Not Your Usual Convert
June 2000

“Not Your Usual Convert,” New Era, June 2000, 14

Special Issue: Your Mission

Not Your Usual Convert

I was already a member, but my testimony had gone downhill until I spent a day on the mountain with my Book of Mormon and got the lift I needed.

I’m not what most people would consider a convert to the Church. I was baptized when I was eight, and I have gone to church all my life. But when it came time to serve a mission, I decided not to go.

I thought about a mission, and I even prayed about it. But I never felt that I received an answer. I decided I didn’t want to go on a mission for someone who didn’t answer my prayers.

As the months went by and my friends started to leave for their missions, I started to grow farther away from the Church. Soon I quit going to church altogether. Before long I noticed I wasn’t very happy with my life. I couldn’t understand it. I was going to college and working at a ski resort. I had a nice car and a girlfriend. But I still wasn’t happy. It was about this time that the stake president’s secretary called me for an appointment. I couldn’t imagine why the stake president wanted to see me, but I went ahead and set up a time.

When I arrived at his office, the stake president said, “You probably wonder why I wanted to speak with you tonight.” I told him that I did. He explained that he was talking with all the young men of the stake who were my age to find out what they were doing with their lives.

Oh great, I thought, another person who’s going to tell me to go on a mission. But the stake president surprised me when he told me that my decision about a mission was between me and the Lord. We talked about my plans for the future, and then he said, “I want you to do two things for me. Will you pray and read the Book of Mormon?”

I told him that I would, even though I had no real intention of doing so. But over the next few days, I couldn’t get the stake president’s words out of my head: “Pray and read the Book of Mormon.”

One morning a couple of days later, I got up and got ready for work. Before I left, I grabbed my mom’s old copy of the Book of Mormon and stuck it in my backpack. That day, I was assigned to work at one of the slowest lifts at the resort. As I was sitting in the top shack, I decided to read some of the Book of Mormon. I’ve read 1 Nephi about 300 times, so I decided to start at Jacob and read from there. I remembered that when you read the scriptures, you are also supposed to pray to know if they’re true, so I offered a brief but sincere prayer, and then began my reading. I read Jacob, then Enos, Jarom, and Omni. The crew foreman called and told me someone was going to come and relieve me for lunch. I told him I’d like to skip lunch and stay at that lift the rest of the day. I kept reading.

By the end of the day I had read from Jacob to Alma, and I understood it. I had an overwhelming feeling to share the things that I had read with everyone that I could. The things I read made me happy. I felt excited but also peaceful. I knew that the Book of Mormon was true. There was no way to deny it.

Earlier I had felt that the Lord hadn’t answered my prayer about whether to serve a mission or not. What I hadn’t thought about is the fact that I already had an answer. I already knew that it is the responsibility of every young man to serve a mission.

Although I’m not what most people would consider a convert to the Church, that day at the ski lift I was converted, and the desire I felt to share the things I read stayed with me. I’m now serving a mission in San Bernardino, California. I’m so grateful that I didn’t pass up this chance to serve.

Illustrated by Sam Lawlor