Just for Catholics

Joining or leaving the Roman Catholic Church

What are the reasons why people join or leave the Catholic Church? New members and former Catholics explain the motives for their important decision. The following comments were received during March 2005.

Nobody ever explained to me in 16 years of Catholic education how I could SURELY go to Heaven when I die. It seemed as if I had to be good and receive the Sacraments, and that perhaps after spending some time in Purgatory, I would eventually get into Heaven. Surely I was not bad enough to deserve to go to hell. However, once the gospel of Jesus Christ was explained to me, I accepted that Jesus’ death on the cross was sufficient for me to enter into Heaven. Also I had been taught that the Catholic Church was the final authority on spiritual matters. But I discovered that the Scriptures and the Catholic Church had some different teachings, I had to evaluate whether or not the Bible ALONE was authoritative as God's revealed Word to mankind, as opposed to the conflicting teachings of uninspired and fallible men. Jesus died so that we could have eternal life through FAITH, not works.
Bryan Mion, USA, left at 32.

I rededicated myself to the Catholic Church at the age of 24 for many reasons, first and foremost being God's grace. In my early adulthood, I began to recognize that I was a follower of Christ, but on my own terms. My prayer life was not what it should have been and I was attached to some of my sins. When I truly began, through prayer and study, to see the Presence of the Divine Lover in the Catholic Church, and fall in love with the Mass, Christ took greater hold of me. I learned to truly dedicate myself to Christ. Although I know that all Christians are brothers in Christ, I saw and still see in the Church the true Bride of Christ, established by Him through the Apostles, faithful to her Spouse. It's true that the devil has found his way into the lifestyles of many Christians, and Catholics (even our hierarchy) can be included in that, but I know our Lord is faithful to His Church and loves her, so in imitation of Him, I love her, and am eternally grateful for her bringing me into more intimate union with the One I truly love, Jesus.
John Jimenez, USA, joined at 24.

As a young Christian teenager with little conception of denominational divisions, I had a deep and abandoning intimacy with my Creator. Growing up I had become involved with my local youth group, I was "saved", and my curiosity about all matters of religion increased daily. During this period I happened to visit a Catholic parish for the first time. After a few minutes, my person departed, but my soul stayed behind -- where it would remain indefinitely. It was as if I had been awakened to an entire new universe of Christianity, which was complete unto itself, and entirely above every joy and pleasure and sense of worship I had ever known. I began to read a great deal about Catholicism, as well as about Protestantism for the first time. After a great deal of investigation, many things became clear to me, but above all that my religion was not the fullness of Christianity, and it was I who had to change. Amidst a great outpouring of prayer and curiosity, I resolved to follow the will of my Creator and become a Catholic. I have found over time that Protestantism was nothing short of the best possible preparation for Catholicism.
Hank, USA, joined at 13.

On April 19, 2003 (my 31st birthday) I received the Sacraments of Baptism, Conformation and First Communion. I joined the Catholic Church because I felt Jesus called me forth through a dream. He showed me His Divine Mercy image. When I began to learn about the Catholic Faith, I felt like I was hearing a truth that my soul had always known. I have truly found my purpose. I have received so many graces from God and so much love from Jesus. Being a Catholic is an honour and such an awesome privilege. Blessed Be God.
Amber L. Ford, USA, joined at 31.

I was a devout Roman Catholic. One day a person came to my father's farm; he asked my father, my brother and me if we ever accepted Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord. We all got a chuckle out of it, but the man continued explaining the salvation plan. My father and brother left unchanged but that event had me searching for answers. At that time I still believed the Catholic Church was the "only" church. A couple of years later, a co-worker started questioning my beliefs. He started showing me different Bible passages that contradicted the way Roman Catholics did and believed things. Many Catholic beliefs came from traditions, "Saints" and Popes. Their teachings did not coincide with Scriptures. I tried to prove him wrong from the Scriptures; but the Scriptures proved me wrong in my Catholic beliefs, and showed me the way of salvation in Christ. I was around 30 years old when I trusted Christ as my Saviour (I’m now 39). I left the Catholic Church, and found a home in a Reformed Presbyterian Church. I thank you Lord God Almighty for adopting me and changing my life! El-Shaddai, El-Shaddai, Erkamka na Adonai.
Mike Krug, USA, left at around 30.

