I Couldn’t Ignore the Voice
January 1994

“I Couldn’t Ignore the Voice,” Ensign, Jan. 1994, 62–63

I Couldn’t Ignore the Voice

When I began working in downtown New York for the summer, I was eager to see the sights. My lunch hour came, and I was off to sightsee. One of the first things that I noticed was a sign that read, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Nearby was a sign identifying a Church visitors’ center.

The building didn’t look like other Christian churches I’d seen, so my curiosity got the best of me. I peeked through the double glass doors, but after a brief examination, I walked away.

Still curious the next day, I headed in the same direction for lunch. As I passed the sign, I heard a whispering voice say, Go in. I stopped dead in my tracks and looked around to see if anyone was near me. Again I heard the same words, this time much louder and clearer. Again I turned around, trying to find the person who was speaking to me, but no one was there. I didn’t know quite how to react, so I walked away quickly.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the voice. My mind was flooded with thoughts of the Lord, and I strongly felt his Spirit throughout the day. The next day, after debating whether I should pass that way again, I decided to go the opposite way. No sooner had I started to walk in the other direction than an overwhelming power of the Spirit came upon me, and I soon found myself in front of the LDS visitors’ center again. I don’t remember how long I stood at the doors, but as I stood there, I felt the Spirit of the Lord increase and heard a voice say, Go in; there you shall learn about Jesus Christ. The voice was clear and gentle, and there was something about it I could no longer ignore. I immediately went into the center.

There I met an older missionary couple, who greeted me with enthusiasm. The woman asked if I wanted a tour of the visitors’ center. I asked her if there was a place where I could pray, and she showed me into a small chapel. There were no adornments, neither crosses nor picturesque statues of the Savior, yet I felt at home there. After I had finished praying, I went downstairs, and the woman escorted me through the visitors’ center. As she told me about the Book of Mormon and the Joseph Smith story, I could sense that she really believed what she was saying. But it wasn’t enough to convince me.

The Church’s doctrine was very different from my own religious beliefs, so I challenged everything she told me. After a while, Sister Miller bore her testimony and then simply invited me to pray about the things she had told me. I left the visitors’ center confused—I didn’t know whether to forget about the things I had heard or pray and investigate the Church further.

Although I tried to convince myself that I was foolish for having the desire to explore such strange doctrine, I needed to know if the things I had heard were true. The next day I went back to the visitors’ center, and about two weeks later, I agreed to hear the missionary discussions. I prayed, studied the scriptures daily, and fasted when I could. After some time, I felt the Spirit of the Lord, and my understanding increased. In fact, I had never felt the Spirit so strongly before. When the missionaries invited me to be baptized, I recognized that the principles of the gospel were true, even though I still fought the idea of baptism.

Twenty-one years old at the time, I was afraid of losing my friends and family if I joined the Church. My friends criticized the Church. My family expressed great concern. Finally I decided I would invite my mother to see what the Church was all about. One Saturday evening, Elder and Sister Miller gave her a tour of the visitors’ center, and she sat through one of the missionary discussions. She was at peace with what she saw and told me that the decision to join the Church was mine.

On 3 February 1979, I accepted the missionaries’ invitation and was baptized. The night before my baptism, I dreamed about the distinctions between good and evil, distinctions the gospel makes clear. That dream confirmed all the things I had learned as I prepared for baptism. I awoke knowing I could trust in the Lord and knowing that the Church was true.

The next day, my mother and my newfound friends, the Millers, attended as I entered the waters of baptism. I had come a long way, thanks to a visitors’ center and the voice of the Spirit whispering, Go in.

  • Jill Johnson is a Primary teacher in the Richardson First Ward, Richardson Texas Stake.