LDS Question 10: How did I [RISH] come to be a Mormon and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?
I joined the LDS faith, or the Mormon Church when I was 21 years old. Yet, from as far back as I can remember, I have had a foundation of faith. Even as a little boy not being told to (or taught to) by my parents, I felt from inside myself the need to kneel and pray to God when I would go to bed at night.
From my youth, my mother bless her soul also made a point to make sure that I knew about Jesus Christ . . . and, as she use to say, "His many wonders to perform." It seems that I have ALWAYS for as long as I can remember held God to be very sacred to me . . . and have been insulted in person when another would use God's name in vain; it has been like someone slapping me across the face when I hear it. Again, something that has just been there, within me . . . not taught to me or brought in from some outside source.
In the Mormon faith, this inner "guide of Spirit" as I will call it here is referred to as the "Light of Christ" . . . or as others may call it, "our conscience" . . this, we believe, is given to all humans born . . . and is a part of all of us at birth. However, some pay heed to it . . . and some do not. If we do not, and flagrantly act to the contrary of these whisperings, eventually, it withdraws from us . . . and we are left all alone to do what our mind guides us to do in our actions (without of the Spirit) . . . AND, as well, suffer the consequences thereof.
Also known to me as a fact, since I was a little boy, was that 1. God our Father, 2. Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, and 3. the Holy Ghost were three separate beings . . . not as is believed of the Orthodox Christian belief and practice of the "Trinity" . . . that holds that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are all one entity . . . and assumes the role of each part of the Godhead when needed. I have never believed this from my youth up.
So, back in about November of 1970, while I was making a living as a professional musician playing bass for a band at a club in McMinnville, Oregon while yet living in Toledo, Oregon one day, a knock came at the door. We were staying with my wife's parents at the time and so I was the first to the door and TA DA!! There stood before me two very young men in suits (at that time, a little younger than I was). They were wearing a little badge and said the they had a message that they would like to share about Jesus Christ. I was DELIGHTED; as, having this seemingly natural respect about anything doing with Jesus Christ, I was eager to hear what they had to share. As I recall I said out loud, "I would love to learn more about the Bible!" I think that his probably shocked them substantially . . . compared to what they usually heard at people's doors.
Anyway, to make a very long story a lot shorter, they proceeded to tell me that Jesus Christ "personally"—after his resurrection---taught a group of people of his time that lived here in the Americas. They taught me that prophets were here . . . as well as in Israel. That they also prophesied of the coming of the Lord to this land. They told me of how He, the Lord Jesus Christ, also appeared to the people of this land . . . that he called, here in the Americas, 12 Disciples . . . that He organized His church here, as he did in Israel. That he healed the sick here . . . he raised the dead and taught the same lessons that he taught in Israel. They told me that an ancient record was kept by the prophets, and today, in these modern times, that record is the Book of Mormon; that it harmonizes with the Bible as a SECOND WITNESS that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the World. They taught me that the Father, and the Son and the Holy Ghost were three distinct and separate personages (all this in harmony with my already founded inner beliefs).
So, they asked me to read the Book of Mormon and to Pray and ask my Heavenly Father if it is true . . . and, if these things they were teaching me were true. They showed me the verses in the 10th chapter of the Book of Moroni at the end of the Book of Mormon where it reads;
3. Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
And, being earnest in heart to know my Heavenly Father's will for me, I did as they asked.
I read and I prayed to know the truth. Then though this doesn't happen to all people one night I had a vision in my mind while awake. In this vision, I saw myself in the future. I saw where I would be if I continued making the decisions I was making at that time in my life (regarding alcohol and drugs, etc.), and I could see that it was not good, and it was frightening to me. Then, a feeling came over me letting me know that what the missionaries were teaching me . . . and what I was reading . . . was, indeed true. Then, amazingly, I heard a voice that spoke to me, and it said (to paraphrase), "Now that thou knowest my will . . . what will be thine?" And, I and my wife were prompted to open the Book of Mormon, and we opened to a page that read, "And thousands came to the knowledge of the Lord.:"
And, from that moment . . . my life changed completely; until this day of this writing, I have been faithful and diligent in studying and learning and living the life of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
After such an amazing and profound experience, I earnestly looked forward to the next visit of the missionaries so that I could share with them what had happened to me . . . how my prayers were, indeed, answered. I went all out . . . I prepared chips in a bowl and a good drink of Cool Aid or something on that order and, once they had sat down, I raised my and to them and said, "You don't need to teach me any more, for I know what you are teaching me is true." And, I shared with them, then, the rest of the story.
But, of course, because the church is the way it is, I was required to finish the discussions with the missionaries
so that I knew exactly what I was committing myself to do and then I was baptized in December of 1970.
THAT's how I have come to be a Mormon.