John R. Farkas: My Journey Into and Out of the Mormon Church (A Testimonial)

Posted: June 24, 2018 in John Farkas, Mormon Studies, Testimony Bearing


Introduction:  John R. Farkas (1932-2011) was a convert to Mormonism in 1975 and served in several callings up to and including Elder’s Quoruom President of the Rochester 1st Ward, New York Stake. In 1984 he left the LdS Church and became involved Berean Christian Ministries where he served until his death. Mr. Farkas is the author of several books on Mormonism and other subjects which can be found on his Author’s page on Amazon. Beggar’s Bread is grateful that before he passed Mr. Farkas granted us the permission to republish the articles from his now defunct website – where this testimony originally appeared. 

John Farkas is of one the giants on whose shoulders we stand and to who we owe a debt that we simply can never repay! We look forward to thanking him again in heaven for the example of his life and treasure of wisdom that he left behind for our benefit.

His Mormon exit story is republished here in honor of this great man. Thank you John, we love you and we miss you.

by John Farkas
It is an early morning late in February 1984. As usual I am reading the scriptures while eating breakfast. I am in the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 18:25. This verse mentions the cow, ox, ass, horse, goat, and wild goat. This morning is a little unusual, though, in that I find myself questioning how some of these animals could have been in the New World. Didn’t the experts (historians, paleozoologist) say that full-size horses were not in the New World until the European explorers and settlers arrived? This thought had occurred to me at least once before, I think while I was investigating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But this time the questions stayed with me and I found myself thinking about other questions that I apparently had suppressed in the past. I now had become teachable and open, a necessary prerequisite to the receiving of productive witnessing.

Starting with the late February period when I questioned the presence of certain animals in the New world, and continuing for about two months, I seldom had a complete night’s sleep. Almost every night I woke up to study for one or two hours, in addition to using all of my free time for the same thing. By the end of February I had shared my doubts with my resident Mormon expert, my born-again Christian wife, Phyllis. In 1975 when I had joined the LDS Church, she became a Christian and started her studies of Mormonism. I had gone on to become the elders quorum president of the Fairport Ward (1981-1984), and in early 1984 of the newly reorganized Rochester 1st Ward, both in the Rochester, New York Stake, while Phyllis became an expert in Mormon studies and acquired a very extensive library. When I asked her for certain information, I almost always had it within minutes.

shutterstock_book_of_mormon-1280x960By March 15th I had made up my mind to leave the Mormon Church. I knew it when I woke up that night and removed my temple garments. I felt free! My drive to study and learn continued, this time to grow in depth and breadth in Mormon studies and about the Bible and Jesus Christ.

On March 20, 1984, I sent Stake President Dale Dallon My letter of resignation. The reasons I noted in my letter were: changes in the Book of Commandments versus Doctrine and Covenants; changes to the Book of Mormon; conflicts between early and present-day teachings, and the translation of the Book of Abraham. I said that “Joseph Smith was a fraud and has pulled off one of the greatest hoaxes ever!” My name was formally taken off the Church rolls at a Church court on May 10, 1984.

How did I get involved with the Mormon Church in the first place? It was my wife’s fault, I now say that partially in jest. In 1974 when I became concerned about the food supply chain and saw a need to have a long-term supply of food at home, Phyllis said, “The Mormons do that sort of thing. I’ll send them a letter in Salt Lake City.” Well, she did, and the LDS missionaries brought the answer to us. We both took the missionary lessons. As result I joined in July 1975, Phyllis became a Christian. (Growing up amidst the tug of war between Christian and Mormon parents was hard on our son Alan. Children suffer in such conflicts.)

During that time I asked a very significant question without realizing how significant it was. I said to Phyllis, “If we are both praying to the same God, how come we are getting different answers?” Now I realize that the Mormon gods are not of the Bible. Mormonism is not Biblical Christianity.

When I left the Mormon Church on March 15, 1984, I was left essentially with the beliefs that I had held in 1974 before I joined the Church. I was still a spiritual infant. I believed in a supreme being, a God, but I did not accept the Bible as the Word of God and I did not accept Jesus Christ as his Son and my Savior. I had a desire to know, so I studied the Bible and books about the Bible, associated with Christians, and attended Christian Sunday services and Sunday school. Through this I came to know that the Bible is the Word of God, and I came to know the real Lord Jesus Christ. But even at this point I didn’t know I was “saved.”

The Bible Only after prayerful reading of John 3:16 with my friend Ross Amico – the founder of a group that was to become Berean Christian Ministries, an organization dedicated to exposing cults – did I fully realize the truth of John 3:16 and that I was the “whosoever” mentioned in this verse. The promise that I could claim was the important thing. Ironically, I accepted Jesus in the Palmyra, New York, Christian church that is adjacent to the Mormon chapel where I had been baptized nine years earlier to the very week. These are both 35 miles from my home, therefore I believe it was God’s wisdom for it to happen there. On Sunday, July 19, 1984, I answered an altar call at a Webster, NY Christian church and made public my faith in the real Lord Jesus Christ. Now I know of the simplicity and beauty of his gospel.

