From the time I was thirteen I knew that I wanted to live a life of service in my church. Brought up as one of eleven children in a good Catholic family, I had their support as I trained in a convent for six years and then took my final vows as a nun. My first field of service was Perth, Australia, and after four years there I was transferred to Sydney. I found the work very rewarding, and I had many wonderful experiences in the service of others. I will never forget those years, for in that time I feel I was being prepared for an experience that changed the course of my life.
It started out to be a normal day. I was on my way to the home of an elderly lady who lived about two blocks from the convent when I saw walking towards me two young men in dark suits. The tall one stopped in front of me, introduced himself, and asked me what I knew about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I replied that I knew all I wanted to know about Jesus Christ. He then said, “If Christ visited some people and spoke to them, wouldn’t you want to read what he said?”
I pondered that for a few seconds and replied, “Yes, I would.”
He pulled a Book of Mormon from his pocket and said, “This book tells of a visit that Jesus Christ made to the ancient people of America. All God wants you to do is read thirty-four pages and pray and ask him if it is true. Would you do that for Him?”
I replied that I could see his religion meant as much to him as mine did to me, so I would read the thirty-four pages and pray about it. We agreed to meet the next morning, and I would return the book to them. Then I put the Book of Mormon in my purse and went on my way.
I still can’t describe the feeling I had as I read those thirty-four pages (3 Ne. 11–28) that evening. I didn’t have to pray to know that the message was true. The words of the Savior were absolutely beautiful; they rang true with every word that passed before my eyes. I went to bed feeling better than I ever had in my life. It was a feeling of having found truth.
The next morning I wanted to tell someone that I had found something true, but with reluctance I said to myself, “No, it can’t be true.” I arose and prepared to meet the elders; but as the time approached, I was very nervous. I arrived ten minutes early, and those minutes seemed to tick away like hours. At last I saw them coming, right on time.
The first thing I did was to hand back the Book of Mormon. I told them I didn’t want the book anymore, although deep down inside I knew I did. But instead of taking the book, one of them asked me if I had prayed about what I read. “No, I didn’t,” I replied.
Then he said, “You’ll never know it’s true until you do.”
I wanted to say that the book wasn’t true, but I didn’t. The elders knew I was disquieted about something, but they didn’t know what.
Then one elder said, “You read those pages last night. Why didn’t you pray?”
I had no answer to that question, so at last I told them how I felt when I was reading the Book of Mormon.
Then they said, “You know the Book of Mormon is true, and that means Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and we have God’s authority to baptize. And that means you know you must be baptized to be obedient to these truths and follow God. Will you be baptized by one holding God’s authority?”
I knew right then that I must do as they said, but I answered, “No.” I knew I was wrong in saying it, but I thought they would leave me alone. They didn’t.
They said, “If God told you from your own prayer to be baptized Sunday [only three days away!], would you follow him and do it?”
What else could I say, but “yes, I would?”
So they said, “Let’s go where we can pray.”
When we were alone, they explained to me how I should pray. As I prayed and asked God if I should be baptized, the same feeling came to me that I had when I read the Book of Mormon. When I opened my eyes, we looked at each other without speaking, for what seemed a long time. I was afraid to speak, so finally one of the elders said, “Wasn’t that a wonderful feeling?”
“Yes, it was,” I replied.
“Will you follow God and keep his commandment to repent and be baptized by one holding authority? Will you do it this Sunday?”
I hesitated for a long time, but finally I said, “Yes, I will follow God and be baptized.”
When Sunday came, the elders had taught me many wonderful truths from the Bible—truths that were as plain as day, yet I had never heard or read them before. I hadn’t told any of the other sisters what I was going to do. As I left the convent that morning to meet the elders, I was very nervous but excited too. The church service was a beautiful experience. And I spent the time after the service waiting for my baptism at a wonderful member’s home.
As the time for my baptism approached, I became nervous; but I knew it was what God wanted for me, so I was baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Back at the convent that night, many sweet memories and emotions passed through my mind as I packed my belongings. A few of the sisters came and asked me what I was doing, and I simply replied, “I am leaving. I found where God wants me to go. I’ve become a Mormon. I was baptized tonight.”
They were alarmed, but I just kept packing; and when I said good-bye, I gave each of them a copy of the Book of Mormon. “Please read it with an open mind and heart,” I said.
I know that what I did was right. I am grateful for the Catholic Church and what it did for me. I feel that my experiences there prepared me to accept the restored gospel. I know that God lives, that he is a being like each of us, yet perfected. Jesus is truly the Christ. He lives today. He atoned for our sins on condition of repentance. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that there is a prophet on earth today. And from my own experience I know that the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God.