Growing up I was raised Christian, and had always had a connection to God and Jesus Christ. I have vivid memories from when I was younger of spiritual experiences, and feeling that my prayers were meaningful.
I went to one of those liberal mainline Protestant churches, and I attended church semi-often. I had a testimony of God up until about 7th or 8th grade, when a (very strongly opinionated) friend of mine, who had recently quit his religion for Atheism, convinced me to do the same.
I was very adamant about my Atheism for a long time, I saw religion as very foolish and irrational. I would watch YouTube channels and read information that further strengthened my lack of belief in a God.
Then some things started coming up in my life, and while I didn’t realize it at the time, having a lack of God in my life really did make things harder. When you feel like everything in the universe is ultimately meaningless, it makes life feel depressing.
Even during that time though, there were a few instances, times when I was especially downtrodden, that I decided to pray. Prayer really is powerful. But even still, that didn’t do it for me.
Quite a few years went by, stuck in this atheist scientific materialist worldview. Then I got into a conversation with the pastor of my family’s church and explained my views of religion. I can’t recall what we talked about exactly, but afterward I wanted to re-explore religion.
So, I did research on a bunch of different religions, everything from Islam, to Buddhism, to Baha’i, to Catholicism. One of my friends had at that time recently converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so I decided to talk to him about it.
I had already started reading the Bible from Genesis, and it seemed like a bunch of fiction to me. After talking to that friend, I decided to start reading the Book of Mormon as well. When I first started reading it, it seemed like it was clearly made up.
There’s this guy in New York who supposedly sees an angel and is given gold plates. I did some online research about it (particularly from anti sites), and was convinced that it was made up. Nevertheless, I still continued reading.
…having a lack of God in my life really did make things harder.
Then there was this one night that after reading the Book of Mormon I decided to pray about it, as my friend had said to do. I still wasn’t sure if I believed in God or not but I did it anyway. I remember having an overwhelming feeling of spiritual confirmation. I was still a bit confused.
My friend had invited me to meet with the missionaries before, and I gave a “maybe, probably not”. But after that experience, I gave in. When learning with the missionaries there was something that resonated with me. On top of that, I had good prayerful experiences with the Book of Mormon.
So I continued my search for spiritual truth. I started attending church regularly and had found FAIRMormon, a great supplement to help me navigate through all of the criticisms of the church.
There were some doctrines that really made sense. I wasn’t opposed to Christianity, but the history of Christianity seemed all too polluted by politics and power struggle. I really resonated with the idea of a great apostasy and then a restoration of the church of Christ.
Then at a certain point I made the decision to get baptized. I still wasn’t completely sure if I believed in God, but I felt guided by the spirit toward the Church enough to want to join. I also knew that if there was a God, this would be His church.
Since getting baptized my testimony has grown and grown and now I can more than confidently say that Jesus lives, that the true church of Christ was restored through Joseph Smith, and that Russell M. Nelson is our current Prophet on earth
Honestly, the sole thing that made me believe in God was the Book of Mormon. To this day the Book of Mormon is still the keystone of my testimony.
Being in The Church of Jesus Christ has brought so many blessings to my life. I’m so grateful for everyone that I’ve gotten the opportunity to embrace the gospel with.