I also had a drive to share my newfound knowledge and faith with others, both Mormons and non-Mormons. It is interesting that I had never had any thing like this drive to share Mormonism with others. I had not been a good member missionary. In fact, in my last four to six months of Church membership my feeling against missionary work surfaced. This became evident to me as my bishop attempted to increase missionary activity in our ward, and I only gave him passive support; but I didn’t understand it then.

The Mormon people are a great people. They and their church have many characteristics that I found appealing. They are hard-working, conservative, successful, well organized, and they give great socials. They are good people in a worldly sense and should have the real Jesus Christ of the Bible. Using the Bible, they present some convincing arguments that appear to support their doctrine. It is important for Christians to know the Bible and to know the real Lord Jesus Christ. A weak Christian is no match against the Mormon story; it is very appealing. It is easier to keep people from joining the Mormon Church than to get members out.

John Farkas with his wife Phyllis.

John Farkas with his wife Phyllis.

Groups like Berean Christian Ministries perform a multi-function service in combating the false non- Christian teachings of the Mormon church and similar groups. They help to educate Christians, Mormons, and others; they organize activities that individuals could not handle; they provide support for those trying to get out from under the control of Mormonism and similar organizations.

For over seven years I have coordinated the Berean Christian Ministries outreach at the Mormon Hill Cumorah Pageant held annually in July near Palmyra, New York. It is the largest outdoor pageant in America, and up to 100,000 people attend each year. Over 13,000 pieces of Christian literature have been distributed each year.

I am a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering, and I am a licensed New York State professional engineer. From 1962 to 1991 I worked at Xerox Corporation as a project engineer and project engineering manager. My wife, Phyllis, is editor of The Berean Report.

One of the reasons I share the items in this last paragraph with you is to illustrate that worldly accomplishment and intellectual capability are different from spiritual capability. I have often been asked how an intelligent person could believe Mormon doctrine, and I can understand why the question is asked. But when the Mormon missionaries came to our house, I was a spiritual baby, and they only taught the milk of the Mormon “gospel.” The meat comes later. As Hebrews 5:14 says, I was not “of full age”: “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” I was not able to discern the real gospel of Jesus Christ from the “gospel” the Mormon missionaries had.

Through the prayers of concerned Christians, including my wife, who persevered through a rough situation, I became teachable and then “of full age.” I hope and pray that the biblical Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior as he is mine.


Note: This testimony can also be found on the Christian Research & Council (aka “CRC”) website.

Appendix: Recommended Works by John R. Farkas
“Mormons Answered Verse by Verse” (1992)
by John R. Farkas and David A. Reed

“How to Rescue Your Loved One from Mormonism” (1994)
by David A. Reed and John R. Farkas

“Mormonism: Changes, Contradictions, and Errors” (1995)
by John R. Farkas and David A. Reed

  1. If this man has left the Mormon faith because he couldn’t reckon with the Book of mormon mention of the presence of a certain species of organism in the New World with what we know about the matter today, I would say he had a very shaky foundation for belief at best. Couple that with being “unequally yoked” with a non-member (who thinks she knows something about Mormonism, as a non-member) and it’s not at all surprising that he lost his faith. Mixed marriages to non-members rarely work in this church. Without the Gift of the Holy Ghost no one can speak accurately and truthfully about this faith regardless of the clever logic that is pursued to “justify” the falling away. As with many who fall away from this faith, Satan takes them on as some of the most vociferous against the faith and what they want to ‘blame’ for their plight. One must truly be on guard against these despots and their Satan-driven agenda. Do not get “taken in” by their cleverness with words. They have nothing good to offer you. From such, “turn away.” Instead have your testimony rooted in Jesus Christ, that He is Savior, Redeemer, Creator, Teacher and Judge. Study His life, his teachings and His example from the scriptures and not the arguments of clever but misleading men. Stick with material put out by the Church until you can see clearly between truth and lies. Apply what you understand with all your heart and you will see the many blessings to be reaped from this. Strive for harmony and unity within your families through the exercise of faith in Jesus Christ and the endless love He has for all. Study the Book of Mormon and pray about it daily. You will see the blessings pour into your life. Stand strong and endure long and you will gain success in the things the Lord would have you do. If you endure to the end, you will go out of this world rejoicing with a firm hope for eternal glory. Is there more than any of this to be had. No, this is the thing to hope for most. Where your heart is, there shall be your treasure.


