MR says: I love this analogy that Cort McMurray shares in his simple yet inspiring conversion story: "Faith is a little like potato salad, or Thanksgiving dressing: everyone has a favorite recipe; everyone is convinced that their recipe is the only way to do it properly; and everyone is horrified by the absolute mess everybody else makes of it. . . .
Faith is not threatened by other recipes. Faith understands that you can’t force feed your spiritual experiences to others, and they can’t force feed you: real faith, lasting faith, isn’t threatened by differing voices. Real faith is respectful. Real faith is tolerant. And real faith is unafraid to embrace all that brings light and truth and love to a tired and careworn world."
For other incredible conversion stories, check out "The Unbelievable Love Story of an Atheist and a Mormon.org Volunteer" or "What Happened When My Rabbi Told Me to Read the Book of Mormon."
I am a Mormon. I haven’t always been: my family converted when I was in grade school, Dad casting off his skeptical, sometimes Presbyterianism for this new faith of golden plates and modern prophets and smiling, dark-suited young men, toting scriptures and riding bicycles, Mom reluctantly following, her Roman Catholicism, the Roman Catholicism of generations of her Polish and Hungarian ancestors, a much harder thing to leave. I went to church and graduated high school and went on a mission, became one of those smiling, scripture-toting young men, dressed in a dark suit and pedaling my bike through the streets of East Los Angeles. I went to college and married a lovely Mormon girl and started a family and kept going to church. I became a bishop, the leader of a Mormon congregation. I held my wife’s hand and watched as our eldest child left for his mission, another smiling, scripture-toting young man, this one sent to pedal his bike in the small farming communities of eastern Nebraska.
I didn’t choose Mormonism, not at first. This was my parents’ conversion. I accepted the move from Our Lady of Czestochowa parish to the Niagara Falls ward without comment, statues and Latin and immaculately-robed priests administering Eucharist in a votive glow giving way to a simple, unadorned chapel and sturdy, unadorned hymns, and the earnest chaos of teenage boys, all wrinkled white shirts and sneakers, passing sacrament to the congregation, because when you’re a kid, you go where your parents go.
When you’re a teenager, you go because there are girls and cookouts and basketball on Wednesday nights, the social connections far more important than principles or doctrines. Soon, social connections aren’t enough. There are other organizations, other girls, other places to play basketball, easier places, places that don’t require any of Mormonism’s heavy lifting. You either slip away, or you find a reason to stay. You find your faith.