Dear Brother Albright,
Some years ago, I made the decision to leave my church, a very popular church in Latin America. As a person who likes to study the Bible, I realized that the church of my parents, although full of good people and intentions, had several doctrinal and practical contradictions that were not according to my view of what I expected to find in the true church of Jesus Christ. I did not trust in any other church, I simply decided to be a good Christian and try to follow Jesus in my own way. So my soul was gloomy and thirsty for new knowledge because I felt that His true church was no longer found upon the earth. I felt that I had to be content with my decision, because it was the fruit of long meditation, study and prayer.
I worked as an attorney in a law office and was assisted by Zonia, a hard working secretary who happened to be a Mormon. We had good discussions about religion and she shared with me experiences about her time spent as an LDS missionary, but I usually finished by mocking her because of her practice of paying tithing to such a big foreign church when we lived in such a poor country in South America. Although Zonia had her own economic struggles, she loved serving others. Finally I couldn’t help asking her one day why she enjoyed serving people so much since she had her own burdens. Her answer changed my entire life. She replied simply, “Because my church teaches me to do so.” At that moment I recalled all my feelings about what the real church of Jesus Christ would teach. I had always felt it would be a church where the members would want to serve others with joy. I asked her to show me her church. She invited me to leave the office at the very same moment and drive to the Lima Peru Temple, located some 50 miles from our office. I immediately accepted her invitation.
At the LDS Temple, Zonia introduced me to the Temple President, who happened to be walking in front of the building. He was a kind gentleman who asked a nearby temple worker to tell me more about the Mormon faith. After an hour of intense discussions, asking my best questions, I found all of my questions were answered simply, beautifully and coherently. At that moment, I did not know anything about Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon, but I felt that this was the real Church of Jesus Christ. I felt it in my heart. I asked to be baptized at the very same moment. The temple worker explained me that I needed to first investigate the Church, to learn with the missionaries and attend my assigned ward next Sunday to start my process to be prepared for baptism. I felt a little discouraged at the delays, but I was excited to learn more.
Sunday came, and as usual I woke up a little late and decided not to attend my supposed “LDS ward.” I took my cellphone and observed that I had received a voice message at 2:30 a.m. from a number that I did not know, and a strong male voice said: “I am waiting for you.” Wrong number, I said to myself. I did not have any appointments at 2:30 a.m., but there was another message at 2:31 a.m. and the same voice firmly saying: ” I said, I am waiting for you!” This was strange, so I decided I better go to church! Nobody in the church knew about my phone. I knew my secretary would not do such a thing. As an attorney I interrogated her some days later about this “coincidence,” but I could not find any conspiracy. I knew that such coincidences do not exist in the Kingdom of God. I decided that I had to attend church. I did not know then that I was drinking my last cup of coffee. I clothed very quickly in my Sunday best and went to my ward.
What a warm welcome I received from the members. The bishop asked my name and welcomed me from the pulpit. It was a fast and testimony Sunday, and I enjoyed listening to the local members share their strong testimonies about Jesus Christ and the Church of their love. I felt like home. I could not help but shed tears of joy and gratitude. I had finally found what I was searching for. A month later I was baptized by a young elder who barely knew how to write, but I was sure that he had the true priesthood and authority of God. Of course I invited my wife to investigate the Church with me, but she absolutely refused the idea of changing the faith of our parents and our safe traditions. I explained to her that I needed to follow Jesus Christ and not our parents’ traditions. I needed to do it because I want to be a good husband for her, a good son of my parents, a good father of our future children, and a better person. Most importantly, I wanted to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I explained to her that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the formula, but she remained firm.
I barely knew about Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon and many other doctrines in my new faith when I was baptized, but I knew that its fruits were good and that they could not have come from bad roots. With time and deep spiritual experiences, I acquired my own testimony about Joseph Smith and our modern prophets and leaders, the Book of Mormon, and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I continued learning and growing in my new found faith.
Not without tribulations and wonderful blessings and experiences, some years later my wife decided to be baptized, as my patriarchal blessing assured me would happen. We were sealed in the Temple with my children, and my wife now is a great example to me to follow the gospel with our three children at home. We pay our tithing punctually. I am happily working to increase my faith through, study, meditation, serving others with gratitude, and inviting my relatives and friends to feel this joy as Zonia, my former secretary, did with her example. I have the feeling of being on the right path and the assurance that the best is still yet to come.