Unable to reconcile Roman Catholic teachings with Scripture. Spiritual growth was stunted and "in a rut." Jesus welcomes all of us to be with Him, not just those who follow the RC church's man-made rules. Feminism is rampant. Gay priests are everywhere. Leadership in the church is corrupt (sexual abuse case cover-ups, etc.). Traditions take precedence over biblical teaching. Catechism is placed above the Bible in that it is used to define the meaning of Scripture and, in addition, add man-made rules. I hungered for Christ. I hungered for biblical teaching as it applies to my life. I needed to be challenged and was so very thirsty for spiritual food. After years of struggling with the guilt of not believing and fear over leaving, I have left and in two years have never regretted the decision. Since then, my daughter and her husband; my son and his girlfriend; my sister and her husband; my husband and myself have all committed our lives to Christ. We attend an Evangelical church. He has worked miracles in our family. There is unity. Praise Him!
Karen R., USA, left at 55.

Born into an Italian Catholic family, received sacraments, got married to a Catholic and raised my 5 children as Catholics. When 2 of my teenage children joined a non-denominational bible study and Christian fellowship group, my son came home and told me I was not saved. In all my years of attending Mass I was never told how to be saved. I would probably have to go to purgatory before I ever reached heaven. I remember the Act of Faith I had to memorize that said, "I believe these and all the truths that the Catholic Church teaches because it cannot neither deceive nor be deceived." My children brought me to the saving knowledge of Christ when I was 40 years old. I started reading the Bible and realized that many things that I believed were contrary to what the Bible says about it. For instance, praying for the dead, praying to saints, etc. Now I am gloriously happy in the Lord, my children are all saved and although my husband has come to be saved also, he still believes in purgatory, etc. I am praying for the soon return of Jesus to take us into His kingdom. Maranatha!
Marian Tomassoni, USA, left at 40.

I was in high school and it had been several months since I had been to confession. I told my mother I was going and she told me I didn't have to. I was shocked by her response. She told me God could forgive my sins if I simply ask Him to. She said I could go to my room, pray and ask Him to forgive me and He will. She said I didn't have to go through a priest to receive God's forgiveness. I was confused because that was the only way I knew. After that day, I started asking more questions about my faith. I discovered that there were other unnecessary things/rituals I did in order to find favor with God. I realized I didn't have to pray to saints or even to the Virgin Mary. I didn't need rosaries or perform rituals or say repeated prayers in order to connect to God. God is there all the time and He provides for ALL my needs if I simply call on Him. He is always there. Since then, I have developed a personal relationship with Him and I've learned God is after my heart, more than anything else.
Adriana Soto, USA, left when approximately 17.

I was raised in a devout Catholic family, served as an altar boy and went to church every weekend. At 33 years, I realized that if I died, I would have ended up in hell. Here is what happened. I was hired as a pilot for a major US air carrier. On the first day of class, we were given an aircraft flight manual. The Instructor said, "Gentleman, welcome to ________ Airlines. As long as you are employed as a pilot with our company, you will be required to know this manual and live by the information contained within it." Several years later God used this "seed" to challenge my own faith. If I could trust the flight manual for my career, why did I not trust the Bible for my faith? As a Catholic I never studied the Bible. Therefore, I began studying my Bible with the same intensity as my flight manual. On October 03, 1993, while flying with another Christian over the skies of El Paso, Texas, I received Jesus Christ into my life. The person who took off from Las Vegas, was not the same person who landed in Houston. I have never been the same.
Rick, USA, left at 33.

