USU prof’s spiritual journey from Mormon scholar to Catholic convert

USU prof’s spiritual journey from Mormon scholar to Catholic convert May 2, 2012

This story, that recently appeared in the Salt Lake City Tribune, is about the spiritual journey of my friend, Richard Sherlock, a Utah State University professor of philosophy. Authored by Peggy Fletcher Stack, here’s how it begins:

Richard Sherlock is sitting in a majestic Roman cathedral and suddenly senses the Holy Spirit in a profoundly powerful way.

It is a feeling, he reports, yet more than a feeling. An illumination. A hint of truth.

This isn’t the first time the lifelong Mormon intellectual feels God tugging him toward Catholicism, and it won’t be the last. But it is there, in the moment. Real. Palpable.

The Utah State University philosophy professor, who had tussled with life’s big questions since he was a college student, feels he is coming home to a place he should have been all along.

Two years later, during a 2012 Easter vigil, Sherlock is baptized into the faith with three other adults and four teens at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Parish outside Logan.

It marks the culmination of a spiritual search that has taken the 65-year-old through the study of moral theology and the early church fathers, through marriage and loss, debates and interfaith dialogues, from Utah to Boston to New York and back again.

He is exultant. Overcome by emotion. Surrounded by teary-eyed loved ones and, he believes, touched by God.

“It was,” Sherlock says, pausing for a word big enough, “glorious.”

His childhood in the heart of Mormonism might not have predicted this trajectory, but it did launch him in that direction.

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