Tuesday, May 24, 2011

From Mormonism to Catholicism; My Conversion Part III

Well, if you've been able to stay even remotely interested in this, I think it's time to finish my conversion story. You can read the first part of my conversion from Mormonism to Catholicism here and there is a link to the my first conversion post there. :)

So, here I was yearning a bit for this real Communion that Jason had discussed with me; this connection to Our Lord that seemed to be available only to Catholics and yet, I was so involved in the lives of all of my Mormon friends and feeling accepted and loved by all of them. My first "calling" (aka job) in the Mormon church was teaching Sunday School to 8 year olds. I thoroughly enjoyed this, but honestly, I never taught them anything about the Book of Mormon. They rotate and the year I was doing this teaching we were learning about the New Testament. The focus was on things like Christ being God's only begotten son; things that I knew about all throughout my life. Nothing seemed weird at all. About the time I really began to question things, I was switched to teaching Young Women's and the year changed and the focus became more on the BoM and I found more and more inconsistencies with certain aspects.

I sat in to learn a bit about genealogy one Sunday and I was informed by the woman teaching us that I needed to hurry up and get married because if I died unmarried, they would just "pick" someone to marry me to in the temple. :-O Yikes! That was odd. After a discussion with Jason about the "Great Apostasy" I found myself using the info from the Mormon church in conjunction with the Bible to see if I could "prove" it. Well, funny thing, all the supposed proof in the Bible, if you read the context, is really about other things. The "proof" for the BoM stumped me for a while, Jason and I had discussed the part of Revelation where John says that no more can be added to that. When I went to my Mormon scholars, they informed me that the truth is that Revelation was probably written much earlier than other books of the Bible, and it's placement at the end wasn't because of the order when it was written. As I said, I did not know much biblical history, so I honestly didn't question it. When I took this back to Jason he pointed me to some information where I could look it up and learn for myself. But I didn't. Yet. I think by this point Jason was almost giving up on my conversion. We tried to stop talking about it. It was the elephant in the room all the time and our friendship was seriously strained.

Around this time, my Mormon friends were working on getting me "Temple ready" and had in fact planned my first trip to the Temple. The first trip was supposed to be to do Baptisms of the Dead, but it would be shortly after that when I would go for the real deal. Literally the night before we were scheduled to leave there was a snow storm. And I don't mean just any old snow storm, this was the beginning of the SE Colorado Blizzard of '06. We got 36 inches. We did not go to the Temple. When it was rescheduled there was another snow storm that stopped it. I am not kidding, I am certain that God was intervening in a very real, very physical way. After the second trip was cancelled I had enough questions that I told them I didn't feel ready or OK with taking part in it.

By this time Jason and I had decided not to discuss my conversion specifically, as it was the only way we could stay friends. So, you're wondering what the deciding factor was? Well, it was a conversation I was not part of. I was working in the office filing and two of my coworkers were chatting about various things and came to discussing religion. One of the ladies, a Protestant Christian asked the other, a Catholic, if she believed there was marriage in Heaven. The Catholic said, she wasn't sure, but she didn't think it would be the same. Now, this perked my interest because one of the BIGGEST selling points of Mormonism is that it is the only religion that allows for Celestial, Eternal marriage. The Protestant said "well, I don't, in fact Christ says that there is no marriage in Heaven in the Bible." And I said "WHAT?!" Again, I had so little knowledge of the Bible I had never heard this line. I sent a text message to Jason and asked him for the reference, he gave it to me and I went home and poured over my KJV Bible that I had gotten from my mom, not the Mormon one.

Then I started asking questions of my Mormon coworkers and friends, and finally I saw how their responses were not satisfactory. They would lead me somewhere but when that raised more questions they would turn to the standard Mormon answer of "logics does not have to be involved, we are talking about the Holy Spirit burning in your bosom". My standard answer to that at this point was that if I read a novel based on a fictional character living during Christ's time it is likely that it would leave a good feeling for me, but that wouldn't mean it was inspired. Privately I held that I knew Satan could mimic those good feelings. I also started asking questions of Jason again, but he was a little more guarded, he did give me a book of the Wisdom of the Church Fathers to read, but more on that in a moment. I also spoke to one of my Mormon friends' daughter who was attending a Baptist church along with the girl I rode to PTA school with who is a non-denominational Christian. Where they led I followed. Except on the point that there isn't "One" true church. I couldn't buy that, I mean, here I am following the Bible throughout my disassociation from the Mormons, using it to "disprove" aspects of the BoM, and Christ said He would be with us even to the end of time. So there must be some way for Him to guide us. He must have had a plan, and that plan must have been specific.

So, I read that book of the wisdom of the Church Fathers that Jason gave me. And what do you know? They were all Catholic. Even better, they discussed the Eucharist. That one, special way to bring Heaven to Earth and have Christ TRULY present. Then Jason agreed to take me to Daily Mass and explain things to me. We sat in the cry room and he explained what was happening. It was beautiful. There was something, no, SomeONE there. He gave me his Missals to look over to understand more. Then I was gone for a couple of days for surgery in Greeley (see my post related to Endrometriosis for more on that), and when I returned I'd made my decision. If I believed Christ in the New Testament telling us that He would be with us, and I believed history, there is no other way for me to go. I was already Catholic in my heart.

I started reading, and reading, and reading more. Thank God that Jason has lots of books about Church history and understanding. His Baltimore Catechisms came in really handy! He bought me Catholicism for Dummies and a Bible, you know one of those Catholic Bibles. ;-) And he introduced me to the priest who I started meeting with weekly to prepare for my Conversion. I started my true conversion process in April of '07, because of my private meetings with the priest and my individual study, he allowed me to be Baptized on September 2, 2007. Happiest. Day. Of. My. Life. . The first time I received Our Lord, I was complete. We refer to that day as my Heathen no More Day. :)