I converted to the church at 18 years of age in rural Mississippi after 3 years of trying to disprove the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, because that is what my preacher wanted me to do, and so I dug in and studied all the lit I could get my hands on. I found that when harmonized, the scriptures indeed testify of him and his church..... The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The testimony I gained at age 17, by reading, pondering and praying about the Book of Mormon and than getting baptized just before my 18th birthday led me to serve a highly successful mission in Japan. Think of it, the worst educational state in the union, where I hated Spanish class, Mississippi, from a Southern Baptist Family, to still being fluent in Japanese and the Gospel today some 34 years later, some 7 kids later, and now living in Utah....well it just is hard to imagine. I had to tell you since reading your eloquent words and fine research that it has given me even more ammo for testifying. Thanks!Thank you, Jim!
Just to give you a hint of what a young kid in 1972 had to face from loving parents that thought I wanted to join a cult and no, a girl was not driving the issue, it was hard. I remember specifically and as vivid as it was yesterday when my Mom spoke with me and said well Jim, if you are bent on trying to join the Mormons, would you please speak with our Pastor and Preacher as he has helped many get out of the cult of Mormonism. I said sure Mom, if he has some new info, some exciting revelations and I laughed, bring it on. We had great relationship and my Dad was sort of non committal, so that I could joke around and not feel threatened. The preacher wanted to prep me by giving me some anti-Mormon lit a week in advance, you know, Adam God Theory, Polygamy doctrines, to being saved by grace etc.etc.etc.
The day came and we invited him in. Me and the Preacher! He had graduated from Seminary, University and me a senior in High School, gave great fire and brimstone sermons, and invited many to come to Christ....and by the way, pass the offering plate and you don't want to go to the other Baptist Church down the road he would say as they don't have a real good youth program.
For some reason, even today, I remember listening to his pleas, and hearing the nasty things he said about the Church, and how that they don't even believe in Jesus, and that there was no need for Prophets today as we have the Bible....and as the conversation continued and me smiling, as I absorbed all that he had to give and I had a rebuttal for each and everyone . He said in finality....you know Jim, when the Mormon Missionaries tell you about a burning in your heart....well that is of the devil....and that we should never, never let the missionaries in your home again.
I had a bright light go on in my head and had the Preacher turn to Luke 24 in his KJV Bible.13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. . . . 28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?Jeff, the look on his face was priceless! I felt sorry for the man! He couldn't say another word and did not say much. Of course I was baptized the next week.
Well, just a couple days ago, my Mom from Mississippi called and she said that she had a couple of things for me. My 35th year high school reunion invite came in the mail as all they(reunion committee) had prior was my BYU address from late 70's. She said that there was one other thing that she wanted to say or read to me. Oh yeah she said, I have the local Sun Herald paper for Gulfport and Biloxi that had a letter to the editor and she started to cry. It went something like this as she read it. To our LDS friends! We want to send our condolences to all of you in regards to your great loss of President Hinckley. As Hurricane Katrina was so devastating to our community, it was the LDS (Mormons) with truckload after truckload of relief for our community that arrived first on the scene. You surely showed Christlike love to our community and we want to thank you! My Mom wept through the whole thing and I was just paraphrasing. Than the moment of truth! Jim, you are in the right place! The feeling of love and testimony came all over me! Your testimony comes through that way as well and I thank you.
Friday, July 11, 2008
In a previous post, "Have Anti-Mormons Won the War?," I received a recent comment from Jim, a convert who faced a lot of opposition when he decided to join the Church. His story might give some hope to others going through similar experiences now. I especially enjoy the encounter he had with his Pastor - one of those entertaining episodes when the the wise men of the world are confounded by the young and untrained who are touched by the Spirit to remember the right thing at the right moment.
Posted by Jeff Lindsay at 8:37 PM