I would like to tell you how I happen to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In 1832, two years after the Church was organized, two young missionaries went out in the state of New York teaching as missionaries. And there was a man by the name of John Tanner who heard that they were coming in to his community and speaking in the schoolhouse that evening. Though he was a cripple, he decided that he would go and see that those Mormon missionaries didn’t teach any false doctrine.
He was a community-minded man and he was a religious man. Though he had been a cripple for several months with a diseased leg, and was in a wheelchair, he determined to go to that meeting. And he had his son wheel him right up to the front of the stand.
As he listened to the first missionary tell about the apostasy and the need for the restoration of the gospel, he listened and said nothing to him. And as the other missionary got up to speak, John Tanner didn’t interrupt him in any way.
Then after the meeting he asked his son to go up and bring the two missionaries down to introduce them to him. He asked those missionaries if they would like to go home and stay with him that evening. They accepted the invitation and went home and discussed religion on into the early hours of the morning.
After they had discussed it for some time, he said, “If I were well enough, I think I would like to be baptized.”
The missionaries asked him if he thought the Lord could heal him. He said, “The Lord could if he wanted to.”
The missionary explained that they were elders and that the Lord had said, if there were any sick among you to let them call in the elders to pray over them and asked him if he would like to be administered to. He said he would. They administered to him. That very day he left his wheelchair never to return to it. And he walked three-quarters of a mile to be baptized.
He knew he would be criticized and ostracized, but when he heard the truth, he had the courage to accept it. I am so glad that those two missionaries went out into the field to preach the gospel; and that when John Tanner heard it, he had the courage to accept it.
And he and his family remained true to the faith. And his son Nathan Tanner remained true to the faith, and then William Tanner and his son Nathan William, who is my father, accepted the gospel and remained true to the faith. And as a result, I am here today.
I hope that any investigators will have the courage and the strength to accept the gospel when you know it is true. It will be the greatest decision you have made in your life. And I promise you that the Lord will bless you.