After 20 Years, Indifferent No More

“After 20 Years, Indifferent No More,” Ensign, Jan. 2001, 71–72

After 20 Years, Indifferent No More

When my son joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the early 1970s, I did not oppose him, but neither was I much interested in hearing about his new church. Without pressuring me, my son tried to share the gospel message. He gave me books, pamphlets, and other material that I left unread on my bookshelf. I had been reading the Bible for many years and supposed that was sufficient religion in my life.

In 1988 my wife died, and for years afterward I felt lonely and depressed. One day in February 1993, I heard a voice tell me to join the Mormon Church. At that time I would not have understood the message if I had been given the true name of the Church. I was surprised by the voice; I was alone and didn’t know where it had come from. When the message was repeated, I was extremely impressed.

As was my custom at that time of day, I went out to jog. That particular day I happened to meet two Latter-day Saint missionaries. They gave me a pamphlet, and when I read it I remembered what had happened earlier. I felt that the two experiences and their timing were not coincidental.

A little while later, Elders Shaun Yusko and Tryon Clark knocked on my door. They were surprised when I welcomed them into my home and told them what had happened. A warm spirit filled the room, and I was filled with the desire to be baptized.

I went to my son’s house to tell him I wanted to join the Church. He looked at me with love and smiled calmly. He said he was not surprised; his patriarchal blessing had assured him I would eventually be converted. He baptized me, and before we stepped out of the baptismal font, we embraced, overcome with emotion. I was 76 years old. Twenty years of indifference were over.

It so happened that I lived within the boundaries of a newly organized branch in Venezuela, and four months after my baptism I was called to serve as branch president. With little experience I was able to fulfill the calling by trusting in the Lord’s help, studying the standard works and the Church manuals, and receiving counsel from my son, who was then serving as a bishop. I was also blessed by the dedication of one of the sisters in the branch who became my wife.

My life has changed completely. I feel immensely happy working in the branch. I love the members and feel their support and the support of my wonderful family. I only wish I hadn’t been so indifferent when the gospel first entered my life. I’ll be eternally grateful I was given another chance.