conversion

“There have been many people who have prayed, as your Mormon friends suggested, and felt that God was not leading them because of the “off the wall” doctrine. Did God lead them in a different way or do we assume that those people were not sincerely open to God’s leading?”

A few weeks after I became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints I received a letter from a very dear friend, asking me this question. I had no idea how to respond at that time. I’ve often pondered that question. Even today, what can I say?

God gave me a powerful witness of the Book of Mormon so that I know with all my heart and mind that it truly is a historical work and that it is a third testament of Jesus Christ. Why me? And why do others not receive the same?

I believe my instincts kept me from searching the internet for anti Mormon literature. And instincts kept me from approaching my past leaders to ask them for their opinion or guidance.

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord” Jeremiah 17:5

I just knew that a biased opinion, even if knowledgeable on some important issues would make my way very murky and would more than likely, completely add confusion to an already seemingly overwhelming task-that of learning the truth for myself.

Based on what I’d learned from reading my Bible, I believed that God was interested personally in me, desired for me to do His will and would lead me in the direction of His choosing. I chose to remain completely dependent on Him to reveal His truth to me. So, I followed direction, and sought first to read the Book of Mormon and then pray as instructed.

Though it may not be necessary for everyone to receive a testimony as soon as possible when investigating the church, it is a great advantage in my opinion. True, I didn’t study everything about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints before I received my witness. True I knew very little about the church, which scared everyone around me to death!

Putting first things first enabled powerful enough evidence for me to withstand naysayers. Powerful enough to endure others anger, contention, bitterness and difficult questions.

And especially, powerful enough to endure the fiery darts of the adversary-with truths that immediately got thrown in the path -twisted and bent out of shape to be almost unrecognizable as good and holy and pure as their origin.

Was it not for Heavenly Father’s faithfulness and the priceless gift of the Holy Ghost to help recognize and discern the differences between truth and error, how very lost I would be.

There are many people desiring to know the truth and desiring to know which church is true but don’t know where to find it. Just as sad is the reality that people feel dependent on knowledgeable men, scholars, books or the internet to point the way to truth, rather than asking and seeking of God.

For example, just about that same time, one of my family members stated that a preacher friend said that he had studied Joseph Smith for 2 years and had decided he was a fraud. Again, I was not sure how to respond. (I had not yet received a testimony of Joseph Smith as God’s true prophet.)

Today, I would say, “One does not study Joseph Smith. Study Jesus Christ. Look only to Him, give Him your whole heart, mind and soul, trust Him and ask Him what the truth is that He would have you seek. Believe that He desires to answer you.”

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in Him”  Jeremiah 17:7

While you are seeking, first and foremost, seek a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Read it. Ponder upon the words. Pray. Ask. Once you know the truth for yourself, once you commit to this marvelous church and have the companionship of the Holy Ghost, you will be able to discern and sift the truth of all other matters regarding this marvelous church.

Afterwards, when you find yourself mired in controversial stuff, the indwelling of the Holy Ghost will strengthen and guide you into all truth. Even then, be vigilant in praying and seeking the Lord for answers, as the adversary may be be hard at work, seeking your downfall.

Do you have a testimony of the Book of Mormon?

Brothers and Sisters, those of you that are converts to the church, are welcome to share your testimonies or conversion experience here.

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Next week, in “Addressing the Book of Mormon, Part 2”, for your interest I’ll post a transcript of an interview including a couple of commonly asked questions regarding the Book of Mormon. Terryl Givens, professor of Literature and Religion at the University of Richmond and commentator, elucidates.

You’d like your own Book of Mormon? Do contact me.

Or call 888-537-2200 and ask for one. It’s free!

 

“Our ever faithful Heavenly Father took my prayer seriously and that summer implemented situations in my life that would direct me at last to His true church. That is a story for another time.” 

The paragraph above was written in “First, My Story”. Today’s post gives you the addition.

There may be countless times in our lives when we are guided by the Lord but we do not necessarily recognize it.

