Illustration by Allen Garns
One day while I was working in a department store in Oakland, California, USA, a friend stopped by and invited me to dinner. She said she would have two Mormon missionaries join us.
After dinner the missionaries set up a little flannel board and began asking me questions. I became somewhat irritated. I just wanted to listen to them and leave.
At the end of the discussion, however, a young missionary from Utah pulled up his chair, looked me in the eye, handed me a Book of Mormon, and bore his testimony. He said he knew the Church was true and that I could also know by reading the book. Then he quoted Moroni 10:4 and said that if I would ask God with a sincere heart and with real intent, He would manifest the truth of the book to me by the power of the Holy Ghost.
During the following week I read several chapters, and we met again at my friend’s house. After our third discussion, the missionary from Utah finished his mission and headed home.
I continued to read and pray each night, asking if the book was true. After praying one night, I got into bed and read several more chapters. Suddenly I heard a voice say four simple words: “You know it’s true!”
I had never heard the Spirit speak to me before. But I knew then that God knew me and loved me. I was so overcome that I could not control my tears. I knew I needed to join the true Church of Jesus Christ. I also understood how the young missionary from Utah could say he knew the Church was true.
I joined the Church and later married a beautiful young woman in the Oakland California Temple. We had eight children and lived in California for 33 years before moving to Utah.
A few years ago as our youngest daughter was preparing to leave for her mission, she asked if I had ever tried to contact the young missionary who had taught me.
“I have thought about him over these many years,” I replied, “but I don’t know how to contact him.”
Within 10 minutes she came back and said, “Here’s his phone number.”
When I got ahold of him, we had a long conversation. He asked for my email address so he could “bring me up-to-date on his life.” In his email the next day, he told me he hadn’t been a member of the Church for more than 40 years and hoped I wasn’t disappointed.
“How could I be disappointed?” I immediately emailed him back. “You changed my life!”
We exchanged more emails and agreed to meet. Soon I drove to his home, where he invited me in and introduced me to his wife. As we talked about our past, I asked him if he had a Book of Mormon. He went upstairs and returned with a copy. I took the book, looked him in the eye, handed the book back to him, and said: “I know this book is true! If you read Moroni 10:4 and pray about it, you can also gain a testimony of its truthfulness.”
Over the next several months, he read, prayed, and repented. Soon his 18-year-old son rebaptized him, and I had the blessing of confirming him.
I know that my daughter was inspired to ask her question, and I know that Heavenly Father prepared the two of us for a 45-year reunion. I have learned the power of the Book of Mormon. I have also learned to never give up on someone who has wandered from the Church.