a letter from Marvin Goldstein
I would like to share my thoughts on conversion from Judaism to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. First of all, realize that Jewish people do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God. At first, it matters not to a Jewish person which Church is true, (if they ever wonder) but if Jesus Christ is the Savior or not. I do believe that most Jews have had a bit of wonder about the subject, yet did not have the key ingredients in place to get the answer. In my opinion, those key ingredients are:
1) Intent or Desire to know and
2) Faith that you can get the answer.
The idea that Jesus Christ was much more than just a teacher (Rabbi) is foreign to faithful Jews. Jewish doctrine does not include “The Messiah is Jesus Christ” and therefore, the mere mention of it causes most Jewish people to turn the other way and certainly to not listen from the heart. I believe that Jesus Christ’s Sermon on the Mount is exactly what the Jews expect to be taught by their “coming Messiah”. They have just not recognized His name yet.
What will cause their recognition of Jesus Christ as their Savior to come to pass? Only confirmation from the Lord, God himself, and they will have to know beyond any doubt that He was actually talking to them. We know that will happen through the spirit of the Lord, God in His due time. Intent or desire to really know, coupled with Faith will be the prescription for the reality of truth to be revealed to all Jews on the face of the earth. How can we help this to come to pass?
Jewish people appreciate directness and conviction. Here is my advice on how to respond to interest in the Church by Jewish friends and family. Keep in mind, never push your religion on anyone. Use love and kindness in all you do. The Lord knows, and only He does, when and who is ready for information from him.
1) Ask: ” Have you ever, ever wondered, even in the slightest, whether or not Jesus Christ is the Messiah that the Jews are waiting for? ” If you get a “no”, the conversation is over on that topic for that time. If you get the slightest hint of a yes, then you ask:
2) “If you knew for a certainty that the Lord, God could really give you the answer and you really knew it was Him giving it to you, would you want to know? ” If you get a “no”, it’s over for that time. If you get the slightest hint of a yes, then you say:
3) I will have two representatives from my Church along with myself teach you the method by which the Lord will give you this and many more answers to your righteous questions. What evening will be good for you . . . ?
If you get to #3, and if you follow up, you will see a miracle take place as the Lord will bless you in being part of a sure conversion!
My story is unique as is everyone’s, and I will try to give you an abbreviated version now.
First of all, to clear up any mis-conceptions you may have, Judaism and Mormonism aren’t similar, they are exactly the same, up to Jesus Christ and the New Covenant. Orthodox Judaism embraces and understands all of the exactness and symbolic practices of the Temple Ordinances. It in turn then answers the question of why Mormonism feels “familiar and correct” to the Jews seeking answers from the Lord, as the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is presented to them via the Priesthood of God.
Born in 1950, I was raised Jewish, observing all holidays and High Holy days. Jesus Christ was not a part of my family’s religion. We did not celebrate Christmas for obvious reasons. When I got married in 1973 to my wife, Lenae, ( 26 years August 16, ’99 ) she was Presbyterian. We decided to have no religion in our home because of Jesus Christ being a part of her beliefs and not being a part of mine. My family would not come to a wedding in a Church and hers wouldn’t attend a Synagogue, so the wedding was with a Circuit Court Judge in her parent’s back yard.
Seven years passed and Lenae came home one day and said, “There is something missing in my life! I want to know about the scriptures, line upon line, precept upon precept.” I was not happy because I knew she was talking about religion, and more specifically about Jesus Christ! We went to many churches to check out whether or not they had what she was looking for. I only went out of love for my wife. I had no INTENT or DESIRE to know anything more. One day a friend working with my wife asked her to come to the Institute of Religion at the LDS Church in Tallahassee, Florida where we still live. I reluctantly accompanied her to hear lectures by the Institute Director, Robert Millet. (current Dean of Religious Education at BYU, Provo) She found the answers to her void, took the discussions and was baptized by Robert Millet in 1980 in Tallahassee.
I went to Church with her all of the time, yet the “Jesus Christ thing” wasn’t for me. (I had no intent or desire to know!) Many Elders and Sisters visited and tried to teach me and tried to teach me and tried to teach me! They gave me cassette after cassette to listen to saying, “Listen and ask if it is true and the Lord will tell you!” I never did. Three years or so after my wife’s baptism, I agreed to listen and my wife said, “Please listen to this one and TELL ME, if Jesus Christ is the Savior or not!” I said I would. I listen to the tape “BUILDING THE TEMPLE AT JERUSALEM” recorded by W. Cleon Skousen. He was describing the Holy Land and an event that will occur prior to the Second Coming of Christ. INTENT must have snuck in when I heard the following part of the tape; Brother Skousen said, “Prophesy has Jesus Christ returning through the Gate Beautiful in the Old City of Jerusalem. As He passes through the gate, he will be dressed in red. ( I wondered to myself at this point, “Why in red?”) Brother Skousen continued, “He will be dressed in Red for we will recognize Him that He had bled from every pore of His body for us.”
At this point my left upper chest and shoulder area stared to tighten to such an uncomfortable degree, as if there were a vise being closed on me, that I KNEW, who it was from, what is was about and that indeed, Jesus Christ was the Messiah that the Jews have been waiting for! I was scared and unable to tell anyone until months later when an Elder, named Wade Bigler from Ogden, Utah said this to me, “Brother Goldstein, we have been coming here for years! I know that you know that Jesus Christ is the Savior! Would you care to be Baptized?” I looked at him and said “Yes!” The Elder, given the right spirit at the right time, asked and I was unable to skirt the issue because I could no longer deny the truth that I already knew!
I was Baptized on June 2, 1985. Four years later two more miracles would be given to me to be a part of.
1) I was given an impromptu blessing in 1989 in the middle of a meeting in Jacksonville, Florida by an Apostle of The Lord, Marvin J. Ashton, who set me apart as a musical missionary for The Lord, Jesus Christ for the rest of my life. He said, “Brother Goldstein, as you share the gift of music, you will prosper in all things, in all ways and at all times.” And so the Mission continues.
2) October 2, 1989, I baptized my Mother in the Atlantic Ocean at sunrise! She passed to the next life January 12, 1998.
I will share her miraculous story another time.
I love all of you very much and pray for the Lord to bless each and every one of you as he has blessed me and my family.
2001 Meridian Magazine. All Rights Reserved.