Hello, my name is Charis Crandell (McRae).
I was born and raised in the LDS church and lived my life dedicated to the church. I was sealed to my mother & step-father when I was 18 without really understanding what the temple was all about. I graduated from seminary & served a mission because my patriarchal blessing told me to and I only wanted to do whatever God asked of me.
I saved myself for my husband who I met at age 25, but we “messed up” a week before our Temple date and so we had to tell all our family the “sad” news. We were forced to wait a year to get sealed, which we did. We got sealed when I was 9 months pregnant w/ our 1st baby. We continued to be strong in the church & later had a set of twins. My husband at the time was a DPS officer & I ran a childcare out of my home so I could stay home w/ my own kids & help make money.
After about a year I got overwhelmed w/ trying to keep up with my own children, along with extra children. When I stopped earning extra money, we started to struggle & had to ask the church to help us. It was at that time that I learned that they would only help with our bills as long as we paid our tithing, which struck me as strange, but still thankful for the help. Long story short … My husband and I went through a ‘rebellious’ phase.
We started to get curious about alcohol, which we found out we liked. This led to parties w/ his DPS friends, which led to experimenting with swinging. We stopped going to church at this point but had plans to go back to church; we just wanted to ‘walk on the dark side for a moment’. I wanted to stop and go back to church after experiencing something horrible that involved an officer who was a friend & me having to give statements to investigators and this incident being broadcast on national news. My husband blamed me for this ‘incident’ & ruining all the ‘fun’.
I had been bringing myself & kids back to church for over a year before I had enough courage to tell my Bishop about it. This led to me being excommunicated because my bishop was disgusted with the fact that I was a return missionary & I agreed to experiment with swinging with my husband. I went through all the necessary steps and got re-baptized. My husband refused to talk to the Bishop because he knew what the outcome would be for him.
We moved to his hometown later, where his uncle was the Bishop. We had to re-explain everything to him & the Stake President. The Stake President apologized to me for being excommunicated & let me know that they wouldn’t be excommunicating my husband, which I was ok with, because I knew that if he was, then he would leave the church. That was the last thing I wanted. After all this, he lost his job as an officer because he kept harassing the Maricopa officer who also lost his job for what he did to me and other women, including a 16-year-old girl.
My husband blamed me for everything and I stuck it out until my kids were done with the school year and then I moved home with my family & divorced my husband of 10 years. While I was in limbo trying to find work and a new home, I found I had a lot of time on my hands. I taught myself to play guitar (which is something I always wanted to do, but had never done anything for myself up to this point). I also dedicated myself to studying the doctrines of the church.
Growing up, I was raised by my grandparents since my parents weren’t stable when me & my sister were little. One night I was looking up a YouTube video about LeGrand Richard talking about the sealed portion. The extra videos on the side showed an older lady who kinda looked like my grandma who raised me & it said something about ‘excommunication.’ … I wasn’t going to click on it because right away I thought it was “Anti literature” and we’re taught to avoid anything along those lines. My curiosity got the best of me & I clicked on the video of Ida Smith telling her story.
Listening to her, I found myself believing her story & thinking, “It’s obvious she’s not crazy & every word out of her mouth is intelligent.” She made perfect sense to me & she obviously loved the church as much as I did. It was all downhill from there, HAHA! Obviously, Ida led me to Christopher (my heart goes out to him) & I couldn’t stop following this work ever since. I bought all the books with my child support money because that was my only income at the time. I never felt so free & uplifted & nothing has ever made more sense to me in my whole entire life.
I tried sharing this work with my only full blood sister, who was raised with me by my grandparents, who are devout members. I brought her the ‘Sacred Not Secret’ book because it was so profound. I had even asked my grandfather about the ‘signs, tokens, and penalties’ part and he confirmed it & said “The penalties part was taken out because the members didn’t feel comfortable with it,” which led me to ask, “If this is our way into the Celestial Kingdom, then why was it removed?” My sister looked at me like I was possessed by the devil & my family has nothing to do with me anymore. But every week since 2016, they put my name in the temple & pray that I will find my way back to the church. They are almost scared of me & are constantly worried for me. I can’t lie that it hurts.
I’m not an educated person & I’m not good with my words. I don’t try to explain this work to anyone because I feel I will never do it justice. I just try to lead people to the websites and books because that’s where all the answers are. I’ve been freed from religion & now understand why I’ve always felt I belonged outside of the church. I remember asking my Bishop if it’s possible my calling in life is to be among the ‘misfits’, LOL. Of course he didn’t agree with me; but even after all I’ve done for the church, I’ve never felt I belonged. I always felt comfortable with the outsiders who are so much more non-judgemental.
The purpose of life has NEVER made more sense to me until I found this work. I don’t know if I can help bring my own family or friends to this work, but because I’ve always felt responsible for my own children (my 3 oldest lost their father almost 2 years ago now & my baby’s father is currently incarcerated … whole other story about how broken the system is) … I just keep trying to be an example for them & introducing pieces of this work to them, so they can hopefully make a difference in the future. I’m not an important person on this earth who can make a difference; but I’m hoping one day I can or can encourage my kids to. I could NEVER deny this work or how it has altered my life for the better; but at the same time, it breaks my heart that these poor souls, our brothers & sisters, who all deserve a chance at a decent life, are left suffering but don’t have to be, if only … I guess that’s where we are right now. If ONLY ………….. :-(
We have our Messenger sent from above who explained how to simply end all the suffering! My suffering is I don’t know how to help the right people to listen! I can only trust strength in numbers & I hope my story can help!