I Just Knew We Were Not Alone

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“I Just Knew We Were Not Alone,” Ensign, Feb. 2001, 64–65

I Just Knew We Were Not Alone

As a five-year-old child, I lived with my parents in Great Falls, Montana, where my father was stationed in the U.S. Air Force. I used to go outside and lie under the trees, look up at the sky, and think about all those other people just like me who were on other planets out there. I just knew we were not alone. I’d think about it a lot, but I kept it all to myself.

When I was about seven, my parents were transferred to Europe, where we lived until I was 16. As a result of my father’s assignments as a pilot, I became fluent in German, Norwegian, and French, and my parents hoped I would acquire a doctorate in languages. Education was a high family priority: my grandfather was an architect, and my mother’s stepfather was a bacteriologist.

We returned from Europe in November 1959 and soon visited relatives in Sacramento, California, where I learned that my cousin Dean had joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was preparing for a mission. He asked me what I knew about premortal life. I told him I just knew there were other places outside of this earth with other people, that we had wanted to come here, and that we were persons before we came here.

His immediate response was, “Where did you hear all that?” He said no other church on earth taught these truths the way the LDS Church did. At that instant I knew his church was true; I just knew it. Then there began hours of talking about the plan of salvation.

Soon our family returned to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where my father was stationed. I knew no one in the Church, had never seen one of their meetinghouses, and had never had any Church association except those conversations with my cousin. But I was intrigued and wanted to know more, so I went to the public library and checked out everything to do with the Church.

There were about 20 books, some of them fiction, but most of the books were anti-Mormon. I read everything. I know it may be amazing to others, but despite the numerous anti-Mormon expressions in so much of what I read, nothing persuaded me away from what I was thinking about this Church. As I read, good things would come out and stay in my mind, and faulty thinking and erroneous motives became so transparent that all of the negative material just drifted away. Most of the books were quite old. I didn’t care—I wanted to read everything I could about the Church. While I read, I felt what I later learned was the Holy Ghost influencing me.

As a result of my library search, I knew I had to make contact with Church members. In the phone book, I saw that there were two Church meetinghouses in town. I memorized the addresses because I thought if I wrote them down, I would lose them.

At this time my parents were building a home on the outskirts of Albuquerque. We would visit it nearly every day. As we drove out to our home, there was an open space of desert and then a building about a block behind the open space. As we passed by the building, I had a feeling that it was special. I thought, I wonder if that’s a Mormon church. I asked my parents to drive over so I could see it, but they would not. Finally, weeks later we moved into our new home, and I started riding the school bus to a high school where I was a junior at the time. When the bus passed by that building, I had a burning feeling inside. That night I looked up the addresses again. Sure enough, the building we passed was on Haines, where one of the meetinghouses was located.

Every day I would feel the same feeling as the bus drove by. Finally I could stand it no longer. As I was sitting with Gaye Kennedy, a friend from my geometry class, I blurted out, “I think that’s a Mormon church over there. Do you know anything about the Mormons?” She answered, “Yes, I’m LDS. Would you like to go to church with me?”

We went to the Second Ward, the ward she lived in. Afterward she said if I wanted to continue attending church she would introduce me to people in my ward, the Fourth. One of them was a fellow student, Earl Bushman, who lived around the corner. He volunteered to take me to church on Sundays.

Soon the friends I ran around with were Church youth. They said I really ought to see the missionaries. I asked my parents if the missionaries could come to our home, but they said no, although they let me attend Sunday services and youth activities. Finally I met with the missionaries at the meetinghouse because I could ride my bicycle there, and they asked me what I knew about the Church. I remember saying I knew all there was to know because I had done so much reading. But my response to their very first question brought laughter from everyone. They asked, “Who is the President of the Church?”

I said, “That’s easy: Heber J. Grant.” They burst out in giggles. It soon became clear that the books I had read, most of which were printed in the 1930s, were out of date. Heber J. Grant had died in 1945. From that experience, I immediately learned about being teachable.

Everything about the missionary lessons only confirmed things I felt I already knew and redoubled my desire to join the Church. But my parents would not permit it until I was 18. However, as I neared the close of my senior year, they relented, as they knew I planned to do it in June, when I turned 18. Yet they would not attend my baptism.

I remember that my fourth-year French teacher, not a member herself, attended out of kindness toward me. She knew that to me my baptism was an important step and that I was doing it without family backing.

I was always so impressed how the Lord raised up support at this special time. Since then, I have never been without friends and loved ones in the Lord’s family, millions throughout the earth!

In the 39 years since my baptism, the blessings our Father in Heaven has given me and my husband, Ivin, and our eight children have reconfirmed countless times my feelings and thoughts about the value of this, the Lord’s Church.

Illustrated by Brian Call