Today’s Conversion Story comes from Charlotte Meyer of Maquoketa, Iowa. Her story is a great example of the journey of faith many people have. It’s also a great example of how simply inviting a friend to church can lead to miracles. These are her words:
I grew up in the Methodist Church and went to MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship,) but I never felt comfortable there. I now know that what I was feeling was a lack of the Spirit. My parents quit going to church because they didn’t like the minister or something, but I wanted to keep going to church. There was a Christian & Missionary Alliance Church down the street and around the corner from us and some of my friends from high school went there, so I started going to their church. It was nice, but it was still lacking something.
One day Nicky Cruz came to town to conduct a revival-type meeting at that church. He was a gang member from New York City who had been converted to Christ and spent the rest of his life witnessing of Christ. I attended the revival and heard his testimony, but when they called people up to the front to give their lives to Christ I wanted to do it, but it still didn’t feel right.
I tried to learn about the Catholic Church because I thought rosaries were really cool, but I knew my parents would have a fit about that. When I started junior college, I drove my best friend to college with me because she didn’t have a driver’s license yet. She was Mormon and although her family wasn’t particularly active, she started taking an Institute class. Since the Institute teacher had to drive once a week from out of town, they only had one Institute class per semester and the teacher chose which one he was going to teach. She was taking LDS Doctrine and Philosophy. She was really excited about the things she was learning and she shared them with me.
I found what she had to say really interesting, so I visited her class one day. That was the day they were teaching “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.” (“Chapter 2: God the Eternal Father,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, (2007),36–44) They said that God had a God, who had a God and so forth. Boing!! My head nearly exploded that day! However, it was really interesting and I kept asking questions.
Finally one day she asked me if I wanted to take the missionary discussions. Sounded good to me! I didn’t think my parents would like that, so I took the discussions at her house on days when my classes got out earlier. My parents didn’t have a clear idea of my schedule and didn’t know exactly when I should be home, so I didn’t have to explain being later on certain days.
The first thing that struck me was that the missionaries were MY age and they really knew the doctrine of their church! I admit it, I had a crush on one of the missionaries. But it didn’t take me very long to get a testimony of my own. By the third discussion I knew the church was true and wanted to be baptized. But I do remember the day I realized I really had a testimony.
My friend’s family had started going back to church and her father was called as a Sunday School teacher in the teen class. I visited that class with my friend and one of the teens seemed doubtful and was questioning what was said. I wanted to jump up and shout, “Don’t you realize what you HAVE?????” That’s when I knew for sure that I had a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel.
The time had come to tell my parents I had been studying about the Mormon Church. At that time the legal age was 21 and I had to get my parents’ permission because I was only 19. My parents weren’t happy that I had done this behind their backs and my dad said I hadn’t studied the church long enough to know for sure. I asked him how long I had to wait and he said 6 months. During those 6 months California changed their legal age down to 18 so I no longer needed my parents’ permission, but I waited 6 months anyway.
Exactly 6 months to the day, I asked my parents again, only this time I reminded them that I no longer needed their permission, but would like their blessing. My dad disgustedly said I was old enough to do what I wanted and wouldn’t talk about it any more. My mother told me that if I got baptized, they didn’t want to know about it. I was sad, but determined to do what I knew was right.
I arranged for my baptism to be a week or so later on the night of a youth activity so it wouldn’t be so suspicious that I was going to the church that night. I made my own baptismal dress in the secrecy of my room. That evening I went over to my friend’s house, put on my dress and had my picture taken. Then it was off to church we went. I was baptized by my bishop because by that time “my” missionary had been transferred to another area. It was a wonderful baptism and when I came home that night, I remember lying in my bed saying to my self, “I’m a Mormon! I’m a Mormon!”
My mother found out about my baptism four days later, but my father didn’t find out for sure until several months later. That fall I went to San Diego State University and immediately threw myself into activity at the Institute of Religion, taking classes there, attending the College Branch, and even joining Lambda Delta Sigma. I was in hog heaven! A few years later, after I had finished college and started my career as a television engineer, I decided to go on a mission. My parents flew down to San Diego to talk me out of it, my dad saying that if I was out of the loop for a year and a half I would have a hard time catching up and getting a job again. It took a lot of courage and faith to say, but I said, “Dad, I am doing the Lord’s work and he won’t let me down when I get back, he’ll help me.”
Just before my mission in Japan ended, I started sending out resumes and I had a job offer lined up before I even got home…..in Salt Lake City! My faith had been rewarded!