Had been searching spiritually for many years in many places. Ended up re-joining Catholic Church because family roots were there and figured that was where I belonged. Praise God the Holy Spirit kept prodding me and I kept reading my Bible; I kept questioning a lot of what I saw and heard in the RCC because it wasn't lining up with the Scriptures. When I tried to talk to the priest he became irate; no one I talked to could explain the discrepancy I was seeing between Scripture and RCC doctrine. I was working in a nursing home where I got to sit in on all the religious services and quickly was drawn into the evangelical services. I gave my life to Jesus Christ on 12/13/01 and soon found a solid Bible believing church. In my early days as a born again Christian I corresponded with Joe Mizzi of this website and he was very helpful in giving good, scriptural help. Some priests will try to tell you that you don't need to be born again, but that is a big lie. Please read John 3:3-16 just for a start.
Linda Bernard, USA, left at 41.

I was raised in a Protestant church (fundamentalist), and was very involved in Sunday school and Bible Study. While prayerfully studying the Scriptures, I became aware that Christ had instituted seven sacraments, designed to deepen our faith and bring us closer to God. I mentioned this concept to my pastor, and I discovered that he didn't have a clue what a sacrament was. In fact, I began to realize that my denomination had made an idol of the Bible, and was actually worshipping the Word of God, instead of worshipping the living Lord. It was a very sobering experience. I realized that fundamentalism has drifted far, far away from the message of the Gospel, and really doesn't represent Christ's mission and message at all. I began to study the teachings of the liturgical churches -- Catholic, Greek, Episcopalian -- and ultimately discovered that the Catholic Church is the only Christian denomination that still teaches the Gospel of Christ. I made my first confession and first Holy Communion when I was 25.
Bobby Van, USA, joined at 25.

I was a devout Catholic! Mass twice daily; auricular confession every week; altar boy daily; religious processions and exhibitions; medals, scapulars, icons, statues; flowers and candles for the Madonna; Carmelite scapular, green scapular; full rosary every day; religious magazines and papers; Legion of Mary, aspiring member of Museum, teaching religion; Catholic Action movement; Neo-catechumenal and Catholic Charismatic groups. A person told me that if I read the Bible I would stop being a Catholic. I used a Catholic Bible, complete with notes from councils, catechism, Popes and Church Fathers, to bring him back to the Church. The Bible thought me that I should only pray to God (and hence not to Mary or other dead saints) and that I should not to bow down before statues. I cried to God that I would find in His Word that all my previous religious practices where according to the Bible. The last book, last chapter, last paragraph of the Word of God warned me not to add or decrease anything from the Bible. I started getting nearer to Jesus of the Bible, especially through the teaching of the New Testament. Twelve years later no one proved me wrong.
Renald Williams, Malta, left at 21.

My family was very active in the Roman Catholic Church. I loved the Church and was very zealous for its progress and growth. At 18, I started reading the Bible, a Saint Joseph's Edition, to prove a friend wrong about abortion. I learned much about God's truth as I read the Scripture. Most agreed with what I was taught, but there were glaring differences between what the Church said and what was actually written in the Bible. I read through the whole Bible almost three times during the last few months of High School and the first 2 Quarters of College. One great truths I could not ignore: God was holy and demanded me to turn from my sin and trust Him wholly and completely as my Sovereign Lord and Savior. On April 12th 1975, I realized it was for my sins He died. I confessed Jesus' death for my sins at Calvary and His resurrection as my only means of deliverance for death unto life. It will 30 years ago this Easter since I left the Roman Catholic Church because I love my Lord and desired then, as I do now, to know Him more intimately day by day.
Rob Gerard, USA, left at 19.

I was born and raised a Catholic. I wondered about “Protestants” and that Bible they hanged on to. The Catholic Church didn't tell me much about Jesus. I thought the gospel just meant the part of the mass following the "epistle" when the congregation stood up. It didn't tell me that nothing I could do, no matter how "wonderful" could match Jesus dying for my sins. I prayed the rosary but these repetitions seemed useless, I couldn't understand how God found these mindless prayers sincere. The Gospel was almost too simple, believe that He died for my sins, that He rose again from the dead, stop trusting in my good works, and heaven was mine. I've been a Christian for 18 years. Jesus has been with me through many rough times, including a major heart attack. He is my comforter and my peace. This Peace could not have been mine as a Catholic because I was never sure I was doing enough, never sure of anything. As a Christian I realize that I can never do “enough” for my salvation because He did it all for me.
Carol Ajamian, USA, left at 20.

