People can change

A few years ago, while serving as Ward Mission Leader, I was introduced to a young man who had come to church with a less-active member of the ward. I knew Rory (not his real name) from the neighborhood, but had never been formally introduced.

Rory, a Buddhist, came to church out of curiosity and said he had no intent to join the Church. He sat through Sacrament meeting and then came to my Gospel Essentials class with his less active friend.

I dispensed with my prepared lesson from the manual and instead gave a lesson with elements from the old first discussion. In spite of Rory’s professed indifference to Mormonism, I wanted to plant a seed and share with him the basic tenets of the gospel of Jesus Christ. At the end of the class, Rory thanked me for my lesson and left with his friend.

I continued to see Rory in the neighborhood and maintained a cordial, but distant relationship with him. I always waved to him when I passed him in my car, and shook his hand when I saw him in the park or at the Sonic drive-in close to my house. We didn’t talk about religion when we spoke, but we were always pleasant and friendly with one another.

Just last week, I was at the park with my family and I saw Rory talking with a member of the Elder’s quorum presidency in my ward. I overheard Rory talking about Joseph Smith and walked over to join the conversation. To my surprise and amazement, Rory said that he had joined the Church a few months ago and was attending a singles branch in an adjoining stake.

Rory shared his conversion story with me and said he was converted after reading the Book of Mormon. He told me he threw the Book of Mormon away that a friend had given him, but after finding the book in his native language at the Visitor’s Center, he read it and gained a testimony of its truthfulness.

That next week, Rory attended church with my ward and stood at the door greeting everyone as they came in. There was a look of surprise on a few faces (Rory is one of the last people they expected to see at church, I’m sure), but everyone greeted him with a warm handshake and some greeted him with a hug.

I feel blessed to have played a small role in sharing the gospel with Rory, someone I thought would never join the Church, and thank my Heavenly Father that I was able to witness the mighty and miraculous change in this young man’s life. From this experience, my testimony of the converting power of the Book of Mormon is strengthened, and I am anxious for opportunities to share its message with others.

15 thoughts on “People can change

  1. You never know: some of the seeds you planted in that gospel essentials class may have borne fruit. I still remember some GREAT, mind-blowing lessons in gospel essentials when I was investigating the Church.

  2. Awesome, Brian. Thanks.

    Geoff, I don’t know that I’ve ever heard your conversion story (or maybe I’ve forgotten, which would not be surprising). Is it posted somewhere?

  3. No wonder Satan goes to ridiculous lengths to discredit the Book of Mormon : it is a deadly poison against doubt and disbelief. It truly is a “game-changer” when the honest in heart read it.

  4. Michelle, you have given me a good idea for a post this week.

    Cool. Looking forward to it. (And yay, that means it wasn’t my brain this time. ha.)

  5. Thanks Brian for the heartwarming story. People do change. No one remains stagnant. Over the course of a lifetime, everyone moves up and down the ladder of life that leads back to God. Some move so steadily, in either direction, it is unnoticeable. Others make big leaps, also in either direction, which cause us all to take notice.

  6. We had some amazing conversions on my mission in Bolivia. When the town drunk stumbles home one night, and finds a Testimony of Joseph Smith pamphlet in a mud puddle in a small town that would not have missionaries for almost 10 years, reads the pamphlet and tells his wife that when the Church arrived in their town they would join it. Then to have his home be the 4th door the missionaries knock on almost a decade later, and he goes from town drunk to branch president in 1-1/2 year’s time, is amazing.

  7. Rameumptom: If you ever want to do a guest post, I would love to hear a detailed conversion story of the town drunk, or of others from your mission. I love hearing this stories.

  8. 1. “Rory shared his conversion story with me and said he was converted after reading the Book of Mormon. ”

    Bingo!

    2. “He told me he threw the Book of Mormon away that a friend had given him, …”

    That’s why I don’t care much if someone throws away a copy I give out. The fact that they once saw it and held it in their hands remains with them as a memory for the Holy Ghost to work with.

    3. “…but after finding the book in his native language at the Visitor’s Center, he read it and gained a testimony of its truthfulness.”

    Bingo #2. The native language angle is part of the prophecy (“nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples”) and is part of the miracle of testimony.

    I think a person’s heart and mind still thinks in their native language, so testimony, written or spoken, somehow has better access.

    Ram: if you ever give a fireside in the Indy area, please let me know, and I’ll drive to the west side to hear you. My email addy is on my blog, top of right side-bar.

  9. Pingback: Mormon Conversion Stories | LDS Teens

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