I know it’s been a while since I have posted anything on my blog. I haven’t really felt like writing much lately. I have been mostly commenting and visiting other blogs and I have had only 3 days off in 2 months. I found this video on Rusty’s blog, http://www.ongofu.wordpress.com. I haven’t listen to Glenn Beck too much but I know he is a very popular talk show host. I have heard that he was a Mormon but after listening to his story I was reminded of my own conversion story and how much this Church has changed my life.
I have been a member for about 12 years now. Before I married and settled down here in Oklahoma I had a very bad case of wanderlust. And even a little bit after when we were looking for a great place to settle down. I grew up a military brat so I moved around quite a bit. My family is from Massachusetts and the New England area and I basically grew up in New England. The only time I heard about the LDS Church is from history books and the occassional tv spot on cults in America. (Yes, I did see the Godmakers at one point. I didn’t understand it and didn’t know why everyone loved it.) My dad’s side was Roman Catholic and my mom’s side is Protestant. My family only went to church on the holidays and were not a Bible reading, pray always family. Nevertheless, my parents wanted me to go to experience going to church and religion in general. So, I went to catechism classes when I was 8 so that I can receive my first communion in the Catholic Church. It was a great experience from what I remember. Then at one point my dad decided to sell Amway products and this included associating with born-again Christians. So, my family accepted Christ in our lives and was baptized. We were in upstate New York at this time. My dad tried to stay in the New England area when he was in the Air Force to be closer to our family. We went to church for a while but it didn’t last long.We moved when I was 13 to California and attended a church there. My teenage years are a blur to me. Let’s just say they weren’t my best years. All through my younger years I read the Bible very often and one of my favorite movies was the creation story from the 60’s. I have had a life long interest in religion and spirituality. I wanted to why people believed in what they believed in. This led me to search for all the common elements in all faiths around the world. I told a friend of mine that I wanted the church that Christ started not what eveyone thinks what His church is. Thousands of different churches around the world and they all had the same basic elements of worshiping God, spirituality, doctrine. And yet no one could agree on any one point. I didn’t understand and still don’t why there are heated debates over certain points of doctrine. Who is God and what is He like? Is there one God or 3? Why are Christians of different faiths fighting each other for power and control? I could see no unity anywhere between the different faiths. I attended a few when I was in my twenties but they could not satisfy my answers. In 1996, I went to work at Zion National Park. Before I went I was working at Sea World in San Diego and I decided to go back to the national parks for work. I got tired of city living and wanted to go back to the mountains. I used to work at Yosemite NP and could have gone back there but I wanted to try another park. Before I called Zion and Yosemite I asked God where do you want me to go and I told Him that who ever gave me the best interview that is where I would go. So, I went to Zion NP in Utah. Before I went I decided to investigate the Mormons and planned to stay in St George for 2 days before starting work. I love history and so on my first day I went to Brigham Young’s home and a couple of other places. I still wasn’t sure about the church and so I was careful not to be taken in by any conversation I had with the workers there. I filled out a missionary card not expecting anything. The next day in the late afternoon I decided to visit the St George Temple thinking I could get a good feel for these people. What I got was a tour of the faith of the church and a little bit of temple history. It was not was I was looking for nor ready for yet. I wanted to do this on my own time. But at the end of tour I was talking to the Elder and told him that I had a theory that the Phoenicians came here and settled America. At this point I new nothing about the Book of Mormon nor was exposed to anything in the LDS Church other than this tour. The Elder said come with me and he took me to a small room a started a video. I was shocked and amazed at what I saw. It was a video of Lehi and his family coming to the New World and started a new civilization, almost exactly my theory that I held on to for many years. After the video, I asked the Elder if I could have a Book of Mormon and at first he was reluctant because most people would just shelve it. He gave me one anyway and that night I started reading and the rest is history. That night changed my life. Since I was familiar with New York and New England history I knew that Joseph Smith could not just create a new religion or write a fictional story like some claim that the Book of Mormon is. I also filled out another missionary card while I was there not expecting anything. As I read the Book of Mormon throughout the next few months while I was working at Zion I was making connections with what ancient history I knew. Then in February when I was watching tv someone told me that I had some visitors in the hotel lobby. I couldn’t think who they were so I went. It was 3 elder’s from the LDS Church. They told me they got a missionary card and thought they would come and visit. We stood there in the lobby for over an hour as I poured out what I have learned from reading the Book of Mormon. We scheduled the missionary lessons over the next couple of months. Because the missionaries lived so far away we had to make special arrangments for a good time and place to teach me these lessons. At one point, I took them out to a picnic table early in the morning quite a ways from the main hotel area. That was the lesson about the fruits of the Spirit and they told me after that it was as if I was prepared all my life for this lesson and for joining this Church. I never read anything from the Church and yet when they asked me a question I answered it and when I looked it up in the lesson book it was almost the same words that I said. I was baptized on April 21, 1996 by these missionary elders. The next few years were kind of rough for a new member until I met my wife and we eventually settled down here in Oklahoma. My life has been great since I married and I would not know what my life would be without her and the Church in my life. I have a great job and a home that I recently bought in a small town. We don’t have kids but have 2 puppies, an older Tibetan Spanial and a 3-legged cat named Willy. I am virtually debt free – I owe no one except the car, home, and student loans. I am able to pay for everything in cash and I am able to support wife. For a long time I never thought that I would get this far and I owe it to my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ. I know that I don’t deserve their love and patience, I can be very rebellious and stubborn at times, but they know my heart and my life and I know they have a special mission for my life to do their work. Thanks everyone for visiting my website and downloading the Book of Mormon and other materials on this site. It is my hope that these Books of Mormon will be sent out throughout the world, even in the most remote places and that everyone who reads it will experience the same joy and happiness that I did when I first read this special book. This is my testimony. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.