After feeling a lack of spiritual fulfillment in the Catholic Church I found www.justforcatholics.org. I took a few moments to read some stuff that shocked me. I grew up in a Roman Catholic household. I went to Church every Sunday, went to a Catholic school, and received the sacraments of baptism, communion, reconciliation and confirmation. As a devout Catholic I dismissed it as redirect, but then read Joe's bio and noted that he too was once Catholic. This information now had more credibility, and I explored the Scriptures for answers. I was angered to find I had been misled for so long! I no longer believe in faith plus works, scripture plus tradition, grace plus merit, Marian devotions, papal infallibility, the "priest" as a mediator between me and Jesus, or that the Roman Catholic Church is the only Church of Jesus Christ! I now know that the true Catholic Church, meaning "universal", is composed of all those who profess a deep and personal faith in Jesus Christ! I now enjoy a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and worship Him with a wonderful community of believers. I know that God is in my life and I love Him!
Chad Kavanaugh, Canada, left at 25.

I was going through a very difficult time in my life. I went to the priest for help. They told me to confess and attend Mass and partake in the Eucharist. I felt good after speaking to the priest; I obeyed what they said but I never found the power to change my life. Meanwhile I was hearing an Evangelical Christian sharing the gospel at my place of work. Being a typical Catholic I was prejudiced against him. I always believed that the Catholic Church was the true church. But I could see the life of this person. Therefore one day I asked him what he had that I didn’t have. His answer was simple: “Jesus”. I asked him to come around and talk to my wife and me. He explained the gospel of salvation to us. There we accepted the Jesus of the Bible. Now we have eternal life by faith in Jesus who alone can save. He delivered us from all our worries. He changed my life and gave me a new direction. Today my wife and I pastor a church and tell others the gospel that has the power to save all those who believe in Jesus.
Joseph Agius, Malta, left at 29.

I left the RCC because they have nothing to offer a Christian. It is a church of empty traditions and rituals. They preach a false gospel and are leading people to hell. In effect the Catholic hierarchy says: We are the way, the truth, and the life. But Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” I am going to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! The Lord will meet those who are TRULY seeking Him and lead them to a place where they can grow and be ministered to. The "Mass" is nothing more than a meaningless ritualistic exercise trying to atone for the sins of the people. Jesus paid the price 2000 years ago. It is my constant prayer for the Catholics to leave their "religion" and find the real Jesus.
Geno Meola, USA, left at 35.

These are the reasons why I left: (a) Mass in Latin; can't understand the meaning, although they have changed that now. (b) Using prayer book to pray and repetition of Prayer, Credo, The Lord's Prayer & Hail Mary. (c) Prayer of Hail Mary with wording such as "Mother of God". I respect Mary as the earthly mother of Jesus. But she can't be the mother of God. (d) No spiritual nourishment.
Dimitri Yao, Canada/Philippines, left at 29.

I saw that all sin must separate us from God. To offend God is to offend a Being who deserves infinite love from us - so even the "slightest" sin is a grave injustice which deserves eternal punishment. I also saw that the only hope of salvation had to be the Saviour earning salvation for us. The communion wafer which the Church claims to be Jesus himself has to be made by man and cannot defend itself against harm (this is God's test for an idol, Isaiah 44) - so it is not Jesus. Hence, worshipping the "Host" is idolatry, the most serious sin (Mark 12:29, 30). The Catholic Church says that when Jesus didn't correct the Jews for asking how he could give his flesh to eat, he meant to turn bread into his literal body. But you could use the same argument to say Jesus promised to give magic water to the Samaritan woman in John 4! Jesus told the Jews that he who eats his body has Jesus living in him which would only make sense if eating his body did not mean taking communion.
Patrick Gormley, Ireland, left at 19.

