That Book Is True
    Footnotes
    Theme

    “That Book Is True,” Ensign, Dec. 1983, 23

    “That Book Is True”

    It had been a frustrating day. Of all the ways to get from São Bernardo do Campo to São Paulo, Brazil, I had once again managed to pick the slowest. As I sat and waited for my train, now more than an hour overdue, I turned over in my mind the day’s most puzzling occurrence. After teaching my regular English class in São Bernardo do Campo, I had been on my way to catch the express bus for São Paulo. Suddenly I felt impressed to call my boss in São Paulo. When my call finally went through ten or fifteen minutes later; my boss was out of the office. And, by that time, I had missed the express bus. Instead of taking a slower bus, I went to the train station. As luck would have it, though, I also missed the train. And now the next scheduled train was over an hour late. So much for my “inspiration,” I thought. It must have been my overactive imagination.

    When the train finally arrived, there was no place to sit and not much room to stand. The nearest space was in front of a long-haired fellow wearing bib overalls and carrying a guitar. Not seeming to notice my mood, he struck up a conversation. His name was João Batista, he said, and he had once liked American rock music but now played his guitar “for Jesus.” He and his friend were on their way to a Christian commune in the interior of Brazil, where they hoped to proselyte among the rural poor.

    I considered mentioning the Church, but decided it would be useless. I had met people like him before. They always seemed too committed to their own life-style to take interest in a more traditional church.

    The matter would have ended there had João not seemed to read my mind. “What is your religion?” he enquired. I tried to say something that sounded open-minded—that I was a Mormon, that I thought his work in the interior was commendable. But, as soon as I had said the word Mormon, João’s face lighted up. He pulled a Book of Mormon out of his pack. “Look what the Lord showed me,” he said enthusiastically.

    This made me feel bolder. “That book is true,” I stammered.

    “I know it is,” came his reply.

    João then explained that he had felt something was missing from his spiritual life. After fasting for direction for two days, he had stumbled across a neglected copy of the Book of Mormon in a friend’s bookcase. He read it and received a testimony of its truthfulness.

    And now, because I had missed my usual bus, I was able to talk to him. Suddenly, the strange impression I had received earlier that day made sense and I began in earnest to explain the gospel to him.

    João was soon baptized and went on to help convert several members of his family. He served a mission, married in the temple, and is now an elders quorum president and a spiritual leader in the Church in Brazil.

    Illustrated by Cary Henrie