Finding the Humility to Finally Listen
The sisters took their things and left; and I immediately found myself doing some serious soul-searching. How many things had I dismissed that I now needed to go back and—for the first time—sincerely listen to and consider? How many things had my arrogance prevented me from hearing? As the thoughts flooded my mind, I had to confess that the LDS Church, as an international religion, was eagerly engaged in bringing the gospel truth to any who were willing to listen. (As a Witness, this was something of paramount importance to me—and something I largely assumed no one other than the Witnesses was doing.)
I suddenly realized that the message of the Mormons was united and clear—something most Christian denominations could not claim. And, more importantly, the people matched their message. They were the epitome of the description Christ gave of His faithful followers. I suddenly knew that I needed to know more. I realized that I needed to shut up and listen; I needed to actually try to understand what they were teaching, instead of just trying to refute every little thing they said. I called the sisters and invited them back, asking if we could start over again. And we did.
We started from square one. They taught me what they had taught me before, but I actually listed this time—not only with my ears, but also with my heart. Many months passed, and I eventually joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have to admit, I didn’t want to. I suppose that stubborn part of me still didn’t want to acknowledge that for so many years I believed something that wasn’t true—and I taught that inaccurate view of the gospel to many, many people. So I struggled to humble myself sufficiently to want to be baptized, but I did it out of obedience to my Father.
Giving Up So Much to Embrace the Gospel
Truth be told, beyond stubbornness, one of the things that made conversion so hard was the fear of having to walk away from all of my friends, from all of the people and things that had, for so many years, given my life meaning and direction. Learning that I had been wrong in my beliefs was like having the rug pulled out from beneath me, and it didn’t just require a change in my doctrinal beliefs—it required a complete change in my life. I was going to lose a lot to embrace what I felt I had gained. Just gaining a testimony was a grueling process, but this next step would take a great deal of faith. As would be expected, when I told the elders who presided over the Witness congregation I attended that I was joining the LDS Church, they indicated that I was in a state of apostasy—and I was disfellowshipped (which is the Witness term for excommunicated). Those who had been my closest friends now shunned me, and I was completely cut off. It was so very painful. I lost a great deal of weight—I suppose because of the stress—and I was, in many ways, devastated. But, gratefully, with the support of the many missionaries who had taught me, along with the help of the amazing members of my ward, I was able to muster the faith to embrace what I now knew to be true. . . .
As I look back on my life prior to my conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I feel much as Paul must have on the road to Damascus, determined and certain until blinded with almost overwhelming purity. For Paul, that purity came in the form of the resurrected Lord, but for me, it came in the form of a testimony borne by two valiant daughters of our God.
Read more inspiring stories from Converted: True Mormon Conversions Stories from 15 Religions.
Before Alonzo Gaskill was a popular BYU professor and best-selling author, he was an altar boy in the Greek Orthodox Church. Discover his journey firsthand as he and 14 others share their profound stories of conversion to the restored gospel from very different religious backgrounds—from Amish to Atheist and Muslim to Hindu. These inspiring true stories give you a new perspective on your faith.