The stress of the break-up with my wife was very difficult to handle. My humanistic beliefs proved insufficient to enable me to live comfortably in such a situation. I turned to the God of my childhood for succour - He responded in spectacular fashion! My own response to His invitation to accept His love was much less prompt. I dithered and dallied for a whole decade, my willingness to co-operate with His grace waxing and waning like a drunken moon, mainly because I was unwilling to give up the things which were blocking the blooming of the relationship. Finally, He brought about the necessary changes, much to my chagrin; though nowadays I bless Him for what He did. Evangelical literature helped to cultivate a view of God which emphasized His love rather than His justice and strengthened the strong attraction I felt towards the Catholic Charismatic Movement in which my relationship with the Lord Jesus has been nurtured. God's Word, the Sacraments and Mary, added with the knowledge that I can always turn to Catholic teaching for guidance in situations which are morally unclear, provide a fullness of the experience of God’s love I no longer want to be without.
Manuel Mangani, Malta, joined at 36-46.

I left the Catholic church 16 years ago. During the first 34 years of my life I faithfully attended Mass and complied with all the teachings of the Catholic Church. I knew that Jesus was God, and I knew he loved me, but each time I walked down the aisle and saw the crucifix on the altar, I really never understood "why HE had to die". During one of the greatest trials of my life, a divorce, I reached my rock bottom. One night I came upon an Evangelistic program on TV that started teaching the Word of God. Soon after watching this program I bought a Catholic bible and read it cover to cover. While reading Romans 3:24-26, I finally came to understand "why Jesus had to die". It was like a light bulb was turned on in my mind and my heart. He died to pay the FULL penalty for my past, present and future sins. The Bible makes it very clear that it is only by faith that a man is saved (John 3:36, 5:24, Romans 4:5). With all my heart I believe in JESUS, my Savior, and I want to serve HIM all my life.
Cary, USA, left at 34.

One morning a religious TV program caught my attention (Faith 20, telecast of the Christian Reformed Church). Here was host Joel Nederhood telling me I could be certain of eternal life but it had nothing to do with my prayers, penance or good works. Only because of Christ’s saving work on Calvary’s cross. I became intrigued by the gospel I had never heard before. As I watched the daily early morning program I quickly discovered that much of what I had been taught in childhood was not found in the Bible. I discovered that unless born-again anything I offer God is like filthy rags contaminated by sin. On my own merit I couldn’t get an inch closer to heaven’s gates. Only Jesus’ precious blood will do. What an awesome feeling to know that in accepting Jesus as my personal Savior, when God looks at me He sees me cloaked in the righteousness of His Son. He sees me blameless. Just like Jesus. I remain a sinner, but a sinner saved by grace. “My sin, not in part, but the whole, is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more; praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”
Joe Serge, Malta/Canada, left at 60.

I was baptized as Francis Michael Donnelly over fifty years ago in a Roman Catholic Church in Mid Ulster, Northern Ireland. I regularly partook in the ceremonies of the Church, I had a fear of God and sought His forgiveness at Confessions, little did I know that this was a grave error of Rome. At the age of nineteen while attending a Gospel rally the Lord our God revealed the TRUE Gospel unto me “Repent and believe in the Lord Jesus.” He had paid the price for our sins and that the need was to accept Him now as was explained, “for we do not know what a day brings forth.” As I reflect I see that this was my break from the Church of Rome. Unfortunately I was advised that I could remain in the Church but I did not need to go to confessions. This advice was given by the same group who had spoken the precious Word of God earlier that evening. It is amazing how God can work through the power of His Holy Spirit to convict a person and continue over the years to perfect that work which He commenced in us. Amen, Praise God.
Frankie Donnelly, N. Ireland, left at 19.

I was raised Roman Catholic in Ontario, Irish father, French mother. I was a faithful Catholic yet I still felt lost and miserable. Nothing I did (the Masses, Confessions, Sacraments) gave me the peace I so desperately longed for. I didn't rob banks nor did I murder anyone, but I knew I was a sinner. A dear friend introduced me to Jesus Christ. He became more to me than just a swear word that I'd heard all my life. He’s now my Lord, my Saviour and my Redeemer. For the first time I understood what it was to be “washed in the blood of the Lamb.” Jesus Christ had paid with His life the penalty for my sins. And God marked it, PAID IN FULL. There was nothing I could do to better what Jesus had done for me 2,000 years ago. The words of Scripture came alive before my eyes. Jesus is alive. He wasn't a dead pale God still hanging on a cross. Jesus is alive today! He had risen and He is Lord. I had been blind for thirty plus years and my sight had been restored. What a miracle God had worked in my life!
Jean, Canada, left in her 30’s.

