As I settled into my seat on the airplane, I noticed that the young man beside me had a Brigham Young University emblem on his jacket. I recognized the name as belonging to “one of those religious schools.”
Although I had been active in churches all of my life, it had only been recently that I had the time or felt the inclination to learn for myself whether Jesus Christ was actually the son of God, or just a great teacher whose life had been exaggerated by his followers. In my search, I had begun to pray earnestly and to read the Bible with real intent. The Holy Spirit had touched my heart only two months before, and had testified to me that Jesus was truly the Christ.
Immediately, I became disillusioned with the church I was attending. A minister there had once told me that whether or not Christ had actually existed was unimportant. What mattered was his example, and learning to love each other. Now that I knew Christ had lived and died for me, this belief seemed empty, and I searched for ways to learn more about Christ and his will for me.
My seatmate and I started talking, and I learned he was going to an amateur golf tournament. We talked of golf and his ambition to become a professional golfer.
Finally, I couldn’t resist the urge to question him about his beliefs.
“Do you go to Brigham Young University because they have a good golf team or because you believe the doctrines they teach?” I asked. He smiled and said that they did have a good golf team, but he was also proud to be a Mormon.
“Tell me,” I asked, “do Mormons believe in Jesus Christ?” He patiently explained that the true name of the church was The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He also bore witness that the Lord leads his church through a modern day prophet.
I was eager to learn more and asked many questions. I wanted to find out if the average Mormon was a member because of family traditions, or be cause he had a true testimony of Christ. It soon became obvious that this young man had done some soul-searching of his own and had a testimony of Jesus Christ.
In my studies of the scriptures, I had come across some concepts that seemed to have been lost—at least from the churches I had attended. I decided to quiz him about them. “Do you believe in the gift of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands?” I asked.
He stared at me in disbelief. “Where in the world did you learn about that?” he asked.
“In the Bible,” I answered.
“Yes, we do believe in that gift,” he replied. Then he explained about the restoration of the priesthood.
Unfortunately, the plane was just about to land, and I still had a hundred more questions.
“If you’d like,” he said, “I’d be happy to have some of our missionaries from the Church stop by and tell you more.”
Of course, some wonderful missionaries did come and I was soon baptized. Now, six years later, I am thankful for the young man on the plane and the emblem on his jacket, without which I would not have learned of the Savior’s true church.