“How Could I Believe Him?” Ensign, July 1983, 49
My friend Dave had just joined the Church, and for some reason he wanted to share his newly found faith with a friend. So he came after me! He explained so many new concepts to me that my interest was immediately kindled. The only thing was, I wanted to oppose them, not accept them.
We talked for almost three months, ten to fifteen hours a week in interesting and deep discussions. But no matter how good his story sounded I still wasn’t convinced. I thought I knew Dave too well; his change seemed incomplete and phony at the time. So how could I believe him?
One night he caught me with my guard down and asked if I would go with him to an Institute of Religion party. I had nothing else to do, so I went. Never in my life did I have more fun! Good, clean fun. Two things there really influenced my joining the Church. First, I found out that Mormons could laugh and have fun. All I had seen of the Church up to that time was the deep discussions between Dave and myself. Second, I learned that LDS people are really warm and friendly. They took me in as though I belonged there.
Well, that started it. I began going to other functions, like Religious Emphasis Week, where I met an institute director for the first time, and I heaped my hardest questions on him. He destroyed my objections as he answered all my questions and helped me feel positive about the Church. I guess the biggest thing about the institute in my conversion was that I was able to see great people actually living an unbelievable religion. And also I could see that LDS students were not unfeeling and cliquish as I had been told. They would gladly take anyone in and be his friend.
As I look back on my first contacts with the institute, I have come to a few conclusions: (1) It doesn’t matter what the institute activities are, we have the truth and anyone seeking truth will see our light whether it’s in playing games or in an all-out Religious Emphasis Week. (2) LDS students should never be afraid to take their friends to an activity. Sometimes we grow used to the same old things, but to a nonmember they are new, different, and exciting. (3) The whole world is seeking friendship—and many are seeking the truth of the gospel—and all we have to do is sincerely offer it.