After living most of my life as a guilt-ridden and then non-practicing Baptist (which says a lot more about me than it does about the Baptist denomination), I came to a gentle yet very firm resolution that Catholicism was the way to the most beautiful life on earth. I don't have any fireworks to share by way of illustrating why I would move away from my family's evangelical Christianity, and into what most of them still look upon with a good deal of apprehension, even suspicion. My experience has been a slow and grace-filled journey into greater and greater truth, and inasmuch as it is the truth, into greater and greater realms of beauty. Knowing and beginning to love Christ, our whole world and the universe is the genius of our wonderful faith. Our earth is a heaven in a very real way, because it declares the handiwork of Love Himself, working so intimately in the tiny lives of each of His creatures. I now know the beginning of the immense and immeasurable pleasure of being forgiven; here and now I am being given a real and beautiful foretaste of heaven. Praise God for His glory and mercy!
Brian Lam, Canada, joined at 26.

I had become dissatisfied with the distance of God portrayed in Catholicism. He was always a great Mystery, and I could not trust Him for help in times of need. I never sensed any closeness of God. The 60's Catholic Church in California was still steeped in an old-world, stern, often cruel methodology. Our nuns were wonderful women, and supremely faithful to Jesus; the priests were pretty mean men. It was an institutional "accident-waiting-to-happen." When the Jesus movement came along, my friends were leaving the Catholic Church in droves, The freshness and closeness of the Jesus of evangelicalism was irresistible. When I became older I came to understand some of the crises that led to my departure, and it always seemed to center around the unapproachable-ness of God. He was distant, the Church and the Mass saw to that. And I saw that much of the Church's teachings and worldviews tended to be self-justifying -- that the answer to any question centered around the Church, and not Jesus. With this presumption of the Church that it alone "presents" Jesus to the world brought with it a real arrogance of Catholics toward others that really disgusts me to this day.
Bob Harfinger, USA, left at 15.

My wife and I once attended a testimony meeting at the local Baptist Church. We heard the impressive story of how God had changed the speaker’s life. He had recently become a Minister, a far cry from his previous lifestyle with the Hell’s Angels motorcycle club. At the luncheon after the service, we spoke with a missionary witnessing to Catholics in Canada. He explained how he went house to house telling the people there about “God’s simple message of Salvation.” We had never heard that expression before. He showed us some verses from Scripture (John 3:16; 1 John 5:11,12; Romans 5:8), explaining about the assurance of salvation through faith in Jesus. What a drastic change from the Catholic teaching about Purgatory, good works, indulgences, etc. In the weeks that followed, we heard many sermons based on the Scripture given in this church. We decided that this was the type of spiritual food that we needed for the rest of our lives.
Bob and Josie German, USA, left at 50.

One day my high school classmate shared about the assurance of salvation based on the Bible. That concept was foreign to me at that time. Coming from a Roman Catholic background, I believed that salvation is based on my good works, and of course, I could never be sure that I had done enough. He invited me to a Christian youth meeting to study God's Word. Eventually the doctrine of justification by faith finally came across like light to my darkened mind. Salvation is a completely undeserved gift received by repentant faith. That implies that all glory and credit for salvation is Jesus Christ's alone. Also as I read through the New Testament for the first time, I wondered about the emphasis on Mary in the Catholic religion. Only Jesus' name shines throughout the New Testament. To exalt anyone, like Catholics exalt Mary, is in conflict with the message of the Bible. My soul grew jealous for Jesus' glory. I could not bear it any longer and I had to leave the Catholic Church and its errors.
Eduardo Alcantara, Philippines, left at 17

