I was born of goodly parents that taught me right from wrong at a very early age. I was raised in a typical Irish Catholic family with six siblings, two girls and five boys in that order. I attended Catholic school and went to the Catholic Church until the age of 20. I lost interest after that. Everything was so repetitive and I wasn’t getting anything out of going, so I stopped attending.
I met my wife Lisa in 1984 and we were married on July 3, 1988. My wife was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints but was inactive for many years before we met. She had home teachers that would come by the house to share a message with her every now and then. I would escape into another room. Then she had a wonderful home teacher that would visit us quite often and he shared his sad story of his wife dying of cancer. I really liked him a lot and felt so sad for him.
We moved to Laguna Beach and didn’t hear from him for a long time. One day the telephone rang and it was him, and he said that he was going through the ward directory and he came upon Lisa’s name and felt he should contact her and see if he could come and visit. Lisa asked me if it would be okay if her home teacher came by. I replied “yes” that would be fine. He arrived at our home about a half hour later and he brought along with him a recent convert. He introduced us to this new convert and he was this tough looking Marine but when he spoke, he had a very deep but eloquent voice. He started to tell Lisa and I about his conversion story. While he was sharing his conversion story it really hit me and I wanted to feel like he felt. He was raised Catholic like me, and he told us how his wife is a member of the Church but she was inactive like Lisa. He bore his testimony about Jesus Christ and the restored church. At the end of their visit they asked me if I would like to hear more about the church. I thought why not? If anything I will take it as a history lesson. The missionaries started teaching me about the plan of salvation and that we lived with God before we came to this earth. This was all new to me…I remember thinking this makes total sense. They taught me about the apostasy and that the priesthood was taken off the earth after all the apostles were killed, and that the gospel of Jesus Christ was no longer upon the earth. The missionaries taught me about the restoration of the priesthood and how God called a new prophet in these latter days to restore His Church. I was asked to read from The Book of Mormon and they told me that there is a promise, (Moroni 10:3-5).
I really had the desire to know if what I was being taught by the Elders was true. One Sunday morning I went down to my garage to do a load of laundry. As the washing machine was filling up, I began to pray about everything that I was being taught and if The Book of Mormon was true. After I was done with my prayer, I felt this burning in my heart and I felt this warm tingling go throughout my whole body. Then I began to weep and I thought that I needed to control myself or Lisa is going to wonder what’s wrong with me. I tried to control it…of course I couldn’t and I began to weep even more. Lisa opened the door and asked me what was wrong? I couldn’t answer her…. Lisa asked me again are you all right? I remember I turned and looked at her and fell to my knees and cried the hardest I ever cried in my life. The emotions that I was feeling were not of this world. It is like your mind goes blank….all your worries and troubles are gone. It’s probably the feeling we all had, when we were in the presence of our Heavenly Father and that the veil was lifted for that short period of time. This went on for about three minutes. I think the Lord knows we can’t take any more then that. I finally got to my feet again and Lisa asked me, what was that? I said that was the Lord. I felt the presence of the Holy Ghost for the first time in my life and it has changed my life forever.
After you have an experience like this you want to share it with everyone. I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on April 7th, 2001.
About a month after I was baptized into the Church, My younger brother was killed in a car accident in 1991, I was able to go to the San Diego Temple to be baptized for him. It was one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had other than my own conversion. I was about to get out of the font after the baptism and I was overcome by the Holy Ghost and wept like a baby. I fasted and prayed that whole day that I would be able to feel his presence there. I believe the emotions I was feeling were exactly what my brother was feeling.
I am so grateful for the plan of salvation and the important role that our savior Jesus Christ plays in that plan. I know that The Book of Mormon is true and because of that book I know that Jesus is the Christ and that He lives and guides His Church today through His living prophet Thomas S. Monson. I know that the atonement is real and I have felt our saviors love many times in my life. I thank my heavenly Father for sending His son to pay the ultimate sacrifice, that through Him we shall return to live with them again, I leave my testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ.