How the Book of Mormon Spurred 3 Amish Families to Risk Everything and Join the Church
Contributed By Aubrey Eyre, Church News staff writer
- Reading the Book of Mormon and feeling the Holy Ghost helped three Amish families convert to the restored gospel.
“I knew that the gospel of Jesus Christ had come to the Amish community, and I knew that I was the vessel that the Lord had chosen to use for that to happen. I knew if I followed the Holy Ghost day by day that Heavenly Father would help me navigate through this maze.” —Raymond Weaver
As the son of an Amish bishop, Raymond Weaver had never considered investigating other religions or churches. “I was Amish with no intentions of ever changing that,” Weaver said.
Weaver knew that being baptized as a member of another church would jeopardize both his family relationships and his entire way of life, but just six weeks after his friend Harry Proudfoot handed him a copy of the Book of Mormon in September 2011, he began to consider the possibility of leaving his community.
“I knew that this was the Lord’s Church,” Weaver told LDSLiving, recalling how he felt after reading the Book of Mormon. “I knew I had some tough choices to make.”
Deciding to be baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would mean he could no longer be a part of the community Weaver had worshipped with for 35 years. So, in November 2011, after a number of sleepless nights, he made the decision to pray to his Father in Heaven for guidance.
“I knew that the gospel of Jesus Christ had come to the Amish community, and I knew that I was the vessel that the Lord had chosen to use for that to happen,” Weaver said. “I knew if I followed the Holy Ghost day by day that Heavenly Father would help me navigate through this maze.”
That was the beginning of a life-changing journey of faith for many. Weaver’s experience that fall would lead to the conversion of his family, along with the conversion of two additional families from their Amish community.
The decision of the three families stunned the Knox County, Ohio, community. But despite losing family, friends, and businesses, each of the three families found peace in their new faith, even as they worked to redefine their lives after being shunned by their community.
The Hochstetlers on the day they were sealed together as a family, with President and Sister Birch. Photo courtesy of the Hochstetler family.
The Troyer family in Ohio. Photo courtesy of the Troyer family.
The Troyer family today. Photo courtesy of the Troyer family.