I actually had two conversions. When I was 12, our neighbors sent the missionaries over to teach my family the discussions. My parents had always said they would let us choose our own religion. They both believed in God but we did not attend any church at that time. Sure enough, those wonderful missionaries baptized my brother (age 9), my sister (age 8) and me on June 22, 1962, with our parents’ permission. [Conversion #1] My youngest brother was baptized later, when he turned 8. Our parents brought us to Sunday School every week, and my Mom served as Primary pianist in the Eugene, OR 2nd Ward. People thought our parents were members, but they remained “dry land Mormons.” I attended 3 years of early-morning seminary which made a lasting impression on my spirit.
When I went away to college, I stopped attending church and so did my family. All 3 of my younger siblings were swept up in the “Jesus Movement” and became anti-Mormon. I floundered for a few years in the midst of the drug/hippie culture in LA, and guess what gave me the strength to return to church: I read the Book of Mormon! [Conversion #2] Walking to church each week because I had no car, I found my way back into full activity, encumbered by a less-active husband who had no interest in returning to the fold. After 4 unhappy years, we divorced. I found myself working in an LDS Institute of Religion where I met my current husband. We were married in the LA Temple in 1972, and are living “happily ever after” in San Diego. My parents and one brother have passed away and we’ve done their temple work. My Patriarchal Blessing (received when I was only 13) promises that “the time is not far away” when my parents will be baptized and all my family will be sealed in the Temple. I had no idea that “time” was being measured from an eternal perspective but now I get it! (My two living siblings are indifferent to the church, so we still have a ways to go.)
I’m grateful for those two Elders who taught us using flannelboard stories; for my seminary teachers (I’ve taught early morning seminary as a way of giving back); and the Institute Director who took a chance and hired me. Many other Saints helped me along the way as well. It’s been quite a journey. I’m grateful to say I have a strong testimony of Joseph Smith, the Priesthood, and the ultimate gift of the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my Conversion Story. I’m looking forward to reading more of them!