Just Call Me Brother
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“Just Call Me Brother,” Liahona, Aug. 2002, 44–46

“Just Call Me Brother”

The April morning sun colored each detail of the spacious, modern, cream-colored building. The building was surrounded by green grass, and it looked like it might be a school. We walked through the door carrying carpet-cleaning catalogs under our arms.

Erika, my fiancée, was helping me make sales calls; we were trying to find new clients for the company I represented. The heels of our shoes, worn down from walking, clicked on the red-brick floor. As we continued down the hall we both realized that this building was a church. We proceeded cautiously because we did not know what customs and rules might apply here.

I wondered if this church might have red carpets like the ones I had sometimes seen used for weddings. But everything in this building was simple, yet elegant.

A group of friendly children and young people greeted us, and Erika asked them who we should see.

“Robert Vázquez,” replied a small boy. “I’ll get him for you.”

I glanced at Erika and quietly told her that if they tried to convert us, we would say we had another appointment and escape to her house.

I was completely satisfied with the religion of my parents. Although I was not completely devout, neither was I a black sheep. I was one of those irregular little lambs who attended church according to the season. But through sermons, Bible study, and moral lessons, I had become convinced of the existence of a loving Heavenly Father; of His Son, Jesus Christ, who atoned for our sins; and of the Holy Ghost. I had been taught about commandments and ordinances. I also knew of our undeniable imperfection as mortal beings.

I considered myself against money offerings, idol worship, and every other superstition or precept not founded on divine love and justice. I had been taught to pray and worship God without the intervention of saints. I believed in love, humility, service, the dangers of judging others, and the balm of forgiveness. I knew many members of my church who were virtuous, righteous, and exemplary. It seemed just short of impossible to consider another religion.

Holding Erika’s hand, I arrived at a room that seemed to be a classroom. There I met Mr. Vázquez.

“What shall I call you? Father? Reverend? Pastor?” I asked.

“Just call me Brother,” he replied. He invited us to go with him to services on the following day, and I was surprised to find myself accepting his invitation.

The next day Erika and I went to a Sunday School class. We were introduced to names like Nephi, Moroni, and Helaman. I felt as if I were in a foreign land without an interpreter. Nevertheless, both Erika and I felt there was something familiar about the ideas we were hearing. They sounded similar to those in the Bible. And so I dared to raise my hand, and I stood and affirmed that Jesus Christ was our greatest example of humility because He always subjected Himself to the will of the Father. Brother Jorge Montoya, our teacher, agreed with what I said. That surprised me. What kind of church was this where even a heretic, which is what I thought I must be to members of the Church, could speak and have the teacher agree?

So we continued attending. I received a Book of Mormon and read it in a single week. I gained a testimony, took the missionary discussions, and was baptized and confirmed on 3 May 1996.

The next day I felt as if I were walking around with a 100-watt lightbulb over my head. I was so happy I went out of my way to help strangers.

The following month Erika and I were married. And on 29 September I had the privilege of baptizing her. A year later we were sealed in the México City México Temple.

Best of all, I never felt that I had to leave the road I had been traveling in my former religion. My former knowledge was embraced and perfected by the true Church of Jesus Christ. My conversion was like passing from the light of a cloudy day into the greater light of a sunny day—like rowing a boat and someone starts the motor.

I realize there are many righteous, good, and holy people in other religions. Although they do not have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, they are illuminated by the Light of Christ. Still I wonder how we can help these good people see that the exceedingly bright light of Jesus Christ makes the lanterns, streetlights, and candles of other beliefs inadequate. There is no greater truth than pure truth, and pure truth encompasses and perfects the true beliefs of all good people throughout the world.

I know now that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church that contains the fulness of truth. And I know that Jesus Christ has opened His arms and the doors of His house to all who wish to follow Him.

I did not sell any carpet-cleaning services that morning in April. In fact I have never sold a single square meter of carpet cleaning to any member of the Church. Nevertheless, I am sure that in that single day I gained more—a thousand times more—than anyone could have imagined.

  • José Bataller Sala is a member of the Ermita Ward, México City México Ermita Stake.