I wanted to become a priest after finishing college. Later that summer in 1990 I decided not to apply for seminary. After making friends with born-again Christians I had learned that ALL believers in Christ are priests (1 Peter 2:4-5,9), and they ALL have direct access to God (Romans 5:1-2). Furthermore I had concluded that Jesus made the final sacrifice for sin on the cross almost two thousand years ago. A constant priestly sacrifice of the Eucharist is absolutely unnecessary and unscriptural (Hebrews 10:11-18). In my case, it was not head knowledge that finally made me decide to leave the Catholic Church, it was personal relationships with Christians who love and care. Thank you God that I am deeply loved; completely forgiven; fully pleasing, totally accepted and complete in Christ! Amen.
Kirk Haggerty, USA/living in Germany, left at 33.

I was born and raised Catholic. I was never encouraged to read the Bible. I was taught that salvation is obtained by obeying the rules of the Church. The Lord kept tugging at my heart that Catholicism wasn't right. One day I was at a Catholic Church listening to the priest explaining to a group of children to pray to saints for their different needs. How could he? Why did he not tell them that the only way to the Father is through the blood of Jesus? It was as if a light went on in my brain: the Catholic Church wants to control our thinking how we see Christ’s message. The Lord told us what we need to know in the God-breathed Scriptures. God left nothing out. The New Testament, rather than the leaders of the Catholic Church, tells us how to conduct out church business. I encourage anyone reading this testimony to read your Bible, listen to the truth of Christ’s message. It will set you free. And please find a Bible-based local church.
Therese Salzburg, USA, left at 39.

I rejoined the Catholic Church after a 22-year absence. I tried the SBC, and then found this non-denominational church and joined becoming an active member. Although the pastor was a gifted preacher and the congregation was very warm and friendly, there was something missing. I began researching the history of the Reformed doctrine and it's authors. The pastors held weekly meetings with me for 6 months for 2-4 hours each time to teach me about the doctrine and answer my questions. But all their teaching was about the errors of Catholicism rather than the truth of their doctrine. They were never able to answer these questions to my satisfaction. Firstly, if Sola Scriptura is true how come the Scripture never makes that claim? Secondly, if Jesus is God and God's word never returns to Him without accomplishing what He meant it to accomplish, then how come at the Last Supper when Jesus consecrated the bread and the wine with the words “This is my body and this is my blood”, this transformation did not take place as the Catholics claim it does?
J William Currie, USA, joined at 45.

I was a cradle Catholic, as were my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. It was only natural that I should follow in their footsteps. That was easy for the first 25 years, until a good friend started to share the truths of the Bible. She encouraged me to read for myself, and as I did, I found that there was nothing in the Bible about holy days of obligation, purgatory, praying to the saints and Mary, indulgences, and other teachings I had learned. For many years I remained in the Catholic Church because it was, after all, the “one true church.” I felt empty and longed to learn more about Jesus. I started to attend a Christian church but I was afraid to leave the Catholic church because of the family problems I would face. Yet I felt it was wrong to stay since I didn't believe its teachings. Finally I left, but it has been an extremely heart-wrenching decision that caused me much grief especially from the criticism of my family and friends. I thank God for opening my eyes and giving me faith to trust in His Son and live in obedience to His Word.
Linda Castillo, USA, left at 48.

I grew up in a Catholic home and attended Catholic school. I did everything that I was told without thinking why I was doing it. In fourth grade I was at the home of my Christian friend and his mother explained to me about Jesus and what He had done for me when He died on the cross. She told me I was a sinner and asked me if I wanted to pray and ask Jesus into my life. I accepted Christ that night. I continued my education at the Catholic elementary school believing some of the things I was taught but doubting others. I started attending the Christian church with my friend on Sundays and went to Mass on Saturday nights. As I read my Bible, it became more clear to me that I was a sinner. One night I broke down when God convicted me of my sinful life and I then realized how much I was in need of Jesus. I desired to be baptised again by my choice. I am now in college and will be going on a missions trip this summer to Mongolia. I thank God for showing me the way.
Jimmy, USA, left at 13.

