Latter-day Saint Life

One Investigator's Life-Changing Response After a Harsh Confrontation with a Mormon


The following is an excerpt from Converted: True Mormon Conversion Stories from 15 Religions.

Alonzo L. Gaskill was born knowing there was a God. Though he was reared in the Greek Orthodox faith and became an altar boy, he did attend the LDS Church once as a teenager after being invited by a friend. "I found the Mormon sacrament meeting a little too void of ritual, and—to be honest—pretty darn boring,” Gaskill admits. It wasn't until Gaskill began attending college and discovered his new town did not have an Orthodox Church that he became acquainted with Mormonism again.

He decided he would attend a different faith each week to learn more about other religions—something he treated as an intellectual experiment rather than a matter of faith. One night, he found himself at an LDS institute building attending FHE. 

After receiving an invitation, Gaskill attended a service project at the institute that Wednesday. After another invitation from members, he came to Church that Sunday. "Well, before long it seemed I was in a Monday/Wednesday/Sunday cycle with my newfound Latter-day Saint friends," Gaskill says.

Here's one powerful moment from his conversion story:

Well, after several months of talking with the missionaries and attending the LDS Church and various activities, I had an experience that was pivotal in my process of conversion. I was at the institute building (where we held our church meetings), and the elders quorum president called me over and asked, rather point-blank, “Alonzo, when are you getting baptized?” I was a bit taken aback by his question, but I replied, “Well, if I knew it was true, I would probably get baptized. But I don’t know that it is true, so I’m not getting baptized unless I know that.”

He asked what I was doing to find out if it was true. I indicated that I had read parts of the Book of Mormon and I had prayed several times about the Church but simply felt that I had not received an answer. So I was uncomfortable moving forward. (I really had prayed many times about the Church and had felt that no answer had come. But, I must admit that the content of my prayers up to that point had basically been, “God, I’m pretty certain there is no way that this could be true. However, if I’m wrong, please let me know.” And then nothing but silence would come. . . .)

The elders quorum president then asked me, “Do you read the Book of Mormon every day?” I informed him that I had a heavy course load and read the Bible every day, but I did not have time to read both every day, and I wasn’t going to stop reading the Bible so that I could read the Book of Mormon instead.

His response to me, as near as I can remember it, was simply this: “Well then, I guess you don’t have time to find out if it’s true. Why don’t you get out of here and come back when you’re really sincere about finding out?”

I was absolutely floored. As I walked out of the building and made my way back to my dorm, I remember milling his words over in my mind, disappointed in his seeming harshness and somewhat saddened that a rather joyful stage of my life had come to an end. However, as I neared my residence, I was struck for the first time with the sense that he was right: If this is true, I really do need to know that. And if it is false, I need to know that also—so that I can move on with my life. . . .

When I arrived at my dorm, I went into my bedroom, locked the door, knelt down next to my bed, and offered up one more prayer regarding the Church, the Book of Mormon, and everything else I had studied over the course of the past few months. And though I had prayed about this before, this time I really felt the importance of getting an answer; I felt a need to be willing to let God tell me—rather than me telling Him—if the Church was true.

As I explained to my Father in Heaven what I was feeling, what I understood about the doctrines of the LDS Church, I begged, “If this is true, I need you to give me something empirical so that I will really know, because it will absolutely devastate my parents if I leave the Orthodox Church to become a Mormon.” As I pled, and then awaited my answer, I heard with clarity these words, “Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith” (Ether 12:6).

And then the thought passed through my mind, Alonzo, you already know it’s true. I cannot give you anything more until you act on what you know. I did not realize at the time that the answer to my prayer had come in the form of words from the Book of Mormon. (Perhaps at some point I had read those words, though I do not recall doing so prior to that prayer.) Unexpectedly, my answer had come and in a way that was significant enough that I would not equivocate. I got off my knees, called my friend Ken, and asked, “How does one get baptized in the Mormon Church?”

On November 25, 1984, I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A week later I was ordained a priest in the Aaronic Priesthood. Less than eight months later I was ordained an elder. And less than one year after my baptism I received a mission call to England. The blessings that have been mine because of my conversion to the restored gospel are too numerous and too profoundly spiritual to describe here. But suffice it to say, every facet of my life has been influenced by the answer that came to my prayer that day.

Lead image from Getty Images

Read more of Gaskill's story and other incredible conversion stories in Converted.

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 fourteen others share their profound stories of conversion to the restored gospel from very different religious backgrounds. These inspiring true stories give you a new perspective on your faith.

Amish: Abe Hockstetler
Atheist: Daniel Ortner
Baptist: Brian Ready
Buddhist: Kanokphol "Young" Limpanasriphong
Episcopalian and Lutheran: Meridith and Randall Casto
Everything: Keonguk Kim
Hindu: Aruna Pichhiika
Jehovah's Witness: Lee Nobleman
Judaism: Mitch Cowitz
Muslim: Nazeera Begum Pathan
Greek Orthodox: Alonzo Gaskill
Reactivated LDS: Kevin Wilson
RLDS: Dennis Cato
Roman Catholic: Beverly Marben


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