter subject was my favorite, and I delved into it with an increasing desire to be a soldier for the Lord. If our children were to live in freedom, we had to contribute our time, talents, and money. We began to strip our lives of trivia, cancelled many social activities, and dedicated our time to serving the cause of Christ by promoting freedom and the Constitution and by helping to expose the errors of socialism and communism. Life now had a real purpose as I sought to make up for what I then considered partially wasted years.
My own Christian church was a member of the NCC and WCC, which I deplored, and I began to feel that I was a hypocrite sitting in the pew of a church that belonged to these groups which I was lecturing against bimonthly. By this time I had become rather a controversial figure in the church, and the only real peace I had was when I knelt to receive Communion and sought the Lord in prayer. Even then, each Sunday I came away with the thought: “There’s a better way-my way. Follow me.”
Most of my documentation against the NCC and the WCC was obtained from a fundamentalist journal which expounded the scriptures and exposed the social gospel, humanism, and communism in the churches. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord” (2 Cor. 6:17) was one of the editor’s favorite pleas, and it became a directive to me. But where was I to go? The small independent Bible churches which I had come to love because they taught the Bible and promoted freedom were not united into one true church, and they did not offer Communion each Sunday. The Lord had placed those important principles into my thinking so strongly that I knew I had to continue searching. As I did so the scriptures began to come alive for me, and I drew closer to the Lord. A sense of excitement came over me as I felt light penetrating the darkness.
For two years I tried to sound the alarm for the local members of my Christian church to disassociate from the NCC, as it was using part of their church contributions to promote revolution. I explained how both the NCC and the WCC were using varied insidious means to tear down religion. The real turning point for me came when an alert Christian priest conducted a meeting to expose the NCC for the benefit of some of the members. What I learned at that meeting, plus particularly the traumatic experience I had at a subsequent meeting when I tried to pass that information on to others, made me feel that it was time for me to leave that church.
H. Rector & C. Rector, No More Strangers Vol. 3, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1971), 71-75.