It's a fascinating story.
An inquisitive fourteen-year-old boy named Joseph Smith is said to have wandered into a forest grove in upstate New York, and received a heavenly vision, a powerful encounter with God the Father and Jesus Christ.
Smith, according to the account, was confused by the seemingly conflicted denominations of organized Christianity, and so he asked the personages who appeared to him which of the different churches he should join. Smith was told that he was to join none of them, because they were all corrupt.
Smith later went on to found the Mormon Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), building it upon his claim of restoring the failed church that Jesus Christ had originally established on the earth.
The "Sacred Grove" in upstate New York, where Smith is said to have received this vision, has now become a pilgrimage site of sorts for many Mormons. It has also become a powerful emblem in the mind of many Latter-day Saints about Smith's personal encounter with God, and ultimately, their own desire to come face to face with Him.
The details and even the historicity of Smith's vision in the Sacred Grove have been disputed; nevertheless, we adopted the idea of "Sacred Groves" for the stories we share, because it is a compelling metaphor...these are the authentic testimonies of men and women who have had their own encounter with Jesus Christ...and who have found new life in Him!
Many Mormons are seeking a true, genuine encounter with Jesus. And many wonder why they haven't been able to find this in their religious organization. So many are walking through their own "sacred groves," and like Joseph Smith, questioning the status quo, and looking outside the realm of familiar religion for the answers to their questions. But this process often reveals unsettling challenges to everything they've always believed.
The Sacred Groves Network is an Internet outreach effort of Main Street Church of Brigham City. This outreach has no other agenda except to point people to the reality of what life in Jesus Christ is really like, as told through the stories of people who are coming out of Mormon traditions, who have left Mormonism but found something far better. Not another church, not another religion, but Jesus Christ himself. This website is dedicated to freely sharing the stories of those Mormons who have walked the often difficult path through their own "sacred grove" and have encountered life on the other side--life in the true, living, Jesus Christ.
Wherever you may be on your own "sacred grove" path, our hope and prayer is that these stories will help give you courage--and encouragement--on your journey. What we do here is not to attack anyone, but rather, point to the Source of truth, hope, and life.
If you have already passed through your "sacred grove" and encountered the living Jesus, we invite you to share your story with us, so that you may also encourage those who are walking that pathway after you.
We share these testimonies and stories--these "sacred groves"--with you, so that you may know that Jesus Christ alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!