“When He, the Spirit of truth is come,

He will guide you

into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself;

but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak” John 16:13 (KJV)

In the spring of 2005 I prayed a simple prayer stating that I desired to find the church where His Holy Spirit would be found. That was the full desire of my heart. In September, after my summer excursions, I intended to begin ‘church shopping’.

My plans included attending a convention in Salt Lake City, followed by a journey to Texas for a few weeks.

Shortly after uttering this prayer, I began to have a very strong feeling that I should include a week experience at an herb farm, at the invitation of the company.

Supposing that it would broaden my knowledge of essential oils I registered. This would take place immediately after convention.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)

One evening during convention, half heartedly, I followed a couple of my friends on a tour of Temple Square. There, I met young female missionaries with innocence, openness and with a light in their eyes which I hadn’t seen before.

They spoke with great reverence about Mormon history. I learned that they had paid their own way to volunteer for a year and half.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir was performing the next morning. Alone, I attended “Music and the Spoken Word” live. My heart was deeply moved. The lady next to me was warm and friendly. I was in tears and could hardly respond. Embarrassed, I sought escape.

I spent the following week at the farm in Mona Utah. We worked in 100+ degree weather and there was very little time or energy for chatting. But one important incident kept repeating in my mind.

One day, K.C. the farm manager felt that I had responded disrespectfully to his boss. All he said was “Lily.” No anger. Firm. I had never heard that tone of authority by anyone in all of my life.

It did not make me feel afraid and I quickly realized how respectful he was of his boss. Later, as I pondered, I realized that something in his tone had actually made me feel safe and protected, even while I was the one being admonished.

For days, I wondered what the difference was. (Friends, do you know?)

On the fifth day, K.C. enquired about my church, mission to Africa and experiences.

That evening back in my hotel room, very strong on my mind, I kept wondering. “He asked me about my church. Why didn’t I ask him about his church?”

And then time ran out. It was our last day and K.C. left the farm early that day. I left for Texas with the intention of writing my new friend to ask my questions.

Soon after getting home one day, I was enjoying a great upbeat day. I sat down to check my email and someone had posted a very short video clip-maybe 30 seconds- of the farm. Nothing outstanding or spectacular. I watched it and abruptly out of nowhere it seemed to me, copious tears flowed.

That is when I began to speculate. What was happening? Why the tears ‘out of nowhere’? Had God been answering my prayer all summer? Was He trying to get my attention?

I struggled and questioned Him. “You really want me to become a Mormon? Are you sure? Lord, that is the last place I ever would have thought You would send me. Really? Oh, dear.”

“And the Lord shall guide you continually,

and satisfy thy soul in drought” Isaiah 58:11

I wrote K. C. and his wife Marilyn asking many questions, eager to learn more about the Mormon faith. Very faithfully they responded…weeks of exchanged letters, carefully teaching me the truths of the restored gospel.

They mentioned the official LDS website. There, were more teachings regarding the Holy Ghost-the same as I’d always believed and even more! Joy and great hope flooded my heart. I began to believe that this was the answer to my prayer.

Finally, in September, I invited the missionaries to visit. I noticed that they too, have a deep respect and love for the Lord. God’s light shone in their eyes. Patiently and with evident joy, they answered my questions and then left a Book of Mormon with me.

Again I was told, “If you will ask our Heavenly Father with a sincere heart, with real intent, the truth will be made known to you.”

As soon as they left, I read a few passages. As I relaxed with this precious book in my arms, the warmest gentle feeling filled my heart and I was given a vision of the truth of the Book of Mormon. It was a powerful testimony.

“You will seek Me and find Me when you

seek Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Since my conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Heavenly Father has blessed me immeasurably with deep peace, assurance, comfort, joy and love. He continues to guide and inspire me daily. I continue to be amazed how He guides me step by step.

God does answer prayer. He keeps all of His promises. He will do this for you. He lives to do this for each of His children.

Is there a time that have you were guided by the Lord? I’d love to read about it.