I was a 'cradle catholic'—born and raised a subject of the 'pope'. When I began to study the Scriptures, at age 21, I expected that I would find in them all the teachings I had learned in my youth, school, etc., made clear. To my dismay, not only did the Scriptures not clarify those teachings, but their message was clearly of a different nature altogether. In other words, the Gospel of the New Testament was entirely different than what I had been taught to believe about Jesus and the Church in my childhood and youth. I had to choose one or the other. If the Scriptures were true, "Roman Catholicism" was false, and vice versa. So, while it was a sometimes difficult and painful process to de-program myself, and to learn anew the way of faith in Christ, The Way has been wonderfully rewarding. True are the words of Christ when He said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Mike Gainor, USA, left at 24.

I grew up with a strong devotion to Mary and a tremendous fear of God. My love for Mary was encouraged by the nuns at school and during the Legion of Mary meetings. Through the years all the rituals, traditions, sacraments, priestly robes, candles and incense, made God seem even more distant and mysterious. As a young adult, I found myself questioning Catholic teachings and I drifted away from Mass. A year later I was feeling guilty about leaving the church and I also experienced terrible nightmares about my sins. There I was, completely miserable and dead in my sins. I was desperate and thought of going back to confession. At that point when the Lord graciously brought someone who shared the true Gospel and explained how I could go directly to God and ask Him to forgive all my sins for Christ's sake. That was the most glorious day of my entire life! I have been a Christian for 30 years now, and I share a close personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I'm looking forward to spending all eternity with Him. I will continue to pray for all Catholics, including my father, who are still in spiritual darkness.
Debbie Mews, USA, left at 19

At age 14 I began questioning "confession" - which, as far as I could see, was nothing more than a free pass to sin. One could go to confession, receive absolution, do penance, and go right back out and do the same sins repeatedly. At age 17 I was 'saved' in a 4Square church, was on fire for Jesus, but within a few months, with no spiritual support at home, it quickly waned. For the next 18 yrs I was in/out of the RC church, and others. At age 35 our RC priest said to take the Bible down off the shelf and READ it. My life was such, that one day I cried out to God - There must be more to life than this hell I'm going through. If there is, please show Yourself to me. Soon after I was led to a Bible Study, the TRUTH of the Word of God, and salvation - with a daily relationship with Jesus. I've been actively serving God ever since, and have never regretted it. Jesus is the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life! He is my All-in-All, my King, and the Lover of my soul!
Melody Loyd, USA, left at 14

Comparing the Protestant faith to Catholicism, my mother used to say, "Why have silver when you can have gold?" When I was a teenager I was challenged by Christians about papal infallibility, the sacraments (such as the Eucharist) and Marian devotions. I refused to listen to their arguments. I continued to believe in the Catholic Church's teachings and traditions for many years. I was a devout Catholic attending weekly Mass, retreats at a Convent and pilgrimages to Marian Shrines. I was going through the actions of being Catholic but I still felt an inner void. I tried to fill this void by making many trips to Marian shrines. I felt even emptier. I was sensing that Mary was the central figure in Catholic devotions while Jesus was in the background along with hundreds of other Saints. This was beginning to weigh on my views about Catholicism. I eventually left the Catholic Church to journey towards understanding the Bible as God intends and not by human traditions, recognizing that Christ is the beginning and end of the Christian faith. Why have silver (man's traditions) when you can have gold (the Bible)? Pam, USA, left at 35.

When my children left home for college, they stopped attending Mass, which really bothered me. I prayed they would go to church and God answered that prayer, but he didn't send them to the Catholic Church. I went to church with my children, just to see what they had gotten themselves into. There I heard about how Jesus died to save me. I had always heard that Jesus died to open the gates to heaven and it was up to me to be good and earn my way in. So I got into Scripture (I wanted to show my children Catholicism was the ONLY one true church) and WOW! Many, many things I had been taught all my life were NOT scriptural. Upon further study, I could not stay where what I was being told was not 100% God's Word, and I left at age 51 in 1981. I have never ever, not even for a split second, regretted my decision to follow Christ and accept His gift of salvation. Chrissy, USA, left at 51.