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How a Gladys Knight Concert Changed the Life of a Man Who Was Adamant He Would Never Be A Latter-day Saint


Investigating the Mormons

The following day, despite great physical pain from her surgeries, Rachel secured another set of tickets and attended the Gladys Knight concert with her husband again, bringing their kids along. “I felt like he needed more,” she said. “I just wanted to give him that extra push over.”

Rachel also wrote a letter to Brother McDowell, telling him of the effect he’d had on her husband and thanking him. She also asked if there was any way he might be able to speak with her husband for a few minutes after the concert. 

Daryl said that on that second night, it was as if he and William McDowell were having “a personal conversation in front of 1,500 other people.” Daryl said, “He got up there and spoke, and he looked right at me the whole time.” 

Afterward, not only did William McDowell and Gladys Knight bring them back to meet them, but they talked for a long time. Daryl recalls William explaining that although the Church is perfect, the people are not and that there would be people who would let him down. He also gave Daryl his number and told him to text or call him at any time with questions. “If you choose to make this journey,” he said, “I will be there every step of the way.”

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From left to right: Daryl Planks, Gladys Knight, and William McDowell

When Daryl decided to investigate the Church, he held nothing back. He read the Book of Mormon in two weeks and took three lessons a night from the missionaries. He made sure they gave him the pamphlets before each lesson so that he could study ahead of time and come with a list of questions. 

“Our missionaries were amazing,” Rachel said. 

Daryl gets a little teary-eyed when he talks about them. “They were sent there for me. I have no doubt about it.” 

During his investigation, Daryl only came across one thing that concerned him. “I had an issue with the Word of Wisdom,” he said. But it’s not what you’d think. “I had an issue with the meat.” 

Meat and Mormons

 The Word of Wisdom  tells us to eat meat sparingly, but as a guy who sees everything in “black and white” and who loves meat, Daryl had a hard time with that word “sparingly.” 

When Daryl told the missionaries that, they just looked at each other. “So what you’re saying is that you have no issue with anything else we’ve talked about but this?” 

“Yes,” Daryl said. No issues with Joseph Smith. No issues with temples. Just issues with meat. 

Part of the problem was that a week before Daryl had been invited to an elders quorum activity called “Meatapoloza” where the main event was barbequing a couple hundred pounds of meat. 

The missionaries struggled to explain this “grey area.” “I wasn’t hearing them at that point,” Daryl said. “The wall was up.” 

The Elders decided to bring over one of Daryl’s good friends from the ward, Chris Doxsey, whose career was in the health industry. 

“Brother, this is how we look at it,” Chris said. “If you’re sound in body, you’re sound in mind. If you’re sound in mind, you’re sound spiritually. We just want you to do what’s best for your body so you’re body does what’s best for your mind so you do what’s best for your spirit.” 

“Well, why didn’t you say that?” Daryl asked. His friend’s message had clicked. 

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