Latter-day Saint Life

What Happened When My Rabbi Told Me to Read the Book of Mormon

When I told my parents I wanted to investigate Mormonism, they encouraged me to meet with my Rabbi. Her response was something I didn't expect.

I would like to share my conversion story with you—to help others who are searching for the truth learn what light can come into your life from embracing the gospel, and to encourage you to share your light with the world.

I have been searching for God my entire life. My story is a testimony of the power of faith and God’s love for His children.

I was born and raised in a Jewish home. My father always had trouble believing in God, so neither God nor Jesus Christ were spoken of in my home. In my synagogue, I was taught from an early age that Jesus Christ was a false prophet, and to cringe upon hearing his name. Although I didn’t learn much about my relationship with God from my parents, I did inherit from them a thirst for knowledge and truth, a love for service, the value of friendship, and a talent for music.

From the time I was very young I wanted to believe in God and learn how I could get to know him better, but I didn’t know where to find him. These desires led me to ask everyone I knew about their beliefs. Most of them professed to believe in Jesus Christ, but couldn’t answer my questions and doubts. I looked at the world around me and thought, “The world is too perfect—there must be a god.”

When I was twelve I decided to believe in God. To me, God was the part of my conscience that led me to do good things, to choose the right, and to love and serve others. It was the warm feeling that I got when I knew that I had done what He wanted me to do. The spirit through the light of Christ was preparing me to receive the gospel.

My decision to believe led me to seek truth even more fervently, and to surround myself with righteous, supportive, and uplifting friends. I found them through the wind symphony, and by developing my talent as a musician, by the time I was 16, I had surrounded myself with eight of the best friends you could ask for, and some of the best high school musicians in the state.

One day around that time, the missionaries knocked on my front door. I told them that I was Jewish and not to waste their time on me. The next day, I shared my experience with my friends, and commented, “Who in the world would want to spend two years of their life knocking on doors? What a waste of time and money!” Four of them responded that the two men were in fact missionaries from their church.

I couldn’t believe my ears—half of my best friends were Mormon. I learned that there was only a handful of active members of the Church at my high school, four of which were in the top wind symphony with me. That was no mere coincidence. Heavenly Father knew and prepared each of us to share and receive the gospel. These wonderful friends were faithful and strong in the gospel. They were clean and kept the commandments. They answered all my questions and taught me that as a child of God, I could get to know Him through prayer.

My friends were righteous examples and followers of Jesus Christ. With the Holy Ghost as their constant companion, I felt differently around them—it was a good feeling—happier than I had ever been. I felt this happiness every time I entered into their homes. I wanted to be like them, to have what they had—to be happy.

I knew that everything they had taught me up to this point was true, but one question remained: what was I going to do about it?

Concerned with my growing interest in the Church, my parents encouraged me to meet with my Rabbi. She told me to stop investigating the Church, then asked if I had read the Book of Mormon. When I told her I hadn't, she said I should read it--that way I would know that it all was a bunch of lies.

That night, I decided to take up the challenge.

I asked my friend for a copy of the Book of Mormon to know for myself if it was true. She directed me to Moroni’s promise and testified that if I studied and pondered the messages of the Book of Mormon and prayed with faith, that I would gain a testimony of my own.

I said a prayer asking for inspiration as I read, then began the journey with Lehi and his family. I couldn’t put the book down. When I finally remembered that I had to get some sleep, I once again read Moroni’s promise, and knelt down to pray. What happened next I can only describe as the most sacred experience of my life. I knew the answer before I opened my mouth to pray. The spirit testified the truth to my heart, mind, and soul so powerfully that in an instant I knew that the book was true, the Church was true, Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and that I needed to be baptized.

I waited patiently until I turned 18 so that I could meet with the missionaries and be baptized. I experienced opposition from my family and community every step of the way, but I never doubted what Heavenly Father had told me to do. I graduated high school and the very next Sunday I attended church for the first time and introduced myself to the missionaries. A few weeks later I was baptized.

One year later I entered the temple and served a mission in Argentina, where, as an instrument of the Lord, I was able to find and teach those who, like me, were searching for the truth. When I returned home I anxiously began to search for an eternal companion. It didn’t take very long. I met a beautiful, smart, hard-working, and righteous woman. We were sealed for time and eternity later that summer.

I am so grateful to have found and embraced the gospel so early in my life. It has brought me peace, hope, purpose, and joy. I love my Heavenly Father, who has guided me by His spirit from the beginning. I am grateful for the righteous friends He put in my path to introduce me to the gospel.

I know with certainty that the musical talent He has blessed me with was no accident—He knew exactly the mixture of friends and experiences that I needed to have in order to receive the gospel. That is why I keep playing: to share with the world my love for Him, and to thank Him for all He has done for me.

I promise that as you develop your talents, become righteous examples to your friends, share the gospel by the Spirit, and use the Book of Mormon, you will be led to many people who are seeking the truth, and your lives will be full of immeasurable happiness.

Lead image retrieved from iStock

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