    • @Jon Berkowitz, the following is a response to your comment from Susan Grape who was a personal friend of both John and Phyllis Farkas. She continues to serve in the Christian Research & Counsel organization that the John and Phyllis served in while they were alive.

      Mr. Berkowitz,

      The late John Farkas truly was a Mormon, and a strong committed one at that. Instead of presenting actual evidence or scriptures to support your claim that his findings were false; you chose to attack his character and his wife’s character with ad hominem and other fallacies. You never even met him. I knew John and his wife for years, and I guarantee you that John did painstaking, meticulous, thorough research concerning the many falsehoods within Mormonism.

      The Book of Mormon discrepancies about animals and metals was the small grain of sand—the red flag that sparked John to study the rest of Mormonism’s claims. By the way, he read–studied, like you suggested, YOUR church’s literature. That is what caused him to realize that Mormonism is not true! His findings were always accompanied with photographs from Mormon books (i.e., The Book of Commandments, History of the Church Vol. 1-6, The Journal of Discourses, to name a few) to prove his accuracy.

      John was far from being weak-minded, thus making him susceptible to being influenced by others. He did not take leaving lightly, but when you meet the Jesus of the Bible like he did while researching, that choice became clear-cut. Nothing can be greater than having a living relationship with God through Christ.

      I would hope that someday you would read his findings—no, search and study what he found in your church’s books. All is not as you believe it is.

      Sue Grape


      • rtmessenger says:

        Mr Jon
        I am pretty sure you would agree with me that , if you believe/teach/worship the wrong god, all else does not matter?
        The late apostle Bruce R McConkie in his book Mormon Doctrine in page 270, in many words tells us that there us no Salvation in the worship of a false god

        My question to you Sir as you sound very firmed in Mormonism
        Will you please give me the teachin/doctrine/revelation that the mormon god was once a mere man, came to this earth from another earth( J Smith King Follet , teaching of the Prophet J Smith page 345, MD p – 101, and finally follet discourse, in History of the Church Vol 6 p302-17)
        This man brings one of his wives according to B Young
        Regardless he is married and becomes the mormon god. Please give me a chapter verse from your canonized scriptures
        Thank you


  2. Ross Amico says:

    As someone who knew John and his wife Phylis Farkas very well, let me first say that Jon that the “horse” being in North America was only the beginning of his questions regarding Mormonism. It was by no means his foundation for leaving. It simply led him to other more serious problems within Mormonism. As to them being unequally yoked….they were married before Phylis became a Christian and John became a Mormon….years before he began to have questions. He became a Mormon very close to the time that she became a Christian. Your comment ” Without the Gift of the Holy Ghost no one can speak accurately and truthfully about this faith regardless of the clever logic that is pursued to “justify” the falling away.” is interesting to say the least. I in fact agree with what your prophet BY had to say about this matter: ” “Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it and see if it will stand the test,” (Brigham Young, May 18, 1873, Journal of Discourses, vol. 16, p. 46).

    Thats exactly what John did….and Mormonism failed the test…as it did with me. I have never been LDS. Jon….I understand your point about people leaving their faith…I really do. That said…many LDS leave not because of moral issues or because they are bad people in Satan’s grasp…but because of sincere questions about false doctrine, historical inaccuracies or cover ups within the Church itself. For example…did you know that the God you now worship “Elohim” was not the god that Brigham Young worshipped? Did you know that BY preached at a number of General Conferences that Adam (of Adam and Eve) was God the Father and the one that he worshipped? And since you seem to really put alot of emphasis on the Holy Ghost…there were LDS General Authorities who were present when he preached this (now considered false doctrine) that had a testimony that it was true! Your testimony disagrees with BY Jon….so who is right and who was/is following a false God? There is so much more I could share but I will leave that up to you. Here is my email address if you would like to share your thoughts with me….I would truly be honored. Respectfully, Ross Amico


  3. Orin Porter says:

    Like John, I too had a similar type of journey through the Mormon faith. In looking back, I realize I was blinded by the LDS narrative when I was still a babe in Christ during my conversion into the faith. It wasn’t until I began a serious study of the Biblical gospel while serving in the Temple that the veil of blindness finally lifted.


  4. says:

    I met John and Phyllis near the ends of their lives, and wish that I had known them longer. One thing I can say for John is that he did not make up his mind lightly. He studied things deeply, made his decision and stayed with it, unless he was able to find a new reason to study again. He was a man of faith, but his faith was built on reason and fact, not on what he felt. Phyllis would not have shaken his Mormonism, but he would have studied it again for her. He did just that. It was his knowledge and logic that pointed out to him why he needed to leave the CJCLDS. Those of us who knew him understand this. We are not adhering to a ‘company line’ concept. We knew how John Farkas’ mind worked, because we knew him.


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