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zenbones

My testimony.

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My wife spent some time growing up as a child in Mesa, Arizona. She had a familiarity with the Church of Jesus Christ of

Latter Day Saints. She had LDS friends and she often went to church with them. She had read the Book of Mormon. I

grew up in Georgia where if someone had told me they were LDS I would have asked them to spell it. I knew of

Mormons. I knew they lived in Utah. I knew that they wore suits on bicycles in 90 degree heat. As far as I know my first

experience with a member was an Army buddy of mine. He was definitely the odd man out amongst a group of men who

couldn't complete a sentence without a curse word or two. While we went out drinking until the wee hours of the

morning, he stayed at home with his family. At the time I thought I had the life but now I realize that he had the life.

My teenage years were spent learning things and doing things which might be called stupid. I treated my mind like it was a

lab for experimentation. I did drugs because I thought I liked to feel "high". I searched out a different spirituality than the

one I was familiar with, which was based on going to a Protestant church when I was younger. At one point I considered

myself an atheist. I mocked God. I cursed God. I did everything I could to provoke Him. I consider these years my

lost years. I would gradually come to have this belief that there has to be some underlying power in the universe. I

couldn't believe that the beauty of everything around me was happenstance. Yet, I was still too afraid to admit there was

an almighty God. It was not until after my oldest daughter was born that I can remember my heart being softened. It

happened while I was driving to work. I just remember thinking that there just has to be a Supreme Being and there was

no point denying it. Even with this revelation I still didn't believe that any Church could be true or that even the Christ died

for my sins.

As fate would have it, we moved to Tucson, Arizona and purchased a house. Our neighbors happened to be LDS.

Didn't really matter to me too much. I could tell they were good people and I hoped that they could tell I was. One night

my wife gets a call from the neighbor asking if a couple of missionaries could stop by. We were about to go to sleep so

my wife told her that they could come by but just not that night. They would come by the next day. I remember being

open minded about it. I joked to my wife that I would try to be nice to them. I knew that my wife was serious about this

because she wanted to raise our daughters in a church. She had tried to get me to go to other churches but they didn't feel

right to me.

The missionaries came to our house the next day. I let them in my house and asked them if I could get them some water.

I remember thinking, "Here we go." I sat there at first with an open mind. I noticed that they were nervous and couldn't

help but think that you have to have courage to do what they do. They noticed that we have a lot of pictures of the kids

around. They said that family was important to the Church. I thought, "That's good." They showed me the Family

Proclamation. I remember thinking that I agree with pretty much everything on it. The longer they sat there the more

intrigued I became. I went to sleep that night with what they said on my mind. They came by a few more times and asked

how I felt. I told them that my curiosity was peaked but I wasn't sure yet. I knew my wife was going to get baptized.

For me it was hard to accept that I could belong to a church because my relationship with God has always been a very

intimate thing for me. They asked me to read the Book of Mormon and pray on it. I told them I would.

They continued to come by and I started to want them to come by. I not only enjoyed their company but a change was

beginning to take place in my heart. I was doing most of the talking in the form of questions or asking if what I had just

said made any sense. I was sure they were quite annoyed with me. I still had not yet read the BOM but one night I woke

up from sleep with what I can only describe as a haunting feeling in my soul. I had the urge to call them in the middle of

the night and ask questions. I had the urge to empty all the alcohol in the house down the kitchen sink.

I was driving to work one day and an incredible feeling came over me. It was a feeling I had never knew could exist. It

felt like my heart was about to expand to the point of explosion. It felt good. I somehow knew what that feeling was. I

was feeling the Christ in my heart. I knew right then that I had to get baptized. I knew that this was right for me. I was

starting to believe.

The first time I went to church was shocking to me. I actually enjoyed it. It was not like any other church I had been to.

It felt genuine. I discovered that I could read the scriptures on my phone via the Gospel Library App. I discovered that I

had an easier time reading the BOM on my phone than through the pages of a book. I was immediately mesmerized. I

started reading it night and day. I couldn't put it down. I remember thinking that this book is so amazing that it would be

impossible for someone to just make it up. It took me two weeks to read it. I started feeling good.

We had a date for our baptism set. But before that we had to get interviewed. Driving to the interview I started to think

about all the things I had done in my life. I thought about all the things I had done and all the ways I had treated people. I

felt ashamed. I felt this tremendous weight on my shoulders. I felt the burden of my actions. I also felt relieved.

The day of my baptism came and it felt like the start of a brand new life for me. I had to get submerged twice because my

arm was out of the water the first time. My wife joked that it was because I was so dirty with sin. I didn't argue with her.

I was asked to bear my testimony afterwards and at first I was a little nervous. Did I have anything worthwhile to say? I

got up and started to speak. I didn't have a plan I was just going to go with what my heartfelt. It was an emotional

experience for me, to share my testimony. Afterwards, I tried to grasp how I was feeling. I wasn't sure. The next day

after being confirmed I was still uncertain about how I was feeling. I did feel a tingling sensation inside of me. Someone

told me that was the spirit.

The next Monday at work I grew frustrated with something. I said something I should not have. I said the Lord's name in

vain. I immediately had a feeling of dread. I stopped everything and said a quick prayer. I asked for forgiveness and I

asked for patience while I work through my transgressions. I received my answer almost immediately. I had never felt so

high in my life. It was a true high. I had the knowledge in my heart that the Lord is always patient. He had put up with my

transgressions all of my life. He had watched over me and comforted me even when I wouldn't recognize him. I felt his

love. I knew then that I was blessed. In the weeks passed I have felt so blessed. I want to climb the highest mountain

and yell to everyone that will here, "Do you know how wonderful this is?!" I went from somebody who denied to

someone who believes in all of my heart that this is where I'm supposed to be. I ask Heavenly Father everyday for the

guidance I need to continue to have a softened heart. I know he is there with me. I know that when I say these things in

the name of Jesus Christ that it is true. Amen.

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Thank you for your beautiful testimony....I too am a convert and love to read testimonies of new members. Knowing that families can be together forever brought me such joy and I'm sure the day will come when you will enter into a temple to be sealed for time and eternity. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect and will bring us unimaginable blessings as we remember the covenants made when we were baptized. So happy the Lord left His ninety-nine and went after the one......each and every soul is precious to the Lord!

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Guest DailyLDS
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That was very touching. Thank you...

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Thanks for the comments. The past few months have been good. I was actually just sustained to the Melchizedek Priesthood yesterday at Stake conference and will hopefully have it conferred upon me next week. I kind of feel like Peter when he requested he be crucified upside down because he wasn't worthy to be the same as the Savior. I just can't get over not feeling worthy to hold this high honor.

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