Warren and his fellow band members are all former Mormons. And now they're presenting their musical testimonies of a newly-found gospel salvation message.
"We're just trying to put the gospel to music and to share our stories," said Warren, 32, by phone from a concert stop in rural Vermont.
The ex-members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (better known as Mormons) have carved out their own path as they've embraced Christian orthodoxy and proclaimed it publically. And it has come at some personal cost.
Adam's Road visits West Michigan July 23 with trips to Rockford and Kalamazoo.
SHARING THEIR STORY
Their journey starts with drummer Micah Wilder, a born-and-raised Mormon who as a young adult went on his religious mission to Florida. He was challenged by a Christian pastor to read the Bible for himself. Wilder did and it changed his outlook and his life. It also got him removed from his mission.
"That's where I met Micah," said Warren, a Utah native who was also in Florida in 2004 on his own Mormon mission. Micah gave him that same challenge, with the same results. "Only I didn't get kicked off my mission," he smiled.
There were other consequences.
"I was disowned by my family, at least at first," Warren said of the impact of his new-found Biblical faith. "It wasn't severe, like in Islam. But my parents had to get permission from the Mormon leaders to continue to talk with me. They deemed me as anti-Mormon."
Eventually Micah's older brother Matt also believed as well as two others. Together they began Adam's Road..
"We had music in common, so we thought... why don't we try using that to spread this good news?" posed Warren.
The name of the band is theologically drawn: sin came from the first Adam, and salvation came from Jesus (called the last Adam in I Cor. 15:45). So Adam's Road is the way from sin to salvation in Jesus.
The Wilder parents (their mother was a faculty member at Mormon-run Brigham Young University) also left Mormonism for Biblical Christianity. They have their own ministry of ex-Mormon Christians, www.unveilingmormonism.com.
MUSIC AND MESSAGE
Adam's Road just released its ninth album, "Tongues of Fire." All of the group's original songs are based on scripture, set in an acoustic-folk-pop style featuring vocals from lead singer Lila LeBaron. The members' past Mormon lives are referenced in songs such as "Saved By Grace" with its lyric, "I used to work for my salvation....now I rest in Christ from my works and believe and rely completely on his." Another song sums up the escape from their works-oriented past: "Jesus Is Enough."
During their concert presentations, they often spend as much time sharing testimonies as they do playing music.
"We don't go into any particular Mormon doctrine – we don't do apologetics," Warren said of their live events. "We focus on equipping Christians with the word of God to help them understand the differences."
"We encourage Christians to love Mormons because if you truly love and show the love of God, that will draw them in to a relationship with Jesus," he added.
Band members do not use the word "cult" for Mormonism during performances and testimonies, although they do recognize it as a false religion. "It's a cult-ure," Warren noted. "A culture which traps people and surrounds every aspect of their lives. They're caught in trying to do everything they can (good works) but can't know until the end of their lives if they've done enough. They don't have the surety of salvation."
Warren says occasionally they note Mormons coming to their concerts – mostly curious, or perhaps questioning their faith. "Sometimes one will come to hear us and get a CD and we'll come back to the area the next year and they say, 'That was the first time I ever heard the gospel.'"
There have been negative reactions. One Mormon "troll-er" of the band showed up in person at an event and started harassing people. "The cops had to be called," Warren said.
On another occasion an online threat was made before a particular performance. The hosting church arranged a security escort to keep an eye on things. Nothing materialized.
Meanwhile, it's been more than a decade since Warren's conversion, and he reports he now has a good relationship with his Mormon parents. But Adam's Road will likely never get an invitation to perform at Brigham Young U. "But if they let us, we would," Warren chuckled.
Adam's Road: music and testimonies
6pm Sun. July 23
Blythefield Hills Baptist Church, 6727 Kuttshill Dr. NE Rockford
Free admission. www.bhbconline.org; 616-866-9597
*also appearing at 8:30, 10 and 11am (all 3 services) Sun. July 23 at Northbridge Church, 8824 Douglas Ave. Kalamazoo.
For more info on the band and its mission, www.adamsroadministry.com
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