Becoming a Mormon: My Conversion through Prayer and Fasting
Contributed by Ed Wilson of the Lethbridge Alberta Stake
On November 7, 2007, I was on the job as an elementary school principal in Lethbridge, Alberta. On that day, I was set on a path that would lead to my conversion and baptism, but it did not begin in a way that might have been anticipated. It was a good day at school and I came home feeling great. However, after dinner I started to feel chilled and very quickly started shivering and then quaking. My temperature rose quickly and I became quite ill. I passed out in the car as my wife rushed me to the ER where I was put on blood pressure medication and regained consciousness. My son-in-law and the assistant superintendent of the School District gave me a blessing as I was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit and given massive doses of fluids which my body rejected. My condition deteriorated quickly as my body went into severe septic shock.
The diagnosis was streptococcal pneumonia, a bug that normally the body would take care of, but because I do not have a spleen, my body was unable to detect and fend off this strain of pneumonia. The specialist explained that septic shock was a condition where the body only nourishes the vital organs in a mostly unsuccessful attempt to fight off the infection. He said that it was about the worst thing for a person without a spleen. I gained 45 pounds of fluid as doctors tried to get my cells to absorb liquid and flush the bacteria from my body, but none of my cells were absorbing any of the liquid that was being pumped into my body. Fluid began to fill my lungs and I was put on a respirator and was unconscious for several days. During that time, my muscles deteriorated, my kidneys failed and I was put on dialysis. I had three platelet transfusions and was put on a feeding tube.
In this difficult medical state, I was inspired by learning how much love and care surrounded me as I lay dying in the hospital. My son came home four days early from his mission. He was shocked by what he saw. He gave me a blessing accompanied by my other son, my two sons-in-laws and the Stake President. In this blessing, I was commanded to be made well and told that healing would begin immediately. I was not a member of the LDS Church, but still felt the power of those words.
My wife was always at my side. She had great faith that all would be well, even when the medical staff were warning her that she should be prepared for the worst. When I became conscious again, I teased her that it wasn’t too late for me to get a tattoo before I was baptized that said “Lynn – 10 cow wife.” Friends rallied around our family and there were fasts and hundreds of prayers on my behalf. Parents, students and staff members at my school prayed for me. I know that these prayers played a powerful role in my being restored to health.
After 11 days, I finally regained consciousness. I had lost 20 pounds. I couldn’t walk. I could barely talk because a respirator had been in for so long. I couldn’t read because I'd lost control of my eye muscles or hold a pen to write. I was on dialysis three times a week with the prospect of having to do that for the rest of my life. Miracles happened. In five days, I was walking on my own. Within a week, I was able to read and write again. Within two weeks, I was taken off dialysis.
As I was recuperating in my hospital room, I was overwhelmed with the spirit of God and Jesus Christ. I could feel the love that enveloped me from them and from my family and friends. Miracles had taken place and I could no longer deny the truthfulness of the gospel. I had many dark and frightening dreams when I was unconscious, except for one that ended up drowning out the others. In this dream, my hospital room was filled with light and as I looked up my life was represented around the edge of the ceiling. There was a spot for my childhood, my school years and my family. There was, however, one empty spot that I knew was for the Gospel. I knew I had to join the Church and told this to my family. They, of course, were elated.
I was released from the hospital on a Friday and on Sunday my son reported on his mission. I was able to attend although I was very weak and had to be helped into the church by my two boys. The opening hymn was “Count Your Blessings”. As I absorbed the words I fell apart, overcome with the blessings and the love that I had received. In Doctrine and Covenants 19:38 we read, “Pray always and I will pour out my Spirit upon you and great shall be your blessings–yea even more than if you should obtain treasures of earth and corruptibleness to the extent thereof.” I am living proof of the truthfulness of this scripture. I know that love of my Heavenly Father and Jesus surrounded me and that the Holy Ghost was at my side.
The next week I was sitting by the front window visiting with the Stake President. Two missionaries passed by. I asked my daughter to call them in. They were shocked when I told them I wanted to join the Church. I didn’t ask them, I told them. I was baptized on December 15, 2007, by my oldest son and was confirmed by my youngest son. My two daughters gave talks on baptism and the Holy Ghost. My wife just sat there with me and enjoyed the moment– she had already done enough over the previous 31 years to lead me to the waters of baptism.
Shortly after being baptized, I was called as a ward missionary. Several months later, I served in the bishopric of a YSA ward and now as a member of the stake high councillor. On December 20, 2008, I was endowed and sealed to my family for eternity.
The family is now blessed by being sealed together.