One Mormon's Conversion
Our goodbyes said, within a few days we went to an LDS church service for the first time, ready to be baptized. The truth is, though, that I did not yet have much of a testimony. Regardless of what I told the missionaries when they asked, I hadn't prayed about the truth of the Church's teachings. I also hadn't read anything from the Book of Mormon except the passages they had marked, though I said I was reading if they asked. I liked them. I thought what they taught made sense, and I didn't want to let them down. Lying was an easy way to deal with their questions. But I didn't have much of a testimony, partly because I had no idea what a testimony was. I felt good about my decision, but other than the feeling that the teachings made sense and feeling comfortable when we talked about Mormon doctrine, I had little spiritual confirmation of what I was learning.
In those days it was customary for missionaries to ask investigators not to take the Sacrament. The missionaries told my parents, but no one thought to tell me. For the Disciples, it is a point of doctrine that everyone takes Communion. So, after the bread was blessed and when it was passed to our row, I took a piece of bread and put it in my mouth.
Suddenly I was overcome from head to toe. The Spirit moved me and told me that the Church is true in a way that I could not and cannot deny. I knew it. That is the only honest way to describe the result of my experience: I had new knowledge, knowledge that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's church. Though I was no Paul, neither in my previous opposition nor in the power of this experience, I knew something about what Paul's experience was like. The decision to be baptized was no longer mine; it had become something I had to do. Nothing else mattered. On 3 February 1962, my parents, my younger brother, my maternal aunt, and I were baptized.
Since then I have had a few occasions when I've felt the Spirit in something like the way I did that Sunday, but never as powerfully as I did then. Since then I've sometimes run up against spiritual obstacles -- personal foibles, intellectual difficulties, simple weakening of faith -- but I've continued because that experience of almost forty-six years ago remains the foundation and touchstone of my faith. Recalling it has kept me going when it would have otherwise been easy to leave. The truth was given to me in that moment, and it continues to be the foundation for my life.