Lovely news about another convert

Lovely news about another convert October 5, 2012

A reader writes:

I know you must get a ton of emails, but I thought this one was worth your time. This is an article about a young man, and personal friend of mine from college, Arizona State University. He reverted to atheism in high school from a strict Baptist childhood background, and later (only about two years ago) converted to Catholicism after undergoing a mystical experience while reading the Litany to the Sacred Heart. He is one of the most brilliant people I have ever met in my life, reads Aquinas daily, has an impeccable rhetoric explaining theological, and philosophical premises and Church teaching, and is a complete gift to the Church in my opinion. (And he’s only 21!) I don’t know if this would be something you would want to post about, but if not, it’s a great story to read otherwise. 🙂 I hope you are doing well, and I am praying for you and your family. 🙂

Thanks for sending this along! Always lovely to see another soul come to the waters! Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ!

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  • ivan_the_mad

    Well that’s simply splendid! Deo gratias!

  • bob

    Read the article. It’s a confused young man who was raised by extremist evangelicals, converted to some sort of self-style theism, then atheism, now Catholicism. It’s the textbook early 20s buffet of rebellion. My point: Don’t assume that his “conversion” to Catholicism is any more likely to stick than any of his other conversions. He’s got a lot of stuff to work out.
    It raises an interesting question, though. I do wonder how many Catholic conversions actually “stick.” I realize there’s no data on that sort of thing but I wonder if anyone has any sense of how many adults who begin the classes actually go all the way through.

    • probably not much data and the data would be suspect anyway because not everyone who starts a RCIA class has really converted. The better question would be what percentage of actual converts (i.e baptized, confirmed, made their first communion as an adult) stick with it. I’m willing to wager that if you could get the data the ratio would be quite high. Converting to Catholicism (at least in the U.S.) is such a counter-cultural move and take so much work, time and effort that I can’t see anyone who gets all the way through making their first communion and being received into the Church being at all likely to be persuaded out of that position.

      • Ted Seeber

        I tend to agree, but in my personal experience, I often see these college-age converts having Roman Catholicism as just a rest stop on the way to either Traditionalism or Orthodoxy.

        • What’s “traditionalism”? Can’t one be Roman Catholic and Traditionalist? Or are you talking about the SSPX and similar groups? I can’t say that I’ve seen too many going that way. Gerry Matatics and Robert Sungenis come to mind.

    • Joshua Horn

      Yep, it’s the real me. I was surprised to see that Mark Shea has also decided to post this. Guess my 15 minutes aren’t quite up yet, for better or worse. Someday a normal email will get through again…someday.

      I’m not interested in giving a full defense of myself in a combox, but suffice it to say: The narrative you gave is definitely the narrative given by the article, so you aren’t to blame for your misconceptions, but it isn’t the narrative that I gave to the reporter while she was writing it. I specifically asked her not to talk about my parents because they’re good people who have nothing to do with this. I have and always have had a good relationship with them, and I respect them immensely. If they were the only Baptists I’d ever met, I doubt that I ever would have left Christianity, though I do think that I still would have ended up Catholic. The story about talking to them about Pokemon when I was 8 was told only to demonstrate a point about the school I was sent to and the culture in the churches I grew up in. Likewise, the quote about me studying everything that ‘they’ had told me not to was about the teachers in the school I was sent to growing up, not my parents like she made it sound.

      The reason I focused on the school so much in the interviews is because I had a good friend of mine molested in front of me twice, and the school just covered it up rather than do anything about it due to the wealth of the perpetrator’s parents. Then there were my own issues with the impossibility of having any consequences for bullying happen. This did affect my picture of Christianity, so I told her about it. But the reporter took a few of these statements out of context and painted a radically inaccurate picture of my parents and my relationship with them even though I specifically asked her not to bring them up, and told her next to nothing about them. She took sentences where I used pronouns instead of nouns, and had the object of the pronoun be something that it wasn’t in the actual interview. She took statements about corrupt teachers, pastors, and administrators, and made them sound like they were about my parents.

      My parents handled my leaving of Christianity reasonably and intentionally; they were calm and not reactionary. They’ve also been extremely supportive ever since I became Catholic; my relationship with them has only rarely been strained, and even then never over religion. They take their faith seriously; they also take our family seriously. They’re good people who I greatly value and respect, and I wish that the writer had honored my request. If I had spoken ill of them to her, I would own my guilt for that and its consequences, but I did not, and I wish that I had some way to correct this other than contradicting the picture she painted after the fact.

      So, I understand where your comment was coming from, but it missed the mark due to inaccurate information. That’s as much as I care to say in a combox…feel free to think what you wish about things that I need to work through. Perhaps you’re right about that. Nonetheless, I feel a responsibility to contradict the idea that my parent’s are ultra-anything negative in how they live their lives or raised me, and also the idea that my relationship with them is strained or filled with some sort of vitriol.

  • Billy Bean

    I don’t agree with those here who seem to view “conversion” in relativistic terms, as if one option couldn’t be objectively better than another, or as if such changes should be understood merely in terms of psychology and sociology. If someone chooses to leave behind certain beliefs and practices in favor of others that make better sense of his/her experiences and understandings, it is just possible that those changes are “improvements” and that the person is “progressing.” If people can get closer to truth in areas like math and science, why not in matters philosophical and religious? If Horn became Catholic because he’s young and rebellious, do those who denigrate his conversion only do so because they are old, cynical, and cranky?

    • Alfredo Escalona

      In an age where it seems most are either “on the make” or “on the take”, perhaps we should consider
      reevaluating what the word “rebel” should mean to us anymore, both overtly as well as regarding the “baggage” it has carried ’til now.

  • Michael F.

    Deo gratias. I’ll say a prayer for him right now….

  • Faith

    Well, I’m very happy for him! But I do wonder, how does an atheist happen to be reading the Litany of the Sacred Heart? Sounds like an interesting story there. I wish the article had gone into more detail.